Stretching Dramatic License to (or Past) Its Limits

OK. Like most comic fans, I’ve had problems with some of the dramatic license taken in comic book movies. Old stuff like the original Superman movies weren’t bad. The Hulk TV show had David Banner instead of Bruce Banner. The old Batman stuff wasn’t bad until Alicia Silverstone played Batgirl as Alfred’s niece instead of the Commissioner’s daughter, Barbara Gordon.

As time went on, things got worse. X-Men timelines went all out of whack with characters like Iceman (who was the second X-Man to be recruited) being a student of Storm and Wolverine who joined after he had graduated. Don’t even get me started on the chain smoking neurotic Lois Lane and her Superbaby in Superman Returns. The Toby Maguire Spider-Man having genetic web shooters (more reminiscent of Spider-Man 2099) was an odd choice too. The Fantastic Four movies seemed a decent cross between the regular and Ultimate universe versions. (Tho the depiction of Galactus was a disappointment.) I didn’t have any major issues with Christian Bale’s Batman movies, Iron Man, or Thor either. (I was willing to accept the change of Jane Foster from a nurse to a scientist and the elimination of Thor’s Donald Blake alter ego, which was turned into a cute joke, for storyline reasons given how well the rest of the movie went.) Bucky being older than Steve Rogers in the Captain America movie annoyed me though.

For the most part, despite some outcries about these changes, they have been pretty much accepted by audiences, especially those who aren’t overly familiar with the actual comics. Hollywood seems to see this as acceptance that they can do whatever they want with the heroes now. I recently heard about a reboot of the Fantastic Four series and the Human Torch will be played by Michael B. Jordan. A black Johnny Storm? I’m not being racist here. The character is white. The black Nick Fury was at least introduced in the Ultimate Universe (though I’d loved to see how they would have pulled off the 616 Nick Fury’s look). This choice makes no sense. Are they going to turn Iron Man Asian or Captain America into a Native American? If they just want some ethnic diversity, add in the Black Panther who first appeared in the Fantastic Four comic anyway. Given that Johnny’s sister Sue is part of the team too, unless she’s black too (which would be even more weird), they will have a lot of explaining to do. Just to make the matter worse, it looks like Mr. Fantastic’s genius will be a super power too instead of him just being naturally smart. Just about everything about this movie sounds like a big mess.

I understand needing to make things accessible to the movie viewers who may not have 30 years of comic history under their belt. Movies need to make money so sometimes more flash is needed and this is at the cost of some accuracy. But totally changing major key concepts is going to really piss people off. What’s next? Batman will be some vampire who actually changes into a bat? Iron Man becomes an android? Or maybe the Flash’s new super power will be exposing himself to pedestrians faster than any other sex offender out there.

Personally, I’m ready to get back to what the characters are actually like in the comic and not seeing how much the production companies can piss off the comic fan base.

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