Strip Talk #24: Get ready for the deluge of comic book movies

Lyndsey-2013-cutout-onlineThe del­uge of comic book movies these days is like heaven-sent mana for a geek like myself. The sheer vol­ume alone is over­whelm­ing, and the major­ity of them hap­pen to be good. I will prop­erly con­fess that I wasn’t antic­i­pat­ing the qual­ity of the major­ity, but it’s a wel­come prob­lem to have because it could always be worse.

If your name is Mar­vel, you have done extra­or­di­nar­ily well. Basi­cally, every­thing they touch is gold. Cap­tain Amer­ica: Civil War was HUGE; we’re talk­ing bil­lions in box office receipts. Even the B-Team movies (i.e. the spin­offs) such as Ant Man and Guardians of the Galaxy have exceeded expec­ta­tions and made buck­ets of money for the Mar­vel brand. So, we’re good here because just about every­thing about Phase III is going to trans­late into crit­i­cal acclaim and finan­cial windfall.

If your name is DC, you have some issues and we have con­cerns about you going for­ward. DC’s cin­e­matic uni­verse just can’t seem to get it right, whether it’s the poor char­ac­ter­i­za­tion of Superman’s solo film, the tepid Bat­man vs. Super­man or the silli­ness of Sui­cide Squad. It seems that DC is strug­gling to tell even the most basic sto­ries about its leg­endary sta­ble of heroes. Superman’s movies have been mostly miss since the ill-advised reboot attempt in 2006 with Super­man Returns. Bat­man has been mostly good since the Christo­pher Nolan tril­ogy wrapped up with Dark Knight Rises, but there is yet another new face under the cowl — Ben Affleck — that’s going to have to carry major bur­dens. Sui­cide Squad has been hit or miss, with either enthu­si­as­ti­cally great or hor­ri­ble reviews. DC has got to get its act together if it’s seri­ous about com­pet­ing with the Mar­vel jug­ger­naut in any way, shape or form.

If you’re not named either DC or Mar­vel and you’re pro­duc­ing a comic prop­erty, chances are you’re the X-Men or Wolver­ine. Fox han­dles the X-Men and it shows imme­di­ately that they’re not Mar­vel (despite being a Mar­vel prop­erty in ink). While First Class and Days of Future Past were won­der­ful and a great restora­tion of the X-Men name from the hor­rific days of Last Stand, the more recent Apoc­a­lypse nearly destroyed the good­will that the fran­chise has man­aged to earn back. Poor pac­ing and char­ac­ter devel­op­ment of promi­nent X-Men such as Storm and Psy­locke does not endear the series to any­one look­ing to see the merry band of mutants make a come­back. While Dead­pool did extremely well for Fox, it’s hard to see where they’re going after this except for more X-Men/Wolverine and more Deadpool.

I’m all for the gag­gle of movies expected to release in the next months to few years. By the time you read this, Doc­tor Strange and Thor: Rag­narok will have been released and we still have on the hori­zon Won­der Woman, Black Pan­ther, Cap­tain Mar­vel, Jus­tice League, Avengers Infin­ity War, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, Shazam, The Flash, Aqua­man, Jus­tice League 2, Cyborg, Green Lantern Corps, Spider-Man: Home­com­ing, an Old Man Logan/Wolverine final movie, Ant Man and the Wasp, and sev­eral TV prop­er­ties such as Luke Cage, and future sea­sons of Jes­sica Jones, Arrow, the Flash, Dare­devil, Iron Fist, Cloak and Dag­ger and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. If that doesn’t keep you busy and informed on comic adap­ta­tions, you’re miss­ing quite a bit.

You can’t escape the preva­lence of comic books in cin­ema, espe­cially now that the main­stream pub­lic at large is invested in either Mar­vel or DC and second-tier char­ac­ters like Groot are house­hold names. You know you’ve jumped into main­stream con­scious­ness when the band­wagon fans are sym­pa­thiz­ing with the Win­ter Sol­dier with­out know­ing his back­ground and up-to-date biog­ra­phy. But it’s not really for the band­wag­oneers, is it? It’s more for us, the comic book faith­ful who won’t turn down a movie about a super­hero because, well, super­heroes. I don’t know about you, but I’m about to be a lit­tle kid on Christ­mas morn­ing once again.

Lyn­d­sey Hicks is editor-in-chief of Gam­ing Insur­rec­tion. She can be reached by email at editor@gaminginsurrection.com

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