With things heating up at Warner Brothers since Comic Con and the debut on a stage of DC Comics Trinity it would almost seem like an all out war to see who can do it batter at the theater. It is hard to imagine that it can get any better though after The Avengers movie. I have said it over and over again, that movie changed the way movies are made and the way they work. The reason I say that is you can look back over movie history and find a large number of team-up movies, such as The Magnificent Seven, The Dirty Dozen, Mystery Men, The Watchmen and even Ghostbusters, but none of them have taken icons from another media and put them together in a movie that had the kind of buildup Avengers did or spent as much money on visuals. The cast iced the cake for Avengers.
At the box office no movie of the comic book hero genre ever netted as much money, and Avengers was competitive against movies from all genres, which says a lot about how good it was. So, the bar has been set incredibly high for any movie that follows, or tries to follow. Ah, but now here comes Batman v Superman: Dawn Of Justice and the rise of The Justice League on the big screen. It sounds good but when its all talk versus something that has already bashed box office records it doesn't have much of an impact on moviegoers. If you can't see it, it is mostly nothing, but last week, Comic Con San Diego and we get a very short video clip from the movie, talk about the filming and suddenly you have Ben Affleck, Henry Cavill and Gal Gadot on the stage and yes, its very real and they look amazing together and they aren't even costumed up. Even without the costumes, though, you can see there is already a chemistry between them, and if you look at the Avengers away from movie sets you see that chemistry and it is everything.
The talk surrounding Dawn Of Justice has you guessing and re-guessing what is coming. You know that Justice League is, right after this movie, and you have a good idea that Green Lantern, The Flash, [Aquaman](movie:264237), and Cyborg are part of that and we will likely see them sooner rather than later. But its just a movie, right, and Avengers has already done this, right? Wrong, Avengers did something with some great characters and a great cast but now we are talking about characters that were the foundation of the super hero comic book world. There were no Avengers when Batman and Superman came to life, that's a fact, and you have a fan base that goes back decades beyond Marvel's movie monster. We are talking about fans who have waited as many as fifty-four or five years for a movie and that says something about expectations.
I am one of those people who was around back then, and I am one of those people who prays at night that the movie will get here before I die of old age or natural disaster or something. But it occurs to me, what exactly is it about these movies that attracts so many people and spurs so many arguments over which one is better and why. The first thing you are going to hear is its the action and the effects. I mean really, which would you rather see, The Hulk pound Loki into a concrete floor or Clark Kent kissing Lois Lane?
Okay now, here comes the old rock through the glass house pitch. With all of the action and special effects are comic book hero movies realistic? Or to be more exact, do the characters feel real? On screen, as Superman and Clark Kent Christpher Reeve made his character seem pretty real. He had real situations aside from having super powers to deal with. He had a job and a boss to keep happy, and he had his love interest, and most of all he had to be two different people and impress an audience that way. He was simple and oafish Clark some times, and gallant and heroic Superman the boyscout more often. I'm going to call that one "seemed pretty realistic". Micheal Keaton as Batman and Robert Downey Jr.as Iron Man grade out the same I would say. But how does a team do when final exams roll around.
When you have a team-up like Avengers, and the upcoming [Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice](movie:711870) you have to consider that you have not one, but six or seven characters that are the focus of the story and you have to get them time on screen in a limited time of possibly 2 hours and 20 minutes or less. You add in special effects so you can showcase the powers of each individual character so there are limitations because you have to first give the audience enough action to send them home exhausted and that leaves very little time for kissing the love interest or even looking for a day job. So how do you grade out any sense of reality when you don't have human qualities working.
Now lets hit on another problem with realism, and that is the magnitude of the claim of "saving the world" and the cost of collateral damage.
In Avengers Loki and an alien horde are the enemy and saving the world the goal, but isn't it actually saving Manhattan that was being accomplished? I don't recall Loki or his allies attacking anywhere else on the big day, not Los Angeles, not Ft. Worth or Miami and not Chicago. And good lord, all of that damage to the city and how many accidental deaths were there? As for the damage, did somebody settle up on the bill after Manhattan was reduced to rubble? The same things it true of The Darknite and [Man of Steel](movie:15593), who paid for all of that damage and how many accidental deaths occurred? You see, for a sense of realism you have to have that otherwise its all an exciting fantasy full of flaws. And what about the idea that the good guy never gets killed? Doesn't that take something away from a story if you know already that death is not a factor unless it is something that can only happen to a very minor nobody character. But then, do people care about a sense of realism? And by he way, at the end of Avengers you do get one very brief flash of realism at a San Francisco restaurant.
Now I am going to make a comparison, because its me and I believe. A movie like Avengers, as far as I am concerned, is loaded with action and low on being realistic. So, I am wondering if a novel that has all the time in the world to lay out realism can offer as much excitement, and yeah, I'm coming around again to a relative,ly new title out there, The Regulators: Hell On Earth.
In 871 pages divided between two books Regulators: Hell On Earth gives you people who do, or did go to a day job before an extreme idea about fighting crime and a monster who wants to destroy the world came along. They have families and have to consider retaliation against their loved ones because of what they do, have the government after them because vigilante justice is against the law and then face death on the big day, and some do die because someone has to. The Regulators share a home, have meals together, go out to restaurants, watch movies in the living room, and take a horrific beating if necessary to save another human being, and Regulators do die. But, with just a book for a stage, are they as exciting and entertaining as The Avengers or The [Justice League](movie:401267).
With movies you get an idea after the opening weekend how well you have and will do, and Avengers has knocked it out of the park. Justice League is riding bug expectations, and they will fulfill expectations. Success for a movie is measured at he box office and next morning reviews. A book is measured along the same lines but from a money standpoint the take is far less. The Regulators: Hell On Earth is 4 months old and with limited promotions can't boast a big take at the cash register just yet, but the equally limited reviews say potential best seller with the next book in the series due out in early 2014 and hopes for a shot atb the big screen after the third title is published.
Now, the big question is how does one stack up against the other, novel and movie? Can a comic book hero movie come off as being realistic with limited time and so many characters and can a comic book hero story in a book bve as exciting to the point it can compete for fans?
Please leave your comments and let ne know what you think, and please, do vote in the two polls.