The term “Comic Book Movie” is a thing of the past, and you can thank Marvel Studios for that.
Yes these movies are about characters from comic books; but something has happened in the film world, and it may never be the same again. For years Hollywood movies provided us with dynamic characters, beautiful sets, engaging dialogue; well some movies did. But then they ran out of ideas, and the reboot era hit. Suddenly there was a gap of entertainment where most movies reminded me of one another, and things became very cliche.
Movie ticket prices went up and a lot viewers were not ready to shell out their hard-earned bucks to watch a movie that they could eventually watch on their sofa, in the comfort of their own home. Why go to the movies when you have an entertainment system that could almost emulate the same experience?! But now we have a new(er) form of movie watching, IMAX.
In my opinion, the only way to watch a big-budget blockbuster these days is in an IMAX theater. I’m from the generation that saw the emergence of IMAX. I remember my trips to Ottawa and going to a museum to watch the latest documentaries on this massive screen. What a great concept! Suddenly, filmmakers had an epiphany; what would happen if we put other types of movies on the big screen? I remember watching one of the Lord of the Rings movies, but really it was just an enlarged picture. Then came 3D. Polar Express and Beowolf are the two movies that stand out in my mind as changing the game. Oh and Superman Returns, but I try hard to pretend that movie doesn’t exist. I can talk EVEN longer about this, but I am starting to get away from my main idea. To wrap up this I am going to say that there is no experience like watching a big budget, special effect feature, in IMAX 3D. In regards to watching GOTG, I wouldn’t have it any other way. Nor do I find the point of spending a few dollars less for a “cheaper” experience.
Comic books are basically storyboards for movies, ideas and YEARS of stories that could be adapted. Let me stress ADAPTED. For those of you out there that want companies like Marvel Studios and Fox, yes and even SONY, to follow your favorite tales to a tee, I’m sorry to say that you will always be disappointed in the end. It is the negativity and endless bitching about Falcon’s costume not being accurate enough, or Magneto being too old, or whatever, that ruins it for everyone else. Take the Dark Knight Trilogy for example. Great movies from a great director. But not great Batman movies. But why is that? Is it because you read over and over again the negativity that a bunch of nerds vomited all over the internet? Did you stop for a moment and say wait a minute, this is a movie, even the 1989 Batman movie took a million liberties, but that stands on the top of a many geeks lists. What am I trying to say here? Maybe people should be a little more open-minded.
Reactions to movies like the Hulk, Fantastic Four, Punisher, X-Men, almost ruined it for the world, and the Galaxy (if you get my drift). But one company took a chance. One company decided to take a hero that NO ONE cared about, and turned it and everything that followed into pure gold. GOLD.
That company was Marvel Studios. The movie was Iron Man.
What happened after that was like the fires of Vesuvius raining hell on Pompeii! Just not as tragic, well unless you’re the rest of Hollywood. When Nick Fury was shown at the end of Iron Man and he mentioned the words “you’ve become part of a bigger universe”; we all knew what was to come next. Or so we hoped.
Everybody wanted a piece of the comic culture. There were many crappy movies put out based on obscure titles like R.I.P.D., Cowboys and Aliens, Green Hornet, just to name a few. But what proved to be successful, was taking characters that so many of us grew up on, and only imagined on the big screen, and delivered just that. And while DC Comics still struggles, Marvel has taken the idea of comic book movie and transformed it into something much, much more. If you look at Phase One, it is the origin of the characters. This of course is your basic formula for the “comic book movie”. Then the magic happened, and Joss Whedon delivered us The Avengers, and it made TWO BILLION DOLLARS. You want to talk about turning heads, this did it. The excitement this movie generated was amazing. NOTHING had been done on this kind of scale in Hollywood, not Star Wars, not James Bond, not Alien/Predator, nothing.
But where do you go from there? What stories do you tell? It’s funny that I mentioned James Bond a moment ago. Think about it this way, he’s a character that has changed faces over 50 years, but no matter what, you are always watching an ACTION movie with James Bond as the main character. The same goes for every Marvel Studios film from the beginning of Phase 2. Iron Man 3 is the Tony Stark movie, I want you to clock how many minutes RDJ was actually in costume. Captain America: The Winter Soldier was a spy-thriller, you could have replaced him with Jack Ryan or Jason Bourne and the story would have worked just as well. Great writing, great directing, and a stable of amazing actors is what makes all of this work. Yes, The Winter Soldier is a story from the comics, probably one of the greatest Captain America story lines to date, did Marvel take it panel by panel and throw it up on the big screen? NO! They wrote a cohesive, interesting, action-packed thriller that beckoned back to the days of the “paranoid spy thrillers” of generations’ past.
So Iron Man, the Hulk, Captain America are household names. People recognize them. How many of you knew who the Guardians of the Galaxy were before it was announced as a movie? Myself, I had VERY little knowledge of the Marvel cosmic universe, something that I have been reading up on for the past few years now. I knew who they were but I have no idea of the mythology, unlike properties like the X-Men, Spider-Man, and so on. Man people were just like Korath the Pursuer at the beginning of GOTG, “WHO?!”. A talking raccoon, a tree-being, a couple of bad-ass green aliens, and a human all toting around the galaxy battling evil? Even I had to ask myself, could this be Marvel’s first flop??
But you have to have faith. Like I said, no one cared about Iron Man, he was the laughing stock of the Marvel Universe and mostly known as the alcoholic. But Robert Downey Jr. changed all of that, and made it one of the most successful series under the Marvel Studios umbrella. Iron Man 2 & 3 each made over a billion dollars! That’s pretty amazing for films that had fans split down the middle, yet people couldn’t get enough of RDJ in the role. So what happened with Marvel’s big risk? It’s made close to a quarter billion dollars worldwide, in ONE WEEK. There is already a sequel announced (2017), along with a CRAZY rating on Rotten Tomatoes! I like to call it Star Wars on crack, I can’t even begin to imagine what Disney is going to do with that franchise after watching GOTG. And as we move closer and closer to Phase Three, I can’t even imagine what Marvel has up their sleeve.
Guardians of the Galaxy isn’t just the best Marvel movie I have see to date, but one of the best movies this year. If you want to call it a comic book movie, then it takes top slot when it comes to all of its predecessors as well. The amazing thing about the Phase 2 movies is that they are a representation of the directors that helm them and they are game changers. So while SONY and FOX struggle to make films, not that they are terrible attempts, about characters that should belong to Marvel Studios, we count down the days until all of our favorite heroes and villains are under the same roof.
Check out our plethora of reviews of the movie from the past week! What’s next?! AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON!! Then perhaps Marvel Studios’ first flop, Ant-Man. But you know Marvel will make it work, just like it always does!
I think the correct term is now: “Make Mine Marvel Studios”.