Superhero Movies: the Good, the Bad & HULK SMASH PUNY HU
Submitted by Xaviar Xerexes on April 5, 2006 - 18:03
So I finally saw the Hulk last night. What a mishmash of a movie. Parts of it were almost cool but the ending - the Hulk's father turns into a... bubble? Too much talking... want more HULK SMASH!
Between that and the FF movie I rented earlier in Jan - I've seen now several ways you can screw up translating a comic into a surefire action movie.
1. Turn the action into a metaphor for deep emotional conflict in a hamhanded and redundantly obvious way. Like, The Hulk movie.
2. Turn a cool villian into a corporate schmuck. How does the FF story get improved by turning Doctor Doom into a CEO? No Latvinia (or whatever madeup country he ruled)? What is the obsession with villian as CEO anyway - yes it was creative when Bryne did it with Lex Luthor in Superman but from what I can recall Bryne took it fairly serious and Luthor acted like a CEO not a comicbook bad guy. These movies have stock characters walk around for half the movie like a CEO (although not very good ones if you pay attention to their management activity) then flip out into more typical comic book bad guys.
It doesn't work.
3. Feel obligated to link the bad guy's origin to the superheroes origin, thereby mangling both origin stories in the process. Like the FF movie.
4. Do a really half-ass job of translating a comic book origin story into something remotely plausible given our current scientific knowledge of the world. Spiderman did this well - there was only the slight tweak of DNA changes replacing radiation and otherwise they were able to leave the story intact. The X-Men also worked well enough.
The FF? I think they were headed in the right direction but it was sloppy. The Hulk? Also potentially interesting but they slipped in a lot of Star Trek style scientific nonsense explanation. That's just distracting.
5. Fail to translate the visuals of the comic book into the movie in a way that works coherently. This is the toughest one really. Spiderman I think works although it's a close call with the spidey underwear. It really shouldn't work when I think about it. The X-Men works b/c they ditched the comic book costumes but kept the distinctive aspects of the characters. They even got Nightcrawler right and that's a tough one. I'm less confident they'll pull off the Beast though.
The hulk - they actually did a pretty good job with the Hulk hulking out but he's so cartoonish (green and purple!!!!) that he didn't fit with the otherwise naturalistic looking movie Ang Lee shot (although I loved his panels motiff). Lee should have gone more of a Tim Burton route on his overall visual for the movie or rethought the Hulk himself. I know it would have been blasphemy to many but a realisitic looking Hulk wouldn't be uniformly green - they could have done lots of things visually to make him more naturalistic looking. Given the movie he made that's what Ang Lee should have done (he should have also ditched the entire finale with Nolte).
The FF was also okay. They certainly did a better job of the Thing then I ever thought possible.
You know, that ends my ramble - well except to say that I think Batman Begins was really good and did a lot of the things I carped on above right.