The Issue of Realism In Comic Book Movies

The Issue of Realism In Comic Book Movies

Last year, moviegoers everywhere were treated to arguably the best summer of comic book super hero blockbusters in Hollywood history. Is Hollywood finally realizing that treating the subject with respect is a winning strategy? read on for my take..

Webs were slung, shields were thrown, and backs were broken as audiences were engrossed in the plights of characters formerly followed only by so-called “nerds.” It seems that with each passing year, comic book movies are being treated with more and more respect, and with that respect, more inclusion into what cinephiles would consider to be “cinematic art.”

Since comic book super hero films are now gaining credibility alongside big box office returns, they have consequently ushered themselves into the realm of criticism normally reserved for art house films, historical epics, and stereotypical “Oscar contenders.” Amidst the wealth of criticism surrounding each major CBM release, one word tends to pop up more often than in previous years: realism.

Aside from smaller 2012 CBM releases like Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance and Dredd, three of the larger-than-life heavyweight contenders saw releases along with general critical praise: The Amazing Spider-Man, The Avengers, and The Dark Knight Rises. Upon reading reviews and listening to audience reactions, two of these three films were regularly associated with the term “realistic.” “The Amazing Spider-Man is the gritty, realistic take on the character,” some said. “The Dark Knight Rises continues Christopher Nolan’s realistic take on Batman,” others explained. Coincidentally, the two “realistic” films (TDKR especially) seemed to take more “plot-centric” criticism then their Marvel-created competition, but why?

When Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings trilogy began back in 2001, audiences and critics alike were amazed. Like CBM’s, it was a story of fantasy adapted from a pre-established work that saw huge success in print. Despite showcasing what some might consider “plot holes” or flaws of logic (like the question Family Guy’s Chris asks in the episode, “Baby Not on Board” that points out that Frodo and Sam could have just ridden the giant bird from the end of Return of the King to get to Mordor instead of walking all the way there) most audiences tended not to question the choices made by the filmmaker or the characters regarding the plot; they just simply enjoyed the ride.
So, why search through every ounce of The Dark Knight Rises in attempts to highlight every “plot hole?” Why not treat The Avengers with just as critical an eye? Here’s my opinion:

Whether a director knows they are doing it or not, by the time their film has reached its first plot point (if not much earlier), they have effectively established what I like to call, “the rules of the game.” Each film may have an entirely different set of rules, and some films may even intentionally (or mistakenly if the director sucks that bad…cough…Michael Bay...cough) break those rules. Essentially, these rules act as a stepping-off point for the level of the suspension of disbelief of the audience. From the beginning of Martin Scorsese’s Goodfellas, we are made aware that Ray Liotta’s Henry Hill will be narrating the tale, thus making what’s happening on screen essentially a flashback (since if he’s telling us the story, it must have already happened). This is the main rule of Goodfellas until the end of the film, when Henry steps down from the witness stand during a trial and begins talking directly to the camera; an action he has not done during the entire film until now, thus showcasing Martin Scorsese intentionally breaking his own rule (to great effect).

The first aspect of the “rules” for both The Avengers and TDKR has to be mentioned: the fact that they’re both sequels. The Marvel films that led up to The Avengers (Iron Man, The Incredible Hulk, Iron Man 2, Captain America: The First Avenger, and Thor) each had “rules” that fell in line with those seen in Avengers (thanks mostly to Thor’s “realm-jumping” adventures). Therefore, the omission of the massive levels of civilian death that most likely occurred during the Chitauri invasion weren’t questioned by many. By the same token, The Dark Knight Rises was preceded by two films that basically coined the new Hollywood sub-genre, hyper-realism. The Joker was no longer looked at as a crazy clown but instead, a terrorist.

Now let’s apply the analysis of the “rules” to last summer’s major contenders (as viewed by general audiences, not hardcore fans). In the opening scene of The Avengers, despite having previously never seen any ounce of Thanos or his servant The Other in prior Marvel films, the audience is given a glimpse of some sort of structure in space along with a voice-over from The Other who refers to Earth as a “little world, a human world,” and goes on to say, “…and the Humans, what can they do, but burn.” Instantly, some of the rules of the film are established. The audience now knows that not only will this story involve space in some way, but some sort of evil alien(s) as well. The audience is immediately informed that this film most likely won’t be compared to a film like 1995’s Heat (Like 2008’s The Dark Knight was) but instead to a film like 2000’s X-Men, 2005’s Fantastic Four, or even 1997’s Men in Black. Therefore, when Dr. Bruce Banner makes it to New York City on a moped and “happens” to meet up with the rest of the team during a massive alien invasion, most moviegoers tend not to question the remarkable coincidence.
When Bruce Wayne makes it back to the blocked-off, terrorist-seized Gotham City after escaping the “Hell on Earth” pit prison (seemingly somewhere in the Middle East), an overabundance of heads were scratched and in my opinion, rightfully so. The opening action scene of The Dark Knight Rises (right after the quick scene involving the tribute to Harvey Dent), with its dismantling of a plane mid-flight, featured theatrics more commonly compared to a James Bond film than that of a superhero movie. The use of practical effects as opposed to/in tandem with computer generated visuals was evident, and the actions and dialogue of Tom Hardy’s Bane ensured a “Dark Knight/Jokeresque” implication of a terrorist, not a diabolical super-villain. The tone or “rules” were established early in TDKR as was the case in The Avengers, therefore moviegoers were willing to hold the rest of each film to those sets of standards.

It was reported recently that David S. Goyer, writer of this summer’s Man of Steel and Christopher Nolan’s Bat-trilogy, told the press in some capacity that his take on Superman will be done so within the basis of reality. In the comments section below, some CBM fans were outraged, others were excited, and everyone felt strongly one way or the other. Judging from Goyer’s comments, the rules of Man of Steel have already been hinted at, and that makes me feel just as nervous about the film as I once was only excited. Why the sudden cautiousness? Well, if Goyer wants to base Man of Steel in reality, then he has to realize that he must keep that rule in mind from start to finish. In my opinion, it seemed as though he completely lost sight of his own pre-established rules over the course of TDKR. So, if we see scenes during Man of Steel featuring people who interact with Clark Kent on a daily basis never questioning his uncanny resemblance to Superman, expect heavy criticisms in the following reviews.

So, what is the conclusion of all this? Well, despite some people asking how a comic book movie involving super powers and flashy costumes can include criticisms regarding realism, it is my opinion that realism in films cannot be perceived as one set standard; it must be applied on a case-by-case basis. Realism in film should not be looked at as “the likeliness of plot details to occur within reality,” but instead as “the likeliness of characters’ actions, reactions, and interaction with the plot, setting, and other characters, while keeping the director’s intent in mind.” Perhaps if respected film critics would view CBM’s through this scope, they may not only find a higher level of appreciation evident in their reviews, but also a better understanding of the CBM community as well.
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Alphadog - 2/3/2013, 1:03 PM
That is precisley what have been telling my friends for months. Good article bro.
CavEl - 2/3/2013, 1:24 PM
First of all, Goyer didn't write The Dark Knight Rises. That was Jonathan Nolan, Goyer was busy writing Man of Steel.

Secondly, I can guess you're not a Superman fan or you would know how writers have handled Superman's SID for years. The people of Metropolis and the world assume Superman is Superman...ALL THE TIME. Why would a god want to work in a struggling paper company from 9-5 when he doesn't need money? You know Superman is Clark Kent because you have been told that your whole life.

Honestly, find a reason why a God would want to disguise himself as a man.
Paulley - 2/3/2013, 1:43 PM
Bruce banner didn't just happen to meet up with the rest of the team. he knew the location of the portal before tony figured it out.

anyway "realism" is a subjective term dependent of the rules of the universe its applied.
tonytony - 2/3/2013, 2:10 PM
@knight of steel. I and my bros all love arrow. More importantly we love the ambition and that is a credible series. I watch every episode and love it.

The author of thread is right about avengers being given a pass when if you looked at it with the same critical eye you would find what people have called "plot holes" all over avengers.

fortycals - 2/3/2013, 5:08 PM
While I dont hate the term(realism) or the attemps to add realism to movies, I do hate when people use the term to bash the source. alot of comicbook writers do ground their characters in reality, as much as most of the movies that try to use that claim. Its like they use the term to distance themselves from the books. Some use the term to bash the source, like they are above it or ashamed of it.
Tainted87 - 2/3/2013, 6:55 PM
Ah, realism.

You made an EXCELLENT point about setting up and obeying (or not obeying) the "rules" and expectations of a movie, and I'm going to go a bit further with it, if you don't mind.

See, Goyer and Nolan wrote Batman Begins, with the intention of presenting the idea of Batman in a "real world", as they've said on a number of occasions. The big trouble with this is the corner they paint themselves into, and as their Alfred would say, they got lost inside that monster of theirs.

They're limitations become shackles, and those shackles become definitions upon success, bad examples upon failure. As anyone can see, the Nolan trilogy has been anything BUT a failure both critically and financially. Therefore, the limitations have become definitions: this is what you do if you want to make a "realistic" version of a superhero.

Unfortunately, it gets very boring. You look at Arrow and you see some cool action now and then, but the acting is so terrible, the lines are so cringe-worthy, the characters so bland - and it becomes very apparent that this schematic is not for everyone, and certainly not for every actor.

Look at Green Lantern. I know you don't want to, but try, at least. You'll see that the "real world" is actually just as intelligent there as it is in the Nolan trilogy, and the characters react to circumstances almost exactly as you'd expect them to. But the "real world" problems follow, or rather obnoxiously follow. Who is a more realistic character? Daggett or Senator Hammond? I'd say they are equally balanced, equally clueless, and equally stupid. It's a shame, because I know Tim Robbins is capable of so much more, and I know Martin Campbell is in my mind, responsible for the best James Bond movie to date.

I'm not concerned about Man of Steel - it's just the legacy Nolan has left the comic book movie genre is without proper guidance, like kids playing with loaded weapons. It's not about superpowers, whether a costume has color or is muted as though you've been staring at the sun for too long.... it's about the other characters who are just so damn boring and awful.

Simply put: Raimi had JK Simmons, Nolan had Colin McFarlane.
Bam - 2/3/2013, 7:41 PM
Great article, I think people get too caught up in realism nowadays and forget that movies are escapism art.
FirstAvenger - 2/3/2013, 8:50 PM
Wow jdog and tainted got deep on us! Good read man.
Wallymelon - 2/4/2013, 12:24 AM
B-E-A-utiful article my friend!
Happy11 - 2/4/2013, 8:21 AM
Goyer co wrote the story with Chris Nolan, but it was the Nolan bros that wrote the screenplay in other words it was goyer and nolan that laid the foundations for the script in that they when you write a story you are setting the premise not the words.
Tainted87 - 2/4/2013, 3:33 PM
Hey congrats on making main!
LAXtremest - 2/4/2013, 3:37 PM
I can't believe people are still saying Banner just randomly met up with the team.
SageMode - 2/4/2013, 3:39 PM
Realism is needed when dealing with adapting a comic book franchise into a live-action movie to a certain extent. But when you dismiss the fantastical elements and iconism that made that franchise popular and well-liked and known, then that a slap in the face to the hardcore fans.

And lets face it, you'll find more hardcore Batman fans displeased with Nolan's vision of Batman as opposed to hardcore Avengers fans being displeased with Whedon's vision of The Avengers movie.
thewonderer - 2/4/2013, 3:49 PM
I want the Bane is nothing like Bane guy to explain to me how Mandarin in IM3 is anything like Mandarin.
thewonderer - 2/4/2013, 3:49 PM
Thats you KnightofSteel
Nick56 - 2/4/2013, 3:57 PM
"Realism" doesn't mean dark and gritty it simply means the character fits in with the world around him. Batman (and most DC characters) work best in a more real world where characters are flawed and not always accepted by the public; when this is deviated from we get things like Batman & Robin or Green Lantern - the world simply doesn't fit with the characters. As for Marvel, their characters tend to work best in a more cartoonish world, almost like a living comic book, often taking "fun" over substance. Thus the world need not be as serious. Again, when this is deviated from when get movies that just don't work such as Amazing Spider-Man.

There is no problem with realism, it just all depends on the character and the world they live in.
TDKRnry88 - 2/4/2013, 4:06 PM
Bruce trained on thin ice with Ra's al Ghul, is known for 'appearing' in multiple places at once and traveled the world for 7 years after renouncing his wealth... The only thing we don't know is how much time Bruce had to get back to Gotham.
SauronsBANE - 2/4/2013, 4:13 PM
Excellent article! I disagree on some points, but overall well done! I believe there's a difference between "realistic" and "realism," and I say Nolan was striving towards the latter. Obviously, it's not realistic for anyone to dress up as their biggest phobia in order to project that fear on criminals. Realism, on the other hand, is putting fantastical characters in a world much like our own, and see how it would play out based on the "rules" that we follow every day, the rules we don't even think about. Yes, the Joker became a terrorist rather than some crazy clown, but isn't that exactly how he would be portrayed by the media in our world? As for Man of Steel, yes it seems like it will be based on a world much like the real-world. But it has more to do with the REACTIONS of everyday people towards a fantastic, other-worldly character like Superman, rather than being strictly 'realistic' all the time. That's why I don't think we should be freaking out about it. Hopefully some of this actually made sense.
CPBuff22 - 2/4/2013, 4:35 PM
My BIGGEST problem with the Nolan Batman films was this; He made changes to beloved characters to make them seem more real only to then randomly throw reality out of the equation through out the series.

If you are going to turn the Batmobile into a Tumbler that can jump over the river and go roof top to roof top, then stick to that when the bridges are blown up. If you are going to bastardize Bane to make him more real, after he breaks Batmans vertebrae don't let the prisoner fix it with at forearm smash. If you are going to tell us that Batman has to be very deliberate on how he orders his mask as not to draw attention, don't later have him have a fleet of tumblers in military pain for no apparent reason.

That is my problem with Nolans Batman movies.
BlackHulk - 2/4/2013, 4:44 PM
While I loved the Avengers (saw it 4 times in the theater), I have to say that realism kept the movie from being epic. I can understand a director wanting to include realism in a sci fi movie as a means to cross over and attract fans of all kinds, but looking back at the Avengers, the team did not do anything that the police and military couldnt do for themselves. In other words, the powers of the Avengers werent fully shown throughout the movie.

Then there is Christopher Nolan's Batman... a classic example of when realism is overused. Not only was it overused, but it was inconsistent. So audiences wouldnt be able to accept villains like the Penguin and Dr. Freeze, but they can accept Batman coming back from a broken back injury within a few months time as well as him sneaking into a heavily fortified city with no money, means of transportation and somehow know where to find Catwoman? Give me a break.
SudsMerrick - 2/4/2013, 4:50 PM
My main problem with people using "realism" to de-construct the way a movie works in general (let alone movies based on comic books) is that "realism" is never fully used. PERIOD.

Movies exist in an elapsed time-frame for the most part due to exhibition times usually ranging from 80 minutes to three hours. What you come across because of this are realistic moments. Realism as a style? I don't what that would mean it takes work for things to not look realistic. Unless you're intentionally creating something that is not real and trying to make it appear so.

The best place to look for evidence of the SUPER-UNREALISTIC qualities of all movies isn't in the gadgetry, space ships or medical miracles of a broken-backed batman in a middle eastern cave but rather the dialogue of these films.

"No, *this* is your mask. Your real face is the one that criminals now fear. The man I loved - the man who vanished - he never came back at all. But maybe he's still out there, somewhere. Maybe some day, when Gotham no longer needs Batman, I'll see him again."

"Because he's the hero Gotham deserves, but not the one it needs right now. So we'll hunt him. Because he can take it. Because he's not our hero. He's a silent guardian, a watchful protector. A dark knight."

"Not a lot of people know what it feels like to be angry, in your bones. I mean, they understand, foster parents, everybody understands, for awhile. Then they want the angry little kid to do something he knows he can't do, move on. So after awhile they stop understanding. They send the angry kid to a boys home. I figured it out too late. You gotta learn to hide the anger, practice smiling in the mirror. It's like putting on a mask."

^No one talks like this except in theater or novels.

These are ideas and metaphors that wouldn't occur during any realistic conversation. They are monologues worked over and corrected.

Someone could phrase ideas like these in a similar manner but there would be some pause for thought between sentences or some stuttering. Some re-phrasing.

I would call the emotions realistic some-what. Sometimes the plot.

But I wouldn't consider the film realistic or hyper-realistic because that's exaggeration.

Exaggeration is probably a better word to use. Or as someone else stated escapist art.

I do enjoy these films. And there are ways to make films more realistic in a sense or even hyper-realistic. But the majority of mainstream films let alone comic-book films are not at that point.

To do say Superman; realistically, such as Man Of Steel may attempt to.

It would take an ALIEN ENTITY even if it looked like us YEARS to be trusted by most of the people in the U.S. and the world in general. Even if he was co-operative, even if he was helpful, because people barely trust each other.

In the modern world Superman could also not have a secret identity. Any appearance of Superman would be tracked by satellites. Governments would notice that he disappears for periods of time (to go be Clark Kent) and if he kept appearing in similar places as much intelligence on that location and that population would be gathered. If superman was able to have a secret identity it would require an incredible about of planning to maintain.

SauronsBANE - 2/4/2013, 4:51 PM
Yes he established that the Tumbler can jump over the river and fly off rooftops. I don't see what that has to do with the bridges blowing up though. Or at least, I'm not sure which specific example you're thinking of. I don't see any problems there though. The Tumbler is infinitely better than any past ideas of the Batmobile.

I think Nolan was basically forced to throw in the "Breaking the Bat's back" thing because fanboys would've exploded if that wasn't included. I'm not sure he really wanted to do that, or that his back was literally broken in two. Slipped/dislocated disks can actually be popped back into place, sure the punch to the back is very movie/comic book-ish, but it's not such an unbelievable leap to make. Certainly shouldn't ruin the movie for you.

It's established the Tumblers are military-funded. It's been 8 years since the last movie, over 9 since the Tumbler was first introduced. There's many reasons why Fox could've have some back-up Tumblers made and stored in the armoury. Or maybe they'd already been made, they just weren't the exact same "bridging vehicle" as the Tumbler (these new ones seem to be a different variant after all). Again, pick whatever reason you want. They're biggest sin was not explaining it on-screen. Not movie-ruining at all.
SageMode - 2/4/2013, 5:01 PM

The Chinese government is known for being extremely strict and asinine with censorships in their cinema with how theyre portrayed on screen.. they cut out parts of SKYFALL, PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN, and MIB3 to name a few because of scenes that they deemed offensive to the Chinese culture. And with Mandarin being the type of villain he is in the comics, they would more than like not show IM3 in China at all or cut out every single clips with the Mandarin in it. And would drastically affect its BO earnings if they went with the original idea.

That makes a more reasonable sense for change than due to pretentious story tellin.
stonedasyoda - 2/4/2013, 5:25 PM
Not to be a dick but realism in regards to film has nothing to do with applying our real world ideas onto something fantastical. Realism in film terms is something that reflects the world around us. What Superhero films are no matter how 'grounded in reality' they portray themselves to be are examples of Classicism in film.

Nolan's Batman trilogy is probably Realistic Classicism.

Realism get's thrown around too much and is always used incorrectly.
Rokdog - 2/4/2013, 5:34 PM
Do worry that whatever 'cred' comic book movies have gained recently could be undermined by a ray-gun toting squirrel and a space-ent.
thewonderer - 2/4/2013, 5:37 PM

I don't give a flying [frick] about the Chinese government. Most CBM villains are played by white or british actors, RACISM TOWARDS THOSE PEOPLE? No, its actually racist imo to CHANGE the oriental Mandarin. One of the few oriental super anythings is changed. Can someone show me how much China even contributes to the average Marvel movie? I highly doubt its enough to justify completely throwing away your character.

What about movie Mandarin not having any alien powers? Whats that got to do with the Chinese?

Bane was changed because besides the back break, he's a nobody in the Batman mythos. Mandarin is Iron Mans ARCHENEMY. Bane WAS NEVER popular, even the Arkham games treat him like shit, and now he is extremely popular due to Nolans reinterpretation which included Banes best moment, the break.

jdog127 - 2/4/2013, 5:39 PM
Thank you for all of your comments, positive and negative; I always appreciate any and all feedback. 2013 will be a great year for CBMs
TheRationalOne - 2/4/2013, 5:50 PM
Now THAT was a well written article. Good work.
TerminalVoyd - 2/4/2013, 6:13 PM
Agreed. And just because....

rkshuttleworth - 2/4/2013, 6:24 PM
PatriotsSuperguy - I could honestly tell you why God would want to become a man, but I am not sure that anyone here wants me to start preaching.
beane2099 - 2/4/2013, 6:52 PM
I completely agree. I feel that when you establish a universe with its own rules (even if they're not the ones of OUR universe), that's totally cool, so long as you adhere to your own rules. When you don't, the story loses credibility. I did not like TDKR for numerous reasons. I accept that others loved it; it just wasn't for me.

And I'll chime in with others on the Banner issue. Right before the hellicarrier was attacked, Banner saw the location of the cube. He was about to comment on it, but never got the chance. So it makes sense that he showed up at the battle. He knew where they'd be.
Gigacrusher45 - 2/4/2013, 6:53 PM
Great article. Just to give a note on the Lord of the Rings Eagles BS here's the answer.

The mission to destroy the ring was supposed to be secret. It's not secret anymore when the fellowship is plainly seen flying through the air.

The Ringwraith's can specifically sense the ring. They also FLY on dragon like creatures that could of attacked the eagles at any point. Eagles can't really fight with people on their backs.

Eagles are highly intelligent. They have their one society therefore there own problems in the war. They can't be giving rides to everyone 24/7. Yes maybe save someone important like Gandalf or help out during a important battle.

Also there's a giant eye watching mordor. Could easily see a flock of giant eagles.

Now I feel better hahaha. Once again great article.
SageMode - 2/4/2013, 6:55 PM

We'll just to wait and see, now don't we?
ToTheManInTheColdSweat - 2/4/2013, 7:16 PM
i don't give a [frick] about realism. as long as the cbm is good, then i am a-okay. it can be erotic, realistic, psychedelic... i still won't give a [frick]. just give me a damn good cbm.

CCR - 2/4/2013, 7:56 PM
Audiences are too jaded and cynical these days. Well, the intelligent ones anyways. But sometimes you're just too inquisitive for your own good. Go back and watch any of your favorite movies from the 80's for instance, look at it with the same overly-critical eye you seem to with the Nolan Batman, and I'd wager you'd come up with a LOT more plot inconsistancies and WTF moments. Film is a medium that needs a delicate balance between story and delivery. It's much more difficult to pull off live-action than comics or animation. In the world of Batman Begins we got the "rules" for the trilogy, they followed that as well as can be expected. In the translation, sure, some things must change, i.e. costumes, fantastical elements (Bane), but the core of Batman is intact, no matter what the purists think. Nolan made some damn good movies and you can't just enjoy what's right in front of you without overanalyzing. Think about THAT for a second guys.
And there aren't any "plotholes" in TDKR btw. You just have to pay attention, sometimes requiring multiple viewings, and it's all there. And the elements they don't show onscreen are meant to be plausible, and guess what? In the world set up in BB, everything can be explained if you just stop the need to be spoonfed every detail and THINK about it. There's not one problem I have with TDKR's plot, because it can ALL be explained. Do you really think they wrote the movie with plotholes knowing all the internet whiners are bound to cry about it? They know what they're doing, and most people know that too.
Platinum - 2/4/2013, 11:11 PM
Pretty damn good read, I myself am getting tired of people just reveling in the "realism" of CBM's as if just being "realistic" automatically makes for good drama.
Cyclops84 - 2/5/2013, 12:55 AM
@CCR - There is no way to explain how Bruce had the ability to get back to Gotham without a dime to his name.

Ok, I accept he could probably do that given he did it for 7 years before becoming Batman in BB. However, getting into Gotham City without any of his gadgets or resources undetected is definitely a stretch.

My problem is not with the concept of grounding the characters in reality. It's when you establish that your characters will behave as realistic as the world will allow and then break those rules. It makes those little plot holes and inconsistencies much less forgivable.
Ha1frican - 2/5/2013, 6:14 AM
I think CBM's should strive for realistic character interaction and drama but depending on the chaaracters needs it should be as liberal as it wants regarding physics or the actual workings of th world
jasonrage - 2/5/2013, 7:07 AM
niknik - 2/5/2013, 8:32 AM
The comic book superhero medium is one of FANTASY. Now you can inject aspects from real world life into them to make them more like real life in some aspects but the basis is and always will be too fantastic to be taken as "realistic", especially when super abilities are involved. Stan Lee FINALLY gave the medium that injection of real life back in the early 60's. It's been amped up since then, more and more every decade it seems.

There IS a point where the scales tip and the creators are trying too hard to "make it real" and the fantasy aspect suffers. When that happens they arent so "super" any more and a lot of the fun is taken out as well. In my opinion this happened to the Marvel Universe shortly after Avengers Disassembles where the world became a dark, dreary, catastrophie filled place eventually leading to heroes attacking heroes, and psychotic villains taking the "good guys" places. Not a fun place to escape to any longer.

Some people think that films require even MORE of a dose reality than the books. I disagree. Donners Superman was a huge hit and set the bar for decades, and it was VERY much like the comic book character it was sourced from. I think the same can hold true for the Hulk, Thor, Captain America, Spiderman and the rest. I don't need it to be as realistic as possible because I know this is Fantasy.

The more reality there is, the less fantasy there is. These two things ARE Mutually Exclusive. Producers must be careful walking that fine line.
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