Thursday, September 02, 2010

Why Honoring Continuity is Important

Colossus and Shadowcat on the cover of Astonis...Image via Wikipedia
I have a friend that loves comic book movies.  She doesn't read comics, and could care less about the source material.  She is also a big fan of Smallville.  We used to have long arguments on what they messed up in movies (I will not admit to ever watching smallville).  She made the point that characters are constantly getting retconned in the comics and it shouldn't matter if they do it for big screen. 

X-Men: The Dark Phoenix SagaRetconning sucks!  Sure it is kind of exciting when Colossus comes back from the dead and hooks up with Kitty Pryde, but the opposite side has Scott and Jean having died and been brought back so many times it is really old.  It is actually laughable how death is a revolving door in a comic book.  No one stays dead.  Whether this works or not depends on the writing.  Phoenix Saga anyone?

Spider-Man 2099 - Volume 1 (Spider-Man (Graphic Novels))Reboots happen in comics, but they generally are not well received.  Ultimates anyone?  I liked Spiderman 2099 and will actually blame it for getting me into comics, but that isn't even a true reboot.  Most fans have spent their adolescent lives learning the ins and outs of the history of the books they follow, so anytime anyone says that they are going to start over at square one it is upsetting. 

Spider-Man 2 (Full Screen Special Edition)That said the best movies have been reboots.  They take the character and the rogues gallery and they hit certain points while making the rest up.  Movies start failing when they try incorporating storylines from the comics into the movies.  This is because they try and use the same formula.  They just want to take a character and situation(or many of these) and use it as a loose outline.  Fans want to see the actual storylines and are disappointed, because of the desire to include characters and storylines the plot itself doesn't make sense and then no one likes the movie. 

Batman: The Long HalloweenContinuity is important because the characters in the comics have demons and pasts that have shaped them as characters.  When you have Lady Deathstrike and Logan fighting and you don't achknowledge their past you may be able to pull off a psychically controlled fight scene, but a fight between exes would have been emotional.  The Dark Knight was awesome, but what if it focused soley on the Joker and we got a seperate Long Halloween

WatchmenComic writers are just as good as hollywood writers, there is no reason to really adapt what is in essence a giant storyboard.  Having seen movies cutting a 300 page novel to nothing to get it to fit in the 2hr limit for the screen, and TPB would have ample information for a movie.  Watchmen did it best but underestimated the audiences ability to accept a sea monster/alien and wanted a different ending.  All that work to make it match and pride takes over in the end.
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