If you’ve been living under the largest rock in the world for the past 20 years, or with one of those tribes that don’t allow other humans to get close enough to give them cable television.
Then you know that comic book movies have really exploded, there are several of them that come out every year. Whether they are based on a comic book or a graphic novel or a combination of both (Dark knight rises), the comic book genre and Hollywood are now inextricably linked. Which is very interesting as the comic book movies made in the 80s and 90s sucked, I mean completely sucked. For evidence I give you the 90s captain america, dr strange, the punisher, Justice League, Nick Fury: Agent of shield and the little known and never released but somehow on youtube 90s Fantastic Four.
However in 1998 they decided to give David S Goyer another shot at this comic book live action gig(he wrote Nick Fury: agent of shield), and he penned the script for Blade. Blade starred Wesley Snipes at the height of his marketability and fame and did so well that it completely kicked off a new wave of movies. The dark comic book movie brought to the screen. It was the perfect set up for it actually, vampires, action, those things really transcend comics and can reach over to the regular movie goers. With Goyer’s amazing script this movie became the blueprint for all future comic book movies to follow including X-men, Iron man, superman returns etc. It also ushered in an age of acceptance and respect for comic book movies.
Mr. Goyer went on to write the rest of the Blade trilogy and then famously penned the script for Batman Begins. Teaming up with Christopher Nolan they completely reinvented the origin story and gritty reboot. This movie is beloved by casual movie goers and hardcore batman fans alike. There may be someone who doesn’t like it, but I haven’t found him.
This lead to the Dark Knight which IS the greatest Batman film of all time and I will not hear a WORD against it. Just the opening scene alone was enough to make me pass out from geek overload. THAT is how you introduce a villain. It also led to the best comic book video game ever created with the Arkham series. You may begin to see a pattern and that is what I am discussing today.
You see talent is hard to come across in Hollywood, not to say that there is a LACK of it there, but I’m saying its hard to come across, I’ll explain. It’s not an agent’s/producer’s job to find NEW talent, it’s his job to make the company money. So new people aren’t really what they are looking for, they are looking for a track record of making money. Much like how job searching today goes, you look and see they want someone with 3 years experience for a job but you can never get the job because…well you can’t get hired without three years of experience. It’s a whirlwind of aggravation to be sure and Hollywood you can see the result right there on the screen. The same people are making everything, the same people are acting in everything, they have their stable of actors and writers and now everything looks the same. Nobody new is getting in which means everything’s a remake or at the least a cheap rip-off of something that someone who is actually creative made in the first place. So they found a creative person in Goyer, he somehow slipped through the cracks and now he’s their go to guy for every single superhero, video game movie, as is Nolan. This is what I call the Goyer/Nolan effect, when you create something good in Hollywood they will leach your brain until they get every penny it can produce.
So now that the audiences have shown they want superheroes and they want dark. Hollywood says they want Goyer/Nolan! (nothing wrong with that they are very talented). Now everything looks dark, now everything is just a little different, and now we see the problem, they start trying to do things like them without them. Now the movies are FLOODED with dark, dingy, wannabe movies like Green lantern that just don’t work because that’s not really the character. This is pushing more and more people to independent films and outlets. The film festivals have been exploding lately, as have other outlets that promote indie films such as Netflix. Apparently the big movie studios are going to keep throwing more money into remakes and being safe until the movie going populace wises up and stops going to them. When that happens I believe what Spielberg said is true. They won’t try to make better movies, they’ll just up the prices and keep the movies they do make in theaters for a year.
That’s fine with me, gives me more chances for my films to be seen by greater audiences. However the Goyer/Nolan effect is taking great effect on DC. DC has long been known for their unwillingness to flinch when it comes to certain things about their characters. They even released a Mortal Kombat game with no real fatalities.
Now clearly they are willing to change origin stories and things about the characters they never would have before. Which could lead to a better DC but they walk a thin line of treading into Marvel territory. DC and Marvel have always been two different entities when it comes to characters. DC has had the more “SUPERhero” the over powered, high morals, and huge stars. Marvel has always been darker and more real. Both takes on the superhero have their merits but fans of DC and Marvel love them for these differences. DC is getting darker but I believe that they will be able to pull it off because they have gotten Guillarmo Del Torro to write and direct a film starring the lesser known but darker DC characters.
All in all the next few years in Hollywood should be interesting, but as much as I love comics…can I please get something a little different?