More on the movies


I was just wondering why movies based on comic books always start with the character introduction. Why do we go back to Superman getting sent to Earth? Why see Batman’s parents shot over and over again? Why see Peter Parker get bit by that spider? Why go into all of this?

I realize that not everyone has read the comic books that these characters are based on, and they do need to know a little about the character, but can’t there be a better way?

What got me thinking on this was one of my favorite movies has a larger than life hero. In the first movie, we weren’t given a big background on his character. He was just there, larger than life and doing many things just in the first 5-10 minutes of the movie… It took Peter Parker 1/2 the movie before he even became Spiderman. The first Batman movie with Michael Keaton was actually good in this, but Batman Begins went to the Introduction again…

Why can’t we have a Super Hero movie, where the first time we see the character he is already the Hero. (Again, Batman with Michael Keaton did this, and so did “V for Vendetta”.) If we really need the back story, it can be filled in with short flash backs or dialog on screen. I think it would be more fun for the general audience just to see the characters unfold. To learn their strengths and weaknesses as the movie unfolds.

Until putting these thoughts down, I never really understood why this is now the standard practice for all “Superhero” movies. I now have a theory. Superhero movies are done in this fashion for the main purpose of selling the sequel. We get an “introduction”, and the design is to leave the movie wanting more. The last 20 minutes or so are filled with the big fight scenes and mass destruction. The audience is left with many unanswered questions (not in that introduction). They are left wanting (maybe subconsciously) more. Then the next movie is released. Just my thoughts.

Oh, that hero that just started doing his thing at the beginning of the movie. The one we didn’t really know much background on until the third movie was released? The one where another movie is soon to be released? That would be Indiana Jones…

8 thoughts on “More on the movies”

  1. yes…. 19 more days. :). And I think you are right, the exposition is in the movies to set up the sequel. Batman Begins also had the added bonus of actually going further by revealing the character who would be the antagonist for The Dark Knight. But, I too often wonder why a big exploration of the superhero’s origin is ALWAYS necessary.

  2. Of course there are some heroes that pretty much no one knows and therefore needs that introduction, such as the current Iron Man movie. Only about a 2 out of 5 on the family friendliness scale by the way, in case anyone wants to take young’uns to see it. I guess our hero is not a very savory person before he becomes Iron Man.

    I would probably agree with our blogger that Hollywood’s goal is to make money, so they think this is a good way. I did think Underdog was a better movie for having the introduction though.

  3. I think for most movies, that if you just started with the character and had a decent plot, the introduction would take care of itself. This is where I think “regular” movies have it right. We are introduced to the characters as the movie flows, things that are important to the plot are introduced, things not important are left off. Until the third movie of the Indiana Jones movies, we never knew why he was afraid of snakes, but we knew that he was. This was filled in for the third movie so you knew how he felt about his Dad. One traumatic day caused a lifelong fear. It was introduced when important. I think that some of the super hero movies go overboard with the introduction. It could be taken up in another fashion. Get a good plotline, and good characters, the filling out of those characters can take care of itself.

    At the beginning of most movies, we have no idea who the characters are, they are fleshed out by the story writers. Most comic book heroes could be handled in a similar fashion. While some back story is needed by the hard core comic book fans, I think for the normal movie goer, it could be cut back a notch or two.

    All this stated, sometimes it is a good thing. The Ironman introduction is a good story line. His whole back story drives the character forward, and gives an identity to him. It is true that this is not a story for younger viewers, but I’m not sure of any well done super hero movie that would be. If you read the comics they are derived from, some of them are very dark indeed.

  4. A la the various incarnations of the Dark Knight. A very dark, troubled figure but until recently unless you knew the comic books and history one would not think so. 60s television; 70s-80s Saturday morning cartoons catered to the target audience of young children. Until the ’89 movie, I do not recall an indepth examination. I don’t even remember knowing about the death of Bruce’s parents before that… could have been glossed over.

  5. I might, the first one was interesting enough. I never read those comics, so I wasn’t sure what to expect with the first one. Come to think of it, the only explanation of the Hellboy character was how he was found. Not a lot of back story in that. The way Hellboy appeared on the scene was an integral part of the story. I had no idea who the characters were, and they brought you up to speed by introducing a “new guy” into the group.

    I have to wait on my tried and true method for finding good movies. I go to a show, or now I can down load the trailers. If the trailer looks good, I read the critics in “The Toledo Blade”. Generally if they like it, the movie will stink. If they don’t like it, the movie will probably be a good one.

  6. Certain critics are dependable like that. Be sure to ask C about Rick Moser. When he was in Joseph, the director was relieved when Moser gave the show a bad review.

  7. Yes, critics are notorious for that. One of Gene Siskel’s favorite movies of all time was Saturday Night Fever? Was it THAT good?! I ask you.

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