Do superhero movies really suck?

Posted by Sanjeev 
Do superhero movies really suck?

Yes.

--------------------------
I want YOU for MoƩ Sucks Army
[Never mind...simply baffled.]



Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 10/14/2011 06:13PM by gingaio.
Gcrush Wrote:
>
> It speaks to the
> critical successes of the series that it can be
> simultaneously racist and misogynistic with so
> little effort.

I recently watched Clint Eastwood's early directorial effort, "The Eiger Sanction" - an attempt to merge Bondian assassination intrigue with the excitement of mountain climbing. It was offensive to blacks, Native Americans, albinos, women, homosexuals, art students, mountain climbers, and assassins.

Did you ever read that classic Wolverine story where a Japanese villain forces Wolverine to fight a group of powered suits, which are piloted by his henchmen, except one, which is remote controlled and contains the captive Mariko? In the end, true love wins the day, because Wolverine can recognize her breathing and knows not to harm her. Man, Marvel sure did love making Logan's girlie a toy in the hands of powerful men.

To get back on the thread's original topic, how do y'all think James Mangold is going to do with "The Wolverine"? I'm still disappointed Darren Aronofsky isn't directing. Mangold is a fine director, but he may not exercise the close control Aronofsky would have, and the writing staff is not promising, as it consists of one writer of highbrow trash and one writer of utterly lowbrow trash.

-Paul Segal

"Oh, the anger is never far, never far." -SteveH
Gcrush Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> I've only seen the movie. I don't think it worked
> well because it starts out with a critique of
> superheroes and ends by gloriously giving in to
> the same tropes. "Remember: vigilanteism is
> dangerous lunacy and always use your
> Gatling-gun-jet-pack in a responsible manner."
>
As a satire, the comic was much more effective because....it was actually one.

Here are some key differences:

Kick-Ass comic
1) Big-Daddy is revealed to be a comic-book nerd/accountant who had kidnapped his daughter from his ex-wife and made up the ex-cop story to brainwash her into being a superhero. He turns out to be a complete creep.

2) After Kick-Ass reveals to Katie that he pretended to be gay to hang out with her, she had her boyfriend kick his ass and then sent him a photo of her giving her boyfriend a blowjob. At the end of the series, Kick-Ass confesses to simultaneously crying over and spanking off to that pic.

3) Hit-Girl in the comic is shown repeatedly splattered with blood with her face frozen in a psychotically serene expression; in fact, in the final charge against the mobster, she actually snorts a vial of coke (Big-Daddy had told her it was a superhero serum) in order to get a little extra energy. She kills the mobster by driving a cleaver through the middle of his skull.

4) Kick-Ass, in the comic, does not get the opportunity to save Hit-Girl or carry her away on a jetpack. His last words involve his belief in having made a change to his world, but the accompanying images are of that crazy Armenian guy who (at the beginning of the movie) throws himself off a skyscraper.


Millar is trying to confound the fanboy by providing superheroes that are really, really pathetic and/or psychotic. This directs criticism back at the genre in a way that the film, because it dutifully follows every superhero trope available, doesn't.

Does this mean I prefer the comic? Not at all. Millar's worldview is juvenile and limited, with Vaughn's version of the characters being much more appealing and rich. However, for Vaughn to claim that his film debunks superhero conventions is pretty ridiculous. The movie does do that for the first third (up to Kick-Ass getting stabbed and run over by a car), but that's because it was following Millar's blueprint up to that point. The stuff that comes after is a deviation.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 10/14/2011 07:26PM by gingaio.
gingaio Wrote:
>
> Millar is trying to confound the fanboy by
> providing superheroes that are really, really
> pathetic and/or psychotic. This directs criticism
> back at the genre in a way that the film, because
> it dutifully follows every superhero trope
> available, doesn't.
>
> Does this mean I prefer the comic? Not at all.
> Millar's worldview is juvenile and limited, with
> Vaughn's version of the characters being much more
> appealing and rich.

I have a hard time accepting Kick-Ass as genuinely satirical, because Millar seems to think that his vision of heroes is actually really fun and awesome. It's possible that his whole career is a put-on, but he's constantly introducing little glimmers of self-awareness in his work, then constantly disregarding any sense of insight in interviews or public statements, in favor of emphasizing how he just wants to write ass-kickin' action stories.

About Kick-Ass, he constantly mentions how much he identifies with the lead character, and how much the character's circumstances and feelings resemble his own as a teenager. He states that when Big Daddy and Hit Girl were originally supposed to be the leads, it was supposed to be a series capturing the appeal of the hero whose values are fundamentally politically conservative, like the typical John Wayne or Charles Bronson character.

He also thinks his run on The Authority was "the harshest thing he's ever written". His Authority storylines came across to me as completely wacky silliness - they include a team parodying the Avengers, who murder babies for the American government, and an alternate dimension where every Wildstorm character is the opposite gender. It's entertaining, but I can't imagine how he can even take it seriously in retrospect. I don't know if Millar is really just jerking us around and denying the public any revelation of his deeper intentions, but I've never heard anything from him that indicates an awareness of his work as satirical.

-Paul Segal

"Oh, the anger is never far, never far." -SteveH
asterphage Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> gingaio Wrote:
> >
> > Millar is trying to confound the fanboy by
> > providing superheroes that are really, really
> > pathetic and/or psychotic. This directs
> criticism
> > back at the genre in a way that the film,
> because
> > it dutifully follows every superhero trope
> > available, doesn't.
> >
> > Does this mean I prefer the comic? Not at all.
> > Millar's worldview is juvenile and limited,
> with
> > Vaughn's version of the characters being much
> more
> > appealing and rich.
>
> I have a hard time accepting Kick-Ass as genuinely
> satirical, because Millar seems to think that his
> vision of heroes is actually really fun and
> awesome. It's possible that his whole career is a
> put-on, but he's constantly introducing little
> glimmers of self-awareness in his work, then
> constantly disregarding any sense of insight in
> interviews or public statements, in favor of
> emphasizing how he just wants to write ass-kickin'
> action stories.
>
I agree to an extent, and that's why, as someone analyzing the text, I have to differentiate between the actual author and the implied author (implied through the sensibility and presentation of the text).

The writer of a book is generally the last person you'd want to consider as the ultimate authority on the meaning of the book, just because there are so many conflicting desires within that person (to come off as intelligent and profound vs. admitting to having failed in some artistic way).

But certainly, I do keep comments he's made in the back of my mind, and they are contradictory to the notion of Kick-Ass as satire.

> About Kick-Ass, he constantly mentions how much he
> identifies with the lead character, and how much
> the character's circumstances and feelings
> resemble his own as a teenager. He states that
> when Big Daddy and Hit Girl were originally
> supposed to be the leads, it was supposed to be a
> series capturing the appeal of the hero whose
> values are fundamentally politically conservative,
> like the typical John Wayne or Charles Bronson
> character.
>

But I think when Big-Daddy is revealed to be a fraud, it deflates that particular conservative archetype, and there's enough of a disjunction (between the fact that Hit-Girl is a girl and the fact that she's also presented as this psychotic, coked-up, Carrie-blood-splattered creature) to suggest a more generous reading of this thing as, at the very least, ironic.

But yeah, I can see how contextual information (i.e., Millar's words) would lead one to a less generous interpretation.

It's just that at the end, Kick-Ass is shown to be as marginalized as he was in the beginning, and Hit-Girl's escape from the superhero life is one that involves liberation (from both violence and the lies of her father). Such an ending does suggest at the least a satirical bent, even if Millar himself isn't keen on that take. So here, the authorial perspective (as implied by the text itself) seems to contradict Millar, the actual author.
gingaio Wrote:
>
> I agree to an extent, and that's why, as someone
> analyzing the text, I have to differentiate
> between the actual author and the implied author
> (implied through the sensibility and presentation
> of the text).
>
> The writer of a book is generally the last person
> you'd want to consider as the ultimate authority
> on the meaning of the book, just because there are
> so many conflicting desires within that person (to
> come off as intelligent and profound vs. admitting
> to having failed in some artistic way).

I do agree with this in general. I think that in particular an awful lot of writers of popular fiction are largely unaware of most of the factors contributing to what they write. But I have a hard time believing in an accidental satire. We basically had this discussion in the Transformers thread, though - and I have an easier time believing that Michael Bay is thoroughly self-aware and winking at his more thoughtful fans than I do believing the same about Mark Millar.

-Paul Segal

"Oh, the anger is never far, never far." -SteveH
This actually points to divisions in literary analysis--e.g., New Criticism (close reading of the text only, excluding considerations of author and context) vs. Historicism (considering cultural/historical context).

I think you're coming from the position of giving a lot of weight to Millar's intent (i.e., the author didn't intend for satire, so there's no way this can be satirical), and I would say that it's hard to know what his true intent is based on the fact that he says a lot of different things about his own work.

My opinion would be based on finding consistent evidence from whatever I can marshal from the text, and balancing that with contextual evidence to see what the most reasonable conclusions are.

With TF3, and I concede that I'm in disagreement with a lot of you, I didn't see enough evidence within the text itself to even consider the satire angle.
I find New Criticism overly idealistic - it avoids the pitfall of making assumptions about the author's own beliefs based on their historical or cultural context, but I don't think you can come to a comprehensive understanding of anything without considering the author's background, their audience, the author's awareness of the assumptions their audience would have held and how the audience was meant to interact with the work... I would agree with you about the necessity of balancing the approaches. One can come to a valuable conclusion from analysis of the text in isolation, but I don't think that conclusion can ever supersede a broader view which appropriately takes that conclusion into account.

With regards to satire, I feel that part of the nature of satire is that it is intentional and directed. I could accept the idea of an unintentional satire, but I require some further qualification to distinguish it from the method or style of writing that I know as satire. The thing you describe with regard to Millar, and others describe with regard to Transformers, is to satire as camp is to farce. I can see it as something parallel to satire, but not equal to it.

-Paul Segal

"Oh, the anger is never far, never far." -SteveH
mcfitch (Admin)
Seriously guys...Cool Whip makes me shit liquid hell which is sometimes green.
-Mason

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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?!"
josh fraser (Moderator)
Oh Corey,
You sir are mistaking otaku diatribe with intelligence. I stay away from the site when I am in the midst of my existential crisis for just this reason. You are one of the sharpest knives in the drawer. Intelligence is not just wanking for pages about mundane shit. That's just being a well spoken nerd.

Beleive me , I get waaay more out of seeing your art than anything discussed here. Don't take it too seriously. None of us should ;)



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 10/15/2011 10:40PM by josh fraser.
Sanjeev (Admin)
mcfitch Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Seriously guys...Cool Whip makes me shit liquid
> hell which is sometimes green.

Ah, but Cool Whip Lite is dope for sex games! Shit...or is it Sugar Free??? Whichever one's less sticky...

Anyway, carry on.
Dude, Cool Whip sex games? That sounds like the fast track to a yeast infection.
mcfitch (Admin)
Or a good way to lure in fat chicks?
-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?!"
josh fraser Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Oh Corey,
> You sir are mistaking otaku diatribe with
> intelligence....Intelligence is not just wanking for
> pages about mundane shit. That's just being a well
> spoken nerd.
>
[www.historians.org]

Not trying to derail the derailment of this thread, and I know your primary motive is to stick up for your friend, which I totally respect (though honestly, he wasn't exactly a victim or the one being picked on here)...but maybe we should stick to slagging fields and people we each know something about? This way, I won't make some weird proclamation about how the visual arts don't involve thought or talent, or that it's really just mid-aged ex-punk rockers and beret wearers engaged in debauched bouts of finger painting.



Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 10/16/2011 12:29AM by gingaio.
josh fraser (Moderator)
gingaio Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> josh fraser Wrote:
> --------------------------------------------------
> -----
> > Oh Corey,
> > You sir are mistaking otaku diatribe with
> > intelligence....Intelligence is not just wanking
> for
> > pages about mundane shit. That's just being a
> well
> > spoken nerd.
> >
> [www.historians.org]
> /1002/1002art1.cfm
>
> Not trying to derail the derailment of this
> thread, and I know your primary motive is to stick
> up for your friend, which I totally respect
> (though honestly, he wasn't exactly a victim or
> the one being picked on here)...but maybe we
> should stick to slagging fields and people we each
> know something about? This way, I won't make some
> weird proclamation about how the visual arts don't
> involve thought or talent, or that it's really
> just mid-aged ex-punk rockers and beret wearers
> engaged in debauched bouts of finger painting.


So in turn you are instructing me with links about the virtues of writing? ;)

I appreciate the sentiment, and understand the topical comparison to art... and agree that no blanket statements about one's chosen focus of expression need be judged unfairly. For that I do apologize. However at the same time, I am not a student in your class, and do not need help understanding the worth of the written word. I am pointing out to Corey he needn't feel inferior because he chooses to put his focus elsewhere. It is your choice to read further in a statement that was not written about anyone in particular, but rather to (I thought humorously) show my feelings about the trappings of assuming the complexity and dissection of any topic of this genre to be more worthy of focus, than say a well crafted photo of his. My concern is a friend's well being who has been here a very long time, not the transitory feelings an off topic thread on a toy site. I think we are all open minded enough and old enough to weather the bruised egos and not take it personally or too seriously.
Anyway, I apologize to add to the derailment of the derailment.
The suggestion was never that you were my student (I'm not that pompous...yet), though in my own defense, I would add there wasn't a lot of reading-into needed as regards your earlier post.

> My concern is a friend's well being who has
> been here a very long time, not the transitory
> feelings an off topic thread on a toy site.

I think you'd be surprised to know of the people who aren't his friends who've also expressed concern to and for him, despite the bruises our egos have suffered the last couple of days. Some of us wankster otakus do actually have perspective. :)



Edited 4 time(s). Last edit at 10/16/2011 01:42AM by gingaio.
josh fraser (Moderator)
Speaking of which everyone shut up and wish Alen a HAPPY BIRTHDAY ;-)



[toyboxdx.com]
I enjoyed Kick-Ass quite a bit. I never felt the need to seek out the comic until reading the discussion here, so I'm gonna check that out. Don't read much comics usually (next up are Habibi and Seth's GNB for me, so that shows my comics taste).

As for whether unintentional satire is possible, I thought "Springtime for Hitler" pretty much cleared that up.
josh fraser (Moderator)
gingaio Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> The suggestion was never that you were my student
> (I'm not that pompous...yet), though in my own
> defense, I would add there wasn't a lot of
> reading-into needed as regards your earlier post.
>
> > My concern is a friend's well being who has
> > been here a very long time, not the transitory
> > feelings an off topic thread on a toy site.
>
> I think you'd be surprised to know of the people
> who aren't his friends who've also expressed
> concern to and for him, despite the bruises our
> egos have suffered the last couple of days. Some
> of us wankster otakus do actually have
> perspective. :)

Not surprised. I know there are good people here despite my somewhat transparently snarkey comments. Plus, I never said I wasn't a wanking Otaku myself. I find the first step to self help is acceptance ;)
cae
So I obviously had a bad day or two last week.

There is no excuse and I am embarrassed.

I can't even really explain it because, frankly, I'm still not totally sure what set me off. A lot of personal stresses and perceived failures are likely the root cause but pinpointing the one ... maybe you don't need just one?

But whatever. Like you don't have them, too?

My point is is that you were trying to have a conversation and I came in and vomited all over it based upon a sense of frustration that (1) I couldn't even think clearly enough to express myself and (2) that I didn't belong or want to be in the conversation in the first place, I was just trying to distract myself from an exponentially expanding sense of loss and self-loathing.

Yeah. That worked.

You all deserve a huge apology, particularly Gingaio and Gcrush, both of whom were very patient and polite and are really bang up guys. I am very, very sorry.

Never eat a bag of dicks - unhealthy.

---------------------------------
hassenpfeffer
There was a great bit in the TV show "Louie" this past season regarding a bag of dicks... but I digress.

Oh, so I managed to sit through the entire Marvel Anime run of "Iron Man" and "Wolverine".... "Iron Man" ended up being okay. The Anime look and evil bad mech of the week really suits the property. But Wolverine... man, why did I watch that. That might be the most worthless thing I'ever seen. Basically everyone around him is dead and he's still the same douchebag a**hole as he started.
Oh, I forget to mention this before, but "wet burst of sour meat" is my favorite turn of phrase in months.

-Ginrai
Golden Gate Riot on dead trees at: [www.destroyallcomics.com]
[jchastain.tumblr.com]

secret previously unpublished details from the upcoming Avengers movie

-Paul Segal

"Oh, the anger is never far, never far." -SteveH
"Avengers" definitely did not suck... most fun I've had at the movies in a while. Whedon pulls through!
I've heard the same from all the members of my nerd-chain, as well as regular Joes I know who are unitiated into comic geekdom. Will have to starve myself for a day or so just to have room for a third bucket of corn...expecting to need it!
I will add my hearty two thumbs up for the "Avengers". It really is as good as people are saying it is. Are there nits to pick. Sure, but hell I can (and frequently do) complain about what amounts to nothing. Is it the best superhero movie to date...I'm going to go with "yes", but that has more to me being a fan of Marvel over DC. YMMV....
Avengers is one of the few movies I've gotten to in the last year, and was worth it. Good stuff.

I think it was more enjoyable for me due to the whole "team" thing. No one character was focused on too long, so there wasn't much need for doofy filler. Each character got to do their cliched thing, got to zing their zingy lines, and the camera zipped right away from them, and onto somebody else, then repeat. But everybody got their face time, in the yakkity yak, and the battles, so felt nicely rounded.
I thought this was one of those rare cases where the sum was greater than the parts; while I enjoyed the individual Marvel movies, I felt they were missing something....I think it was the presence of other heroes.

---------------------------------
[pgaijin.blogspot.com]
[www.comicvine.com]

Here's a pretty cool article about how Superheroes Just Don't Kill People that reads like it was written by a 13 year old. Who sez kids don't read comics anymore?!

-Paul Segal

"Oh, the anger is never far, never far." -SteveH
Having a small chuckle to myself over Warner Brothers getting excited about the prospect of aligning a series of movies to set up a Justice League movie akin to Avengers...oh my. Where do we see this going off the rails at the earliest?

Lets ressurect our Wonder Woman idea...not to mention that we've already had anyone who could have pulled it off attached previously, including WHEDON, but instead they're going to toss that back into the hands of the screenwriter for Reynold's GL? Really? Can I say DUH out loud without getting castigated?

Let's face it, you can't use Bale's Batman in a group movie either (beyond the fact that he's done with it anyway), too dark and somber, even for Bats...what works with Avengers is an underlying thread of humour which was blended quite cleverly by Whedon, as well as making the characters engaging as a group study.

Superman? I can't even take the new costume seriously, let along the prospect of the new movie even being sucessful. Sure, it's full of big named stars, but that's doesn't guarantee this won't be the DC universe version of Ishtar.

Reynold's GL likely wouldn't be brought back, in a sequel or in a JL movie (can't imagine that was even part of his contract as it was with the Marvel bunch).

Have a hard time imaginig a Flash movie all by himself, nor an Aquaman showcase (lest it be comedy). The hard fact is that Avengers works because of the soft qualities of the cast, especially the ability to harness the comedic underpinnings and go nuts with them. Justice League at its foundation has always been "corny", but the movies they are setting up take the characters too seriously, or in limited dimensionality, giving no hope that I can measure of a sucessful merger down the road with anything they have already done or is currently in the works.
Supersentai Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Have a hard time imaginig a Flash movie all by
> himself, nor an Aquaman showcase (lest it be
> comedy). The hard fact is that Avengers works
> because of the soft qualities of the cast,
> especially the ability to harness the comedic
> underpinnings and go nuts with them.

For me, it's not so much the comedy as it is that the Marvel characters are more dramatically interesting characters. If you go down the line with the Avengers, three of the big four (Cap, Hulk, Iron Man) either have powers that are tragic in nature (Iron Man's armor as a life-support device and Hulk being, well, Hulk) or exist in a state of loss (Cap). Even Thor, thinly sketched compared to the other three, has to suffer the loss of a brother (or so we're constantly reminded in the movie).

This is why out of the DC characters, the only two in the Justice Leauge that really resonate are Bats and Superman--they also have a tragic, defining element to their characters.

Anyway, I saw the video clip of this: [www.geeksofdoom.com]

From what little I saw, it felt like a really watered-down version of the graphic novel series.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 06/18/2012 02:51AM by gingaio.
Sanjeev (Admin)
DKR video got pulled. Sadness.

Not that I had high expectations of it, of course...

Anyway, I tend to agree that an Avengers-style JLU team-up movie franchise would likely blow. Warner Bros--Hollywood--would be at the helm...NOT DC.
Am sure everyone will share my enthusiasm in my most recent culinary achievement:

Chicken Shawarma! (As see in THE AVENGERS!!!)

[www.myrecipes.com]

The marinade by itself makes grilled chicken worth eating all over again, but the sauce is the boss in the end.

I would post pictures but we already ate it. Sorry.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 06/23/2012 11:28PM by Supersentai.
I had to eat major crow on Avengers - I assumed it would be brushed with fail and dusted with lameness. My only hope was that the folks I threw that down on would be honest enough to admit it after they'd seen it. Turns out I was wrong. So, in that spirit, I'm calling it again: I think Spiderman will be great fun.
Spiderman backstory with parents worries me a lot. Kind of feels like an Episode One throw-up all over the origin.

The Liz makes a nice side-story villain, but the whole "I can't hurt the doc" boundary in thier (their) antagonistic dynamic likewise gives me pause as far as filling an entire movie.

I like the look, the "snark" Spidey shows in the previews, but would bet a small stack of coins the new interpretation will infurate "purists" and fanboys alike.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 06/25/2012 11:20PM by Supersentai.
Sanjeev (Admin)
I was never the biggest Spidey fan, so I really have no clue how "authentic" this whole bit with his parents is. Plus, I'm spoiled by Marvel Studios; this is Hollywood, so my expectations are virtually nonexistent.

That said, *the snark alone* is enough to make me want to see this...at least someday (unlike the sequels to the Maguire ones). The mopey wuss Maguire played is NOT the Spider-Man I know.
I grew into Maguire, especially the second movie. But, he really didn't match up with the "fun" Spideys I grew up with either.

Just remember anytime you feel Marvel is giving you too much good stuff...there's still Iron Man II...sure, nobody is going to even notice us swapping out Howard's Rhodie with Cheadle...just like Twins (the movie that is). Plot? Nahhh!
Sanjeev (Admin)
Didn't like IM2? I thought it was pretty fun...not much of a plot, sure, but the characters were definitely enough (for me) to carry it. Thought it was better than Cap. :P
Did nobody see no new Spideyman yet? If so, dish!
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