Comic Movies Can’t Be 100% True To The Comics

There has been a lot of chat going on around here with regards to the X-Men film and the upcoming Fantastic Four. A little while back I put up a post about the LOOK of comic characters on the big screen, but I also think there are other challenges that comic book fans (like myself) need to take into consideration before jumping down the throats of the studios for something in the movie that is inconsistent with the comic book.

Take for instance the issue of Gambit in the X-Men. I’ve got a lot of email from people who want to see a Gambit spin-off movie where he can have his proper romance with Rouge. After all… this would be more accurate with the comics right?

The Problem with the idea of a Gambit spin-off is that he’s not a popular enough character. Now, before all you Gambit fans out there (and I’m one of them) get mad at me, try to look at it from an “outsiders” point of view.

Easily the most popular character in the X-Universe is Wolverine. Hands down. Cyclops and Jean Gray have always been the heart and sole of the X-Men. Magneto is an insanly popular character (especially for a “villain”)… and we start to get further and further down the scale.

No studio in their right mind would make a comic spin-off with a title’s 4th, 5th, or 6th most popular characters. They tried with Elektra… and look what happened. Now, if they had made a decent Bullseye spin-off…

Also, No studio will make a comic book movie that ONLY appeals to the comic fans. It’s just not financially realistic. To make a comic film, the director has to make it appeal to both comic fans AND the wider public audience. That’s why you’ll never see (nor SHOULD see) a 100% accurate comic movie. And that’s a good thing.

Comics are written for comics, not the big screen. If you’re going to translate it to the big screen you have to adapt it somewhat, while still keeping the spirit of the comic intact. It’s the same thing for novels that get made into films.

Lord of the Rings fans understood this and forgave the minor (and sometimes major) differences between the books and the films. Comic fans need to understand this as well.

I get a little nervous when I hear some comic fans say “Fantastic Four will suck because The Thing doesn’t look big enough”. What!?!? You mean just because a character looks a little smaller on screen than he does in the comic book the whole film will suck? In my opinion that’s a little short sighted. We as comic book fans are notorious for being very protective of our beloved superheroes… but at the same time we need to more open to looking at the big picture when translating a comic into a film.

A movie has limited time and a limited budget to make a good story. We often forget that some of our favorite storylines in the comics sometimes take MONTHS or YEARS to tell with even MORE YEARS background behind them. A film maker doesn’t have that luxury. He’s got to get you introduced to the characters, get you to like them, set up the conflict with the bad guys and tell a great story all in… 2 hours. I think we should cut them some slack if they need to change a few things to get that done.

It’s a lot easier for films like BATMAN or SPIDERMAN because they only have 1 central major character to focus on. Films like X-Men or Fantastic Four have multiple characters to work with in the same time frame (2 hours). I honestly don’t know how a director does it!

Your thoughts?

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