So the Avengers movie happened and made a packet. And sure as night follows a once-glittering career, mildly tedious internet rumour has it that the ‘they’ who says stuff and controls world affairs is talking to Ben Affleck about directing a Justice League film. Said Justice League film has, sadly, apparently been green-lit. Or Green-Lanterned if you prefer.
The ‘they’ referred to above is clearly a collective noun. Suck it up.
Is another shouty, pouty spandex-clad ensemble piece strictly necessary? Does anyone actually want another outing for the Green Lantern, let alone see a character with wings named ‘Hawkman’ (see what they did there?) on the silver screen?
Frankly, who cares what you tell other people you want to see? Not Hollywood – ‘they’ just check the box-office receipts.
But Hollywood has a problem that it doesn’t like to talk about. Not that kind of problem. Essentially, computer technology has advanced to such a state that more or less anything that can be imagined can be realised in photorealistic perfection, or at least that’s the public perception. Familiarity, so the saying goes, breeds contempt – we’ve seen it all before. In some cases, like the blowing up of famous, largely American, landmarks we’ve seen ‘it’ perhaps too many times.
Computer technology has also given rise to another, heavily publicised problem: Hollywood has to medicate itself against the disease of internet-borne piracy, with pirated clips available more easily and in better quality than ever before. You could say that there’s a torrent of filesharing, five finger-discounted downloadable content. Sadly that’s not even in the top fifty of the weakest puns what I’ve done.
Finally, as technology establishes itself it tends to become more affordable for the masses, which will eventually threaten Hollywood hegemony via uppity start-up production companies.
So, the reasoning goes, in order to keep packin’ ‘em into the cinema each new spectacle must be more spectacular than the last – and if we’re no longer to be Amazed by Spiderman then what about Spiderman and a pile of other Marvel superdudes? Not Spiderman, obviously, because Sony owns the Spiderman movie rights. And spectacle costs the sort of dosh that uppity wannabees don’t have, which restricts the market.
At this point one might reasonably ask the powers-that-be why they don’t try and do something for the mainstream that doesn’t involve a superhero or other easily franchise-able property. One would be silly to ask – franchises have established audiences that can be relied upon to shell out for 3D-format tickets and merchandise, innit. And you can’t say that for Terrence Malick’s latest.
In all likelihood we’ll have some species of hologramatic madness thrust upon us in a few short years, but until then Hollywood needs to woo the masses and keep the money moving around, and they can’t rely on Marvel alone.
Luckily, the way ahead has been shown us by Dead Presidents Killing Supernatural Bods, or whatever the series will eventually be packaged in a deluxe Blu-Ray Boxset as (heard it here first – Abe Lincoln was just the first assuming it overcomes the marketing costs).
If Avengers represents the apogee of the comic book franchise, the intellectual property mash-up is its logical evolution. Given that we’re not going to get away from the flood of superhero films any time soon, here’s what I’d like to see:
Batman vs Bain: We embrace Rush Limbaugh’s paranoid ramblings about The Dark Knight Rises and make the Shit Romney-baiting Batman film that Limbaugh saw at the cinema. Bain, a Wall Street Supervillain, breaks Batman by engineering a corporate vulture-style hostile takeover of Wayne Enterprises and then starts cutting staff numbers and benefits packages before targeting the unions and selling off assets. Batman has to fight back by changing his company’s constitution to reclassify shares into A and B categories before forcing through an IPO on the New York Stock Exchange. Batman must gain control of the B shares, which have ten times the voting rights of the A shares, in order to protect his company’s core business from Bain’s diabolical asset-stripping plan.
Captain Team America: Exactly the same film as the Captain America one, but made using marionettes and Alec Baldwin instead of Tommy Lee-Jones.
Just For X-Men: Even with his mutant recuperative powers, at his age, Wolverine needs a little help looking fresh. The film follows his attempts to buy exactly the right shade of chestnut brown hair dye, only to find that his local Boots has run out of stock. Trading hours are nearly over – will Wolverine be able to hide his roots or will he have to wait until 9:30am tomorrow morning, or 10:00am on Sundays?
The Totes Amazeballs Spiderman: A mash-up of Made in Chelsea and Amazing Spiderman. Peter Hillington-Parker is a super-powered, monied cretin with a no mark job given to him by Daddy which gives him an obscene annual income in return for doing nothing much. The tagline is “With Great Wealth Comes No Responsibility”. Our hero is targeted by Supervillain Saskia and other under-sized and over made-up Sloanes with predatory eyes, expensive taste and zero work ethic. Hillington-Parker’s costume hangs in his wardrobe: the only moment in which he considers putting it on is when he is forced, heroically, to decide whether to wear it for the Kings Road pub crawl. Luckily his class-bequeathed better judgement kicks in and he goes dressed as a Nazi instead.
Irn-Bru Man: Heroin-addicted Anthony McStark likes nothing more than getting smacked up. But when he’s kidnapped by a politically incorrect racial stereotype named Mandarin, he’s forced to rely on large quantities of Irn Bru in order to survive the hellish reality of coming off ‘the other’ treacly brown elixir while living with Robert Carlyle as a scene-stealing supporting actor. Directed by Danny Boyle.
Green Lantern: Ryan Reynolds is a fighter pilot given a power ring by a dying alien policeman and…no, it’s too ludicrous; they’ll never make that one.