Why the fuck are the only good movies these days based on comics? Did some 1950s McCarthian witch-hunt sweep through Hollywood lately, mercilessly weeding out anyone with original ideas for movies, and force them into writing internal memos for Paramount?
Either way, it sure as balls looks like the industry is no longer taking any chances with original ideas, but is determined to throw all their money at safe, familiar, recognized titles. This has become pretty much as mechanical as the Rainman’s Thursday afternoon, taking something entirely forgotten and culturally irrelevant to this day, or something Hollywood has already done, wrong – very wrong – in fact so wrong that they are still curled up whimpering in a corner, and getting regular counseling – and milked until no more dollars come out, and then discarded; and then taking those ideas and making a reboot, origin story or an edgy “re-imagining”. Once said resurrected title is up and puking dollars, it is then franchised and sequeled until no more money falls out. Here’s some examples: Batman & Robin sunk the entire franchise in the 90s, Christopher Nolan comes along making Batman: Year One into Batman Begins and hits reboot on the franchise. Avengers comics – no one gives a fuck, and then Joss Whedon comes along and turns it into seven bloody films and everyone creams themselves with excitement. Judge Dredd, an idea sunk by Sylvester Stallone and a horrendous comedic side-kick, done well by people with fully functional brains in 2012. Django – obscure violent western from the spaghetti-70s, Tarantino happens and presto, Django Unchained. Green Lantern, still sucks.
The overall progress has taken an industry of creators, and turned them into adapters; but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Some people think that original ideas and the magic of creation and imagination are self-justified values, which is fine, OK, but there’s still the bit where you have to realize that into a medium for your audience, and if your realization is shit, your movie is shit. Look at Ghosts of Mars, it could have been Evil Dead in space, in stead it turned out to be Ghosts of Mars, because John Carpenter apparently started eating crazy-pills at the time.
I think what has allowed Hollywood to get away with it, is making awesome, intelligent movies. For a fucking change. One great part of comic book and other nerd culture is that gives license to lift the restrictions of disbelief, and present awesome without having to worry about looking stupid in the process. We’re probably living the peak of comic book recognition at the moment, so it’s a good idea to enjoy it while it lasts. I would love to see Tank Girl done by sane people, and I think Aquaman needs his own film. Assuming he shoots sharks, or summons Krakens. And probably the most awesome scenario would be a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles reboot, that would be faithful to the original comic’s ultra-violent 80s pastiche.
Inevitably, everyone is going to be getting fed up of these films, as the bad and mediocre films outnumber the good ones three to one, and whatever is going to be coming out will be more likely to be the next Hulk or Green Lantern, rather than Thor, Watchmen, Dark Knight, Avengers or Kick Ass. Maybe the Justice League movie is going to be really shit, don’t know. Either way, Man of Steel looks pretty awesome. Judging by the trailer, a purposefully misleading, promotional hype-tool designed to present it’s target in the most positive way imaginable, at least. If only directors and producers spent half the effort they put in the trailers into the movie. Every fucking movie would be amazing.