Hollywood blockbusters are never given much respect in the artistic world. Sure, these films make massive amounts of money at the box office and are often beloved by fans, but they are often snubbed during awards season and treated with disdain in the film world due to their often, but not always, focus on spectacle over substance. They also tend to direct money away from smaller, more thought provoking films. While some of these points do hold true, in some respect, I feel that blockbuster films still deserve some level of respect from the artistic community.
Blockbuster films are like any other film, they are made by several, or in their case thousands, of people with varying artistic skills to create a story to put on screen. These are people who've wanted to work in film most of their lives. They're actors, directors, editors, costume makers, set designers, and writers who all want to come together and be a part of something big. They take pride in their work and take pride in seeing their names on the credits at the end. These big movies, whether they are good or bad, give people a chance to live their dreams and create something they hope will be remembered.
The people making these big films hope they can create something meaningful, just like any other filmmaker. The problem with many of these blockbusters is that they cost a lot and must find ways to maximize profits. To do this, blockbuster films have to "broaden their appeal" to audiences in order to make as much money as they can. This has the negative side effect of removing themes and messages to reach a "broad" audience. These films also rely heavily on expensive spectacle in order to bring in audiences, whether the story calls for it or not.
That being said sometimes a great story and characters can be seen through all the spectacle and flash. While watching "The Avengers" you can enjoy the colorful superhero action, but you can also see deep and complex characters working to put aside their differences and fight for the greater good. Themes and messages can be found in almost every story if you look hard enough. These can also grab the attentions of movie going audiences.
These big films help drive the passion for film making in the movie going audiences. Many children discover their love of stories and cinema when they watch these films and want to imitate them. These are the films that reach a wide audience, who then go on to be the next generation of filmmakers. Many others go on to write about their love of film and the film making process, like me. These big films, like "Star Wars" helped spark my passion for film. So before you denounce blockbuster films as mindless drivel, just remember that the next great director, actor, writer, or editor is sitting in that audience and is being inspired to help create the next generation of great films.