I suspect that the Avengers exists as a comic book series because, despite their dominant position in that arena and broad portfolio of characters, only one, Spider-Man, really counts as an A-List superhero to the world beyond the fringes of comic book fandom. The rest of the major league franchises, Batman and Superman, belong to DC Comics.
Recent movies have changed that pecking order, but let’s face it: No one really gave a rat’s ass about Iron Man until Robert Downey, Jr. strapped on the suit and when most people hear “Incredible Hulk,” they think Bill Bixby and Lou Ferrigno before they think of Eric Bana, Edward Norton, or Mark Ruffalo.
Good thing no one told writer/director Joss Whedon. Continue reading
In some long-running TV series, especially science-fiction (and doubly so for the multiple incarnations of Star Trek), there is a phenomenon to explain the inevitable lapses in continuity, which is called “retroactive continuity” or “retcon.” This is either canonical (invented by the writers in later episodes) or non-canonical (invented by the fans), and usually they fall down on some logical level.
One of the more famous fan-based retcons tries to explain why James Bond has been played by multiple actors and appears to have aged forwards and backwards since 1962. According to this theory, “James Bond” is just a cover identity, which multiple double-oh agents have assumed over the years. The films On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, Diamonds Are Forever, The Spy Who Loved Me, and For Your Eyes Only render this nonsensical, and the Daniel Craig movies have rendered the whole thing moot.
You may ask, “What the hell has all this got to do with a Jason Bourne movie?” Continue reading
Let me be up front and say that Ben Affleck isn’t my favorite actor, especially when he’s not working for Kevin Smith. Somehow, he often seems out of his depth when he tries to stretch himself too far beyond that Good Will Hunting earnestness. Only two features into his directorial career, however, I’m quickly becoming a fan of his work behind the camera. We’ll see how he does when he moves outside the comfort zone of the Boston crime story, but maybe he shouldn’t bother. John Ford stuck mostly to westerns, and he did all right.
The opening credits for North Country claim that the movie is “inspired on a true story.” That puts in near the lower end of the Hollywood food chain for “true” stories. At the top would be the actual true stories, which are understandably rare. Even the “truest” films tend to employ some level of creative license, compositing characters and compressing events to make the story more “cinematic.” The next level down would be “based on a true story,” which roughly translates to, “We made up some shit to tailor the story to the A-List actor that we busted our ass to sign.”