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Marvel Vs. Comics

So, have we all seen The Winter Solider?  Of course we have.  Marvel Movies as a franchise are probably this generation’s Star Wars, only better: more than three of them are really good.  Also?  No Jar Jar.

It’s been astonishing not only the popularity but the turnaround of the “comic book movie.”  Up until the early 2000’s, comic book hits were a fluke.  Superman and Superman 2 were the only sensible entries in their series. Batman (1991) and (arguably) Batman Returns were the only two from their franchise to be solid, watchable films.  Same can be said for the first TMNT, and the breakout popularity of Blade can only really be attributed to its lead actor.  Beyond that, the history of films based on comics was one painful misstep after another, rising and falling based on studio whims and divided vision.

It was Spider-Man and X-Men that pointed the way, though oddly neither of them being under Marvel’s direct control (Sony and Fox, respectively).  Sam Raimi is most likely the father of the modern comic book film.  He changed as little as possible.  He stuck by the essence of the character.  He tried to tell the most important story in Peter Parker’s history.  And he took it seriously, with the love of someone who read comics and wanted to see it done right.  X-Men took the same route, also finding that great middle ground that is a successful adaptation.  But when sequels came and creative control was swung around like a trailer park in a tornado, the crash and burn was inevitable.

When Marvel got its feet under it with the breakout success of Iron Man, that’s when everything changed … and sadly, that’s when comic books ended.

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