Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Superhero Movie Projection and Wishlist

It's impossible to deny that superhero movies have hit the Hollywood mainstream in a big way. It started in the summer of 2000 with the release of Bryan Singer's first X-men movie, and has continued on to such heights as Iron Man, and The Dark Knight, and lows as lowly as the likes of Elektra and Punisher movies. They show no sign of stopping either-- Marvel has at least eleven comic book films planned for release; evidenced most significantly by their contract with Samuel L. Jackson for nine movie appearances to unite their properties in Marvel's blockbuster magnum opus, The Avengers.

With all the projects Marvel and DC alike seem to be grabbing for some of their more obscure properties. Iron Man, despite being a Marvel icon on the comic page (and my favorite comic character growing up), was forcefully thrust on the pop culture stage with the release of his 2008. Unknown comic properties are on the table, and if the trend continues, will only become more obscure. With all this in mind (and in a bit of filler for Comic Review Wednesday), I've written up a list of the comic movies, both real and wished for, that I'm excited to see on the big screen.

-The Real-

Batman 3 (Batman Begins/The Dark Knight Sequel)

While this project might not officially be out yet, that doesn't mean the rumor mill hasn't been churning in full force. A few months ago, it seemed like good news for this movie when Christopher Nolan, the first two film's director, signed on to do another movie at Warner Brothers-- presumably part of a package deal to get Nolan to direct the third film. It seems ludicrous to outline why I'd be excited for this movie, and the only real justification I need is to point to the first two films. The Batman movies under Nolan are absolutely unchallenged in quality when it comes to comic adaptations-- and I'd say that isn't because Batman especially lends himself to screen adaption but because Nolan is one of the few directors to take a comic project that was not only talented, but saw the importance of both removing and not removing it from it's comic source. In other words, he took it seriously. A lot of the casting rumors have mentioned Johnny Depp as the Riddler-- I firstly think it would be a mistake to pursue Riddler, and secondly cringe at the thought of Johnny Depp in anything (though trailers for Public Enemies caught my attention). I personally feel Depp has worn out his welcome and would do well to take a five year hiatus. I feel I should make a separate post for casting speculation on Batman 3

Jonah Hex

Before I go on, I should say that some pictures of the Jonah Hex movie set have been released, but knowing they'll probably have CGI added in post-production I chose to go with this. Now, I'm no big fan of Jonah Hex. In fact, I know very little about him-- although I do think he looks awesome and I'm a huge fan of historical fiction, especially that of the Civil War-- but I'm looking foreword to this movie a whole lot. It has the possibility of not only bringing something new to the Superhero genre, but to Westerns as well. Hex is the type of character who somehow manages to grab a strong following and hold on to it; like Iron Man, I think this film may make a strong showing because of the strength of its main character. The cast also looks to have some potential as well. I'm not saying this is a solid bet for a good movie-- far from it-- but it may well be one of those surprise blockbusters in the next few years. 

Green Lantern

This is said to have a script so good, that the studio antied up on directors for fear that the previous one attached would botch it up; that, dear friends, is a script. Despite this I still had reservations about the film until I saw the exceptional fan trailer that came out not to long ago-- while I'm not keen on Nathan Fillion as Hal Jordan, the trailer paints a picture of the kind of movie Green Lantern could be. Plus, it's about time that some of the cosmic properties at the big companies hit the screen. With Star Trek being the success it is, any space-type movie is likely to be charged with trying to ride on it's coat tails, so people should get on that. 

I don't mean to exclude Marvel films from the list of real movies I'm excited for, but the fact is that Marvel doesn't like writers, in fact, Marvel slaps every writer on the face when they continue to hire people like David Goyer and Zac Penn (Tip: If you either name attached to a movie, save for Goyer when associated with Chris Nolan, you automatically know the movie will be badly written). 

-The Wishlist-

The Question 

I realize the Question is viewed as Batman light to a lot of people, but here is why I love the Question (besides how cool he looks): He actually gets to be a detective. People expect Batman to be pulse pounding action, and to have a specific set of rogue for every film, and that inevitably means there is little mystery in the crime solving. You also have to be PG-13. Both of Nolan's films have made a fight for this, but it's a tough sale for modern audiences. Hell, apparently even Sherlock Holms is an action star now! My dream project for Question would be a forties noir kind of film with shocking murders, stunning violence, vexing mystery, and topped off with unexpected last minute reveal. I'm all for Montoya as Question too, but I feel that skipping over Vic Sage is a sin, and Montoya would cause fans to expect a Batman connection. 

Swamp Thing Remake (Or a Moore project done right).

I've only read the first volume of Moore's Swamp Thing, and while I found it a tad preachy (the first arc involves mother nature striking back at the Earth, among other better aspects) I sense that in the remaining volumes there is more than enough mileage for an outstanding film. The film would be best served to capitalize on the horror aspect of the comic rather than the super-heroics. The Louisiana mood would be imperative, and so would the themes of humanity. I can't say if Swamp Thing should be a plant struggling with his identity, as wonderful of a concept as that is, simply because I don't know that movie folk can swallow that. Really, it doesn't matter what Moore book you adapt, it just needs to be done well; in some cases better than the book. Comics are still fighting for public acknowledgement and in many ways Moore is the best to be found in the traditional American market. 


Talk about tough sales, but here's something that could be a comic- as in humor- masterpiece. A few volumes of She-Hulk ago in 2004, the comic was relaunched under the helm of writer Dan Slott. Slott, rather than taking a traditional super-hero route, wrote a volume of She-Hulk where the focus was on Jen Walter's career as a lawyer. She got herself a job at a top law firm in a newly established superheroics division to help settle law suits and the like. One arc dealt with a super-villain suing the mighty Hercules for using excess force. Another dealt with J. Jonah Jameson finally taking Spider-man to court. You get the idea. Think Harvey Birdman meets some sanity and super-heroes. The biggest problem with this is removing She-Hulk and her origin from Hulk. Of course, with a concept this nutty you could almost certainly start without explanation and people would simply except it. Anyway, the movie would be littered with throw aways for the fans, and include an intricate plot that stems from a case Jen is working-- all, naturally, a full on absurd comedy. Besides, the only female super-hero outings are Elektra and Catwoman. Ouch. 

Green Arrow

I think what can be learned from this is that I like characters without powers and/or who are green. At any rate, Green Arrow is a great character and since Marvel's Hawkeye is totally unrealistic, the only possible chance for an archer to make the movie screen. Like many of the characters on this list, my knowledge of Green Arrow is limited, but from I know of his personality he's make a great screen presense. Mostly, I just really like him. I don't really know what kind of story could be forged for Green Arrow- I know that his main rival is another archer, and I'm not so sure that would work but where there is a will there is a way. 

Alright, so that's not all I'm looking forward to and what I'm hoping for but that's about the best and the most of it. Iron Man 2 might have made my list if the talk of Tony deals with "personal problems" wasn't so high, and his alcholism offically ruled out. It sounds like they're pussy footing around, and my childhood favorite deserves better. Also, I saw some photos of Micky Rourke as Whiplash. Goodbye optimism. 

What comic/Super-hero movies are you looking forward to? What super-heros would you want to see on the screen, realistic possibility or otherwise? 

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