Tales from the Fridge

The amazing destroyer of sleep known as TVTropes.org has an entry it calls Fridge Brilliance. This is the moment when, some time after you’ve experienced a piece of entertainment, things suddenly click in your mind and something that didn’t make sense about it before suddenly does.

A personal example comes from the choice of the Chitari as the alien stormtroopers in Avengers. Whedon and Disney used these aliens that originated in the Ultimate Marvel universe not because they have a cooler name than the Skrulls, or the Kree, or the Shi’ar, but because that’s what was available. The Skrulls are mostly a Fantastic Four enemy, and the Kree first appeared in that title as well. Just like the Silver Surfer, Fox probably got those races. They’re also probably sitting on the Shi’ar, who generally appear as adversaries or allies to the X-Men (depending on the day of week and how nostalgic the current writer is for Chris Claremont).

Those are the Big Three alien races in the Marvel Universe, the ones that would get fanboys most excited, and Disney can’t use them yet.

But the Chitari? Yeah, they first popped up in The Ultimates, which is the Ultimate Marvel version of the Avengers.

What I don’t quite get, then, is how the War Machine armor is able to look like this in Iron Man 3:

Iron Patriot, image courtesy Wikipedia

That’s the Iron Patriot armor, originally worn by Norman Osborn when he was given temporarily given control of the Avengers.

Norman Osborn is better known as the Green Goblin.

The Spider-Man villain.

Whose rights are held pretty tightly by Sony.

Now, as I understand it, the story goes that Osborn just took an old Iron Man armor that became his property when he was handed control of all the super-heroes and repainted it to suit his needs. Maybe that’s how the Disney lawyers managed to spin it.

And now Whedon’s hinting at Quicksilver and the Scarlet Witch in Avengers 2. Mutants both, who first appeared in the X-Men as members of Magneto’s Brotherhood of Evil Mutants before Stan Lee decided he liked them enough to make them good guys and Avengers.

That’s what happens in a shared universe. And it’s not just an issue that can crop up in comics.

Man of Steel looks to be a mixed bag.

So . . . this got posted yesterday.

I am, shall we say, torn.

On the one hand, I’m very much in favor of finally starting to move away from the Donner aesthetic for Krypton and the Fortress of Solitude. Henry Cavill is starting to win me over. And Amy Adams is just awesome.

That said . . .

These are really some gray and depressing worlds on display here, aren’t they? Superman’s world should not be either of those things, and it’s foolish to think those two words by themselves make a story better by default.

Alas, that is the hand of Christopher Nolan at work, trying to duplicate what worked in the Dark Knight with a character that was never meant to be dark and gritty.

And while we were getting rid of the silly crystal architecture, couldn’t we have also done away with the annoyance that is the S-shield meaning something of Krypton and Jor-El’s messianiac hopes for his son? Maybe it’s just me, but I prefer a Jor-El who sends his son off to an unknown fate because even that slimmest of hopes is still better than certain death, and a Superman who does what he does because Ma and Pa Kent raised their boy Clark right.