After seeing Green Lantern , SFX blogger Matt Risley is worried that other upcoming superhero blockbusters may not live up to the hype
Green Lantern , for all its flashy CGI, Hollywood A-Lister cast, and gabillion dollar marketing campaigns (have you managed to avoid it on the side of a bus/tube/milk carton/bog roll of late?), was as depressingly predictable as many feared.
Hampered by what some have seen as an untranslatable plot (googly headed space aliens and “magic rings” are sniggerable at the best of times), some adventurous but ultimately misguided production decisions (you’d think they’d have at least trialled audience reaction to a CGI costume before ploughing ahead with it), and fevered fan expectation, I can’t help but see similar signs in other comic book movies super-hovering on the horizon.
I’m an optimist at heart fo sho (I can foresee myself lobbying for a Firefly resurrection from my nursing home), but while I’m not keen to merrily admit it, I’ve got my doubts about some of this and next summer’s other tentpole movies. And while it’s certainly no Batman & Robin , is it possible that Green Lantern is the start of the burst of the comic movie bubble many have feared?
Let the fan-fretting commence!
There may be obscure adaptations a-gogo planned over the next few years ( Doctor Strange and Black Panther FT-niche-W!), but if there’s one that’s going to be an even harder sell than a magic spaceman superpowered by will alone, it’s a psychological basket case scientist with the uncanny ability to, erm, shrink down really small and ride wasps into battle.
Hey, at least Green Lantern had a shiny six pack and a weapons cache – the thing of nerdy dreams.
Every Cape Has A Silver Lining: On the plus side, Marvel seems to have paired it with the ultimate geek dream team -– and a partnership more than used to up-selling niche awesomeness to the masses. Edgar Wright (he of Shaun of the Dead , Scott Pilgrim fanboy fame) is attached to direct, and he’s co-written the script with Joe Cornish (he of Attack The Block and Adam & Joe amazingness).
Still, does anyone else worry that it's going to end up being a case of Honey I Shrunk The Audience ?
THE DARK KNIGHT RISES
Wait. Don't throw things at me just yet.
Christopher Nolan’s reinvented Batman soon-to-be-trilogy was undoubtedly a major catalyst in the noughties' mainstream comic book revival.
But just look at all of the potentially immolating balls he has to juggle as we head into the final movie: a preposterously comic booky villain (Bane – a roided-out lunkhead with more than a fetish for squiffy clown gimp masks), and an anti-heroine whose last outing would’ve received better reviews had it been 90 minutes of drowning literal kittens on screen, as opposed to the metaphorical Catwoman murder many were subjected to.
Not only that, but they’re going to have to collectively outperform Heath Ledger’s now legendary turn as the Joker, wrap up the trilogy as a coherent whole, and – if rumours are true – bring back Batman Begins ’ particularly meh-tastic uber-villain Ra’s Al Ghul (you can dress it up all you want, his villain credentials still ultimately come down to “Liam Neeson with a big stick”, and at least in Star Wars it glowed).
Every Cape Has A Silver Lining: Then again, the Nolan/Bale duo has yet to FUBAR under even the heaviest of expectations. That they managed to dispel all memory of bat nipples or Jack Nicholson, and even made Katie Holmes halfway watchable are minor miracles unto themselves. Here’s hoping three really is the magic number.
Almost 50 years in the comic book making, and four years in the comic book movie making, there is a lot riding on next summer’s mega-movie.
With Iron Man , Hulk / The Incredible Hulk , Thor and – here's hoping – Captain America having done the ground work of setting up blockbuster franchises on their lonesomes, it’s down to one man to wrangle each movie’s A-List talent, character development and egos into a coherent action flick that also gives each superhero their own time to shine.
Every Cape Has A Silver Lining: Luckily for us, that one man just so happens to be a certain Mr Joss Whedon. Demigod to geeks everywhere, and a man of unquestionable comedic and directorial talent, we can’t think of a director with a sturdier reputation or passion for the project to attempt to pull it all off. By the might of Odin, Tony Stark, and Steve Rogers, we’re throwing so much positive energy at this cinematic behemoth, we hope it ends up nothing but a bona fide Hulk Smash hit.
MAN OF STEEL
It was all looking so promising, wasn’t it?
After Superman’s notably anti-climatic Return , which happened to spend more time paying homage than actually crafting a legacy of its own, there was the appointment of a contemporary, style and action-competent director, Zack Snyder, to the franchise in an immediate do-over.
And then, alas, there was Sucker Punch – a spectacular fumble of the creative ball that undercut all Snyder’s good work to date. Vapid characters, anodyne direction and some surprisingly dull action in the most fantastical of settings have thrown a giant question mark over his ability to handle the most enduring superhero franchise around.
Every Cape Has A Silver Lining: The casting has been one solid choice after another. I’ll personally fight anyone who reckons Amy Adams will be anything less than brilliant in her forthcoming turn as Lois Lane (surely she’s got to be better than Blandy McBlanderson Bosworth in Returns ), while Kevin Costner and Diane Lane were sensibly selected for Pa and Ma Kent respectively.
And then there’s the Super Symbol himself. Since his appointment there have been news stories aplenty about how Henry Cavill has been Hollywood’s “almost ran” for the best part of a decade, repeatedly coming second to some of the biggest casting decisions around (he’s missed out on major Bond, Twilight , Harry Potter and Superman roles by a whisker in the past). He certainly looks the part, but we’re holding judgement until we’ve seen him take the reigns in Tarsem Singh’s big 300 -alike blockbuster Immortals .
Poor Wolvy. Despite a scene-stealing turn in the first two X-Men movies (and – SPOILER WARNING highlight to see – a movie-stealing cameo in X-Men First Class ), his insta-greenlit solo adventures have been just as troublesome as the walking can-opener’s own on-page history. If only all these traumatic production experiences were as mindwipe-ally forgettable.
With troublesome studio involvement from the get go, his initial adventure was, to be kind, a ludicrous mess. Character and logic were carved up with bloody abandon, while continuity was casually discarded in place of some, shall we say, “interesting” plot developments (who needs the wise-cracking, hilarious and utterly bonkers Deadpool when you can have a mute, face-melted, Wolvie-clone?).
When Darren Aronofsky was announced to direct the sequel, there was a curious but overwhelmingly positive reaction from fans and critics alike. And then he left to pursue other interests (such as spending time with his family and stuff – bah!).
So who have they finally decided upon to fill his place? The genius director behind the multi non-award winning Knight & Day .
Every Cape Has A Silver Lining: Hugh Jackman’s always guaranteed to bring his A-game, and if the studio has at least decided upon a bankably commercial director then that should minimise the level of in-fighting and make production a lot more coherent. The major appeal, however, is the change in the movie’s local.
The ever-intriguing flipside to his team-heavy Western life, the plot is set to focus on Logan's Japanese heritage. Not only could it bring a whole new look and feel to the capes and tights genre, but as per Wolverine’s own comic book background, it should throw up a whole host of fascinating character bits and bobs. Fingers crossed we’ll get to see Hugh Jackman in a heady tale of illicit love affairs, deadly Ninjas and an exploration into the code of the Samurai and the nobleness hidden beneath all the claw-happy evisceration.