I Will Save Your Franchise pt. 1
Hey dudes and lady-dudes,
Are you excited for the new Batman movie from Nolan and friends? Of course you are. We’re not sure what aspect of Selina Kyle Anne Hathaway’s going to be, especially since all announcements have been very, very, very careful about not calling her Catwoman, but all of that will take shape in the coming months.
Bane, though? That could be really awesome. The guy is essentially anti-Batman. Take Bruce’s drive, ambition, natural genius, and physical prowess, and strip it of all morality. Apply Batman’s skills, mind, and attitude but to someone with no code except his own. It could be the movie that finally gives us someone who can go head to head with Batman mentally and physically.
Note: I wrote this on Tuesday and I had no idea about Chad’s anti-Bane, anti- Nolan tirade. The above is not a response to that.
This part, in the italics is. I have complete and utter faith in this movie for two reasons: 1.) What in Nolan’s track record makes you not excited for this movie? Every movie he’s done, for better or worse, did everything right and well. He’s got a few I’ll probably never buy, but that’s personal taste for the subject matter. I cannot deny that they are well-put together movies. He has pretty much mastered his craft. 2.) the Dark Knight made Batman Begins look like it was shot in someone’s backyard over a long weekend. Now extrapolate what’s going to happen in this one from the Dark Knight. Anyone not excited for this movie is nursing a boner for the Joker which is the dork equivalent of all the rappers and hustler wannabes considering Scarface the end all be all of cinema.
However for every Dark Knight, we get an X-Men 3. For every Spider-Man 2 there’s a Spider-Man 3. Actually, that’s inaccurate, because the breakdown is not one for one. For every X-Men 2 or Iron Man there’s like 12 Wanteds.
It doesn’t have to be that way, though. We can all, actually, collectively try and do better.
That sounds like work, and I know that people on both sides of this issue, nerds and Hollywood executives, are two of the most work-averse people on the planet, but most of this is easy, and is easier if we’re dealing with an established property.
What follows are my proposals to fix a few franchises. These in no way guarantee a movie will be good, a lot of the depends on writing, directing, acting, and since this all sci-fi/fantasy, art direction, but I think you’ll agree, steps toward the proper destination.
Aliens – ADD SPACE MARINES. That ain’t new, baby.
My love for Space Marines aside, this is one of the things the Aliens vs Predator movies got wrong, is that it sent the horror from beyond the stars to attack what is basically, just dudes. Sure the first one had mercenaries or private contractors or whatever, and the second had bits and pieces of the army and law enforcement, but the main protagonists were just regular people.
This does two things against the Xenomorphs as a big bad: 1.) it doesn’t show their potential for terror and death. 2.) it demeans them. Regular folks are beneath them. That’s why they all died offscreen in Aliens.
In Alien the creature stalked and killed a crew of people that were a mix between construction workers and engineers. These were people who lived on that ship, knew every inch of it, how to fix it, how to break it, and had a background in using tools and thanks to all that knowledge could also improvise weapons and know how to use them. They got their asses kicked.
In Aliens a well-trained Marine fireteam, who were good at their jobs, tight-knit, and had experience in dealing with extra-terrestrials (“is this going to be a stand-up fight, sir or another bug hunt?”) get sent to investigate a colony that’s gone dark. They had motion trackers, guns, flame throwers, grenades, an APC, a drop ship, a command ship, and an expert with dealing with these monsters. They got their asses kicked.
In Aliens 3, a creature was let loose on a prison planet filled with debased humans. Murders, rapists, arsonists, and more, these savages were men in name only. They got their asses kicked.
We’re not going to talk about Alien Resurrection because it still hurts.
In each of these movies, the Aliens fought people who knew how to handle themselves. They fought engineers and scientists with knowledge and the ability to see the big picture. They fought soldiers trained to wage war on every species and in every environment encountered by humanity. They fought convicts in small enclosed spaces, where they were familiar with their surroundings, and the monsters always won.
Do you see how making them fight high school kids, mountain climbers, and firemen is lacking? A knife-wielding maniac fights high schoolers. Jason stalks outdoorsy folks around Crystal Lake.
Teenagers aren’t hard to kill. In fact, it’s really easy. They’re dumb, easily excitable, prone to blind rage, possess almost no reasoning skills, have zero ability to see the bigger picture, sweaty, controlled by chemical imbalances as their bodies change, and completely lacking any sort of confidence. Frankly, I think every slasher needs to turn in their knives and their masks, because all those movies should be twenty-three minutes long.
We don’t need to see the captain of the football team or a geologist die to explain to us that xenomorphs are dangerous, and being impregnated or torn apart by them is an awful way to die. We got that down. What’s really scary is when all our technology, our military, and our own savageness when we try to meet the creatures at their level still isn’t enough to survive.
Oh, and stop trying to tie it all together. Weyland doesn’t need to lead the expedition in the Antarctic, and the Yutani Corp. doesn’t need to show up and collect artifacts. It’s unnecessarily added with no impact on the story or the tone, and it makes our finding them less scary because it didn’t just happen, we actively sought them out. There’s no need for grand conspiracy. Tragedy usually doesn’t work that way.
Superman – No Luthor. At least for the first movie. He can be the voice on the phone. He can be the man behind the scenes funding these crimes, or testing Superman, but for the love of God, stop making him go up against Superman directly.
One of the main differences between comics and movies is that comics are serialized. There are literally thousands of them starring your favorite character. Because of these numbers, writers and artists have the opportunity to stray from the beaten path and do something new, like say entire storylines focused on Lex Luthor and done from his point of view. Lux Luthor: Man of Steel is a phenomenal example of a character study of a man who might be evil or might just be flawed. They took the villain and gave him his own mini-series. It’s not a Superman comic about Lex Luthor, it’s a Lex Luthor comic where Superman shows up.
We don’t have the opportunity in movies. If you’re going to have someone like Luthor face down Superman, he better have a giant robot suit, or a suped up psycho ready to tear Superman’s head off, otherwise it’s boring. The Joker is not as skilled a fighter as Batman, but he doesn’t have to be. He’s nuts and he only has to get lucky once, which can happen, because Batman is human.
Superman’s not. Lex Luthor can’t get lucky. What’s he going to do? Throw a punch at the exact second there’s some weird solar flare that turns off Superman’s power for a second and a half and he’ll go ass over apple cart over a rail and into a giant vat of Kryptonite? Maybe Luthor can shoot him with a gun, and the problem is that all the other guns in the world fired faulty bullets, and Lex’ll finally fire the one that actually explodes Superman’s heart. Perhaps Luthor can drop TWO buildings on him this time.
He has to plan, and plan, and plan, which is fine, as long as something else is happening to keep Superman distracted, because otherwise you have the most powerful creature to ever exist on Earth not punching things and not throwing trucks. The Joker tested Batman on every possible level, and the next Superman villain (or villains) needs to do the same.
It’s a tough line to walk, the difference between Super and Man. The first two movies gave us the perfect version of Superman who can do anything. The most recent one focused on the Man, and showed that even super-powered people can be flawed or afraid, or unsure, but now, I need to see someone punched into the sun. I just do. I have every reason to believe Zack Snyder will deliver an action-packed movie starring someone in a Superman costume, but hopefully he’ll remember the man.
Spider-Man – Okay, casting’s going to be huge. He has to be believable as both an outsider and a man of action. Someone with the intelligence behind their eyes to make the audience believe that we’re dealing with a science nerd but is also a wise-cracking joker.
God damn it.
Okay, that’s fine. No one’s lining up to see Scarfield. They came for the man in the costume.
Fucking shit. Guys. Why does he have silver shoes? Why did you alter the costume? The original’s perfect. It’s creepy, like spiders, but bright and colorful like Spidey’s personality. It does everything a costume should, highlight the character’s personality and give some quick clue what his power set is. Spider-Man, Spider-Man, does whatever a spider can.
Screw it. You guys on your own.
See you guys Monday.
Posted on January 27, 2011, in Comics, History Lessons, Lists, Matt Loman, Movies, Pop Culture and tagged alien, aliens, bane, Batman, catwoman, i like to keep this handy for close encounters..., lex luthor, MARINES WE ARE LEAVING, Matt Loman, space marines, Spider-Man, spiderman, Superman. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.