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Sensei Ono, founder of Shinka Martial Arts, is a teacher and student of life. His passion for helping others and self improvement is the purpose behind this blog. -- "If your purpose in any way includes making the world a better place, I urge to you read, and share the knowledge."

Monday, May 21, 2018

Why Not-Thanos is okay and Not-Batman isn't

"But, but... Thanos isn't Thanos!  He's supposed to be in love with Death, not... not re-hashed, cosmic Ras Al Ghul!"

Alright.  I hear you.  I do.  I can see why this might sting a little DC.  I mean, why can't you re-make Batman into a laughing, joking, gun toting murderer while Marvel can rake in the dough by re-making Thanos into a tree hugger? 


1) Consistency
This is really... really important, so I want you to lean in.

When people read comic books... they are willing to suspend disbelief.  They are willing to accept that Bruce's choice to put on a pointy hat and cape rather than simply fund better prisons, rehabilitation programs and outfit the police with better tech because that would make for a pretty shitty comic.

What they are NOT willing to do, is put up with inconsistency of character.

Because they are elegant, they take skill.  They are not guns.  Guns ricochet and kill innocents, guns make it easy and... y'know GUNS KILLED HIS PARENTS AND HE HATES THEM.

So, making him use guns is... stupid.


IF you're going to re-write Batman as a well funded Punisher with a bat fetish THEN DON'T HAVE HIM SAVING CRIMINALS!!  PICK A THING! 


See, here's the point of this:  If Thanos had been giving Death a hug in his first appearance, then everyone would be much more upset about his actions in Infinity War.  Because then it WOULDN'T make sense.  It would be...

C'mon DC... 

Starts with an I...


Hey, y'know what?  I was going for inconsistent, but yeah, I'll take it. 

In fact, let's talk a little more about congruence.

2) The hero vs villain rewrite okayability

It's actually more okay to (sorta) re-write a villain.  See, people go in with a LOOOOT of emotional investment in the hero.  Jack Bauer is a bad ass, Batman doesn't kill, Mr. Fantastic is smart.

But villains?  Villains it's more okay to give a unique backstory to make them fit the plot of your movie.  I mean, look at the brilliant work of Mr. Freeze in Batman: The animated series.  Hard to argue against that rewrite.

Or hey, look at the version of Penguin in the Arkham City video game.  Great job.

Or even Kite Man in that one comic.

See, people go in wanting to BE the hero in the movie.  They are (supposed to be) the protagonist, the character we all dive our minds into and experience for a few hours.  We see their trials and tribulations and we want them to succeed. 

That means they have to act congruent with the belief structure previously established and emotionally bought into by the viewer.

If Batman starts offing people, the audience is taken out of the experience by the cognitive dissonance.  "Wait, why would I use an AK-47?  I'm Batman!  What's with the joking?  Shouldn't I have just grunted, or ignored her altogether, being too busy with my preparation which ultimately saves the day in some implausible foresight-related genius moment?"

"AH HAH!  But Ant Man is supposed to be smart!"

Yup.  You're right.  That was shit.

"Wait... what?  It was?  I mean... YEAH!  SHIT!  And... and he's supposed to be a jerk!  A wife-beating jerk!"


I mean, yeah. 

So two things on that.  One, if you see the whole "audience member wanting to be the protagonist" point above...  I think you can agree that going a different route with that character kinda makes sense. 

I mean, you can understand it, right?  Nobody should be buying Hank Pym with wife-backslap action button action figures...  so I hope you can see why they did it. 

But, you're right. 

To make him some Ryan Reynolds knock off was a bad choice.

They still could have made him a troubled, insecure asshole and simply not given him his own movie.  They could have "gone to him for help" or something, instead of... the dogshit that was Ant Man.

So nobody's perfect.

And that's the point, DC.  You can still turn this shit show around.  Not now.  No.  Not now.  You've hurt the fans too much.  You have to wait six years and do a reboot.  BUT when you DO...

Here's how to win:

Read a comic book.  Hell, read a few of them.  Talk to nerds.  Run your stupid... stupid scripts by them and get their feedback.  If they say anything resembling "why the fuck is XYZ acting like this?" or "Jesus christ, have you READ the source material!?" or anything like that... listen to them.

IF they say "actually, in episode 6 of the original golden age comic it was confirmed that, though he is often right handed, he catches the ball with his left hand so, in this sequence where he catches the ball with his right hand..."


Just... hit the main bits, okay?

Superman is nice.
Batman is stern.

Just... start with that.  Okay?

Now stop crying.