In March 5 IssueBy Jeff Smith, Columnist
It seems lately that there are more movies being made about comic book characters than about anything else. Not that I'm complaining, mind you, since they've actually started to get pretty good at it. Currently in the works from DC there's the 3rd Christian Bale Batman movie, titled The Dark Knight Rises, Ryan Reynolds will grace the screen as the Green Lantern, and most recently, the cast has been chosen for a reboot of the Superman franchise starring a British man by the name of Henry Cavil. They've also finally made a decision NOT to have a Wonder Woman movie, and are bringing the Amazonian princess to the TV instead.
There's another comic book movie that is coming out that was completely off of my radar. Cowboys and Aliens is a movie based on a graphic novel that I have not myself read, and can't believe I missed. Its back to the Wild Weird West when spaceship arrives in Arizona, 1873, to take over the Earth, and posse of cowboys are all that stand in their way.
Also, I heard a rumor that Preacher may be in the works, but shhhhhhhhhhh... you didn't hear that from me.
Marvel, not to be out done, is pulling out all the stops with more movies in the works than you can shake a comic book sleeve at: we're due to get a complete reboot of Spiderman (this time with wristwatch style webshooters for all the purists out there) starring Andrew Garfield as everyone's favorite web-head, Thor is finally making an appearance on the silver screen in his own self-titled movie, starring Chris Hemsworth. Robert Downy Jr. is reprising his role as Tony Stark in Iron Man 3, which is currently in production. Also, the making of the Avengers movie is well under way, but Ed Norton won't be playing the Hulk, which is a bit depressing (but I'm sure it will be OK since there will likely be little screen time for Dr. Banner anyway). Also of note, Nicholas Cage will be returning in his role as Johnny Blaze in a sequel to the poorly received Ghost Rider movie, entitled Ghost Rider: Sprit of Vengeance. Word is that even the X-Men have another movie in production entitled X-Men: First Class. Last but not least, Chris Evans will be playing the patriotic hero Captain America. As you can see, Marvel has fully embraced the big screen as a medium for their costumed crowd. And to be honest, I am happy and excited about all of these movies except for this last one: Chris Evans as Captain America.
You know Chris Evans, he's a great actor. He's played in lots of great movies loved by geeks all over the world like Push (2009), The Fantastic Four (2005), FFIV: Rise of the Silver Surfer (2007), and recently, Scott Pilgrim VS. The World (2010). He is a great actor and I believe he will do a good job at bringing good old Cap. Steve Rogers to life on the big screen. But back up a sec... He's already been in two Marvel movies as Johnny Storm! Granted, he's a great actor, but he's not the only great actor in Hollywood. If he were playing a DC character, I'd not have a problem with it, but Johnny Storm and Steve Rogers both exist in the same fictitional universe! Whats more, the Fantastic Four and its sequel are both still great movies... if I decide to have a Marvel Movie Marathon, like one often does, seeing his face as both of these characters is going to completely destroy my ability to suspend my disbelief and enjoy the show. This just irritates me to no end as there are plenty of actors out of work and striving to get good solid parts. There was no reason for such an overlap.
For a while now, I've considered it to be an unwritten rule that when an actor plays a comic book hero, that they should not play a different comic book hero. The rule is weakened if the two comic book heroes are from different publishers, but it goes doubly into effect when the two heroes in question are from the same comic universe or have interacted with eachother in the comics. There have been Avengers / Fantastic Four crossovers... Not once do I ever recall Captain America saying to Johnny Storm "Hey man, with a haircut and a fire extinguisher, you could be my twin!"
Will I go to see the Captain America movie? Probably. Will I enjoy it as much as I could have with another actor as Cap? Most definitely not. Its just the principle of the thing.
So, now that I have explained the rule, it is no longer unwritten. Will Hollywood break it again? Probably. It's what they do. From Superman carrying an entire mountain of Kryptonite and hurling it into outer space in Superman Returns, to a six-foot tall Wolverine in X-Men and to Beast saying "...and you know the rest" instead of calmly quoting something throughout the battle in X-Men: The Last Stand, Hollywood has shown time and again that there is no rule they won't break, no character they won't attempt to rehash, re-imagine or cheapen, and no fanboy they won't disappoint.
Oh well, I will always have Watchmen.