Neil Gaiman's Law of Superhero Movies

Discussion in 'Science Fiction & Fantasy' started by Norrin Radd, Aug 20, 2008.

  1. Norrin Radd

    Norrin Radd Vice Admiral

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    http://journal.neilgaiman.com/2008/05/not-really-about-anything.html

    What say you? Is he on to something?
     
  2. Bad Bishop

    Bad Bishop Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I think the Fantastic Four movies (2005-2007, neither reaching $200 million) would tend to confirm Gaiman's Law. But I'm not sure that the more successful X-Men movies captured the look and feel of the comic books.
     
  3. Captain Craig

    Captain Craig Vice Admiral Admiral

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    ^^^^^^^^^^^^
    I would agree and think Bishop makes a valid point with X-Men being an on the surface exception.
    Where I think X-Men succeeded though was it captured the essence of the characters. Also, the characters themselves had been in a variety of costumes so the audience was prepared to accept the look as long as it worked within the film itself. Which it did.
     
  4. Temis the Vorta

    Temis the Vorta Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    No big surprise; the originators of the comic book had a good core idea, or else it would never have become popular enough to be considered for a movie adaptation. Unless the adapters have a better idea - and why would they? - the original one should be used.
     
  5. I'd modify to remove "look" and keep "feel". If you can capture the right feel, tone, and essence of the character, changes to the look matter little (see: X-Men, which had a ton of surface changes, but still captured the feel of X-Men, very claremont-esque, the first two at least)
     
  6. IJD GAF

    IJD GAF Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    it sort of assumes that the comic version is the one most ingrained in the collective consciousness and thus, the most likely to succeed.

    What about something like Superman, where the Reeve films are tops? Superman Returns, though its sequel is in a dubious status, was a pretty successful film.
     
  7. Brendan Moody

    Brendan Moody Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I think that "the look and feel of what people like about the comic" is not so simple a concept as Gaiman's Law might suggest (which people? which version of a long-running comic? what does and doesn't contribute to the "feel" of a comic?). As far as I can see, it basically works out to "keep the good bits," which is a nice sentiment but not very meaningful without concrete discussion of what the good bits are and how to keep them.
     
  8. davejames

    davejames Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Like with any adaptation, I don't think a movie's success has much to do with how faithful it is, only with how well written and directed it is.

    The 89 Batman was HUGELY successful, and as many fanboys like to point out, it's not very faithful to the comics at all. But people still went to see it because it was a fun and exciting movie.
     
  9. Lapis Exilis

    Lapis Exilis Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Hee! Gaiman is so delightfully a complete comics geek (they changed NiteOwl's costume - and you actually noticed??)

    Um, first while I have a mad crush on Gaiman and would gladly bear his children - he's hardly the only one to come up with this thought so calling it after himself is a bit aggrandizing. (Yes, I know he was being funny - so am I.)

    "The look and feel of what people like about the comic" is indeed a good barometer for how well a comic based movie will do - duh. That's why movie execs actually started paying attention to what fans talk about. It gives them a clue as to what is compelling about a character and/ or their universe. We talk obsessively about what is cool or uncool about these stories - a good storyteller can listen to that for a bit and get a ton of good ideas to write a story based on said character. There's a reason superhero movies have gotten better since the advent of the internet...
     
  10. Derishton

    Derishton Vice Admiral Admiral

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    It's got to be crossed with the popularity of a concept across various groups: Fantastic Four looked right, but I suspect really didn't have the draw of a Spider-man or an X-Men or a Batman, and was never going to. Iron Man is the exception that now throws everything off, but I'd chalk that up to getting the costume right, and even more to Robert Downey Jr.
     
  11. BoxWhatBox

    BoxWhatBox Commander Red Shirt

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    No, I think Iron Man got the "feel" right and the look. The problem with long running series is that the look and feel changes over time.
     
  12. Nedersong

    Nedersong Captain

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    And people, especially fanboys, are incapable of accepting change, generally speaking.
     
  13. TremblingBluStar

    TremblingBluStar Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I don't think so. I mean, that statement can be taken to mean practically anything.

    Add to that the fact that many successful superhero movies changed the look and feel of the comic book dramatically (nearly every good Batman film) while some massive flops kept the look of the comic (early Marvel films).

    A better rule would be "if the story is contrite and unexciting, it will flop".
     
  14. JacksonArcher

    JacksonArcher Vice Admiral Admiral

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    You know, this Neil Gaiman guy might just be onto something. He must know something we don't!
     
  15. Harvey

    Harvey Admiral Admiral

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    Was that 30 Days of Night movie that was released a year or two back very faithful to the original comics? I don't recall it doing that well at the box office.

    But, generally, I think Gaiman is right. And I'm not even a reader of more than a comic book a year.
     
  16. JacksonArcher

    JacksonArcher Vice Admiral Admiral

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    30 Days of Night took some deviations from the original graphic novel. And quite frankly it just wasn't a good movie.

    I wonder, though, can you be faithful to the source material but suck as a film, and still be successful? I've seen many comic-book films that weren't that close to the material but worked as films, and thus were successful in their own right.
     
  17. Harvey

    Harvey Admiral Admiral

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    I imagine material that would suck as a film probably (although not certainly) sucks as a comic book. Or in the very least isn't very cinematic and is overlooked by studio executives anyway.
     
  18. JacksonArcher

    JacksonArcher Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I dunno. I wasn't too impressed by Wanted but that got made into a film and was generally successful.
     
  19. Harvey

    Harvey Admiral Admiral

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    But didn't Wanted totally deviate from the source material? Or is that what you're saying. I guess it does contradict Gaiman's law. I'd put that in another category, though, since it has the box office wild card of Angelina Jolie (and Morgan Freeman, too, IIRC).
     
  20. JacksonArcher

    JacksonArcher Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Angelina Jolie isn't box office cash, though. Before Mr. And Mrs. Smith (which she can only take partial responsibility for it terms of its success) she had a string of box office flops -- Original Sin, Taking Lives, A Mighty Heart, etc etc. where she headlined. Morgan Freeman doesn't solely drive a blockbuster, either, mind you.

    Wanted was successful because it was an R-rated hardcore action film that was good counterprogramming to Wall*E.