Better a Witty Fool than a Foolish Wit

Inner Workings of My Twisted Mind.

The Geek Shall Inherit

I just finished watching Iron Man and I first must brag that I’m 1 for 1 on my movie openings; it was fantastic.  But I was thinking about the comic book movie while I was watching the latest incarnation.  It dawned on me that comics are in an uphill swing and it’s due to the comic book geeks.  

Jon Favreau (from Swingers) directed Iron Man.  He’s a pretty famous comic book geek, and that’s what hit me.  Comic book movies died a horrible death in the mid/late 90s – the final nail in the coffin being Batman and Robin.  And it was a short but desolate wait before X-Men came out and blew everyone away in 2000 and an even longer one before the studios finally got it together and started cranking them out.  Of course, there have been some misses (Electra, who shouldn’t count because she’s not a real superhero, and the second Fantastic Four movie) but all in all the movies have been awesome entertainment.  My theory on why is this: the comic book geeks are finally directing and writing the movies.  Before, with the exception of the first two Batman movies (which are pure genius), people like Joel Schumacher, who is really more of a big movie director, were making the superhero movies.  But now we’ve got the greatest literary and filmic minds at work creating visual fantasies in front of our eyes.  We have Michael Chabon, the best author of our time, writing the script for Spider-Man 2.  We’ve got Bryan Singer (director of The Usual Suspects) directing X-Men and X-Men 2.  
It’s as though the best performer and the best playwright joined forces to produce the best play, except it’s better because they’ve finally found a way, through technological advances to make these creatures of our childhood imaginations real.  And they’ve finally hit on a way to keep them interesting.  Found a way to keep these fantastical plots and characters grounded in reality, which is really what made them so successful to begin with.  
That’s what makes a good superhero movie, a combination of Spielberg-like movie magic and human emotion.  And that’s what makes a good superhero story.  In fact, that’s what makes superhero stories good, the humanity of them.  Here are these people who in some way acquire superhuman abilities and have to cope with what it means to be superior to other human beings, be it through extra senses (spider or otherwise), flying capabilities, a skeleton made of unbreakable metal, all superheroes have to deal with the same thing, are you going to use your powers for good or for evil?  And if you are using your powers for good, what does that mean for those close to you?
This is why it is so important that superheroes have a secret identity, their loved ones are in danger.  Their enemies know they may not be able to get to the superheroes themselves, but they can harm them by harming their family.  This is also why I have such a problem when Batman goes and tells Katie Holmes that he is Batman, um, reread the comics, Alfred is the only one who knows who Batman is.  Alfred and Robin, but not until later.  In fact, the only superheroes who are publicly known are The Fantastic Four, and one of the main plots of their story is that they have to deal with fame as well as their powers.  
What I’m getting at here folks is that superheroes are real, and superhero movies are here to stay…that is until they run out of superheroes and good ideas.  But until that fateful day, let’s continue enjoying the good ones, ignoring the bad ones, and worshiping at the altar of Stan Lee and Jack Kirby.  And if anyone is interested, I’ll be at comic-con to become a bigger geek in July.
Peace, Love, and Comics

May 4, 2008 - Posted by | Comics, Movies

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