2003 was a rough year for comic books fans. No less than four properties were adapted for film and every last one of them was awful. It was the year of “Hulk,” “Daredevil,” “X-Men 2” (arguably the best of the bunch), and “The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen.” Before the days of Marvel”s shared universes of DC”s gritty Nolan trilogy, comic book movies were little more than pulp to churn out to the masses for a quick buck at the expense of narrative structure.
Basically superhero flicks were the Transformers franchise of the early aughts.
But in true comic book fashion, each and every one of those films has been retconned and replaced with something better and arguably more complex. Everything but “The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen.” Until now.
According to Tracking Board, Fox is giving it the old college try to resurrect Alan Moore”s critically-acclaimed comic book series.
Details at this time are what the industry calls “minimal” which is code for “So hey, we”re gonna do this thing but we have no director, no script, no actors, and no time frame. We just want to call dibs and plant our flag. We licked this franchise. It”s ours now.”
But why now? The time is nigh! In 2003, steampunk was but a glimmer in the public consciousness”s eye. Victorian aesthetic and public domain movie monsters were in decline as the goth population languished and/or graduated from high school. Now? Everything is different.
“Sherlock Holmes” of all flavors prove audiences love British detectives. Marvel and DC have legitimized comic book movies as juggernauts of storytelling. “Doctor Who” has reinserted Victorian London into geek consciousness. “Penny Dreadful” is basically a reskin of “League” if you squint at it. And the upcoming “Crimson Peak” film by Guillermo del Toro is priming American for a resurgence in all things gothic.
After two failed starts – both the 2003 movie and a television series in 2013 that never made it past development – perhaps it”s time someone finally got “League of Extraordinary Gentlemen” right.