by Alec Berry
I have seen most comic book movies, and The Losers is now one of my favorites. Yes, you read correctly, favorites.
Films that derive themselves from comic books never need to worry about specific story, character or continuity details as much as they should the tone of the original content. To me, a comic book is a comic book and a film is a film. Let each medium have its own space in terms of story direction and character background. Those are not always so important in the grand scheme of a work. The tone is, though, because the tone is the life of a work and a large reason why people enjoy a piece to begin with.
The Losers movie matches The Losers comic book in tone perfectly. In all honesty, how could it not? The comic book is a big action movie put to paper. The way they approach the film and the result put to the screen is such a refreshing viewing experience because there is no element of the film trying to down-trodden its source material. The Losers is not a comic book movie saying it is better than what it comes from. It is not the case where the idea thinks it means more because it is now a film. The Losers understands it is a comic book idea, and it is damn proud. The film just has fun and revels in the tone set in its source material.
It is a big, dumb (in some circumstances) action movie, but that is the point. There lies the difference between my feelings of this movie and Kick-Ass: Kick-Ass was more than a simple action movie because it had potential to explore many interesting angles, while The Losers set out to be an action movie. The film plays with the classic clichés when it introduces the relationship between Clay and Aisha. Yes, the two could simply ask about each other, but it is more fun and cliché to have them fight for ten minutes and then talk. Max may seem like a very awkward, not an intimidating villain, but that is the character and the character is where the film can take on a bit of a post-modern vibe. This is where the film thrives because any other comic book adaptation would have taken all the spirit away and focused on a serious approach.
I commented on the “big, dumb action movie” bit above because honestly I do not feel comfortable calling this a dumb movie. Yes, most of the film is explosions, but it is shot in a very, very beautiful way. The stylistic and structural integrity of this film is simply…awesome. The first action sequence of the movie (The Losers busting into a village to rescue hostages) is so eye appealing because of all the different angles achieved on the speeding hummer. Ground shots, side shots, shots from the roof of the hummer, hand-held shots –there are so many different approaches to one instant and they all come together so well. The film reminds me a bit of Crank and Crank 2 in some instances – that is a good thing. The look and style of each shot also holds that Tony Scott quality which works to make this movie stand out.
The Losers is easily in the top-tier of comic book movies. I would chalk it up right beside The Dark Knight and the first two X-men films. Sure, it is not entirely faithful to the story in the comic book, but it does not have to be. The movie understands the tone. That is all it needs.