Hank McCoy (Before the Fur)

Iron Man 2 in theaters today. Afraid it’s hard to talk about much else, huh? My prediction: lots of people won’t like it, but I will. And not just because I'm responsible for Terrence Howard's cat.

I sense a certain tension in these kinds of things, and it’s this: the producers and writers are left to decide how much they want to give a movie the same complexity that it has in a comic book or how much they want to make the story "clean and polished" the way most Hollywood films are typically made. Not every comic book movie can be The Dark Knight (i.e. write itself as though it takes no effort to balance these two poles). There are lots of story elements thrown into the comic just to flesh out the character and their universe; they don’t always serve some greater theme in the storytelling. They’re just cool.

Now, personally, anyone who takes a risk and embraces the complexity end of comic book storytelling while making a movie at least earns my respect for doing just that- taking a risk. Does it always make for a polished, well-told story? Dunno. I sense that Iron Man 2 is going to stray into the took a risk and threw a bunch of stuff in end of the spectrum. Now, can such a movie also tell a good story? Yes, absolutely- and it should. Some of the major themes might get a little buried under all that comic universe fan-service and technobabble (if it’s Iron Man we’re talking about), but they’ll still be there.

I really think "Demon in a Bottle" is probably one of the best Iron Man stories ever told. Alcoholism should really BE something Stark struggles with in this movie…it’s something we can all get about what the character is going through. And, ultimately, it has so much more to do with the way the character lives his life than alcohol itself. Sometimes the hardest thing you ever have to do is look at yourself and change. Way harder than fighting supervillains. I think that’s why people love Iron Man. Because he’s got so much that he needs to change. And it isn’t easy.

Now, if for some senseless reason this isn’t in the movie, or at least HINTED at in the movie for a future film? There’s a problem. Notwithstanding, I’m likely to enjoy the whole thing just to reminisce- how frickin’ awesome is it to see the red Iron Man suit, to see War Machine, etc.? I just like seeing what I saw, as a kid, on the big screen…

Sidenote- as long as the inclusion isn’t scattershot I think there were good movies kind of buried in X-Men: The Last Stand and X-Men Origins: Wolverine but it was hard to see it with the vast number of X-characters that seemed slammed in for incoherent reasons that had little to do with the comic. I still think X-Men Origins: Wolverine had this kind of desperate feel to it. It was like "this is our last chance to make a successful X-Men movie, so QUICK, get Emma Frost, Gambit and Blob in there, before we’re out of time!" Ick.

So, Marvel (and I guess Disney) are in full form these days. Avengers movie underway, Samuel L. Jackson’s in…but I have another prediction: I think DC is getting ready to make some moves. Big moves. I’ve been wrong before. I don’t know why, but DC and Warner Bros. seem to have some mobilization problems (i.e. Superman Returns and the Wonder Woman movie, of which only a poster exists and nothing else). Ryan Reynolds as Green Lantern…had to think about it for a while.

But mostly? I like it.

Now, I DON’T like the idea that he also plays Deadpool. I don’t know why, but this just seems sacreligious to me. Call me weird, but I just like the idea that every comic book character gets their own, seperate, Hollywood actor to play them. As if the DC and Marvel universe’s really exist in some Hollywood form. Dorky, I know. But ultimately, I can see him being well cast in either part. Now, I know Reynolds was up for a Flash movie a while back and here’s the thing…

Despite what you might have seen on Bruce Timm’s (excellent) Justice League cartoon show. Both the original Flash (Barry Allen) and his protégé (Wally West) have kind of SERIOUS personalities. Originally, Barry Allen was almost kind of shy and sensitive. Assertive as the Flash but almost missable in person (get it, he’s the Flash? You might not see him?). Wally West, on the other hand, was mostly concerned with living up to his mentor’s potential and had some confidence problems (as most superhero sidekicks turned lone heroes do).

Now, COULD DC have made a movie that played to the well-known, easy going, FUNNY Flash that people got used to on Justice League? Yeah, they could have and Ryan Reynolds would have fit the bill. But lately, I feel like DC is really bringing the old-school out of the deck. It’s like everything with Brightest Day- Arthur Curry is Aquaman again (and he LOOKS like Aquaman, again), Martian Manhunter is back (although he was never gone long)...hell, they’ve even got Ronald Raymond as Firestorm back from the dead. With Barry Allen as the Flash and Hal Jordan as Green Lantern it’s sort of like the most recognizable incarnations of DC’s heroes are all back in place after a long, long time.

I think they’re getting ready to make some frickin’ movies. I think any films DC makes are going to try to appease their fans the way The Dark Knight did: give the audience really, REALLY accurate depictions of the characters, straight out of their comics. Now, Hal Jordan, on the other hand? Gutsy, risky, bold. That’s kind of what makes Hal, well, Hal. I like to think that Hal Jordan has what I call ‘Percival’ syndrome.

Anyone who’s seen The Waterboy with Adam Sandler knows this story, actually. Percival is one of King Arthur’s knights, but no one seems to quite believe he is capable of the things he says he is capable of. He says he’s going to go kill a dragon. He doesn’t have a plan, doesn’t have a magic sword he just says "I’m gonna go do it." Everybody laughs. But then? He pulls it off. Somehow, as if through sheer WILL (and I’m not talking about his ring), he finds a way to succeed.

I think that’s kind of what makes Hal Jordan tick. People underestimate him, think he’s out of his mind when he says he can do something. But the thing is? He really IS that good- maybe nobody believes in him. But it kind of doesn’t matter, because HE believes in him and he gets the job done. It’s a better part for Reynolds in the long run, I think.

So yeah, I’m expecting we’re going to see a lot of competition in the next few years, lots of big names, big movies. I’ve been wrong before, but just putting it out there.