Hey everyone out there in land of Matchflick, this is The Alpha Craig, the new columnist for every other Monday. My topic is going to be comic book movie adaptations and my thoughts as a fan of both the comic books and their representative movies. I have worked at a now closed store called Rain City Comics for about 5 years and have a growing collection of comics so I have anticipated every chance to see my favorite heroes up on the big screen ever since I started collecting back in 84. I hope everyone out there will enjoy what I have to bring to this awesome site and feel free to let me know what you think. Thanks and enjoy.
From humble beginnings,
My first topic of discussion is how a story or character evolves from the origin on paper to the big screen and how die hard fans like me feel about what is done with the characters we hold so near and dear to our hearts. One problem that most filmmakers run into writing and producing these eye catching "moving pictures", is that they must con temporize in order to fit the current times. You have to take into account that most of the origins for these larger-than-life men and women in tights were written somewhere around 40 to 70 years ago so there is a genre gap.
The PUNISHER is a perfect example of this. In the comic book he was a former Vietnam veteran and in the 2004 release starring Thomas Jane he was a Gulf War veteran. IRON MAN is another good example. In the comic book Tony Stark was on a visit to Vietnam to check on some mini transistors when he was captured by a Vietnamese warlord and forced to build weapons. He built a high-powered suit of armor instead and escaped. In the upcoming IRON MAN film, he is captured while testing some
experimental weapons in the Middle East. His captors force him to build a powerful missile, but he builds a high-powered suit of armor instead and escapes. However with the 2005 release of FANTASTIC FOUR, 2007 release of GHOST RIDER, 2005 release of BATMAN BEGINS and 2003 release of DAREDEVIL the origins remained unchanged for the most part. In some cases the stories told were so ahead of the times that there isn't much to change in order to keep them credible and relevant in today's modern society.
Suzie has come a long way from quasi-mother hood.
This brings me to another point, catering to a younger more risqué crowd. Let's take Fantastic Four's Susan Storm for example. Now I know I am probably going to get enough raised eyebrows at my next statement to make you think the world simultaneously got massive Botox injections, but please bear with me. I think they made her to sexy/hot/attractive/whatever term you want to use to express the verbal equivalent of dropped-jaw drooling. Normally I am not one to turn my nose up and Jessica Alba, but in this case I think they missed the true nature of her character. Susan Storm was more than just an older sister to Johnny Storm or a young girl with a crush on Reed Richards; she was a motherly figure to Johnny and a colleague Reed. She was originally written not to be just few years older than Johnny, but about a decade older (much closer to Reed's age.) With their mother being dead and their father being in prison, Susan had to basically raise Johnny so she became a foster mother of sorts. Like I said earlier, I am not taking anything away from Alba, but what I am saying is that there are fans out there who did not think she was right for the part (Who am I kidding? There maybe
five or six of us, just because we are fan boys does not mean we don't like attractive women after all.)
The more things change, the more they stay the same.
Now the polar opposite of this is an instance like the 2002 release of SPIDERMAN. In my humble opinion, you could not have had a better representation of dorky science nerd Peter Parker than Toby McGuire. The guy looked, sounded and acted pretty much exactly what I would expect of Parker right down to the wise cracks and words like "gee." Peter Parker was the outcast who spent more time with his nosed tucked firmly in his books and secretly pining for Gwen Stacy from afar (granted they changed it to Mary Jane in the first movie, but the point remains the same.) He was a dork, an every day guy you could never expect any form of greatness from beyond inventing some new kind of adhesive and winning a Nobel Peace Prize. The quiet shy guy who never got invited to parties and was the constant target for pranks by all of the guys who grow up to have beer guts, receding hairlines and miserable marriages to women who let themselves go in the same capacity. Can you tell that I can relate to this poor sucker's plight? That being said, he was who you would think of if Peter Parker were to jump off of the pages of the books and become a three dimensional "flesh and blood" person."
The whole point in this diatribe is that no matter how hard a filmmaker tries to please the fans, there are some of us who can't see past the characters we love and grew up with enough to try to see them through somebody else's eyes. Just remember that the next time you see a comic book movie adaptation, chances are it is based on a character created before you were born. Thanks for reading and Excelsior!
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|The Alpha Craig|
I am the first and the last, maybe not. I'm 31 years old and still spend my disposable income on comic books. Might as well put it to good use.|
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