There are stories like THE SOPRANOS that do the work to humanize and shade the majority of characters bumped off on-screen, the kind of stories that engage with the reality and the mutual agony involved in the taking of a human life.
But engaging with the reality of our fleeting existence is only part of the human experience — and most stories where death happens hardly deal with it at all. The vast majority instead treat physical assaults as swiftly passing moments.
A lot of people see this as a bug. It is a feature.
Cinema is heightened. All of it. What’s more, the stories tend to be depicted you know, cinematically. Violence may be morally wrong, legally unacceptable and romantically unappealing — but done right, it’s also cinematic as all hell.
A punch looks like an angry word feels. And there’s a reason we call emotional betrayal a stab in the back. It just — as in all things — depends on the context.
That being said, the above assumes a coherent story being told at least competently. Trash is trash, in any format.
And while yes, there’s a solid argument that much of the violence in media glorifies it in the eyes of a non-zero portion of the viewership — I’d argue there’s an equally valid argument along the lines of that same non-zero portion of the viewership being a bunch of humorless cave-dwelling toads that suck their own toes for pleasure.
And if the choice lies between death by teen hopped up on FAST & FURIOUS PRESENTS: HOBBS & SHAW and a world where all entertainment must be made palatable to humorless toe-sucking cave-toads, then I’ll just sit here and wait for ZACK SNYDER’S THE BREAKFAST CLUB.