Why Comic Book Adaptations Are Better On TV

The adaptation of comic book stories for the big screen has been a near-guaranteed moneymaker for most studios. It's the reason we've seen three different variations of Spider-Man in the last 15 years. Tag, Tom Holland, you’re it! Due to an already massive existing fan base, the excitement for these films never ceases, and decades of popularity have resulted in multi-casting characters to keep up with the demand. It was something that had previously only been done successfully with the James Bond franchise. One actor bows out, and another takes his place. Each new comic film keeps getting bigger as studios introduce more characters from a rich history of source material. 

This guy said 'Tag. I'm it.'
Damn skippy, bitches.

But does a two-and-a-half hour (on average) time block really allow enough time to properly introduce several new characters to the big screen? Take X-Men: Apocalypse for example. There were so many new faces in that film, it was like a long lost mutant family reunion. Sorry not sorry, Rose McGowan. The multiple superhero formula is beginning to wear thin. Studios are cramming in too much, and cutting important scenes and performances to do so. Meanwhile, comic movies that center on just one character are quickly becoming a thing of the past. With every new Captain America film, two or three more characters join the mix. These films are starting to turn into comic book versions of The Expendables. With each new character a film introduces, the more screen time is taken away from another. It’s a difficult balance, especially when you're trying to convey a story and plot. This is why the small screen is better suited when adapting a comic series.

The latest season of Netflix’s Daredevil introduced Elektra and The Punisher to the series. While adding two new characters to an existing storyline is relatively like watching Dateline – you get the full story, and more! Frank Castle and Elektra’s origins are explained throughout the course of the season, rather than just suddenly showing up to play without explanation. (“Hey, who’s this chick with the bladed sais?”)

Look at all those mutants!
Too many mutants!!!
Had Daredevil season two been a film, we would have been introduced to these new characters with little background knowledge, much like the Black Panther’s appearance in Captain America: Civil War (aka: The Battle Between the Avengers All Star Teams). While it’s safe to say most cinema-goers of these films are comic fans, not everyone is familiar with every obscure character from the Marvel and DC universes. Comic movies have suddenly turned into sports films. They only focus on the team captains and stars, and the rest of the players just become fillers. In Star Trek they're called the Red Shirts, and in The Avengers they’re named Hawkeye. 

The fact is, most comics follow a major story arc that can take years of issues to explain. While these stories are popular with fans, it's hard to expect writers to condense every detail into a two-to-three-hour window. Many storylines have to be altered or cut. Or worse yet, some important scenes will get ignored altogether and replaced with previously non-existing storylines and characters. We’ll never forgive you for The Hobbit, Peter Jackson! 

A television series just makes sense for comic adaptations. While they may not have the big budgets and sexy stars like Chris Hemsworth and Gal Gadot, it’s the best presentation to represent the source material. It’s the reason The Walking Dead and The Flash keep coming back for another season. Stand-alone origin films with the classic one-on-one hero versus villain format are great on the big screen, but when putting together a team of individuals with special abilities, how much is too much? – yeah, I totally stole that line from the Justice League trailer. These multiple hero films do bring up an interesting question. After pairing up and forming a team of super friends, why would any of these characters ever venture out on a solo mission afterwards? Think about it. Yet, no matter how many heroes you pair together, none of them will ever come close to accomplishing the heroics achieved in Thor 2. Seriously, the guy saved the entire universe, by himself! Take note Hollywood. Be like Ant-Man and scale it down. 

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-Lee L. Lind