In Discussion About Comic Book Films...

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I don't particularly like most superhero movies I see. And I have skipped alot of them. But, in theory, there is no reason they can't be just as beautiful or weird or relevant as anything else. Just because I haven't seen much proof of this, so far, doesn't mean an entire genre is worth writing off.


As usual, with these discussions, it is more the risk adverse money machine attached that is the bigger issue. Not the fact that people like movies about men in stupid outfits.

There is that old joke by Chris Rock about single moms; "You can do it, but that doesn't mean it is 'to be done.'" It is entirely possible to make a relevant and beautiful and groundbreaking movie about people who are essentially "better" than everyone else because of magical powers who are, by virtue of those powers, morally entitled to engage in extra-judicial actions to solve problems with ultra-violence. But is it likely that this formula is likely to rival Shakespeare or Joyce or Dostoevsky or the golden age of cinema of the 70s?



What would the debate be about? The thing you seem up in arms about is less the films themselves than the marketing and merchandising surrounding them, which it sounds fair to say is coloring your view of the movies themselves. Not that you'd like them otherwise, but if you're this mad about branded toothpaste it's hard to imagine that's not going to sit in the back of your mind watching the films.

That said, I have (and will continue to) generally defend the MCU and the significance of popular culture and entertainment, which I think people misunderstand the value of, trying to measure its value by the same standards they use to evaluate narrower and more challenging examples of the medium, even though they're doing entirely different things.
Granted. Instead of "debate," (which truth be told I wrote this on my way out the door today), I'm more apt to admit this is my own personal soap box rant about such films and curious if anyone shares this opinion(s), or don't... and perhaps if they don't they could care to explain their reasonings. But your right, I'm on a soap box right now as I do not understand their appeal.

As for the films themselves, again my issue is in the montage, (as I mentioned with exception to diegetics). When I've committed myself to these films I find their form rather sloppy. At times these sequences, especially in action, (which these films are full of), can become a collection of insert shots, edited quickly enough that they layman doesn't "catch on," but under the scrutiny of a critical eye they exhibit randomness. Even the Soviets montaged quickly, (as did Abel Gance), but there is "thought" and "reason" no matter the rhythm.

As for the marketing, yeah I get fumed. Being that, (as stated above), these films to me don't "try" at a higher cinematic "truth" or doing inasmuch as restating their own question over and over again with each "burgeoning" installment. So yeah I'm a little frosted and I think it doesn't do our society any favors to promote things that seek nothing else than to lower the intellectual, (and cinematic), standards of people.

I cannot begin to tell you what its like on my end to say I like films, and some person I met says:

"Oh, like da Mickey Mouse? Da Donald Ducks? Or da ya mean like da Spididerman and da Supuperman?"

Drives me up a wall.

Then you are literally living in a society where you are surrounded by it. And, like the Grinch Who Stole Christmas, (who I feel I should be so lucky), "The noise, the noise, the noise!!!"

I agree that the MCU is unique historically, and historically important, (from a cinematic point of view), but so was A Birth of a Nation... doesn't mean I have to like it.
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Imagine an eye unruled by man-made laws of perspective, an eye unprejudiced by compositional logic, an eye which does not respond to the name of everything but which must know each object encountered in life through an adventure of perception. How many colors are there in a field of grass to the crawling baby unaware of 'Green'?

-Stan Brakhage



minds his own damn business
by virtue of those powers, morally entitled to engage in extra-judicial actions to solve problems with ultra-violence.
This is actually a bit incongruent with classic superhero ethics, which tended to be a lot more concerned with the issue of the reponsibility of great power. The more violent tendencies have emerged more recently as some fanboys have demanded their tantrums be reflected.
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That elusive hide-and-seek cow is at it again
OP: I get you, but I* guess I have to argue you some too.


As an adult speaking anecdotally, I'm not sure what comic book films are marketing to me, directly. I mean apart from a series of built-in sequels. I'm OK with that though, as they're entertaining for what they are (not all of them). I'd likely buy some popcorn and a coke (or maybe a bottle of water), and I MAY buy the DVD on release if I liked it enough, but I'm not buying marketed items such as toys, toothpaste, or whatever else. I don't have kids, so I recognize my perspective is going to be different from someone with them. That said, I would hope that I would be the parent in that relationship and buy whatever merchandise for said kid that I would normally, and not above and beyond just because my eye holes are oversaturated in adverts. For example, I suppose Iron Man toothpaste instead of Colgate would be fine. Kid has gotta brush his/her teeth, ya know? If it's a toy, then why not that over any other? As long as I'm not spoiling the kid, it's within my discretionary budget, and the noise it makes wouldn't drive me to murder (the toy, not the kid; though some people's kids push me close too), I'd be OK to buy a toy from time to time regardless if it's a knock-off Hot Wheels car or a Spidey-Cycle.


Can that advertisement noise be annoying? I mean the targeting of children as the marketing audience. Sure. But so can most Saturday morning television runs, or Nickelodeon commercial broadcasts. It's the nature of the capitalist beast, I think. I'm not falling victim as I'm not really that target. Sure, I did once buy a Black Panther mask from the local Toys-R-Us for a co-worker who was really into that movie, but that was an impulse buy.


As to the movies, I'm OK with it. Pop culture entertainment and such. Someone compared westerns. Seems fair. And I'm totally good with nostalgia, by the way. Not so much the Transformers franchise (at all), but if something can send me back to my childhood fantasy headspace without an addiction, then why not? It's not MY daily diet, so all things in moderation I suppose. As long as I'm entertained,* I'm not that picky. We're not talking Spawn, here, so perspective helps the taste.



That elusive hide-and-seek cow is at it again
Cool. My first experience with those "stars" some of y'all been shouting about.



The concept of happiness in recent world is basically what lay beyond basic needs : people work only then to buy a way to forget their work.
Dreams always fill emptiness. For all sorts of entertainment or any form of escapism, amid the banality of life.
Of course as fair as it can be justified, there the big part of demographic that seems always has the tendency to be a kind zombies of happiness.
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"Фильм призван вызвать духовную волну, а не взращивать идолопоклонников."



Recently gotten into reading comics and its convinced me even more that its not possible to make a good superhero movie. At least not with the major league DC/Marvel characters.
Huh. That surprises me. I've read comics for about 42 years and I think Marvel comes awfully close to nailing it. DC sure has been struggling, I admit, but I continue to root for them to get it together.



There is that old joke by Chris Rock about single moms; "You can do it, but that doesn't mean it is 'to be done.'" It is entirely possible to make a relevant and beautiful and groundbreaking movie about people who are essentially "better" than everyone else because of magical powers who are, by virtue of those powers, morally entitled to engage in extra-judicial actions to solve problems with ultra-violence. But is it likely that this formula is likely to rival Shakespeare or Joyce or Dostoevsky or the golden age of cinema of the 70s?
Does it have to?



Huh. That surprises me. I've read comics for about 42 years and I think Marvel comes awfully close to nailing it. DC sure has been struggling, I admit, but I continue to root for them to get it together.
Oh yeah, the Marvel stuff feels like its lifted straight from the pages and come to life. It's terrible.



Oh yeah, the Marvel stuff feels like its lifted straight from the pages and come to life. It's terrible.
Ha! Have it your way.



Registered User
Does it have to?

No, but the person I was responding to was basically saying that it "could." That it is possible, however, does not mean that it is likely or well-suited for that purpose.



There's lots of comic book films that I enjoy and can even be called artistically accomplished: Superman, Burton's Batman, Darkman, X-Men.
But not Burton's Batman Returns? After all, Burton was somewhat restricted by studio contraints with '89 (even he found it to be kind of boring), while BR is the one where he really got to let his freak flag fly and go full auteur, y'know?
This is actually a bit incongruent with classic superhero ethics, which tended to be a lot more concerned with the issue of the reponsibility of great power. The more violent tendencies have emerged more recently as some fanboys have demanded their tantrums be reflected.
Yeah, that's true; I mean, all of the backlash to the mindless, 9/11 X 10-style destruction that Superman mindlessly participated in (in Metropolis and Smallville) in Man Of Steel is proof alone of that.



minds his own damn business
But not Burton's Batman Returns? After all, Burton was somewhat restricted by studio contraints with '89 (even he found it to be kind of boring), while BR is the one where he really got to let his freak flag fly and go full auteur, y'know?
I meant the whole Burton-era aesthetic. I like both of his films a lot. He had a lot more freedom to flesh out his vision ('89 Batman now looks so obviously filmed on warehouse sets), but the penguin rockets? Still pretty dumb.



Yeah, that's true; I mean, all of the backlash to the mindless, 9/11 X 10-style destruction that Superman mindlessly participated in (in Metropolis and Smallville) in Man Of Steel is proof alone of that.
I remember Zack Snyder saying something like how he equated more violent comics as being more "mature", which is something a stunted adolescent would say. It aligns with the 'dark = deep' pretension. Alan Moore had a pretty good bit about the more negative trend after the mid-80s introduction of Watchmen and Miller's Dark Knight Returns. Let me see if I can find it...


I think that what a lot of people saw when they read Watchmen was a high degree of violence, a bleaker and more pessimistic political perspective, perhaps a bit more sex, more swearing. And to some degree there has been, in the 15 years since Watchmen, an awful lot of the comics field devoted to these grim, pessimistic, nasty, violent stories which kind of use Watchmen to validate what are, in effect, often just some very nasty stories that don't have a lot to recommend them. And some of them are very pretentious, where they'll try and grab some sort of intellectual gloss for what they're doing by referring to a few song titles or the odd book. They'll name-drop William Burroughs here or there....


The apocalyptic bleakness of comics over the past 15 years sometimes seems odd to me, because it's like that was a bad mood I was in 15 years ago. It was the 80s, we'd got this insane right-wing voter fear running the country, and I was in a bad mood, politically and socially and in most other ways. But it was a genuine bad mood, and it was mine. I've seen a lot of things over the past 15 years that have been a bizarre echo of somebody else's bad mood. It's not even their bad mood, it's mine.



minds his own damn business
What I dislike is the toxic fanbase that sometimes goes with it.
Absolutely. It's gotten very tribal. When I was younger, we had the same kind of rival camps of Star Wars vs Star Trek, DC vs Marvel, Nintindo vs Sega, whatever. And while this was endless fodder for lunchroom debates, I don't remember an instance of someone saying, "You can't be my friend now". It's almost like they've become new religions, with fanboys as radicalized zealots. Maybe the answer is in the fanboy meme of "raping my childhood". I think that some people have developed a very primal insecurity over these things which result in hostility to anyone who dares to take the security blanket away.



I will add that Marvel has also given us a Black King and Superhero, women characters of equal power or even greater to men, a significant LGBTQ character, their actual main character suffering from PTSD, minority and female directors, a tentpole with an almost entirely Asian cast, launching their television brand with a major female character and a major Black character, and more to come. Marvel is using its tentpole give real opportunity and real inclusion to marginalized people on top of telling fun stories that millions and millions of people enjoy.
I agree with/appreciate the rest of what you were saying, but I'm gonna have to argue with you on this one. Nearly all of the "representation" in the MCU was added in the last few years (like 2018+). Now obviously, that's progress, but I don't think we should give Disney/Marvel so much credit when they clearly did it for the money.

Yes, there have been some powerful women characters, but how many? Marvel didn't make a solo female film until 10 years and 20 movies after the MCU had started. Usually, there was just a token female or two thrown into the ensemble movies, especially pre-2018 (Black Widow and Scarlet Witch come to mind). Does it count as lgbtq rep if the characters in question don't actually say or do anything to indicate this, apart from a throwaway line or two which can be censored for the China release? So far, there's been exactly one female director, Anna Boden, and she was co-directing with a man. There's been just two minority directors, Taika Watiti and Ryan Coogler. Television as a part of the MCU started with shows like "Agents of SHIELD" and "Agent Carter." Disney+ did do some decent representation in their new shows, but I wouldn't say it "launched their television brand."

So basically what I'm getting at is that the MCU's representation has been spotty, especially in the earlier phases. "Real opportunity and real inclusion" is a myth they're trying to sell you. Disney/Marvel wants to make the most money possible. When the MCU was starting, they played it safe and only had straight, white, male protagonists. As they gained a following and a larger audience in general, it became safer and more profitable to do diversity, so they did. Don't get me wrong, it's GREAT that we're getting to see all types of people in these kind of movies. It's certainly better that in the past when there were none at all. But we shouldn't act like Marvel is doing all this out of the kindness of their hearts. It's strategic, which is why the diversity/representation isn't always done well.



I agree with/appreciate the rest of what you were saying, but I'm gonna have to argue with you on this one. Nearly all of the "representation" in the MCU was added in the last few years (like 2018+). Now obviously, that's progress, but I don't think we should give Disney/Marvel so much credit when they clearly did it for the money.

Yes, there have been some powerful women characters, but how many? Marvel didn't make a solo female film until 10 years and 20 movies after the MCU had started. Usually, there was just a token female or two thrown into the ensemble movies, especially pre-2018 (Black Widow and Scarlet Witch come to mind). Does it count as lgbtq rep if the characters in question don't actually say or do anything to indicate this, apart from a throwaway line or two which can be censored for the China release? So far, there's been exactly one female director, Anna Boden, and she was co-directing with a man. There's been just two minority directors, Taika Watiti and Ryan Coogler. Television as a part of the MCU started with shows like "Agents of SHIELD" and "Agent Carter." Disney+ did do some decent representation in their new shows, but I wouldn't say it "launched their television brand."

So basically what I'm getting at is that the MCU's representation has been spotty, especially in the earlier phases. "Real opportunity and real inclusion" is a myth they're trying to sell you. Disney/Marvel wants to make the most money possible. When the MCU was starting, they played it safe and only had straight, white, male protagonists. As they gained a following and a larger audience in general, it became safer and more profitable to do diversity, so they did. Don't get me wrong, it's GREAT that we're getting to see all types of people in these kind of movies. It's certainly better that in the past when there were none at all. But we shouldn't act like Marvel is doing all this out of the kindness of their hearts. It's strategic, which is why the diversity/representation isn't always done well.
Yes, they established their mega-brand and recently have used it to do what I said.
Black Widow is absolutely a flagship character, she is one of the original Avengers and by the end is the leader. Scarlet Witch and Captain Marvel are the two most powerful overall characters in the MCU. One has had a solo movie and the other launched the MCU's television brand. Chloe Zhao has a major tentpole in the can. Coogler and Waititi are both working on their second films as we speak. The highest grossing solo film in the entire thing is Black Panther which didn't just have a Black director, it had a Black pretty much everything. Only the DP was white and as I understood that Coogler picked her. HER.
So, again, yes Marvel didn't just run into the world of making movies saying we're gonna champion all these things, but once they had established themselves as the tentpole of the entire industry, they really got their record on track.



I haven't been on these forums for some time, but if you knew more about my tastes...

Me likey!



I will add that Marvel has also given us a Black King and Superhero, women characters of equal power or even greater to men, a significant LGBTQ character, their actual main character suffering from PTSD, minority and female directors, a tentpole with an almost entirely Asian cast, launching their television brand with a major female character and a major Black character, and more to come. Marvel is using its tentpole give real opportunity and real inclusion to marginalized people on top of telling fun stories that millions and millions of people enjoy.
So no, I just don't see all this as "a cash grab"...
*Yawn*

Oh, you were finished?
How “in vogue” you must be.
And since stating and sharing such “in vogue” opinions, please explain how Disney/Marvel isn’t capitalizing on them? Seems to me they’ve grabbed your cash quite well...



As someone who grew up crazy about comic books - I have a love / hate relationship with the movies.

As a kid I longed to see the characters I loved brought to the big screen, but then seeing what movie makers did to some of the characters, stories & source material was heartbreaking (especially when it was moviemakers just using the characters' names as a draw, but who had little knowledge of or love for the comics that gave the characters birth).