Sunday, July 25, 2010

Green Lantern Movie

Entertainment Weekly has treated us to the first look at Ryan Reynolds as Hal Jordan/Green Lantern, so it look like it's official. My first choice would have been James Marsden, who not only would look great, but deserves to be top banana for once after playing second fiddle to Wolverine and Superman. But Reynolds is a fine choice.

People who know I'm into comics naturally, understandably, expect that I get excited when this sort of thing hits, but not really. The first thing someone might think upon reading that is that it's because I've been "disappointed too many times" or some such thing, but this is not true. I've rarely been disappointed by a comic movie because I don't expect much. Again, let me make plain, this is not because I have some jaded cynical outlook that I'm anxious to share with anyone and everyone.

What it really is, is that I think comics are the best expressions of their subject. That is, I don't think that the comic book is some staging area for ideas that come to full development as a movie, I rather think the comic is the proper medium for superheroes, and that movies or television are secondary, and generally cannot represent the limitless storytelling potential of comic books, simply because of budgetary and technological restraints. If you get an imaginative creative team on a comic, the hero can do anything without it being a strain on the budget, where with comic movies, every time a character flies, or goes into space, I can practically feel how the studio had to work days or weeks just for the one scene, and how the amount of times a character flies has to be limited to a certain number just because of the costs involved. And no matter how good the effects, the powers and so forth will always look like effects, whereas when the characters are standing around in civilian clothes, that will look real, putting things on an unequal footing. In a comic book, both scenes would simply be drawn, giving both an equal sense of reality. A comic artist can draw a person eating in a restaurant or flying through space, and neither drawing will look less "real" than the other.

None of this is to suggest I never enjoy comic movies, in fact quite the opposite. Because I go in with no expectations that this will somehow be the ultimate apotheosis of the comic I have enjoyed, I often like a movie more than many of my fellow comic fans, who it seems expect that what they envision in their heads will be rendered perfectly on screen, or who anyway have for years developed a vision of what the movie should be like. Because of the comics ability to engage the imagination like nothing else except possibly the printed word, this feat is practically impossible. So I tend to enjoy comic movies for what they are, especially if they exhibit something of the original spirit of the comic. For instance, this is possibly my favourite scene from one of my favourite comic movies, Supergirl, which I like because of its lack of pretension, and the excellent portrayal by Helen Slater. I liked it because in spirit it reminds me of a lot of the early adventures of Supergirl, particularly her run in Adventure Comics with its femme fatales and near surrealist qualities. While not following the comic story to the letter, the scene did capture the sweetness of the classic character as she enjoys her first arrival on earth and is dazzled by its wonders in a way that is a reminder of the beauty of life. I realize it's not "cool" as a comic fan to say that life is beautiful, but f*ck it.

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