Thoughts on the Marvel Reboot and its consequencesThe comics industry seems to be becoming ever more entwined in the film industry which is feeding from its pool of stories and legends, and it's fascinating to watch how things are unfolding. On the one hand, all these films of comics properties are bringing new fans to the industry, but on the other, they are giving a very brief overview of the decades of character-building and thousands of engrossing stories which have been told.
With Marvel following DC into the arena of completely rebooting their entire line for a new generation of readers (More on this below), the industry is starting to feel kind of alienating for some long-term fans such as myself and my kind. I'm pleased the industry is on the up again, but it'd be nice for lifelong fans to be appreciated a bit more.
In addition, the more a character is rebooted, changed and 'updated', the less they resemble the icons we know them as. Minor changes are fine and work well in bringing characters up to date, but starting everything over just seems to negate decades of powerful storytelling which has gone before. I hope that a balance can be found between the new and the old, for the continued success of the industry.
As mentioned above, Marvel is going ahead with a line-wide reboot, just like DC did with their 'New 52', which started all of their titles over from scratch, with mixed results. I had hoped that Marvel wouldn't jump on the reboot bandwagon, but I guess it was inevitable, really. Marvel editor-in-chief Axel Alonso claims that this relaunch is different from DC's, but there is no denying it smacks of shark-jumping.
Sure, “Avengers Vs X-Men”, Marvel's most recent big event story in a long line of big stories (whatever happened to just regular stories with a big event every few years? There comes a point where stuff stops being impressive if it's constantly trying to one-up itself) makes for a good place to draw a line under the current wave of titles and incarnations of iconic characters, but a full-scale reboot means everything has to start over again, and a lot of the public's expectations of characters will now not all apply.
The new MARVEL NOW versions of famous characters look pretty cool, but do they have the staying power of the originals? Possibly, with the right teams of artists and writers, but I remain skeptical about the whole thing until the comics themselves start to arrive. At least in that respect, this reboot has my interest piqued.The line-wide reset button will be pressed when the new lines of Marvel Comics are published between this October and next February. The relaunch will begin with "All-New X-Men," "Avengers" and "Uncanny Avengers."
DREDD - HIGH HOPES FOR THE LOW-KEY FILM
The trailer is out, the posters are truning up, and the buzz is sadly rather limited so far for the new cinematic incarnation of JUDGE DREDD, namely the Karl Urban-starring DREDD. This is frustrating, as there has been a dearth of science fiction films that look quite so badass of late.
Y'see, there's more to sci-fi and comics movies than just huge spectacle. This DREDD film carries a very 2000AD style story and is very much in keeping with the original comics version of the character (thinner, with a more practical costume, never removing the helmet, etc) and a more realistic view of Mega City One than the Stallone version from 1995. I loved the first twenty minutes of the Stallone film, but as soon as the helmet came off, it stopped being a Judge Dredd movie.
This time, it looks like Karl Urban is giving us the Dredd we should have always had on screen. Yes, the story seems a bit low-key, but that works well as a reintroduction to the Dredd universe, rather than just flinging the Dark Judges, the Cursed Earth, Judge Cal or any of the other epic lunacy the Dredd universe contains at unfamiliar audiences.
I for one am very excited about this film, this Dredd, this way-more-realistic setting and the possibilities to come. The film is set at the end of this century and after several atomic wars, so audiences shouldn't be expecting a far-future world of sleek skyscrapers. This is a hard story told in a bleak post-apocalyptic locale, and looks set to be the definitive screen Dredd. Give it a chance.
Incidentally, BUY 2000AD for a weekly Dredd fix that has run unbroken since the end of the 1970s. Support the UK comics industry so that it might even grow into something again.
IRON MAN 3: A TURNING POINT FOR THE FRANCHISE
Iron Man 3, which is currently in production, is taking a pleasingly different direction from the massive spectacle of the first two films, and indeed the gargantuan scale of Avengers Assemble. Director Shane Black and star Robert Downey Jr have promised a very different film, more along the lines of a Tom Clancy-esque thriller rather than your average superhero film.
That's fine by me, as Tony Stark is due a good techno-thriller instead of just another slug-fest. Rumour still has it that the story centres on Stark coming up against the 'Extremis' tech from the comics, in a tale which also features a rejuvenated War Machine (aka Iron Patriot) and big changes for Tony as a character.
Downey Jr has said that the Extremis technology won't just change the way the Iron man armour works, but also Tony Stark himself. Check this out from an interview he did with Entertainment Weekly:
“I radically want to challenge Stark’s identity, rather than just have him battle another bad guy. These things tend to, in Act 3, really become about the same old things. So let’s really flip that. I feel like I don’t know where you go after Iron Man 3. Leave it all on the field, you know?”
Sounds good to me, sir. He has also said a few things about retiring, but is committed to appearing in the second Avengers movie. For now at least, that means we have another two films in which to hugely enjoy his portrayal of one of the Marvel Universe's most interesting characters.
AND AS AN ASIDE...
Anne Hathaway's Catwoman in The Dark Knight Rises may look a bit rubbish, but it can't be worse than that damn Halle Berry version... can it?