8 Superhero Tropes Too Silly For Live-Action (and How to Make Them Work)

By Eric Diaz in Comics, Daily Lists
Friday, February 21, 2014 at 6:00 am

5. The Idea of a Multiverse

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Both Marvel and DC love the idea of a multiverse: alternate universes with alternate Earths featuring various different takes on our favorite heroes. DC has more of a reputation for these "Infinite Earths," so to speak, but Marvel has been publishing a whole line set on an alternate Earth of their own in the form of the Ultimate Comics titles since the year 2000. So far, none of the big superhero flicks has even broached the subject of a multiverse, probably with the thinking that the idea of multiple universes is too much for a mainstream audience to swallow.

How You Can Make It Work, and Make It Cool

I'm not entirely sure when one of these superhero movies could cross into the idea of multiverse; it could be a Crime Syndicate vs. the Justice League movie I mentioned above, or maybe a lot sooner than that. People have been wanting to tie-in TV shows like Arrow and the upcoming Flash series on the CW to the DC Cinematic Universe that was set up in Man of Steel, but the likelihood of that happening the traditional way (having the TV versions of Green Arrow and The Flash join the big-screen League) is slim to none. Flash will almost certainly be another actor in the JL movie when that happens. But a way of making the TV versions "count" would be to explain their existence as part of a greater multiverse. TV Flash would be just as valid as movie Flash, and part of the bigger picture in a way, but still separate, and fanboys and fangirls would love it.

6. Death and Resurrection

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Death almost has no meaning in superhero comics, at least not in the traditional sense. Despite whatever Max Landis says, the concept of death has been "broken" in comics since long, long before Superman kicked it fighting Doomsday back in 1992. Personally, I have no problem with this; if we are to accept that superheroes are our modern-day mythology, then death and rebirth is a part of that kind of storytelling and always has been, in almost every culture. However, up until now, in superhero movies, dead means dead. The only exception really being Jean Grey, who "died" at the end of X2, but even by the end of that particular film, it was made clear that Jean wasn't dead really.

How You Can Make It Work, and Make It Cool

It's only a matter of time before Hollywood joins in on the idea that super-powered heaven doesn't have Pearly Gates so much as revolving doors. Pretty soon, a villain in one of these Marvel movies is going to be so popular that it won't matter if he's dead and buried; in a sequel he'll crawl out of the grave, zombie style, or we'll find out it wasn't really him that died in the first place, or any of those convoluted ideas that are part and parcel of comic book storytelling. The movie versions of these stories have mostly tried to keep things like mortality somewhat grounded in reality, but expect that to change before too long.

7. The Kid Sidekick

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Starting with Robin back in 1939, and followed quickly by Captain America's kid partner Bucky Barnes, the kid sidekick has long been a trope of superhero fiction. And by "kid-sidekick" I don't mean a teenager, well into puberty. I mean the classic "12 year old being put in serious mortal danger by an older superhero who should know better" thing. When Marvel Studios did Captain America: The First Avenger, they wisely made Bucky into Steve's contemporary, age-wise. Even when Joel Schumacher did his camptastic Batman movies back in the nineties, they knew better than to make their Dick Grayson into a twelve year-old kid. (although Chris O'Donnell looked twenty-five and not sixteen, and that didn't work either.) Kick-Ass made a joke out of the whole kid sidekick thing with Hit Girl, and the only reason that worked is because it played up the whole idea of how ridiculous the notion of a little kid being put in terrible situations like this really is, and just reinforced the idea that Big Daddy was crazy.

How You Can Make It Work, and Make It Cool

Let's be honest, the only kid sidekick that really still matters anymore is Robin. If they ever make a 1940's era Human Torch movie (they won't, but just go with my hypothetical here) no one is gonna be like "but where is his kid sidekick Toro??" People only really care about Robin as far as kid sidekicks go. And no, Jimmy Olsen doesn't count; he's been portrayed as a legal-age young adult for decades now. So when you inevitably reintroduce the Robin concept to the Batman mythology in feature films, you simply make him (or her) older, like closer to sixteen or seventeen. Yes, it's still morally questionable, but not nearly as bad as putting a little kid in harm's way. A few years does make a difference in this case.

8. Pets With Super Powers

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This is a trope that's almost exclusive to Superman lore, although Batman had a "Bat-Hound" for several years as well (and it even wore a little mask.) See, Superman had a dog from Krypton once named Krypto. Krypto proved to be so popular that he spawned a whole bunch of other super animals from Krypton...there was Streaky the super cat, Beppo the super monkey, Comet the super horse (who wasn't actually from Krypton, but whatever). During the Silver Age, it seemed everyone made it off Krypton in the nick of time, from whole cities to criminals to the local pet store. (Everyone but Jor-El and Lara, it seems.) These animals even formed the Legion of Super-Pets. I shit you not.

So do I really need to explain why this won't ever happen in a live-action movie? Can you imagine how that would play out? Imagine Henry Cavill's Superman, down for the count after getting into a brawl with Metallo or someone, having destroyed yet another portion of downtown Metropolis, when in comes the cavalry of the local Petco, but with adorable little matching capes? Have I painted a clear enough picture of why that won't ever happen outside maybe a Dreamworks animated movie?

How You Can Make It Work, and Make It Cool

Ya know, you really can't. Sorry, this is silly no matter which way you slice it. Although it would be beyond adorbz to see this in a movie, wouldn't it?

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Previously by Eric Diaz:

10 Reasons Why American Horror Story: Coven Is The Gayest Horror/Fantasy Show Ever

The Ten Worst DC "New 52" Costume Redesigns

The Top Ten Substance Abusers in Comics

Nine Reasons a Flash TV Show Could Be Better Than a Flash Movie

The Ten Heroes Most Unworthy Of Justice League Status (Who Joined Anyway)

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