I recently subjected myself to the unaired pilot for the Justice League of America TV series. It was of course rather terrible, however one thing that struck me about it was how much it foretold future trends in the media concerning superheroes. You see the emphasis of the program wasn’t the superheroing of the characters but on how they related to each other as friends and their personal lives besides being superheroes. Sound familiar? It should, because it’s what a lot of writers/directors have done when they wanted to completely blow our minds with their adaptations of superheroes. From Smallville’s “no tights/no flights” rule to the upcoming Man of Steel, which has a trailer featuring such typical Superman behavior such as fishing! and hitch-hiking! and the recent Christopher Nolan Batman movies which emphasized the psychology of Batman (but still worked in a fair amount of gadgets and punching.) Heck, the three most recent James Bond movies have taken away the gadgets and focused a lot more on the character’s interpersonal issues (even going so far as explain his origin.) So everybody wants to take away the action and heroics of superheroes in exchange for more drama. Because, you know, there are so few dramas that come out each year that we need to convert the non-dramas to dramas.
Well why the hell doesn’t that work in reverse? Where are the directors or writers who think that simply doing a drama is just so gauche? Why don’t they want to defy our expectations by having Anna Karenina suddenly change her mind about the suicide and punch the friggin’ train out of the way? Or maybe the Great Gatsby should be about The Great Gatsby, a crime-fighting superhero of the 1920’s? How about a biography on Lincoln that involves vampires … ? Oh, right.
Has anybody done Romeo & Juliet with superheroes and supervillains?