Monday, December 8, 2008
EDITORIAL: Marvel's Movie Magic: Is Everyone On The Same Page?
Marvel comics is easily the most successful company that ever went from making comic books, to then producing movies about them. In the past few years alone we have seen amazing movies such as Spiderman 1&2, Iron Man, X-men 1&2, Blade 1&2, and The Punisher (among others).
But like any film 'series' they have also had their less popular films, Ghostrider, Hulk, X3, Spiderman 3, Daredevil, and Fantastic Four (among others).
But that seems to be a good track record. Now, here is my problem.
Marvel does not seem to treat film as different art from the art of comic books. This is their downfall, because the two forms of expression are very different. Here are the two comic book tenants, that I think should not apply to their film counterparts.
1. When an artist leaves... get a new artist! The character will change a bit, but everyone knows that it is the same guy.
When a characters artist changes in a comic book, people either like or dislike the new designs, but eventually they get over it and keep reading. The art may have changed, but the character is the same and it is good enough for the readers.
In a film though, if an actor leaves and is recast after making one popular film already as the character, people will have a lot more trouble accepting the new actor in the sequel.
In Iron Man, Terrance Howard played Jim Rhodes, Tony Starks best friend, with many hints that he will return as another hero in the sequel. Ironically, he won't. Well, Rhodes will, but Howard has been recast with Don Cheadle.
Edward Norton already said he will not be reprising his role as Bruce Banner in the upcoming avengers movie, making one wonder how they will recast a lead character with out everyone complaining about continuity.
Back in 2004, The Punisher was played by Thomas Jane, and now in the sequel, he is being played by Ray Stevenson. Once again, the lead actor quit and someone new came on.
Now, sure, if it was animated, nobody would care. Lots of people can do the same character voices, and pull of the character convincingly, but when it is a full actor who must bring his character to life, every actor will do it differently. I can guarantee that each of these new actors will not play the character in the same way as the first actor originated the role.
Bringing me to...
2. Don't make a film with a sequel in mind.
Why? Because unexpected stuff may happen! If any of these films were made to be standalone films, then there would not be an issue. If they just planned on making a Hulk movie, and then later the producer said "let's make a sequel", and the lead actor said 'I don't want to...' then they could just drop the film and move on to the next one... because face it... Marvel has tons of characters, and would probably love to make a film for each and every one.
But... if you really want to make a sequel... then you need to GUARANTEE that all the original actors (unless they are incapacitated) will be in it. How? By outlining how long you want the franchise to run and then getting all the actors to sign 'multiple film agreements' before starting the first film.
I like Marvel films, but I wish each one didn't have to be it's own trilogy. The first (and usually the second) ones are usually great, but by the third they just push the stuff way to far in a bad direction. I don't want Spiderman 4 after seeing Spiderman 3, as much as I loved the first two, and I don't want to see an avengers movie with half a cast from the prequel, and half 'all new replacements'.
What do you think?