Monday, July 23, 2012

Origin stories and reboots

After last weeks dense post I'm going to be shorter this week.

Earlier in the year I saw The Avengers at the theater with the boy and this past week we saw The Amazing Spider Man. Like a lot of other people this weekend Sandra and I went and saw The Dark Knight Rises. In spite of some nits to pick (Bane's mask did Hardy no favors, the fight choreography seemed sloppy, Bane beating Batman down should/could have been more definitive [Hardy can pull it off just look at Bronson and Warrior], and it felt like Nolan was always choosing to be up close and didn't want to pull the camera back), which I always have, I enjoyed the film and look forward to seeing it again with the boy and the reluctant daughter.

The first thing that I'd like to say is that I like the idea of reboots and have said as much before.  I think that new teams of filmmakers, at different times, should have the opportunity to put their fingerprint on a character, series or franchise.  Which means I'd love to see Idris Elba as James Bond, or Rob Zombie make a film set in the Star Wars universe (EU movies should be a thing) or Quentin Tarantino direct a Bond film.  All of which is to say that as much as I love the Nolan trilogy of Batman films I look forward to seeing what someone else can/will do with it.  What the next group does with their Batman movie will not diminish Nolan's accomplishment.  Especially with such a wealth of material to work from.

Side note #1: Please, please, please for a Nightwing movie set in Nolan's Gotham.

Side note #2
: Gotham Central would be a kick ass TV show.

The second thing that I've been thinking about is origin stories and if we still need them. And if we do need  them can they be told in a narrative shorthand.  As much as I liked the new Spider Man movie I'm not convinced that I needed to see the origin story again since I saw it only 10 years ago.

Some might say that origin stories are necessary for those who aren't familiar with the character.  I say that some of these characters origin stories are pretty well known.

Any movie where the origin story needs to be told is essentially two stories and two halves.  The first story is the origin and unfolds over the first hour or so, with the foundation of the second story being laid.  Then, in the second half, the story proper unfolds.  A common complain with these movies is that the ending feels  rushed. What if you could have more of that origin story time devoted to the story proper?

One of the successes of The Avengers  is that the origin stories were already told for the characters so we got to spend a lot of time watching The Avengers be The Avengers.  It's also one of the strengths of the Nolan Batman movies, we don't have to see Batman's origin in subsequent movies (and Nolan pokes fun at origin stories with Joker changing his around with each telling).

Tell me what you think.

Reboots, yay or nay?

Origin stories, yay or nay?

Thoughts on The Dark Knight Rises or my nits (or what were yours)?

Currently reading: The Spider's Cage by Jim Nisbet.


Stringer said...

It used to be standard practice in comics to retell the origin every 4-5 years. That was the turnover time, they estimated a new generation of fans would come in every few years and replace most of the old ones. Each generation needed its own retelling.

That stopped when the comics industry switched over to the direct market, because it stopped turning over new fans.

I'm interested to see which of the two approaches a cinema audience will accept. I suspect, as is often the case with this kind of thing, none of us are really the issue.

My cousins are a lot younger than me, they were around 4 and 8 when the Sam Raimi Spidey came out. They haven't really engaged with the new Spidey, but I hear from a lot of parents that their children, the new generation, loved it.

Nolan's Batman is a different case. They were films aimed at the older Batmam audience, people who were old enough to remember the mess of the previous four films. But even then, a whole new younger generation had their own big screen Batman. And in 5-10 years it will turnover again.

Those of us old enough to have seen more than one version will roll our eyes and moan about studio cash-ins, but it's all about the new fans.

(The real challenge is what can the comics industry do to convert some of them into readers)

I'll be done with Batman after DKR, but (I suspect like you) I like the fact there will be another version along in a few years to engage a fresh generation of fans.

Scott D. Parker said...

What I'd like to see is the new Batman introduced in the first JLA film, kinda like the New 52 JLA. That would launch the new Batman in a new series.

Also, I'd like to think that the JLA movie could dispense with the origins as the general public probably knows the stories, more or less.