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An iconic comic book writer on what's wrong with dark superhero movies

05.30.2014

There is a trend in comic book movies to take all of our classic superheroes and turn them into darker versions of themselves. We have seen it happen to pretty much everything from Marvel Cinematic Universe movies as well as the recent AMAZING SPIDER-MAN reboot, but DC seems to be the biggest culprit of doing this. While it seemed to work wonders for Christopher Nolan's trilogy, many didn't click the same way with GREEN LANTERN or last year's MAN OF STEEL.

While fans can cry all they want about it, when those in the industry begin to speak up you know it is becoming a huge issue. One such person is iconic comics writer Mark Waid. Waid is a veteran of writing characters like Superman, Daredevil, The Fantastic Four, and many more and he is not pleased with the way comic heroes have been portrayed in recent years.

"But this relentless cynicism of, 'Oh, I’m a superhero, what a tortured tragic figure I am.' Bite me, you can fly. Shut up. You know? This is the, 'Oh, my diamond shoes are too tight' problem. (Laughs)

"You’re a superhero. Shut up and enjoy having superpowers. This makes me crazy. This is why the Marvel movies kick DC movies’ asses right and left. Because, I’m not paying $15 for a movie to go watch people being morose about lives that are much more interesting and exciting than mine and they hate them. I’m paying my money to see people sort of revel in doing things that I can’t do."

While I may disagree regarding that being the reason Marvel has been beating DC, it is definitely a factor.  But, in my opinion, Marvel has been doing it way too much themselves.  ANT-MAN was slated to be a much funnier and lighter superhero movie from Edgar Wright and look what happened there.  Waid elaborates on what the issue is with the studios.

"I would simplify it to say that, Batman made a ton of money for Warner Bros, and if you are a major motion picture studio, you know what works and you’re not terribly interested in trying another formula when this one makes a billion dollars. So, I understand it. I don’t agree with it, but I understand the rationale of, everybody’s going to have Batman’s origin, because look how much money Batman made us.

"Conversely, look at how badly the Green Lantern did as a movie. Because they tried to make it a little less dark and onerous and tragic and tortured. They didn’t succeed, but that wasn’t the tone of the movie. That and a million other factors. I don’t think the tone was the problem. But if I’m a Warner Bros. executive, I can understand why I would think that the tone would be the problem. In other words, major motion picture studios like Disney or Warner Bros, they know what works for them, so they’re gonna keep doing more of that."

I have been vocal on this site in favor of the more light-hearted comic book movies like Sam Raimi's SPIDER-MAN and Tim Story's FANTASTIC FOUR because they were able to balance a level of darkness while still making a fun movie that felt like a comic book.  GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY looks like it strikes this balance as well and Disney's BIG HERO 6 even has an element of that.  One of the best superhero movies of all time, THE INCREDIBLES, was able to strike a good line between being outright funny and dark without sacrificing what makes the genre so great.

Until superhero movie begin to bomb, I doubt that we will see an overhaul of the genre.  We can expect darkness and tortured heroes to pervade our cineplexes until the movies stop grossing hundreds of millions of dollars.  But, at least someone is starting to speak up about it.

Source: Den of Geek

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