Film star Simon Pegg has criticised the “dumbing down” of cinema.
The actor, 45, made his name in a string of comedy films such as Shaun Of The Dead and Hot Fuzz and is co-writing the new Star Trek movie.
But he told Radio Times magazine that society had become “infantalised” and that challenging films had been usurped in the box office by the vacuous.
Despite his reputation as a poster boy for geeks, he told Radio Times magazine: “Before Star Wars, the films that were box-office hits were The Godfather, Taxi Driver, Bonnie And Clyde and The French Connection – gritty, amoral art movies.
“Then suddenly the onus switched over to spectacle and everything changed … I don’t know if that is a good thing.”
Simon, who played chief engineer Scotty in the recent Star Trek films, added: “Obviously I’m very much a self-confessed fan of science fiction and genre cinema but part of me looks at society as it is now and just thinks we’ve been infantilised by our own taste.
“Now we’re essentially all consuming very childish things – comic books, superheroes. Adults are watching this stuff, and taking it seriously.
“It is a kind of dumbing down, in a way, because it’s taking our focus away from real-world issues. Films used to be about challenging, emotional journeys or moral questions that might make you walk away and re-evaluate how you felt about … whatever.
“Now we’re walking out of the cinema really not thinking about anything, other than the fact that the Hulk just had a fight with a robot.”
The Mission: Impossible star said he wanted to take on more dramatic roles.
“Sometimes (I) feel like I miss grown-up things,” he said. “And I honestly thought the other day that I’m gonna retire from geekdom.
“I’ve become the poster child for that generation, and it’s not necessarily something I particularly want to be. I’d quite like to go off and do some serious acting.”
He said he had been asked to make the new Star Trek film “more inclusive”.
“They had a script for Star Trek that wasn’t really working for them. I think the studio was worried that it might have been a little bit too Star Trek-y,” he said of the original draft.
“Avengers Assemble, which is a pretty nerdy, comic-book, supposedly niche thing, made 1.5 billion dollars. Star Trek Into Darkness made half a billion, which is still brilliant.
“But it means that, according to the studio, there’s still one billion dollars worth of box office that don’t go and see Star Trek. And they want to know why.”
He added: “People don’t see it being a fun, brightly coloured, Saturday night entertainment like the Avengers,” adding that the solution was to “make a Western or a thriller or a heist movie, then populate that with Star Trek characters so it’s more inclusive to an audience that might be a little bit reticent”.