Review: Comic Book: The Movie (2004)

Review: Comic Book: The Movie (2004)

A fanboy’s tribute to comic book movie adaptations and purity of story.

When I first turned on Comic Book: The Movie, I expected a proper documentary.  Apparently, I didn’t read the synopsis clearly enough, because this is actually a fake documentary, albeit they do film it at the actual San Diego Comic Convention.  Put together and directed by and starring none-other-than Mark Hamill, what this movie provides is a fanboy’s perception of comic book movies, adaptations from comics to films and the life of geekdom in general.

The idea behind the film is that a super-famous super hero is getting his own movie.  The hero goes by the name of Captain Courage, although a recent update of the character has him as Codename: Courage.  Hamill plays Don Swan, the world’ foremost fanboy and expert of all things Captain Courage.  He also happens to hate the updated character and the fact that the production company involved is going to use the new, violent version as opposed to his beloved Golden Age incarnation.

He is hired on by the production company to act as a consultant and to make a documentary about the upcoming film.  They underestimate his devotion to the title, however, and he goes off track several times, setting up his own promotions and trying everything in his power to convince the greedy producers that the older Courage is the better Courage.  Needless to say, hi-jinks ensue.

The story revolves around the conflict between Don Swan and those allied to his cause and the producers and those they manage to recruit into their own camp.  But the real focus of the film is in showing exactly how fanboys feel about the comics they’re closest to and the lengths they’re willing to go to in order to fight money-hungry Hollywood-types who would ruin their perfect vision.

Overall, the movie is fun to watch and brings up some important points in a satirical manner.  Plus, it has a ton of cameos, although plenty of them will be completely unrecognizable to those not schooled in the world of comics.  The main failing of it, in my opinion, is that it relies a bit too much on gimmicky humor.  While there’s plenty of humor to be had in the subtly, and they do use these elements well, I’m guessing they were too worried that inside humor wouldn’t translate enough to bring in a sizable enough audience.  Either that or they just really enjoy slapstick and goof.  Whatever the case, the moments of ridiculousness detract from the flow of the film, which is at times quite intelligent and eye-opening.

This is a movie made primarily for comic book fans and if you happen to be one of those, I highly recommend giving it a watch.  If you’re more of a casual comic and super hero person, it may not be the best choice.  Unless you love Mark Hamill.  He does a great job the whole way through.