I thought I'd take a break from the election campaign, and take a look at something close to my heart: comics!
I haven’t gotten to watch the new “Iron Man” movie; I’ll probably catch it tomorrow. While surfing, I came across this interesting post by Aaron Williams, the creator of the comic strips, Nodwick, Full Frontal Nerdity and PS238 about what he thinks are mistakes movie makers commit when trying to translate a comic book character onto the silver screen. I thought I’d add it here. Let me know what you think about it:
Excerpt from “Even superheroes make mistakes …”
Mistake the first: Too many villains. "Spider-Man 3" did this, as did "Batman Forever" and "Batman and Robin." Two hours just isn't enough time to flesh out a decent bad guy unless they're reprising a role from a previous film. Either you wind up not caring about any of them as threats, or one gets a decent amount of development and the other is about as interesting as a faceless hireling, but perhaps with a more interesting choice of outfit. For some reason, Batman's Two-Face seems to be destined for this second banana status.
Mistake the second: Abandoning the source material. This isn't a plea for movies to follow existing comic arcs to the letter, as that's pretty much impossible. What I'm talking about is losing the themes of characters that have been established, ways that they tick that makes them appealing. Rather than making the Phoenix in X-Men 3 a cosmic entity gone awry, they kind of made Jean Gray a more powerful version of herself with homicidal tendencies. In the Fantastic Four, Doctor Doom went from being a rival of Reed Richards to... I'm not quite sure what they were shooting for, actually, but it didn't make me want to see more of him.
Mistake the third: Retelling the origin when you don't need to. If a comic has been adapted on TV and in films before and has a fan base that includes kids who believe the titular hero is real long beyond the time they think Santa Claus might not be, you don't need to retell the origin. Superman, Batman, and Spider-Man no longer ever need to have their origins retold. And even if a movie is about a more obscure hero, having a few lines from the person in spandex to another character explaining the high points can be enough.
Mistake the fourth: Not having someone for the hero to fight. See "Superman Returns" and Ang Lee's version of "The Hulk." Just like having too many villains can mess things up, not having one that the hero can go toe-to-toe with makes for a dull film, usually. I was hoping that "The Matrix: Revolutions," though disappointing, was giving me a taste of what a Superman film might contain. When Neo and Smith started hitting each other hard enough to send shockwaves over the city, I was thinking it'd be awesome if that were Superman and Darkseid.
Mistake the fifth: Starting serious and trending goofy. The Batman franchise did this, though it can be argued that giving the first movie to Tim Burton probably meant we'd hit "goofy" sooner rather than later. But there's a big difference between Burton's gothic-weird style and what appeared to be an attempt by later directors to capture the camp of the 1960's TV show. Similarly, the Superman films from Richard Donner gave us nuclear weapons and General Zod, but in later installments we ended up with Richard Pryor's computer and a solar-nuclear clone.