What brings people to the movies? Decades ago, theaters provided a way for people to have fun and get together with friends for quiet socializing. Later, people flocked to the seats to watch their favorite stars on camera. Whatever the reason, going to the theater is a spectacle, and cinema is unquestionably an art form. The biggest circulation lately is the superhero movie and other comic book adaptations. These films have spawned massive franchises with hugely popular characters that we never want to stop revisiting. But does this affect the quality of the film? Henry Braham, the director of photography for the next Flash, is pretty adamant that their movie isn’t just another superhero movie. He says it as if these adaptations were a bad thing and weren’t near the pinnacle of cinema. But why can’t they?
Henri Braham from Flash A few words about what they’re trying to accomplish
Henry Braham has been everywhere in the movies. He has worked on films including The Golden Compass, Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol. 2, and, more recently, The suicide squad. He is also working on Flash, which is currently in production. So when he sat down to do an interview on The suicide squad with Collider, questions about the current DC movie are sure to arise. While he should avoid talking about anything that could be considered a spoiler, he doesn’t have to fear the way things are going.
Speaking of the creation of Flash, Braham comments on his place in the world of comic book adaptations and superhero movies. “It’s a complex movie… Again, it’s not really a comic book movie,” he shares, adding that it’s “a lot more technically complex”. Wait – when were comic book movies considered technically uncomplicated? He goes on to say that he “doesn’t think it’s ever going to become a superhero movie. It’ll look like a movie, and that’s what it is.”
But why wouldn’t this be a superhero movie? “We have to make big, big, big movies that have superheroes,” Braham says, including that the characters should have human flaws and the truth behind them.
Image via Warner Bros.
Do fans even agree that superhero movies aren’t meaningful?
The internet has seen a craze over the past few months (and especially the past few weeks) because of the theories that speculate that Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield’s Spider-Man characters will return in the upcoming one. Spider-Man: No Path Home. Their inclusion in the film hasn’t been confirmed (and at this point, we’d be surprised to find out that’s not true), but it’s still the talk of the town. In the meantime, in the franchise next door, the DCEU has already dragged us towards the reappearance of Michael Keaton and Ben Affleck in Flash. But why isn’t this news as notable as the MCU’s plot twist? Could it be that Marvel cherishes their ability to make great comic book movies as DC tries too hard to prove they’re “better” than a miserable adaptation?
And is that the difference? While Marvel sees its films as something designed to delight fans, DC wants to prove its qualities to the wider film community. This brings us to an important question: who are these films for? Comic book fans have come together to form a massive community of individuals who appreciate this art form. They are the backbone of comic book adaptations as they are the ones who are the first to buy tickets or theorize on the internet, promoting word of mouth. Why shouldn’t the movies be for them?
Image via Marvel Studios.
Comic book fans obviously help the movies
Movies are used for a lot of things. They give people jobs, provide us with entertainment and, oh yeah, they make tons of money for the studios. Of the ten highest grossing movies of all time, three of them are comic book adaptations. And guess what? They are all Marvel. Avengers: Endgame, Avengers: Infinity War, and Meeting vigilantes are all close to the top of the list, with even more in the top 20. The DCEU isn’t bad for making money either, but the competition isn’t that tight. We have Aquaman sit pretty at # 23, and future movies are sure to break the top 30 again, aren’t they? But it doesn’t matter which comic book adaptations are on the list. As long as they are numerous, it proves that we want to continue to monitor them.
I cannot speak for every member of the audience. Granted, a few people love to watch alien creatures dominate cities and see visual effects for the sake of CGI enhancements. But that’s not the reason most of us go to watch these movies. We do this because the characters we watch on screen are based on decades of history. We know them. We have read, watched and linked with them. When they win a battle, lose a fight, or lose a friend, we feel more deeply for them than if we were watching an Oscar-winning drama film. If we can even connect with the characters at all, we won’t love them the way we love Spidey or Batman.
When Avengers: Endgame came out, I sat in the movie theater and watched it four times. Once released on Disney +, I watched it three more times. And guess what? I cried each time during different scenes. My friends and I applauded. I threw my fist in the air with excitement during pivotal scenes. And I am not alone. Friends grew up with these films. Parents and children both sat in childlike wonder at this modern mythology. We will never tire of watching the reactions from the first nights, and we know people will always see it again or encourage others to watch it for the first time. These superhero movies are having an impact on their audiences, and isn’t that all the point of art in the first place?
Even superhero movies and comic book adaptations are filled with heart and truth, and Henry Braham might even see it. Flash
Henry Braham made some interesting decisions commenting on what’s going on with Flash. It seems so categorical that it deserves more than to be known as a superhero movie. But as we explained above, there’s no shame in being a superhero movie or a comic book adaptation. If anything, it should bring more pride. These characters have already lived a lifetime on these beautifully drawn pages. Adapting them to the screen is difficult, and the filmmakers behind this process deserve more credit than they get. Braham is expected to adopt the superhero movie label.
Some people in the movie industry still don’t see the power of these films. Some worry about superhero fatigue, and others, like Martin Scorsese, don’t see them as real cinema. But cinema would be pretty darn boring if it couldn’t evolve, and part of that evolution means the comic book movie is here to stay.
Readers, what do you think of Henry Braham’s comments on whether Flash is really a superhero movie? We will find out the truth for ourselves when the film will be released on November 4, 2022. In the meantime, we’re going to enjoy these great films and form our own thoughts on their place in the global cinematic canon.
Image presented via Warner Bros.
Meghan Hale is the kind of movie buff who has a mile-long “must watch” … and who grows up. When not talking about the latest movie and TV news, she writes one of her many ongoing novels, shouting movie trivia to anyone who wants to listen to her and works as a mental health professional. Follow her on Twitter @meghanrhale for fun theories and live reactions to all things entertainment.