The comic book genre has built its own foundation and is seemingly ready to takeover theaters, one blockbuster at a time. DC Comics and Marvel have both been active since the 1930s and became the spearheads of the genre before big-time movies were even considerable. There have been plenty attempts before to bring these characters to life. While the attempts are earnest, they lack the intensity and effects that we’re accustomed to in today’s modern movie. In all honesty, it was the oddball genre. Sure, people knew of Batman, but sitting through an entire film about the Dark Knight would simply be overkill.
In the 2000s, these movies were beginning to take shape and look vaguely similar to the films we know today. The characters were flying off of the page and coming to the world of video games, the Internet, and in theaters. Companies like Fox and Sony allowed comic movies to come to life, but there’s still a lot to accomplish with these movies. The comic book genre has to take these five risks to make sure that things stay as exciting, and more importantly, their universes don’t become stagnant.
1. Original Content
The first recommendation is probably the one that will anger traditional comic book fans the most. TBH, maybe it should. Every comic book movie ever made has had some sort of influence from a specific series or happening in a comic book. In which case, it’s super easy to simply Google what happens, and figure out the ending before the movie is ever made. Not to say that’s a bad thing, plenty of franchises do it. Harry Potter, The Hunger Games and Divergent are all well-known book- turned-films that dominated with every movie released. However, does that really peak the viewers’ interest?
There’s going to come a time where the DC and Marvel cinematic universes have to stand on their own. This doesn’t mean they should create new superheroes and issues they have to face, but would it really be wrong to take the X-Men and create an all-new plot that no one has ever seen before? We’ve seen the results before, and we know for a fact that these movies are going to be awesome. In fact, X-Men: First Class was altered from the original comic and it rejuvenated the entire series with a third movie coming to theaters in 2016. With movies being so spaced out, this gives plenty of time for quality writing and allows the comic books to remain unique.
2. Crossing characters into different movies
For all of the web-slinging action that takes place in a Spiderman movie, it still feels odd for him to be missing the help that he usually has in the comics. A quick glance into a comic shows more than we can say, but the result is the same every time.
Superheroes like to team up and beat up bad guys. We’re not talking about the X-Men, or the Avengers or any other collective team. It’s more like Spiderman and Daredevil, who are both located in Marvel’s version of New York, working together to take out a new mob boss or a fire-obsessed psychopath.
These characters are more than just superheroes. They’re students, friends, in relationships, and have wants and needs just like the reader. The Avengers have already done this before; Watching Thor and Iron-Man have conversations helps show personality and progress the plots. However, watching Daredevil talk to Cyclops would have a totally different effect. Even the superheroes who are seemingly alone team up when something is at stake. Besides, there’s nothing like an unexpected cameo, right?
3. Rise of the sidekicks
This is obvious. Where the hell is Robin? Sidekicks are necessary. Whether it’s a kid, a machine, or a small purple dragon (looking at you, Lockheed), sidekicks are vessels for a greater cause. A lot of times they show more growth than the superhero they’re supporting. Granted, they’re probably going to cause a bit of grief and be a tad bit annoying. That’s their purpose. They are simply not as good as whoever they are teaming up with. That is okay. Better than okay, actually, because it shows what everyone wants to see—a good story.
Throughout the 90s, an Asian-American homeless, teenage girl (who can shoot projectiles of light out of her hands, by the way) was living out of a mall until she ended up with the X-Men and assisted quite possibly the angriest of all heroes. Jubilee and Wolverine, who have yet to appear on-screen together, are always a highlight to see because it helps show the civilized, less-aggressive side of Wolverine. For those who don’t know, Wolverine cares about nothing. He even has his own line of comics where murders all of the X-Men. It’s attention-grabbing to see him, well, nice.
4. TV/Cinematic Universes, simplified
Just when we thought everything would start making sense for us in these complicated universes, DC Comics dropped another bomb. They announced the decision to keep their TV shows and movies separate. Shows like Arrow and The Flash, which are already immensely popular on the CW network, won’t be reflected in the grand scheme of things. “Grand scheme” being the blockbuster movies that are going to have millions of dollars poured into them. Stephen Amell and Grant Gustin, who laid the foundation for the TV universes, will simply be replaced when it’s time for their characters, Green Arrow and The Flash, respectively, to appear on the big screen.
These are actors and characters that have contributed greatly to the reestablishment of DC Comics on TV, or anywhere for that matter. Their stories have already been told once on the silver screen, why bother doing all of that work again on the big screen? Even more importantly, why make loyal fans have to go through those steps all over again if nothing is going to change? While effort is going to be appreciated, and the movies are definitely going to be good, why not take all that effort to build the inevitable Justice League movie? Time will tell with this one, but overcomplicating stories is not going to make it any easier for casual watchers to get into a comic book story.
5. The DC/Marvel blockbuster
Competition breeds success. It’s how sports have come this far. It’s why Taylor Swift vs. Katy Perry is so much fun. Comparing sales, marketing, and of course, the actual product is always going to be a hot topic. However, the biggest mark that comics can make has already been done, and seemingly possible to do now.
Marvel and DC comics have worked together before. Marvel vs. DC was an all out brawl between both sides, which showcased the best of the best going at it. If you have read it before, it’s the best suggestion anyone can give, because it shows a fun “What if?” scenario that also unified the two top comic companies in existence. Amalgam Comics came to be as well. The company fuses both DC and Marvel together, in turn pairing superheroes together. Seriously, it’s like a math equation. Wolverine plus Batman equaled Dark Claw. Captain America plus Superman created the Super-Soldier. This shows unification is possible. So why can’t we get that same unification on screen and experience what could be the most fun any comic book fan could have? Also, we need to end the petty argument of which company is better. It’s as pointless as the original Daredevil movie.
Some of this is bound to happen. If the comic book movies ever truly want to reflect the stories that they are influenced by, then consistency is going to be key. That cannot happen until stories are continuously built upon, and not restarted every six years. Speaking of which, we should all hope that our current Spiderman gets to stay, and the stories that we love so much continue to grow and thrive. Apocalypse claims that only the strong will survive, and that strength is going to have to be preserved by innovation from the comics themselves and the captivation of our imaginations.