MARVEL MOVIE RANTINGS OF A CONCERNED MIND
OK, the time has come for me to make some comments on the recent glut of superhero movies that have been released over the last year or so. The less said about Iron Man 3 and Thor 2 the better. Utter garbage.
I just recently saw The Amazing Spider-Man 2 and for the second time saw Captain America 2: The Winter Soldier and I must say that I am not impressed with this new batch of Marvel movies (the so-called Phase II of Marvel movies).
Winter Soldier can be summed up fairly neatly as having great fight scenes that are completely wasted on a bloated plot that would have been better for a Nick Fury movie (although I hate Samuel L. Jackson as Fury and wouldn't mind never seeing him on the big screen again). With Cap, the approach should have been: less is more - the simpler the better, because that's how Cap is as a hero. But the thinking in this movie seems to be that Cap needed a sprawling storyline that has no real root in the Captain America comic mythos and that the bigger the better (instead of one helicarrier like in the Avengers, let's do three helicarriers). I liked the involvement of the Falcon in the movie and didn't mind the updating of his technology (although I would have preferred seeing him in his costume from the comics or at least some attempt at the color scheme). However, WTF is Black Widow doing in this movie? Now putting aside my aversion for Scarlett Johansson as a weird-looking actress, Black Widow has never been a big part of the Captain America comic mythos. It would have been so much better to bring in Sharon Carter (who is in the movie but wasted and underutilized) and do a burgeoning love story with her and Cap. And what can I say about the 800-pound gorilla in the room: the winter soldier storyline itself. Now, I was never a huge fan of this story in the comics but somehow the writers did make it tolerably work and got a lot of mileage out of it but in this movie, it doesn't fit at all. Nothing is explained about why he's in this movie. His fight scenes with Cap were pretty good and made for a good climax to the movie but his whole presence in the movie is garbled and gets lost within the broader plot.
Spidey 2 wasn't much better. I wasn't a huge fan of The Amazing Spider-Man so I didn't have high hopes for this movie and it turned out to be pretty much what I was expecting. The big fly in the ointment in this movie is Electro. Why was Jamie Foxx cast in this part? I have to say that this trend of casting black actors in white parts is more that just a little bit jarring (and its not over yet as Johnny Storm has been cast by a black guy in the upcoming Fantastic Four movie - explain that one to me). I also didn't like the way Electro looked. Where is the costume? And speaking of villains... Why is Green Goblin in this movie? It felt like he was squeezed in for no good reason (and lets not even mention Rhyno). Ugh!!
Later this summer, Guardians of the Galaxy comes out and I may go see it even though the characters don't interest me and I've never read the comics of this version of the team (now if it was the original Guardians team then I'm there in a second but alas... ). Also I keep debating whether to go see X-Men: Days of Future Past as I absolutely abhorred First Class and thought it was one of the most unfaithful comic book movies of all time.
And that brings me to my final point. The best comic book movies have been the ones that are closest to the comics themselves. I don't want movie versions of marvel comics, I want adaptions of marvel comics. I want to see the characters and the plots from the comics with as little change as possible. I will allow some updating of technology and locations (such as in Iron Man) but not whole-sale changes of characters and events (such as The Mandarin in Iron Man 3 or The Phoenix Saga in X-Men: The Last Stand). Spider-Man, Iron Man, and The Avengers has been the best comic book movies of the last decade and looking forward, it seems that there is nothing on the horizon to change that assessment.