With all my travelling, I haven’t updated y’all with my superhero movie rewatches. Sorry about that. The last three weeks, I’ve covered three Marvel properties that are a) not part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe directly and b) terrible. We’ve got the 2015 Fantastic Four, which takes far too much from the awful Ultimate Fantastic Four comic, 2017’s Marvel’s Inhumans, the first two episodes of the horrendous TV miniseries released theatrically due to a partnership with IMAX to make it, and 2018’s Venom, a Spider-Man-adjacent movie that wasn’t allowed to reference Spider-Man.
It’s funny, one of the reasons for the wholesale changes to the FF’s origin is because a lot of the origin from 1961 is dumber than a box of hammers. Richards and Grimm taking the space flight made sense, but Susan’s insistence on going along just because she’s dating Richards is specious at best, and Johnny’s reasoning is literally, “And I’m taggin’ along with sis—so it’s settled.” And yet, while they gave Johnny and Susan actual reasons to be part of the science project that gives them powers, they fail to manage it with Grimm, as turning it into a capsule that travels dimensions removes the need for a pilot.
Instead, Grimm comes along because Richards wants him there, which is no better than “And I’m taggin’ along with sis—so it’s settled.”
One of the reasons why S.H.I.E.L.D., Daredevil, Luke Cage, Jessica Jones, Iron Fist, the Punisher, and Peggy Carter all worked on television is because they’re all smaller scale. Most of the agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (past and present) are normal folks with cool toys, and the occasional super-powered foe. The folks done on Netflix are all street-level and don’t require much by way of fancy-shmancy F/X.
The Inhumans, though, are a whole ‘nother kettle of beeswax, he says, mixing his metaphors. All the Inhumans have significant powers, and they also include a big dog and an exotic hidden city.
Doing all this on a TV budget is just asking for trouble, and Inhumans doesn’t just ask, but begs for it.
I actually liked this movie less than I did a year ago when I first saw it in that theatre. Billing itself as a different kind of superhero movie, Venom is, in fact, exactly the same kind of superhero movie that we’ve seen a billion times before. The formula for an origin story is painstakingly followed: flawed person has difficulties, gets superpowers, adjusts to the powers, realizes they need to become a hero, fights bad guy in action-packed climax, lather, rinse, repeat. We’ve seen it before in Iron Man, Spider-Man (both the 1977 and 2002 versions), Doctor Strange (both the 1978 and 2016 versions), The Amazing Spider-Man, Swamp Thing, The Rocketeer, Steel, Spawn, the 1987 The Spirit, Hulk, Witchblade, Catwoman, Batman Begins, Green Lantern, Ant-Man, Captain Marvel, and Shazam! with team-up versions in Generation X, Guardians of the Galaxy, and Suicide Squad. Not to mention variations on it in two Wonder Woman movies and Thor.