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How to Shake up the Comic Book Movie Landscape

Tell me what comic book movie I’m describing:

“A man/woman’s life is put at risk and they gain an incredible ability.  They are faced with an antagonist with similar (or the same) abilities and either  they or their maker had a hand in creating this villain.  In dealing with their foe, they learn that their newfound power comes with responsibility and in the end they learn and grow into a better person.”

If you said Iron Man, Iron Man 2, The Incredible Hulk, Captain America: The First Avenger, The Amazing Spider-Man (based on the trailers), or Fantastic Four you would be correct.  And that is a problem.  Comic book movies these days are becoming cookie cutter and stale.  With the exception of the current Batman franchise, each new movie seems like the ones that came before it.  It even goes as far as recycling villains (I’m looking at you X-Men).  And yes I am picking on Marvel here, but they are the ones pumping out the most movies and are therefore the biggest offender.  But that doesn’t have to be the case.  Here are only a few examples of stories from comics that are ripe for the picking, and they are all Marvel titles.

X-Factor Investigations 

When X-Factor was brought back in 2005, it was decided that it would center around Jamie Madrox (the Multiple Man) and his team of private investigators.  These aren’t your ordinary private investigators.  They’re a team mostly consisting of mutants who reside in New York City’s Mutant Town.

Bring this story to the big screen would provide Marvel to delve into an area never before seen in comic book movies:   the detective noir.  Imagine a movie like L.A. Confidential or Chinatown, but with mutants.  It could be a slow, methodical thriller that could balance out a genre full of explosions and loud noises.  The possibilities are endless.

An X-Factor movie can even work within the current X-Men film franchise.  One of the major plot points in X-Factor is that many of the mutants in Mutant Town lost their abilities on M-Day.  With the mutant cure having been presented to us in X-Men: The Last Stand, a quick re-tooling of the story and this still works.  This is important because it is a source of tension in many of the early stories for the X-Factor Investigations team.

And it’s unfortunate that this movie didn’t get made sooner, because AnnaSophia Rob would have made an outstanding Layla Miller (checout Bridge to Terabithia if you don’t believe me).

Runaways

With the departure of the Harry Potter and Twilight franchises, everyone is looking for the next big thing for young adults.  There have been a few missteps in this search for new teen angst (Percy Jackson?), but if one were to look to comic books there is already a story ready and waiting.

Runaways follows the story of a group of kids who discover that their parents are actually super-villains and they decide they should…well runaway of course.  Who doesn’t relate to this story?  At some point every young adult fears that they will become their parents.  And none of us wants that.  Especially if they are evil.

Add in the love triangles, sexual confusion, and some cool action scenes and this tale has everything a movie for young adults needs.

S.H.I.E.L.D.

Let’s be honest.  We love our spy stories.  There’s a reason James Bond is still making movie.  Why the Bourne franchise will live one without Matt Damo and Mission:  Impossible is still cool.

Terrorist plots that threaten the world.  Gadgets.  Super-spies dressed to kill.  All these things tickle our fancy.  And they all make for good movies.  Luckily for Marvel they have a spy organization.  Now they just need to learn how to utilize it.

Now, I can’t say what S.H.I.E.L.D.’s involvement will be in The Avengers, but it seems Nick Fury’s only purpose in life is to bring those heroes together.  But that can’t be the only thing S.H.I.E.L.D. is involved in, can it?

We have already been introduce to Nick Fury, Agent Coulson, the Black Widow and in the near future Hawkeye and Maria Hill; but there are plenty of characters to explore.  Mockingbird was once a member of S.H.I.E.L.D.  So was Spider-Woman.  And Ms. Marvel.  When talking about S.H.I.E.L.D. the possibilities for characters is endless, so the key would be to pick a few and focus on them.

And in a world we terrorism is always with us, the idea of using known heroes to stop those terrorist is perfect.  An attempt by Hydra or A.I.M. to release a chemical/biological/radiological weapon in any major city in the world would raise the stakes to the proper level to keep the audience interested.

These are just a few ideas.  Sound off in the comments if you disagree or have any of other examples.

J.

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  1. April 7, 2012 at 8:51 pm

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