Freaking Comic Book Movies

Just…no.

There are a lot of comic book movies these days. That’s pretty obvious, yes, but there are even more than some people probably realize because a lot of them aren’t superheroes. 2010’s Red, AMC’s Walking Dead, the ultimate display in mediocrity with Cowboys & Aliens. There’s just a nonstop flow of them and if you couldn’t tell, it probably won’t stop till Armageddon.

For good reason too, because they make a crap-ton of money. Avengers has crossed the billion dollar mark, along with all its counterpart films making well over their budget as well. Amazing Spider-man is also sure to do some pretty good business even with the exhausted sigh of many fans who are still reeling from 2007’s third installment which seemed to ruin the series’ name in the long run.

At this point, I haven’t said anything new; comic book movies aren’t going away (as much as some of my friends would like for them to), they make a lot of money, and they’re not always going to follow the comic book storylines the way core fans would like to see. But hey, we take what we can get in that department. Now for the point, or rather, the question: why does Hollywood take the most simple concepts, throw millions of dollars at them and still manage to royally destroy them?

"Destroy THIS!"

“Destroy THIS!”

Seriously, it’s not hard. It’s one thing for George Lucas to screw up his prequel franchises with some wooden acting, overuse of CGI, and emotionally convoluted plot; it’s another thing for people to take stories that aren’t theirs, have the blueprint all mapped out for them, and then just crap all over the source material.

The biggest mistake that comes to mind is X-Men Origins: Wolverine. The colon followed by “Wolverine” scares me in that we’ll probably see many more terrible solo stories to follow, but I digress.

...Because haven't we been through enough?

…Because haven’t we been through enough?

Wolverine is a man with a mysterious past and claws that pop out of his fists. He has animal senses and several awesome rivals that really hate him and would like to see him die. Screenwriters: Go. It really is that simple. Instead, we get a guy whose every line, every motion, every single thing he does is the most dramatic thing I’ve ever seen.

Any thing you can think of involving that movie is so overdone and so poorly executed, it’s a wonder it was even made. Yet it cost 150 million dollars. It made back a little over twice the budget and there is a sequel in the works.

2005’s Fantastic Four is another example of a huge waste of everyone’s time. It took a 100 million dollar budget and raked in 330 million. So on with the sequel, right? Of course! The sequel took 130 million to make and made “only” 289. Now a reboot is in the works which will probably be “gritty” and definitely wasn’t demanded by anyone to be redone, yet it’s on it’s way.

I'm thinking of a word that RHYMES with gritty...

I’m thinking of a word that RHYMES with gritty…

What’s the problem with all of this, you ask? The majority of these movies I’m naming just. aren’t. good. I have a problem with that because in many cases, they’re characters I like and being that I love movies, it could be the perfect combination. But all too often, studios get a hold of properties that already have a fanbase, which means people will be seeking this film out as opposed them having to shove it in your face constantly.

So keeping in mind that these characters and stories already have their fanbase, it means that the film adaption will make some kind of money regardless. So why is it that while they count on the core audience to make them their money, they have no problem pissing on the source material and having a “Whaddaya gonna do?” attitude.

"I use my own money as a toilet and you expect me to not piss on what YOU love? Fuhgettaboudid!"

“I use my own money as a toilet and you expect me to not piss on what YOU love? Fuhgettaboudid!”

Comic book nerds/fans are berated because the adaption doesn’t live up to the original material and to a point, it’s understandable. People online, especially message boards, can be very hateful. It’s easy when you’re only a name with no face and can get away with saying anything.

But how do you feel when someone borrows your stuff, uses it and returns it in a lesser condition than what it was when it was given? That’s how many of these adaptions are viewed by fans and critics in general.

So obvious, a blind man can see it.

I’ve gone on long enough about the problem, so here’s a solution: Give a crap about what you create. It’s understandable (although not right) when a movie from out of nowhere doesn’t necessarily get the proper attention it deserves because it’s a total crapshoot. While a comic book movie is treated as though, “Who cares, make it bright and shiny and people will come. Don’t bother with quality.” These movies could become the financial base of the movie industry, but it’s a subgenre on it’s own the way mockumentary films are. Some people like’em, some hate’em.

But look at The Dark Knight (2008). Or the above mentioned Avengers, or any of the movies that came to build Avengers up. They were all treated with care and the base audience was appreciated. Scenes would come at the end that only fans seemed get (Thor’s hammer at the end of Iron Man 2, Why Tony Stark would show up at the end of The Incredible Hulk), creating interest for people who didn’t know what the heck they just saw.

"So like, the big guy there is like...a hulk or an Iron Man?"

“So like, the big guy there is like…a Hulk Man or an Iron Man?”

Many of these movies had true fans and/or actual comic book creators and writers. I don’t even like Joss Whedon, writer/director of Avengers, but he’s got his place in comic book lore for sure. Now, there are Avengers sequels to make, along with sequels to Captain America, Thor, Iron Man, and more characters. And as a critic, I can honestly say I’m interested to see what they do because the previous movies were done properly. But don’t think I’m just talking about mega-colossal summer hits. Cuz I ain’t.

Go back and think about what started the comic book movie craze. Was it Spider-man (2002)? X-Men (2000)? It’s debatable. For me, what kept me interested in comics, was all thanks to the first Blade (1998). At the time, me, along with most people, didn’t even know it was a comic book.

"I was?"

“I was?”

The movie was awesome, did well, spawned two sequels among other things, and guess what? Not only was it rated R (which means cutting the moolah intake in half to many studios), it did financially well and didn’t even cost that much to make. Heck, it even made me think Stephen Dorff was cool for about a decade before I realized he’s done nothing else with his career to keep me thinking that. A 45 million dollar budget that made back 131 million. Pretty freaking good for an unheard of comic book character.

But before you think I’m not taking into account the fact that many character’s powers require a bigger budget, I am taking that into account. But realize Marvel (always been a Marvel guy) has way more characters than you’ve seen onscreen. We’ve just only seen the ones the studios think will be the next billion dollar franchise.

"Whoa, whoa, whoa...you're tellin' me Batman's got a girlfriend? Oh, we're gonna make MILLIONS."- WB studio Executive

“Whoa, whoa, whoa…you’re tellin’ me Batman’s got a girlfriend? Oh, we’re gonna make MILLIONS.”- WB studio executive

Take Luke Cage, Iron Fist, Shang Chi, Moon Knight, Dr. Strange, and even Pete Wisdom (for Josh). Don’t know who Pete Wisdom is? Does it matter if the movie is done right and is actually enjoyable? Any one of these guys can be sold as their own movie. Just a movie, with the Marvel logo plastered to the intro. Don’t shove it down our throats that it’s the next big blockbuster that you HAVE to see because we spent 200 million dollars on it.

Heck, in the right hands, I’m willing to give Daredevil one more shot if it means they do it like the comic book at all. But no, I will never forgive anyone involved in the ’03 Affleck debacle. The point is, comic book movies shouldn’t have to cost 150 million to make 300 back, but they could cost 25 and 75 million back, ensuring a couple sequels. This means more money in the long run and good movies to watch over and over again. It’s kind of like the “Feed a man for a day, or teach him to fish” mantra in a way.

Why write this? Why spend an hour writing an article on good comic book movies when there are so many bigger problems out there today? Complicated answer made simple, I love the escapism aspect to film, and when you combine comic books and movies, it can be escapism in it’s purest form.

And if you didn’t get the message above, I just really, really hate the Wolverine movie.

Drink up, Hugh…DRINK UP.

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One Response to “Freaking Comic Book Movies”

  1. BaronDestructo Says:

    Monster have undertaken to review every superhero movie ever made starting wit de 1951.

    Dis week, me reviewed Fantastic Four movie (1995): http://cookiemonstermovereviews.wordpress.com/2012/05/29/fantastic-four-1995/

    It a long and painful road for dis monster.

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