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

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