Despite my post about comics to movies (see post below and here), it’s actuallty turning out to be a bad week for big screen super heroes.
Joss Whedon was removed from the Wonder Woman movie and then it was announced that David Goyer was removed from a film version of The Flash. While Whedon may be more prolific to those who don’t read comics, Goyer actually has just as much, of not more, comic cred that Whedon, as Goyer has been a comic writer for years and gave an assist to Chris Nolan of Batman Begins. Goyer was slated to write and direct The Flash for Warner Bros., but was taken off the project before production could begin. His replacement? Why, the director of Cheaper by the Dozen, Night at the Museum, and The Pink Panther, Shaun Levy of course.
While details were scarce as to what Whedon had planned to do with Wonder Woman, Goyer released some information about what he had planned for The Flash. It would have been the story of a hero’s legacy, with both Barry Allen and his protégé Wally West. He would have taken elements from among the most popular Flash stories ever printed by guys like Mark Waid and Geoff Johns. In essence, it would have stayed true to the character. Warner Bros. supposedly wanted something lighter and removed Goyer from the project.
I never really get excited about super hero movies, especially when they involve my favorite characters. For every Bryan Singer or Chris Nolan there’s a dozen Bret Ratner’s or Joel Schumacher ’s churning out trash. Even worse, the “bad” directors seem to be the one’s audiences flock to. Superman Returns and X2 stand, to my thinking, among the cream of the crop of super hero flicks, but audiences couldn’t stop going to see X-Men 3. Hell, it even broke box office records.
I also don’t get excited early on if I can help it. After all, even the most extreme Hollywood outsiders know that deals fall a part easier than they’re made, and what’s certain today is fallen through tomorrow. But I still can’t help it sometimes. Joss Whedon, geek extraordinaire, set to helm a super hero movie? That’s great news! David Goyer giving The Flash the respect and cinematic experience he deserves? Even better!
So what’s with the recent decisions to remove guys from geek properties who not only love the comic book medium, but have the know-how to make good movies? Who knows?
That’s why I take a two pronged approached. First, all I can do is hope for the best. If I get a Spider-Man or Batman Begins, then that is just awesome. If I get a Hellboy or an X-Men, great! But I think I’m done with waving my fist in anger when I get a Fantastic Four or a Batman and Robin. So I just hope the movie will do right by the source material.
And then I just recognize that no matter how good or bad a movie is, there’s no way they can ever change the great source material. You can’t unwrite The Dark Phoenix Saga. You can’t undo Stan Lee and Jack Kirby’s mind-blowingly amazing run on The Fantastic Four. No filmmaker is ever going to top the masterpieces of Alan Moore, Chris Claremont, John Byrne, Neal Adams, Mark Waid, Grant Morrison, Neil Gaiman or a hundred other creators that have used comics to give tell some of the greatest stories ever to be produced. No matter how bad a movie is, I’ll still be able to sort through my comics to find the source material, and get the story done right.
So I guess they can bring whomever they want in to make their Wonder Woman or Flash movie. They may be the best movies ever made, but they’ll never ever be better than the real deal.