The Rise of the Unintentional Comic Book Movie Crossover

When I first made my joke about Wonder Boys serving as the secret origin of the Marvel film universe I thought of the movie as an anomaly. But the truth is that, with the rise of the comic book movie as a popular genre unto itself, more and more of these unintentional crossovers are popping up. Whether in movies new or old, I am being pulled out of the story more and more by realizations like the one I had while watching Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind recently. Why, I asked myself while watching that flick, is Mary Jane Watson fucking Bruce Banner, and why is The Riddler just laying there comatose and not making a wisecrack about it?

It got even worse when they called Carmine Falcone in for assistance a few minutes later, I’ll tell you that.

Casting is serious business, and when you’re dealing with actors who have made certain characters famous, it’s hard, even if the actor is brilliant, to completely eliminate the residue of past parts played from the minds of the audience. This has always been true, and was perhaps even more true in Hollywood’s glory days than it is now. What this recent phenomenon of the unintentional comic book movie crossover has me wondering is whether or not the problem is about to get worse than it has ever been before.

Listen: when I finally decided to catch up on The Tudors and I spotted General Zod jousting with King Henry VIII and I thought aloud, “So that’s where Clark sent him at the end of season nine,” I know that was partly just me being a geek. But I sense that, with actors taking on more and more of these larger than life parts, it’s going to be harder and harder for them to do straight-up non-comics films in the future.

What do you think?