Sunday, February 5, 2012

Five Comic Book Movies Coming Out In 2012

Since today was the Super Bowl, traditionally a huge day for new comic book movie trailers (though not so much this year), I thought I'd go ahead and give my two cents on which comic book movies scheduled for release this year will likely get my filmgoing dollars.

I'm  generally pretty picky about when I go to see movies.  They either have to be from a franchise or mythology that I have affection for (think Harry Potter, Transformers, Spider-Man, the Muppets, etc.), or they have to be extremely imaginative, well-marketed, or recommended to me by people I trust (The Social Network, Avatar, and Scott Pilgrim vs. the World [at the time] fit this category for me).  Comic book movies generally fall into the first category for me, but even then it's not always a guarantee that I'll go see it.  I didn't, for example, see Daredevil in the theaters, thank goodness, and I've yet to watch either of the Fantastic Four movies at all.

Five fairly big movies are due out this year, though whether or not they all qualify as comic book movies is up for debate.  It seems like overall it'll be a pretty good year for comic book movies--particularly comic book movies that feature women in black leather.  I'll elaborate below:

  • Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance--This one comes out in less than two weeks, and I have to say, it looks to be the least promising of the bunch.  Granted, it seems considerably darker and more serious in tone than its cheesy predecessor, but there are a few moments from the trailers that just look contrived, juvenile, or just plain bad.  Still, I rather did enjoy the first Ghost Rider, so I may give this one a shot despite my misgivings.  At the very least, I'll have plenty of words for the review if it's bad.
Scarlet Johansen in black leather?
  • The Avengers--The only thing that would keep me from seeing this as soon as it releases would have to be a serious medical condition.  Seriously.  I've known--known, this was coming since I stayed behind after the end of Iron Man and saw the post-credits scene in 2008.  Iron Man?  Check.  Hulk?  Not the same actor, but check.  Thor?  Check.  Captain America?  Check.  Plenty of cameos tying their films together to create a unified cinematic universe?  Check.  Awesome writer, creator, comic book fanboy Joss Whedon directing?  Check.  Big, titanic, unknown threat to Earth requiring the formation of a team of heroes who otherwise probably shouldn't be working together?  Check.  This promises to be a superhero team movie extravaganza, and it looks like it will deliver the goods in spades at this point.  It was already a foregone conclusion that plenty of comic book nerds were going to check this one out, but with the premier of today's trailer during the SuperBowl, you can be sure that plenty of others will be joining them in lining up to see this one when it opens in about three months.
  • G.I. Joe: Retaliation--Okay, a few things here.  First of all, calling G.I. Joe a comic book franchise is a shaky move, at best.  I remember it as a toy and a cartoon before a comic.  Granted, I wasn't reading comics at the time the cartoon came out, but clearly it existed as a toy line long before that.  Still, it had a significant run as a comic book series, so I suppose I'll give it a pass for that reason.  The next issue is the lackluster performance of the last G.I. Joe film, The Rise of Cobra.  Honestly, aside from watching Snake Eyes's action scenes, I was thoroughly disappointed.  With all of that said, however, I will also say that the trailers for this one look promising, as does the basic premise, in which they're framed and all but a few are killed, then must fight back on their own.  Will it get me into the theaters?  I'm not sure yet.  I'll probably wait to hear some initial reviews and make the call then, but at this point, I'm slightly leaning to yes... barely.
  • The Amazing Spider-Man--Anyone who knows me has a pretty good idea that I'll see this one.  I'm a pretty big fan of all things Spider-Man, and thought the previous film franchise was pretty good.  This is a reboot, where they start from scratch again, and it looks like they're going to incorporate story elements that were hardly even considered in the first set of films--most notably the use of Gwen Stacey as a major character.  Its tone appears more subdued and dark than the previous movies as well, which I really like.  Oh, and last but not least, it looks like the Lizard is the main villain in this film--one of Spidey's oldest and, pound for pound, most dangerous foes.  You can bet I'll be in the theaters for this one.
Anne Hathaway in black leather?  Check!
  • The Dark Knight Rises--Okay, first of all, if you haven't seen the first two Batman films done by Christopher Nolan, I'm forced to question your competence as a living being.  Seriously, like them or not (and there are people who don't like them), they put an important spin on the Batman mythology that continues to influence the comics every bit as much as they were influenced by them in their creation.  The Dark Knight Rises is the third and final story within this franchise.  Will the brutal new villain Bane break Batman, or worse, eight years after the events of the second movie?   Internal and external conflict abound in this film, and it sets up a mood that suggests that perhaps not everyone who used to be in Bruce's corner is necessarily there anymore.  The realism and premise of this franchise absolutely guarantees that I'll be in the theaters to see how this all plays out, possibly at a midnight premier showing.  Given the popularity of Nolan's work with these films thus far, you can bet I won't be the only one there.

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