Do superhero movies really suck?

Posted by Sanjeev 
Gcrush Wrote:
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> I think Scope had a point, but it didn't get fully
> developed. There is almost certainly an
> adolescent aesthetic at work within the franchised
> superhero genre - a set of values that
> appropriates the ambiguous complexity of adult
> issues through the relative safety of a
> wish-fulfilling world in order to tame them.
>
Before you folded the adolescent element into your argument, I was about to say that the light/dark/death way of looking at superhero films didn’t feel quite right to me. This works well, and I'm also reminded that young adult novels—which conflate the adolescent with the adult in concoctions not entirely fulfilling for us grown-ups—are actually called light novels in Japan. Huh.
>
> As a
> superhero the Hulk deals with adult issues like
> loss and death, but without the threat that the
> Hulk will ever be lost or killed. But without
> facing truly mortal consequences the Hulk cannot
> "graduate" into adulthood. Thus getting back to
> my explanation for why the superhero genre, in its
> current incarnation, will continue to defy
> transcendence into a serious genre.
>
Here's the thing about the Hulk, where it deviates from Hercules, and why I thought the light/dark/death argument needed to be revised a bit. First, let me say that the TV show of the Hulk probably scarred me emotionally as a kid more than probably anything else. Seeing sad-sack Banner walking off into the distance with that soul-shrinking piano melody week after week was upsetting, to say the least, primarily because the Hulk represented one of those cases in which being alive was way worse than dying. Each episode was like a dramatization of Buddhist purgatory, as transient Banner (no possessions, no attachments) was constantly forced into lessons of humility, self-limitation, loss, and abandonment, and when he did die in that TV movie, it was actually a happy release. Unlike other superheroes, the stakes for this character (and for us, the audience) didn’t involve his escaping death, but rather his struggling to deal with his life. His worst enemy, the beast, was not external. Defeating all of the rogues in his universe would not bring him closer to salvation. Hell, it was an existential trip, and that was why, despite its flaws, I felt Ang Lee’s version demonstrated a much better understanding of the character than that pro-wrestling-styled follow-up.

I guess in a way, I’m saying that the complexity we’re seeking was already imprinted in the DNA of this character. It just needed to be brought out.
>
> I'm suggesting that focusing on an adolescent
> aesthetic might help separate which works are
> less-serious versus more-serious. This would
> avoid the pitfalls of sorting works into
> tautological categories. Off the cuff, here is
> how I would unpack a story...
>
In trying to think of something that would be a yes to all your questions, the one superhero story that kept popping into my head was this issue of Daredevil in which the Beyonder (who’s basically a god) gives Murdock back his eyesight on the condition that Murdock agrees to represent him (Murdock’s a lawyer). And it's an unusual issue because Murdock spends just about the entirety of it living life as a tourist--seeing his friends and girlfriend for the first time, marveling at all the buildings of his native New York before coming to the realization that in accepting the Beyonder's deal, he's betrayed his values. So he dresses up in his costume and confronts the Beyonder and, as much as he wants to be able to see, tells him to take back the gift or else. Out of a combination of pity and respect, the Beyonder acquiesces, leaving Murdock standing there in his costume blind again. It's one of the most dramatic and moving moments in the genre, without a punch being thrown (though magical powers are involved). And also entirely believable from an emotional standpoint.

The thing is, purely adult stories like this were not that uncommon. The first comic book my parents bought me was this issue of Iron Man that had Rhodey wearing the armor while Stark was drunk out of his mind, crawling around in a pair of white undies as his company was under assault. Definitely not an auspicious introduction to the genre for an eight year old, but if Iron Man 2 had handled Stark’s “disease” with a fraction of the gravitas that the comic had had (I think someone else mentioned this, too), then it would have been much better. So it's not like the potential isn't already there within the original stories.

Anyway, what your questions suggest is that superhero movies that feature heroes with no superpowers or deemphasized powers, or like the Hulk those struggling with their powers, have a leg up in terms of producing pathos, carthasis, all that classic Aristotelian stuff. That I’d have to agree with. And your questions, too.
>Seeing sad-sack Banner walking off into the distance with that soul-shrinking piano melody week after week

GREAT analysis of the Hulk TV show! I really liked this one as a kid although it didn't scar me somehow.
I just caught this news blip on CNN about someone in the Fantastic Four "dying" and it made me think of how little superheroes as a genre have developed. For fuck's sake, they've already killed The Thing and brought him back by pissing on Jack Kirby's ghost (see item #3 on this list). Here's the 411 for the TLDR crowd.

Marvel executive: "A core character from the series ... will be no more"
Next-to-last issue in the series' current story arc hits stores Wednesday
"Fantastic Four" will continue as a new series called "FF"
Issue No. 587 will come in a sealed bag, hiding the cover art, on January 26.


Even if you don't like Marvel Comics, it's still a juggernaut in the world of publishing funny-books. And has provided the source material for the contemporary mainstreaming of men-in-tights-with-powers. So when they wrangle a wag-the-dog with CNN like the above I feel it infers something about the medium in which they work. Namely, two things.

1. That killing off a character is an extraordinary event. In other words, not a normal part of the storytelling process.

2. That the storytellers feel their audience is impressionable enough to accept this as newsworthy and not just another entry in the "bring 'em back from the dead" cycle of character refreshes.

If these two points don't clearly illustrate why I say the superhero genre is stagnant as a kid's medium, try applying the same scenario to a different genre. Let's say that CNN gets a press release from Stephen King saying that he's written a book about some guys from Maine in which one of the main characters dies, but not really because he has become a psycho/ghost/zombie/werewolf/alien that will torment the remaining characters until they dispatch him permanently. Sounds silly, right? But that's pretty much what his fucking books are about and there's really no need to treat that as news worthy. Maybe that wasn't such a good example.

Try this one.

Harper Lee dials up CNN to tell them to tell the world she has amazing news about her long awaited sequel. In the book someone has mysteriously killed Atticus and it's up to Scout, Jem, and Dill to solve his murder. It turns out that the murderer was Bob Ewell, who didn't really die at the end of the first novel and had been biding his time and plotting his revenge since its conclusion. In the inevitable showdown confrontation Ewell is set to break Jem's arm (again) when a mysterious stranger leaps from the shadows and kills Ewell (again). This stranger is revealed to be none other than Boo Radley, whom Atticus had sent to watch over the kids moments before he was carried off in an ambulance and presumably died on the way to the hospital. Then Boo, Scout, Jem, and Dill attend Atticus funeral along with the whole town of Maycomb only to have Atticus show up at the end of his own funeral service to reveal that he had feigned his death in order to lure out his attacker. "The only true death that occurred here was the death of justice." Everyone celebrates. The closing pages take place in Hell where Ewell is shown to have made a deal with Satan to take revenge on Boo for all those times he has killed Ewell. The price Ewell must pay for his return to the material world is the promise to kill the remaining Tuskegee Airmen for Satan so Hitler's Ghost can invade America and create Hell on Earth because Satan can't do it himself since he is defenseless against colored mens. Ewell agrees and is materialized on the Gulf Coast of Alabama with a hideous new leather costume and the power to psychically lynch non-Aryans. End.

This has all been an obtuse way of saying there's a good reason your high school literature teachers wouldn't let you read superhero comics in class no matter how much she personally enjoyed Superman. It's the same reason superhero movies are pretty much doomed to suck.
Sanjeev (Admin)
Gcrush Wrote:
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> ...these two points...clearly illustrate why I
> say the superhero genre is stagnant as a kid's
> medium...

I kinda don't remember everything that's already been said in this thread...and I just woke up and I'm too tired to go back and read anything previous to this post. So I apologize if this point has already been argued...

But who cares?

I know that's a shitty question because it sorta takes the wind outta your sails while you're trying to make a valid point. But the way I see it...you're 100% right. I mean, there's ultimately no beginning or end to these infinitely regressive stories (well, there are beginnings, I guess, but they're not particularly relevant). All the conflicts are recycled and the major story shifts repeat themselves. There's ultimately no meaningful beginning, middle, or end to these stories. But I ask "who cares" not to hop over this discussion, but more to ask does it matter?

Say, for example, that the *average* comic book reader only reads comics over a span of 10 years. That means they, say, start reading comics because one of their friends introduced them at age 12, we'll say. They become avid readers...but eventually, they "grow up", get sick of the regression, decide to blow their cash on booze and women, whatever--it doesn't matter--by age 22. Well, then what if each "cycle" of conflict in these stories (be it the death of a major character through to his/her resurrection, or any such major upheaval) is greater than 10 years? That would mean that the average reader would only really experience such a major story shift once or twice per title.

So, then, isn't it okay to recycle every 10 years?

> It's the same reason superhero movies are pretty
> much doomed to suck.

I postulate that if the parent material "sucks", and the child material has roughly the equivalent quality level, then the child cannot technically "suck". (Again, sorry if I've already argued this point before.)

Example: The original Tron movie--while fun and kitschy--was pretty bad in terms of "scifi plausibility", plot, character development, and other factors. The new movie is "fun" in terms of visuals, music, and action (geared towards an older crowd...ostensibly grown up on the first movie)...but it's still pretty bad in various areas of story-telling. I, therefore, postulate that the new Tron movie cannot suck because it's roughly no better or worse than the original movie.

It doesn't make sense to expect Shakespearean acting from a Three Stooges remake short.
Sanjeev Wrote:
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> It doesn't make sense to expect Shakespearean
> acting from a Three Stooges remake short.

Hah.

More serious than thou
josh fraser (Moderator)
"It doesn't make sense to expect Shakespearean acting from a Three Stooges remake short."



I tend to agree,finding these conversations amusing and overwrought with more careful thought than the movies are themselves.

Since this is one topical example being discussed...Tron is not a movie I go to to be moved. I go because I want to see pretty things. I want cheap chills. I re watched the first film. Other than the retro geek chic of the style, it does not have a lot going for it. Nostalgia tempered with rose colored glasses.

But who cares. No one gets laid by taking a girl to Tron ,unless you are both on drugs.

You want to make a cool moody retro sci fi film from Disney. Have Del Toro do the Black Hole after he finihses Mountains of Madness.
Sanjeev wrote: "I postulate"
Cut it out man. We did already have the anti-crotch-thrust thread here somewheres.

Josh, quit being so moody...and cool.
>Say, for example, that the *average* comic book reader only reads comics over a
>span of 10 years. That means they, say, start reading comics because one of
>their friends introduced them at age 12, we'll say. They become avid
>readers...but eventually, they "grow up", get sick of the regression, decide to
>blow their cash on booze and women, whatever--it doesn't matter--by age 22.

This is a good point. Despite this childish toy crap I collect, I don't really know anyone my age who still reads superhero serials on a regular basis. On a whim, I picked up the Young Avengers TPB because I'd read about how good it was, and it was entertaining in a completely mindless kind of way--pretty art, witty dialogue, cliched plot. It was fun, but I can't imagine continuing to do this month after month. As Sanjeev would have it, I put in my ten years (to the Uncanny X-Men and Claremont and Romita Jr. and Art Adams and Silvestri and Lee), when I was a teen. And the problem for the comics industry is that the supply of fresh meat is no longer there.

>I tend to agree,finding these conversations amusing and overwrought with more
>careful thought than the movies are themselves.

Interesting point. Every so often, we'll drift into some discussion about something that for whatever reason touches a nerve, and after much debate and verbal fisticuffs, eventually someone will assume the mantle of the VOICE OF REASON and say, Hey, enough of this analysis already. Why are you numbnuts thinking so much?

I suppose if you're trying to argue for why Tron needs to speak to the modern day existential crisis or something, then yeah, you're barking up the wrong tree. And yeah, expecting Shakespearean acting out of a comic book movie is pretty silly because they're two completely different genres. But is anyone really asking for those things?

On a general level, are these comic book movies entertaining? Are they stupid? If they are, do they reflect on us and on our very (in)ability as a people to distinguish good stuff from bad? Those are some of the questions behind the postings in this thread, I'd imagine.

I suppose you could say that wondering or "thinking hard" about stuff like literature/movies and how they relate to culture and us is silly, and taken to a certain level or executed a certain way it could be, but there's also something a little ironic about making a proclamation like that on a board that at this very moment caters to posts from adults crowing over the prices other adults have slapped on their toys, deploying forensic-level analyses of the differences between the Bullmark Toxic Avenger and the Mattel versions, and categorizing Satanic Transformers ideas.

Hey, I love that those threads are here (and it's not that I can't afford them), but a little perspective never hurts, and if you want perspective, and a little bit of the hurt that comes with confronting a previously shelved truism that challenges something essential to your acquisition behavior, then click on the Sean Bonner link Corey dug up.

>Sanjeev wrote: "I postulate"
>Cut it out man.

I'm not saying nothing 'bout this. :)



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 12/23/2010 10:52PM by gingaio.
Sanjeev (Admin)
Sanjeev Wrote:
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> I postulate...

Hehe...I was feeling saucy! ;)

Ah, yeah...Chieh, you posted the question about what does our continued consumption of such entertainment say about our society. Good question, and it might be worth talking about a little--good gods, am I being the VOICE OF REASON???--but I guess I'm just not totally convinced that we can come up with any useful analysis of the literary "health" of our culture by scrutinizing this specific genre of throw-away entertainment.

Like, say we come to some consensus...well, then what about pro wrestling? What about monster truck rallies? What about gun shows? Hell, what about professional sports, in general???
Sanjeev Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Ah, yeah...Chieh, you posted the question about
> what does our continued consumption of such
> entertainment say about our society. Good
> question, and it might be worth talking about a
> little--good gods, am I being the VOICE OF
> REASON???--but I guess I'm just not totally
> convinced that we can come up with any useful
> analysis of the literary "health" of our culture
> by scrutinizing this specific genre of throw-away
> entertainment.
>
Well, yeah, if that's the only goal of discussing this, or anything, then most of what we talk about here ain't useful, not compared to what doctors or epidemiologists talk about with each other.

Even if we were discussing politics or economics or something not as inconsequential as superhero flicks, given that most of us aren't politicians or policy makers, what would be the point of talking about any of that stuff? What "useful analysis" would we be able to derive? I'm not saying your point is as absolute as that, but that this kind of simple absolutism is often driving the "You dummies are just overthinking this crap" argument. I mean, what happened to just talking about stuff for the sake of, like, talking about stuff (besides our awesome collections and how we're crapping our pants over the next SOC)?

A readily applicable take-home lesson on the comic movie-culture connection being the only or even primary point of this thread was not what I meant at all. In fact, my last rambling post before this thread was revived was mostly about how much I loved the Hulk TV show and Daredevil and why.

Most of this thread was similarly just us bitching about or defending these kinds of movies--in some detail, I guess--and the discussion just reached around TSA-style to all these other things.
>
> [Pro wrestling and monster trucks]
>
Come on, none of us gives a crap about pro wrestling. Monster trucks, yes, pro wrestling, no.
>
>Hell, what about professional sports, in general???
>
Is this your way of reminding me about Boston-LA '08?
Sanjeev Wrote:
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> But who cares?

C'mon, now. Critical thinking is its own reward. Besides, CNN cared enough to run a story with the potential to reach millions of people. And...


gingaio Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> On a general level, are these comic book movies
> entertaining? Are they stupid? If they are, do
> they reflect on us and on our very (in)ability as
> a people to distinguish good stuff from bad? Those
> are some of the questions behind the postings in
> this thread, I'd imagine.

This. Definitely this. Analysis is important. It's the difference between trainspotting and explaining what trains mean.

What does it mean if comic books (as films) are doomed to remain insubstantial? Well, a lot if you place them within the realm of art/expression and not commerce/consumption. As in, they illustrate some specific points about the limits genres place upon themselves - the need, whatever it may stem from, to extend a narrative indefinitely will inevitably lead to a similar cycle. This means there are real limits to how much we can say in one story, or with one character. For anyone who deals in that medium, it's a pretty good thing to keep in mind.

And we could connect it back to commerce/consumption. Why does the economic need exist to keep recycling these stories and casts? There's nothing logical about that. Marvel and DC could easily keep up the same volume of product in terms of "new" content. Do they repeat because it's easier? Is it a response to consumer desire? As in, do people want to keep getting the same stuff over and over? Is the stuff that good? Or are patterns of media consumption cyclically self-sustaining to some degree? There must be some reason for it since a lot of money is trading hands in the process.

It's meritorious in other areas, too. Are there psychological or neurological reasons people respond to variety, but not too much variety? Is this based on innate categorical thinking in humans? (Something I know Sanjeev is interested in...) Are there reasons why we cannot collectively shift genres so that superhero stories aren't just funny books but earnest, "adult" forms of expression? How long do these cycles of narrative turnover last for individuals (10 years?) versus groups (50 years)? And so on.


Sanjeev Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Like, say we come to some consensus...well, then
> what about pro wrestling? What about monster truck
> rallies? What about gun shows? Hell, what about
> professional sports, in general???

Man, you know it's not the consensus but the conversation that counts. ^^

Just to be a wiseass, I'll point out that a lot of critical thought and analysis has gone into all the examples you listed. I know because wrestling is a stock part of my recent trade and I've had to sift through everything that everyone has ever said about it. Well, not really, but it felt that way. While there is a popular tendency to dismiss WWF/WWE/WWWhatever as redneck Shakespeare ('cause it's "pretty fuckin' fake") that's disingenuous. It makes more sense to talk about it in critical terms of human expression than it does to just poop on it as beer-fueled trailer commerce. But I digress.

If we start down the, "What conversations are really important?" path we'll inevitably arrive at one of three, and only three, possible conclusions:

1) Money (commerce)
2) Medicine (mortality)
3) Machines (technology)

That's it. All of the other shit in our existence that's enough to drive people to fanaticism, murder, or war will never even make the list. All the forms of human expression and systems of meaning, too. Because none of it can be quantified or pursued in the same empirical mode and degree as the above three. The logical end to all talks about talking is this.

Kind of a downer, right? That's why I don't mind talking about the inherently bad quality of superhero movies. ^^
Sanjeev Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> I postulate that if the parent material "sucks",
> and the child material has roughly the equivalent
> quality level, then the child cannot technically
> "suck". (Again, sorry if I've already argued this
> point before.)

I like this. It makes me think of two things.

First, the fact that we need to have some kind of source-to-adaptation relationship (or parent-to-child) in these stories seems important. Why is that? Is it an economic limitation, like marketing? Or is it an artistic one, like people can't (or don't want to) come up with source-less adaptations?

Second, maybe we really are doing some kind of apples-to-biscuits thing in the comparison. Like, maybe we should be comparing works only within their (sub)genres. So, is Iron Man a sucky superhero comic book compared to other comics? Is the film comparable in quality to other superhero films? Maybe we've been to hard on them but not limiting the comparisons.

But I'm still interested in the point of genre limitations. Like, maybe all superhero anythings will be doomed to suckage, be they filmic, toyetic, or literary...
Sanjeev (Admin)
gingaio Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Even if we were discussing politics or economics
> or something not as inconsequential as superhero
> flicks, given that most of us aren't politicians
> or policy makers, what would be the point of
> talking about any of that stuff? What "useful
> analysis" would we be able to derive? I'm not
> saying your point is as absolute as that, but that
> this kind of simple absolutism is often driving
> the "You dummies are just overthinking this crap"
> argument. I mean, what happened to just talking
> about stuff for the sake of, like, talking about
> stuff (besides our awesome collections and how
> we're crapping our pants over the next SOC)?

Gcrush Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> C'mon, now. Critical thinking is its own reward.
> Besides, CNN cared enough to run a story with the
> potential to reach millions of people. And...

Agreed. That's why I went on to qualify my "who cares?" statement. I'm ALL about critical thinking and discussion [though I despise inaction--there's nothing worse than mental masturbation...I really don't like the sound of my own voice that much]. I personally can't stand the "you're overthinking this crap" absolutism. Just to be clear ('cause thus far, I seem to be failing!), I'm not suggesting we stop discussing this because it's a frivolous topic, or because we can't change what's going on in the media, or whatever. I'm saying--specific to *this* argument--I don't think it makes sense to expect a piece of work that's radically better than the parent material. So no Shakespearean acting in my Stooges remake. That's all.

Tonight, I saw Tron: Lethargy with Dave. It was aiight, I guess. But we both left the theater fairly pleased--partly because we snuck in--but also because we didn't have unrealistic expectations. The original was aiight...this was aiight. All was right with the world.

Gcrush Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> What does it mean if comic books (as films) are
> doomed to remain insubstantial? Well...they
> illustrate some specific points about the limits
> genres place upon themselves - the need...to extend
> a narrative
> indefinitely will inevitably lead to a similar
> cycle.
...
> ...do people want to keep getting the same
> stuff over and over?
...
> Is
> this based on innate categorical thinking in
> humans? (Something I know Sanjeev is interested
> in...)

Well, you already know my answer. But I'll type it anyway...

You wanna talk about cycles...shee-it. Think about the minimalism thread--all it is is a reaction to a particular manifestation (hoarding) of a horribly destructive tool for oppression (materialism/consumerism). Do people wanna hoard? Well, yes...just ask 'em. Do they really wanna hoard? Well, no...they're taught that consumption will somehow make up for lost human closeness and acceptance--resources in shorter and shorter supply as the various facets of oppression get tighter around our necks.

So are big, bad corporations to blame for oppression? Well, yes...they're responsible for feeding the masses garbage, and only promoting media that preach their philosophy of consumption. Are they really to blame for oppression? Well, no...they're human beings--duped like the rest of us.

It's ALL cyclical.

Bringing it back to comics (and movies thereof), these characters/storylines that repeat themselves over and over are little different from the repeating pattern of hoarding many people are victim to. [[i]Of course[/i], this goes for ALL of us--I'm just using hoarding as an example here, but we ALL go suffer from a variety of repetitive patterns of irrational behavior brought on a variety of unresolved past trauma]. People are addicted to hearing many of the same storylines over and over...seeing the same archetypes triumph over and over. Look at the absurd popularity of anti-heroes in the past 20 years. Why does everyone love Wolverine? Because he's the perpetually isolated, hurt man...who selfishly lashes out at anything that gets too close...yadda, yadda, yadda. Classic sexism. But sells. People wanna see it. People (well...men) fantasize about being Wolverine. Why? Because that's the struggle frozen--regressively repeating into infinity--in people's minds. It'll only end when society heals this problem (sexism) and moves on. Well...it can also end if sexism mutates to take on a different form: we'll likely see the Wolverines in media replaced with something else...just as frozen.


Gcrush Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> First, the fact that we need to have some kind of
> source-to-adaptation relationship (or
> parent-to-child) in these stories seems important.
> Why is that? Is it an economic limitation, like
> marketing? Or is it an artistic one, like people
> can't (or don't want to) come up with source-less
> adaptations?

Well, I don't think the audience has to have a relationship with the parent material...but it's what marketers are banking on. I've never read a Walking Dead comic, but I dig the new show. I've been critical of it when compared to other AMC shows (speaking to your second point). Knowledge of the source isn't necessary, but the point of *adapting* something (rather than just making an all-new show about zombies) is to exploit a pre-existing fanbase. Marketing. [Alternatively, it could be for artistic reasons: an AMC exec could have just personally LOVED the comic so much, s/he pursued getting the show made. Hey, some jerk could make an unlicensed toy *adaptation* of a Grendizer villain out of pure love, y'know...]

People obviously CAN come up with source-less art...but because it has a smaller sales potential than an adaptation, good fucking luck getting a studio budget. Ain't capitalism grand?

> Second, maybe we really are doing some kind of
> apples-to-biscuits thing in the comparison. Like,
> maybe we should be comparing works only within
> their (sub)genres. So, is Iron Man a sucky
> superhero comic book compared to other comics? Is
> the film comparable in quality to other superhero
> films? Maybe we've been to hard on them but not
> limiting the comparisons.

Both types of comparisons are valid and important. Are the Iron Man movies as good as the comics (whatever that means)? Are the characters as well portrayed as those in the comics? Are the stories just as entertaining?

And on the other hand, are the Iron Man movies as good as the other Marvel-produced movies? Other comic movies in general? Other action flicks/sfx vehicles?


...



gingaio Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Is this your way of reminding me about Boston-LA
> '08?

This year's looking pretty good. Interested in going double or nothing on Captain Marvel??? ;)

--
Sanjeev

'Us Massholes straight up just don't give a fuck. I still pronounce "Mazinger" as "Tranzor Z".'
-Nekrodave



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 12/26/2010 03:09AM by Sanjeev.
The US comic book industry used to have much greater variety until the Seduction of the Innocent book came out and scared the crap out of already paranoid 1950s America. This brought about the Comics Code, which effectively destroyed all comics that weren't tame superhero books. Things have slowly gotten better, but there's a lot of comics that are not superheroes and some of them have been made into movies. Ghost World, American Splendor, even Scott Pilgrim.

-Ginrai
Golden Gate Riot on dead trees at: [www.destroyallcomics.com]
I'm sorry...despite all the valid points made in this thread...but because I was weaned on the Uncanny X-Men...seeing Banshee fly did give me a boner. I'm looking forward to this flick.

[www.youtube.com]



Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 05/19/2011 12:00AM by gingaio.
You know, this just ain't the same.

[www.youtube.com]
Sanjeev (Admin)
Umm...what the fuck happened to his accent!?

FAIL.
Seriously? Well, if we're going comic accurate, Magento and Xavier aren't supposed to have English accents, Banshee's supposed to look like the Lucky Charms mascot, Mystique ain't supposed to be this young, Alex isn't supposed to be this old, ditto for Riptide, who's the black guy (?), and etc., etc.
Erik Sjoen (Admin)
Sanjeev Wrote:
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> Umm...what the fuck happened to his accent!?
>
> FAIL.


Whatever... Stop hating so hard. You're becoming a bigger curmudgeon than me, and we just can't have that can we?

Like I've told my wife many times, you have to go into the experience watching a super hero movie like you're reading a comic. It takes imagination. As for accuracy and continuity, BAH! Whatever....

And BTW, gin, who EVER thought they would bring Banshee back? I never liked him as a kid, but now I see how sweet his power is, I'm all about it. Can't wait for this.

And one more side note I just realized after watching Band Of Brothers for the 3rd time? that Xavier (James McAvoy) dies in ep 4.. That was 10 years ago? Wow.
Erik Sjoen Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Like I've told my wife many times, you have to go
> into the experience watching a super hero movie
> like you're reading a comic. It takes imagination.
> As for accuracy and continuity, BAH! Whatever....
>
Exactly.
>
> And BTW, gin, who EVER thought they would bring
> Banshee back? I never liked him as a kid, but now
> I see how sweet his power is, I'm all about it.
> Can't wait for this.
>
That was the cool thing about seeing him like this. He was by far the goofiest looking of the X-Men in the comics. And now he's soaring across the ocean, power-diving into it, and taking on a nuclear (?) sub? Yes. More, please.

> And one more side note I just realized after
> watching Band Of Brothers for the 3rd time? that
> Xavier (James McAvoy) dies in ep 4.. That was 10
> years ago? Wow.

Besides Atonement, I still remember him as the guy from Children of Dune, and that was nearly 10 years ago. He doesn't seem to age much, this one.
Sanjeev (Admin)
Erik, my curmudgeon cannot be underestimated.

I have no hope for this movie being good. It's not being made by Marvel Studios (like the Iron Men, Incredible Hulk, Thor, Capt. America...), is it? The Marvel ones I have faith in. These other ones...not so much.

But anyway, the single most outstanding characteristic of Banshee wasn't his powers--it was his classic Irish brogue! Taking that away stinks. I agree Prof X's and Magneto's accents are bullshit, too...but this is just criminal.
But....you were *reading* the brogue, so why the fuck does it matter?

---------------------------------
[pgaijin.blogspot.com]
I hope the film includes the love-triangle subplot between Banshee, Whiskey, and Potatoes.
Sanjeev (Admin)
I remember Banshee the most from the 90's cartoon, actually. In fact, I *hardly* remember him even being in the fucking comics! So, as such, you can imagine that the accent is kinda his sole defining factor!


Gcrush Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> I hope the film includes the love-triangle subplot
> between Banshee, Whiskey, and Potatoes.

YES.
Sanjeev Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> I have no hope for this movie being good. It's not
> being made by Marvel Studios (like the Iron Men,
> Incredible Hulk, Thor, Capt. America...), is it?
> The Marvel ones I have faith in. These other
> ones...not so much.
>
Yeah, because studios write, direct, and act in films. Seriously, Reverend?

I am so going to feel like an ass when I find out you're being sarcastic.

> But anyway, the single most outstanding
> characteristic of Banshee wasn't his powers--it
> was his classic Irish brogue!

I thought it was his ability to scream like an angry girl (per the cartoon):
[www.youtube.com]

Mr. Crush wrote:
>I hope the film includes the love-triangle subplot between Banshee, Whiskey,
>and Potatoes.

Screw that. I hope the film shows Whiskey and Potatoes pimp-smacking a wallaby...with a bottle of Guinness.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 05/19/2011 07:26PM by gingaio.
Oh I love Whiskey...I remember him from the comics...He has the coolest mutant power...I just hope they leave his accent the same for the movie...
Sanjeev (Admin)
Heh...I was actually being serious (well...as serious as anyone can take their own opinions on comic book movies!).

Marvel Studios: Iron Man 1 + 2, Incredible Hulk (Ed Norton), Thor, and soon Captain America. All very entertaining and worth multiple viewings (I have high hopes for Capt).

NON-Marvel Studios: Spider-Man 1-3, Daredevil, Ghost Rider, Fantastic Four 1 + 2, Not-so-incredible Hulk (Eric Bana), X-Men 1-3, Wolverine Origin, and soon X-Men First Class. All fucking miserable except X-Men 1 and 2. When I am genuinely upset that a movie has stolen two hours of my life that I could have spent doing any number of vastly more interesting things...you gotcher self a cranky clergyman.

So...just going by trends, why would I bank on First Class being good?

Another example: the new Conan movie. I fucking LOVE Conan the motherfucking Barbarian. But I also love Clash of the Titans...and look at the steaming pile Hollywood served us as a "remake". Ergo, ZERO faith in the Conan remake. It's all about statistical trends, my child.

[And by the way, I *loved* that clip of Banshee from the cartoon...shrieking like a little girl! Fucking CLASSIC!]
Wolverine Origins was pretty good up until that disaster of an ending with Deadpool. I have high hopes for Cap, as well....he's my favorite. Conan...gotta say...the trailer looked REALLY good....plus that dude from Stargate ACTUALLY looks like Conan, as opposed to Arnie.

---------------------------------
[pgaijin.blogspot.com]
Sanjeev (Admin)
Oh shit! I just realized it was that dude from Stargate Atlantis! Heh...good eye...I *do* agree that he looks way more like Howard's Conan than Arnie. BUT trailers ALWAYS look really good...

I should give the Wolverine movie another shot--I recall it being about as *meh* as Daredevil...but most folks say it was more solid than that.

But anyway, I think my point still stands. I'm just playing the odds, fellas!
Though I'm also looking forward to the Marvel Studios produced "Captain America" and "Avengers" there's something to be said for a studio that would give the director some free reign to do a super hero movie of worth. I thought Raimi's "Spiderman 2" was superb and Bryan Singer definitely put his stamp on the first two X films. Ang Lee's "Hulk" might be a failure, but at least it was an artistic/interesting failure I thought. But the best example would be Nolan's "Dark Knight". With Marvel's tight reigns, I doubt any Marvel movie will be beyond just "solid" and approach the transcendency that you saw with "TDK" or even (for it's time), Richard Donner's "Superman".
Sanjeev Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Marvel Studios: Iron Man 1 + 2, Incredible Hulk
> (Ed Norton), Thor, and soon Captain America. All
> very entertaining and worth multiple viewings (I
> have high hopes for Capt).
>
> NON-Marvel Studios: Spider-Man 1-3, Daredevil,
> Ghost Rider, Fantastic Four 1 + 2,
> Not-so-incredible Hulk (Eric Bana), X-Men 1-3,
> Wolverine Origin, and soon X-Men First Class. All
> fucking miserable except X-Men 1 and 2. When I am
> genuinely upset that a movie has stolen two hours
> of my life that I could have spent doing any
> number of vastly more interesting things...you
> gotcher self a cranky clergyman.
>
Huh. My two favorites superhero flicks are actually from the NON list, and I thought IM2 and Norton's Hulk were a waste of four hours of my life, so I guess that's why we differ and why the world is ending tomorrow.

Anyway, it's people that craft movies, not studios, and if it is a studio, or studio execs, doing the crafting, then it's probably a mistake (see Harvey's post).
Sanjeev (Admin)
Hey, I'm open to other opinions--that's all good.

But you're absolutely right: people, not studios or other commercial entities, make movies. My understanding was that the Marvel Studios movies were written and produced under direct control by Marvel...while the NON movies were basically just Marvel licensing out their IP to established Hollywood creative teams.
mcfitch (Admin)
"My understanding was that the Marvel Studios movies were written and produced under direct control by Marvel...while the NON movies were basically just Marvel licensing out their IP to established Hollywood creative teams."

Correct.
-Mason

------------------------------------------------------------------------
Matthewalt "I actually kinda LIKE that approach! You know: let's make a TOY. Remember those? Products designed to be played with without breaking? DO YOU REMEMBER, LOVE?!"
Sanjeev (Admin)
I finally saw X-Men: First Class last weekend with my girlfriend and we both really enjoyed it. Definitely the best of the X-Men movies in my opinion. The "Magneto as Nazi hunter" thing was really cool and I loved the ridiculous '60s vibe and the Cuban missile crisis deal. Really fun. Oh yeah, and the Wolverine cameo was AMAZING.

-Ginrai
Golden Gate Riot on dead trees at: [www.destroyallcomics.com]
There was some awesomely bad dialogue:
- "A very groooovy mutation."
- "Go fuck yourselves."
...and some just plain terrible dialogue:
- Shaw's rant about how his power keeps him young.
- "Erik, they're just following orders!"; that one's the worst, hasn't Xavier seen Judgment at Nuremberg?

But my one MAJOR complaint is that Sebastian Shaw's sideburns weren't long enough.

Is Emma Frost's tertiary mutation the ability to draw a perfect circle freehand? (in glass, with her finger)

Shaw's effects were great, as were his costuming and interior design, most of all his study on the submarine. Did you notice we can see his aged face while he absorbs energy from the reactor? If they'd played that up more, he wouldn't have to TELL us that absorbing energy makes him young.

Emma's effects, however, disappointed me. What, did a jeweler cut her into shape? I would've been quite amused if she turned into a "natural" diamond form, then Shaw told her to make herself presentable and she morphed into her faceted form.
Speaking of diamond confusion, how do you choke someone who's made out of diamond with a hollow brass bedpost? She's MADE OUT OF DIAMOND.

Jones was pretty bad in the movie, but she didn't disappoint me as much as Lawrence, who was just unrecognizably terrible.

Azazel looked RIDICULOUS (as did Lawrence in her Mystique makeup, and Hoult in his Beast makeup), but I like how he fights. It reminded me of a video game character (in the best way), like Vamp from Metal Gear, or something out of a side-scrolling fighting game.

-Paul Segal

"Oh, the anger is never far, never far." -SteveH
Sanjeev (Admin)
I dunno...I think I'ma skip First Class. I hear from all accounts that it's an enjoyable movie...but it just diverges SO MUCH from *X-Men* that I'd rather just go back and read some Chris Claremont.

I'll bittorrent it eventually...much like Green Lantern (maybe). Marvel Studios or bust.
Sanjeev Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> I dunno...I think I'ma skip First Class. I hear
> from all accounts that it's an enjoyable
> movie...but it just diverges SO MUCH from *X-Men*
> that I'd rather just go back and read some Chris
> Claremont.

Paul pretty much nailed the low points. The Baconnaise, wooden acting, makeup, and cast-composition were largely disappointing.

Things that bugged me that Paul didn't(?) cover:

1) Mystique is not "gross" enough for everyone to act the way they do, and the original costume design hasn't aged well.

2) Beast's chimp-feet make him super-fast? Has anyone seen how "graceful" a bipedal chimp looks?

3) Beast's transformation ='s furry-lameness.

4) Fireball-spitting stripper with dragonfly wings ='s character fail.

5) Banshee flies more than he glides.

6) Training montages, even with mutants, still gargle balls.

Despite the above, I thought it was the best X-film so far - but mostly because the premise was solid. 1960's period piece action flick filled with Nazi hunting weirdos hunting Nazi weirdos. Working in the Cuban Missile Crisis was a great bit. And the latent erotic tension between Magneeto and Professor X was played exactly as it should have been.

If you're a comic purist, the inevitable falling out at the end was baffling. Professor X and Magneeto hang out for a few days and then become best-frenemies-for-life? Huh? They needed to shoehorn in at least one more installment before getting around to that.

But, sticking with the comics, it always bugged me that in a world filled with such amazing techno-magic Professor X has his ass permanently parked in a wheelchair. All those healing powers, cybernetic prostheses, and wizards surrounding him and no one bothers to, you know, try to get him off of disability?

Then again, knowing comic books, I'm sure they've found ways to give-and-take Professor X's legs over time.
Gcrush Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> If you're a comic purist, the inevitable falling
> out at the end was baffling. Professor X and
> Magneeto hang out for a few days and then become
> best-frenemies-for-life? Huh? They needed to
> shoehorn in at least one more installment before
> getting around to that.
>
Really enjoyed the flick, but this was my one main gripe and I had the same response, that they needed at least one or two more movies before having the falling out. Done in this slapdash manner, it lacks whatever dramatic power it could have had, especially with Xavier/Magneto and their scenes being the best part of the movie.
Gcrush Wrote:
>
> Mystique is not "gross" enough for everyone to
> act the way they do, and the original costume
> design hasn't aged well.

I think it only seems that way because she's blue. Imagine that same skin texture, with any normal human skin tone. She would look like she had some utterly horrific disease.

I agree that the Xavier-Magneto breakup was abrupt, but if they manage to do a sequel, I wouldn't be surprised if it brought them back together in the face of another crisis, and had Magneto grudgingly cooperating while Xavier strives to mend their friendship. After all, they seem to be stretching to keep First Class in continuity with the other movies, and a friend pointed out to me that one of the previous films had a flashback to Xavier and Magneto recruiting a young Jean Grey together.

In the end, I think I'm just glad they managed to build a new X-Men universe that's fairly distinctive and much more interesting than the tepid, formulaic conflicts of the previous movies. I do hope they get a chance to continue it.

-Paul Segal

"Oh, the anger is never far, never far." -SteveH
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