If there is one thing that the comic book format is known for more than the death/rebirth cycle, it is the reboot. As monthly super hero comic books reached a certain level of maturity, the editorial board felt the need to wipe the slate clean for a complete fresh start. This may sound like a good idea (it’s not, but it might sound good) except for the fact that if you get it wrong you have to go back to the way things were or reboot again… or both.
It’s been done (talk to any fan of Legion of Superheroes).
As the comic book world has been stretching into the motion picture world each of these pulp concepts has been remade to fit into the movie format and appeal to an audience who has no idea what unstable molecules are. It strikes me as interestesting that even on the movie format, comics are getting rebooted… again. The experiment from Ang Lee’s Hulk film to Louis Leterrier’ Incredible Hulk film showed that moviegoers are perfectly fine with ignoring the previous attempt at bringing a cartoon strip character to life… even when it’s the Punisher.
These may sound like old stories, but they are starting to bubble back into the media, so keep an eye out as these two comic book titles start to become important (again).
Fantastic Four: The First Family
20th Century Fox is anxious to use its two hot comic book properties, X-Men and Fantastic Four.
I’ve already covered the ideas behind an X-Men: First Class film and it seems that project is still circling around the water cooler looking for inspiration. Personally, I’d love to see a New Mutants movie… but I may be the only one.
The two FF films were only so-so successes however they did cement the identity of these characters into the popular mindset. Even the actors who starred in the movies stated that he felt the films were less than great they did work out how you would create a Fantastic Four motion picture, paving the way for another director to try his or her luck.
With Iron Man making it plain that just about any comic book character can be made into a blockbuster movie, Fox is anxious to get their first family of superheroes back on the screen… reinvented. The idea is that they want less of the hokey stuff and more of the dynamic popcorn flavor that Iron Man has. This is odd because I thought that the humor was the biggest strength in both of Tim Story’s Fantastic Four projects. The plots and action were less impressive, but the idea that Story understood what made the comic book work really stood out to me.
Hopefully the charm of this comic book will not be lost in the shuffle to another production team as they create a new action flick.
Daredevil: The Man Without Fear
One of my favorite vigilante superheroes of all time also got one of the worst action film treatments. That may be reversed as Daredevil is heading for the reboot treatment. Much the surprise of many, the 2003 movie was a commercial success, not the dud many wish to believe it was. Ben Affleck and I are of the same mind, however, in regards to his poor performance as the red-headed clown known as Daredevil. A bloated monster of absurd mis-steps, the Daredevil film is best forgotten by all.
The idea behind a Daredevil reboot is to fully embrace the success of Batman Begins and Dark Knight, delving more into the realism/noir angle than the fantastic wire-fighting nonsense that we got back in ’03. This would certainly fit Daredevil like a glove and also impress upon non-fans why the character is the coolest and darkest guy in comics… forget Batman, DD is the real deal.
The problem with the realism angle is that one can go too far and without a proper budget end up with a film looking like the Dolph Lundgren Punisher film, making it unclear that the movie has anything to do with comic books at all. So long as they keep studio execs and Frank Miller away from this project, I think they may just have a chance at saving it.
Watch for trailers, true believer!
As the money pours in for these superhero films, expect for there to be sudden announcements including titles, actors agreeing to dress in rubber and multiple covers of Entertainment Weekly celebrating oddball superheroes, causing my mom to call me up asking who the Defenders are.
Well… it may not get that crazy.
More as it comes, including Warner Brothers madcap scheme to build up toward a Justice League feature film.