A little over 5 years passed between the Tobe Maguire Spider-Man and Andrew Garfield Spider-Man. By the time Marvel Studios’ re-booted Spider-Man arrives, likely in a cameo in Captain America: Civil War, almost exactly two years will have passed since Andrew Garfield was denied the chance to finish his trilogy. Less than 4 years will have passed between the Christian Bale Batman and Ben Affleck Batman when Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice arrives early next year. The same amount of time passed between the Edward Norton Hulk of The Incredible Hulk and Mark Ruffalo Hulk of The Avengers, although unlike the Bale/Affleck Batman those two were actually supposed to exist in the same continuity. It’s impressive, then, that 7 years passed between Superman Returns and Man of Steel, and Rise of the Silver Surfer will be over 8 years old when the rebooted Fantastic Four arrives this summer.
Yeah, yeah, yeah.
Now, I’d like to tell you about a really funny cartoon I just watched. I swear it’s related to all of that. It’s from How It Should Have Ended, one of those glorious YouTube wormholes you might lose an afternoon to sometime. They’ve been making the videos since 2005 after two friends turned a joking conversation about an alternate ending of a film they had just seen into an animated short video. They took something that a lot of us do for fun – joke about movies – and turned it into a career. Their videos gained national attention and garnered multiple awards, ultimately leading to a partnership with Starz Digital Media in 2009 to allow them to release one new video every month.
There is a running gag going way, way back in their videos of Superman and Batman talking to one another in a diner. This allows them to have the two poke fun at one another, or converse with whatever new comic book superhero is popular at the time. They have taken Batman’s odd proclivity for dramatically pronouncing, “I’m Batman!” in his films, and hilariously made it their cartoon version’s sole defining characteristic.
Their latest video uses that basic premise to put forth some kind of response to all the potshots lobbed at comic book movies at the Independent Spirit Film Awards and Oscars last month. In it, I think they wisely use Superman and Batman to mirror how many of us might be of two minds on the “Are there too many comic book movies?” topic. There’s the “Hey, I love comic book movies” along with the “Geese, maybe this is getting a bit out of control,” especially when you look at the way these characters are just being endlessly recycled. I personally feel that way about Marvel Studios new Spider-Man. It could be great with Cabin the Woods’ Drew Goddar circling the writing/directing gig, and Latino Review reporting the film will skip the origin story and actually center around a teenaged Spider-Man’s efforts to join The Avengers, represented in the film by Iron Man. Yet it’s kind of ridiculous that they are re-booting Spider-Man this fast. In general, this little cartoon kind of perfectly sums up my current state of mind on Hollywood’s comic book movie and remake obsession: