I’m a massive comic fan. my collection currently boasts over 1000 issues and 300+ collected editions, with plans for expansion always being kept in mind. I love superheroes, those roided men and miss-proportioned women all decked out in spandex beating the crap out of each other and saving the universe every issue.
However that being said I have to say that I have been thoroughly disappointed in the cinematic efforts of the two main comic firms (DC and Marvel respectively). Now I have a deep respect for superhero films of yesteryear Michael Keaton as Batman and Christopher Reeve as Superman were fantastic, but when Marvel made its first moves to the big screen that’s where things began to take a turn for the worse in 2000 when I was 11 I remember going to the cinema to watch X-Men (the first in a currently 9 part saga) at the time I was blown away by the special effects and the fight scenes, but not really by the story, luckily my next interaction with the X-Men came from rewatching the 1992 TV series and watching X-Men Evolution (and they now count among my favourite comics book characters). But this just began a series of underwhelming attempts to fit the pantheon of Marvel heroes onto the big screen, there was Spider-man 1,2 and (with Tobey Mcquire) then there was that god awful Hulk film, then the less said about Daredevil, Elektra, The Punisher, the two Fantastic Four films and worst of all not one but two Ghost Rider films.
Then Marvel brought out the big guns, a multi film, shared universe leading up to the Avengers, Marvels flagship superteam. my main problem with these films were again lacking in the deep story that I love about comics, and I understand that you cant fit 50+ (and in some cases 70+) years of complex backstory into 2 hours, but to rewrite it completely is unforgivable and that’s the issue I have Captain America was discovered by the Avengers (which included Ant-man and the Wasp), Thor was a god, not an alien and Hawkeye shouldn’t have been in the Avengers until the Sequel.
But it isn’t just Marvel studios that has fallen into this trap the recent attempt by DC and Warner Brothers has been a massive failure in Man of Steel, Superman does not kill. Jor-el is not a super spy and does not interact with his son on earth on account of being dead. The most recent outing in the new DC cinematic universe was also something that annoyed the bejesus out of me. Suicide Squad, in particular Harley Quinn, who was portrayed as bimboish sexpot with some form of schizophrenia, when originally she was qualified physician, and trainee psychiatrist whose psychological maladies included transference and a dependent personality disorder.
I know I’m being petty and unfair, and know that these are homages rather than adaptations, but I do feel that due to the prolonged longevity of these characters film is not the best medium to portray them, and highlight that comic based television shows such as Arrow, The Flash and Netflix’s Daredevil and Jessica Jones manage to flesh out the depth of the characters involved in a way that a film cant. The typical superhero film goes: person gets powers, freaks out, then accepts it, second person gets powers, first person and second person fight for first time villain wins, introspective scene, then second fight, hero wins, end credits (post credit scene for Marvel). Whereas with television, even with a villain of the week style format, the necessary time can be allotted to allow for necessary character development and to establish that rich backstory that has made superhero comics a great medium.