I spent a couple of the longest hours of my life this evening at the Avengers 3D movie. A companion pronounced herself thoroughly bored and complained about the thin dialog. It does not seem as though it would have killed the screenwriters to have explained how Loki survived his death plunge from the Thor movie or who was behind his effort to take over the Earth and/or what he planned to do once he became supreme dictator (Loki was compared to Hitler in the movie, but Hitler at least had a published plan prior to taking power).
It occurred to me that if this is the creative energy that supposedly renders the U.S. immune to foreign competition we might be in some trouble. Chinese actors could certainly learn to speak a handful of lines in English while stuff blows up around them. Chinese screenwriters could presumably come up with a plot pretty similar to the Avengers movie. It is not the idiosyncratically creative stuff that Americans do that makes money, apparently, but the formulaic. So can we really have a sustainable competitive advantage in this area?