Greetings, my mail minions! This week we’re trying to figure out if the superhero movie genre could survive without nerds, a possible misstep in the Agents of SHIELD premiere, and what you absolutely need to know before seeing The Force Awakens. (Answer: Nothing.) Shall we?
Dear Mr. Postman:
I am 67 years old. Yes, that is important. The thing is, I haven’t read comics since I was a kid, except for October 1969 to February 1970 when I was in Viet Nam (USAF). For some reason I really got into Daredevil and Spiderman. They helped me cope with the war, and if I ever meet Stan Lee, I’ll shake his hand.
Anyway, I don’t read comics now. The last video game I was into was Doom, which I finished. Now, I’m not into comics or video games at all.
My point is, even if the comics fans hate a comic book-based movie I will probably enjoy it. I saw the pilot of Daredevil on Netflix and loved it. However, I also enjoyed the Ben Affleck version.
I understand the comics and video game fans are hyper-critical of movies coming out, but I think the studios are aiming for a larger audience than a specific fanbase. Might this mean that the studios will keep on putting out the comic- and video game-based films? I know I love ’em. I think more people than the fans of the original comics will too.
Must I be ignored just because I don’t post in the comics forums on the web? Must I feel guilty (or stupid) for enjoying Ben Affleck’s turn as Daredevil? I don’t think so.
How about it? Is there enough of a market for comics- or video game-based films outside of the fanbase?
There are a few questions here, but let me answer the last one first: There is absolutely a market outside of the fanbase. Hollywood is counting on it. If only nerds saw the superhero shows and movies, they wouldn’t exist. They have to appeal to mass audiences, which is why Marvel movies streamline and simplify stories from their comics, while DC makes make their movies from scratch.
Now, should you feel guilty for enjoying movies that nerds complain about? As a nerd who complains about things professionally, I can tell you unequivocally absolutely not. I titled the column “Should You Feel Bad for Watching Crappy Superhero Movies” because it was an easy and catchy way to get the point of your question across, but if you don’t find a show crappy, then by all means enjoy it. Who cares what fans say? What critics say? What I say? In the end, the only real opinion that matters is yours. If you like the Affleck Daredevil, more power to you. A lot of people have a surprising affection for the Keanu Reeves Constantine movie. Heck, despite the objective failure to represent Superman’s character, people enjoy Man of Steel. And that’s all fine.
If nerds stop seeing these movies—which absolutely won’t happen, because they’re nerds—Hollywood wouldn’t care at all. They’re a drop in the total box office bucket compared to what mass audiences pay. In fact, I think Hollywood would be delighted if nerds gave up on comic movies, because then they wouldn’t have to waste their time trying satiate a small, vocally, nearly-impossible-to-please minority.
So you’re completely safe. And don’t feel guilty for liking what you like, no matter what I or anyone else says.
Balance of the Force
Over the last few years I have realized that when it comes to movies that I am super excited for I go out of my way to avoid any and all information/trailers/tv spots. I have found all of the info makes me less and less excited for said movie. This has worked well for me with the last few movies that got me excited. Having said that I am SUPER UBER excited for Star Wars, up until now the only things I have really seen is the first trailer and some early screens. To this day the only 2 new characters whose names I can match to a face are Kylo Ren and BB8. My concern with this movie is that there are so many characters and events happening at once that by avoiding reading about or seeing trailers I may be missing out on something that might make the movie more enjoyable. Maybe some sort of background information not discussed much that ties plot points together. I just wanted to get your opinion, based on what you know having surely seen the movie already, on whether or not this might work against what I am trying to do in increase my enjoyment of the movie.
If there’s information needed to enjoy The Force Awakens that isn’t provided in the movie itself—like from tie-ins or merchandising or whatever—then that is a MAJOR screw-up on the part of Disney and JJ Abrams. Period. If I had a nickel for everytime I brought up a criticism about a movie and had someone say “BUT THEY EXPLAIN THAT IN THE COMIC ADAPTATION,” I would have a lot of nickels.
And that’s crap. You can’t—or at least shouldn’t—make a movie that requires audiences to need to have somehow acquired information elsewhere. The movie should be self-contained and self-explanatory, and if it isn’t, it’s a bad movie. Now, there can be knowledge that enhances the story—that’s totally fine—but that still means they are not mandatory to know, either before or after watching the film.
Honestly, you shouldn’t even need to have seen the Original Trilogy before watching The Force Awakens. If it’s a truly good movie, it should work on its own merits. After all, just like all the Star Wars movies, The Force Awakens is going to be the first Star Wars movie for a lot of people. Abrams and Disney have to be making this film for them as well as those who have seen 1-6 of the two trilogies.
Suffice it to say, I imagine you’re safe on The Force Awakens. I imagine Abrams is trying his best, Disney is looking hard over his shoulder, and best of all, they rebooted the canon exactly so people could see this movie without feeling like they needed to have done research on it.
To Annoy a Mockingbird
So, I liked the showing of Bobbi’s science side in this week’s AoS. HOWEVER, my wife, much less familiar with the character, did NOT. For her, Bobbi is a kick ass, Buffy-like hero: having her suddenly be all scientific and take over in Gemma’s absence felt like, to HER, a cheap plot device, a la CSI when they shift a character around into an improbable job just to keep them on the show.
I completely understand her take, and it made me wonder if this was a rare gaffe by Marvel. They have a track record of streamlining characters down to their bare essentials, to make the jump from comics to screen. In Bobbi’s case, her comic bio really DOES read off like a 7th grader’s wet-dream: super spy, Agent of Shield, super smart, super-hot, scientist. Honest to God, add “red-head and can pilot a Veritech” and you have what I wanted in a girlfriend circa 1987. But moving all of that to the screen might make her too unbelievable a character.
Thoughts? Was Bobbi’s transition handled poorly in an otherwise awesome season opener?
I understand your wife’s issue, and I doubt she was alone. It’s true that Mockingbird has a PhD in biology in the Marvel Comics, and it’s true that it feels really Mary Sue-y when she’s suddenly put in a lab coat and becomes Back-Up Simmons. Giving her this skill set, although perfectly in canon, doesn’t really add anything to her character—in fact, I’dd say it lessens her, as suddenly revealing she’s a genius scientist in addition to badass super-spy feels really, really Mary Sue-y.
Perhaps if Agents of SHIELD had set this up more last season, it would have been more palatable, but it was sudden, and seemed silly and gratuitous.
I wouldn’t have made this call. So I expect Marvel to hire me to replace the Agents of SHIELD showrunners any day now.
Greetings oh future defender of our mail! Long time, first time ...
The issue I’d like you to ponder is whether Killjoys and Dark Matter are just two separate corners of the same shared SyFy universe. According to Michelle Lovretetta in an interview with the Hollywood Reporter, the creator of Killjoys, they’re open to a crossover with SyFy’s other space show, Dark Matter. There’s certainly enough thematic overlap between the two shows and Dutch and her team would easily get a RAC warrant to hunt down Two and her team.
But I’ve actually conjectured that Killjoys and Dark Matter actually do belong to the same universe, just different parts of it. I liken it to the Alphas-Eureka-Warehouse 13 universe.
Is it possible that SyFy is either building another interconnected, if not shared, TV universe?
They aren’t doing it intentionally, I assure you. There’s no chance it was planned, but now that one of the showrunners has brought it up, I’m sure Syfy is at least mulling it over. The ratings for both series are pretty low, but a crossover between the two could helps make fans of one fans of the other, without too much effort or cost. The question is now if both shows will be on long enough to make a crossover worthwhile, or if their ratings are troubled enough that Syfy just decides to cancel ’em.
Do you have questions about anything scifi, fantasy, superhero, or nerd-related? Email the firstname.lastname@example.org or leave them in the comments. No question too difficult, no question too dumb! Obviously!