In response to New ‘Man of Steel’ trailer:
Why do Marvel movies do well while every DC movie, except for the Batman series, bombs? Actually, let’s be more specific — why do the Marvel-produced Marvel films work pretty well where the DC movies and the non-Marvel-produced Marvel movies (like the latest disaster, the Amazing Spider-Man) bomb?
There are a lot of reasons — the DC movies have been crap generally — but one difference is that the Marvel-produced Marvel movies don’t run away from the source material. They change it here and there, but they include some of the dumb bits from the comics (like Tony Stark’s electromagnetic-shrapnel repelling thingy) and Loki’s Ginormous Helmet Horns.
Everytime I see a non-Marvel-produced superhero movie, they’re far more interested in “shaking things up” and “giving us a new spin on the character” and running away from the core intellectual property itself than actually exploiting that property.
Superman is not a dark and broody hero. He’s just not. But the Snyder film makes him that. Apparently there are now dark mountains looming over the cornfields of Smallville, Kansas, too.
And I hate to be so… geeky on this point, but what’s with the costume? What’s with this weird biomech look to it? They did the same sort of thing with Green Lantern, and it looked stupid.
I know the Donner film made the S-shield the symbol of the House of El, of course. And I thought that was just brilliant. But now it specifically means “Hope”? It bothers me on a lot of levels (Why not call him Doctor Hopeallus then?) but it’s a case of trying to put your intended subtext front and center in the text itself.
Were they afraid if they didn’t make Superman explicitly the Bearer of the Sign of Hope we wouldn’t understand that there was some Hope involved in this fantasy?
In addition, Superman has always been… well, he resembles God in many ways. And you have to be careful about just how far you want to push on that string, just how explicit you want to make that connection. Frank Miller suggested the idea of Superman as God in his Dark Knight returns books without having to stoop to actually having to use those words. He got his point across through visual metaphor. But in this trailer, we have Jor-El explicitly note that Kal-El will be like a god to the earthlings, and that he is specifically a bearer of Hope from the Heavens.
But this “let’s shake things up” thing annoys me. I think if I want to see a Spiderman movie, I want to actually see Spiderman, and not whatever last year’s disaster was. Same with Superman.
I notice this tendency in movies a lot. For example, there’s a clip on the internet right now, I think taken from the Batman & Robin bonus materials (as if that cinematic masterpiece wasn’t bonus enough), of the cast and crew of that horrible film apologizing and trying to explain What Went So Monstrously Wrong. But the main takeaway (this is my gloss) is that they were trying to make a Batman movie for people who don’t like Batman movies. They filled it with kid-type gags and imagery for kids who wanted to see a cartoon; dumb self-spoofing humor for chicks who got dragged to the film by their geek boyfriends and who would appreciate seeing the movie acknowledge how preposterous it all is; an epileptic barrage of flashing lights and spastic cameras for anyone who was bored by the idea of Batman but who could be distracted by Bright Shiny Objects.
I don’t understand this impulse: Why do filmmakers make a movie for people who don’t actually want to see the movie and who probably aren’t even in the theater? Shouldn’t their first priority be to satisfy the people who actually want to see the movie?
I think that’s my problem with the Superman movie– it’s like a Superman movie made for people who don’t like Superman and who think he’s a bit of joke. I suppose this treatment — making a non-Superman movie of a Superman movie– might actually satisfy people who don’t really want to see a Superman movie.
But what about guys like me who sort of like Superman?