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-   -   The "realism" thread (http://forums.superherohype.com/showthread.php?t=344173)

Chris Wallace 11-17-2010 06:11 PM

The "realism" thread
 
Here we're going to discuss the concept of realism in comic book movies. It's a topic which I personally feel is being pushed too far, between the subdued fantasy aspects in movies such as Captain America (going for a more "military" looking costume rather than his traditional duds) and The Dark Knight, and the popularity of Kick-Ass. It's little wonder so many fans are falling under this spell and saying they want things like a more home-made looking costume for Spider-Man or a more durable one for Superman. We seem to be forgetting that comic books are fantasy. Superheroes are not a part of the real world. Certain realistic aspects are fine, but while nobody wants to see another absurd nonsense-fest like Batman & Robin, we shouldn't let the pendulum get pushed too far the other way, lest we end up losing the things we love about these characters and stories in the first place.
Discuss.

A Necessary Evil 11-17-2010 06:35 PM

Re: The "realism" thread
 
Imo, I say If you want realism, go watch kick-ass. Even then some things were unrealistic.

I SEE SPIDEY 11-17-2010 06:56 PM

Re: The "realism" thread
 
If "realism" works in a particular Superhero franchise fine but I do think that it's ridiculous that, I'd say atleast, 50% of people on hype want every movie to be "realistic." I only want every Superhero movie to be good. Alot of bad Superhero movies that I've seen weren't bad because they weren't realistic they were bad because the acting, story, plotting, writing and acting were bad.

Every film should be grounded but that doesn't mean that every Superhero should be wearing a black leather or rubber costume and have distain for their Superhero roots.

And before someone says it, I will admit that most comicbook movies haven't been ultra serious and I don't think that the bad ones would have been great if they were.

kedrell 11-17-2010 07:15 PM

Re: The "realism" thread
 
Realism is sort of a hot-button word around here. When most people on here say realism I think what they actually mean is plausibility. There is also a difference between physical plausibility and character actions/motivations/emotions that are plausible. But at the end of the day it's all a balancing act like on one of those old fashioned scales

http://i51.tinypic.com/b865nt.jpg

On one side you have the fantastic stuff which must be present in some form to even qualify as a superhero film; on the other is the mundane stuff that keeps it all grounded. I'm of the belief that you can have as much fantastic stuff as you want provided that your mundane aspects are of at least equal weight in terms of story/characters/mythos/etc. It's a film maker's job to figure out how to keep it all balanced.

WarBlade 11-17-2010 07:23 PM

Re: The "realism" thread
 
If a director takes a real world actor, places him in a real world environment, and shapes an adapted work out of that fusion, it's going to be bound by certain concessions towards realism. If it doesn't then a mash up of ill-fitting pieces start to unhinge the whole look. If you only want to lift content from a comicbook verbatim, then make a cartoon.

Chris Wallace 11-18-2010 08:31 AM

Re: The "realism" thread
 
I'm in agreement with the first three posters. @ Warblade, did you read my first post? I'm not suggesting they lift everything from the comic verbatim, but there is such a thing as going too far and you risk abandoning what made the comic great in the first place by doing so.

El Payaso 11-18-2010 10:13 AM

Re: The "realism" thread
 
I think it's good just to give a plausible feeling.

Batman might be a fantasy concept but if you give him an armoured suit like Burton did in 1989 then you can take the character more seriously. And Batman 89 wasn't a realistic film.

Now giving Spiderman a home-made looking suit is terrible. It's also important to keep things looking good. Thing is to give it a good reason/explanation, which doesn't have to take 40 minutes of screentime, or 20, or even 10.

Chris Wallace 11-18-2010 11:54 AM

Re: The "realism" thread
 
I dispute that to an extent. Batman's costume has to look armored because Burton said so. Truth be told, it never once occured to me that the suit was made that way for protective purposes until he got shot. Truth is, they could have used some other material and created the illusion of protection if they wanted to.
My biggest problem with the realism/plausibility argument is that people seem to only want to apply it to superhero movies. You can do completely unbelievable things in any other genre and nobody seems to care but once you have a comic book as your source material, suddenly everything needs to be justified. When has a comic book movie ever succeeded or failed on the basis of whether or not it was realistic? When have you ever walked away from a comic book movie debating about whether or not those situations could happen in real life? Why does everything we get have to be watered down or altered to cater to a demand that doesn't exist?

kedrell 11-18-2010 12:03 PM

Re: The "realism" thread
 
I think it's because superheroes tend to be Urban Fantasy as opposed to stuff like LOTR which is completely otherworldly.

LOBO3315a 11-18-2010 12:42 PM

Re: The "realism" thread
 
I also think Batman's armored suit in the Tim Burton movie is a bit of a nod towards Frank Miller's depiction in The Dark Knight Returns. He gets shot in that story trying to stop Harvey Dent from blowing up Gotham Towers, and the caption says "Of course I wear armor under the symbol. I can't very well armor my head." Maybe it was Burton's way of saying, "Oh yes, you can!"

Superheros in movies are generally on Earth. It's best if they obey the physics/society/reality of the neighborhood. Take the matter of Superman flying against the rotation of the Earth, breaking the time barrier, and saving Lois in the first movie. A lot of people thought he turned the Earth's rotation backwards. It went against the laws of physics as we know it. Hence it wasn't 'realistic' and confused a lot of people.

It would have been more realistic if he had used his super-speed to actually save Lois, once he realized she was in trouble. They could have done that by doing it from Superman's point of view of everything around him slowing to a crawl, then a near standstill, while his movements sped up. It would have seemed 'realistic', and was very possible given the special effects of the time. They even did a similar trick on Star Trek TOS episode called Wink of an Eye, and it was done very well.

Does this make it a bad movie? No, but it's not very 'realistic' and confused people. I think that's what people mean when they say that term. Don't confuse us with super hero movies. Make it so we can understand, but don't treat us like idiots.

kedrell 11-18-2010 01:15 PM

Re: The "realism" thread
 
I'd say it ended up being a rather bad or flawed part of an otherwise good movie. But still, that's the kind of thing we want to avoid if at all possible, right? Now some things are so indellable to the character(s) that they can't be dismissed even though they make no sense(Superman's disguise, for example).

LOBO3315a 11-18-2010 01:26 PM

Re: The "realism" thread
 
I've always thought that had to do with the characterization, as well as the glasses. Clark Kent is mild-mannered, a bit of a coward; Superman is a powerful, superhero.

Also people can look different when they wear certain clothes. When Superman shows up, he wears a blue outfit, with a red "S" and a red cape. When Clark shows up, he wears a suit, tie, and glasses and blends right in.

Maybe that's the point. No one looks at Clark as being Superman because his features are so ordinary, they see the clothing and say "That's Superman." or "That's Clark." depending on what he's wearing.

Chris Wallace 11-18-2010 02:07 PM

Re: The "realism" thread
 
Portrayal plays a big part, too. Reeve made Kent somebody you just don't look in the eye, and made Superman this mythic, larger than life being. No other actor has pulled this off as well as he has, IMO.

As for the otherworldly fantasy angle, that may fly when you look at movies like Avatar or Star Wars, but there's plenty of off-the-wall, non comic-related fantasies that take place right here on Earth. Terminator, Predator, any number of horror movies. None of them scientifically plausible or even defensible, but if you're enjoying the movie who cares? Did anybody care that NONE of the people Darkman impersonated were anywhere near his height and build? And exactly how do you synthesize organic flesh to allow your killer automatons to pass through the time field? How did the Predators make their infrared visors if they can only see ininfrared light? Who cares? Again, it's about balance. Too much compromise on either side can make for an absolutely terrible movie.
What's funny to me is, fans are on one hand demanding more realism and at the same time demanding movies that are "truer" interpretations of the comic. You really can't have it both ways.

Tacit Ronin 11-18-2010 07:52 PM

Re: The "realism" thread
 
Well, Marvel is supposedly more popular than DC because its more "realistic". The Ultimate line was pretty popular during its Inception. And that was even more "realistic" than 616 Marvel.

some guy 11-19-2010 03:06 AM

Re: The "realism" thread
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by LOBO3315a (Post 19244347)
I've always thought that had to do with the characterization, as well as the glasses. Clark Kent is mild-mannered, a bit of a coward; Superman is a powerful, superhero.

Also people can look different when they wear certain clothes. When Superman shows up, he wears a blue outfit, with a red "S" and a red cape. When Clark shows up, he wears a suit, tie, and glasses and blends right in.

Maybe that's the point. No one looks at Clark as being Superman because his features are so ordinary, they see the clothing and say "That's Superman." or "That's Clark." depending on what he's wearing.

I always thought of it as hiding in plain sight. As for the resemblance between Clark and Superman, some people just happen to look like other people. I mean, if you had a friend who kind of resembles a famous celebrity, would you automatically think they were the same person?

Chris Wallace 11-19-2010 08:05 AM

Re: The "realism" thread
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Nuffsaid (Post 19246545)
Well, Marvel is supposedly more popular than DC because its more "realistic". The Ultimate line was pretty popular during its Inception. And that was even more "realistic" than 616 Marvel.

I felt the "Ultimate" line actually took that too far. Driven largely, IMO, by Hollywood's interpretation of superheroes, it abandoned much of what made the original comics great. And while I'm a lifelong Marvel fan, their characters are every bit as farfetched as DC's. The only aspect about them that is truly realistic is their relatability; what they do OUT of costume. Tony Stark being a drinking, womanizing douche is real world stuff. Flying around battling evil as Iron Man is not. Peter Parker's money woes, girl issues and personal struggles are real world stuff. Swinging on webs and sticking to walls is not. The FF butting heads like most families, the X-Men being distrusted and ostracized because they were simply born different-these are the things that make Marvel characters "real". That and the fact that they live in actual real world cities, as opposed to made-up places like Gotham and Metropolis. You identify with them moreso than with an alien who grew up on a farm and never so much as scraped his knee, or a multi-billionaire who was raised by his butler. But nevertheless, once you allow for the suspension of disbelief that enables you to accept a kid getting bitten by a spider and taking on its abilities, or adamantium claws or cosmic power rings, why chicken out when it comes to things like costumes?

Chris Wallace 11-19-2010 08:17 AM

Re: The "realism" thread
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by some guy (Post 19248531)
I always thought of it as hiding in plain sight. As for the resemblance between Clark and Superman, some people just happen to look like other people. I mean, if you had a friend who kind of resembles a famous celebrity, would you automatically think they were the same person?

There's only one flaw in that argument; Clark and Superman travel in too many of the same circles. I once knew a girl who bore a striking resemblance to Jill Scott. I had a friend who looked a lot like the pre-surgery Michael Jackson. I worked with someone who was a dead ringer for Tisha Campbell. And all of these people I met in Chicago, going to school and/or working regular jobs. Not in Hollywood or any place like that. If I worked with someone at Wal-Mart or Citibank who looked like Beyonce, and I knew for a fact that Beyonce was on tour at the time, it's obvious she's not Beyonce. But if every time she was out of my sight Beyonce popped up somewhere in Kansas City, I might think differently. Clark Kent works at the Daily Planet, which Superman frequents. Clark lives in Metropolis, which is Superman's primary location. It's a known fact that Superman can travel at superhuman speeds, so a really clever person could deduce that if Clark were in fact Superman, he'd be able to duck out of sight, change into his tights, go save the bus full of kids or stop the bank robbery and be back before anyone realized it. There's a lot of convenient coincidences that get ignored. When Superman died, Clark disappeared. They both changed their hair at the same time. They have never, EVER been in the same room. And additionally, if I took a photo of any of my friends who looked like celebrities, and compared it to one of the actual celeb, differences would pop up. With Clark and Superman, not so much. Superman has to make a real effort to make Clark and the Man Of Steel come across as two different people.

LOBO3315a 11-19-2010 10:31 AM

Re: The "realism" thread
 
Well, there were the robots Kal-El built to resembled Superman. I know Clark and the robots have appeared at the same time. That might be enough to dispell the thought. But the other coincidences, you are right on. A pair of glasses is a lot to hide behind when the coincidences start piling up.

Those glasses should have had a holo-projector built into them by his Kryptonian parents, so that it throughly changed his appearance to resemble a blonde, skinny, 5'2 guy. That way, the resemblance isn't an issue.

Chris Wallace 11-19-2010 11:33 AM

Re: The "realism" thread
 
So you're willing to piss all over realism altogether, huh?

some guy 11-19-2010 11:34 AM

Re: The "realism" thread
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by LOBO3315a (Post 19249223)
Well, there were the robots Kal-El built to resembled Superman. I know Clark and the robots have appeared at the same time. That might be enough to dispell the thought. But the other coincidences, you are right on. A pair of glasses is a lot to hide behind when the coincidences start piling up.

Those glasses should have had a holo-projector built into them by his Kryptonian parents, so that it throughly changed his appearance to resemble a blonde, skinny, 5'2 guy. That way, the resemblance isn't an issue.

I think I read somewhere that pre-Crisis Clark did have something in his glasses that made him appear different to other people.

LOBO3315a 11-19-2010 12:04 PM

Re: The "realism" thread
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Chris Wallace (Post 19249455)
So you're willing to piss all over realism altogether, huh?

Not really. Kryptonian tech was far more advanced that Earth's obviously. Could have been a nudge from his biological parents in the right direction, too. A gift that would allow him to walk among mortals, while possessing the powers of a god at the same time.

Tacit Ronin 11-19-2010 03:16 PM

Re: The "realism" thread
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Chris Wallace (Post 19248838)
I felt the "Ultimate" line actually took that too far. Driven largely, IMO, by Hollywood's interpretation of superheroes, it abandoned much of what made the original comics great. And while I'm a lifelong Marvel fan, their characters are every bit as farfetched as DC's. The only aspect about them that is truly realistic is their relatability; what they do OUT of costume. Tony Stark being a drinking, womanizing douche is real world stuff. Flying around battling evil as Iron Man is not. Peter Parker's money woes, girl issues and personal struggles are real world stuff. Swinging on webs and sticking to walls is not. The FF butting heads like most families, the X-Men being distrusted and ostracized because they were simply born different-these are the things that make Marvel characters "real". That and the fact that they live in actual real world cities, as opposed to made-up places like Gotham and Metropolis. You identify with them moreso than with an alien who grew up on a farm and never so much as scraped his knee, or a multi-billionaire who was raised by his butler. But nevertheless, once you allow for the suspension of disbelief that enables you to accept a kid getting bitten by a spider and taking on its abilities, or adamantium claws or cosmic power rings, why chicken out when it comes to things like costumes?


Well, we are arguing semantics first of all. Realism can mean a lot of different things. To some people, including me, realism relates more to character. The logic and physics of their Superheroics are secondary. Because even the Dark Knight has Batman doing things that are impossible. So if your definition of realism includes physics defying feats, the by all means, the Dark Knight should fall into that category. I personally and many others would call the Dark Knight realistic because it displays with great ingenuity the sociological impact a character like Batman would have on his world, along with the way its shot and its art direction. But it is also fantastical at the same time because an American city called Gotham doesn't exist, there are no such things as Microwave Emitters, the Bat Sonar has huge gaps in functioning logic, there are no Ninja's that dress up like they are still in the fifteenth century etc.

Chris Wallace 11-19-2010 04:27 PM

Re: The "realism" thread
 
True. Additionally, there's no such thing as fear gas and a man wouldn't likely be able to survive walking around with half the flesh burnt off his head. So I find myself wondering again, why chicken out and give him a robotic looking costume to provide the illusion of protection? Why give us characterizations so far removed from the comics?

Tacit Ronin 11-19-2010 05:17 PM

Re: The "realism" thread
 
Quote:

Why give us characterizations so far removed from the comics?
What bearing does the texture and fabric of Batman's (assuming) costume have on his characterization?

Chris Wallace 11-19-2010 05:18 PM

Re: The "realism" thread
 
None. It's two different references.


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