I’ve been a comic book fan since forever. Most of my friends know this – the Superhero t-shirts, key-chain, icons, etc. are a persistent reminder – so people are always surprised if I haven’t rushed to see Thor, or Green Lantern, or whatever the latest comic book hero movie is.
There is a reason for this, in addition to being a busy dad. As a comic book fan, it takes a very specific kind of comic-book movie to cut through the endless hours of mediocrity that Hollywood churns out on this front. Scalzi has it nailed in a recent Filmcritic.com column:
…it’s not so much super heroes that I’m bored with, than it is origin stories — which is to say, the whole set-up of how said super hero got his powers, how he fumbled a bit with them before he figured them out, how he felt alienated from the world, blah blah blah blah blah, man, I get tired just thinking about them at this point. You know, one of the very salient reasons why Spider-Man 2 and The Dark Knight are considered better than their predecessors is that they didn’t have to spend any time setting up the super hero; they could just focus on the story they wanted to tell. But of course it’s difficult to get to those films without doing the set-up exercises. It’s a catch-22, it is.
Of course, now that there’s a wave of origin stories been told… perhaps we can get to proper movie-making. If there was some really good storytellers with ambition and studios with courage they’d pick up a story mid-flow… Superman Returns, whilst not a perfect piece of film-making, at least had the courage not to completely reboot the series. But then, Superman as a character is significantly better understood than Hal Jordan…