I never thought I'd say this, but... I'm getting kind of sick of comic book movies.
Now, don't get me wrong - The first time I saw Wolverine pop his claws on the big screen in X-Men, I had an explosive nerd-gasm and fell to the floor in a puddle of my own sticky "web fluid".
But as of late, comic book movies (with a few obvious exceptions) have become watered down, easy to digest versions of themselves designed for the masses instead of the core demographic of fans that made them popular in the first place.
As a writer, I absolutely understand the need to appeal to a larger-than-target audience in order to make a buck. But I also understand that you can do so by presenting solid material that doesn't pander to the crowd or dumb down the content. Hollywood on the other hand seems hell bent on using the same tired two tricks in attempts to appeal to that larger audience, only to ultimately appeal to none.
The Reenvisioned Hero
Did you know that Jack Black was slated to be the Green Lantern?
Let that little stink-nugget sink in.
That's right, the Kung-Fu Panda invested his time and cash to play the Green Lantern, putting his own wacky take on the character. Which translates into: "Abso-f**king-lutely NOTHING to do with the actual Green Lantern in any way what-so-ever".
He was going to play his normal role of the bumbling stoner who finds a magic ring, transforms, and then uses it to fuel a 90 minute onslaught of fart jokes and zany antics. Think "The Mask" combined with "Every role he's ever done. Ever. No seriously, ever". It was going to be a slap-stick comedy under the label and banner of one of the most anticipated comic book movies ever.
And do you know why this suck-tastic little trainwreck never left the station?
Because of a blinding backlash of furious NERD RAGE. That's why.
The dude got hate. So much hate that he pulled out of the project and pretty much apologized for even thinking about doing something like that to our beloved Lantern Corps. And the worst part of it all is...
...he didn't have to.
He could have totally made this movie, and it probably would have done well, if it wasn't under the guise of being the Green Lantern. It had nothing to do with the comic, so why did it have to have the title? Couldn't he have called it "The Fat Magic Stoner" and let it fly or flop in the theater on its own? (We're looking at you X-Men: First Class.)
In this game, name recognition is everything and Hollywood (we just envision Lex Luthor behind a desk whenever we say that, it’s easier) knew that, so they let him run with the title. Luckily he was smart enough to see the damage that this would do and backed away before he was attacked in a dark parking lot by an angry mob wielding light-up swords and replica bat’leths.
And speaking of dark parking lots and anger, let’s not forget:
"Wait a minute, it totally worked for Batman!" you might say in that comic book guy voice we promised not to do anymore.
Well of course it worked for Batman. He's BATMAN.
He's supposed to be dark and disturbing - that's the nature of the character. He's the personification of fear that lurks in the hearts of bad guys everywhere. If you’re evil, you’re under the constant fear of Batman showing up, and beating on you like you just got married in Arkansas.
You might pull a heist and get away with it. You might kidnap the commissioner and get your ransom. You might pull off the crime of the century; go celebrate with ice cream, and...
Batman could get a gritty reboot and come off as better because the character was always considered dark and brooding, no matter what some of the later movies did to his image. (Bat nipples. Seriously, that’s a thing. Bat nipples.)
Spiderman on the other hand? Not so much.
Spiderman has always been a fan favorite because he’s a wiseass. He cracks jokes, throws witty insults and pretty much doesn’t shut up through the entire fight no matter how badly it’s going for him. Yet with the upcoming Spiderman movie, they seem to be focusing less on the humor and more on the darker parts of his storyline, and there is no way it can work without pissing off a lot of people, because that’s not who he is.
Let’s face facts: Peter Parker was one of us. A geek.
He was socially awkward, had dorky glasses, and absolutely no idea how to talk to the girl he had a major crush on. His idea of fun was playing with his junior-scientist lab kit and taking pictures of Mary Jane Watson through her blinds late at night so that he could finish the creepy collage he kept in his closet made up of scraps of hair and old band-aids that he found while digging through her trash.
Because nothing says "true love" like a scabby hair-doll. (Am I right ladies?)
But do you know what Spiderman wasn't?
Yes, a dark and broody emo kid with f**king twilight hair.
Even if you hated the awkward and often whiney Peter Parker, you had to love Spiderman. As soon as that mask came on, everything dorky and geeky went away as a web slinging smartass came out like a red and blue Jekyll and Hyde. Now with the gritty reboot, Peter Parker is a sullen emo teen with fingerless gloves, a skateboard and pseudo-intellectual hipster glasses. He doesn’t look like he should be swinging through the city, he looks like he should either be exploding into a poof of glitter every damn time sunlight hits him, or drinking Pabst Blue Ribbon while riding a fixed-gear bike.
It is bad enough that the "tween" movement has forever tarnished the image of our kick-ass, leather clad vampires, but now they have to Cullen-ize SPIDERMAN? How do we explain to them that when you make drastic and unnecessary changes to a character on the core level, he ceases to be the character that we know and love, and instead becomes a source of our anger and resentment?
Sadly, there is only one answer: We have to start boycotting these movies.
Hahaha! Can you imagine? A bunch of geeks refusing to see movies that we’ve waited our entire lives to have brought to life? No matter how crappy these films are, we’re still pulled into the black hole of virginity whose very heart lies in the depths of an overpriced movie theater. It’s in our blood, and you cannot fight your nature. So the simple truth is a lot more realistic: It all has to burn.
Only through the cleansing fire can we achieve purification… and maybe a decent Deadpool movie.
Who’s with me?