I'm going to say something that is going to be a red pill for a lot of fanboys out there. I'm going to say it, and you're just going to have to accept it because this is how reality works and it is never going to change. Comic books and movies are not the same thing. While absolutely similar, they are not the same medium and can't be treated as the same medium. Because of this fact, and yes, it is a fact, there are things you can get away with in a comic book that you can't get away with in a live action film. Animated, sure. You've got a little more leeway. But live action is a completely different animal and you can't expect it to mirror the comic book perfectly.
Now, as I said, this article is meant to be hard cheese. However, since I don't want to offend the wrong people, and to prevent a bunch of comments of people saying, "Not all fanboys are like that," let's set forth a couple of definitions, shall we? For the purposes of this article, a fanboy and a fan are completely different things. In fact, if you don't fit into the definition of fanboy that I lay out, you should count yourself among the lucky. You have critical thinking skills and shouldn't want to be saddled with that label. Fanboys are contemptible. They are the lowest forms of life in any particular fandom. A friend of mine once said it perfectly, "Fanboys are the reason we can't have nice things." Fanboys are irrational and see any change to the source material as an obscene, blasphemous, sleight on their beloved fandom, and they often can't offer any argument as to why a change is bad other than, "It's not how it is supposed to be!" Fanboys can often be identified by their use of the phrase, "You've raped my childhood," or some variation of that phrase. Do not let yourself get caught being a fanboy.
As I stated earlier in the article, and the thesis of this particular piece of writing as a whole, movies and comic books are completely different animals. You can get away with putting brightly colored spandex on a grown man and have it not look ridiculous in the four color world of comic books, and while some characters can get away with it and still manage to look noble and majestic, most can't. I have never seen a live action Superman, red trunks and all, that has ever looked silly or laughable. Likewise, Captain America and Spider-Man can pull off very literal translations of their uniforms from the comic books and look fantastic. You try to put Wolverine in yellow and blue spandex, however, and you've got an issue. And here is another bit of bad news for our dear, irrational fanboys out there, Wolverine's signature mask doesn't translate well to film either. No matter what you do to it, it looks stupid and you are never going to see him wear it in any X-Men movie ever. So, yeah, get over that.
Another thing that is quite different from comics and movies is story structure. Just as adapting prose to movie, or even prose to comic, is a completely different story structure. That means that you can't adapt a comic book storyline or graphic novel directly for film, for the most part. Like with the costume thing, sometimes you can, but you need to understand that there are various reasons why a story that is based, or more appropriately in the case of most comic book movies inspired, by a particular story arc or graphic novel might be changed during its journey from the panel to the frame. The most common such reason is that while comics tend to come out monthly for decades, and as such can tell many more stories and have many more memorable moments, a film franchise is usually limited to three, maybe four, instalments. Because of this, elements from sometimes many different stories can be combined into a new and uniquely original story. The Dark Knight Rises is an example of this, taking elements from The Dark Knight Returns and Knightfall, and in some cases doing certain moments from each almost verbatim, but being an actual adaptation of neither.
Fanboys also tend to be inconsistent with their rage when it comes to changing things. Watchmen, for example, is almost word for word, panel for panel, the graphic novel, apart from the ending, obviously. And when you point out to that fanboy, who wants to complain about Watchmen after complaining about how X-Men: Days of Future Past deviated from that source material, that Watchmen is probably the most faithful to the source material of any comic book movie ever made, he says, "Yeah, that's an example of it staying too close to the source material." I'm sorry, but at this point it is clear to me that you just like to complain and your opinion of absolutely everything is now invalid. I mean, seriously, I don't get it. Yes, I believe you can stay too close to the source, that is why changes are good in movies, but I don't get how you can ride both sides of the fence just to be able to complain about absolutely every movie that wasn't made by Marvel Studios. For some inexplicable reason, Marvel seems to get a pass as long as you aren't Iron Man.
Green Lantern is a perfect example of a movie that legitimately stayed too close to the source material, or, to be more honest, stayed too close to the writings of Geoff Johns. Geoff Johns is a hack. Geoff Johns has done one good thing in his career, and that is his work on The Flash. He gave Barry Allen dimensions and personality he's never had before, and the television series has done a fantastic job of adapting all of that, but Geoff made Green Lantern a convoluted mess and unfortunately the movie kept as much of that convoluted congestion as it could. I didn't need to see Sinestro as a Green Lantern, training Hal Jordan (which he mostly didn't even really do). Sinestro is Green Lantern's biggest enemy and he should have been the villain, and it doesn't matter that it is different than the comics. Changing the material to fit the medium would have benefited that film. Fanboys would have cried about it, but they cried anyway because the movie was bad. We also didn't need to have the entire Corps play such a major role in the film. There is entirely too much going on in Green Lantern and it really makes the film hard to keep up with.
When adapting a comic book to film, the important thing is that you capture the essence of the character, or if you are adapting a particular story then the essence of that story. Seriously, who cares that Hugh Jackman is six feet tall? He captures the essence of Wolverine perfectly and that is all that should matter. The fanboy outcry has gotten worse in recent years. In 2000, no one really batted an eye about the X-Men and their black leather uniforms. No one batted an eye about Batman putting a bomb on a psychotic clown and throwing him off of a bridge right before he exploded in Batman Returns. These days the fanboys are even retroactively criticising those movies, movies that were wildly successful and brought much joy to many people throughout the years. Haters are gonna hate, fanboys are gonna cry, but as long as the studios keep making movies that are true to the spirit of the characters then the majority of people will continue to see them. And the fanboys are going to see them as well, so you lose nothing. When you start pandering to fanboys who don't understand anything about anything, then you end up with Green Lantern and everyone loses. And the fanboys still cry.