Wednesday, February 04, 2009

8 (Pointless) Laws All Comic Book Movies Follow

So true and fun to read.

A sample:
For some unknown reason, tradition states that the first movie must consist largely of something no one in the audience paid to see: The superhero as he lived before he could do any cool superhero stuff.

Other genres don't feel the need to do this; Die Hard didn't spend the first half of the movie with John McClane taking target practice, Rambo didn't spend an hour showing Rambo in basic training. Why can't we just jump in?

Instead we have to watch Peter Parker struggling as a photographer, and Bruce Banner quietly working as a scientist, as if we must first appreciate the tedium of their regular lives before we get to see them jump off an exploding building.

And to double the problem, they usually throw in an origin story for one or more of the villains, too. Behold! Here is the awesome badass supervillain, back when he was just a disgruntled dude in a lab coat!


Sir Saunders said...

No offense to my pal Tom, but the gentleman who wrote this nonsense doesn't know the first thing about Comicbook movies. The entire point and the most interesting one is the psychological back story of the hero/villian in the first place. There would be NO Spiderman if he hadn't been selfish first, entered that wrestling contest, then let a criminal by him because "it's not my problem" only to have that very criminal kill Uncle Ben, thus providing him with the psychological motivation of "With great power comes great responsibility" and thus the "hero" we know and love as your friendly neightborhood spiderman is born. Without the motivation, it's just a special effect movie without anything of interest in the least. In fact, this is precisely why none of the Hulk movies have worked because they've "Updated" the origin story and have eliminated the repressed anger and abusive childhood of Bruce that caused the Hulk manifestation in the first place, plus his "accident" was pushing Rick Jones, a stupid teen out of the way as a "Gamma Bomb" went off. Gee...Don't ya'll know nothing about comics?

E said...

Good article but in principle I must agree with Sir. This morning my wife asked me a bunch of questions about the origins of Batman, whether he has superhuman powers, whether he can fly, whether he's a good guy or bad guy, who knows his identity, what that means to his relationship with Commissioner Gordon... how Batman became Batman is what makes the character compelling. The first half of Batman Returns, which treats the formation of the complex Batman character (with license), was the best hour of the last ten superhero movies I have seen. It's when the movie goes BAM! POW! BONKO! that I lose interest.

Same idea applies to Bond -- Casino Royale restarted the franchise by adding a backstory that made Bond more complex and the movie less silly.

Tom said...

The first entry is probably unfair, especially for the movies that pull off origin so well. The original Superman for instance or X-Men did a great job. I think the more we already know the superhero the more we enjoy the origin. I think that is why the resets work. On the otherhand, on a character that I hardly know I would rather start with action and reveal background slowly like in the case of Jason Bourne.

The guy did nail some of the other pattersn like:

-In Part 2, the Hero Must Reveal His Identity to Someone

-Part 3 Must Feature an Evil Version of the Hero

-The Hero Must Lose His Powers at Some Point

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