EDITORIAL: The Keys to a perfect comic book movie.
My opinions on what makes a perfect comic book movie. Contains some fan fic
False, as Dwight from the office would say. This is a trick question because there is no such thing as a perfect comic book movie. Yes, you ‘re reading me correctly. There is no such thing as a perfect comic book movie. Fan boys ruin stuff (like the dreaded Marvel/DC war), and this is coming from a fan boy himself. According to some of the ridiculous demands and wishes for some movies, no comic book movie to date has been perfect. Which brings me to the reason for this editorial. I’m here to voice my opinions of what can make a damn good comic book movie.
I wont be discussing technical aspects of film such as editing, cinematography, etc. Instead, I’ll be mainly discussing writing, because it is the backbone of any story the movie could possibly have. Which brings me to the point, why are some CBM’s horribly written? There are years worth of stories to pull from (with obvious updates to the probably dated/cheesy dialogue). What is that you say? “If I wanted an exact copy of the story I would just go read the comic book”. That is true, but I’m not asking for an exact copy. This is what Christopher Nolan has done well with his Batman trilogy. He’s taken inspiration from storylines and adapted them for to be involved in an original story (Killing Joke and Long Halloween are two of the books that inspired the direction he took The Dark Knight). Now is his Batman trilogy perfect CBMs? Arguably no and people who argue that they're not have different reasons for doing so. Zack Snyder’s Watchmen is another example. Is it an exact copy of the graphic novels story? Just about sans the SPOILER giant alien octopus. Then again, there’s not much you could have done trying to adapt the movie any other way and not have it turn out to weird. Joss Whedon also did an excellent job of writing Avengers (obviously Marvel gave him a particular guideline to follow but it was majority his own writing).
Another problem with writing is when too many characters (including villains) are shoehorned into the story. As we all know, the third X-Men and Spider-man films suffered from this. It can be ok to have a lot of characters in a movie, as long as your fine with picking one that’s going to get the short end of the stick as far as development goes. Unless preexisting and known to fans, a general set up has to be done to introduce said characters to the audience. Now the intro can be small (like Hawkeye in Thor or in the beginning of Avengers), but the character must be developed decently enough in the movie so the intro doesn’t feel useless and the character is underdeveloped (here’s looking at you Sinestro). Now I understand with some storylines have a plethora of characters (Avengers vs. X-Men has had about 8 active people from each team interacting with one another) but there comes a time when you have to decide how to structure the stories and who actually needs one.
Example. Since Sony may or may not be putting out a Venom movie, this is how I would do their ASM franchise.
Movie 1 (The Amazing Spiderman) would have Peter out of high school (we know how he got his powers for Christ’s sake) and in college. He works at the Bugle selling photos of Spidey to attempt to pay tuition. Now I’m going to go with the fan favorite Green Goblin with hints at Venom. How, you say? We can show Brock striking out at chances to get front-page pictures (we don’t need an in depth background check for him) to already show he’s on thin ice at the Bugle (Bugle subs for Daily Globe). Now remember those Sin Eater murders? Well for all intensive purposes we change them to the Goblin murders (to incorporate Normans story, which will obviously be developed more but wont be mentioned here). Now Brock gets a tip from someone who says they know the Goblins identity. Brock goes on a goose chase and brings in false info on the identity (which can lead to a humorous scene regarding the reveal of the real Goblin after Spiderman has defeated him). Brock is fired and voices his hatred for Spiderman. During the film there is a little tidbit when JJ brings up his son is the captain of a space shuttle that’s coming back from a visit to the moon to retrieve some sort of substance (TAS route). Mid credit sequence can be the ship entering the atmosphere when black goo overtakes the passengers and results in what looks to be an inevitable crash landing on earth.
Movie 2 (The Spectacular Spiderman) would begin with the ship crashing and Spiderman rushing to the scene to help. He can get the substance on his suit, think its mud or something and go back home. This movie will revolve around the changes Parker goes through while wearing the symbiote. Everything leading up to Brock getting it can be similar to TAS episode of him being in the church. Later half of the movie will deal with Brock playing mind games with Parker. The final fight needs to be climatic and Brock needs to be separated from the suit and locked up, assuming in a far away jail that can deal with this type of thing. Or it could be in a NY jail with them holding the symbiote until a science team from somewhere else can take ownership of it.
Venom Spin-off (maybe with a Separation Anxiety subtitle, don’t want to get hopes up though) will just be about Brock dealing with not having the suit for a short time, before procuring it again and breaking out and find his way back to Parker. The Spiderman: Birth of Venom TPB will be the main inspiration for this. Mid credit sequence: Cletus Kasady is thrown in Brocks old jail cell, unbeknown to him and Brock that the symbiote gave birth. The Carnage symbiote bonds with Kasady as we get the maniacal laugh to end it.
Movie 3 (The Sensational Spiderman) begins with Brock finally being back in NY and finding Parker. He starts the mind games again, scaring Mary Jane, making unannounced visits to Aunt Mays while Peter is there, etc. They have a fight early on but end up needing to team together once word around NY begins about the “NY Carnage Massacres” and a TV team gets footage of him. This can end a number of ways, I’ll go with them walking away but vowing to lock up/put an end to one another.
Now you may or may not like the direction I’d write the stories, but that can be one way of blending previous material into a film that can be enjoyed by fans (I’m a amateur screenplay writer that has yet to commit time to any one idea that I have therefore I haven’t had criticism on my actual writing). Costumes and all that other jazz are apart of technical aspects I will not speak on, but as far as writing is concerned, that’s really the main thing that is cared about. There are different reasons behind terrible writing, we often blame directors or screenplay writers but we also justly blame studios as well. Remember, Raimi didn’t want Venom in Spiderman 3 but Sony made him include him in the movie, which lead to rewrites and the film we love to hate. There are more stories about studio interference as well (GI Joe 2) and there’s really nothing that can be done about it as far as I see it. There will still be people that will go and support these movies and while no CBM will probably ever be perfect, I personally have my criteria in what I consider to top-notch CBM production.
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