EDITORIAL: Does Source Material Matter In CBM’S As Much As We Think?
Oh boy, I am going to get castrated for this. So, just be aware, in the comments, to be respectful and mindful, but yes, definitely debate. Also, read the article before commenting. Last article people were saying things that I clarified in the article. So..
While discussing CBM’s, the number one thing brought up is source material. While it does matter, does it matter as much as we think? In the third of the series, BatmanHeisenberg looks at this complex issue. Hit the jump for more!
Depending on who you ask, people will want Comic Book Movies to follow comics as gospel all the way to minimal or no care for source material. This site, I have noticed has a lot more of the former. Just last year, huge debates were taken over the Mandarin twist in Iron Man 3. While I was one to dislike it, it wasn't for it’s journey away from the source material, rather, I felt I liked the new interpretation Ben was giving, and didn't really like Killian.
But enough about that. The point is, both side’s main ammo was source material. The same is with Superman killing Zod in Man of Steel. Again, both sides used source material as the main argument for their arguments. And as you go back in time, you see a pattern. Fans clamor over what is and isn’t faithful, and get into very heated debates, but now, to get to the main point of this article...
DOES IT MATTER AS MUCH AS WE THINK?
In my opinion, while it does matter to an extent, it isn’t really as important as we make it. First and foremost, what is true source material? While there is usually the main continuity, characters are retconned, rebooted, altered and so on and so forth. Take Batman for example, he is someone who has been changed a thousand times in the comics, and while some elements remain intact, there is no DEFINITIVE VERSION.
So even if a film doesn’t follow what you consider to be source material, does that mean a film doesn’t follow another? Filmmakers look to Elseworld’s stories and older continuity where characters were VERY different a lot of the time.
So, with that in mind, there is, with very big popular characters, there isn’t much of a definitive version. Characters change, and while some or a lot of elements remain the same is really dependant on the character in question. But even if a character is pretty new, and is pretty definitive, does the filmmaker have to follow the source material as gospel?
A lot of people who fan-cast like to cast actor’s to be completely comic accurate as in they are typecast and look EXACTLY like their comic-book counterpart. As our their stories, often times direct adaptations of comic series or graphic novels. But I view this as not thinking outside the box.
For example, The Dark Knight Trilogy took several liberties from the source material, and stayed the same in many ways. One liberty it took was the one where Bruce’s parents died. While it WAS practically completely comic accurate, it took one, and crucial change. Bruce asked to leave before hand, afraid of the bats in the play. That simple, small change, I felt, added a LOT more depth to Bruce’s character, feeling sorrow AND guilt instead of just sorrow.
And many more liberties have been taken in the Dark Knight trilogy and CBM’s in general, both big and small, which, often, can add a lot more depth to a character(s) in question, but make the mythology much more real-world and logical, and can also make changes to the comics for the better.
Another example of this is in the acclaimed TV series, Batman: The Animated Series. If some fan made it completely comic accurate, we wouldn’t have Harley Quinn, a fan favorite. She was introduced in the series, and became an icon, and eventually got launched in the regular continuity itself.
As you can see, straying from the comic’s can be good. A thing I have noticed is if we had films following the comic’s exactly, which is tying a rope around a film-maker’s throat, not giving them freedom, how is it any fun? We aren’t doing anything new, just the same thing we have seen before. Instead of adding to the character and his/her mythos, possibly even making them better, we just do the same thing as in the comics, what is exciting about it? We read it before, why do we need to again, but with audio and special effects?
What I have always felt about comic book movies pertaining to source material is that the core of the character is the most important. No matter of gender switching, race changing or whatever to get more demographics will change my opinion as long as they respect the true character, strip away all the history, all the retcon’s and reboots and so forth, we have the core of the character.
By core of the character, I mean their intentions, reactions, opinions so on and so forth. As long as a CBM gets that down and done, I will ride along and watch it. And even the core is something not pinpointed as being definitive, as I said earlier. It can also be changed, not just the outside details.
So hopefully I persuaded one or two people, I enjoyed writing this piece, and really take in what I said, don’t be rude in the comments. Thanks for reading!
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