Mark Millar knows a thing or two about comic book characters. The man behind the books that inspired Kick-Ass and Kingsman: The Secret Service is known for telling stories that take violence to near artistic levels. However, the man also feels that the darkness needs balance. This is why he has issues with Man of Steel. It seems that the penchant for darkness in our comic book movies may have gone a little too far.
While prefacing his statements, in a piece he’s written for Gamesradar, by saying that he is a fan of everybody involved in the Superman movie, and also saying that he believed the scene where Superman takes down Zod made sense within the context of the movie, he believes the film’s ending goes against the moral that superhero comics always strived for. Superman is a character literally capable of anything, yet he chooses to be nice. Millar feels that this central aspect of the character was lost in the movie and seeing Superman choose the violent path was wrong. He says:
This was Superman. This was like seeing Sylvester the Cat finally getting his hands on Speedy Gonzales. Elmer Fudd blowing away Bugs Bunny. I loved Superman as a kid not because of his edginess or his potential for a fatal solution, but because he could do anything he wanted and still chose to be nice.
Millar is the first to admit that darkness in our comic book movies is nothing new. He points out that the opening of the first X-Men movie, the film that began to legitimize comics as source material for films, takes place at a WWII concentration camp. The darker version of Spider-Man and even Ang Lee’s Hulk were direct attempts to avoid the campiness that had dominated the superhero formula previously. While he believes these movies were important in having comic books taken seriously, he feels that with the darker version of Superman we may have gone too far in one direction.
The ending of Man of Steel has become one of the more controversial scenes in recent film history. Two years later, people are still talking about it. While many fans see it simply as an introduction of a new type of character, not tied to his previous decades of baggage, others saw it as the film turning its back on the aspects that made the character who he was. What is clear is that the cinematic universe being created by DC is certainly a much darker place, at least at the beginning, then its counterpart at Marvel. Mark Millar points to the success of Guardians of the Galaxy, a group of characters unknown to the average moviegoer, as proof that sometimes people just want to have a good time and smile.
What’s more important in your superhero movies? Are you looking for a good time, or do you prefer the darker characters to avoid the camp factor?