Thursday, July 01, 2004

Theatre Thursday

Week 7 - Superheroes

Ok, this is the week a lot of you have been waiting on. Spiderman 2 opens, and the web-slinger (who in reality would have no shot at Kirsten Dunst) swings back into action against the evil Doc Ock. This week, our questions are about those quintessentially misunderstood, ill-treated, feared and respected champions of truth, justice and the Spandex Way: the Superheroes.

1) All right, have it out. What is the all-time greatest superhero movie?

Hands down, it's the original 1978 Superman with Christopher Reeve. Epic, sweeping, it's the quintessential story of an American legend. The film does have some flaws: Smallville drags in spots, it's becoming dated, and Lex & Company start to pale in comparison to some of Batman's villains but Reeve brings a persona to the character like none others.

2) What superhero movie has not been made that you'd like to see? Which existing one would you have redone from scratch?

My favorite superhero has always been The Flash (Barry Allen). Partly because we share the same first name, but for other reasons too. There was a TV Series about The Flash several years ago, but never a movie version. As for redoing an existing movie, I think most people would have redone Batman and Robin, but I would've redone Batman Forever and really beefed up the character of Two-Face (a great, great villain who was given short shrift to make room for Jim Carrey's Riddler). I wouldn't touch the Bruce Wayne parts of that movie, though, which I thought were the best of all the Batman films.

3) What qualities would be necessary to elevate a superhero movie from a simple action film to a memorable motion picture? Is it possible?

I think it's just heart - giving the hero a center and realistic dimensions. Give him a reason for doing what he does, and show how he, as a human (assumedly) deals with his fantastic powers. There are so many people in the world who suddenly develop power of their own (through money, fame, influence, politics) and don't know what to do with it. A superhero film should show that conflict, and the best ones do.

BONUS) Most superhero movies take place in a more-or-less realistic modern world. If a superhero actually appeared in your city today and started fighting crime, what would be the actual public reaction?

I think amusement would be the first reaction, then fear. Since superpowers are completely unknown, it would be a world-changing event for someone to suddenly show they can fly or morph their body or spin webs or whatever. If it's a non-super superhero (i.e. a vigilante like Batman) it would be different as the public might perceive him to be the answer to their prayers

And remember, EXCELSIOR!

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