Last year saw the release of quite a few new movies based on comic books. On the one hand, you had the incredibly decent films like “V for Vendetta,” and on the other, we were left with quite disappointing fare in the likes of “Superman Returns” and “X3: The Last Stand.” When all was said and done, it became clear that the important thing about making comic book movies is that it is absolutely essential that you take your time to do it right and be true to the source material. “Superman Returns” took its time (a bit too much), and, while we could argue its merits for quite awhile, it sure had all the elements that make Superman what he is. Unfortunately, those elements are pretty boring. But, they were there. “X3,” however, was a huge rush-job, forcing director Brett Ratner against an un-Godly deadline that made it nearly impossible for him to work out the kinks and make the movie the way it should’ve been done. With that said, I’m glad to report that there are a number of comic book movies being produced right now that won’t see the light of day until 2008. So, before we look at what’s due out this year, let’s take a moment to thank the people involved with “Iron Man,” “The Dark Knight,” and “Sin City 2″ for not rushing things.
First up this year, due for a February 16th release date is Ghost Rider, starring Nicolas Cage and Eva Mendes. I’m going to see this movie in theatres, simply because I want to see how horrible it could possibly be. The special effects look staggeringly bad, and the previews seem to be playing for campy laughs more than anything else, which seems like a poor choice. Granted, I’ve never read anything with Ghost Rider in it (other than the New Fantastic Four), but, it just seems like they could’ve done a better job of making this look exciting. I disagreed with casting Nicolas Cage from the beginning (I mean, come on, hair plugs?), and I can’t say that the promotional material for this has made me change my mind. It seems like if you’re a Marvel franchise that’s not Spider-Man or the X-Men (until last summer), your movie is destined to suck. I’m guessing this will be lumped together with Hulk, Daredevil, and the Fantastic Four after time’s done with it.
Next up, on March 9th, we’ll see the release of 300, based on Frank Miller’s graphic novel, which shows the epic battle between 300 Spartans and an enormous Persian army. I have to say, I had no excitement whatsoever for this movie until my older brother showed me the new trailer over Christmas. Simply put, I’ll be first in line to see this when it comes out. It seems to have that hard-headed bravery that borders on insanity down pat, and I can’t wait to watch what will no doubt go down as one of the toughest movies of the year. Tonight, we dine in hell. Indeed.
On March 23, we see the return to the big screen of everyone’s favorite heroes in a half-shell, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. This is going to be a computer graphic type cartoon movie, ala Shrek and the Incredibles and all that other Pixar crap. While I completely disagree with the style (why can’t we have 2D cartoons anymore?), I think that they’ll be able to pull it off well enough. The trailers look pretty, at least. The problem for me is that I have no interest in seeing the TMNT again. They’ve worn out their welcome. I’ve seen the first live-action movie hundreds of times, and, when I was a kid, I was all about my TMNT bedsheets, lunchbox, NES games, and action figures. Today, though, well, I’d prefer to be left with my nostalgia, rather than having to get my hopes up for what promises to be another let-down in the stream of non-stop Ninja Turtle related let-downs. Just leave me in peace with my original movie and TMNT 3: The Manhattan Project on my regular old Nintendo. That’s all I ask.
Possibly the most anticipated movie of the year, certainly in terms of comic book movies, is due out on May 4th. The third installment of Sam Raimi’s smashingly successful franchise, Spider-Man 3 truly needs no introduction. Spider-Man will face off against Sandman, Green Goblin 2, and, eventually, Venom in what will no doubt be one of the summer’s biggest blockbusters. The previews look great, and I can’t wait for it. My only complaint so far is that they’re getting the Sandman involved as the real killer of Ben Parker, which is lame and totally ruins Pete’s motivations for doing what he does. If Sandman’s responsible, there’s really no way that Pete could’ve foreseen or stopped that, so there’s no reason for him to feel he needs to act responsibly with his powers. Whatever. It should be sweet.
On June 15th, yet another Marvel property and yet another sequel hits the screens, when Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer hits the big screen. I pretty much hated the first FF, but I saw it as a way of getting all the boring origin crap out of the way, so that, if a sequel were ever made, they’d be able to just jump right into the fun. Hopefully, that’s what this will be. Granted, Jessica Alba’s still there, and she’ll still be saying stuff, but hopefully that won’t detract from the awesomeness of the Silver Surfer. That teaser trailer gets my blood pumping, that’s for sure. If they stick with long shots like that, rather than just jumping all over the place like a Pokemon fan in the middle of an epileptic seizure, then, yes, I think this movie could be something special. Now, if only they’d have Jessica Alba use her invisibility powers from the opening to the close, we’d have something to really look forward to.
Last, but certainly not least, we have the release of the live-action Transformers on July 4th. I already talked at great length about this movie awhile back, but I’d like to add something here. Regardless of my negativity, I still see this as a glass that’s half full. I desperately want to love the living hell out of this movie. If they can pull that off, well, then, I will be more than willing to take back every critical thing I’ve said about it and sing the praises of Michael Bay for the rest of my life.
‘Til all are one!