Monday, December 02, 2013

On Silly Comic Book Material And Our Current Media Dilemmas

I was hanging with Mik44 and Peryton last Saturday night, always one of the better moments in life to be sure, and we started to pass the time with discussion on superhero movies. We all smiled about the second Thor movie, which didn't mind being a Sphere Fantasy mixed into a Dr. Who season. And then we talked about the Iron Man movies, which are doing so great at showing how billionaires can be likeable guys as well being heavily-armored war machines when they feel threatened. A little tired with this line of thought (is there really going to be a second Avengers movie?), I brought up Batman movies.

The problem that DC (National Comics, err Time-Warner Communications) has is that they hired directors and writers of too much vision.

And while Zach Snyder and D.S. Goyer are most likely bristling at this statement, every reader here knows that both of them are regular subscribers to my blog-- I just know that Putin, Obama, and Danny Woodburn have sock puppets monitoring me-- we all know that Christopher Nolan is taking notes.

Marvel cranks out movies like they're video games, using video game technology anyway, and the producers are as astute throwing in "nods" to the fan boys, and Chinese viewers, as they are about making sure a couple different formula of popular movies are followed. which Marvel's writers and Stan Lee himself already wrote into their scripts of yesteryear. Boy lives at home, Boy meets girl, Boy loses girl, Smart Girls have to be killed... et al. But the folks working on the films like to add their own touches as well. Thor 2 got downright goofy and full of weird sci-fi, that the actual plot was something of a distraction. So much so that the movies makers had to throw in a minute of Chris Evans, to remind everyone that was an Avengers spin-off, not just a chick flik for the wives of Monty Python/Red Dwarf fans.

DC's vision has been much more experimental, with the exception of Superman Returns, which for all its homage to the 70s-80s Superman flix did not go anywhere. They tried Cat Woman as a non-Batman spin off. They did the Watchmen which was anti-hero perspective on the superhero take on things. They even went with Jonah Hex, which still just strikes me as a bad idea to the point I haven't been able to watch it. And Christopher Nolan was encouraged to work in epic-proportions of scale with his Batman works as he made the franchise shake off a score of TV writers and directors and Tim Burton to re-teach an old a trick it already knew. I am not sure who or what was behind the Green Lantern movie, but for some reason its makers decided that special effects and space opera should be toned down and its villains look like something from bad 50 movies.

Okay, I loved the latest incarnation of the Bat-man, Christopher Nolan's one. It was darkness reflected my views about the corruption of the society that I sometimes glimpse around me. It's grittiness has brought many characters from the comic books to life in a world that I can imagine being my own. But the "epicness" had a little more than enough room. The villains become too omniscient and too powerful.

The Dark Knight is my favorite superhero movie to date. But it had the two ferries moral dilemma which was supposed to be a tribute to The Killing Joke story line, but did nothing but put people to sleep by being way too preachy. The hostages and captors turnabout would've been a much better place to leave things at for the Joker and then watching the last bit could have wrapped up the horror of Two-Face as a villain and we can kick and scream for the next "gritty" Batman. From there The Dark Knight Rises only got more preachy while paying less and less tribute to the Aftermath and the ultimately pointless "Bane" subplots in the many pages of the Batman comics.

The latest Superman flik, Man of Steel, was Nolan's attempt at getting beyond the cheesiness of Superman to the real stuff. And once the real stuff was gotten to, he wanted to kill it so that the franchise could begin anew. Ummm... I liked the movie, but Superman doesn't kill. This movie is not going to be the basis for DC to start coming into the limelight of real actors in front of cameras silverscreen movie-going phenomena that the Marvels have been.

The folks at DC and the movie production companies wanting to make their movies should not be thinking about the Justice League movie just yet. They should be focusing on the name sakes getting movies that prep the audience watching not to be looking at DC's version of the Avengers movie.

Batman can use a couple "krimi flx" under his belt, maybe introducing Nightwing and the Huntress, facing against Poison Ivy and Hugo Strange. The comic series Gotham Underground, the comic series that showed me that Dr Freeze was a felon not a fop, should be airing on AMC right after the Walking Dead.

Superman could take a break after the predestined World's Finest, it's kind of Superman fits into the whole superhero picture anyway. Or heck, Superman facing off against the AI behind the Terminator movies would fill up space.

Green Lantern could re-start with science, space opera, as well as his love of Carol Ferris instead of Top Gun-meets-the Muppets.

Wonder Woman and her sisters actually won WII, and she's never lost her femininity. And her transistion into the modern age wouldn't have to be followed by as many apologies to everyone not in the Republican Party in 1957 as a certain captain that we all know of.

If nothing else the Flash and the Green Arrow can show in the AMC TV show.

Hawkman and Hawk Woman, come on. Does Thor get all the chick flik/sphere fantasy writers in the world? I don't think so. The first Thor should've been a web-series anyway, so this project could be the best meeting of Harry Potter and Wuthering Heights online to date.

There is just so much more to be done before the Justice League movie gets made. DC has always had better rounded characters and earth-shattering problems than Marvel. The latter was always more about friends fighting, then first kisses, then smart chicks dying, and then relatives in the hospital. DC had all the great archetypes and dilemmas and worked things out from there.

And don't get me started about getting a decent Shazam movie in there one of these days.

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