Welcome to my semi-annual blog round-up discussion thing for all the upcoming superhero movies in the coming year!
I haven’t done one of these in the past couple of years, mostly because these round-ups are pretty much all about hype, and, these days, I try to avoid hype as much as possible.
For instance, as some of you may remember, I tried to go into the last Batman movie without seeing a single thing about the movie beforehand.
The main reason for this is because I know I’m in the target demographic for these movies, and I know that I’ll inevitably see almost all of them, whether I want to or not (I see lots of movies), so I may as well let myself be as surprised as I can be, right?
This past year of superhero movies proved a couple of things:
1. After nearly a decade of these things bombarding movie-going audiences, there’s still no let-up in sight.
2. More and more, you can tell the difference between a good superhero movie and a bad superhero movie based solely on what studio is making it. Marvel Studios? Good. Any Other Studio on the Planet? Terrible.
We don’t need to spend too much time living in the past, but it’s simple science.
Good movies from last year: Iron Man 3, Thor 2.
God-awful, rotten movies from last year: Man of Steel, The Wolverine, Kick-Ass 2.
Let’s see if this pattern holds through 2014.
The first big superhero movie of the year comes in a mere two weeks, on 4 April, when Captain America: The Winter Soldier hits theatres across the world.
If you want, you can already go online and watch this movie in its entirety, so long as you have a lot of patience and a decent imagination.
As of posting, there are now three trailers, over ten :30 spots, six clips, multiple reviews, and the directors – - Joe and Anthony Russo – - recently held a Q&A discussing post-credit scenes and the ending.
I just wonder who they’re trying to sell on this, at this point.
If you don’t know what to expect from a Captain America movie by now, I’m not sure what to think of you, as a person.
Like, how could you be so oblivious as to not know anything about the characters/actors involved, yet NOT so oblivious so as to actually still potentially be interested? I mean, if you really don’t care, you never will, but who’s the guy who just hasn’t heard the pitch on why he should give Cap a chance yet?
Call me crazy, but The Avengers seems like it was a pretty solid 2-hour advertisement for the next wave of Marvel movies, and I’m pretty sure the Avengers-franchise movies have collectively sold more tickets than “Gone with the Wind” by now. What’s not to get?
And yet. They have to sell, sell, sell. Always Be Closing.
Oh, but this movie will be great. It’s based on Ed Brubaker’s already-classic run on the comic, and Chris Evans has proven himself to be spectacular in the title role. Well, the title role to the left of the colon.
Next up, we have The Amazing Spider-Man 2 on 2 May.
Remember back when Spider-Man 3 killed a franchise by shoe-horning in too many villains into the same story, leaving us with a bloated, rushed, unremarkable, steaming, stinking pile of garbage?
Well, the good news it that, even if this movie also sucks hard enough to kill a franchise, Sony’s already green-lit two more sequels, so… it’s got that going for it.
Which is nice.
See, the thing is, Sony has to keep making Spider-Man movies, and they have to show a commitment to producing more in the future, otherwise Marvel Studios could potentially buy the film rights for Spider-Man back, and then they could put him into the next Avengers movie, leaving Sony out in the cold.
The solution, I guess, is to keep pouring millions of dollars into the franchise, regardless of the quality, and squeeze every single drop of potential out of it while they can.
That’s why this movie features Elektro, Rhino, and the Green Goblin, with hints in the trailer toward including Doctor Octopus and the Vulture somewhere down the road.
I guess it’s building toward a new version of the Sinister Six?
This movie will be terrible. I’ll be there on opening weekend.
The next big superhero movie of the year comes out on 23 May, when X-Men: Days of Future Past is released.
I’m torn on this movie.
On the one hand, I have seen the trailer, and it is indeed awesome-looking (though that music – - the main theme from the movie “Sunshine” – - could sell me on just about anything).
On the other hand, it’s bringing back all of the characters from X-Men 3, a mess of a movie that should never be mentioned again, outside of roundtable discussions between people talking about the worst movies ever made.
And when I say that it’s bringing back all of the characters from X-Men 3, I’m saying it’s even including all of those Gen-X goth kids who hang out in the woods with Magneto, dressed in black leather and decked out with facial tattoos (BECAUSE THEY ARE SO HARD).
Some things are best left in the past, aren’t they? I mean, can’t they at least show a little shame?
I don’t go around insisting all of my new friends look at pictures of me from my high school yearbook, so why does the X-Men franchise insist on reminding us of the darkest, most embarrassing chapter of its existence?
Still, I loved First Class. My only hope for this movie is that Wolverine travels back in time within the first ten minutes, and, from there, we’re just given a straight-up First Class sequel.
On the other hand, it’s directed by the guy who brought us “Jack the Giant Slayer” and “Valkyrie.”
There are, evidently, a ton of “other hands.”
Bottom line is the same as the top on this one: I’m torn.
About a month later, UGHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH…
Transformers: Age of Extinction comes out on 27 June.
Later on in the summer, Marvel Studios has a lot riding on its next big franchise hopeful, when Guardians of the Galaxy is released on 1 August.
When this movie was initially announced, I was really excited for it, as I was a huge, huge fan of the comic that this team is based on – - the version of the Guardians that hit shelves back when Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning were off in a corner of the Marvel Universe playing around with the cosmic characters.
While everybody else was paying attention to the events of the Civil War, DnA were revitalizing a superhero team that hadn’t seen much play in a couple decades.
And now they’re making a movie about it!
Slowly, over the months, as I’ve seen more and more about what this movie could potentially end up as, my enthusiasm has faded. That post-credits clip from Thor 2 was really… awful.
I’m still excited, and I’m still hoping for a great, surprising movie; but, unfortunately, my optimism has been tempered by a great deal of caution that’s growing every day.
This movie could definitely dazzle all of us, and I’m open to that possibility, but I’m starting to think the odds of that happening are less and less likely.
Next up, we have Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, set to be released on 8 August.
I could see this being delayed, as I haven’t heard much of anything about it yet. I’m not aware if they’ve even released concept art yet, which is kind of surprising.
When they announced this movie, they initially said the Turtles were going to be aliens, and they weren’t going to be teenagers.
Thankfully, they’ve walked that back, but it still doesn’t fill me with a lot of hope that this movie will be any good.
Like I said when talking about last year’s Superman movie, I don’t think it matters how faithful you are to the source material (whatever that means), but if you’re planning on making a movie about a certain character or set of characters, you should probably at least include the basic, fundamental building blocks of that character or set of characters.
I mean, if you want to make a Superman movie where Superman recklessly destroys an entire city and murders his enemies, why even bother making it a Superman movie? Why not use a different character entirely?
What I’m getting at is this: If you don’t want to make a movie about teenaged mutant turtles who also happen to be ninjas, why not just make a different movie with different characters?
The last thing we need is another comics movie that’s ashamed to be based on a comic.
I think I might just stick with my old VHS copy of the original Turtles movie.
Besides, that at least has that Pizza Hut commercial at the beginning, which shows more charm in 30 seconds than this new movie will probably have throughout its entire run-time.
Rounding out the year, we have Sin City: A Dame to Kill For, set to be released on 22 August.
When reached for comment, Frank Miller was quoted as saying, “Didn’t we all get sick of me, like, five years ago? I mean, like, really sick of me?”
We sure did.