This is going to piss off a lot of people, of that I have no doubt, but this is a conversation that needs to be had. There is a new religion sweeping the world, its zealots are all over the internet these days. I am, of course, talking about the Continuity Nazis that seem to be everywhere, in every fandom, and on every forum. They are here, commenting on every article and decrying that whatever the topic of discussion isn't true to the comic or the novel or whatever the source material may be, and I have to say that I really think it's getting out of hand. They even go so far as to try and challenge someone else's knowledge of the fandom if you aren't as rabid about things not being changed as they are. In fact, whenever I run into these people on the internet, which is all the time because they are literally everywhere, they really remind me of someone...
Now, listen, I understand having a love for something and I understand being disappointed when something isn't done properly, but this is starting to really get out of hand. It is getting to the point where something of genuinely good quality, well adapted for the new media, is shot down and abused because some insignificant little thing was changed from the source material. What these people really need to understand is that movies and comics and novels, none of these are the same. They all have different qualities that are inherent to the medium and that require unique takes on the same characters, events and storylines. Stephen King understands this:
“Books and movies are like apples and oranges. They both are fruit, but taste completely different.”
― Stephen King
The X-Men movies have had their hits and misses. What franchise wouldn't after seven films? But it is starting to be argued by these continuity zealots that the entire franchise is bad, mainly because of the departures it has taken from the comic books. Yes, there are differences. Yes, the costumes are mostly completely reimagined, but there is no denying that when you watch them, they have the feel of the X-Men. Even the bad ones are obvious X-Men movies. They managed to do a great job of retaining the spirit of the X-Men while adapting the material for the cinematic medium. It's time everyone accepted the fact that Wolverine can't wear his iconic yellow and blue uniform in movies. It doesn't work, not for that character. Just like Batman can't wear gray tights and blue trunks in a 21st century movie. Superman, Spider-Man, Captain America, you can put these characters in very direct translations of their comic book costumes, and they look fantastic. You can't put the Punisher in black tights with white boots and gloves. You can't have Hugh Jackman running around looking like this:
It just simply doesn't work. Now, with X-Men: Days of Future Past they did a really good job of giving the future Wolverine a uniform that incorporated yellow and blue into it, while still looking completely believable and badass, but it still wasn't the comic book costume verbatim, and I highly doubt Wolverine will ever actually wear that costume and mask in any movie, and that really needs to be ok.
Not every change deserves to be given a pass. There are absolutely things that are deserving of outrage, and a bad movie needs to be called out for being a bad movie. The forthcoming Fantastic Four, for example, looks like it is going to be a severe departure from the source material, and not necessarily in a positive way. I watch the trailers and I have trouble seeing the FF in them. I don't know that this new film is going to retain the spirit of the Fantastic Four and have the feel of a Fantastic Four movie. Maybe it will, in which case the changes should be put into perspective, but right now I'm not feeling it.
Listen, guys, I'm saying these things to help you. You're only hurting yourselves by letting these small changes get under your skin. You're not allowing yourselves to enjoy completely enjoyable movies because it isn't a direct translation of the source. And you're the only ones who care. The general audience and the fans without a religious devotion to continuity will still continue to see and enjoy the movies, all the while ignoring your rants. I've got news for you, these movies aren't meant to be straight translations, they're adaptations. Things need to be adapted to suit the needs and the strengths of the medium, and there are a lot of times when changes actually improve the source material. Did you know that Mr. Freeze was originally called Mr. Zero until it was changed by the Adam West television series? Did you know that Kryptonite was originally called K-Metal until it was changed by the Superman radio show, or that Superman never had the power of sustained flight until it was changed by the Fleischer Studios cartoons? Nothing is ever going to be 100% true to the source material, and you shouldn't expect it to be. At the end of the day, these are mostly great movies, and they do a really good job at retaining the spirit of the original source material. Who cares if Havok is Cyclops' older brother instead of his younger brother? Who cares if Perry White is black if he's still Perry White? Who cares if Superman can fly, when in the comics all he ever did was jump? As long as the movie is entertaining...