IN THIS MODERN era of superhero cinema, comic-book fans have been able to enjoy blockbusters based on some of their favorite characters with an understanding that the films will not be carbon copies of the paper (or digital) pages they turn to — but rather live-action adventures that take inspiration from some of their favorite stories.
“The Dark Knight Rises” wasn’t a re-enactment of “Knightfall,” despite Bane being the villain. “Avengers: Age of Ultron” won’t be a replica of the recent story by Brian Michael Bendis. And then there are the Frank Miller movies.
“Now, who wants to play?”
We get our latest look at a Miller work in motion with the new trailer for “Sin City: A Dame to Kill For.”
A Miller-approved adaptation to the screen is like no other. Maybe it’s because Miller has a seat next to the director (as a co-director working next to Robert Rodriguez), providing guidance on dialogue and visual style.
“Sin City is where you go in with your eyes open … “
In “A Dame to Kill For,” we again get a highly stylized black-and-white film (with the occasional crimson splash) that strives to look like a comic book come to cinematic life. It’s an approach that can bring mixed results.
The first “Sin City,” nearly a decade ago, was commonly seen as visually groundbreaking. Miller’s “The Spirit,” in 2008? Not so much.
In the new “Dame to Kill For” teaser trailer, we see some moving comic-book captions blended with the hard-boiled live-action, signaling to fanboys that this film is flaunting its comic roots.
“Crazy is sounding pretty good right now…”
Will this recipe be enough to lure in the all-important casual, non-geek filmgoer? Well, there is much to suggest it could cross over beyond the fanboy audience, thanks to the incredible visuals inspired by Miller’s art and the bounty of starpower speaking in clipped dialogue — from original “Sin City” cast members (Bruce Willis, Rosario Dawson, Jessica Alba) to newcomers (Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Josh Brolin, Dennis Haysbert and Eva Green).
After viewing this trailer, we are left, mostly, with an essential question: Will “A Dame to Kill For” build on the first “Sin City”? There sometimes is the “deja-view” sensation that despite the optical goodies, we’ve seen all this before. If there is fresh fun, the film should be a hit — even in a city where the definition of that word isn’t always black-or-white.
“You don’t even want to dream about my worst.”
Ultimately, though, the bigger picture is the long arching truth that Miller himself, regardless of this film’s performance, is an unstoppable force. “Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice” (due in 2016) has Miller’s fingerprints all over it, with the movie being loosely based on “The Dark Knight Returns.” Even Ben Affleck’s bat-suit is a tip of the cowl to Miller (with a dash of Jim Lee). When you’ve had the kind of continued impact and received such critical response as he has, the adaptations of Miller’s stylized, high-violence works will keep on coming to sate comic-film fans.
To some film studios, after all, Frank Miller remains a name “to kill for.”