– by Joseph Jammer Medina

We live in an age where if you slide your finger down a list of upcoming films and stop at a random point, there’s a good chance it’ll land on a comic book movie adaptation. It wasn’t long ago that these movies were a rarity, but nowadays, they’re all too commonplace, with most studios putting out more than one comic book film a year on the regular.

But there is partially one big reason for that: comic book movies haven’t always been good. Looking back in the mid-2000s, they were, more often than not, pretty bad filmmaking experiences. But why? What is the magical formula that helps make strong comic book films?

Speaking with Vanity Fair about his long history with the comic book movie genre, Marvel Studios head Kevin Feige expressed his frustration that, early on, one of his pieces of advice was always ignored by studio heads. That advice?

“The answers are always in the books.”

That’s right. As we know, in an attempt to make comic book movie mainstream, studios would often just use the source material as a jumping off point, rather than a place of heavy influence. This would often backfire on them, resulting in poor reviews, and consequentially, poor box office reception.

What do you think of Feige’s advice? Is this the way to go, and do you think this still holds true in a world where we get this many comic book movies? Let us know your thoughts down below!

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SOURCE: Vanity Fair

  • jonathing

    perception and money

  • Smerdyakov

    Eleckra didn’t really have a solo book to base it on.

    • Kindofabigdeal

      So Elektra didn’t really need a solo movie.

  • Aaron James

    There’s two big reasons why superhero movies used to suck.

    1. If you go back before 2000, the lack of CGI made it really tricky to portray superheroics in a way that didn’t look ridiculous.

    2. But more importantly, there was a general feeling within Hollywood that superheroes were silly, and that only kids or weird, basement-dwelling man-children took them seriously. So to get a wider audience into the cinema, you had to wink at them and say “Hey look, isn’t this silly? We’re in on the joke, and it’s okay to laugh at this.” Which is why the Christopher Reeves Superman movies and Tim Burton Batman movies are so campy. And this attitude extended into the 2000s, even though a few filmmakers had already had huge success by taking the source material seriously.

    And the thing was, Hollywood wasn’t entirely wrong, at the time. The nerd culture explosion didn’t happen until the 2000s. Prior to that, your average person wouldn’t be caught dead admitting they liked to read superhero comics. And Richard Donner’s Superman movie and Burton’s Batman were both huge successes at the time.

    • Kindofabigdeal

      I remember when Episode 1 first came out I was afraid I was going to see it alone. Imagine my surprise when I found out my friends also liked Star Wars.

      • Aaron James

        Really? That’s surprising.

        I would have said the one exception to this was Star Wars. I mean, yeah, people made fun of the fans who were REALLY into it, dressing up and such. But Star Wars has been a cultural touchstone since the 1970s. The average person was willing to admit they they enjoyed the original trilogy.

  • Kindofabigdeal

    Wow, did you really write an article out of one sentence from the latest Vanity Fair? You guys are really milking it.

Joseph Jammer Medina is an author, podcaster, and editor-in-chief of LRM. A graduate of Chapman University's Dodge College of Film and Television, Jammer's always had a craving for stories. From movies, television, and web content to books, anime, and manga, he's always been something of a story junkie.