Monday, June 24, 2013

Hank McCoy (Before the Fur)

Well, Hollywood has certainly tapped the comic book gold mine haven't they?

We've seen most of what there is to see from Marvel and DC, which might finally be starting to open up its floodgates a little. I suppose there's nothing stopping anybody from keeping on cranking out reboots, but it sorts of leaves you thinking: where do we go from here? Is the Hollywood-comic book romance going to burst and hit the wall pretty soon?

Well, it may eventually, but I still think there are a few pockets of comic cooldom left out there that will be explored on the big screen before it's all said and done. Dark Horse has taken its crack with two enjoyable Hellboy movies. I've been wondering if Image might get in here?

Now mind you, there are plenty of places I'd like them to go with this. But I tried to write this article about movies that I think you're most likely to see in the next five years or so. Of course, I'm dying for a Dr. Strange movie and I've been thinking the idea of an Iron Fist flick sounds cooler and cooler. Still here are five likely candidates from lesser lauded series that I think probably have a shot at pulling a mainstream audience in.

5. Invincible

With a careful balance of coming-of-age humor, family drama and epic superhuman battles, I think this comic is an easy shoe-in for a summer blockbuster. Really, I'm surprised someone hasn't decided to pick this up yet and do more with it. It's gotten immensely popular and I think the way that it sort of straddles the line between being a parody of (or at least an homage to) the extensive superhero universes you grew up with and taking its own continuity seriously gives in an accessibility that will appeal to a mainstream audience. I admit I haven't read every issue of this comic, but I've enjoyed everything I've seen happen with it and it's begun to slowly win me over.

4. The Darkness

Speaking of winning me over...

A few years ago, the Darkness just seemed--to me--one more over the top Spawn-like antihero without a lot of substance.

Two moderately successful video games later, I've started to see the appeal to this character. Besides the really whacked out supernatural flavor of his powers (which you know some CGI artist could go nuts with), I think what's drawn me in more about this character is his history. Jackie really is a scary guy, with or without his power. They don't pull any punches depicting the life of a groomed Mafia hitman in this comic book (it's like The Godfather and Goodfellas, but a little over the top). Imagine a movie that's one part gangster crime drama (with a touch of old-school, 1930's style meets modern era) and one part supernatural horror-action movie. Doesn't this sound like a film worth seeing to you if it was headed up by the right people?

3. Witchblade

Actually, if what I understand is true, this is on the way.

I have sometimes been critical of this comic in the past, if only because the origin story of the Witchblade and its powers and limitations never seem entirely clear. Regardless, I think Sara has enough sex appeal and superhero bad-assness to pull off a good flick. There's a shortage of interesting female characters in this business and I think the fact that she wields something so powerful--and yet, potentially very dangerous even to herself--is interesting.

You don't need a six-foot tall Amazon to pull of this role either. All they need is to settle on some themes. Is the movie about how scary the Witchblade is, complete with weird, anime-esque violence? Is it about maintaining the law, both as a police officer and in the world of the supernatural? Is it about women and how women can tap into something primal and powerful? All of these things? There's potential here...someone's gotta grab this by the horns though and get it clear and focused, I think.

2. The Flash

Again, rumored to be in the works.

I think this will be DC's next stop after their debacle with a Wonder Woman movie. I'm still iffy about them green-lighting a Justice League movie without establishing more of an in-universe, but whether or not he appears in that project, Flash is bound to get his own movie. And let's face it this guy deserves it. He's got tons of interesting villains and supporting characters, an awesome power that requires finesse to handle right and a mythology that's sort of its own thing.

The Flash seems to me to have as much to do with the concepts of time and crossing barriers as he does with speed. I think a good Flash movie might involve all sorts of weird stuff about breaking through the natural laws of physics and nature, whether for better or worse. I think this could easily be a big hit trilogy, a la the Dark Knight himself.

1. Daredevil

Okay. I'm not going to say the Ben Affleck version was terrible. It had a few redeemable qualities.

But mostly, it lacked the gritty, stark realism that made this comic such a cult hit. Of all the Marvel characters that deserve a reboot done right, it's this one. Again, I've heard rumors. I think some awesome, ninja-like fight scenes with over the top martial arts and incredible precision would be a lot of fun. We all want to see Daredevil and Bullseye go at it from rooftop to rooftop.

I think a good Daredevil movie is going to couple that with a moving, inspiring story about morality, spirituality and the legal system. Matt might be a superhero, but he's still blind. He and Foggy have a penchant for taking hard-luck cases. Daredevil isn't for the feint of heart; he's sort of the champion of the downtrodden and hopeless, which he's had plenty of experience being himself. I sort of want like Frank Miller and John Grisham to team up to write the screenplay or something like that.

In fact, I think spirituality is an interesting theme in Daredevil. I don't know how far Marvel would be willing to go touching on this subject in the movie. But since his superhero moniker is Devil, Matt is kind of the Lord of the Damned of New York; he takes it upon himself to sort out of the innocent from the truly guilty.


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