votw ii.17: Dateless? You’re Kidding, Right?

Some of the Kryptonites Mags twanged aboot.


Hey there, Planeteers. Thank you for tuning in to the same Bat-Time on the same Bat-Channel. That being said, I might as well dive right off the Daily Planet: I figure that, having already indulged many of my geekier fascinations such as Star Wars and fantasy films, I should continue my crusade to make everyone that much more pop-culture savvy, savvy? So in the spirit of Magne F’s “Kryptonite,” we will now take a look at the ever-expanding superhero film genre.

Lesser evils?

As a child, I would drape a sheet around my neck and jump from furniture to furniture dreaming of Lois Lane. Oh, don’t look at me like that. LL’s have gotten progressively hotter through the ages. In the ’70s and ’80s, we had gender-bending Margot Kidder, more famous for her Family Guy psychosis than her damsel in distress psychosis. In the 1990s, we had The World’s Leggiest Dean Cain Hater, future desperate wifespinster Teri Hatcher. Lastly, in the 2000s, we have the I-would-if-she-were-there Kate Bosworth, as well as the I-did-in-so-many-liquid-dreams Erica Durance. Welcome to my secret identity fantasy.

Speaking of Superman, the Man of Steel has seen his highs and lows on the silver screen. We all remember the first two Christopher Reeve films fondly. I mean, he not only defied plot trappings and logic by reversing the Earth’s rotation and thus traveling back in time, but he also fought General Zod by flinging public transportation and cellophane S emblems at the Phantom Zoned Kryptonian. Alas, the good times did not last, for the Last Son of Krypton battled his most crippling adversaries in Richard Pryor and Nucular Man. And you wonder why the 1990s only saw the guy from Ripley’s Believe It Or Not as the dood in underoos? (Koinkidink! A Superfriends cutaway has just occurred on Family Guy behind me!)

Decay of decency?

In 1989, Tim Burton delivered us from Adam West with Michael Keaton as the Batman. This version of the bat saw the Dark Knight uncharacteristically killing henchmen and trading quips with Jack Nicholson. A couple of years later, the Penguin bled black and Catwoman seemed less like Eartha Kitt and more like drunk rape victim. Around the same time, 1990’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles cowabunga’d the ground running, instantly becoming my most cherished comic book film of all time. (Gritty and grimy, it had everything and Casey Jones.) The era of MC Hammer was good to us, and that’s when the fun times ended. Oh, sure, I enjoyed Jim Carrey’s camp as the Riddler when I was 8 (still do, really), but just try to get me to watch 1997’s Batman & Robin. Bat-nipples and bat-credit cards? Holy reboot, Batman!

The superhero genre all but died a dishonorable BAM death because of sequel after embarrassing sequel. And then X-Men came along in 2000. For what it’s worth, I’m not big on the X-mutants, but I do recognize that it revitalized the genre Guvnah Ahnold iced with inspired casting and comic book bravado. Spider-Man slinged into view in 2002, and all was right in the world. The superhero genre has been a staple of every summer season ever since. Marvel Comics has been particularly successful in churning out the flicks. We’ve seen the marvelous in Spider-Man 2 and Iron Man, the high-brow in X2: X-Men United, the quickly forgetable in the Fantastic 4s, the obscene misfires in Daredevil, and the never-remember-it-happened Hulk.

DC Comics has not been so lucky in the 2000s, only producing two big movies in earnest. However, throw me as many Elektras and X-Men 3s as you want, it will never measure up to the unbridled glorificence of Batman Begins and its unrivaled star. (Halle Barry’s Catwoman doesn’t exist, right?) Now, Superman Returns has many, many detractors (small S?! gimmicky Luthor?! he “fought” a giant rock?! he’s Jesus?! with a bastard son?!), but I truly appreciate it for what it did right. All we are saying is give Brandon Routh a chance. Also, make a good Justice League movie. Pit them against Darkseid AND Brainiac.* Cast Ryan Reynolds as The Flash.

*I just described the last episode of Justice League Unlimited. If you didn’t know, I hold the Justice League cartoon in the highest esteem, rivaled only by the Ninja Turtles 2K3 series as the best animated program of the 2000s. It’s also the conclusion of the DC Animated Universe, which began in 1992 with Batman: The Animated Series back in 1992. Kevin Conroy’s decades-spanning turn as Bruce Wayne outlasts Adam West, Michael Keaton, Val Kilmer, George Clooney (who played himself, really), and Christian Bale combined. Godliness.

If you didn’t notice, I’m much more of a DC man than I am a Marvel fanboy. Incidentally, I have never been into comic books — not ever. I think I’ve only read a handful in my life, and they are awesome in this order: Batman’s The Long Halloween, Ninja Turtles’ City At War, Justice League’s Kingdom Come, Batman’s The Dark Knight Returns, and Superman’s Red Son (wherein Superman lands in the Soviet Union instead of the U.S.). See, only read five of ’em. :/

All other mediums, such as live-action TV shows, are mighty mighty. Why, I’ve only missed a couple of episodes of Smallville throughout its seven-year tenure. This Thursday marks the last time Michael Rosenbaum’s Lex Luthor is part of the full-time cast. Verily, the finest Lex of all time bows out with this season finale. Sadness swells. Well, at least I have Supergirl to gawk, gander, and grovel at.

(Oh, yeah, we also have Heroes, which, as of late, means we also have nil.)

So what is the state of the genre today? Well, like New Order, it’s here to stay. The biz is just like the splendid characters of The Incredibles movie by Pixar — it was triumphant at first, then it went on the DL after some questionable moves, and now it’s back — more crowded, yes, but hopefully better than ever. This summer has already given rise to the balls-to-the-walls machine that is Iron Man, and in July, we have the sequel everyone who grew up in the Bat Cave has been waiting for it. Will Heath Ledger’s passing affect the tone of the movie? Or should we be more concerned with the dispute between new Hulkster Edward Norton and Marvel Studios?

And what of the future, Conan? DC is sitting on some heavy properties like Wonder Woman, the Green Lantern, The Flash, a more successful Superman, and the behemoth-languishing-in-development-hell that is Justice League, whereas Marvel will just dole out the successful sequels in Spider-Man 4 and Iron Man 2. Also, we need another TMNT, if not for profits or kids, then for Alfred, who has been humming every theme song since he was 3.

Oh, and you can stay away from Aquaman for as long as you want. In its place, we can have the long-rumored Batman versus Superman movie. You know, for kicks. Or else just dip into the veritably nascent anime/manga gene pool. It’s not like Speed Racer was a total flop. Oh…Well, milk the Sin City/300 genre, then. You will? Sweet! Let’s make s’more sub-par Garfield movies! Lorenzo Music, save me!

Perfect Blue: amazing movie no one has seen.

Oh, my, over a thousand words about something I’m sure eight-year-olds are better off discussing. What can I say? I freely admit that I’m something of a geek (superheroes? cartoons? Star Wars? movies? video games? synthesizers? blogs? LOST?), but you know what…Mags said it best. Bite me. :)

[Please refer to the following website: http://www.geekologie.com/2007/12/56_geeks_poster_for_your_basem.php — I’m approximately 10 out of 56. Now eat your Mags.]


~ by Alfredeus on May 15, 2008.

5 Responses to “votw ii.17: Dateless? You’re Kidding, Right?”

  1. You make me look like SUCH a nongeek. And still I read on, not understanding most of what you were talking about, although I agree that there should be a new TMNT for sure…for Hannah, too.

  2. great, exploration of heroes. thanks Alfredo ;-)
    mmmm… But These heroes have no sense of passion lol

    I prefer Angel..

    Bite me.

  3. Perfect Blue? No one has ever seen? Not including you, me, and Satoshi Kon. -_-

    Check Out Paprika and this other movie in the same really high budget vein, tekkonkinkreet.

  4. Yeah, Paprika was great. It was really surreal and fantastical — a genuinely enjoyable mindwarp. Now…who be ye?

  5. Somehow i missed the point. Probably lost in translation :) Anyway … nice blog to visit.

    cheers, Towhee

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