Neil Gaiman's Law of Superhero Movies

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

  1. Captain Craig

    Captain Craig Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I can't speak to its faithfulness but I'll take JacksonArchers word for it that is strayed. I saw the movie and as a creepy vamp movie thought it was decent. It didn't bomb, flop or tank however. Modest success.

    I found League of Extrodinary Gentlemen and Constantine to both be entertaining films. I even own LXG. Neither set the box office on fire but like 30DoN didn't outright tank. Not sure if its due to how they are as films or if like VforVendetta they were boycotted for lack of strict adherence. V I loved by the way and only read after the movie.

    Could not agree more. As a movie it was a retread of so much. Again, don't know the source material but it amazes me at those about the net who view it as an honest to god good movie. There was literally nothing new visually or thematic in that movie.

    From what I read online the first act follows fairly closely to the original source. Acts 2&3 go their own path.
     
  2. Harvey

    Harvey Admiral Admiral

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    You don't think the greatly increased press coverage of Jolie had at least something to do with it? I'd agree that it was good counter-programming, but I think you're not giving Jolie enough credit.

    And A Might Heart was Oscar bait, not a movie designed to make huge box office.
     
  3. JacksonArcher

    JacksonArcher Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Jolie just hasn't proven herself to be box office credible. Mr. And Mrs. Smith was successful for the most part because of the buzz surrounding her relationship with Brad Pitt in the tabloids. What has she driven that has been successful otherwise?

    Sure, her presence might have added a little bit of box office push to the film, but certainly not enough to justify its over-$50 million opening.
     
  4. Cary L. Brown

    Cary L. Brown Rear Admiral

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    Well, I'd give it a corollary which SHOULD go without saying, but really doesn't.

    The reason that some comics get made into comics is that they have a broad, popular appeal. Some others are popular with a small niche market.

    As a rule, the ones that have broad appeal are the ones that get made into movies. SO... Gaiman's rule applies anytimes that's the case.

    On the other hand, it's possible that there are a few "fringe" comics that may be broadly disliked by general audiences. In those cases, the movie may be more successful if it deviates in a few key areas.

    However, in those cases... I'd just as soon never see it get made into a movie in the first place. If someone wants to tell a significantly different version, they should go out and create their OWN story.

    So... to sum up... I agree with Gaiman's point except for the above.
     
  5. Cary L. Brown

    Cary L. Brown Rear Admiral

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    I still think that when people think of Superman, they overwhelmingly think of the comic book version first. The first mental image most people have is the 4-color pen-and-ink image, in other words. Reeves' image is up there as well, of course... as are a lot of other folks... George Reeves, Dean Cain, Tom Welling...

    But the the 4-color one is, I believe, the most universally-recognized one.

    "Superman returns" wasn't a flop... but it wasn't a success, either. It was a "disappointment." And the reason I most often heard (and which I agree with) is that the characters felt "wrong" compared to ANY prior version... Superman was weak and somewhat creepy... Lois was, at best, forgettable (first time that's EVER been the case as far as I'm aware!)... the super-kiddie was annoying... and Lex was a spoof of Gene Hackman's much superior version (which was, itself, a spoof).
     
  6. Cary L. Brown

    Cary L. Brown Rear Admiral

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    About Batman... wrong-wrong-wrong... the BAD "batman films" deviated the most from the Batman comics.

    Or didn't you know that "Batman Begins" was based, almost page-for-page, on "Batman Year One" blended with "The Long Halloween" and "The Man Who Falls?"

    There were tons of scenes in that film which were very nearly exactly copied off of the drawn-and-written page. They even duplicated the heel-mounted "bat-caller's" APPEARANCE from where we first saw it drawn by David Mazzuchelli (sp?).

    (Of course, maybe you're saying you think that Nolan's work is the worst and the two "robin-bearing" prior films were high art???)
     
  7. Professor Zoom

    Professor Zoom Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Yes, but consider Burton's Batman films. Very successful. Not much like the comic.
     
  8. misskim86

    misskim86 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    It might not be 100% correct, for example a lot of comics have renewed themselves during the years, like Batman, so it's hard to actually pin point what exactly constitutes "the" comic. But he's definitely on to something.

    Like I hated the Punisher movie because it simply wasn't Punisher
     
  9. Emh

    Emh The Doctor Premium Member

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    I agree with others that "the look and feel of what people like about the comic" is highly subjective and therefore I don't necessarily think Gaiman is onto something. Each character has gone through many variations of over the years from campy to dark to outright weird to some combination of the three to something else I've failed to mention. So who's "look and feel" is the "correct" one in regards to each of the movies?
     
  10. Spaceman Spiff

    Spaceman Spiff Abuse of Power Administrator

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    His joke about David Tennant in Hamlet is spot-on, though.
     
  11. Emh

    Emh The Doctor Premium Member

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    Oh, I didn't see that before. That's brilliant! :guffaw:
     
  12. Ryan Thomas Riddle

    Ryan Thomas Riddle Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    You can even hear Tennant's Doctor-style delivery.
     
  13. TremblingBluStar

    TremblingBluStar Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Exactly why this "law" shouldn't be taken too seriously - and probably was not meant to.

    Wasn't Daredevil, and especially Electra pretty close to the comic too? They simply were not very good films.

    Ghost Rider was pretty damn close to the comics as well.
     
  14. Cary L. Brown

    Cary L. Brown Rear Admiral

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    Well, it's not so much that the comics are somehow "magic." A bad idea or bad execution of a good idea for that matter can be done in any medium.

    The thing is... comics are (relatively) cheap to produce. So, we get a lot of content in "comic" form over a long period of time... a movie gets only a couple of hours, on the other hand.

    What does that matter? Well, comics (like anything else) change over time. And that change is always a slow, steady move towards what the audience wants... that is, if it's going to continue to be SOLD. Right?

    In other words... the comic represents what audiences want because it's had a long, slow "evolution" towards that. The IDEA gets developed more fully, and there's an easier ability to follow what works versus what doesn't.

    The comic is better not because it's a comic but because it's got a lot more TRIAL AND ERROR developing it (in most cases). Or, in the case of folks like Moore and his "Watchmen," it's a matter of the guy having the ability to tell his own story with almost no other, conflicting ideas interfering ("many cooks" and all that)... combined with lots of experience with that slow, steady evolution of ideas in OTHER works.

    Batman started out one way. He shifted, over time... got "nice" back in the late 1950s (and became boring as a result... and lost market). The 1970s just got WEIRD... but in about 1972, Denny O'Neil and a few other guys changed it all... and gave us "real" characters living in a "real" world again. As much as Frank Miller gets credit for "redefining" Batman, I don't accept that. Everything good about the modern version of Batman came about as a result of O'Neil's "taking it back to the roots" and "treat this as real" sensibilities. You can look at today's Batman and the version that O'Neil started working with in the early 1970s and they're essentially indistinguishable. The only thing he really kept from the 1960's "mod" period was the yellow oval.
     
  15. Galactus

    Galactus Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I think he is spot on. When you think about it the movies, that the majority of people that like the comics also like the movie, do better than the ones that split the fanbase so to speak. No film is going to please everyone, but the ones that please the most number of people tend to do the best. Like all rules there will be exceptions especially when the spand generations. I know that fans generally dislike I, Robot, Transformers, Conan but they all were very successful. I think GI Joe will do exactly the same.

    Are there any Spider-Man and Batman fans that truly dislike Spider-Man and Batman Begins/The Dark Knight?
     
  16. JacksonArcher

    JacksonArcher Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I dislike the second and third Spider-Man, FWIW.
     
  17. Derishton

    Derishton Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I haven't seen 30 Days of Night, although (perversely) I own a copy. I have heard that it began its life as a script, and only became a graphic novel when nobody wanted to make it as a film. Success as a comic produced, voila, a film.

    What does that do to the theory?
     
  18. Emh

    Emh The Doctor Premium Member

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    Yes, I grew up on Spider-Man and I truly dislike (to use your words) all three of the movies. There are certain aspects of them (particularly the acting for all of the villains) I like, but there are far, far more about them that I don't.
     
  19. Captain Craig

    Captain Craig Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Daredevil was decent, the Directors Cut made it good. It was quite close to the comic and was a modest success. Affleck and his "I don't do sequels" is at least one factor DD:2 didn't happen.

    Elektra's solo effort though made the character quite separate from who she is. She is not a mother or sisterly figure which they made her into for the feature. This movie was quite bad, not many redeeming things in the movie.

    Ghost Rider was fairly close, minus the lame jelly bean gimmick Cage wanted, and did modestly well at the box office also. Not sure why they haven't pursued another. In the current age where Hellboy gets a sequel and Blade got two when neither was even modestly successful as Ghost Rider seems confusing. Cage has said he'd be up for another.
     
  20. Lapis Exilis

    Lapis Exilis Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    He didn't say movies close to the look and feel of the comic book are successful, he said movies that are close to what people like about the look and feel of a comic book are successful. Any comic book movie has to fit its time, just as the book itself has to. Schumacher made a movie quite faithful to the 1960s Batman comics and tv show, sadly it was far out of touch with what people now like about Batman.

    That's why I said it has been movie makers who've had the presence of mind to actually investigate what people right now are finding compelling about a character and spinning off of that who are finding success. If they'd checked what people find compelling about Elektra (and it definitely isn't her feminine qualities) then we wouldn't have gotten Big Sister Elektra. Burton's Batman worked because for all it's off the wall qualities, it did capture the look and feel of what people found compelling about Batman right then - dark, gothic, is the hero himself a complete raging psychotic? And so forth and so on.