Have you ever fallen in love with a movie, then had it’s writers break your heart? I picked up “Thor: The Dark World” a few months ago and started swooning over the images of Asgard. I had been looking for location ideas for my novel and Asgard’s sets nailed it. I haven’t been able to find anything comparable, anywhere.
I also got caught up in the storyline. It had seemingly well-developed characters, science meeting magic, great special effects: and yes, I could have done without the needless violence, silly costumes (a Norse goddess in Roman battledress, ancient pre-history beings in spaceships etc.) but, on the whole, it wasn’t too bad for a money spinner. So I did what was suggested and bought the first movie in the series, so I understood the background. (There are no spoilers in this post for either movie.)
Dear Lord have mercy!
It destroyed it. They had not even painted the wood in one set twice, so the grain was showing through on something that was supposed to be made of gold.
OK, Marvel is out to make money. They produce hyper-active blockbusters and a great deal of merchandise for a quick buck. None of the Norse Eddas get any story details to match in a cohesive manner, so Marvel could very well do what they pleased. Fair call. A modern twist on a very old tale. BUT…
… War obsessed, arrogant, rebellious, loud-mouthed, egocentric gods do not turn into fully reformed, sweethearts in under forty-eight hours. Seriously! I can suspend some disbelief in the name of good entertainment, but that one point, that is why I write books with promos which state: “don’t take shortcuts which result in hollow characters, fake plot lines and with short cuts to “happily ever after” endings. Your audience will gag. You will never get a second chance to win them back.
I researched where it all went wrong for Marvel and the consensus was poor character development. Marvel places the emphasis on plot. There must be many mysterious lose ends which create a “wow” effect when they are tied up; the pace must be so fast there is no time; violence is golden; and character motivation is irrelevant, as people will automatically assume that the good guys just plain work for good, and the bad for bad. Thus no further information is needed. The bad guys always turn good, so problem solved. (Not!) They need a reason to change or keep putting themselves at risk.
Have you experienced that point where your story takes off on it’s own path, as the psyche and needs of your protagonist, force their way through? That is how it is supposed to be. Character personality, weaknesses and strengths, motivation, needs and conflicts drive story: not clever, complicated plots!
Had Marvel found a fast way to show that Thor had worked with Jane as a human, for say, a month, I would have bought the change. If only they had flashed up overlaid text saying “One month later…” and cut into showing him doing some menial job with pleasure. That is solid. How hard is that? (I am only picking on one element here, there are a few which are just dreadfully done.)
- If you have someone who just lost a significant other: they will take time to grieve, not be over it completely in the next chapter with no emotional residue. Research the grief process and weave it in.
- Warriors who fight frequently, or for long periods DO suffer shellshock, post traumatic post syndrome and anxiety disorders; or they become hard and nasty loners. Weave it in.
- People don’t just snap out of major shocks (for example, a change in the way they thought the world was, or the shock of attack, accident etc.) Understand how shock works and weave it in.
That is what I wrote the book for, to stop us from writing like Marvel. The book is cheap and available on Amazon or as pdf from my site. Please use it and save your readership from throwing their iPad across the room in disgust.
P.S. I still love Asgard. Oh and by the way, if you have ever wondered why they have joined so many super heroes together in the Avengers, it’s because Marvel owns the rights and can do whatsoever it wants. Those super heroes that don’t get included, are not owned by Marvel. It all comes down to money, not story. You’re not surprised either, are you?
All images are the property of Marvel, the Internet is awash with them.
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