Strip Talk #21: Don’t let outside opinion sway your film loves

Lyndsey-2013-cutout-onlineListen, there comes a time in the entertainment business that things (i.e. songs, movies, art) will be remade. And we will have to live with it. Just because something is a classic, that doesn’t mean it’s sacred and off limits. No, this is Hollywood. Land of the movie stars, mega rich and lack of creativity so distinct that it is often duplicated and imitated worldwide. Hollywood knows nothing about creativity and originality so, inevitably, there will be a remake or reboot of a franchise where multiple people have played the same role over the course of several movies. Let’s take, for example, Batman. The Caped Crusader has been played by numerous people yet remains popular. So, with the passing of the torch by the latest to step into the iconic tights — Christian Bale to Ben Affleck — there’s been a frenzy of criticism surrounding the casting. Justified and unjustified, you might say.

I’ll admit, I’m not exactly seeing Affleck in the dual role. I get his sex appeal and his acting chops. He’s got all of that and then some to spare, but he doesn’t exactly jump out at me as the perfect Bruce Wayne and Batman. But, in fact, history shows that the first actor to bring Batman to life — Michael Keaton — faced the same sort of scrutiny. And what do you know? He just happened to weigh in on the situation:

My guess is he’s a smart guy. I don’t know Ben, but he’s been around long enough to see all this stuff happen,” Keaton said. “My guess is he’s laughing [at the criticism], he’s laughing and I hope he’s going, ‘Shut up!'”

And that about sums up my feelings on the matter.

Now, full disclosure, I love Keaton as an actor. I really do, and I loved him as Batman. I’m just old enough to remember the hype surrounding the original movie and to remember not being allowed to see it without an adult present. But I don’t remember the criticism Keaton received, and from what I know, there was plenty of it. I read about it and my initial thought was, who cares? My next thought was, Keaton made an excellent Batman/Bruce Wayne so I guess he proved quite a few folks wrong, didn’t he? My third thought on the matter, after reading the interview with Keaton on Affleck as a choice, was, why did they ask Keaton? Is he in charge of casting, because if he is, that’s news to me. He doesn’t care and, yet, someone felt they had to go there as if it’s the elephant in the room that no one is talking about. No one is talking about it because it’s a non-issue. Not important. Next.

Here’s my main point: What does it matter what anyone thinks, outside of Affleck and studio executives? He’s the one getting paid for putting on the cowl and cape. They’re the ones risking two franchises with casting (remember, Superman and Batman are affected by the next film). All of the critics in the world aren’t necessarily the end-all, be-all for a movie. And, you should never listen to a film critic, anyhow. It’s all subjective in the first place and how someone feels about a movie could change with the next human over. This is what I want you, the reader, to take from this: Make up your own mind and don’t rely on someone else’s thoughts to determine what you like and don’t like. Because, as I like to say all of the time, you aren’t the one cutting the check or depositing it, either.

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

Strip Talk #13: Let’s talk a minute about comic book movie reboots

Lyndsey Hicks, editor in chief

I am by no means someone who doesn’t love movies. I do, especially those of the comic book variety. I just have this thing where I can’t stand seeing a story done a million times with different people and different takes on the subject.

Let’s start with exhibit A, “Spider-Man.” Now, I sat through “Spider-Man,” “Spider-Man 2” and “Spider-Man 3” because I can look at Tobey Maguire all day long and twice on Sunday. He was perfect as Peter Parker, though the abomination that was “Spider-Man 3” is a whole other topic. But did Spider-Man really need to be remade? No, it didn’t, and I’ll tell you why: The movies were fine the way they were. We didn’t need a fourth movie, and we certainly didn’t need a new franchise because someone at Sony couldn’t come up off some money for Maguire and Sam Raimi.

In exhibit B, I’m looking directly at you, Mr. Frank Castle. Seriously, there have been more Punisher reboots than there have been actual people who saw the Punisher movies combined. The crazy thing is, I loved Punisher: War Zone and I thought Ray Stevenson did an excellent job in the lead role. But I’m of the mind that if Marvel had actually bothered to cast him the first time around or waited to do that Punisher film, there wouldn’t have been three attempts. Let’s face it, the Punisher isn’t that hard to do. You get someone to be sufficiently tortured because of the loss of his family and you make it work well. Mark Harmon manages to accomplish this every week as Special Agent Leroy Jethro Gibbs on “NCIS,” so I’m not understanding how this can’t be made to work in a motion picture of this caliber.

In exhibit C, the X-Men find themselves raising their hands to answer the question of which group of people need not apply for more reboots. Like “Spider-Man,” I’ve seen all of the films in question except for “X-Men: First Class,” and I’m not exactly dying to see it. Why should I? What was the point of redoing “X-Men”? And, who thought it was cute to replace Patrick Stewart? Whoever made that call should be ashamed of themselves. I don’t care how good folks supposedly were in First Class; do not take away my beloved Patrick Stewart. I will not go see your movie.

In the final exhibit, we have Superman. Now, why someone thought ruining the Man of Steel’s legacy as singlehandedly wrought by Christopher Reeve with his bare hands molded from clay of the earth was a good idea, I’ll never know. But ruining Superman’s legacy as wrought by Christopher Reeve with his bare hands was a bad idea, a really bad idea. I have nothing against Brandon Routh who tried and miserably failed to fill Reeve’s shoes, but there will never, ever be another Superman as long as I live and breathe other than the late Mr. Reeve. And I will go on the record now: I realize that Henry Cavill’s fine self has been tapped to play Clark Kent in yet another reboot, but he will fail and fail completely to this child of the ’80s.

My major problem with all of these reboots ― and I’m blaming Marvel for this because they seem to be the worst at this ― is that if it doesn’t work, I have to ask why the companies don’t realize it just isn’t going to work. Rhetorically speaking, if it doesn’t work, why keep banging your head against the proverbial wall trying to force it? It doesn’t make sense to keep trying to find that “right fit” because you’re never going to find it for some projects. In some of these cases, the right fit was found and then torn up because of money, which is usually the root cause of the problem. Because believe me, none of these reboots would have happened without an unlimited supply of money.

Folks, if you’re on your third reboot, maybe it’s time to look elsewhere for that source of comic book gold. Obviously, the ink isn’t subjective to the Midas Touch.

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