Comic Book Movies of 2012
|FEATURES - MOVIES|
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.
IF YOU ENJOYED THIS ARTICLE, PLEASE HELP SUPPORT OUR SITE, AT NO COST WITH ONE CLICK ON THE FACEBOOK 'LIKE' BUTTON BELOW:
If you're interested in writing for Shadowlocked (disc and screening reviews, etc, or just getting some extra coverage for your extraordinary writing talent, get in touch with us.