In an otherwise snippy review in which Anthony Lane mostly laughs at NERDS, he says something very true:
And it always is the world. One of the failings of Marvel—as of other franchises, like the “Superman” series—is the vulgarity that comes of thinking big. As a rule, be wary of any guy who dwells upon the fate of mankind, unless he can prove that he was born in Bethlehem. Superheroes who claim to be on the side of the entire planet are no more to be trusted than the baddies who seek to trash it, nor is the aesthetic timbre of the movies in which they both appear.So I should say, as one who thinks the artistic merits of cinema as a medium are immensely overblown, I like schlock action and operatic scifi. They are, to my mind, what the screen ought to be: entertainment inflated until it defies exegesis through sheer indifference to any meaning beyond the superficial. On the other hand, in an age that measures everything in the hundreds of millions of dollars, these movies tend to bloat, and a swashbuckling good time seems inevitably to grind itself to a metallic halt in the third act when the fate of the world, nay, worlds hangs in the balance. Must all villains desire world domination? Couldn't we have an action flick where the bad guy wants, I don't know, beachfront property on Antigua? Didn't Batman used to fight crime instead of enacting a righteous Job-like confrontation with the vast, inhuman and implacably incomprehensible otherness of the divine? Like all discounts, saving the world threatens to stick at the lower price; in the endless downward march to rock bottom, every man of modest ambition threatens some kind of Ragnarok; every squid farmer gets a kraken; every misplaced dropkick threatens to tear the very fabric of space and time asunder. At a certain point the layering of ridiculousness collapses the whole pastry--the ingredients haven't changed, and yet it's nothing you'd ever want to eat.