Let’s talk comic book fans and Hollywood.
There will be spoilers to movies you should have already seen in this rant.
Look, we are living in one of the best times ever for fans of comic books. I grew up reading comics like The Avengers, The Fantastic Four and the Amazing Spider-Man. Now, all of a sudden over the last decade, all three of those have come to the big screen with varying levels of success. That makes me, as a comic book reader for over 30 years now, very happy. It is also a chance to share this love with my son as he falls in love with Spider-Man, Captain America, Iron Man and The Hulk.
However, while I am happy as can be about these movies featuring characters I grew up loving, something else has happened. Comic book fans have been ripping these movies apart for years now. It seems there are comic book fans who just refuse to be happy about these movies, for one reason or another.
Let’s look at some of the recent complaints.
People seemed to universally love The Dark Knight, but then suddenly a backlash started. People thought Heath Ledger only won the Oscar because he died but didn’t really deserve it because he didn’t portray The Joker the way he is in the comics. There are also people who hate the movie because it is too dark.
People seemed to universally love The Avengers, but then suddenly a backlash started. People decided it was overrated because it was too comic-book-ish. Basically, they hated it for the completely opposite reasons that others hated The Dark Knight. These fans hated it because a movie based on a comic book was too much like a comic book movie.
Iron Man 3 split fans right down the middle, as people hated it because of the twist at the end. See, people wanted The Mandarin to be the villain he was in the comics – you know, a stereotype Asian who hates America. Others wanted him to be like the trailers showed – you know, Bane. When Shane Black did something daring and creative, people backlashed.
It is like the Trekkies who hate on JJ Abrams Star Trek movies because he wanted to create something unique and they are bred to only appreciate what came before. Star Wars fans will be the same with Episode 7 because none of them want to be happy.
Look, Shane Black was a FANTASTIC choice as director for Iron Man 3, and he gave the movie world something unique and great with his Iron Man movie. However, die-hard comic book fans refused to accept the twist and that is why we can’t have anything nice. If you want a director to come in and just copy and paste from the comics, you should just be prepared for generic, boring directors to get the jobs.
Sure, it doesn’t always work when someone tries to change something (X-Men 3 for example). But when we do get a special director, someone like Christopher Nolan, Shane Black or Kenneth Branagh, we will get a special movie – not a comic book genre movie, but a real movie. A Noir styled crime movie, a Shakespearian drama, a kick-ass thriller. I think if fans just want their comics on the screen with no changes, then the comic book movie craze would die.
This leads us to Man of Steel.
I guarantee that Zack Snyder made some major changes in this movie from what we have grown up knowing about Superman – and that is a good thing. Look, he changed the ending of Watchmen and comic book fans pitched a fit – but he made that ending BETTER with his change. He has to update Superman for a new generation because, while Superman is our greatest hero, he is also an outdated antiquity. I have complete faith in Snyder for this project, but I guarantee that comic book fans will take to Twitter, Reddit and elsewhere to damn Snyder when they see it.
Hell, most of “those” fans will damn him sight unseen.
That’s why we can’t have anything nice.