Warning: mild spoilers about Man of Steel ahead.
In Greek myth, the Gods sent disasters, monsters, plagues to those guilty of crimes, offence or overweening arrogance. These days at the movies, we have to settle for 'because blowing sh*t up looks way cool in 3D.'
Time was, it was man's meddling with the atom that unleashed Godzilla. Our imperial hubris which triggered the 'oh yeah? response from aliens in The War Of The Worlds and a hundred bug-eyed descendents. Our blind faith in science and progress over-turned by eco-disaster, intelligent apes, viral zombies or road warriors in spandex.
Whether we were right, wrong, or some confused mess in between, homo sapiens owned this apocalypse even if we hadn't earned it. This was our metaphor, dang it.
But now, thanks to CGI and the seemingly endless ability of 3D to make debris fly out of the screen at the audience, the end of the world seems to be getting longer, more superficially spectacular, more unprovoked and, dare I say, more pointless than ever before.
Yes, I'm looking at you, Man of Steel. Although previous offences such as Transformers, Star Trek II and to a lesser extent Avengers, should also be taken into consideration.
MOS climaxes with an extensive set piece with Superman fighting renegade Kryptonians above, around and through the skyscrapers of not-Manhattan. Buildings fall, planes explode, the earth shakes.
Yet what sounds epic swiftly hits Magpiemoth's law of diminishing returns from CGI: once you've seen someone body slammed through a skyscraper once, you really don't need to see it again, let alone ten times more.
Technical bravado - and Zac Snyder is a great technical director - creates an interminable scene which unbalances rather than caps the entire film.
What's more, these films can destroy New York and its surrogates like Metropolis as many times as you want, but by making them the backdrop to clashes of god-like robots or robot-like gods, with humanity relegated to screaming and running only, you rob them of any psychodrama.
This not our apocalypse any more, we're only living in it.
And when you've got a Superman film - rescue cape boy par excellence - and you make the crisis not only indirectly his fault in the first place, but then then give the impression of not really caring about the people caught up and presumably dying in the final battle because you're too busy focussing on techniques of destruction, you know you've got problems.
Ethical problems, arguably. Dramatic problems, very probably.
The end of the world blues, certainly.