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What Went Wrong With… The Superhero Movie & Comic Book Adaptations?

A parody of Superhero Movie titles by What Went Wrong With

Ever since Superman became an award winning hit back in 1978, Hollywood Studios have been acquiring the rights to almost every Graphic Novel and Comic Book in existence. The resulting film adaptations since Superman however have been a hit and miss affair, with the majority of recent movies being at best mindless eye candy for the summer blockbuster crowd.

Superhero movies were not always the sure-fire hits they are today. For the majority of the eighties and nineties, Comic adaptations were frowned upon by Studios and audiences alike. For every successful film, such as Tim Burton’s Batman there were umpteen poor and downright disastrous movies like The Shadow and The Phantom. Because of this inconstant result, Hollywood didn’t create as many Superhero movies as they do today. This all changed at the start of the noughties, beginning sometime after the success of X-Men and Spider-Man, and then slowly gathered momentum. It has now got to a point where a Comic Book adaptation is released every few months, and if you are not some sort of crazed and obsessed Comic Book fanatic, they are beginning to blur into one huge uninspired and contrived mess.

Take a look at any modern Superhero movie, from the poster, the plot, the characters, to the overall aesthetic and even the tone of each film, and it is hard to tell them apart. Walking into a cinema and purchasing a ticket to a Superhero movie will pretty much guarantee a couple of hours of déjà vu, sprinkled with product placement, and garnished with pro-American, pro-masculine, pro-war, pro-vigilantism monotony. Each film is now essentially a pre-made Studio template for guaranteed profit; option a Comic, add any sub-par Actor, add a over-hyped Director, throw in some CGI and unrealistic costumes, and voila, another conveyer-belt mass-produced copy of a copy. Originality it seems is dead in this genre.

There are of course some great Comic Book movies, such as Sam Raimi’s Darkman, and James McTeigue’s V For Vendetta. There are also a few kitsch “so bad they’re good” type curios such as Howard The Duck and Tank Girl. But the majority of Comic Book films, especially over the past few years, are so similar that you may as well watch the same film over and over again. For at least a decade the Superhero movie has followed the same bullshit plot…

A white heterosexual male acquires some special ability, meanwhile an evil counterpart similarly gains some sort of power. They then decide to dress in over-the-top figure-hugging costumes before battling over and over again amidst some ludicrous idea of world domination. The Hero’s alter-ego life then becomes a conflicting struggle with his day to day “normal” life, and also interferes with his heterosexual, same-race, love life. Love and normalcy is then put on hold for the final confrontation, where against all odds the “Good” guy wins whilst the rest of humanity watches helplessly and in awe. A quick glimpse of a new and potentially bigger threat or villain is then shown which leaves an opening for a sequel.

…yawn.

This crappy excuse for a plot has been repeated endlessly over the last decade or so, with only the character names and titles being changed. When a decent Superhero film is made, they spoil it by creating an inferior sequel. Blade was okay for it’s time, until they ruined it with the ultra-annoying, unwanted shitty sidekick filled Blade: Trinity. Batman Begins was satisfying, and the talent of the late Heath Ledger also made the sequel an enjoyable movie. But even this slightly superior adaptation was marred by the ultra-drab and tedious The Dark Knight Rises which felt completely disjointed and depressing compared to the previous two.

Then there are the outright “completely shit from the start” adaptations. Spider-Man despite being a Box-Office hit was a post-9/11 flag-waving, all-American puke-fest. And just as we thought Toby McGuire’s weird quirks and embarrassing looks had been buried, out pops up another lame reboot. Iron Man was successful, but was also one of the most annoying, loud, and pro-white pieces of shit I ever saw. Every time I hear AC/DC now, I want to punch a hole through the speaker.

I mean, if M. Night Shyamalan can say all there is to say about Heroes, Villains, and Comic Book Folklore in 106 minutes, the Superhero topic can’t be all that deep. With the amount of monotony surrounding this genre, Hollywood may as well reboot Unbreakable. Why the Studios keep making and remaking the same trash is anybody’s guess, but the bigger surprise is why people keep watching the second and even third remake. It’s almost as if the public was suffering from mass-amnesia. There is only eight years between the last Fantastic Four movie and the reboot, and the aforementioned Spider-Man had a reboot only five years after the previous version (and will now have another). With such little time passing between reboots it’s astonishing why Hollywood Studios opt for an “origins” story every time, even though most of the world’s population is by now quite familiar with every Marvel and DC creation.

The most surprising aspect of all this is that in parallel to these films (which tell us to respect a Superhero who will defeat an obvious evil enemy) the majority of the world’s population are in a real-life situation where megalomaniacal elitists are chipping away at their rights and freedoms. A fact which is painfully ironic when you realise that in the real world, there is no hero who will save us, and there never will be. The ordinary people who are portrayed as the defenceless and weak are in reality the only group of people capable of destroying an oppressive regime or a totalitarian Government. But if you believe Hollywood we all need to wait for a white saviour; a white “God” who is superior to humans, a one-man-army who will overthrow evil. Why we are all paying such high prices for a false biblical re-telling, when most of us are not religious, I shall never know.

Hollywood can piss off with their pro-Christian, pro-West, and pro-Caucasian bullshit. Hollywood are themselves the villains in this real story of life, an evil regime who grow more powerful as we get weaker. They keep the people hypnotized and in a daze so that we hand over our hard earned money in order to watch some fake manufactured soulless entertainment, which then in turn funds these Hollywood Executives’ extravagant life. In a Superhero movie, or even in a Holy Book, Hollywood would be the Masters Of Evil or maybe the Serpent in Eden. Either way, if I see one more pumped-up white man with a six-pack and cape or another Stan Lee cameo, I will be more inclined to become a Hardcore Atheist Agnostic.

Comic Con.

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7 replies »

  1. Sorry to disappoint u, but ur not saying anything original here.

    Joseph Campbell pointed out the “monomyth” in his 1949 book “Hero with a Thousand Faces”. The story of the superhero has generally been the same since the dawn of man and story-telling, and always will be. The fact that Hollywood decided to invest in it heavily in the noughties was a result of the initial successes, Spiderman being one of them. There has been some backlash though…and yes, some horrible movies made.

    Hollywood is in itself almost identical to the music industry, a bunch of biz savvy folks that line their pockets with dough, but CAN deliver the goods to a national and international audience (no easy task). Many Hollywood investors and record execs alike dont always care too much about “the story” or “the music” as long as they feel guaranteed that they will see a large return on their investment. They are “businessmen”, not artists, their ambition in life is to make money…..and there’s nothing “evil” about someone pursuing that ambition as long as they dont harm anyone, its just differs from yours.

    However, these principles and “excesses” did eventually lead to the advent and development of independent film companies and record labels, so not all hope is lost in the world of art in that respect.

    And regarding race, a lot of comic book heroes were created when no one cared very much about “racial equality”. There aren’t a lot of Filipino heroes in Japanese folk stories either…..u need to get over that part, or CREATE a minority superhero urself.

    • You are entitled to your opinion, but I must disagree with you to a point. Almost all stories can be traced back to tales of duality and the struggle between two opposing forces which can in turn be traced back to Zoroastrianism. I have never read “Hero With A Thousand Faces” so I cannot comment, but my observations if they are indeed the same as Joseph Campbell; are no less valid, just because they are similar. I am generally cynical about everything, including popular culture, so in calling Hollywood Executives “evil” is my way of venting my anger at their current output. This is in no way personal, but within an article concerning Hollywood, Christianity, and Superheroes; creating parallels between topics is just a part of creative writing. To quote the Bible, which is one of the bearers of this “monomyth”; Timothy 6:10 “The Love Of Money Is The Root Of Evil”, and therefore Hollywood and their so-called “Businessmen” are inherently evil, especially in this context of Biblical inspiration.

      When I criticise race, I am also entitled to question standards within a commercial and social contstruct (which I am a part of), so if I see racial inequality in cinema or a specific genre; I can make an issue of it without having the need to correct the world’s wrongs personally. This is like saying, if I don’t agree with the Ku Klux Klan, I must personally create an anti-far-right orginization just so my opinions can be backed up. Prejudice is rife in popular culture, not just in film and Comic Books, but when I see or hear something which spurs me to write, then I cannot ignore such inspiration. But if I somehow gain infinite wealth (and also have the time); rest assured a comic and movie adaptation called “Super Black vs. The White Devils” will be my one of my pet projects.

      Thank you for taking the time to comment.

    • You’re right, an organized stand can change things (even though akin to duality and Comic Books; a nemesis will only reemerge with a different identity). In reality nothing can be stopped, just quietened down for a while. I’d like to think however, that my blog and my personal opinions are the small pebble that will eventually create a big wave. Thanks for the support, and any criticism and debate are welcomed!

  2. Hollywood.. pro-west, pro-christian, pro-caucasian???????????????????

    really…
    Really !?
    REALLY! ?!?!?!??!

    Now THAT was funny.

    • Passion Of The Christ, Noah, The Ten Commandments, The Last Temptation Of Christ, Ben-Hur, Exodus: God And Kings, Kingdom Of Heaven, Zero Dark Thirty, American Sniper (and that’s just off the top of my head).

      But oh no, these must be anti-west, anti-Christian, and anti-Caucasian to you? REALLY?!?!?!?!?!?

      YOU must be fucking joking!

  3. Definitely agree 100%! I’m sick and tired of superhero movies. According to Den of Geek, there 63 superhero movies under development, not to mention the numerous movies that will be out this year. The problem is that not only they are oversaturated, but they run in continuity. Watching one Marvel movie would be difficult in terms of the plot because you would have to watch a lot of movies to know what is going on. Although this is an annoying aspect, the planned Spider-Man reboot (3rd reboot in 15 years) was the last straw for me.
    The “Life’s like a box of chocolate” line from Forrest Gump is gained a new meaning. There is only so much shit that you can take before you sick of it. Also, there is so many comic book movies and superhero movies that you can take before you’re sick of it.

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