Of Characters and Comics

Comics Alliance posted a rather intriguing fan-perspective article about the Batfleck-esque reaction to the Michael Douglas casting choice of Hank Pym: The Ant Man Menace: Why Michael Douglas makes me nervous about Marvel Movies by Andrew Wheeler

There are four things most superhero fans associate with Hank Pym. One; he’s a superhero and an Avenger. Two; he created Ultron. Three; he’s the on-and-off partner of Janet Van Dyne, aka the Wasp. And four… well, we’ll get to four in a moment.Read More: The Ant-Man Menace: Why Michael Douglas Makes Me Nervous About Marvel Movies | http://comicsalliance.com/ant-man-movie-michael-douglas-paul-rudd-casting-opinion/?trackback=tsmclip

Making many good, and shared points that I have made here. The first came with the news that Age of Ultron would have no Hank Pym involved. Wheeler points out that there are four things that Superhero fans associate with the Pym character: He is an Avenger, He is the creator of Ultron, He and Wasp (Janet Van Dyne) are on and off partners and romantic interests, and four… probably the most debatable and heavily misunderstood part of Pym’s character: The self-inflicted mental problems that made him hit his wife and be court marshaled from the Avengers team.

Now one has to wonder…does that make him “bad for business”?

Another point that Wheeler made was that Superhero films tend to shy away from their origins, their comic book background, seemingly embarrassed by costumes, gadgets, do-dads, and what not. He claims that this is the first time Marvel’s shown an inkling towards the ashamed. This is where we differ:

“Marvel Studios is never insincere or apologetic”

Personally the example he used was of the original Captain America costume skit in the First Avenger. That was, as an original Captain America fan, embarrassingly uncomfortable to watch. It may be a nit-pick thing but to me it was a deviation from the Character Steve Rogers. It would have been more practical and touching a tribute had it been the movie reels playing. If the Captain America persona was more well-known for punching out Hitler and what not. Forcing Steve to sit by as an actor portrayed this and he watched war from the side lines. Because doing it himself would be disrespectful to the uniform, the army, Erskine and what he believed in. Working for a Politician…that was too…too.

Why I bring this up again is because…to understand my position you have to understand that I am coming from a well versed insider background. I know what sells, what the ins and outs of production are, the built-in audiences and the ones we have to draw. I know all of this. I know how this world works. I also am well versed in these characters. Knowing both company and entertainment/universe backgrounds.

My pickle lies in the fact that there can be no Superhero movie that delivers us that…Superhero. The Superhero we love, grew up with, people, even if not the fans could recognize. Let’s face it, it gets us excited, it makes us believe, believe in childhood dreams, better tomorrows, and last minuet rescues. It doesn’t have to be lame!

To reinvent does not mean to recreate! This is what the Marvel movie verse has chosen to do. They want the character clout and status but they want to go their own way with it. They do have the character rights, but don’t they also have a character responsibility? To borrow a phrase:

“With great character comes great responsibility…”

Not just to the fan but to the brand. I do not mind if you take a Captain America movie but head a different direction from the comic books with the character, as long as it’s the character you are putting up on the screen. It’s like the what ifs. Like Fan fiction. You take the characters, the established characters and put then in varying situations. Because that’s interesting, because that’s what goes through fan heads: ” I wonder if…”

The movies for me go too far into pleasing what’s hot now. What will sell now. They put on the screen what they need for this film, not the character that they are supposed to be representing. For me it has always been about the character continuity. The character integrity. The responsibility and respect that should come from years of creators.

I see comic books as being a character based industry. Series come and go, teams switch, regroup, disband, etc, but the characters are who you follow. Their lives. The industry is like a quilt, an heirloom quilt to which each new creator, editor, artist etc, adds their square, their addition to origin, life and continuity. To character legacy. You want to be known for what you add, not for what you take away. And let’s face it, it’s not the same if someone misses the memo, or just decides to go off, uneducated and uncaring of the progress. They want a duvet cover,  they’re  in the same ball park but different game.  It is nowhere near an addition to the task at hand. In some ways it takes away from the project, the creation.

In the end I guess that’s what I’m missing from my favorites franchise, as well as modern Marvel comic books. Good old Aretha Franklin RESPECT. Not just for me, but the characters I grew up with, am growing up with still. My own respect that is lacking for their brand and character exploitation.

Now it just seems like a costume by any other name…

Becomes a joke…

That’s why my alarm bells rang when Douglas was cast as Pym. Up until now, Marvel Studios has been very good about respecting Marvel Comics’ source material. It’s one of the studio’s great strengths. Outside of Marvel, superhero movies often seem ashamed of their roots – keeping characters out of costume, for example, or refusing to use their names, or expositing convoluted context around every aspect of a character’s appearance from bat ears to the Batmobile. Some superhero movies want to mock the source material. With a movie like Green Lantern there’s a palpable sense that the makers thought the comics weren’t good enough to be worth sticking with. They were raided for parts and discarded. I get that sense again with Ant-Man.

Marvel Studios has never been like that. Marvel movies update the comics, but strain to stay true to them. They’re stronger and more enjoyable movies because of it. Even when they really have to work to incorporate an element, like Captain America’s original costume, they do it with wit and affection. Marvel Studios movies are never insincere or apologetic.

Read More: The Ant-Man Menace: Why Michael Douglas Makes Me Nervous About Marvel Movies | http://comicsalliance.com/ant-man-movie-michael-douglas-paul-rudd-casting-opinion/?trackback=tsmclip

That’s why my alarm bells rang when Douglas was cast as Pym. Up until now, Marvel Studios has been very good about respecting Marvel Comics’ source material. It’s one of the studio’s great strengths. Outside of Marvel, superhero movies often seem ashamed of their roots – keeping characters out of costume, for example, or refusing to use their names, or expositing convoluted context around every aspect of a character’s appearance from bat ears to the Batmobile. Some superhero movies want to mock the source material. With a movie like Green Lantern there’s a palpable sense that the makers thought the comics weren’t good enough to be worth sticking with. They were raided for parts and discarded. I get that sense again with Ant-Man.

Marvel Studios has never been like that. Marvel movies update the comics, but strain to stay true to them. They’re stronger and more enjoyable movies because of it. Even when they really have to work to incorporate an element, like Captain America’s original costume, they do it with wit and affection. Marvel Studios movies are never insincere or apologetic.

Read More: The Ant-Man Menace: Why Michael Douglas Makes Me Nervous About Marvel Movies | http://comicsalliance.com/ant-man-movie-michael-douglas-paul-rudd-casting-opinion/?trackback=tsmclip

There are four things most superhero fans associate with Hank Pym. One; he’s a superhero and an Avenger. Two; he created Ultron. Three; he’s the on-and-off partner of Janet Van Dyne, aka the Wasp. And four… well, we’ll get to four in a moment.Read More: The Ant-Man Menace: Why Michael Douglas Makes Me Nervous About Marvel Movies | http://comicsalliance.com/ant-man-movie-michael-douglas-paul-rudd-casting-opinion/?trackback=tsmclip
There are four things most superhero fans associate with Hank Pym. One; he’s a superhero and an Avenger. Two; he created Ultron. Three; he’s the on-and-off partner of Janet Van Dyne, aka the Wasp. And four… well, we’ll get to four in a moment.Read More: The Ant-Man Menace: Why Michael Douglas Makes Me Nervous About Marvel Movies | http://comicsalliance.com/ant-man-movie-michael-douglas-paul-rudd-casting-opinion/?trackback=tsmclip
There are four things most superhero fans associate with Hank Pym. One; he’s a superhero and an Avenger. Two; he created Ultron. Three; he’s the on-and-off partner of Janet Van Dyne, aka the Wasp. And four… well, we’ll get to four in a moment.Read More: The Ant-Man Menace: Why Michael Douglas Makes Me Nervous About Marvel Movies | http://comicsalliance.com/ant-man-movie-michael-douglas-paul-rudd-casting-opinion/?trackback=tsmclip

Save

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s