Alright, so before I got back into comics last summer I didn't read a lot of fiction. I consumed all of the news possible, a litany of political science texts, philosophy etc. But one work of "modern" fiction I finally read (4 years after it came out) was Ernie Cline's "Ready Player One." I was hooked, and when the movie was released, I had to go see that movie on opening night. So after everyone in my house was asleep, I was off to the release of the film.
Why exactly is all of this relevant to a nanotechnology infused Vin Diesel? Because Bloodshot, like Ready Player One is something I re-read in anticipation of the film coming out (something I normally don't do...). I also walked out of Bloodshot feeling the same way I did after Ready Player One:
Do not let the negative second grade scare you away from going to see the film if you are a fan of the Bloodshot books. I believe there are most of the underlying elements of the book version there, in terms of his origin, but that is where most of the similarities stop, in comparing at least the first 3 trades + Harbinger Wars #1. I'll spend some time below highlighting the similarities and differences.
Things the Movie Nails from the books:
1. You have a highly successful soldier have a mission go wrong, where he dies.
2. He is brought back to life via nanotechnology by a corporation (PRS in the books, PRT in the movie)
3. He has no memory of who he really is, not even a name.
4. However, over time, memories of the death of his wife motivate him to kill (which you find out are all faked and programmed to create targets by PRT). The first time "the script" plays its way out, it is actually very well done (the song as a PTSD trigger) especially when they revisit the "script" later on and talk about how tacky and over the top it was. It was a nice gag.
Major Departures from the Books:
1. The psyots (functional mutants) do not exist at all. The targets of Bloodshot's missions are former executives from PRT who have defected from the company who stand in the way of the handsome Guy Pearce who is ready to sell the technology.
2. The civilian nurse character does not exist in the quest to bring Bloodshot back, but it is two functionally new characters who help him break free from his programming: KT (who is also modified with PRT Technology) and Wigans (a programmer who worked for a PRT programmer).
3. We don't get the vampiric-skinned bloodshot with a massive red dot. We get the "I Am Groot," Pitch Black, lead of almost all 9 of the movies which are fast and furious. We get a nod to the circle-in-the-chest each time his nanites are replenished. The closest we get to the original Bloodshot look is in the final battle arc as the nanites are "overclocked."
4. Unlike the memories which are all false in the comics (I believe) and the different wives are the names of high school girlfriends of the programmer, Ray's wife is very much real, but we learn that they separated because of a different view on his service in the field. I do think that creates deeper empathy for Bloodshot, because it's not all fake, but there is no understanding of what is real.
5. Instead of consuming any protein to recharge the nanites, he must return to the machinery at PRT to have new nanites implanted.
I think this film was good enough to create an anchor for Valiant to establish a foothold in the superhero film genre. I think the origin of bloodshot, and the team established at the end could do an excellent job playing out some of the Harbinger-wars type stuff, or the creation of Harada as the overall villain in later films (think the rise of Thanos). Even though it will take a box office hit because of COVID-19 and all of this Social Distancing business, I think I'd put this in the must-watch category for anyone who gets super hyped about any kind of comic film.
I thought the cast was brilliant, the CGI was good enough especially with a lot of the high-speed reconstruction they have to do as Bloodshot is being quickly rebuilt mid-battle (unlike a Wolverine's regeneration). I also am not adverse to the creation of KT and Wigans (who is fucking hilarious) as counter-balances to the super aggro bloodshot. If you feel comfortable going out to a theater, as long as you can sit 6 feet away from someone, the I'd go do it...unless you are sick, then stay the F home!
The journey of a 30-something father of three who's trying to break into the world of reviewing comics after a loooooong hiatus...