Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Captain America and Some Random Comic-Related Thoughts

I finally got around to watching the preview for Captain America: Winter Soldier. I'm really looking forward to it now (not that I wasn't before, but even more so now). I was never a big fan of Cap back when I read comics religiously. His solo title in the 80's and even much of the 90's felt so hokey, too boy scout like. It was like Cap took Superman's "aw shucks" and patriotism and turned it to 11. Even going back and re-reading some of the comics from that time those feelings are still conveyed, but I like them a lot better now. Back when I was reading comics as a kid, I leaned more towards the grittier books or books where the characters were outsiders. Punisher and the X-Men drew me in a lot more than Cap. Even with Cap leading the Avengers, I liked him more, but he still felt far too "Pollyanna-like" for me. So when the first Captain America movie came out, I went into it thinking that would likely be OK but it would fail to satisfy. However, while Captain America is still very patriotic the Pollyanna is wiped away. Now, I won't get into the sometimes jarring CGI to make Chris Evans into a frail-looking weakling in his pre-transformation form, but I thought the movie was well done other than that. Cap felt more human, more real, and overall more inspirational than he ever felt to that 8-16 year-old me that was heavily reading comics.

Cap's transformation in my mind was further expanded by The Avengers. Steve Rogers really felt like a man out of time, a guy still reeling from losing everything he had known and being thrust into a situation of global proportions alongside literal gods. I had my doubts that they could pull off Cap being a leader, but they did a great job of it and showed what I always wanted to see out of Cap: a born leader and a man that, while flawed, exhibits the qualities that we want to see in ourselves.

Granted, I'm being a little harsh on the comics. It's hard to keep the core of a character on display issue after issue for decades without the message overshadowing telling wildly divergent stories. To do so would make the core message a ham-fisted sledgehammer that would only serve to drive readers away. Movies, with their smaller time set and greater focus, can to that so much better (though many movies fail to deliver or end up being ham-fisted in their own way). Thanks to Captain America and Avengers, I'm more of a fan of Captain America than I've ever been before.

That all brings me to Winter Soldier. Now, most of us that read comics know who the Winter Soldier is. However, unless they do some serious retconning or outright ignoring what happened in the first movie, I don't see how they can mimic that in the movie. (By the way, Marvel's handling of the Winter Soldier, while still somewhat annoying, was way better handled than DC's bringing back Jason Todd, who in my not overly humble opinion, should have stayed dead with a capital D, but I digress.) Still, even possibly losing that emotional element, this promises to be another great Marvel movie.

Why is it that Hollywood can do such great stuff with Marvel properties (X3, X-Men Origins: Wolverine, the two FF movies, and Daredevil aside), but nothing can seem to be done with DC properties that aren't Batman-related? (Really, until the last three Batman movies all but two of those have been absolute stinkers.) DC has some great IP, so surely a good movie can be found there? I haven't seen Man of Steel yet, but the reviews have been so mixed that I don't know what to expect. Green Lantern could have been good if they would have stuck to an origin story for the first movie and built up to fighting Parallax in a more natural progression instead of mashing two movies into one.

I once read somewhere on the net the big difference between Marvel and DC that I think plays into why DC movies tend to, well, suck (that aren't animated, seriously DC animated movies have been quite good). Bascially, this user said (and I'm paraphrasing here): in the Marvel Universe it's men pretending to be gods and in the DCU its gods pretending to be men. That's a big difference. Even in the case of characters like Thor, who is literally a god, he is a very human and flawed being and therefore more connectible and believeable. Superman is a god in every sense. He tries hard to blend in with humanity, but he just so good, so pure, so much better in every imaginable way that it's tough to write a storyline that doesn't end up being too cliched. I've heard that Man of Steel tried to up the angst, and it's been a regular complaint about the movie because it's so far off the mark for the character. (I guess I'll find out for myself once it hits Redbox.) It's almost like the writers for DC's movies can't wrap their head around how to make a movie revolving around characters with so much power that will still be interesting and connectible.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thank you for taking the time to comment.