Monday, December 3, 2012

Why I’m Not Excited About Darkseid the Movie Star

I’ve been vocal amongst my friends for years that someone at Warners was asleep at the wheel for not having Darkseid show up in a DC movie yet. Darkseid is one of those perfect comic book villains both every way from design to behavior to motives. He’s an evil cosmic god of evil, Hitler in space even, dedicated to finding the awesomely named “anti-life equation”. He’s pure, unadulterated Jack Kirby genius and madness, The King’s greatest gift to DC comics. With news that he may well make his movie debut, I should be excited! Ecstatic! Elated! But I'm not.

Because I now realize DC will only fuck him up. Because that’s what DC does. And that’s what Warner Bros. does with anything not Batman (and even the track record there is spotty at best).

Now, does this mean that a crappy comic design will translate into a crappy movie? Not at all, as there are a couple of examples of so-so characters that made good cinematic leads (lookin’ at you, Blade). But poor Darkseid has a couple strikes against him.

First, The New 52 seems to have been dictated, in part at least, by Warners. There’s a sense that someone high up the executive ladder mandated what turned into the half-assed reboot we got. Just check out Darkseid in The New 52.... 

Gone are all things Kirby, replaced instead by a Jim Lee design that can only be described as an idea too bad to even make it into the worst Image book of the 90’s. Seriously? The cosmic god of evil wears football pads now? Unfortunately, DC has gone this route with the bulk of their characters.

Second, the Justice League movie is a clear rush job. Marvel planned their movies over years. Meticulously. By the time we got The Avengers, we knew most of the key players and how they operated in the movie world. By all accounts, the Justice League movie will be where everyone is introduced (with Superman being the exception). That means the bulk of the movie will have to be origin or a lot of exposition. I don’t want to see Exposition: The Movie.

Third, no matter which character came first, Marvel beat DC to the punch. Good luck explaining to audiences that your stony, gargantuan cosmic god came first. The moment Thanos turned to look at the camera at the end of The Avengers, that was it. Darkseid could be seen as nothing to the general viewing public other than a competitors knock-off. And with both Avengers 2 and Justice League slated for 2015?  What's the point? Sure, comic fans know who came first, but we are the EXTREME minority here. 

So unless Warner Bros. all of a sudden shows it can make a decent super hero featuring a character not named Batman, how can I be excited to see how the studio screws up another icon?

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