Marvelous Co-Existence

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Marvelous Co-Existence

I read the news that Samuel L. Jackson and Hillary Swank will be playing bit parts in next year’s Iron Man movie. Jackson will presumably be playing Nick Fury and I would guess Swank a strong contender for The Black Widow. There have been rumors circulating that the Iron Man movie would lead into spin-offs and crossovers with a larger Marvel movieverse. It would be unprecedented to see something like this happen within the live action comic book movies.

As much as every fanboy would love to see a Michael Clarke Duncan as Kingpin cameo in one of the Spider-Man movies, it’s hard to imagine the Daredevil and Spider-Man movie worlds co-existing. Despite X2’s nod to the Fantastic Four, the X-Men movies and the FF movies don’t really seem to fit in the same world. In fact, every series that Marvel has generated in the last few years seem to each take place in their own world. No shared universe (save Elektra and Daredevil).

That’s understandable for three reasons. Each property has largely been overseen by one creator. David Goyer for Blade, Raimi for Spidey, Tim Story for FF, and Singer for the first two X-Men movies. Everyone has their own creative take on their assigned property and those takes are bound to be different. Even greater than that, many of these properties have been acquired by different studios. A Spidey/X-Men crossover would be awesome, but 20th Century Fox and Sony aren’t going to join forces on that very easily. Finally, in most cases, the story dictates a certain uniqueness for the title character(s). Spider-Man is one of a kind, not one of many. Within the Spider-Man movie world, a team of mutants that operate just outside New York would certainly cross paths with Spidey at some point. Or if not, Spidey does not go through any grief for maybe being a mutant. That never even comes up. So, rather than address the issue, better to ignore it.

It’s this last point that transfers over to other comic book movies. The DC characters haven’t shared much better. I can hardly imagine any other comic book character showing up within the Christopher Reeve Superman films. The first movie references that there are several alien races in the universe known to the Kryptonians. Imagine if they were Oans or Thanagarians. Hard to picture that in the world of the Superman movies. Although Batman Forever contains a nod to the existence of Metropolis, it’s hard to imagine the Keaton/Kilmer/Clooney Batman co-existing in a universe with Superman. Even harder to think of the Nolan-directed Batman in the same sci-fi universe as Superman or Green Lantern or fantasy world as Wonder Woman.

Now, Iron Man and some subsequent Marvel movies seem to be exploring this idea co-existence. I hope it’s successful and doesn’t turn into what happened with the Incredible Hulk made-for-TV movies when they tried to introduce Thor and Daredevil. Entertaining movies, but jarring to think that these characters now co-exist. Smallville has had some success with this idea by introducing a set of Justice League characters. But in order to allow these characters to share the universe, not a single character has remained true to his comic book counterpart.

It will be interesting to see how these factors will play out in a potential shared Marvel Movieverse.

By | 2017-03-17T01:05:17+00:00 July 25th, 2007|Categories: Article|Tags: , , , |9 Comments

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  1. Carlin February 23, 2017 at 4:00 am - Reply

    Even if Thor's hammer in "Return of the Incredible Hulk" was an alien artifact, I'm not sure that the TV series really established that this was the kind of world where aliens might exist.

    And the same could be said for the X-Men movies with regards to Phoenix. I don't think the creators established a world where Phoenix would have alien origins. Thus, her story in X-Men 3 was completely different than what was in the comics. Something that fit in better with the type thing you could expect.

    I think the "common man" element is where the storyteller shows just how crazy they can get within the various franchises. If the regular folk in the story show wonder and amazement, that can translate to the viewer. If they show boredom, that translates as well.

    I like the idea of a world filled with the crazy sci-fi, super hero stuff and the common man has to deal with it the same way we deal with a rainy day or a traffic jam.

  2. PLee February 23, 2017 at 4:00 am - Reply

    I suppose Daredevil was still within the same sci-fi premise as the original series — humans can have their abilities heightened by exposure to radiation — while simultaneously moving a big step closer to the superhero genre — once you get powers, you get yourself a costume and a codename and go on patrol and fight crime.

    Rather than give him that silly ninja outfit, it would’ve been interesting to take it the opposite direction and have Matt Murdock just put on some street clothes, some cooler shades and a dark red trenchcoat, and rely on the Clark Kent factor to keep his secret identity.

    TV movie Thor did appear to involve magic, but of course Marvel Comics Thor is himself sort of an extradimensional alien, and the line between Kirby “power cosmic” and Ditko “magic” is a fuzzy one. So maybe TV movie Donald Blake’s hammer was an alien artifact and he was somehow summoning this alter ego from his own subconscious, just like the Hulk?

    I still have the notion that it would be cool to do a series about “normal” humans dealing with a big comic book world where all of this stuff — lost cities, magic, supervillains, aliens — is real. Sort of a Challengers of the Unknown / Agents of SHIELD thing. Maybe some guys like Rick Jones and Wyatt Wingfoot…some of the old-school Silver Age supporting cast members.

  3. Carlin February 23, 2017 at 4:00 am - Reply

    I did admit that the Hulk movies were entertaining. But my point was that in the context of the show, the introduction of Thor and Daredevil seemed jarring. For much of the series, the show hardly even featured the Hulk. It was not a comic book show. It owed more to monster movies than it did anything else.

    I suppose that did change by the last season when they had the classic meteor two-parter and the Dick Durock evil Hulk two-parter. Even then, there weren't aliens or fantasy elements in the show.

    Suddenly, magic becomes a part of this world when Thor shows up in the first movie. And scientist David Banner really just shrugs it off.

    I enjoyed the Thor and Daredevil appearances both. And I think "Trial of the Incredible Hulk" was a great character study of David Banner. "Death of…" was disappointing for all the reasons I mentioned in my character deaths blog entry. Not a fitting end for that character.

  4. PLee February 23, 2017 at 4:00 am - Reply

    By the way…those Hulk TV movies were awesome and you know it. They are from a simpler time when no one had the money or the energy to make a TV show anything like the comic book and we the fans had incredibly low expectations.

  5. PLee February 23, 2017 at 4:00 am - Reply

    Strange that this didn't occur to me immediately…rather than the Black Widow, what if Swank is playing SHIELD agent Jessica Drew, a.k.a. Spider-Woman?

    That's probably a bad idea . . . you don't want to dilute the Spider-Man franchise.

    That nod to FF in X2 would be the name "Franklin Richards" appearing on the computer screen, right?

    I think you could throw in an Afflack as Matt Murdock cameo just about anywhere, even though Daredevil is sort of a forgotten movie at this point.

  6. PLee February 23, 2017 at 4:00 am - Reply

    I forgot the most likely avenue of crossover — Jon Favereu played Foggy Nelson in Daredevil, and now he's directing Iron Man. C'mon, that's easy.

    Directors have caught on to the idea that fans love these Easter eggs and cameos, but obviously it's only something that helps if the movie itself works. Even the Hasslehoff Nick Fury movie had all sorts of nods to the comics, after all.

  7. PLee February 23, 2017 at 4:00 am - Reply

    Ah, but you add Betty and this team becomes too Hulkocentric. Spidey needed a representative.

    My premise here is that SHIELD or some similar benefactor pulls together a team of troubleshooters, with the major qualification being long-term exposure to superhero craziness.

    Betty Brant might work — late husband might've been the Hobgoblin, she runs with Spidey, and she's an investigative reporter.

    Happy Hogan would be great — ex-boxer, Tony Stark bodyguard, and occasional Iron Man fill-in — but he's kinda dead recently.

    Peter David did a great job with Betty. I watched the 80s Hulk cartoon, in which Betty was a fellow scientist with Bruce, so I was taken aback when I realized that in the comics, she had no job and no skills whatsoever. She was the general's daughter and that was it.

  8. Carlin February 23, 2017 at 4:00 am - Reply

    Good team. I liked the inclusion of Betty Ross in the Ultimates/Ultimate Avengers. My only change would be to drop Gwen and replace her with Betty.

    In the Spider-Man movies, some of my favorite scenes were the ones at the Daily Bugle. I wished there could be a movie with just those characters. And really, except for Tobey Maguire, the Bugle staff is made up of mostly TV actors. So why not a TV series about these guys? A newspaper drama set against the backdrop of the Marvel Universe New York City…where anything can happen from Thor and the Hulk going at it in Times Square to Galactus trying to eat the world.

  9. PLee February 23, 2017 at 4:00 am - Reply

    Here’s the team…

    Rick Jones
    – Honorary Avenger, former sidekick to the Hulk, Captain America, Captain Marvel I and II, and Rom. Helped win the Kree-Skrull War and the Infinity War. A skilled athlete, hand-to-hand combatant and singer/songwriter.

    Jane Foster, M.D.
    – Longtime assistant to Dr. Donald Blake and ally of Thor. ER physician who has treated the injured from NYC to Asgard.

    Wyatt Wingfoot
    – Native American chief, ally of the Fantastic Four, and occasional boyfriend of the She-Hulk. Expert fighter, athlete, hunter, tracker, and survivalist.

    Gwen Stacy
    – Clone of the late girlfriend of Peter Parker. Holds advanced degrees in biochemistry and forensic science (drawing on her own scientific expertise and her family’s background in law enforcement).

    Gabriel Jones
    – Founding member of the Howling Commandos. Combat veteran of three wars. Longtime agent of SHIELD. As both a jazz trumpet player and secret agent, one of the coolest people in the world.

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