ByGary Russell, writer at
Gary Russell

I'm an old booger, lemme say that right from the get-go. I'm 56, born in '56, so the Silver Age of comics and I are the same age. I've been reading comics since before I could read, thanks to some older cousins. Marvel, DC, Charlton, and Gold Key, though I must admit I'm a bigger DC fan.

I've watched everything ever produced in Hollywood that is superhero related. I've seen LOTS of crap, trust me. From the serials older than I, (Batman, Green Hornet, Captain Marvel, The Phantom, and Superman with Kirk Alyn animated in flight), the classic Fleischer cartoons and the series, to the campy stuff on TV (Batman and Green Hornet) in the '60s and beyond. I survived Hulk and Spidey in their own series, (animated and live action), for good or bad. Tarzan, Justice League (on the '66 Superman series), Super Friends, Captain Marvel, The Lone Ranger and Fantastic Four on Saturday mornings, X-Men, Spidey and Iron Man on FOX, on and on.

Doctor Strange's TV film/failed pilot. Superman I & II, and even III and IV (ugh). All the Captain America TV and 'major' movies, Daredevil and Thor (on the HULK series). The Marvel Action Hour, The Justice League TV special, the / Batmans, the various animated series', etc. I've seen 'em ALL.

Tarzan ('84), John Carter, Phantom, Shadow, Hellboy, Daredevil, Elektra, Watchmen...all had their good and bad points. I am SO afraid of what Disney/ are going to do with The Lone Ranger, but all I can do is cross my fingers and toes. Yet I don't hold much hope, as I'm afraid it's only going to be marginally better than the Green Hornet film. More than likely just going to be an offshoot of the 'Pirates' franchise, a vehicle for Depp to bring in $$. Green Hornet had no thought as to what the fans wanted (or what this beloved character deserved), it was a 'star vehicle'.

And I'm afraid that's what The Lone Ranger will be, which is NOT what a great American hero of 80 years deserves. An action/comedy Lone Ranger? Sorry, all you Depp fans, but I don't want that kind of Lone Ranger and Tonto. Granted, the film hasn't come out yet, and a little comedy done well can be quite beneficial. But the Ranger and Tonto sitting around a campfire, and Tonto saying, "Something very wrong with that horse," with the next shot showing Silver in a tree? REALLY? Unless they're partaking of peyote, it just doesn't belong. However, I WILL go see it (and hopefully I'm wrong), but it's probably the first and last time I'll see Depp on the big screen. (God bless DVD).

Why would it be okay for them to mess with the Hornet or Ranger, but a bad thing to do so with Superman or Batman? There is no answer for that, because it doesn't warrant an answer. TLR is a character older than Supes, and both deserve to be treated with respect. Why not just make Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice more like Superman III, but with filling in for Richard Pryor? No, I don't think so.

Then I watched all the new Marvel films, starting with the Blade series. FINALLY, something done decent. So yes, as technology advances, so does the quality of the films. X-MEN were good, but not all were winners. X-MEN: The Last Stand or Wolverine: Origins, anyone? I really wasn't crazy about either, (the same goes for Iron Man 3 or The Dark Knight Rises), but they were on the big screen, and so I forked out my $. Gladly. No, they weren't perfect. Both Fantastic Four I and II admittedly had problems, BUT they were worth watching.

The point of all this is that, I more than most want the films to be successful, as I've a great deal of my life invested in these character's exploits. But I also want them to be GOOD. DC has long been in a position to make good films, but hasn't taken full advantage of the possibilities. Superman and Batman I & II aside, "like a poor marksman, (they) keep missing the target!" (Thank you, James T. Kirk).

So when I say that I want them done well, I mean that sincerely. No, I don't want "your father's" superhero movie, but I also don't want kids films. Therein lies the rub; How to do it and satisfy everyone. Man of Steel had two problems, in my opinion. There was too much of the fight at the end, it just went on and on. Yes, one of my main complaints about the first Fantastic Four film was that it was too short. But just making an origin film longer so we could see the fight last longer isn't what I want either. Character development is what is needed here, not wanton destruction for it's own sake.

And of course, Supes killing Zod. Kal does NOT kill! He values life, PROTECTS life. But, I can even live with that, 'cause it's a new age, and in a post 9/11 world, "we" demand more from our heroes. Let this be WHY he doesn't kill...any more, never again. And since he has killed Zod at least twice in comics, okay...Let's move on.

The Green Lantern film had at least two too many villains. Parallax wasn't needed at all, nor was Hector Hammond, except perhaps to set him up for the second film. This film should've just dealt with Hal and Sinestro (and the Corps), would've been easily done, and a much better film. But it wasn't HORRIBLE. Just too busy. Not bad, just not...great.

People knocked the first two HULK films, but you have to admit that they had their moments, most of which were admittedly CGI. HULK didn't shine until The Avengers, and then they got it right...FINALLY. At least it wasn't a guy with green body paint. The technology was still in it's infancy, so to speak. So I didn't hate them, but there wasn't a great deal of LOVE.

Now the DC universe has been rebooted with Man of Steel, so where do we go next, to get to the long awaited Justice League Part One film?

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice could bring in Bats (new actor) and/or Wonder Woman in a cameo. Then pick up Flash with a Green Lantern cameo (new actor or not, doesn't matter to me. I thought did a passable job). Then a Wonder Woman flick, cameo by Aquaman. Until there comes something that requires them all to get together to "save the day".

By the time a JLA film is ready, will be too old for Batman. Those are done, forget about them. EXCEPT that they set up the character, ready now for a new actor/director. No need to do a reboot/origin film again. PLEASE!

The point of this rambling diatribe is, will Hollywood take the time to get us there? Remember that there were only four years (and three films) between Iron Man and Avengers.

It CAN be done in that time, IF it's done right. Don't rush it, but don't take too much time, as Hollywood is afraid of how long before the superhero film bubble bursts.

Part of the reason for DC starting the New 52 was to bring in new readers, to clean out the continuity and start over. So in film it's the same thing. Just do it RIGHT. Look at the TimmVerse as your guide, superhero movies CAN be done well. Just don't get in a hurry, and don't retread the same ground over and over.

Now you may lash out, I can take it.


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