SPIDER-MANDATE: The Lowe-down on "Secret Wars," Tie-Ins and Stacey Lee
So, obviously this is spurred by Marvel Studios’ Guardians of the Galaxy, which came out last weekend, which demolished all August film openings, which I saw this weekend, and which was, as everyone has already been telling you, pretty much awesome.
But you don’t need another post about that, you’ve seen it all before, there’s nothing new I can tell you. This movie is like pure joy, bottled and delivered directly into your soul. It’s not perfect but it’s fun, funny, and a great example of how super complicated ideas and utterly bizarre characters and concepts can be made “new viewer” friendly and yet still appeal to fans. It’s a success all around.
MINOR SPOILERS AHEAD
With intriguing columns about superheroine movies over the past months from io9 and Jezebel to USA Today and The BBC everyone is talking about this issue — that issue being “Where are all the Superheroines in Film?” Readers (or at least writers) cannot get enough of the topic. CSBG’s own Sonia Harris was interviewed last week for a Huffpost video, and I was interviewed last week by both CNN/HNL and SciFi Now Magazine for upcoming pieces on the subject. It feels like we’re hitting a point of no return where the people will simply demand a supeheroine film come hell or high water. We probably can’t call anything a “superheroine age” without some movies (and toys and all that comes with such things) but it does feel like we may finally be headed there.
I wrote over a year ago about why The Avengers got The Black Widow so right, and suggested some superheroine movies I’d like to see on the heels of that (I also wrote about both Catwoman and The Black Widow on Lit Reactor), but I was a bit too early for the rush it seems – and now, unwilling to be left out of the frenzy, since it’s an issue so clearly dear to my heart — here I am again.
I’ve spent most of my life aching for great superheroine portrayals on film. To see some of my comic book heroines reflected back to me on 40-foot screens. With a few awesome exceptions (X-Men, X2) I have been disappointed again and again (Catwoman, Elektra, Sue Storm in Fantastic Four, Batgirl in Batman & Robin, Poison Ivy in Batman & Robin, Supergirl, Mary Jane in Spiderman, okay not a superheroine, but still) the list of bad performances, bad writing, bad directing, and just bad ideas is painfully long.
In an effort to piss off Greg Burgas (because what else in life is fun?!) I’m posting my best and worsts of 2012 before the year ends. As always, my feeling is that if I haven’t read it by the end of December (and there are MANY I have not read) then I’m not going to be able to get to it in time for it to make my bests and worsts lists anyway…so it’s all the same in the end.
Also as always, I didn’t get to nearly enough books this year. I especially failed on the Graphic Novel front, reading far too few on the whole and not getting to a ton that I’m really interested in – seriously, I’ve got a list as long as my arm to get to (and I have pretty long arms).
What’s going to be on the list? Well you can bet it’s going to be Hawkeye-Saga-rific! That’s of course not in an effort to piss off Burgas, but you know…BONUS! Seriously, I’ve never had a list so dominated by two titles…but what can I say? I really loved these books they did everything right and made me happy every time I read them.
Let’s get to it, shall we? And sound off in the comments about some of your favorites for the year.
Like a lot of people, last weekend I went to see The Avengers movie (and if you haven’t, don’t worry, I’m not going to spoil any surprises here.) Anyway, I saw the movie and had a revelatory moment while watching it. Before the movie, I always thought that I was part of this big community of adults who all enjoy reading the same superhero comic books. I had assumed that all of us were basically in the same boat, enjoying the same things about them. In fact, it never really occurred to me to question what it was that I was enjoying in contrast to what other adults got out of it.
Like many this weekend, I saw The Avengers, and was blown away. I had a lot of faith going in, since I have huge confidence in Joss Whedon, but the ensemble superhero movie (hell, even the single superhero movie) is a herculean task to get right…and so I admit to being worried. But those worries were soon put to rest. Whedon delivered on every single level, and while one could complain that there could have been more plot, or more character development, I think in the end he struck the right (and smart) balance. Had he tried to do more (he was already doing so much) I think he would have ended up actually doing less…or at least doing less right.
Most wonderful of all to me (and there was a lot of wonderful) and least surprising was Whedon’s exceptional use of Scarlett Johansson as Black Widow. In a movie with this many “big” superheroes (Iron Man, Hulk, Captain America, and Thor in particular) it would have been easy for a character like Black Widow, with her more subtle power profile to get lost. Not only are her powers not as spectacle driven as those above, but every one of those gents has an introductory superhero movie under their belt already (ahem, some of them have two).
But instead of getting lost, Whedon utilized Black Widow to her best. He knew exactly where to put her for maximum impact, and he let her just be her badass spy self. It worked like gangbusters and Johansson got both amazing scenes, and also a critical role in the story, rather than just some cool one-off scenes. A director less familiar with female characters and with superheroes in general, might not have been able to pull this off but for Whedon it feels effortless – because it is.
And so that leaves us with only one question…when do we get our solo Black Widow film, starring Johansson and directed by Whedon?
Marvel would be fools not to jump on the opportunity to create the first superhero franchise featuring a female character, and I don’t suppose they’d hate the idea of making Whedon and superheroines work, when DC couldn’t make it happen with their star female superhero – Wonder Woman.
So, who else is ripe to lead a film and potentially begin a franchise? And perhaps more importantly as we’ve learned with Whedon and Widow, who would be the director to do it right?
After I saw the Thor and Captain America movies, I got pretty excited about The Avengers movie (that was the idea, wasn’t it?) Thor, Captain America and Iron Man all stand up pretty well, but after a while these solo movies feel like a complicated teaser campaign and we find ourselves gasping for the payoff of The Avengers movie. With this anticipation grinding away at me, I thought I’d look at some old Avengers comic books.
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