Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Metal Men: The Movie. I Don't Know Whether to Laugh, Cry, or Cheer

I have often stated that DC Comics needs to follow Marvel's lead by using some of their second, and even third, tier heroes in theatrical releases. Marvel has had great success, and with lower outlay, producing films like Blade and Ghost Rider who reside far from the lofty 4-Color heights of Thor and the Avengers. Before all the Dan Ketch/Johnny Blaze/Zarathos fanboys out there murder me for calling Ghost Rider a second tier character, let me cut them off at the pass. You're right, Ghost Rider isn't a second tier character. He's a third tier character. Daredevil is a second tier Marvel character. The point is that Marvel hasn't merely relied on their top three most recognizable properties to base movies around. That isn't so true of DC Comics.

DC might make a television show about the Birds of Prey, but it will vary so wildly from the source material as to be almost unrecognizable. They might make a Catwoman or a Steel, but their hearts weren't really in the production. They seemed to think, "make it and they will come." Whereas Marvel, even when I don't like the movie, seems to be genuinely trying to entertain me. I only mean this in recent times, back in the days of the Captain America movie they didn't get it either. But let's face it, as bad as The Punisher was, it was very much drawing from the Ennis version of the character and the few moments most connected to the comic worked. What DC hasn't done in the past is ask themselves if they have anyone apart from the big three (Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman) who deserves to be treated seriously. Well...apart from the Flash television series, but that was a long time ago.

This may or may not be changing. DC has announced that they will be making a Metal Men movie produced by Lauren Shuler Donner. When I first read the story, I worried that DC still didn't get it and that they were going to make a ridiculously awful movie about these absurd, and obscure, characters. But then I read that Geoff Johns one of the best writers in comics today, and a former assistant to Richard Donner, would be working on the project a small part of me began to hope. Johns is truly one of the best writers working in the industry, he just seems to get how to balance "Iron Age" darkness with "Silver Age" levity. His work on the Justice Society is some of the best comic writing ever. I can only hope that his contributions can make a movie about the Metal Men (obscure Silver Age characters if there ever were) entertaining.

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