Sunday, 14 June 2015

Are comic book movies too dependent on Batman/Iron Man?

Ok, so this has been a thought which has knocking about in my head for a few weeks but today, after reading a film magazine my wife bought me, I decided to get write it down and clear it from the mind.

And it's all about comic book movies (surprise, surprise)!!

So, I've started to wonder of late if DC and Marvels movies are too dependent on specific characters; namely Batman for DC and Iron Man for Marvel. This came about after leaks came about a weeks back that Batman would appear in Suicide Squad and, while I'm sure I'm just seeing an issue which doesn't exist, I do find it troubling. Here's why:


I think it's safe to assume by now that Batman is, without a doubt, the most successful comic book character to hit the big screen. The Dark Knight trilogy alone cemented this point on top of Burton's Batman films and, to a lesser extent, Batman Forever (Batman and Robin didn't help make this so) and so I can understand a view point that the Bat equals money.

However, the caped crusader will now be appearing in two films in 2016. The first is the Suicide Squad, about a team of supervillains doing dangerous government missions. I didn't see this coming when DC were setting up their film line up, but so, what I've seen looks promising. However, as I said, it was recently announced that Batman would make a small appearance and rumours have been that it was actually getting bigger and bigger. The question I have is 'why?' It's already bad enough that the Squads line up has four Batman villains (Joker and Killer Croc, both of whom have never been on the squad unless someone knows better, Harley Quinn and Deadshot, who was a Bat villain way back when), though this can be explained and understood. But to have Batman make anything more than a 'brief appearance' just smells of 'let's use Batman as brand recognition because this film on its own won't cut it'. A cynical view but there you go.

Meanwhile, while his appearance makes more sense in Batman vs Superman (I refuse to mention Dawn of Justice, that's a crap subtitle) due to his name being in the title, the trailer seemed to have a greater focus on him as the hero and Supes the villain, despite the fact this film was initially dubbed the Man of Steel sequel. Take a look at the trailer with this in mind and I'm sure people would go "wow, he's right!" (Though in fairness, looking at it again, I realise now that the argument could be inverted). this film is the worlds two biggest superheroes on the same screen, it's the film equivalent of fitting two elephants into a mini, so fact the trailer has been made to look this way just gives the impression that Batman is the draw when, in my mind, this film wouldn't have happened without Batman-less Man of Steel (which I thought was a good, if darkish, film).

Iron Man

Of course, while Marvel isn't exactly whiter than white in comparison considering Captain America 3 has Iron Man in it. Now I get this because in the comics Iron Man and Captain America fought (both figuratively and literally) during the Civil War and so both are needed. The thing is, while neither character was the bad guy during the comics storyline, this is a movie, which needs that yin and yan and because this is a Captain America film and so Cap is the hero, that makes Iron Man the villain, right?

And that's the thing for me here. Since the beginning of their little movie universe, Iron Man has been their number one guy, having three solo films and two Avengers appearances As well as a cameo in the Incredible Hulk. I don't see Marvel bosses condoning their top hero to appearance as a villain/antagonist and if he isn't going to be, then why use the Civil War storyline as the basis of a movie, unless it is simply to get him in the movie because 'he's RDJ as Iron Man, that'll draw the crowds in more than anything'.

Based on what I've already written, Marvel aren't as blatant as DC is when it comes to milking these characters, but they are still as guilty. At the end of the day what gets to me is that both Batman vs Superman and Captain America 3 are direct sequels to Man of Steel and Captain America: The Winter Soldier respectively, two (in my opinion) successful, well grossing films which did not include either Batman OR Iron Man.

I guess my point is, you don't need these characters to make good films Marvel and DC, so don't rely on them as much as you do.

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