Wednesday, January 9, 2013

The Challenge 2013's Superhero Films Will Face

      2012 featured some of the greatest superhero films of all time. The Amazing Spiderman displayed Peter Parker and the rest of the Spidey universe in a unique, darker way, as well as being more realistic. The Avengers gave us our very first superhero team-up, blockbuster film earning over 1.5 billion dollars. Then there was The Dark Knight Rises, being the best of last year and the most epic, providing a fitting end to the ultimate superhero trilogy. The three films released last year are all praised in their own ways, that it will become increasingly difficult to measure up to their standards, and the films of 2013 are the first to step up to the challenge. This is an analysis of The Wolverine, Thor: The Dark World, Iron Man 3 and The Man Of Steel, next in line of the new generation of superhero movies. Are they up to the challenge?

The Wolverine (July 26th)
“Logan travels to Japan where he engages a mysterious figure from his past in a fight that will have lasting consequences.”
Yet another film centered on the solo adventures of Wolverine, which surprisingly takes place far after the events of X-Men 3. Its good to see Hugh Jackman back at the helm of the character he’s spent over a decade building in 5 different films. Wolverine marks the sixth time he’ll portray the character.
By now he should have it down pat, but he has to be on the top of his game to make up for the critically reviled incarnations featured in X3 and X-Men Origins, especially due to the fact that reports say the film will feature very little guest appearances from other X-Men characters. I personally like this approach because it gives Wolverine a chance to establish himself without any side stories of the other heroes.
While I’m not expecting it to be anything we haven’t seen before, I am hoping the film will be more on par with the first two X-films and First Class. With the script adapted from Wolverine’s original stories, written by Chris Claremont and drawn by Frank Millar, I have faith that it won’t disappoint.

Thor: The Dark World (November 8th)
“A primeval race led by Malekith, who is out for revenge, intends to descend the universe into darkness as Thor fights to save all nine realms from a mysterious enemy older than the universe itself.”
Little is known about the Thor sequel, but some fans, including myself, are already beginning to question its very existence (as well as the upcoming Captain America sequel). Was the first Thor film really good enough to deserve a sequel? Is there so many layers to the character that we need another film to explore them all? Or is this simply a way to promote the success of the character after The Avengers? I vote the latter.
Thor is very much like the Hulk in terms of their roles in movies. Both these characters work fantastically in a group movie like The Avengers, but ultimately fail, or at least do average at best, on their own. While I loved the fight sequences and special effects in the first film, I question whether Thor is well rounded enough and not just a one-dimensional hero. He’s not as relatable to the general audience, he doesn’t have a mild-mannered alter-ego (at least not in this film franchise) and he seems a little head strong; qualities that ultimately doomed any of the Hulk movies. Its thoughts and speculations like these that I hope get put to rest upon the sequel’s release, but until then, I continue to speculate.

Iron Man 3 (May 3rd)
“Tony Stark faces a powerful enemy, The Mandarin, when he embarks on a quest to find those responsible for destroying his world.”
My first impression of this third installment was combined with excitement, then some disappointment, and then a little confusion: ‘this is a serious take on a character that isn’t supposed to be serious?’ At least, that’s not how he’s been portrayed in previous movies. Don’t judge, in fact, I loved both Iron Man 1 and 2, but the series has already established Tony Stark as a self-centered, sarcastic, even “narcissistic” person, and now the creators intend to include elements from other superhero franchises (Amazing Spiderman, The Dark Knight) and transfer them into a character who doesn’t fit these qualities.
Visually, the upcoming sequel looks spectacular and the addition of yet another suit will be very cool, but I fear this film will reflect some of the poorer aspects of the character that would be more reflective of Iron Man 2. All in all, I believe that most of the film’s success will be derived from the success of The Avengers, but it does show potential. I’m not saying we may see something revolutionary like The Dark Knight here, but we could eventually end up with a very decent superhero movie.

Man Of Steel (June 14th)
“When the world is attacked, Clark Kent becomes the hero called Superman to protect the Earth and its people.”
That little description of the upcoming reboot of the Superman franchise is an understatement if I’ve ever seen one. He was the very first superhero, he is known as the most powerful in all of comics, and this year his film appears to be the one with the most promise. Written by David Goyer (Batman Begins), produced by Christopher Nolan (The Dark Knight Trilogy) and directed by Zack Snyder (The Watchmen), Man Of Steel is sure to be nothing short of amazing. The film will explore certain aspects of Superman’s world that have been overlooked or even ignored in other incarnations. If you saw a person fly, like in real life, your first reaction wouldn’t be to praise the guy, you’d be freaking out of your mind, even scared. Man Of Steel shows us how the world would truly react if a “god” walked among us, as well as rediscovering Superman’s origins in a darker tone, which seems to have been successfully applied to this version of Clark Kent.
I’m most excited for the visual and cinematic potential of a Superman blockbuster that was never accomplished in Superman Returns: finally, a modern, super powered brawl between Superman and General Zod. Man Of Steel looks to reinvent the world’s oldest superhero for a modern audience, with the potential to be one of the greatest superhero films of all time. Really.

    All these movies bring some sort of change or reinvention to their respective title characters. Some are potential positives, while others force us to doubt whether they’ll be successful. One thing is for certain though, all of these movies have something to prove, all of them are up to the challenge, the challenge to prove they are among the greatest superhero movies ever made.

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