In defense of ‘Comic Book Movie accuracy‘.
Comic book movies (which I’ll call CBMs) are a global phenomenon, like the writings that preceeded them. As their popularity grew, so too did the disdain towards their existence. Much of this is from people outwith the fanbase who believe that CBMs are ruining the artistry, and the individuality, of cinema. Unfortunately there has also been a growing amount of disdain from inside the fanbase itself. In light of a recent “controversy” around Birds of Prey, I feel it’s important to tackle one of the largest complaints I see aligned with CBMs; the accuracy, or lack thereof, to the source material
Much like film adaptions of books such as Harry Potter and The Hunger Games, comic book fans want to see their favourite character portrayed as closely to “the original” as possible. Harry Potter is one story told in 7 parts over a self-contained series of novels. A Christmas Carol, which is one of the most adapted books of all time, is also a self-contained story. Comic book superheroes do not have the privilege of this self containment. The first story to feature Batman was released in May 1939, while Superman wouldn’t appear until June 1988. Both of these characters only closely resemble the versions that we recognise today, with each new story over the decades providing a new artist and, with it, a new look. This is true of not only DC Comics, but also their main rivals over at Marvel Comics, who launched their fist publication in October 1939. Both companies are still going strong after 81 years, so it’s perhaps no surprise that they eventually made the leap from the page to the screen.
In 1966, Adam West’s Batman: The TV Series premiered on the ABC Network. With his simplistic suit and camp tone, this was the most accurate on screen depiction of the character we had ever seen. In 2016, Ben Affleck would debut as the Caped Crusader in Batman Vs Superman: Dawn of Justice. His costume was based on Frank Miller’s Dark Knight comics, and as a result is equally comic accurate. When Spider-Man made his first comic book appearance in August 1962, he would do so with one simple suit, but as the character and storylines developed, so too did his suits. Not only do we now have multiple Spider-Suits but also multiple Spider-People, best demonstrated through 2018’s Spider-Man: Into The Spiderverse. There is no singular version of your favourite superhero, and there hasn’t been for a very long time. That’s true of the films, and the television shows, and of the source material they are based on. The characters and motives may stay roughly the same from version to version, but there has always been a level of artistic licence at play. These variations are one of the core reasons why each company has its own “multi-verse” and why DC’s Crisis on Infinite Earths storyline needed to happen.
As for those who think that Huntress’ costume isn’t sexy enough or that it makes her look like a boy, just keep your opinions to yourself. This likely isn’t the only costume she’ll, wear and the only way she’d resemble a boy is if that boy was a twink from the 80’s. It’s 2020, it’s not just costumes that are changing, but attitudes too.
Until Next Time…