Tuesday, June 17, 2008

A Reason to go Back to the Movies

I saw the Incredibly Hulk today. I know, I should be preparing for my trip, not going to the movies, but something came over me and I headed out to the theater. I actually opted to take the bus rather than my car, and had a very pleasant experience on Kansas City's mass transit system, specifically The Max bus line. The weather was perfect for bus travel, and everything went very smoothly.

I've been very excited about this summer's movies, Hulk included (once I found out it was a remake rather than a sequel to the last bomb and included Ed Norton), even after IJ4 was such a massive disappointment. SPOILER ALERT! It sucked. Still, The Incredible Hulk exceeded expectations. The backstory was artfully and silently blast through in the credits (a wise choice because, in the case of The Hulk, it's stupid). Afterward Ed Norton brilliantly led a great cast of characters and actors (I take back everything I said about Liv Tyler the last time I watched Empire Records), with great action, nicely balanced with well-paced story telling.

Most importantly, I fell that the movies Marvel makes now contain some of the best elements of comic books. They are fun and succeed at telling the story visually. Even everything were dubbed in Urdu with no subtitles, I still would have enjoyed the film, and comprehended a good deal of the plot. Yet they are also wry and cleaver, constantly winking past the kids with in jokes, double entendres, and of course the Stan Lee cameos. This nodding done to a new level in the last scene before the credits (I didn't stay passed because I was late for a book signing by David Sedaris); I didn't stay but the scene makes repeated refrence to the recent Iron Man film (which I thought was the best adaptation of a comic book to date).

Finally, the two flicks Marvel has made this summer offer a glimpse into the wider Marvel Universe. I was frankly disappointed that through three Spider Man and three X-Men films, plus a slew of others, the fact that other characters were out their was never even hinted at, unless they joined one side or the other in their respective films. One of the great things about Marvel is the big stable of characters, so that while you may be reading a Spider Man comic, you never know when Wolverine, Iron Man, or Daredevil might show up (or for that matter, Magneto, Doctor Doom, or Kingpin). Yet despite the fact that the Fantastic Four spent two movies living in New York, they never once called up, or even alluded to, their neighbors (I'm actually just assuming this to be the case, as I was too disgusted by the trailers, and justified by the reviews, to see Rise of the Silver Surfer). Hopefully, all of this will lead to more prolific crossing over of the film franchise, better movies, and a revised film industry.

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