Movie Preview, 2012-2013
Editor's Note: In which our panel discuss trailers, teaser videos and images for comic book related movies slated for release in 2012-2013.
Oh, hello comic aficionados, movie fans and trailer junkies. Last time we convened, there was much revelry in movies of Summer Present. But today, we relegate those to the days of Summers Past, to be remembered fondly, no doubt! We now gaze boldly to 2012 and beyond, a realm scantily clad in wallpaper-worthy screenshots, the minutes of excruciating credits have rolled past our eyes so we could glimpse just a few seconds of glory. Ahh, there are plenty of surprises coming I can hardly -- wait, how many remakes are coming out next year? COME ON!
Come now, Anth, were you expecting anything different? Let's just agree that comic book movies are starting to get as recursive as the comic books themselves. We are dealing with 1 sequel, 2 reboots and one, um, Avengers movie. Not even sure how to classify that one. A mega-sequel?
Every reboot on this list is another hairy mole on the ass we consumers kiss every time we shell out our $. The big wigs know we'll pay to see more of the same, so why even bother with something new? Ahh I'm raging too much, I digress!
Yeah, let me just set you up with a tranquilizer and then we'll get to it. To narrow it down, we'll be talking about the big comic book movies of next summer: The Dark Knight Rises, The Avengers, The Amazing Spider-Man and, as a bonus, Superman: The Man of Steel (which is technically a 2013 movie, but what the hell, I wanted to rag on Zack Snyder some more).
I submit next year's safe bet for highest gross sales at the box office: The Avengers!
My pick would be The Dark Knight Rises but I must say that Marvel has done everything right (except for how they handled Ed Norton) in planning and protecting their individual franchises to establish the enormous scale of the Avengers epic.
Yup, but can such a ripe cast of characters be brought together and still deliver a stellar performance? What dynamic will emerge as each character now must share the spotlight?
It is a legit concern. The movie could end up suffering from a Transformers-like bloat as a result of too many characters. That being said, unlike DC, which once halfheartedly mentioned a plan for a JLA movie, Marvel has gradually, over the last 3-5 years, been collecting the talent and planning the plot for one of its premier super teams.
And, since Whedon is brilliant at introducing his audience to an existing family of misfits, I'm feeling pretty confident with my bet! We Browncoats grew to love the tough exterior, but mushy hearts of Firefly(+Serenity)'s crew, so I'm confident Whedon will forge an Avengers team the viewer can get fully invested in. The individual character setup is unprecedented for a first entry in to a superhero 'team' movie, and I think Avengers will benefit enough to be better than Marvel's first, X-Men.
Editor's Note: "Browncoat" is a term used to describe fans of Joss Whedon's short-lived sci-fi television show, Firefly.
Yeah, it definitely goes a long way towards building good will when you've got a guy like Whedon helming all of that awesome acting talent. Now, I'm still not entirely sure what kind of villain we can expect for the movie. I mean, the Cap movie alluded to the presence of the Cosmic Cube, the trailer shows glimpses of Loki. We know from the initial Ultimate Avengers run (which this recent batch of Marvel movies definitely draws from) that the Skrulls were featured. Could they be involved?
Editor's Note: A Cosmic Cube is a relic that grants the holder near-omnipotent power. The Skrulls are an race of shape shifting aliens hell bent on invading Earth.
Honestly I have no idea what the hell any of those antagonist options are. But whatever, a cube, Loki, Skrulls, bring it on -- regardless, we know that we'll be treated to some great action and storytelling without the need for building any heavy character back story.
Speaking of heavy back story, our next movie on the list: The Amazing Spider-Man. I'll be honest, the trailer got a big shrug of the shoulders from me. I really like Andrew Garfield as an actor (re: Boy A, The Social Network) and I'm a big fan of Marc Webb's debut movie (500) Days of Summer so I think they could help towards making a new, existing Spider-Man movie. But that being said, another drawn out origin story? We need to learn more about his parents? I feel like this is an odd direction to take. And don't get me started on that first person perspective stuff in the trailer. It looks like a bad video game cut scene.
Editor's Note: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WjAFBQYxVMk
Actually I thought the 1st person wall-crawling looked cool in the trailer, but come on, does anybody remember The Rock in Doom and how awkward you felt watching first person shooting on the big screen? It doesn't work. Special effects in the first set of flicks was cool, and the stories captured the Spiderman essence (ie: Animated 90's cartoon), but how many times can we swallow the great power = responsibility pill? Should Garfield fear typecasting here?
Well I'm not too worried about Garfield's acting future (I think he has the chops) but, as you say, this movie just feels exhausted. Of the four movies we are talking about this one seems the most uninspired. Marvel just seems to be squeezing this franchise for as much as it can, as quickly as it can.
And we can smell that steaming gravy train a mile away. Fans have now had the chance to read the books, see the movie, and see the NEW movie! Wash and repeat as much as you like, but colours fade fast on red webbed spandex. Bah enough bashing - let's get grim, put on our hockey pads and go for one more romp through Gotham.
Ok, now we get to the movie I am really excited about. The final Christopher Nolan Batman movie to finish the trilogy: The Dark Knight Rises (I knew they would shoehorn "The Dark Knight" in the title somehow). I admit I probably can't rationally talk about this film. I am an unabashed Nolan fanboy, I like all of his films all the way back to his first, Following. He is one of the few directors today to burst from the independent scene (Memento), produce bold, original movies (The Prestige, Inception) while also playing within the Hollywood system (the Batman movies, Insomnia). To me, this is all really impressive in the current movie culture.
Well, well! If I was sporting a Browncoat earlier, you've donned Nolan's very skin. But I can't disagree with you -- The Dark Knight Rises is gonna be a wild ride if history is any indication.
The teaser trailer set up the movie really nicely. It established the theme they were going for, that Batman has to return and save Gotham from its ultimate destruction (at the hands of Bane, apparently). I don't see how it is possible to not get pumped up for the movie. It is pushing that great cast (all the returning favourites, plus Cotilliard, Hathaway and Hardy), great production team and Nolan helming the whole thing with his steady hand. Alright, I've gushed enough, you want to add anything?
Batman has been a successful reboot because it doesn't hold any punches. We have felt that all hope is lost, and so does Bruce. The movies are 95% bleak, only small rays of good permeating the grime of Gotham. But the Dark Knight saving the day and riding off in to the night without want or need for fame slots Batman in to a category of hero we are unaccustomed to. Is the contrast so high because the pre-Nolan Batman films were too jokey and safe? By staying true to its themes and delivering a tone to match, these films have elevated the Batverse above its predecessors to deliver a higher caliber of hero.
Well said, and I will add that, as always, a combination of talent, vision and execution has made these Batman movies what they are (and hopefully will be). Just don't get me started on those older Batman movies. They just got worse and worse, until they reached an embarrassing nadir. And wouldn't you know it, moving to another DC property, this is also what happened with the Superman movies as well. After one failed reboot, DC is trying again!
Honestly, can we please just let it go! How can Man of Steel "out-Superman" the original films? Will this 2nd reboot of the franchise save our mild-mannered reporter's inability to escape his own looming shadow (re: the great Reeves)? DC is struggling in the war of comic movies, so what do they need to get out of the slump?
Full disclosure: I thought Superman Returns was ok, albeit a bit uneven. One minute it is serious, then it is going for laughs. It had some standout moments (Superman stopping the crashing plan, or hanging onto half of the boat), but I think it was a mistake to try to go with the retro 80s look. No way could they replace the magic of those original two movies (we'll forget the two that followed) and the charm of Christopher Reeves. To that end, they brought in the modern filmsmith Zack Snyder to push the new product into an edgy territory (how much slo-mo can we expect?) and cast an intriguing Henry Cavill.
I imagine a huge flop. I could be pleasantly surprised, but I don't think you can put yourself up against a film classic and come out on top. If we are to compare this to the original Superman movie, in my opinion there's never going to be a contest. Reeves is too well-remembered in our collective hearts. Let me put it this way, can you perceive a reboot of Batman after this series of films are over?
You know, I feel like the Nolan trilogy should stand for awhile because of its definitive quality but when 500 million dollars per movie (or more!) are at stake, you can never say never. For Superman to be successful on that level, it is going to have to strive for that type of quality despite the enduring memory of Reeves' portrayal. To that end, DC has re-cast they're General Zod (to urge us to forget Terrance Stamp instead) with Michael Shannon (a hugely menacing actor) so that, I think, at least bodes well. But it is hard, as you say, to foresee anything better than a mild, mild success. DC has just been all over the map with their movie production and that is to say nothing of the remake fatigue.
At what point do the diminishing returns on investment blot out any profits you may milk from a dried up franchise's teat? Does Superman have enough meat to be successful on the scale of Dark Knight? I think it did, and it's been done. If Man of Steel brings up box-office stones, will DC get the message it's time to move on, that the well is dry?
I hope they eventually get the message, or we'll be talking about these same franchises until the end of days. And on that optimistic note we've come to the end of the Anchor Panel. Check us out next time when we start in on some actual comics with a discussion of The Walking Dead. Yes, we were planning on doing some reading eventually.