Monday, June 4, 2012
On not seeing a movie I'm supposed to have seen.
Yeah, I still have this, don't I? Cool. Hey, so, I have refused to drag myself out to see The Avengers. It's been out for a month, and I have not even glanced at it (although I did see how it ended via Wikipedia). Why? Oh, the same reasons that everyone else gives. But, there's a little more to it than that, and I find it hard to vocalize just what the problem is, but I'll try. See, when I was a wee lad, I ate up comics. You could probably guess this and, if you knew me, you can nod your head in agreement. You'd say "Dude loved his comics." and then flashback to that one time I made a comics joke and then everyone would laugh. Looking back on it, there was really only one reason why I ever liked comics in the first place. Because it was escapism and I needed to escape. I didn't belong in my hometown, and I never have. I never fit in and I was never able to find a real outlet there for me. So, I found comics. A couple of grocery store bargain bin issues was what I needed and that was what I got. Comics portrayed a new, exciting world and they allowed my creativity to flourish. The rest is history, as they say. Blah blah blah action figure battles blah blah blah higher reading level blah blah blah something to keep my mind off of my parent's dismal marriage blah blah blah. You know the drill. Basically every comics fan ever has the same story and the same background as me. Of course, that's not true any more. People walk through malls reading Watchmen. V for Vendetta had Natalie Portman in it. The Avengers made more wealth than a small country. Comics is big business now, and that's ok, because it means that there are more fans, and no one can really slam kids into lockers and call them fags for reading Spider-Man any more. Hooray. Comics are big now, and they're probably going to be big for a while. At least until Avengers 3: The Kovacs Saga bombs at the box office. Heh, that was a funny. But, really, this should be the best time for a comics fan. Watchmen movie, Avengers movie, Thor movie. Hell, we got it made in the shade. But, something's not right. These movies and these books and these new universes are different. It's not the way it used to be. There's something missing and it's really hard to locate or quantify. I have also not seen Captain America or Thor, which are two movies that we've pretty much been dying for. I figured I would have killed to see these movies ten years ago, but here I am. I think the problem can be traced easily back to Iron Man 2. Well, no, the problem can be traced back to that time Marvel decided to give Jack Kirby only 80 of his pages that he made for them, but let's stick with Iron Man 2 for the time being. I saw Iron Man 2 on the first weekend it debuted. I liked Iron Man 1 well enough, so I decided, hey, let's give it a shot. I mean, this wasn't going to be Fantastic Four 2 or Kick Ass or any of those other shitty comic book movies. Well, see, it was. It was boring and generic and there was no real stake or danger towards the main characters at all. We already knew an Avengers movie was probably coming down the pipe, and we knew Iron Man was going to be in it. So, the second movie had no drama. But, there was something more. There was something about the film that either made too much sense or not enough sense. See, these comic movies didn't have the same feeling to them that their source material did. There was this plastic sheen over everything. It was too polished, too. It seemed like we were telling a story just to tell it, and not to actually have anything good happen to the audience. It seems like we're already psyched for the next big thing, as we sit expectant in our dark theaters waiting to see what happens after the credits. Shouldn't a film be worth more than that? Why have a film series if the next one is going to be bigger and better than the one I'm watching now? There doesn't seem to be any of the feeling and gravitas in comic movies any more. There doesn't seem to be any purpose to it. Are there themes in these movies? Are there motifs? Sure, some old comics didn't have those, but most of them made you think. They gave you ideas and made you dream about things. What did the Captain America movie inspire? It didn't even inspire patriotism or nationalism. What did Thor inspire? A cult following of Idris Elba and...? Well, maybe it also inspired Anthony Hopkins to remodel his bathroom or something but the point remains! We can go further back? What was Iron Man about? Sure, Tony learned that his greed hurt people, but he still owned a Bugatti and banged mad babes. What was Spider-Man 2 about? Spider-Man 3? This films aren't about anything. Kick-Ass was the last movie that was about something, but it was so tainted by Millar's madness. I wonder if that movie's show in KKK meetings... Anywho, basically, comic movies don't mean anything. Sure, I know. It's just good clean fun, right? Well, sure. Some movies are dumb as hell and that's ok. But, has Captain America always been dumb? Has Iron Man? Thor? Spider-man? Are all those stories they wrote all about strong dudes hitting other dudes and then banging hot babes? Are those characters not characters? Are they JCVD in Bloodsport? No. There are dozens of good old stories that Marvel writers made with this characters that were about more than action. They were smart, endearing, well-crafted and all that stuff. Instead of seeing a movie version of that, we get ORIGIN STORY + VILLAIN FIGHT. And then we get VILLAIN FIGHT again. Now we get TEAM-UP + VILLAIN FIGHT + TWO CREDIT SEQUENCES. These movies aren't about anything. Just take a look at TV spots for the Avengers. Do they show any one-liners? Any of the stakes involved for the characters? Any pathos? Nope, just RDJ rambling and fights. There's more to a story than that. Maybe I should blame Rob Liefield. He had a hand in this, I'm sure. And then there's also the Kirby issue, the Alan Moore issue, the New 52, Blackest Night and all that dogcrap. So, no. I didn't see the Avengers.