28.6.11

NO MORE HEROES, ANYMORE...

As a self-confessed comic book nerd I have to say -

ENOUGH WITH THE COMIC-BOOK FILMS!!


Batman Begins, Blade, Superman Returns, Batman Returns, Spiderman, Blade 2, X-Men, The Hulk, Spiderman 2, The Incredible Hulk, X2, The Green Hornet, Daredevil, Road To Perdition, The Spirit, The Shadow, 300, Darkman, Batman Forever, Batman & Robin, Superman II, Elektra, The Fantastic Four, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Judge Dredd, Hellboy, Spawn, Blade: Trinity, Superman III, Spiderman 3, Superman IV: The Quest For Peace, Supergirl, The Phantom, Rocketeer, The Punisher, X-Men 3, Iron Man, The League Of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Fantastic Four 2: Rise of The Silver Surfer, Catwoman, V For Vendetta, The Watchmen, Hellboy 2: The Golden Army, Iron Man 2, Ghost Rider, Jonah Hex, Punisher: War Zone, Thor, The Dark Knight, Kick Ass, The Green Lantern...


The Green fucking Lantern??

Sweet Jebus, are there ANY comic books that haven't been turned into a mega-squillion-dollar-movie?
It's beyond a joke.

I love a good action film as much as the next man-in-a-vest, but this is getting ridiculous. I mean, The Green Lantern? The Green fucking Lantern?? Who the fuck wants to see The Green fucking Lantern??
Nobody, that's who.

It was like a two hour Muse video - and I like Muse!

But I'm not going to wade through yet another bloody version of the monomyth The Hero With A Thousand Faces.

There are some excellent examples of superhero movies, from the original Christopher Reeves' Superman in 1978 to the re-booted Batman series and the first X Men films, but Green Lantern??

What's next?
Fucking Aquaman??

The problem lies with the technology available. Just because you CAN create a world of aliens doesn't mean that you have to - ARE YOU LISTENING, GEORGE LUCAS??

"No. I'm setting the next Indiana Jones on Tattooine. 
Short Round becomes Howard the Duck and marries Jar Jar Binks. 
Think of all the TOYS!! Mwah-ha-ha-ha-HAAA!!!"
CGI technology really isn't all that good. It can fool people into seeing something that isn't there or (in the case of  Forrest Gump's Lieutenant Dan's legs) it can take something away, but it is an illusion. And like the best illusions it should be glimpsed at and believed wholly. It does not bear close scrutiny.

Also, CGI is developed by computers and so has that glassy, reflective quality that very few people or places actually have, so the legendary Halls of Valhalla in Thor or the various other Green fucking Lanterns in Green Lantern look like shitty cartoons. Cartoons not drawn by Steve Ditko or Bob Kane, but by pricks who work at Lucasfilms or WETA. People who simply sketch an outline and let the machines do the rest.

And that is the problem.

There have now been TWO attempts to make the Incredible Hulk into a decent movie, and as it is based upon the Jekyll & Hyde stories of Robert Louis Stevenson you would think it wouldn't be that difficult a story to tell? But the insistence of the studios of using a CGI Hulk instead of Lou Ferringo in a pair of tattered purple beach shorts means that absolute nobody is convinced of any threat to the protagonist.


A cartoon Hulk cannot act, either. No matter what you think of Lou Ferrigno's acting abilities, you cannot escape the fact that in the 1970's and 80's he was The Hulk. He made you believe in the massive green chaos machine, he also had rare moments of gentility, but he mostly made you believe that HULK would SMASH!!

Nowadays, if the Hulk gets hit with a truck - who cares?
It's not a REAL truck. It's not a REAL Hulk. He'll be fine.

We all know it's a pixellated puppet and so we don't care about it as much as we would if it was a person in a latex mask and green body paint or even, ironically, a real puppet like Kermit The Frog!

There is something in us that will project emotional characteristics and invest ourselves in the trials and tribulations of the Muppet puppets in The Dark Crystal or Labyrinth that we refuse to do to  recent CGI creations.

The thing that made us fall in love with Superman was Christopher Reeves, not the back-screen projection. Yes, it added to the specatacle, and Yes, for a short-time it DID make some of us believe that a man could fly, but ultimately it was his portrayal of the alien Kal-El trying to fit in that tugged at out heart-strings.


It's why the X-Men was such a resounding success. It had actors, PROPER actors like Sir Ian McKellan and Sir Patrick Stewart, making the silliest premise sound implausible plausible. It even made a bad-ass action hero out of musicals luvvie Hugh Jackman, simply because we believed that he could tear your head off, not because of the silvery cartoon knuckle duster-extensions.

It's also the reason we rooted for Spiderman - he wasn't a conventionally attractive Hollywood clone. He was that nerdy, awkward kid from The Cider House Rules and Pleasantville.


The Batman series are a good illustration of this. In the 1960's Adam West and Burt Ward played their roles with deadpan sincerity whilst the likes of Burgess Meredith and Cesar Romero tore up the scenery.


 As a kid, you believed in Batman and Robin as they, despite dressing like a flying rat and a camp Christmas card, were the sane and sober heroes.

In the 80's and 90's Batman on screen tried to emulate the tone of the books - dark, malevolent, vicious, psychotic. But that doesn't sell toys or funk-rock soundtracks - so we get an uncomfortable, awkward hero who is at once moral and uptight and at other times a murderer who kicks a random villain into a cellar with a bomb attached to him.

The Christian Bale Batman is altogether more satisfying. While the first film bridges the gap between the awful Joel Schumacher shite of the 90's, The Dark Knight plays like a much better version of Michael Mann's vastly overrated Heat - but in fancy dress.


When Batman finally meets the Joker it blows the whole Pacino vs DeNiro thing to dust.

But now the heroes are everywhere. For every Christian Bale in Batman Begins we have Seth Rogen in The Green Hornet. Who the fuck is going to put THAT on their LoveFilms list??

There are different heroes for different age groups, for example, The Fantastic Four films are great for kids and I would think that Blade and Hellboy are quite good for Emo-teens, but surely there are other stories around that don't require someone in a mask or a cape flying about trying to be a franchise to be turned into lunchboxes?


Because that is the point. It doesn't matter about the stories, it doesn't matter about the quality of the acting talent, it doesn't even matter that you've lured a Shakespearean classicist to direct your second-rung filler - what matters is the merchandise. The toys, the posters, the lunchboxes, all that other stuff that detracts from the source material and makes comic book fans annoyed.

The comic books that spawned these fucking terrible movies are now just the merchandise that helps sell them.

Which is why we have Green fucking Lantern.

Nobody wants this film.  Well, nobody except Ryan Reynolds - that poor fucker has already been in two terrible superhero films (Wolverine and Blade: Trinity).

He's a good actor.
He deserves better than this fucking firework display of a movie.

But it looks a bit like Ben 10 and kids love Ben 10. I have yet to see any of my friend's kids or my nephews play at being Green Lantern.


Still, the Poundshops should be full of Green Lantern toys in about a fortnight so who knows?

As the peerless satirical spoof-news site The Onion would say - Good luck, Greg Lantern.







So, Hollywood, don't just make a movie just because it will sell toys.


Try and have a good story - remember these are comic BOOKS.

There are a thousand and one different stories to choose from - you don't have to keep making the shite ones.



That said, I can't wait for the new Judge Dredd movie.

Or Captain America... have you seen the trailer?



>sigh!<

Fuck's sake. I'm a 40 year old man.

When do I grow out of this??

DAMN YOU, HOLLYWOOD!!!



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5 comments:

Matt said...

Great blog, as always. For me the undoubted highlight is finding that there is someone else out there that thinks 'Heat' was overrated - I was starting to think I was the only one! It drags on for a number of lifetimes and nothinhg much happens. I also happen to think that Pacino and De Niro should be playing each other's characters...

Mister W said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mister W said...

Cheers, Matt.

You're right about "Heat". I didn't buy it when Pacino took out Henry Rollins!

DeNiro - Yes.
But Pacino??

He'd have been swatted away like an irritating midge.

5plitreel said...

Oh great post! And do agree with you, especially when it comes to the really mediocre ones of mediocre characters. I mean Green Lantern and Green Hornet could've just not happened. So far it's been surprisingly good (thor + x-men) and am hoping that Captain America does the job well.

That Total Film cover pic is hilarious. Nerdom.

Mister W said...

Thank you 5plitreel!

Re: The Total Film covers - I think that in the past year there have been two or three covers that haven't been superhero movies.

Even then they have been of Captain Jack Sparrow, Harry Potter and Angelina Jolie as Salt!

I would have ended my subscription.. but then I wouldn't have got my free Captain America mousemat!