So, now that the Avengers has become the single biggest thing not only of the summer, but also the entire year, and X-Men: First Class having garnered huge amounts of praise, comic book movies are now the popular consciousness and studios can now make millions adapting entire libraries of content that’s been building up for decades. Finally, fans will have their favorite characters and stories come to life on the big screen and their hobby that had been previously spurned will now be enjoyed by all.
But is all of this a good thing? Do origin stories, big universe wide team ups, and putting the most genius minds to work on these project mean great things for the cinema to come, or is it a curse in disguise? I’m going to properly get a lot of hate for this article, but it’s gotta be said. Let’s talk about comic book movies.
Don’t get me wrong, I loved The Avengers, and X-Men: First Class and I want more movies like them. And when I say that, I mean movies that care about it’s audience and the quality of the work they are putting out there, as opposed to the more cash-grab movies with poor writing and direction like The Amazing Spiderman or Green Lantern. What used to just sort of be a “niche” genre is getting butts in seats, and in return studios are willing to make these things bigger and better. And who am I to turn down excellent movies, no matter what the genre may be?
But what The Avengers also changed was now we have movies leading up to a bigger movie, which then splits off into separate movies again until the next big collab movie comes out. And now DC is rushing to figure out a way to get a Justice League of America movie in the works, and there lies the issue. By adapting comics into movies, we also have to adapt the way comics work. For the uninitiated, comics tend to run series of comics around one character, like Batman, or Green Arrow, or Thor and when they want, they pull them into a big unverise-wide story, like Kingdom Come or Blackest Night. Essentially, they would have to keep making character movies to move along the characters for the bigger movies, as cast wide character development is tough. Not to mention, where do we stop? How long do we go until we can’t adapt it anymore?
And those actors won’t be young forever. Are we then going to be getting alternate universe movies as well to make up for Tom Hiddleston getting wrinkles? Or will we just keep seeing more reboots? And while we don’t have to necessarily stick to the comic book format, we are putting some of the greatest actors, writers, and directors of our generation into making adaptations. Is that bad? No. The Godfather is an adaptation of a novel (with some extensive re-writes) done by Francis Ford Coppola, a master of film. But for everyone of those classics, there are 50 more Eragons, Golden Compasses, and The Last Airbenders. Not to mention the heavy use of adaptations, readaptions, or reimaginings just recycle the same plots and types. Original scripts may become few and far between, which would be the greatest shame of all. Especially with the fantastic array of talent clearly shown in these latest films. Type-casting is awful.
….or all of this could be wrong and nothing is going to change at all save for the fact that comic-book films are gaining a new level of intricacy and respect. And after all, with such amazing stories left to tell of these men and women of power, isn’t the change in the right direction? Personally, while I’m wary of what these movies might become someday, I still can’t wait for the next great hero to appear larger than life on a screen near you.
… Next week I’ll do Dredd, I swear.