“Superhero movies are hot.”
It’s something, I guarantee you, has been slipping from the lips of Hollywood execs since Bryan Singer launched the X-Men film franchise based on Stan Lee’s narrative comment on the changing civil rights landscape that polarized much of the American sixties.
I also guarantee you that this simple statement isn’t ended with the tag-on , “… right now.”
The reason? Comics are constantly being produced. Big, iconic characters such as Spider-man and Batmanare constantly changing to match the time they are read in. And new properties such as Robert Kirkman’sWalking Dead are causing Hollywood industry insiders to constantly peruse the comic shelves for new intellectual properties to jump on and buy up for development in the future. All this and Hollywood has come to seemingly rely on the relationship comic book properties have with the “summer blockbuster”.
But, while it is financially advantageous for superheroes and other comic book staples to be linked so closely to the “summer blockbuster”, it also brings its fair share of drawbacks. The big one being lack-luster, committee developed films that are more closely related to Director Michael Bay’s (Transformers, Pearl Harbor) somewhat hollow filmmaking sensibilities, than say Steven Spielberg’s Jaws that almost single-handedly created the term. This is a sad fact that hasn’t changed even with Marvel’s major move to buy back many of its licenses and control its characters big screen versions, with some serious hit or miss outcomes. Iron Man worked for Jon Favreau, but Edward Norton’s Hulk had such a high degree of rumored meddling from Marvel Studios that it caused Norton to throw his hands up and end his involvement with the company once the film wrapped, and a resulting film that didn’t wow anyone. There are exceptions to the rule, most notably Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man(discounting the third and final installment which was an unmitigated mess), and the cake topper, Christopher Nolan’s Batman, with the second installment being arguably one of the best films made this century!
But, as we look to this year’s coming attractions in the spandex department, the question remains, do we have anything to look forward to, or are we looking at a year of expensive polished turds? Let’s sound them off shall we; Marvel finishes much of its Avengers movie prequels with Captain America: The First Avenger and the Kenneth Branagh helmed Thor. Fox has their reboot/prequel X-Men: First Class, directed by Kick-Ass (which fell short of its printed origin) director, Matthew Vaughn. On the DC side of things, less is more seems to be the motto based on purely film count, as they focus their attention on one movie in which they CG clothe Ryan Reynolds as The Green Lantern and think that this will be enough to hold DC fans until The Dark Knight Rises in 2012. Add to this the indie press alternative called Cowboys and Aliens with Iron Man’s Jon Favreau at the helm and starring Daniel Craig and Harrison Ford, and you’ve got your 2011 major comic conversion line-up.
There is some potential in this line-up, but nothing that gleams like the Spider-man reboot or final NolanBatman film slated for 2012. So what could be lurking in the shadows to jump these high-budget, spandex Ballets (I’m English, look it up)? A blonde, skinny, ripped kid, dressed in a black hoodie and who listens to Bach!
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