Discussion in 'Science Fiction & Fantasy' started by dahj, Aug 5, 2018.
Trailer for the Animated Crisis on Infinite Earths Trilogy.
I really don't understand why they're doing this. I mean, the animated continuity it's set in has only been around for three years and six distinct stories, most of which have only had the most tenuous continuity connections between them. A story like Crisis only works in a well-established reality with a lot of history to play with. The animated continuity jumping to it so soon is almost as premature as the DCEU jumping right to the death of Superman in their second movie. You should take the time to build something up and get the audience invested in it before you do a story about tearing it all down.
Not to mention that it's only been four years since the Arrowverse did its version of Crisis. Do we need another one so soon?
Also, does this mean that they've already given up on the "Tomorrowverse" and are rebooting it already, like how they ended the previous Animated Movie Universe with the timeline reset at the end of Apokolips War? Not that I'd blame them; it started out strong with Superman: Man of Tomorrow but has been meandering and inconsistent in quality ever since. Although maybe this has to do with Gunn's plan to reboot everything and make it all unified from now on.
Why keep redoing CoIE? The damn thing was published in 1986!
I can see it now 20 years down the line:
The Last Remake Of Crisis On infinite Earths
DC loves to keep mining its proven cash cows. There have been eleventy-million new editions of things like CoIE, Dark Knight Returns, Death of Superman, Watchmen, etc., while tons of great comics from the company's decades of history have never been reprinted at all.
Its one of DC's greatest and most popular story arcs in its history, coupled with its brilliant and necessary clean-up job on endless silly / garbage concepts, inconsistency of characterization / plot development, etc. It is likely Crisis on Infinite Earths is one of those comic book stories that will never not inspire adaptations. Only in this case, it appears the animated version might handle it with the creativity and respect a COIE adaptation deserves, which would be a first.
I think you nailed it right on the head, here. This might be DC Studios Animation clearing the decks in preparation for the unified DCU continuity.
If that's the case, I wonder if there will be a downturn in the amount of movies they put out. Right now they average, what, about three movies a year, roughly? Though I'm sure they'll still continue to produce standalone movies when they aren't (presumably) working on DCU-connected movies, so maybe there won't be.
I truly hope you are correct.
I wonder what they'll do with the continuing spine art on the final movies. If these are the end, there's not enough room to finish the word Universe.
Maybe they'll change it to "DC UNIV."
Then it's a shame they're devoting nearly the last 1/3 of the series to an overlong and redundant exercise in continuity bookkeeping, rather than just making three solid movies and letting the series just come to a natural end without a contrived in-universe lampshade for a continuity reboot. The original Crisis wasn't that bad since it was just a year's worth of issues culminating a decades-long continuity, while the Arrowverse Crisis was a weeklong climax of seven years of continuity building. This is literally 30 percent of the whole series devoted to tearing it all down when it's barely even been established.
Looking at the trailer, this is not really what I was expecting. They'd have had the chance to do draw from the different DC animated universes, like the DCAU, the Super Friends universe, the Fleischer Superman universe, the Teen Titans universe, The Brave & the Bold universe, the Young Justice universe, ... doesn't look like that's gonna happen with this.
At this point, I'd find it refreshing to see a multiverse story that didn't treat earlier, unconnected screen adaptations as part of the same multiverse. I've always found that an implausible conceit, and it's been done so often in the past few years that it's become a cliche.
I'm trying to remember what the first thing was that treated a previous adaptation of the same series as a parallel universe. The earliest thing I can think of is the 2009 finale of the 2003 Ninja Turtles animated series, which crossed over with the '87 cartoon and original comics continuities. I'm surprised I can't think of an earlier example, but it is a conceit that's only really taken off in the past few years.
It's like Grumpy Smurf around here sometimes, I hate it when crossovers cross over things.
Crossovers are crossing over so much it crosses a line.
Makes me cross...
The '80s Alvin and the Chipmunks had an episode where they go back in time and they meet the versions of themselves from the '60s show.
But isn't the whole point of a story like to bring together familiar characters from alternate universes that we've seen before? Doing this and not bringing back the characters from earlier animated series kind of defeats the whole point of even doing it if you ask me.
That's the point of a very narrow category of story that's only really been done frequently in the past few years (Arrowverse Elseworlds/Crisis, No Way Home, The Flash, Teen Titans vs. Teen Titans Go!, that multiverse episode of Titans), so it's weird to suggest it's some kind of inevitable default. Historically, the point of multiverse stories has been to explore alternate paths the characters could have taken -- think of Trek's Mirror Universe, TNG: "Parallels," Superman: TAS's "Brave New Metropolis," Smallville's Earth-2, Stargate's "There But For the Grace of God," Red Dwarf's "Parallel Universe" and Ace Rimmer episodes, Sliders, Everything Everywhere All at Once, etc. Even in the Spider-Verse movies, none of the major alternate realities that drive the story are pre-existing movie or TV universes, just a few brief Easter-egg ones (although both of the Peter Parkers from the first movie were from universes similar to the Raimi continuity) They're inspired by various continuities from the comics, but they're all original adaptations thereof. In most multiverse stories until recently, the alternate timelines have been brand-new. It's only in the current climate that media culture has become so addicted to nostalgia and reminiscence that multiverse stories have been reduced to an excuse to revisit decades-old shows and movies.
Granted, the point of the original Crisis was to consolidate the various alternate DC Comics continuities that had been treated as parallel universes ever since Gardner Fox wrote "Flash of Two Worlds." (That's really the origin of the trope, though I was talking about its uses onscreen.) And if this were the first screen adaptation of the story, I could see the sense in using previous screen-adapted DC continuities as the substitutes for those. But the Arrowverse already did that, only 4 years ago. And so many other things have done it recently that it would just feel redundant by this point, as much as the whole project feels redundant.
Back when the animated movies were consistently good (so before the Flashpoint adaptation), I really wanted a COIE adaptation. I was really satisfied with the Arrowverse Crisis, but it was very different from the comic (for good reason), and I thought that was all we were going to get. At this point though, with the "Tomorrowverse" being extremely mediocre and honestly barely even being a thing, I'm not too hopeful. But I'll watch it and hope, because I'd love for them to pull it off.
First off, like you yourself acknowledge, CoIE is NOT the story that explores the "path not taken". Neither was "Flash of Two Worlds", for that matter, that was exactly the "bring back earlier versions as an alternate universe for nostalgia" that you complain about. So, why would you expect an adaptation of CoIE to do that?
Second, Spider-Verse, as you yourself also acknowledged, did use largely alternate Spideys from the comics. Spider-Man Noir, Spider-Ham, even Miles Morales, really. So, while they hadn't been used in movies before, fans were still somewhat familiar with these characters and got a kick out of seeing them.
Third, yes, the Arrowverse did CoIE with pre-existing DC adaptations as alternate universes, but that was limited to live-action adaptations. They closest they got to including animated adaptations was to have Kevin Conroy, but he didn't play the DCAU Bruce Wayne, now, did he? Not to mention that an animated CoIE adaptation is freer to better include those earlier adaptations in the main story, as opposed to mostly cameos as they were in the Arrowverse version, because actor availability and costume budget aren't that much of an issue with animation. The biggest issue might be with DCAU Batman, but even with Kevin Conroy not around anymore to record new lines, there are still options, like him staying silent, or using previous recorded lines (Conroy certainly left a large library to pick from).
Also, an animated version would have the chance to actually depict the different animation styles. Aside from the differences in character design, the Super Friends versions, for example, could be depicted to move as stiff as in the original show.
Instead, we're getting the threat of a Multiverse extinguished which we don't already know. If the DCAU was threatened by the Anti-Matter universe, it would have higher emotional stakes for us as the audience.
All I meant was that the "bringing back previous adaptations as alternate timelines" gimmick has been done so often lately that I would find it a nice change of pace if a multiverse story didn't do that. I'm not talking about my expectations for any specific work, just expressing a general opinion about the overuse of the device.
A successful comic book typically sells in the thousands or tens of thousands. A successful movie is seen by tens of millions at least. Most of the films' audience was being introduced to these characters for the first time.
Besides, everything we're talking about is an adaptation of something from the comics, but what's under discussion here is the specific recent trend of bringing back actors and characters from previous screen adaptations and pretending they're alternate timelines in a single metacontinuity. The specific versions of the comics characters seen in Spider-Verse may have been based on the comics, but they were still reinterpretations of those comics characters, interpretations that had never been seen onscreen before. We've seen previous versions of Peter Parker and Miles Morales and Spider-Gwen in TV animation, but never the specific versions seen in these movies. It's not the same as, say, the cameo of Josh Keaton's Spectacular Spider-Man or the store clerk from Venom or whatever. There's a difference between creating a new interpretation of a character and bringing back a specific previous interpretation of that character.
Sure, and as I said, I'd be fine with that if we hadn't already seen a version of CoIE done just 4 years ago and if the general trope hadn't already been run into the ground. Like I said, the whole exercise seems redundant at this point.
It's been done. Two different Ninja Turtles animated series have done it in their crossover movies with their predecessors. Teen Titans vs. Teen Titans Go! did it, not only with the two title versions but with the DC Universe Animated Movies versions of the Titans. And of course that blending of styles is Spider-Verse's whole bread and butter, even if it's mostly not based on previous animated productions.
See, that's exactly why I'm tired of nostalgia. Holding the audience's interest by bringing back older things they already care about is a lazy cheat. A good storyteller can make you care deeply about characters and situations you never encountered before. If the Tomorrowverse movies had done a better job making us care about this universe, they wouldn't need the crutch of bringing back the DCAU or the Super Friends or whatever to make us care about the story they're telling now.
Also, again, you can't assume the fanbase for the older things is the only audience. The primary target demographic for these movies is people who weren't even born yet when the DCAU ended. Pandering to nostalgia can only get you so far. You still have to make the story comprehensible and engaging to new audiences who have no attachment to or familiarity with the older productions. And that means the primary emotional investment has to be in the current characters and their reality, and that whatever you do with the returned characters has to be strong enough to work for everyone, not just the fraction of the audience that recognizes the past continuity being referenced.
I mean, I personally was deeply moved by the Arrowverse Crisis giving the 1990 Flash that compelling moment of closure that resonated with the sacrifice of the comics' Barry in CoIE, but the objective part of me recognized that for Arrowverse viewers unfamiliar with those previous works, it might've had more impact if it had been Shipp's Jay Garrick in that role. Most viewers -- not to mention Earth-1 Barry himself -- would've had more emotion invested in Jay than in a doppelganger they'd only seen once before in Elseworlds. That was a case where pandering too much to nostalgic viewers like me may have weakened the story for everyone else.
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