I want to love all super hero movies! I REALLY do! But Hollywood and the comic industry seems to really know how to mess them up.
To fill everyone in on what inspired this rant, I watched X-Men First Class last night. It left me SOOOOOO pissed. It had some great writing in there. The, Erik hunting down Nazi stuff, Professor X in college being the nerdy player in the 60’s, etc. was great. The theme during the Cuban Missile Crisis was a great place to set the film and I could accept the whole “bad guy wants to destroy the Earth” plot. What I couldn’t accept was the poor writing elsewhere, ridiculous cast of mutants and lastly, Beast. It was so bad that I could write an entire blog just on the pathetic flaws of this movie but I will narrow it down if I can.
As for the writing, they rushed an awesome concept for a story. They could have developed that plot over a time-span of a year or two but, instead they had the kids learn all those new skills and equipment while the bad guy orchestrated a nuclear war between the worlds super powers in a week! A WEEK!!!!!! Seriously? Again, there were lines in that movie that were great, there were character concepts that were amazing. The reason Charles lost his ability to walk, the Mystique relationship with Charles and Erik, Charles teaching Erik and genuinely being a caring soul, all good stuff. But overall, just bad writing for the plot.
As for the mutants, let me say, there are staples to making a good comic book story. One of them must respecting the comic book story! You can change some things and add history to it, that is fine. The developing of the friendship of Charles and Erik during the backdrop of our history for example is a more concise and believable story than the convoluted past from the comics. We don’t need to see Professor X during wartime or his early Shadow King issues in Egypt. There is no reason to bring in his relationship with Cain since the Juggernaut isn’t in this story. (Thankfully!) I loved the idea.
Azazel was actually a cool concept. Many of you may not like him for being a complete ripoff of Nightcrawler. However, he was not Nightcrawler, who shouldn’t be a part of this story because he is not around yet! He joins the team as a teenager years later. More importantly, fanboys will know, Azazel is a character from the comics in 2003 and he happens to be Nightcrawler’s dad! This is great. Now Marvel can tie the movie in with the comics. Perhaps a storyline where Nightcrawler finds out his dad knew the Professor in the 60’s and now he’s upset because the professor kept it a secret from him. Crossover potential is there! But this is where the comfort level ends for me.
The group of mutant’s Charles found were poorly chosen. Havok? He is Scott’s younger brother! Angel Salvadore? Really? She was a teenager in the comics in 2001 and quite frankly a dull character who was drastically altered from her concept in the comics. My point without going through them all is simple. Keep to the mythology and timeline of the comics and you will keep the fans. The backdrop could have changed and most fans would be happy. The Lord of the Rings Trilogy threw in some new content with Liv Tyler and others without ruining the heart of the tale. They didn’t throw Bard the Bowman in as the tenth member of the Fellowship just because they thought he was cool. Sure, Professor X has a much more convoluted history in the comics and he and Erik met in other ways and there was a much different Moira in the comics (later McTaggert when she was married) but those still fit into the appropriate relationship timeperiods, and we comic fans don’t mind a “What If” or Multiverse concept as long as there are some consistencies! I would rather them create some new personalities that could have died off in the story or better, suddenly appeared in the comics after being missing for 40 years. Once again, spinoff and crossover material!
Then there was the Beast, Hank McCoy. The makeup job on him was probably one of the worst things I have seen! It looked like they took the 1985 Teen Wolf costume and sprayed it blue. It was tragic! With todays skills and technology, it was unexcusable! When he walked in scene, out of the shadows should have been a cool scene. It wasn’t.
I was also upset at the continuity with the earlier films. This movie could have been meant for a reboot like they have done with other franchises like Hulk or are currently doing with Spiderman but, I saw nothing saying so. If it wasn’t a reboot than this movie also offends the senses with relation to the other X-Men movies that came out. See this well written blog for those.
If this was the only bad super hero film it would have been OK. It wasn’t! This is a problem with many Super Hero movies today. They are truly bad. I want them to be good. And some have been. The first X-Men movie was good. (not great with Haley Barry as Storm) but good. The second one was actually better. But the third was a tragedy. “I’m the Juggernaut Bitch!” pretty much says it all! Wolverine was even worse. Again, they butchered the characters of Sabertooth, Gambit and Deadpool! Seriously, who decided to sew his mouth shut! What a dumb frakking idea!!!! You cast Ryan Reynolds, who can smack talk like it is his job (Doubt me, just watch Waiting! It’s basically a what if Deadpool was a waiter before he became a hitman), and than give him no lines? NO LINES! Then you top it off with stupid katana blades from his wrists, eye beams and transportation? Just open his mouth, give him some guns and let him jump around and try to shoot Wolverine while insulting him for five minutes, then the end of that movie could have been entertaining!!!!!
I loved the Hell Boy movies. Kick Ass was good until the last five minutes, and Watchmen was well done. Spiderman 1 was a good movie. Not great, but solid enough. The recent Batman Begins/Dark Knight movies were amazing. Iron Man 1 & 2 were also great. Thor was eh. Captain America and The Incredible Hulk (not Hulk 2003) was good. But compared to list of Green Lantern, Punisher, Fantastic Four, Ghost Rider, Superman Returns, (since when would Superman spy on Lois Lane with his X-Ray vision) Cat Woman, League of Extraordinary Gentleman, Jonah Hex, Elektra, Daredevil, and others, pisses me off. And there are no excuses!!!!!
There are AMAZING plots written in comics. There are phenomenal stories that are already storyboarded and ready to go. They are comic books and graphic novels. Pick them up, read them and turn them into a movie. Can you have creative licence and change it? Sure. As long as you don’t butcher it. Look at the Walking Dead. That series has been a huge success. The comics have been published by Image comics since ’03 and they now have fifteen volumes out in graphic novel form. They won an Eisner Award and have had amazing success. The writers are working strongly with the television version and have altered the story to keep surprise and intrigue without destroying the core concept of the story. It works! The show is a hit and the best thing AMC has ever had. It can be done. The eighties are over and bad campy superhero movies are a thing of the past! Let’s keep it that way.
So, to the comic book industry, I beg you, keep the creative rights to the story and STOP allowing these great stories and legends of our time, be bastardized and butchered on the big screen and television! Give your writers and art department the chance to be involved. These are their characters. While the current writers of many comics, are not the ones who original came up with them they have written and drawn them, they have created a part of them. These stories and characters are made for the big screen and the people who love them the most are the creators of comics! People don’t jump into the comic book industry because it is lucrative! There isn’t a guidance counselor alive that recommends Joe Kuberts! The awesome part about the Comic industry is it fuels itself. The kids who grow up loving comic books want to work in comic books! Every comic book artist and writer is a fanboy! They are all like Po from Kung Fu Panda, constantly geeking out about what they saw or who they worked with! If they are than like me, they wanted a Wolverine movie since the 80’s! When they finally got one, it was one gigantic disappointment. Bad writing, bad casting (for Sabertooth and Gambit at least) and ridiculous characters! Seriously, Scott and Emma in cages being experimented on? You had everything there for a great story already at your fingertips! from the Marvel Comics Presents issues, to the numerous Wolverine comic series that have come out. The tale could have been solid. Any comic book fan would have told you Remy needed his cajun accent!