Is accuracy in comic book movies important?

DISSERTATION HELP!!!At this point in time there has been a multitude of comicbook movies have the successes been attributed to faithful adaptations?

Hello all,

I was hoping some of you could help me. I am writing a disseration for university, the objective of which is to examine the many depictions of comicbooks on the big and small screen and whether their accuracy contributed to their success or if taking liberties was a positive. I have gathered a selection of films from my dvd library and have paired them up with comicbooks and graphic novels that share story points or are direct influences e.g Batman begins and Batman Year One, The Avengers and The Ultimates, The Dark Knight and The long Haloween. Watchmen one of the most faithful adaptations to date and loved by fans made a very mediocre return at the box office and critics werent enamoured by it.

In many cases such as the first 2 xmen films and Xmen First Class their lack of percieved accuracy didnt hinder their success where as Green Lantern which was pretty faithful to whats established in the comicbook was a failure.

I wanted to find a wide enough selection of like minded people to gain a variety of opinions on what makes a good adaptation, as being faithful isnt always the blueprint to success. If anyone would like to let me know what their favourite comicbook film is and whether any particular factors contributed that would be appreciated.

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Name - 11/7/2012, 12:57 PM
Thank you
GoILL - 11/7/2012, 1:16 PM
It's not to important for me personally. If these movies have things that I know from the source they are adapting then i'm good.
marvel72 - 11/7/2012, 1:55 PM
i don't mind slight changes to the source i.e the walking dead,watchmen,spider-man,spider-man 2,blade,captain america the first avenger,superman the movie,300,sin city,iron man,the avengers,batman begins,the dark knight,v for vendetta,kick ass & the crow.

but films that take a piss with the source annoy me i.e x-men first class,fantastic four,fantastic four 2,spider-man 3,x-men 3,the dark knight rises,superman returns & so on.
Preston - 11/7/2012, 2:44 PM
I think that to die-hard fans of a particular character or team, it matters to a point.

Like Marvel72 pointed out:

Most fans are okay with movies that tell new stories as long as they don't take huge liberties with the characters. For example, you don't turn Batman into an arthritic quitter who is scarred of the bad guy, you don't give superman a kid and make him a creepy-stalker, you don't make Galactus into a cloud of burning crap, you don't call an x-men team “first class” when none of the original members are present, and you don't turn the merc with a mouth into a mute.

You can't violate who the characters are at their core.

I think that irritates the fan base more than anything else.

I'm sure it's possible to turn, lets say, Lex Luthor into an alien slug creature and make a great movie that critics love; however, the fans will want that director's head on a stake.
kong - 11/7/2012, 2:53 PM
To the fans it's accuracy, to the mainstream audience it's whatever trailer looks more bad ass
MaximusRodd - 11/7/2012, 3:01 PM
Accuracy is necessary as long as it is not distracting. If there is no need for a change, yet they do it, that is just a pissy new director who needs to make a mark.
dezdigi - 11/7/2012, 3:08 PM
I mostly agree with Wormwood, except for the critique of TDKR. I think it still was a great representation of Batman. I likened it to the Batman from Frank Miller's The Dark Knight. I guess it's still all a matter of opinion, but I know about half the users of this sight would agree with me.
I think most successful adaptations walk a fine line of knowing what to change and what to keep from the source material. It's hard to say when it's ok and when it's not. Halle Berry's version of Catwoman-sacreligious, The Dark Knight's depiction of the Joker-genius!
Preston - 11/7/2012, 3:43 PM

The Dark Knight Returns was nothing like The Dark Knight Rises. In fact, those two bat products should never be mentioned in the same breath.

DK Rises was pure rubbish. It rates as one of the worst Batman movies that I have ever seen (I put it between Batman&Robin and Forever. There is so much that is wrong with the movie that thinking about it pi$$es me off.

Batman in the Dark Knight Return is Batman (Bruce Wayne is just a shell). In the Nolan-verse, Batman is just a suit for a millionaire with some anger issues brought on by the death of his parents.

In the Dark Knight Returns Batman is basically forced into retirement along with the other heroes; at the age of 50, he is walking around looking for fights with goons and racing race cars. In the Dark Knight Rises he quits after one year of being Batman and that one year destroys his body to the point that he walks around with a cane.

Please, don't compare those two versions of Batman [you don't know what you are talking about].
Preston - 11/7/2012, 3:56 PM
Before I'm asked to clarify by some Nolanite (just listen to this):

Spideyguy94 - 11/7/2012, 4:04 PM
I can accept certain changes to the source if It has to for adaptation purposes, because some things that work in a comic book don't work on the big screen, which is why i was fine with the watchmen ending. Zack Snyder said it best about the ending, what is more important the giant squid? Or ozymandias killing millions of innocent people and getting away with it? Those types of changes are fine, changes I hate are stuff like X3 where they completely butcher the characters and the storyline there adapting. Other changes I don't mind are stuff like the dark knight trilogy where the characters are done justice from the comics but the setting and storylines are changed.
FrozenJoy - 11/7/2012, 4:20 PM
It DOES matter! DUH!
SageMode - 11/7/2012, 4:33 PM
No comic book movie is gonna be 100% accurate to the source material, but it pisses me off when the movie completely deviates and strays far away from iconic characterizations of the characters, story plots, and aesthetics from the comics to where it almost seems to be a completely different subject matter on its own.
Name - 11/7/2012, 4:44 PM
I appreciate these comments I knew this would spark discussion because the topic isnt cut and dry. Why is a film like xmen first class seen in a better light than watchmen to some when as someone above mentioned its only first class in name? I just finished watching daredevil on film 4 and I enjoyed it immensely as I always do. Its pretty accuate to what I feel daredevil and the world he inhabits is. This film however is seen as being rubbish to the majority of people.
Tainted87 - 11/7/2012, 7:34 PM
Yes and no.
At the end of the day, a comic book movie is still just a movie. It is meant to either entertain, stimulate thoughts and emotions, or both. The mistake many people make is thinking of comic book movies as something different. You don't need accuracy to be successful - just look at Transformers.

Unfortunately, it's kind of a crap-sack world, and many viewers are sheep. At some point in time, everyone is, and not a great percentage evolve past it, nor does anyone really STAY above that status for too long. If there's a "trustworthy" source, people will give just about anything a shot.

That is why appeal is so damn important in Hollywood, and why the more thought-provoking films have an EXTREMELY limited release and budget. Advertising. It's not just about putting signs in Subway and Wal-Mart, or inventive billboards in populated areas - it is about showing off something that will appeal to ANYONE, whether they have read the comics or know absolutely NOTHING about the characters in question.

A movie trailer is the most important part of this. For me, a big turn off from TASM was Gwen Stacy's involvement in Peter's wannabe superhero life. When a movie trailer reveals that Gwen knows Spider-man's true identity, I get a little antsy. One of the biggest tragedies in Spider-man comics is her death, and how she died not knowing that the two were one in the same, and hated Spider-man for his indirect involvement in her father's death. For non-fans, this revelation meant nothing.

Sin City - one of the most obscure graphic novels to be adapted into a movie, was almost word for word, panel by panel faithful. Let's face it - most teens had never picked up any of the hard-boiled Frank Miller material, nor did they even care about it. Watch this trailer:

For all of its pulpy dialogue and narrations, all the gritty action... observe what happens at the end of the trailer.
Name - 11/8/2012, 2:27 AM
Thanks a lot, alot of interesting thoughts here.
Name - 11/8/2012, 2:36 AM
Tainted, do you meantthe sin city logo with Frank millersname in the corner or all the stars names that flash upon screen?
Orphix - 11/8/2012, 5:18 AM
My point of view has always focused on the quality of the story and the film. Everything else is just window dressing.

Why try to emulate the comic book exactly when you are undoubtedly going to fail. If I want to see that story I'll just read the comic book.

As long as the essence of the character and themes are there then quite frankly that's all that matters.

For an example I always look towards Kubrick's The Shining. It plays very fast and loose with the source material but is an amazing film. If even makes a point of disowning Stephen King's original novel within the movie itself.

Whereas Snyder's Watchmen was so faithful in places and reverential it felt like he was straitjacketed by the comic and unable to take chances and get creative.

Basically I always think that source material is just that - source!
Name - 11/8/2012, 5:51 AM
Why try to emulate the comic book exactly when you are undoubtedly going to fail. If I want to see that story I'll just read the comic book.


I agree with you there Orphix, an example i can think of is the 100% faithful animated adaptation of batman year one. I finshed watching that film and felt empty as personally i didnt see the rational behind a film nearly being word for word identical to the source. Reading the graphic novel was enough. I much prefered Batman under the red hood which i still belive is DC's best in their line of original animated movies. It made logical alterations to the source such as the lazarus pits revivng jason but it was still very accurate overall.
fortycals - 11/8/2012, 6:31 AM
Ive always like this debate. I look for a cbm to be a good movie first and foremost. A movie can be good without staying a hundred percent faithfull. A movie can be good staying a hundred percent faithfull. Most times I dont want a movie to be a retold story of what Ive read a hundred times. I look at a movie kinda like I look at the ultimate universe and 616. They are two completely different universes, so I dont get mad when the ultimate universe uses a character differently than the 616.

Where people run into problems is in artist interpitation/viewer interpitation. Once you get away from doing a panel to screen adaptation artist interpitation comes into play. People see different things in characters than others. Rouge in the xmovies is a prime example. Some people liked rouge because she was this "southern bombshell, that could kick everyones ass" The xmovie rouge would be a big dissapointment to you. If you were like me who always liked Rouge as "broken girl, still coming to grips with her powers and almost killing her first boyfriend" then you were not as dissapointed.
Tainted87 - 11/8/2012, 6:49 AM
The actors' names being shot across the screen in rapid succession. It screams: "all these people are in it! Go see!"
dezdigi - 11/8/2012, 8:30 AM
I don't need your permission to express my opinion. I've been reading Batman comics before you were even a dirty thought in your ol man's head.
TDKR was a critical and commercial success despite your intolerant opinion of it. That is a fact. That won't change.
I respect your differing opinion of the movie , but don't ever call me out son.
dezdigi - 11/8/2012, 10:31 AM
Sorry about the bickering on your thread. I hope we were helpful otherwise!
Name - 11/8/2012, 12:13 PM
Very helpful, there wasnt any full blown hatred i've seen on other threads.
Preston - 11/8/2012, 1:13 PM

If you haven't noticed, it's common for those that know very little outside of the cinematic universe (movies) to make claims about those characters or teams that are just not true.

a). They have a very low IQs and they can't compare and contrast the comics from the movies.
b). They are getting their information from the internet and assuming it's correct.

Either way, I do a lot of this:

Beyond a few nods to the comics, the Nolanverse Batman is nothing like his comic counterpart. I'll just go through some claims that Nolanites make (all the time):

1). Batman from the Dark Knight Returns is like the one we find in Rises (a quitter). Actually in Returns, he was forced into retirement [along with the other heroes] by Lex Luthor/President. He wanted to continue being Batman. It's why he RETURNS after he realizes that he can't live the charade of being Bruce Wayne. In the actual time-line, Batman fought his way back from death (the omega-beam), just to be Batman.

In the movie, Bruce is talking about wanting to retire, and live the good life with Rachael from the moment he puts on the Batsuit. After her death, about a year into his career as the bat, she dies, and he quits.

2). The motivation of the Nolanverse Batman is the same as his comic counterpart. The Batman from the comics is motivated by the death of his parents.

The nolanverse Batman is motivated by Dawe's vagina. He wants to quit to be with her as a husband, and he, actually, quits when she dies. The Batman from the comic would have lost himself in his work, hitting the streets harder than ever before (not moping around like some depressed loser).

3). Bruce Wayne's story is more important than Batman. Actually, Bruce Wayne is a husk. Batman has actually considered shedding the Bruce Wayne persona on several occasions because the Bruce Wayne cover was getting in the way of his work. Therefore, it is way more accurate to depict the hero shedding the Bruce persona than the Batman persona. Bruce Wayne died the day his parents were murdered, and in his place we were left with a tormented and obsessed individual. Bruce Wayne is dead.

In the Nolanverse, he is a rich guy with orphan issues trying to balance his personal life with vigilantism.

4). Scott Snyder's Batman is just like Nolan's Batman. Actually, the court of owls is a story that involves reanimating the dead. How can they even make that comparison?!? Are they serious?!?
Name - 11/8/2012, 1:49 PM
Wormwood, thanks for your insight. Personally i can appreciate what Nolans done for Batman on film but i have never been as let down as i was when i saw TDKR. I understand that Nolans bat world is bleak but his first two films kept me captivated as a viewer and were much more akin to superhero films imo. I was very bored in the last one and for the first time since his series strated i really was looking forward to a new director.
DrDoom - 11/8/2012, 3:16 PM
When creating a comic book movie, you need to stay true to the essence of the characters and keep the thematic truth of the plots. You don't need to copy the comics point for point, but the characters, settings and stories need to be fully recognizable and thematically synonymous.
FirstAvenger - 11/8/2012, 3:20 PM
As long as you get character right it doesn't matter. That's why I liked The Amazing Spider-Man they got the characters right but they slightly changed the story.
Tainted87 - 11/8/2012, 7:50 PM
You've got me scratching my head, and it's not dandruff.

TASM butchered the characters. Peter is a JERK, not just the average self-centered teenager, but a complete asshole with ZERO heroic qualities - except when the movie needed something to sell in the previews. He's a thief, a shoplifter, a vandal, a stalker, not to mention being incredibly dangerous to everyone around him.
Gwen Stacy, who in every comic, had NO idea Peter was Spider-man, is in fact, the first (or second?) to learn his identity here. Instead of being her own person, she is now a shelter for Peter.
Curt Connors (who has a son in a deleted scene) makes no mention of his family - family who proved particularly important to his lizard transformations early on and later down the line.

The only characters I liked were George Stacy and Ben Parker - and they're both dead now.
fortycals - 11/9/2012, 5:56 AM
Now can you see what i mean everyone has a different view of what a character is and isnt. So when you get away from 100% accuracy, you are going to take something or add something that one person likes and the next dislikes. Thats why I go in with an open mind and judge the movie against itself. Not against the comic, not against what was or could have been. Green lantern, x3, and a few others get a bad rap, but i think its for not living up to what they should/could have been. They were ok movies that never lived up to the sources epicness, so that makes an ok movie seem worse than it really is.
FirstAvenger - 11/9/2012, 8:28 AM
Tainted87 Peter was a jerk but that's because he has problems and doesn't know how to deal with them like most teenagers. He became a hero when he stopped looking for his Uncle's killer. Spider-Man is always endangering is love ones. As for Gwen knowing his secret identity that's what they changed I said they CHANGED the story! And with Dr Conners family that was just bad editing.
What makes him a vandal and a stalker?
Tainted87 - 11/9/2012, 9:23 PM
Wrong, he has yet to become a hero. His bridge rescue was COMPLETELY out of character for what was in the movie - something that jumped in and left as fast as it arrived. Like his powers on the subway, or the busted sink.

And sorry, while some teens have their own problems - this was just too much of me, me, me, me... and from out of nowhere. Peter's been an orphan since he was a little kid. He lives with his aunt and uncle, who have taken him in like he was their own son. There is absolutely NOTHING in the movie that his aunt or uncle did to warrant any of the reactions they get from Peter.

They put up with his bullshit remote-activated deadbolt on his room, and when he starts acting weirder because of his powers, they just go with it. Suddenly the briefcase means that all of his life was a "lie", that he's been wronged by his family, and it's just stupid petulance. And fine, I'll accept that irrational behavior as being a teenager, but that is one particularly good reason WHY any reboot should have started with a much older Peter Parker.

How is he a vandal and a stalker? The vandal part might not have been too big a deal, but he's got his own logo/symbol painted on buildings.

The stalking part, I really shouldn't have to explain, but here goes. He finds a picture of Dr Connors with his father, so he poses as someone else to get into Oscorp as an intern to see him. Sorry, but I don't buy that as normal behavior for a high-schooler. But we're supposed to accept that, not only then, but make for larger allowances down the road. Such as when Peter shows up at Connors' HOME, completely uninvited, with the good doctor not having even made a single bit of invitation towards that kind of visitation.

Then there are the bits with Gwen, where she turns around and boom - there he is, peeking in through her window - which is not exactly anywhere near ground level. Creepy.

He is completely motivated by selfish reasons - and when he stops the Lizard, it is because Connors is planning on poisoning the entire population of Manhattan. He makes a promise to Gwen's dying father that he'll stay away from his daughter, and then ends up breaking it before the credits roll. Peter didn't evolve into anything.
FirstAvenger - 11/10/2012, 3:43 PM
Ok Tainted, that's your opinion I have no problem with that.
Tainted87 - 11/10/2012, 9:14 PM
Those circumstances were created to justify Batman giving it up. Like I say, a Gotham City that doesn't need Batman isn't Gotham.
Yeaton10 - 11/11/2012, 6:39 PM
That is an interesting question, and I'd like to point out there are three components. 1) If it is not a good movie, no will watch it: fans won't watch, and no else will watch. 2) Fans familiar with the characters who love the characters are certainly more like likely to want to see the movie it is faithful to the characters. 3) People might want a story changed so they do not know how the story ends. Assuming, the work is an action adventure, surprise can help the story.

Since you are writing a dissertation you have some interest in movies like Persepolis based on graphic novels that are not action adventures. Exceptions aside, most comic book movies are action adventures, and some movie goers do like surprises in that kind of movie.

Personally, I even enjoy changes in core story. For example, I enjoyed Robin who was not Robin in The Dark Knight Rises. Of course, I appreciated that there was strong sense of Batman and Catwoman as they appear in comics. When they deviate too far from character they usually end up with a poor product (examples: Catwoman (the movie) and Fantastic 4 2).

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