I spend many Saturday mornings writing in a coffee shop, and it’s great. Love it. Just one complaint: The employee who mans the coffeespouts always, always has the radio tuned to the local jazz station, which just so happens to play a 4 hour bluegrass show from who knows how early until I don’t even know when, but it’s too long. I’m able to tolerate it for a time, but nearly every time, I’m forced to plug in the headphones and pull down some Groove Salad to try and smooth out the happy, foot-stomping fiddlers.
Ah, Groove Salad, take me away!
Don’t screw it up, Marvel!
If you care, you already know that Tony Stark appears in the new Hulk movie. And you already know why that’s just supremely cool. Marvel’s movie division has finally started doing things right. The best thing about the comics is the interweaving of a universe of characters (At least from a fan’s perspective; I’m certain that the editors and creators are often of a differing opinion), and if they can successfully begin to interweave films, we’ve ascended to new heights of fanboy pleasure.
But how do you emulate the feel of a unified, regularly published Marvel Comics Universe in film? Comics are published monthly, films bi- or triannually. One major problem is that while humans age chronologically, comic book characters age conveniently. Which often means they don’t age at all. Not a big deal when your characters are drawn on paper. But when you’re talking celluloid, that’s a costume of a different color. This puts Marvel in a tough position.
I see a couple of solutions:
1) Make them 2 or 3 at a time, a la Lord of the Rings.
This seemed to have worked out pretty well for that series. Granted it was a big risk, but are comic characters like Captain America and his ilk really on the same level as the Frodo and Gandalf? Cap’s been around for nearly as long, but he’s nowhere near as omnipresent. So would the investment of time and resources needed to make multiple movies simultaniously be a sound one?
2) Just produce the single movies faster.
Instead of the normal lead time on sequels, just streamline the process and start to churn them out faster. This might sound good on paper, but things done too fast tend to yield stinky results.
And despite this pitfall, it sounds like this is the route that Marvel’s going. At least as far as Iron Man is concerned. I read an Entertainment Weekly interview with Jon Favreau recently that they’re trying to fast track the Iron Man sequel. Favreau, director of the film, while not one of my favorite fixtures in the movie world, did a competent job with the first film. He’s feeling the pressure from Marvel to hustle up, and he’s balking.
…this week, Favreau took directly to his MySpace blog to answer fans’ questions, and wound up admitting he was “concerned” about that April 2010 target (h/t): “Neither Robert nor I were consulted about this…we have no script, story or even writers hired yet. This genre of movie is best when it is done thoughtfully and with plenty of preparation.” What’s more, he thinks we’re hearing all this urgency mostly beacause “there are no Marvel 09 releases and they need product.”
Patience, Marvel. I think the public is more interested in getting good movies than they are in getting fast movies. I think I speak for a significant movie going population when I say we don’t want another bout of Dolph Lundgren Punishers and rubber-eared Captain Americas.