Ricochet is the best place on the internet to discuss the issues of the day, either through commenting on posts or writing your own for our active and dynamic community in a fully moderated environment. In addition, the Ricochet Audio Network offers over 50 original podcasts with new episodes released every day.
Rant on Contemporary Film
On the one hand, taking a good superhero story and retelling it again and again may seem kind of silly. I can think of four different faces of live-action Batman in my adult life. That’s starting with Christian Bale. I haven’t even seen Joker, and if there’s any Batman appearance in Arrowverse I guess I never saw that bit. We’ve rebooted Spiderman twice since I was in undergrad, not even counting Into the Spiderverse–and we now have two distinct movie series dealing with a Spiderverse!
On the other hand, this sure is better than the alternative of taking a good superhero story and keeping it going endlessly until all the girls become Arnold-level butt-kickers, no one has babies, lots of people get a chance to wield Thor’s hammer, multiple supervillains threaten entire universes at a time, and heroes die and resurrect until they all get replaced somehow or other by yet another variation of Wokey McWokeface.
At least we’re retelling some of the best stories instead of having all of them extended as endless superhumansploitation to get diminishing quantities of easy money into the pockets of Disney executives.
Still, it might be nice if we had just a little bit of a third way. Crazy idea, I know–but we could try new superhero stories. (Daily Wire’s The Hyperions was great!) YouTube ranters like the Critical Drinker think the success of the recent Mario movie might indicate a new era in film; superhuman movies are the past; videogame adaptations that respect the source material are the future!
Sounds good to me.
Or maybe we could even turn off the screens and read a freakin’ book once in a while. Read Tolkien. All the film adaptations are failures to varying degrees. The books will heal your soul.
On second thoughts, no, never mind–that’s a bad idea for sure! Keep watchin’ them screens, everyone. Keep the MCU going until Jesus comes back! Pay up for D+!
Enough of my ranting. Your turn now.
And if you have nothing to rant on your own, try this rant from James Heaney, or this one from Spencer Klavan. They’re superb!Published in Entertainment
Superhero stories are played out. Superhero origin stories especially so.
I have never seen that phrase before.
I have been reading Argentina On The Couch: Psychiatry, State, And Society, 1880 To The Present, and I do not recommend it. Oh, it has its moments. But still.
I did buy, today, the Robinson R66 Pilot Operating Handbook, which I do expect to get all the way through. Its prose is not lively but the word “catastrophic” is in it and that has got to count for something.
Superhero stories are far deeper, richer, and more varied than what has been brought to market so far. But they are now being produced for a very narrow audience that once ruled Twitter. James Gunn directed the second Suicide Squad movie, which bombed so hard it did not make back enough money to pay for its distribution, so they made him the DC Kevin Feige. The Phoenix Saga (X-Men) was a terrible idea that sold well in the comics. I guess the fanboys always wanted to trash the hot girl from the upscale upstate academy for the gifted. Not one, but two horrible movies impaled themselves on that bed of spikes. The eljibity stuff is not novel, not interesting, and does not sustain a story. The “this audience deserves content, too” has to contend with the awesome smallness of that audience and the fact that most of them have moved on from the novelty of being pandered to.
I’m glad Steve Rogers isn’t around to see this.
As much as we like to complain about it, superhero/comic book movies still make money. People complaining about modern movies, maybe aren’t typically the people paying to watch movies in the theater.
And with streamers and the cratering of the secondary dvd/blu-ray market, there’s not enough money to sustain mid-budget original scripted films (be they noir, action, sci-fi, drama -exceptions being some comedies and horror) So, it makes sense to keep the popular IP in circulation, since Spidey and Batman still seem to earn.
BTW… Peter Jackson’s film adaptation was/is a fantastic adaptation of the source material, and taken together is/are a masterpiece. So, yes, read the books! But the movies stand up on their own.
Maybe. Maybe. I do hear things about new woke MCU losing money on several films.
And I do like Spiderman and Batman! Batman is great.
Movies rarely if ever get better than those movies were. But I’m still bitter about Elves at Helm’s Deep, and their disrespect to Faramir.
Ha my brother thought he had coined ‘elgibities’
Phase 4 made no money. The kickoff to Phase 5 landed with a splat.
If Marvel Studios hasn’t panicked yet, they haven’t been paying attention.
And none of them was as good as the 1960s TV series.
The only thing I think could save the genre would be a turn toward lowered-powered characters with low-key but important adventures. Something along the lines of Eclipse Comics´s Espers series from the 80s, or Roger Zelazny´s book Coils.
“Wokey McWokeface”? May I borrow that?
Endgame was the Endgame of the MCU as far as I am concerned, with mild exception for the Spider-Man sequels that followed it. I suspect that I am far from the only one.
Good stuff. 1940s Batman too!
Super hero stories will never go out of style. The conventions and means by which they are communicated have and will, but these stories are so tied to the human psyche and need that they cannot be discarded or discontinued. If G-d exists then that is the most fundamental super hero story. If He does not, then various super heroes must be created to deal with the anxiety over uncontrollable randomness. Humans yearn for a form of control in which liberty and personal agency can exist without debilitating fear.
The best superhero movie of the last 20 years was The Incredibles .
The best deconstruction of superheroes in the last 20 years as Megamind
The Best understanding of superheroes and portrayal of them in my lifetime as been the DC Animated Universe on TV.
How about making good adaptations of books into movies. Villenueve has done a good job with Dune as one example. I’d love to see the Dragonriders of Pern if it’s done to that level. The problem us that Hollywood can’t tell the story as it was written. It’s why LotR was so good, it was left to the story (mostly) and it’s a heck if a story.
I’ve been enjoying the Yellowstone-verse because they tell long form stories in a compelling way. I’d love to see Sheridan tackle The Time It Never Rained or The Man Who Rode Midnight by Elmer Kelton.
But, you do have a point about reading books. They enrich more than a movie or TV show does. I enjoy both. TV stimulates different aspects of my brain and imagination than reading does. Both have value.
Yes, and that’s a salient point on Dune. I haven’t seen it myself–it’s a priority for me on an upcoming Turkish Airlines flight–and I probably won’t make a point of re-reading the book soon. But I get the impression that they respect the source material. Good for them. Movies that do that will sell. LOTR–with mistakes. Harry Potter. One Narnia movie from Hollywood.
But then The Hobbit was butchered, and the Narnia sequels botched the books. These people don’t want to learn.
Incidentally, the Wingfeather Saga animated series on Angel Studios is probably really good. Been meaning to watch it. My kids dig it.
All fair points.
What’s important in superhero movies is that there are plenty of normal human characters to be relatable to the viewers. This was pretty standard for awhile, but as these movies have gotten bigger and bigger with more and more superhero characters, the human characters have been pushed aside — or don’t exist at all. Because all the superheroes all need a good amount of screen time. And “when everybody’s special, nobody is.”
Want to fix superhero movies? (Or at least improve them?) Make them about the humans, not the supers.
I read all those books when they came out, but the animation style of the series doesn’t appeal to me. I suppose I should try it anyway.
(The books are very good, but the absolute best is the short story collection, Wingfeather Tales, only because of the story (novella, basically) “The Places Beyond the Maps” which is absolutely superb.)
As much as I loved and still love the campy craziness of Adam West’s Batman, he is outclassed by the Dark Knight Trilogy with Bale and the the first two Keaton turns as the Caped Crusader.
They’re truly different things.
Wrt the campy craziness…I just always watch and think ‘that was made by gay men, there is just no other way…..’.
The world still waits for a black Sherlock Holmes.
Also (more seriously), it amazes me that nobody has written the stories and created the TV series about Sherlock’s adventures in Tibet. As far as I know, all we have is this teaser in his explanation to Watson about where he went and what he did after tossing Professor Moriarty off the Reichenbach Fall:
“I travelled for two years in Tibet, therefore, and amused myself by visiting Lhassa, and spending some days with the head lama.”
This is an untouched motherload of entertainment material.
That time period is covered in Series 4 of the Sherlock Holmes audio dramas from Big Finish. Excellent stuff.
The Villeneuve Dune is a masterpiece and I don´t say that lightly. It even has the first movie soundtrack since LoTR that I would listen to by itself. Hans Zimmer outdoes his own previous work in film music there.
Thanks. Hadn’t heard of it and now I see there’s a book from the ‘60s in which Holmes deals with the ‘Great Game’ aspects of the era. Also a more recent one published in India.
From the Urban Dictionary:
A better way to say LGBT, the tiktok creator @dez.thelez has Latino parents that are queens of coming up with new words. Words no one else is brave enough to use.
Dang. I’ve been using “El-Jibbity” for awhile now. I had no idea it was so widespread.