Monday, May 5, 2014

What is wrong with superhero movies at the moment

I am a fan of superhero comics. I was a fan of superhero movies. But that has changed since Marvel found winning formula with The Avengers and movies leading to that movie. Now everyone wants to repeat the formula with varying results. Formula is, you introduce things in one movie, that you use in later movie. Marvel had Captain America, Iron Man and Thor movies before The Avengers. Those movies introduced characters to movie audience. I haven't seen those movies, so I can't say how much plot points those movies introduced. I could fully enjoy The Avengers, because I knew the characters. It was good for those who didn't know, to watch lead up movies. As far as I know lead up movies also worked by themselves.

Now I hear that Agents of SHIELD are so tightly linked to Captain America: Winter Solder, that you need to watch the movie to understand what happened between two episodes of tv-series. This is nothing new to comic readers. There are events that jump from comic book to comic book. After watching Green Lantern movie, I started to read Green Lantern comic. In order to fully understand what is happening, you need to read four comics: Green Lantern, Green Lantern Corp, Green Lantern: The New Guardians and Red Lanterns. Each have own storylines, which get connected during every event. So you can read only one comic until event comes and then you have to read all four to know what happens in event. And events happen annually or more often.

Events are later collected to collection books, but sometimes something is missing from collection books and you don't know what actually happened. For example in Marvel's Annihilation: Conquest, we see how one hero is chased by two brainwashed heroes. After that we don't see what happened to them until they return in the end with army and brainwashed heroes as their normal selves. This nonsense is now coming to movies. In comics it is little bit more understandable, since you can go buying other comics. With movies you might need to wait for year or two years and you forget what happened earlier. In both formats it makes following the story afterwards much harder. You may not have all parts of the story available.

Another problem is that movies are now promotional material for movies, that come later. This happens in comics sometimes, but there you have monthly schedule. In movies it is yearly schedule. I haven't seen The Amazing Spider-man 2, but what I have learned from more analytical reviews, it has character which reason to be there, was to be introduced for spin-off Sinister Six. Posters have half of  the Sinister Six. Trailers hint two other Sinister Six members. Without watching  The Amazing Spider-man 2 or knowing anything about Sinister Six movie, I know five members of the group. Sony announced two spin-offs and two sequels before movie even got to theaters. Sequels even have set release dates before movie got to theaters. Spin-offs probably have those too.

And why we are getting Sinister Six movie? Because Sony has rights for those characters and superhero movies make money at the moment. We are getting movie of villain group, because superhero movies are making money. I am curious to see what they come up with. I am not sure, which heroes they can use against Sinister Six, if they don't use Spider-man. They are not using Spider-man, since movie is not called The Amazing Spider-man 3.

Man of Steel has already two sequels set. We already guessed what movies will come and when they come. Next movie serves as build up for third movie. It will have Superman and Batman and some other Justice League members. DC wants to get to Justice League as soon as possible. So next movie will be only set up for Justice League. Maybe it has its owns story, but expectation is to be set up for third movie. There might be other movies to introduced characters for Justice League movie.

Marvel has its road map set for next fourteen years.  That sounds more like movie making factory than art. Comics are made same way. Now it is coming to movies too. Problem with comics is that quality goes down when original idea is used and comics are made to fulfil schedule. There are individual gems among grey mass. This happened with X-men and Raimi's Spider-man, where after two excellent movies, third one felt like it had to be done even thought they didn't have good idea for it. Same could be said for Dark Knight Rises too. Now we have set release dates for movies, they don't have any idea, what story they will do and they may not even have idea what earlier movies will be, because they are not made yet.

I will watch these movies, when they come to streaming services. I might even rent some of  them. I don't say things above make movies bad. It is annoying as movie fan to go watch movie, that you know is just part of something else and was made just to fill schedule. You may be happy with all cgi and action, but I want good story.

I know about end credit scene of The Amazing Spider-man 2. That just underlines my point. That scene was part of a deal between two competing studios. Nothing else. How much do you actually care about your movie, if you promote competing studio's movie in your own movie?


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