Stabbing the Franchise (Elektra, 2005)
No. Just…no. I refuse to review this.
Stop looking at me. I will not review it.
Absolutely no way.
Oh, OK…I finally sat through Catwoman…it seems unfair to avoid Elektra.
The film opens with General Zod telling us that Elektra is important to the forces of good and evil. We then get a sequence with Lucius Malfoy. He is telling a black ops type security team they are protecting him from Elektra. They fail. It is shot really nicely, most everything is awash in darkness, so the red of Elektra’s outfit is striking. And there ends the best thing I can say about the film.
We learn Electra is doing the paid assassins gig and is apparently a bit quirky about her DNA. We see her training with Stick (Terrence Stamp) and I am unsure if this is a flashback. She later meets this girl stealing a bracelet in a house that I guess is Elektra’s new house. his introduces us to Elektra’s motivation and her crisis of conscience as an assassin. The little girl is under siege by magical ninjas called the Hand.
When I say magical, I am not making an amusing joke. they can give you instant diseases, turn into smoke, have living tattoos and so on. When Elektra finds herself in a losing side of a battle with the Hand, Stick and a cavalry of Ninjas (we know they are good, cause their ninja clothes are white…seriously, it is that on the nose. It is an hour in, by the way when I realize Stick is blind.
I cannot think of a whole lot positive to say about Elektra. It is… Mystifyingly incoherent. It never really makes much sense, even after things are explained. Interestingly, it is a spinoff of Marvel’s Daredevil movie…but makes no connection. Her death is referred to in vague terms. The villains lack personalities…they are strictly defined by their powers. It is hard to care about the events of a film when you cannot be given a reason to care beyond being told repeatedly “this is important.”. The film lacks any characters for the viewer to connect to. Oddly, I chose to watch the directors cut…how much less incoherent was the theatrical cut of this film?!
While there are all sorts of references to the comics, they are not used well. And when you see how well the Netflix Daredevil series handles some of these same characters, it makes the film that much more disappointing.
Elektra certainly gives Catwoman a run for the money for a top spot in the Worst Comic Book Movie competition. Catwoman still wins…but it had a tough competitor.
Super Heroes All Grown Up…
Jeet Heer has made a rather thoughtful piece on the “grown up-ness” of Super-hero films. This is not an entirely new phenomenon, after all, the Burton Batman films faced criticism of being to scary. But yet, the family friendly super-hero film does seem to be progressively scarce.
While Marvel seems hit or miss, some films being lighter than others, DC seems to be making films aimed squarely at the Frank Miller and Alan Moore* fanboys. I’ve have expressed frustration in the past that DC has set a dark tone for their universe. And the next film we get is March’s Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Justice. And while I think the latest trailer is a little more promising, I still feel like it sets the trajectory in the wrong direction.
Man of Steel was a mopey and grim affair. And the very next step is to pit the flagship heroes against each other? And then we get Suicide Squad? Understand, I have a soft spot for the original Suicide Squad, and by no means am I opposed to Amanda Waller getting back to the big screen.
But the Suicide Squad being the third entry in DC’s shared cinematic world keeps the tone overwhelmingly dark. Where is the light toned DC film? Where heroes are fun? That you can take your kids?
On the one hand, I feel Heer goes overboard. The article has deep implications that super-heroes films aimed at adults should not exist. I just cannot agree with this. I dare say it is a genre that is at home with adults. And telling artists and writers they must write for kids or stop writing super-hero material (although Miller has written fairly little Super-Hero fare in last decades)…seems absurd.
On the other hand? Jeet is right about the lack of fun super-hero movies that are aimed kids or at least families. There are far to few, and while the Avengers franchise teeters back and forth, Marvel’s TV side is just getting darker. I loved Daredevil. And Daredevil has long been more for college students and older in all his formats. But the only fun Super-Hero on TV right now is the Flash. We need more shows in that vein. Superman should be in that vein.
But I have two little nephews (ages three and four) who like super-heroes. My older nephew loves the Avengers, in spite of not seeing any of the movies. They both think Spider-Man and Batman are awesome. They like to pretend to fly like Superman.
I have no idea how old they will need to be to see any of those characters recent films. But I can easily say it might be years. And that is a bummer. I am not calling for an end to super-hero films for adults…there should be room for movies like Deadpool and Kick Ass. I am simply asking that we get more all ages super-hero films. Hey DC…how about a rollicking comedy centered on Plastic Man?
*Moore has switched to slamming grown up heroes and anyone who likes super-heroes over ten. Not a change for the better. he is also a guy who thinks the sexual awakings of young literary heroines is worth writing. Unsure how that is better than adding rape to Super-hero comics.