Top 5 Fanboy Grievances: Superhero Movie Franchises

  • June 03, 2010
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PooF! They’re gone!

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Did you really think we’d make it through an article like this without discussing the “X-Men” films?

If there’s one thing the X-Men comic books are famous for (other than making Marvel piles of money to mishandle) it’s the HUGE cast of ever changing and evolving characters. Historically, the best way to take advantage of such an enormous amount of characters has been to divide the books, give the most popular heroes solo titles and create various mini-series. In the movies, things aren’t that “easy” and sometimes important characters can get inexplicably lost in the shuffle. Such was the case with Nightcrawler and Sabertooth. In the case of Nightcrawler (played brilliantly by Alan Cumming) the fact that he was completely absent from “X-Men 3: The Last Stand” was almost inexcusable. His opening scene is “X2” should have solidified his permanent team membership. We’d even go as far as to say he deserved his own film!

Because Sabertooth was embarrassingly disposed of in the first X-Men film, most fans seemed indifferent to his absence in the following two films. But in the case of Nightcrawler many a fan was left scratching their head. He was arguably one the most interesting and impressive characters in X2 and his continued story arc would likely have helped the lackluster followup. So what was the reason behind his mysterious and unexplained disappearance? Surprisingly the answer is here…

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And while we’re at it, why can we never make a decent video game based on movie?

According to 2006’s “X-Men: The Official Game”, Nightcrawler reveals to Xavier at the conclusion of the game that he “does not want to be an X-Man, for their lives are too violent and he is a peaceful man”. This sounds fairly acceptable and really may as well have been included in X3 in the form of a cameo appearance or something. Instead we were left hanging - much like Beast who ostensibly took Nightcrawler’s place as the resident blue monster on the team.


Hollywood vs. the director, the fans…and the world

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This may be surprising to some soulless Hollywood execs but sometimes changing directors can actually effect the direction and overall feel of a franchise. We obviously saw this big time in the Batman films with Joel Shumacher's "creative decisions" casting a bat-nippled shadow over Tim Burton’s earlier vision. An even more noteworthy example of this would be in the original “Superman” films.

Despite the success of the first movie, the original director Richard Donner (who did a splendid job bringing the character to life) did not return to finish the sequel. Instead the second film was completed by Richard Lester, who gave the film a more tongue-in-cheek tone and an overall camp vibe (just like the suits wanted!). Part 3 was even worse and 4 continued on in the same manner until, by the end, it felt like a different universe had spawned between films. The initial change of directors arguably buried the potentially lucrative franchise for years to come.

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“Why Hollywood? WHY!?”

So how did a blockbuster film that was nominated for three Academy Awards, and involved talent such as Christopher Reeve, Marlon Brando, Gene Hackman, John Williams and even Mario Puzo end up falling prey to Hollywood shenanigans? Reports indicate that despite most of Superman 2 already being in the can (it was filmed during Superman 1, furthering evidence of Richard Donner’s grand vision), tensions apparently rose between Donner and the producers (the Salkinds) and ultimately he was asked not to return. Richard Donner apparently committed the mortal sin of criticizing the producers during the movie's publicity phase.

Fortunately for fans of Richard Donner, his vision lives on (sort of). Enter: “Superman II: The Richard Donner Cut”. This particular version created in 2006 is a surprisingly decent re-edit of the original 1980 film. As much as half of the movie contains never-before seen footage shot by Donner, including some more screen time from the legendary Marlon Brando and new scenes featuring Christopher Reeve and Margot Kidder.

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We’re still waiting on Catwoman: The “We’re So Very Sorry” Cut

Written by Anthony Quaglia – Copyrighted © Image Sources
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  • - Same Character – Different Face!:
  • - Same Face – Different Character! :
  • - The Retcon:
  • - PooF! They’re gone! :
  • - Hollywood vs. the director, the fans…and the world: