Just three years back there was one film I was looking forward to more than any other film.  That was Marvel Studios Guardians of the Galaxy.  I had been a fan since I was a teenager thanks to the marvelous comic Jim Valentino had drawn and wrote.  I collected all the back issues I could going all the way back to the sixties.  And when Abnett and Lanning resurrected the concept bringing in some great forgotten characters I was even more pleased (because I always loved Bill Mantalo’s Rocket Raccoon while I’m a huge fanboy of Abnett and Lanning – especially when they did space stuff like Legion).

Guardians of the Galaxy did not disappoint.  While it could be silly at times I thought the adventures of Star Lord, Drax, Rocket, Gamora, and Groot was damn fun.  The movie was a huge success and I really couldn’t wait for a sequel.

Then some things happened…

Warner Brothers launched the DC Cinematic Universe and the films, while they made money, did not have the acclaim of their Marvel counterparts.  Many said they were dark and dingy (they are) and lacked the humor of the Marvel movies (they do).  While I can agree that Zack Snyder’s film could use a bit of sunlight and totally get away from whatever they do in post production that makes everything look fucking drab, I didn’t mind that there wasn’t stupid jokes every couple of minutes.  I liked that the DC films were different from the Marvel films in that way.  Did everyone feel like that?  No they did not.

It seems most preferred the “old Superman” meaning the way actor Christopher Reeve portrayed the character.  Personally I can’t watch those old Superman films anymore.  They are just abysmal to me.  Yes even Richard Donner’s original Superman film.  All the shit with Gene Hackman’s Lex Luthor living in the sewers teamed with the bumbling Otis (Ned Beatty) was just idiotic.

And while Valerie Perrine’s Mrs. Teschmacher was great to look at (she was a knockout, wasn’t she?) overall it just made no sense.  Honestly I feel that no one has ever gotten Lex Luthor right in the films – it really seems like writers and directors don’t get what the character is about.

While DC Films got dark Marvel continued to crank out films with the humor.  Just lines that could sometimes be silly, sometimes stupid, and sometimes idiotic.  I’ll point to last year’s Captain America: Civil War.  Near the end of the film there is the obligatory Stan Lee scene where he plays a Fed Ex guy trying to drop off a package for ‘Tony Stank.’  I laughed at this and found it humorous – but it was quite LCD.  It really is stupid.  Most of Tony’s cockiness through the film is kinda stupid.  I love when Spider-Man literally appears out of nowhere once Tony shouts, “UNDEROOS!”  Does it make any sense?  No.  When I was a kid I loved wearing Spider-Man underoos because I wanted to be Spider-Man.  But taken in context of the film?  Is there Spider-Man underoos in this universe?  No.  Peter Parker is some kid who JUST RECEIVED his Spider-Man costume.  It’s there to bring you nostalgia while trying to be funny.  Does it make sense?  Nope.

I had even more of a problem with Dr. Strange which turned a character I really liked into a rich asshole with tons of one-liners.  He’s Tony Stark but minus the suit of armor and plus some magic.  But this is what we’ve come to expect from the Marvel films.  When Baron Mordo gives Strange a piece of parchment Strange asks if it his mantra.  Mordo replies, “It’s the wi-fi password.  We’re not savages.”  Insert canned audience laughter here.

Is this where these films are all headed?  When 1997’s Batman and Robin hit theaters everyone called it pretty much the worst thing ever.  It was full of horrible puns and lousy jokes.  It made a mockery of a great franchise.  The movie made “eh” money but for a Batman film it was completely unacceptable.  Stupid follow-up sequel was then cancelled.  Warner Brothers grew from that experience and after a number of non-starters we finally got Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy.  Does Batman have humor in this?  Is Batman making lousy jokes and one liners?  No.  Even Bruce Wayne is very subtle in approach.  Nolan relied on a decent script, great acting, and his phenomenal direction.

Fast forward to 2017 where we have tons of new superhero films reaching the big screen.  We are now seeing trailers for all these films and they are sure no matter how much awesome action there is there is also some one liners abound to make you “laugh.”

When Wonder Woman is on the streets of London in early 20th Century clothes along with her sword and shield she is told, “It doesn’t go with the outfit.  At all.” Ha.

When Thor sees the Hulk come out into the arena in Hulk: Ragnarok he smiles and yells, “He’s a friend from work!” Ha ha.

When Barry Allen asks Bruce Wayne what his superpower is Wayne replies, “I’m rich.” HA HA HA.

When Tony Stark appears to give Peter Parker a hug Parker hugs him back.  Stark replies he wasn’t giving him a hug, he was just opening the door.  OMFG HOW FUNNY.

And the Guardians of the Galaxy?  The flick I was WAITING for!?!?!?!  The trailer had Rocket Raccoon and Peter Quill arguing about tape.  Rocket wants tape.  Peter doesn’t have tape.  They bicker.  And Groot?  Groot is still in baby form after what happened to him in the last film.  He has little cute “I am Groot”s coming out of his mouth.  AWWWWW…look….it is baby Groot.  Look how cute he is.


How long until we are back to Batman and Robin?  DC completely caved when Batman v Superman underperformed and Geoff Johns was brought in to “fix” whatever was wrong.  What’s wrong?  Well the Justice League trailer looks dank as hell but now we have stupid jokes and Batman quipping!  Just what we always wanted!  A quipping Batman!  Iron Man can do it so why can’t Batman????

I’m a life long comic fan and in any given year I’ll see nearly all of the comic book films that come out.  But this year?  Man…it is the first time I’m really not looking forward to any of these films.  I’m not.

I was actually surprised at how great Logan was.  But that film was not a comic book film.  They made that film a chase film and a western.  It was pretty brilliant.  No quips from Logan.  He was out for blood and let no one stand in his way.  Good for you 20th Century Fox.

The comic book films I’m really looking forward to this year?  #1 with a bullet is the adaptation of Derf Backderf’s brilliant graphic novel My Friend Dahmer – a stunning piece work capturing Jeffrey Dahmer’s high school years.  Derf and his friends are all there because he actually grew up with Dahmer.  Actually knew him.  Actually hung out with him.  And had learned for himself just how weird he was then…and how the weird shit he used to do would then change some strange kid who acted weird and drank a lot to becoming one of the most infamous serial killers of all time.

I refuse to call Kingsman a “Marvel comic book.”  The Secret Service, the comic the film is based on, was printed by Marvel’s Icon imprint.  But it would be like calling Alien Legion or Groo a Marvel comic.  It’s just not.  The first Kingsman film was great.  It was almost a spoof of Bond films while actually being a better Bond film then that latest piece of crap they just churned out.  Kingsman is tongue-in-cheek but it really doesn’t stoop to the LCD crap they are doing these days.  Chalk it up to direct Matthew Vaughan and his excellent ability to make great adaptations (also see Stardust, Kickass, X-Men: First Class).

While Atomic Blonde seems more hyper and action packed thanks to John Wick director David Leitch then its graphic novel counterpart The Coldest City – it also seems that bullets, martial arts, and quality acting takes center stage.  At least it seems that way in that kickass trailer they put out featuring Charlize Theron as spy Lorraine Broughton.

What’s the difference between these films and the superhero films?  Perhaps the rating.  I’m sure Atomic Blonde will be rated R and there’s probably a good chance the Dahmer and Kingsman may follow suit.  Dahmer doesn’t necessarily need to be rated R.  There’s some scenes that could be considered a tad gruesome in the comic (Dahmer wasn’t the nicest to animals…or joggers) but I’m thinking language could be the thing to give Dahmer an R rating.  Either way I’m sure Marc Meyers feels that he doesn’t need to make silly jokes.  The actions of what Dahmer used to do back in high school can be funny and terrifying enough at the same time.

Are the dumb jokes there for the kids then?  I don’t know.  When I was a kid there wasn’t many superhero films but I cared more about Batman then I did about Batman making stupid jokes.  If there is a good plot, great direction, and an overall solid film I don’t worry about stupid lines to make me laugh.  If I want to laugh I can watch Super Troopers, Baseketball, Major Payne, Private Parts, Spaceballs, Blazing Saddles, Ted, Beerfest, My Cousin Vinny, and a plethora of other silly comedy films.  Does that mean superhero movies should be devoid of laughter?  No.  But if you are relying on them to then sell your movie then how truly far away are we from Batman and Robin?

How truly far away are we???

My god if Bloodshot ends up quipping I may seriously lose my shit.