With the release of the Captain America: The First Avenger trailer yesterday, it dawned on me, there are so many comic book/graphic novel inspired films this year. Some films are sequels, or re-inventions, some are one time happenings, and others are making comic fanboys drool. The question is will they be worth your time, or are they simply bleeding this genre dry? As a big fan of comic books it is my duty to help steer you clear or direct you to the hits and the misses this upcoming movie year.
The year started out with a wimper. The Green Hornet was the first film inspired by a comic book. Starring Seth Rogen (The Green Hornet) and Jay Chou (Kato) this film attempted to be funny, and humorous while also being action packed. Christoph Waltz played the villain-even a man who won an Academy Award for playing such a great villain in Inglorious Basterds could not help save this film. The two did not mix well in this film, it was loud and the plot was contrived. The film was directed by Michel Gondry (Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind) and Seth Rogen helped write the screenplay. Fanboy Grade: C
By the Hammer of Thor! The next comic book film to be released in movie theatres is of course Thor on May 6th. I was skeptical about this project but after watching a series of previews, I have faith that this not as popular marvel character will provide us with a great comic book film. Now this is just a hypothesis so do not take me at face value, but with Kenneth Branagh in the director's chair his attention to detail could make this project worthwhile. The cast is also impressive with Natalie Portman as Thor's love interest, Anthony Hopkins as Odin, and newcomer Chris Hemsworth as Thor (looks exactly like what Thor should look like.)
Fanboy Grade: A Must See!
The X-Men are going back to their origins on June 3rd, well the origins according to their writers and the studios. X-Men: First Class takes a look at the relationship between Charles Xavier-Professor X (James McAvoy) and Magneto's (Michael Fasbender) and their division in starting both the X-Men and the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants. My first problem is they aren't actually using the original team they are using characters as they please. They are using Havok instead of Cyclops-that makes no sense! As an avid X-Men fan I could go on for days about this, but I digress. The trailer looks good, the director Matthew Vaughn (Kick-Ass) has handled comic book material before, and it has Emma Frost. This movie has potential to go either way, I will probably be there at midnight becuase I love the X-Men, but I am not 100% sold on this movie. Fanboy Grade: See it, No High Expectations.
I have not admit I am not very familiar with the next film I am going to talk about. I have talked to a lot of my friends who read comic books and they are very excited the Green Lantern on June 17th. I think I am slightly excited about this film for two reasons, it has Ryan Reynolds and he will be a great Hal Jordan and two it will give me insight into the world of Green Lantern. I have some reservations about this film like X-Men: First Class like casting Blake Lively as the the love interest (not a fan), but with Martin Campbell who has handled adaptations (Casino Royale, The Mask of Zorro) on board and quality writer Greg Berlanti, this film could soar or tank. Fanboy Grade: Excited because its new to me, but have reservations.
Avengers Assemble! I am so excited for The Avengers film in 2012, and seeing that they are doing a film for each character in the film is also great (except Hawkeye). Captain America is iconic because of what he represents, prior to the Civil War storyline, and his current storyline I found Steve Rogers, well....BORING! The movie looks like it has potential to be good, again great cast with Tommy Lee Jones, Stanley Tucci, Chris Evans (they could have gotten a better actor), but it is Hugo Weaving as the Red Skull that has me most excited about this film. Overall I think like the other films could go either way, but I am not as excited about it. Fanboy Grade: Will see it, but not on the top of my must see films list.
The last film Cowboys and Aliens got laughs when they had the previews before Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1- and they weren't good laughs. Jon Favreau (Iron Man) will be directing an all star cast with Harrison Ford, and Daniel Craig leading the charge. I will eat my hat if this film is good, I think like the preview this movie looks laughable and not in a good way...nuff said. Fanboy Grade: Wouldn't see it for a Dollar at the Redbox.
As this year comes to a close there are other films that may also be comic book based that have no release dates Ghost Rider 2: Spirit of Vengence (yes they are doing this), Sin City 2, Deadpool and some others (which I think will be released in 2012). I hope the mass release of films inspired by comic books/graphic novels does not hinder the quality of filmmaking, or make audiences tired of these types of films. My fear is that it may be too late, remember comic book movie makers "With great power comes great responsibility."