Sunday, July 31, 2011

Looking Cool - Visuality in Comic Blockbusters

Film is a visual media. Granted, there is sound adding to it.
But foremost it is a sensational thrill for the eyes. Directors and Producers cater to that by delivering epic spectacles for the summer blockbuster crowd. But not every movie seems to hit that mark. What is the difference between an engaging and a boring blockbuster?

Premise: 'The visuality of a superhero decides over it's fate at the box-office'

I know, it sounds trivial, but let's take a closer look, alright?! 

1. Hulk / The Incredible Hulk

Both movies, enjoyed different critical success, but nonetheless both only earned around 130 million dollar in cinemas when they came out. But why did both movies hardly take in their production costs? 

As the two movies share the same superhero, we can guess it is a fault of the figure of Hulk. After-all he is green monster stomping through cities and grunting incomprehensible. 
It just doesn't look cool! Identification is really hard with this superhero. Let's take a look at another Marvel hero...

2. Iron Man / Iron Man 2

With the same production budget as the Hulk movies, the two Iron Man films managed to cash in slightly over 300 million dollar, although Iron Man 2 also fell through with the critics. 

So, why did they take in that much money? 
As above we have to blame - or rather thank - the main protagonist: Iron Man is a cool, sleek and elegant superhero. Possibly every child dreamt of donning a armor suit, flying and shooting rockets from it's arms. 

After these short observations, I hope I made my point clearer. On paper Hulk and Iron Man are not that different, with their haunted past and dangerous 'super power'. The difference is that Hulk has not the same visual appeal like Iron Man. 

I thought about writing this post, when I heard about some comic properties being developed right now. I don't want to criticize movies, that are not even released, I just want to voice my fears and doubts concerning some upcoming comic book movies:

1. Ant-Man

Ant-Man can shrink to the size of an ant and communicate with insects. The script has to find a enemy, that can be beaten by turning very small, which I find a strange Idea.
It was used to comedic effect in "Honey, I shrunk the kids', but in an effect-laden action blockbuster it might appear out of place.

2. Wasp

Wasp also shrinks in size, but additionally grows wings and can shoot energy blasts.
A little bit like Angel in X-Men: First Class, without the shrinking part and that already looked silly. I remember the whole audience snicker, when she spit her 'energy balls'.

That's it for today,
- Tristan

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