26 May 2006

Colin Powell vs. Magneto

I'll grant that comic books are rarely great art. For the most part, they're so far down on the brow they're eyelids. Still, there are and have been great works and great writers in the genre. People who are telling interesting and sometimes important stories.

Then, there are the popcorn movies. We don't expect more from our summer blockbusters than entertainment. It's hot out, the sun's been beating down on our heads all day, we just want to crawl into a theater's dark cocoon, mainline some sugar, and be taken away. When they do their job well, filmmakers give us great thrills and our hearts race. Often corny, a good popcorn flick will nonetheless succeed at its intended goal - entertaining its audience and making money for its backers.

Sometimes, someone with vision (and love for his source material) will come along and do more. Sam Raimi, or Christopher Nolan, or (please, don't screw it up) Joss Whedon will bring depth to the screen in ways that only seem unusual to people who grew up on Adam West and Christopher Reeve. More often, hacks, fools, the overrated, and the galactically stupid will bring their visions to the screen and make audiences cringe and studios bankrupt.

Unfortunately, while screenwriters and directors who understand their source material are rare, critics who know comics are even rarer. There are the fanboys, but every word out of their mouths is to be taken with a grain of salt. Personally, I like A. O. Scott's comic book movie reviews at the Times because he's a) a fan b) not a complete hack. Seems they keep handing them off to Manhola Dargis of late, though. She's not a hack, but she can't really tell me anything useful about these movies.

Then, there was this piece of crap. I don't know if they found themselves a column short and decided to go with fill, or if someone actually thought there was merit in these arguments. Apparently, Christian Moerk "discovered" that comic characters now have depth and "human baggage". Again, with the same regard for original sources as David MacKane, Christian informed me that "...the superheroes got more complicated. Tim Burton crossed a line..."

Wow. Thanks to Tim Burton for giving these characters depth. That Frank Miller character has nothing on you...plus, he's not even in the DGA!!!

As bad as it starts, it reaches its pinnacle of stupidity with this gem:

"It is probably no accident that Dr. Hank McCoy (Kelsey Grammer) is a shaggy blue mutant in the halls of the government, trying to mitigate the excesses of authority from within. (Think of an increasingly embattled Secretary of State Colin Powell holding the hawks at bay.)"

Yet another jackhole who thinks Colin Powell was in any way different from the rest of his cohorts. I get so very, very tired of that meme. Seems like only the densest, most deluded of liberals - the kind who wanted to vote for Kerry - buy into the Colin's-a-closet-liberal story. They're the political equivalent of girls who think they can turn a gay man. "If only Colin would give me a chance, I could show him how much better it would be with me!"