May 12, 2011

Hey, That's My Cape! – Movies: Self-Contained vs. Continuity

I went to see Marvel’s Thor this week. I enjoyed it greatly, and not just for shirtless Chris Hemsworth (although that didn’t hurt). I thought Marvel hit it out of the park again. Like they did with Iron Man, they cast the perfect person for the role and were able to capture the characters essence without banging you over the head. But they did knock my noggin a bit with something else. The Marvel Universe.

In comic books you have your continuity stories and your stand-alone stories. It’s the same with comic book movies. Some, like Batman Begins are self-contained films that aren’t leading into another character’s movie. Others, like Iron Man and Thor make sure you know where you are and it’s sitting smack dab in the middle of the 616 (give or take a few Samuel L. Jacksons). Both have their merits and marketing strategies of course but is one inherently better?

Read my thoughts in this week's Hey, That's My Cape! at Newsarama.

5 comments:

Jazz said...

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The Fed's Files said...

I think that if there isn't a big finally (like all of the live-action Marvel movies leading to the Avengers movie), then the Self-Contained movies aren't needed. They are great and have a place, but if you need to hype another movie up, then continuity movie is needed.

Agent X said...

Personally, I am absolutely LOVING the Marvel series that has started with Iron Man and will continue beyond next year's Avengers movie. Finally, someone has figured out how to do it as it should be done. (It wasn't exactly rocket science!) Rarely have we ever seen two comic heroes from the same universe appear in each other's films. The best we have ever gotten before now is some Thor and Daredevil in the last appearances of TV's Incredible Hulk. And I suppose the Smallville TV series has been making some things happen in the last few seasons. But big screen? Nada! I guess it was always a matter of licensing problems, as well as budgets getting too huge with multiple stars playing lead roles. But now Marvel Studios has planned ahead, signed every major actor for 6 films, and everyone involved knows that they'll be playing in the big leagues with all their pals. This is historical! Epic! Now if we can just get Hugh Jackman and Tobey Maguire into a Spider-Man/Wolverine team-up flick! :D

gene said...

I enjoy the continuity as long as it does not hurt the movie iteself.

The SHIELD stuff in Thor helps to connect the movie, but if you had not seen Iron Man 1 and 2, you would just think that this was some government group created for this movie(assuming you are not a fgan)

Tranzini101 said...

Crossover elements are fun in general for comic book fans who happen to know the original mythology. But in Marvel's case, they are simply building toward their epic movie version of THE AVENGERS, written and directed by Joss Whedon, a film where Thor, Iron Man, Hulk, Captain America and others will be functioning as a SHIELD team. So here's the strategy: introduce the characters in their own films, establish their personalities and conflicts, imply a larger universe of super-heroes that the government's trying to harness, then bring them together and have them function as a colorful "special unit." Even the one A-level character that didn't work on the big screen, Hulk, can be utilized when he's needed in a team scenario without the burden of an entire film on his shaky shoulders. So fundamentally, IRON MAN, THOR, THE INCREDIBLE HULK and upcoming CAPTAIN AMERICA are all "appetizer" lead-ins to THE AVENGERS movie, which Marvel and Whedon are dishing up as the ultimate main course for us fanfolk. Given their solid 85% success ratio so far, all I can say is, "bon appetite!"