Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Two Cent Tuesday: Flipping the Script

Saturday night I finally got around to reading the "Planet Hulk" comics I'd bought on sale a couple weeks ago.  The story for that is Reed Richards, Iron Man, and Dr. Strange shoot the Hulk into space because they're sick of him smashing stuff.  He ends up on a remote planet and sort of reenacts "Gladiator" and then "Robin Hood" until he becomes king of the world.

Anyway, the first 12 issues set all this up and then the last issue tears everything down when the Hulk's ship spontaneously explodes and destroys the whole planet to set up the "World War Hulk" storyline where he returns to Earth to kick everyone's asses.

This is something that annoys me and that usually happens in series because you have to prolong the series so you ruin an otherwise perfect happy ending with a lame plot twist.  I mean the Hulk had united all these different tribes and become the king and married a chick and knocked her up and then 20 pages later we have to torch all that.

The next morning I watched "Star Trek: Generations" which is kind of the same thing.  In "Star Trek VI" Kirk and crew almost literally rode off into the sunset, but then we had to bring Kirk back and contrive a scenario where he could pass the torch to Picard and then dies.  It was definitely the weakest entry of the Next Generation movies and really unnecessary.

Another example that comes to mind is "Men in Black II" where we had to throw away the happy ending for Tommy Lee Jones just so that we could make a couple of crappy sequels to make more money.  That's the thing, in all these cases I don't think there was much artistic value to these moves.  It was just about extending the series to make $$$$$.

Sometimes this happens on a smaller scale to create drama.  I remember episodes of "Family Guy" and "Reaper" for instance where a main character gets into a relationship with a girl and once things get serious BOOM! that girl instantly does a 180 to become obsessive and clingy so he has to dump her.  The idea is we don't want him to actually end up with the girl because then we'd have to keep her around and that would mess things up, but really I can't help feeling how contrived it is.

I think in part that's why I haven't felt any need to continue the Scarlet Knight series past book 8 or the Chances Are series past Book 3 because both end up with relatively happy endings.  If I did a sequel to either I'd have to start tearing that down and really I haven't seen any great impetus to do so.  In lieu of money there'd have to be some story I thought really needed told to sacrifice the happy ending I came up with.  Or if there's money involved of course...

Are there any happy endings you wish hadn't been wiped away?


  1. I'll concur with you about Planet Hulk. They just needed to sell more comics. The Animated movie is OK, it had a happy ending. I find that I like stories that don't always have a happy ending. Example, I liked The Godfather Part III it deconstructed the Family and at the end was not so happy. Another example is the novel Aztec by Gary Jennings, the title alone tells you that the main character was on the losing side against the Spaniards. As far as wishing that a happy ending hadn't been wiped away I would go with Highlander. There can be only one....unless you need more cash and an endless bunch of movies that show no continuity.

  2. Uh...Marvel is notorious for this? Have you not ever read the comics where they went back in time to get rid of Mary Jane? The reason is because Spider Man being married to MJ is "boring." Seriously...Spidey needs to be single or he's no longer interesting.

  3. I watched the Planet Hulk movie they did. I didn't realize that story was in the continuity; I thought it was like a "what if." That sucks they blew up his planet.

    I agree about MiB, even though I did like the 3rd one. The second one, though, wasn't worth bringing Tommy back for.

  4. I remember test audiences hated for the original death for Kirk in Generations. It's hard to believe it was worse, but there you go. Happy endings can ruin a good movie, but only if the story points to a sad one.

  5. I thought the first Matrix movie was absolutely fantastic. It blew my mind. Then the sequel came out and I thought it was just okay. Should have ended with just that first movie. I walked out on the third Matrix movie.

  6. I recall not being a huge fan of Nemesis, I'll have to rewatch and compare to Generations. Actually, didn't love Insurrection either. Oh well.

    It's hard to write stories that are self contained AND leave room for a continuing story arc for the characters. For me, it's tough to reconcile the Planet Hulk version of the Hulk with the one that got whumped by the Red Hulk the second that WW Hulk ended.



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