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Monday, May 12, 2014

Completely Rational Complaints Fans Have About Comic Movies!

This is just filler. To be honest, I really don't care all that much about it either way. Just my opinion on a write up, and you could disagree or agree.

So in response to the criticism Russ Burlingame wrote in an article on entitled 5 Irrational Complaints Fans Have About Comic Movies, I had to put in my own 2 cents about the topic. If you want to read the article just click the link, but here's my rebuttal on his points that I disagree with. I don't take offense to his points. Some are valid, some I believe aren't.

1st Point: “Is it So Hard to Just Do a Story From The Comics?”

Burlingame's argument is comics and film are different medias, which is true. They are different medias, but if you take a close look at comic book panels they are precursors to what Hollywood now use called "storyboards". 

A further in-depth look at the art of comics is that each panel focuses a lot on camera angle. It is sequential art, and told in a way, greatly now, to mimic the experience of film, movies, television, and even animation. Perhaps, it was always intended to do that.

As for story, the story is already there. If Hollywood wants to adapt a story based on a comic book story, it's already been written and with great success. Why meddle with it? 

His other argument is that comic book movies have to adapt to the times. Uh, no, they don't. Hollywood chooses to do that. It's not because they have to do that. You can do a period piece.

Look, adding cell phones, computers and stuff are no big deal, but when you change the entire chemistry of a story, say X-Men Days of Future Past, it's significant. As for X-Men Days of Future Past, the change from Kitty Pryde, who is the central character in the comic story, to Wolverine for the movie doesn't have to be done. The comic story with Kitty Pryde as the main character was actually really endearing.  It presented a completely different dynamic with her as the lead.

The only reason this shift took place for the movie has everything to do with the ka-ching sound, not for the actual love of the story itself. Tell me, is there really a need for Bishop, or other characters to be in the film that are actually dead in the comic story or not even present? In my point of view, not really.

It's cool that Bishop is making his debut on the big screen, but the choice to put him in isn't because of the difference between medias. It does make a bit of sense since part of the movie will be in the future and he is after all a time traveling mutant, but is this a big enough excuse to change the whole dynamic of the original story?

I don't think so. The character of Bishop could be mentioned in passing during the future scenes, and there could be many hints throughout these scenes of the character's existence. This could still carry out Fox's intended plans to lead into proposed X-Force and other X-Men spin off movies like the New Mutants.

The main reason why comic stories are butchered on film is because everyone and their mothers want to put their stamp on it. The producers put their lousy inputs in it, the writers have to appease the brass in charge, and the Director wants to make it his or her own as well. But here's the thing. It's not their own. It's an adaptation of a story that's already been created by someone else. I think Robert Rodriguez had it right when he did Sin City: "I don't want to do Robert Rodriguez's Sin City. I want to do Frank Miller's Sin City."

That movie was excellent, and probably one of the best comic movies done!

Let's take the future world of the X-Men according to the comic storyline. It's so chaotic that most of the X-Men are dead. Rogue is dead, Iceman is dead, Beast is dead, Charles Xavier, the X-Men leader, is dead. This brings many elements to the comic story. It brings in the seriousness of this future world and how messed up it is. It also brings an urgency to stop this from happening in the past.

Back to my point with Kitty Pryde. Kitty Pryde is a young teen when her older future self travels back in time to posses the mind of her younger self. How many adults really take teenagers all that seriously, yet her character has to convince the X-Men from the past that they must stop a certain event from happening or it will cause this future to happen. More drama, more tension.

Now flip it to Wolverine for the movie. Even though it would be hard for anyone to convince anyone else that they're from the future and they must stop a certain something from happening, let's be honest here. It would be a lot easier for Wolverine to be able to convince his past X-Men team members of what's going on than a teenage Kitty Pryde. Less drama, less tension, but the real reason this happened? More ka-ching, because Wolverine has a bigger role in the movie now, and we all know that Wolvie is the X-Men's cash cow.

 Nevertheless, I don't believe in making excuses for greedy and egotistical producers, directors, screenplay writers, and heads of the movie studios! I don't buy it, but if Burlingame wants to have their back, that's a personal choice.

Point 2: “The costumes and/or physical appearance of the actors isn’t exactly what I expected.”

Once again, I don't agree with Burlingame on this either. A character's physical appearance has everything to do with how other character's react to him or her. Just like in real life.

Don't tell me that attractive people aren't more well-received in society than those who are less attractive?  Unfortunately they are.

Wolverine, once again, I'll use as an example. In the comics, he is extremely short, and often referred to as "runt". How is this dynamic to the character important? Well, because he is so short, a lot of those who don't know him underestimate him, and this leads him to get involved in more scraps than a physically imposing character like Colossus

Now, don't get me wrong here. I don't get all flabbergasted because Hugh Jackman is tall and playing Wolvie. I understand the height issue is a problem and not really a big deal. I'm just making a point on character physical appearance and how all of our appearances do impact our lives in ways we are well aware of.

Which brings me to the point about changing character's races in comics to the big screen. A black Johnny Storm will have a different experience growing up in white suburbia than a white Johnny Storm. I can bet both my nuts that a black Johnny Storm would be called the N-word quite a lot more than a white Johnny Storm, and that he would be targeted a lot more for being different. Doesn't necessarily mean that a white Johnny Storm wouldn't be teased, bullied or picked on a daily basis either. Just saying the odds are lower.

On the flip side, I've seen white kids in predominantly black neighborhoods being picked on for being different, so it goes both ways and proves my argument. A white Johnny Storm growing up in L.A.'s Compton will be a completely different person than white Johnny Storm from upper class suburbia.

So does race play a factor in a character's essence? Here's common sense: A different background and childhood leads to a different experience growing up. That ultimately culminates into a different way a person sees or views the world, which greatly affects personality. Whites from the north are very different from whites from the south in America, yet they are the same race. Hell, people who grew up in San Francisco are quite different than those who grew up in New York City.

So would having a white Luke Cage from the rural south in a movie capture the same essence of the comic character? I'd have to say no to be honest.

Once again, the whole reason why Hollywood does this is to exploit and expand the market audience to get more dollars. If race didn't matter, then why are they intent on getting more people of different races interested in dropping their money to see a comic book movie by putting faces that they can identify with more? Shouldn't the comic character be loved by the content of his or her character than skin tone? 

Would the majority of blacks, who are not comic fans, drop more of their dollars to see the Fantastic Four reboot even if Johnny Storm remained his original race? Even more so, would they drop their dollars to see a white Black Panther movie, who magically and mysteriously ends up being the king of the fictional African nation of Wakanda? We'll just say he was adopted by the Wakandans after his parents were eaten by a lion on a Safari tour gone bad.

As long as they capture the personality and essence of the character, right? Wrong. I'm betting there would be a lot of outcry about that, and they'd see all sorts of implications with that one.

Which brings me to the costumes. In the X-Men movies, the studio opted not to use the original X-Men costumes from the comics. They thought they were tacky and not realistic and even jested at them, "What were you expecting, yellow spandex?"

But they were proven wrong by Disney and Marvel. Disney did use the comic character's costume look in their movies, Iron Man, Thor, and Captain America, with the exception of Hawkeye. And guess what? Comic fans and non-comic fans accepted it. The costumes could be used without appearing too tacky or whatever.

Besides, many actors have claimed that a costume for whatever role really helps them to get into character for a movie part. So, yeah, dude, why shouldn't the film makers be able to get the costume right? It's part of that comic character's identity. It's like their brand. If you're a marketer, you don't take a company's brand and twist it all up. You get fired for that.

“They changed [insert character or concept here]!”

The Mandarin, the Silver Samurai! There is absolutely no excuse for using a comic character and then twisting it so much that the character isn't even the character anymore. It's just a stranger with the name of that character. 

If you can't write the character right or they don't fit into the movie plot as is, don't use the friggin' character. Make up another one, which is basically what they do anyway but use the names of comic characters we love. The Mandarin in Iron Man 3 was not The Mandarin at all. It didn't even have to do with race either. They wrote the character as a buffoonish and clueless actor who was hired to act like a villain. Then it was later revealed that Aldrich Killian was the real Mandarin? Ubber lame. Ubber lame because it didn't have to be done, and while I love a good twist to a story, this one was wicked lame.

The same for Silver Samurai in The Wolverine. Not even the character, not even a mutant. Instead, they reduced the character to a suit of armor, and some guardian folklore from the past. They did use the comic character's real name Kenuichio Harada for a character that William Yun Lee played, but his character was not the Silver Samurai. Instead, he was a Japanese Hawkeye running around and shooting fools with a bow.

Instead, the Silver Samurai ended up being Yashida, an old dude who was deathly ill and trying to steal Wolverine's healing factor. Which is fine. That makes sense. However, it didn't have to be done, and that's my point.

They still could've used the character of Shingen Yashida, who was the original foe in the 1982 Wolverine Limited Series by Chris Claremont and John Byrne which the movie plot was based on, as the dying old man. His character was the son in The Wolverine. I understand that they had to worry about the age factor and the fact that the dude had been around since 1945 to see the atomic bomb dropped during World War 2. 

Fine, if he were 20 years old in 1945, he'd be 89 in the present. Then, what of Mariko? Would she be old as hell too? No, not if they made her the youngest daughter and born when the dude was 60 years old. And why not? Charlie Chaplin was still having kids well past that age.

As for the whole point about the Yakuza trying to kill Mariko in the film, that could still be done since Mariko would have siblings who would no doubt want to inherit control of their father's company. With the exception of Kenuichio Harada, the Silver Samurai, whom is the illegitimate son of Shingen Yashida in the comics. 

They could've kept those facts in the movie as well and still have the character be a mutant with the same mutant powers. It could be written that the Silver Samurai is trying to claim his rightful place in the Yashida clan by being the most dutiful son and ultimate enforcer, and that way he could be hunting Wolverine down, who is really trying to protect Mariko from the unknown conspiracy of her siblings' contract with the Yakuza on her life. The movie would still lead to a climatic final battle scene at the end.

The same elements of the movie plot would still be in tact, but with one major difference - There would be a truer portrayal of the Silver Samurai comic character in the movie with those suggestions. So really, what's the excuse for completely butchering that character? Once again, Burlingame, stop making excuses for Hollywood. They get paid more than enough to get it right.

Not to say that Silver Samurai's armor wasn't bad ass? It sure was, but the characterization from panel to screen was just terrible. Sure, I know that some things are going to have to be updated in movies to make them seem and look a bit more realistic.

The Falcon wasn't exactly that true to the comics, but there was still a resemblance of him. He was actually awesome to watch in action, and I do understand that his flight ability and costume had to be made more military-looking for plausibility.

But completely butchering a character doesn't have to be done. If you want to really know why characters get so damn screwed up on film, watch Kevin Smith's stand up DVD An Evening With Kevin Smith. He talks about working with a producer on writing the Superman script. It's funny as hell and makes perfect sense. Netflix it or if you're an ubber Kevin Smith fan get it on Amazon

I'm sure you can probably find it on youtube as well. Anywho, thanks for reading and there will be more comic goodness coming soon.

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