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Nathan's column: There’s no shortage of heroes

There is a movie coming out later this summer that prominently features some sort of tree creature and a talking space-raccoon. It’s called Guardians of the Galaxy, and it’s based on a comic book I’ve never read. One I’d never heard of until people started about making it into a movie.

I’m really excited to see it, and I can’t quite decide if that’s a good thing.

Movies based on comic books used to be divided into two pretty distinct camps. There were movies about Batman and Superman, and then there was everything else.

The original Superman movies, the ones with Christopher Reeve, weren’t all great, but they were memorable. Batman movies ran the gamut from campy Adam West to dark Tim Burton to, “Hey, they put nipples on the bat suit.”

If “They put nipples on the bat suit” is the only thing people remember about your movie, chances are it wasn’t very good.

Still, it was better than most other movies they used to make about comic book heroes. Most looked like they might have been financed with whatever change the crew could dig out from their sofa cushions. Or maybe what was left after they bought some beef jerkey.

That has changed in the past couple of decades. I’m not sure exactly when. Maybe it was Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy. Maybe it was the first Spider-Man trilogy, the one before the studio decided maybe everyone had forgotten Peter Parker’s origin story so they’d better tell it again.

Now, they’re making movies out of pretty much anything that’s been in a comic book. Got a minor character nobody’s heard of? That’s OK. Talking space raccoon? Sounds like a blockbuster.

They can’t just be comic book movies, either. Now they’re whole comic book universes. It’s why all of the movies with Marvel’s Avengers characters are tied together. It’s why we’re going to get a movie soon that finds a reason to have Batman and Superman and Wonder Woman and Aqua Man and probably Archie Andrews and Richie Rich all in one place.

I think they’re all responding to the same Craigslist ad.

Even movies that weren’t made that long ago are getting rebooted, a computer term that in this context means, “Maybe if we start over, people will forget about the last time we made this movie and give us more money.”

Superman has been rebooted twice since the Christpher Reeve days. The first attempt didn’t do very well, possibly because it turned the Man of Steel into a deadbeat dad and kind of an ultra-powerful stalker.

I grew up reading comic books. I still have two big boxes of them in my closet. I bought a stack of them as recently as this year. I feel like I should be excited about this, and I kind of am. The most recent Batman movies were great. I’ve enjoyed all of the Avengers-based movies. I saw the first of the Superman reboots, but skipped the second in case they decided this time they were going to make him a window peeper or a dognapper or somthing.

I even watched that Green Lantern movie that came out a few years ago, and that was terrible.

Still, there’s a part of me that thinks maybe we can take a break. That says, “Oh? Another Iron Man movie so soon?”

I’ll see that movie. Obviously. But could we at least put Captain America in a Renaissance-era costume for his next movie? Just something to mix things up a bit?

None of this will stop as long as the movies are making money, though. According to one report, Marvel has movies mapped out to 2028. Presumably at some point they will even script a major motion picture starring Speedball, a short-lived character from my youth whose power was, so far as I remember, bouncing off of stuff.

That’s it. He was just like a big, gangly superball.

But, I mean, space raccoon.

It could be worse, I suppose. At least they’re not making any more Transformers movies.

What? Really?

Nathan Hansen

Nathan Hansen has been a reporter and editor with the Farmington Independent and the Rosemount Town Pages since 1997. He is very tall.

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