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Thursday, July 01, 2004
Theater Thursday
Ok, this is the week a lot of you have been waiting on. Spiderman 2 opens, and the web-slinger (who in reality would have no shot at Kirsten Dunst) (Hey now! That's part of the magic that is Spider-Man! He gets the really hot girl...gives the rest of us hope!) swings back into action against the evil Doc Ock. This week, our questions are about those quintessentially misunderstood, ill-treated, feared and respected champions of truth, justice and the Spandex Way: the Superheroes.

1) All right, have it out. What is the all-time greatest superhero movie?
The original Spider-Man. I grew up reading the Spidey comic books and the movie captures the essense of what made Spider-Man great. I waited 20 plus years to see it--it seemed as it was always being rumored that it was coming in the comic books but we never saw it. At last, it came out and it hit every note perfectly. Toby Maguire was perfect as Peter Parker and we got see Spidey swing and sail on web lines and bounce about, just as we'd imagined it in the comics. And, yes, the Green Goblin was bit too Mighty Morphin Power Ranger, but they got the essense of the Spidey vs. Goblin storyline exactly right. (Only way it could have been better was to just adapt the Spidey/Goblin origin storyline from Ultimate Spider-Man 1-8.) I love the original Spider-Man and cannot wait to see the second installment. The runners-up in this one have to be the original Superman and X-Men 2.

2) What superhero movie has not been made that you'd like to see? Which existing one would you have redone from scratch?
I would love to see a movie version of the Flash. Or maybe the Tick. As for the existing one, I'd like to go back and re-do Batman and Robin from scratch. Just to give it an identity really--the movie could never decide if it wanted to be the dark melodrama of the first two movies (BTW--Batman Returns is still the best of the series!) or the campy over-the-top sensibility of the 60s TV show. Also, Mr. Freeze is such a tragic villian and it's a shame that Ah-nold didn't do the character justice. If you want a great Mr. Freeze, look no further than the man who played Captain Picard, Patrick Stewart. Also, if you want to see how great the Mr. Freeze character can be, check out the episodes featuring him from Batman: The Animated Series and the animated, direct-to-video feature, Batman and Mr. Freeze: Subzero..

3) What qualities would be necessary to elevate a superhero movie from a simple action film to a memorable motion picture? Is it possible?
Yes it is--look at the great superhero movies I've mentioned here--Spider-Man, Superman, X2, Batman, Batman Returns. I think the way to make a great superhero movie is to not just have it be a slug-fest. Have special effects, but have a story that allows the viewers to connect with the hero in some way. Cool special effects can be outdated in a year, but superlative storytelling never grows old.

BONUS) Most superhero movies take place in a more-or-less realistic modern world. If a superhero actually appeared in your city today and started fighting crime, what would be the actual public reaction?
I think there'd be a lot of reaction like what Spider-Man faces in the comic books--some would love him, others would hate him and many wouldn't know quite what to make of him.

And remember, EXCELSIOR!

posted by Michael Hickerson at 7/01/2004 10:25:00 AM | |
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