A quick visit to your local Carmike or a search for trailers on the internet and you’ll likely find at least one movie based on a popular comic book character or story. How did these types of films become so popular with audiences and film makers alike? We think these are some of the factors that have cemented the comic book character film into modern pop culture:
Incredible Visual Effects and Production Design
Comic books feature amazing art that depicts worlds and universes beyond our own. As such, it has always been difficult to portray these worlds on screen. Advancements in computer graphics and technologies have made each film in popular comic book franchises more believable. This is all thanks to their nearly seamless blending of computer graphics, animation, and live action work.
Developments in motion capture has also made it possible to overlay an actor’s face to a computer generated character. As a result, it creates new possibilities for size and proportions that were previously impossible to achieve through prosthetics. The technology used by the production companies in creating these movies have also made exponential leaps in processing power. Because of this, it’s now possible to shoot, edit, and create a movie in a few months, when old films took several years to make.
Spreading Character Building and Unified Universes
One of the most difficult parts of introducing a new universe to the audiences is character building. Most audiences find this part boring and uneventful. It is made even more difficult when you have a several dozen major characters, each playing their part in the story.
Comic book adaptations worked around this by giving each major character a film of their own. Each character then is able to have an independent and interesting backstory that blends seamlessly with other stories in the universe they live in.
The greatest example of this is the Marvel Cinematic Universe, today’s most successful comic book adaptation franchise. They started with movies that feature their core characters like Ironman, Thor, and Captain America. They then tied all of these individual stories together with films like the Avengers. This method provides audiences with continuity and eagerness to further follow the stories of their favorite characters.
A Viewing Tradition
Another important reason why these films are blockbuster hits is that they have a reliable release schedule. This keeps the enthusiasm for the series alive for all of us fans.
Before the era of these blockbuster hits, people tended to watch films that were popular but did not really feel left out if they miss them for some reason. A series of films in the same universe almost requires its fans to catch every iteration of the film. This way, they don’t miss something important for later films.
This even works for new viewers. When they find themselves wondering what caused events in the film they are now watching, they can just seek out the older films in the franchise. It can then create more revenue for the properties as a whole.
The release cycle can also become a tradition for families and friends who watch the films together. The movies can be their annual get-together where they consume something they all enjoy.
Impressive Productions with Large Budgets
Earlier comic book adaptations used their budgets wisely to create amazing scenes with the limited tools that they have. However, as profits from these movies increase, the budgets also increase. This leads to an amazing amount of detail work and depth in current genre films.
A great way to find this in current films is the fantastic costume design. Not only do the main characters have amazing looks but even the background extras and supporting cast are dressed well. The level of detail on these pieces often overtake those of the main characters in earlier adaptations. The number of pieces required for each movie can also be staggering.
The physical sets have also been significantly affected by this trend. They are now built larger and larger to reduce the reliance on computer graphics and increase realism for the viewers.
A Familiar Story Coming to Life
Finally, the most important factor in carrying comic book adaptations to success is the characters themselves. A lot of fans grew up reading and knowing about these popular characters. Seeing them come to life, within the fantastic worlds they inhabit, is extremely satisfying for comic book fans.
There is also a very special feeling experienced when you find scenes in the films that were directly taken from illustrations in the comics. Scenes in films like Doctor Strange can bring the surreal into reality, something that these types of films excel at.
Comic books often contain great storylines that appeal across many demographics and interests. Audiences young and old can often find something great about each of the stories presented in the movies. Keep these things in mind when you are choosing your next film at the cinema.