Welcome back! It’s been a few years since I did one of these, but don’t worry. I’m sure you’ve missed them a lot more than I have, but I’m back for another dose of your yearly look ahead to superhero movies.
Last year, we had a slew of hit-and-miss Marvel movies, along with one notable dud from DC. On the one hand, Thor and Captain America seemed to do serviceable jobs of introducing a couple more main characters for the eventual Avengers movie, but they did little else aside from that. X-Men: First Class was pretty good, but it could’ve been capital “G” Great if it had been called, “Magneto: Nazi Hunter,” instead. You can’t tell me that scene in Argentina doesn’t make your dick harder than times in ’29.
Meanwhile, DC/Warner Bros only had one big offering this year, in the form of Green Lantern. It was like a cynical movie executive threw up a movie. Shortly after it was released, star Ryan Reynolds was quoted as saying, “What’d you expect? I played Van Wilder, for God’s sake.”
In a word, 2011 was the year of mediocrity for comic book movies. Sure, the highest grossing movie of the year was Transformers 3, but I think it’s best for the sake of all that is good and pure that we don’t mention it further than that. Nobody ever said that mediocrity doesn’t sell.
Still, though. By and large, superheroes underperformed last year. This year may be more of the same, in some cases, but it also promises a few big-time blockbusters. Without further adieu, let’s stop reminiscing and get to it, starting with…
Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance
Release Date: February 17
Starring: Nicolas Cage, Stringer Bell, and some other people
Directed by: The Guys who Made Crank 1 & 2
Usually, when a “franchise” is rebooted, they kick out all the key players that made the original movie as terrible as it was. In this case, they’ve done a pretty good job of it, yet they kept Nic Cage. Now, I know a lot of people don’t like him, and I’m sure they have their reasons, but I think he’s fantastic.
But the first one was so so so terrible.
Still, this one is directed by the guys who made the Crank movies. Those movies never take themselves seriously, and they’re incredibly action-packed and fun. If they can bring that sort of manic filmmaking to Ghost Rider, and somehow couple it with a decent story, while maintaining a semblance of trueness to character for at least ONE iteration of the Ghost Rider, well, Nic Cage might be able to do the rest and make this into one hell of a movie.
I’m not holding my breath.
I’ll see it, though. Of course I’ll see it. I have nothing else to do with my life.
Release Date: March 9
Starring: The Pussy who Played Gambit in the Wolverine Movie
Directed by: Andrew Stanton (he won a few Oscars and nominations for writing and directing WALL-E and Finding Nemo)
According to the trailers, this movie answers the years-old question (that nobody would ever ask) of, “What happens when you cross Star Wars: Attack of the Clones with Prince of Persia?”
Somehow, though, this movie is getting tons of positive early feedback. I don’t get it. I don’t see it. It looks awful, and I don’t want to ever watch it. Honestly, I don’t even want to waste another word talking about it.
Moving right along, the next superhero movie promises to be a big one. It is none other than…
Release Date: May 4
Starring: Captain America, Iron Man, Thor, Black Widow, Hawkeye, Hulk, and Nick Fury
Directed by: Joss Whedon
So help me God, if they screw this up… I’ve sat through at least four mediocre movies, giving them a free-pass, in the hopes that, if nothing else, they were at least building up to this. Thor could’ve been better. Captain America could’ve been more memorable. But I forgave them. I figured they were necessary movies that needed to happen in order to make this movie mash-up of all those characters really work.
If this sucks (or, worse yet, if it’s just plain, flat-out average), I’m going to be so disappointed. Let’s evaluate the pros and cons.
First of all, since you know I like my dessert first, the pros: Chris Evans is the perfect Captain America. Chris Hemsworth is the perfect Thor. Robert Downey Jr is the perfect Iron Man. Joss Whedon is the perfect choice for director. As he said in a recent interview, he’s been working on this movie since he was 12 years old. He didn’t need to brush up on classic Avenger stories, cuz he’s already read them. On paper, this is a phenomenal group of people to have working on this movie.
Now, I’ll give you the damn veggies: Loki is a lame villain. To anybody who reads comics, the Skrulls are excruciatingly overdone at this point. Scarlett JoBoobs isn’t a good actress, and she makes no sense as Black Widow. Most importantly, it seems that none of the supporting characters from each of the individual movies will play a role in this collaboration. This final point might be completely off-base, as I’m just basing it off the trailers, because I don’t want to be too spoiled going into this one. But if Pepper Potts and Natalie Portman and Betty Ross and Rhodey and all of the characters living in Asgard don’t make it into The Avengers, well, it won’t ring true.
Let’s all just agree to be cautiously optimistic about this movie, and maybe we’ll all be pleasantly surprised when it finally comes out. Good God, I hope I love it.
G.I. Joe: Retaliation
Release Date: June 29
Starring: The Rock and some other jabronies
Directed by: The Guy who Made the Justin Bieber Documentary
I didn’t see the first G.I. Joe movie, because I don’t entirely hate myself. That said, I have no doubts that it was among the worst action movies of all time. I mean, c’mon, it had a Wayon in it. You can’t get more defective than that.
So how is this movie going to sell us on it being worth our time?
1.) Kill off all the original characters in the first act.
2.) Add The Rock.
The Amazing Spider-Man
Release Date: July 3
Starring: The Second Main Kid from The Social Network, Easy A, Denis “I Stole My Routine From Bill Hicks” Leary, The President from West Wing, Forrest Gump’s Mom, and others
Directed by: The Guy who Directed the Romantic Comedy (500) Days of Summer
This movie is going to be the big shocker of the year. It’s going to be bowling-shoe ugly. If you thought that Spider-Man 3 was bad, you’re going to be ashamed of yourself for watching this one. Every single thing I’ve heard about it suggests that the people working on it have no idea what makes the Spider-Man character entertaining.
The problem is the tone, and I’ll tell you why. Spidey’s a sad-sack in a lot of ways. His life sucks. His antics as a superhero are, for lack of a better term, amazing, but, in his personal life, he’s constantly getting crapped on. The fun in the comics comes from the fact that he’s got all this stacked against him, yet, when he puts on his costume, he’s able to rise above it all, as a wise-crackin’ free-wheelin’ son of a bitch.
From what I’ve seen of this movie, he just seems to wallow around like a mopey little chump. The stuff where he’s swinging from building to building looks like it’s done with terrible CGI, and nothing about it screams fun.
I blame the success of The Dark Knight. The tone of that movie was “gritty,” and “realistic,” so they decided to make a Spider-Man movie using Batman as a template. The two characters are so incredibly different, though, that it just doesn’t jive.
Prove me wrong, Spider-Man. I don’t want to hate you.
The Dark Knight Rises
Release Date: July 20
Directed by: The Guy who Directed Batman
I have no opinion of this movie.
I’ve avoided any possible spoilers for this one since the word go. The picture I posted on here was one that a buddy of mine posted to my Facebook wall quite a few months ago. I don’t know anything beyond it.
I don’t know what Bane looks like. I don’t know what Catwoman looks like. I don’t even know if those are the main villains in the movie; that’s just what I was told by my FB buddy ’round about a year ago.
The thing is, there’s no reason for this movie to try to sell me on it. I loved Batman Begins, and I loved The Dark Knight even more. I’ll be there opening day for The Dark Knight Rises. They can quit with the marketing campaign already.
Release Date: September 21
Starring: Karl Urban?
Directed by: Nobody
This is going to be the worst movie of the year. No questions asked.