Sunday, November 8, 2009

Why Superhero Movies Suck

I grew up reading comic books - a lot of comic books. Marvel, DC, First (until they went out of business), and several independent titles. I was a huge fan of Sandman, which should surprise absolutely nobody; I also read a lot of X-men and related titles. Grimjack and Grendel were formative influences on a lot of my writing and gaming, and more recently I've been enjoying things like the new Blue Beetle and Girl Genius.

The recent run of comic-based movies should, by rights, be a source of considerable enjoyment for me. It's a logical transition (since comics, unlike books, are primarily a visual medium, which should make them vastly easier to convert into movies). And, frankly, since Hollywood's ideas for movie projects tend to get more than a little inbred, it's hard to be anything other than happy that they might have found a source for new material.

And yet...

Many - even most - of the recent superhero movies have left me feeling... impatient. I might even go as far as "bored". So I would like to make a suggestion, to any Producers who might be out there reading this:

If you're making a movie based on a well-known comic property - the sort of thing that might be considered a cultural icon - please don't feel compelled to muddle through the entire origin story before you actually start the plot.

Seriously. We know Spider-man got his powers after being bit by a radioactive spider. We know Superman fell to Earth from Krypton as a baby. We know the Fantastic Four were bombarded by Cosmic Radiation. "How I got my Powers" is almost never the interesting part of a superhero's story; it's a distraction from the rest of the movie. If you absolutely have to include the origin story, at least establish the main story conflict first.


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