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Comic Book Movies of 2012


Decisions, decisions - Caleb Leland has some predictions to share ....

As has been the norm for the last decade, comic book films will be a major draw for filmgoers. And as usual, Marvel will be the most visible comic company with cinematic contributions, with only one contribution from DC. But can that one film take on the stiff competition? Taking an objective look at the main four comic book films coming out next year will give us a better idea of what to expect from these movies. So, like Criswell before me, I sit in my tuxedo and predict which film will reign supreme.

4. Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance

Cast: Nicolas Cage as Johnny Blaze/Ghost Rider, Johnny Whitworth as Roarke Carrigan/Blackout, Ciarán Hinds as The Devil, Idris Elba as Moreau, and Christopher Lambert as a monk.

Story: Blaze is on a self-imposed exile, hiding out in Eastern Europe. He is contacted by Moreau, a member of the Order of Michael, who wants Blaze to look after a mother and son, the latter of which is wanted by the Devil so that he may possess the boy’s body.

What to Expect: Apparently, this isn’t a sequel, at least in the traditional sense, and there will be a new origin story. Co-directors Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor made both Crank films, as well as the screenplay for Jonah Hex. If that doesn’t make for some feelings of apprehension, I’m not sure what does. While Mark Steven Johnson made an entertaining film with Ghost Rider – moody, funny, and able to overcome its flaws – this doesn’t seem to fill me with awe. On the plus side, Cage’s hair piece from the first film is gone, the trailer has a scene of Ghost Rider urinating fire (not sure how that works, since he’s basically a skeleton under the clothes), and Christopher Lambert apparently underwent 3 months of sword training for the film. All fellow Highlander fans say with me: “Nerdgasm”.

3. The Amazing Spider-Man

Cast: Andrew Garfield as Peter Parker/Spider-Man, Emma Stone as Gwen Stacy, Martin Sheen as Ben Parker, Sally Field as May Parker, Denis Leary as George Stacy, Rhys Ifans as Dr. Curt Connors/The Lizard

Story: A new look at Peter Parker and his transformation into the arachnid-powered teenager. Here, we get closer to the comic book story, as we see him dealing with new abilities, high school life, and Gwen Stacy. We also meet Dr. Curt Connors, who tests a reptile-based solution on himself to re-grow his missing arm, but it turns him into the monster The Lizard.

What to Expect: For quite a while, no one could quite agree if this was going to be a reboot, or stories told earlier on in the same continuity as the first Spider-Man trilogy. Apparently, this will be a reboot, taking elements from both the classic and Ultimate (elements such as his parents having a shady history, and his father having invented the web-slinger) comic versions of the title character. It is also rumored to be a darker film, as reported by our own Nicole Ugrin. This has the potential to be a really good film, but it feels to me to be Hollywood reboot that comes far too soon. Add to that the fact that this is only director Marc Webb’s second feature film, and it makes one worry. The trailer is indeed entertaining, but I wonder if it can live up to the first two Sam Raimi-helmed Spider-Man films.

2. The Avengers

The Cast: Robert Downey, Jr. as Tony Stark/Iron Man, Chris Evans as Steve Rogers/Captain America, Chris Hemsworth as Thor, Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury, Scarlett Johansson as Natasha Romanoff, Jeremy Renner as Clint Barton / Hawkeye, Mark Ruffalo as Bruce Banner / Hulk

The Story:
Some of the biggest names in Marvel Comics come together to fight a common enemy. Loki has been confirmed for the film, but it looks like the real baddie of the film will be the Skrulls, a shape shifting alien race first seen in Fantastic Four issue 2, who seem to want to take over the world. We’ll also see the interaction of the characters, who are all very different, but united in their goal.

What to Expect: It’s Joss Whedon! Expect awesome times awesome to the power of awesome! Putting the fanboy adulations aside, Whedon is the best choice for this movie. He’s first and foremost a fan of the source material. He also knows how to deal with characters that are very different, and he knows how to make them work together. And he does well in working with many characters as far as making sure everyone gets their time to shine. In a film like this where there are so many characters vying for screen time, it would easy for some to be nothing more than background filler. Whedon is the sort of writer/director that can bring balance to such a large ensemble group. And the cast is amazing, most of them having proved themselves in previous films. This will be a serious contender for best film of the year, comic book or otherwise.

1. The Dark Knight Rises

The Cast: Christian Bale as Bruce Wayne/Batman, Gary Oldman as Commissioner Gordon, Morgan Freeman as Lucius Fox, Anne Hathaway as Selena Kyle/Catwoman, Tom Hardy as Bane

The Story: As with Nolan’s last two installments in the Batman franchise, a lot of the story is being kept under wraps. What we know is that Batman has been inactive since the events of The Dark Knight, where he took the blame for Harvey Dent’s killings to ensure that his work as D.A. wouldn’t be undone by his work as Two-Face. A new evil is on the rise, in the guise of Bane, the most dangerous foe Batman has ever faced. We also get the treat of seeing Anne Hathaway as Catwoman, and there are rumors that we will get a cameo from Liam Neeson as Ra’s al Ghul, as that Josh Pence will play a younger version of the character in a scene set 30 years before Batman Begins.

What to Expect: Trilogies are tricky. Very often, the third movie is the weakest entry in a series, as we’ve seen in the genre with films like Spider-Man 3 and X-Men: The Last Stand. I’m placing my complete faith in Christopher Nolan, who has made two very solid Batman films. There has been some fan backlash about the casting of Tom Hardy as Bane, who in the comic books was a hulking muscle-bound genius. But like someone recently reminded me, we all had our doubts about Heath Ledger playing such a classic villain as The Joker, and yet he blew us all away with his performance. Hardy is a great actor, and I believe he will be amazing in the role. As this is the last film Nolan is doing before DC and Warner Bros. reboot the character for their upcoming Justice League film and ongoing film franchise (again, shouldn’t there be a moratorium before one does a reboot?), I don’t think they’ll be touching the “Knightfall” storyline from the comics at all (if you’re unfamiliar with the story line, you can get all of it in graphic novel form, please go to your local comic book store and purchase it).

I really think Whedon and his take on The Avengers will give Nolan and Bats a run for their money. You have a proven writer/director with a great cult following taking on one of the longest lasting superhero teams in comics history. Add to that a top notch cast, most of whom have proven that they’re more than adept at playing the roles they’ve been given. But in the end, I truly believe that it’s going to be the deep psychological intricacies of Batman and his story of the mortal man putting his life on the line for the soul of Gotham City that I think will take the prize. I would, however, be happy to be surprised and proven wrong.


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#1 RE: Comic Book Movies of 2012 da master 2012-02-10 07:30
ghost rider: meh, id rather watch all 3 michael bay's transformers movies.

spider-man: ill wait until its out on redbox.

avengers: if this movie fails, my faith in superhero movies will be gone forever. if it doesnt, my heart will belong to whedon.

dark knight rises: i trust nolan, period.
#2 Completely agree, Caleb... Gabriel_Ruzin 2012-02-10 17:10
Can't really see this panning out any other way, both in quality of said movies and box office receipts.

Ghost Rider will bring up the rear, guaranteed. Nobody cares about those movies.

Spider-Man gets my 'enough godd*mn reboots already" rage up. They should have waited for a couple years at least before going through another stupid Spidey origin story, but we know that Hollywood can't leave well enough alone.

The top spot will be between Avengers and DKR, obviously. A lot of comic book nerds are hoping that Avengers does a great job and keeps Marvel's success going, but DKR has more mainstream visibility. Everyone knows who Batman is, and Ledger's Oscar for TDK really got a lot of fans on board who aren't normally into that kind of flick.

Nolan has yet to disappoint and I expect DKR to be epic. Meanwhile, I'm sure that Avengers will be good, but it's far more difficult to juggle a team of heroes as opposed to a lone hero. I figure DKR will win the box office race AND be the best of the year's comic book films.

Another nice article, dude. :)
#3 2012 Comic Movies nothingmusic42 2012-02-14 01:23
Ghost Rider: not looking forward to it, which really sucks for me, since the Dan Ketch run of GR is my favorite comic book of all time. people complain about reboots, but for god's sake, ditch nic cage and reboot GR and marvel could have an excellent franchise.

Amazing Spiderman: i'm probably one of the few people who wasn't a huge fan of the sam raimi spidey. i hated tobey mcguire! kirsten dunst sucked as mary jane. only willem defoe and alfred molina were good in their roles. and spidey didn't have any humor at all. all the emo, none of the wisecracks! i'm definitely looking forward to the new spiderman movie.

Avengers: Joss Whedon is God. marvel has done an excellent job setting this movie up. i just wish they had been able to work out whatever the problem was with ed norton.

Dark Knight Rises: In Nolan we trust! nolan has yet to set a single foot wrong with the dark knight series, and i'm going to trust him with DKR. anne hathaway and tom hardy might not be the obvious choices, but heath ledger as joker made no sense, and he was awesome.

personally, i'm going to see SKR, Avengers, and ASM in theaters.
i'm not going to even bother pirating GR lol.

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