Thor and Superhero Movies
I went and saw Thor tonight. And it was an extremely excellently awesomely sweetly cool movie. Best superhero movie since Dark Knight. Possibly a better movie than Iron Man, although Robert Downey Jr is all kinds of awesome. I used to buy and collect comics weekly, but was overwhelmed a few years ago due to budget and space concerns. Still, I’ve got a pretty huge collection, close to a dozen yard long boxes. But, the are predominantly DC Comics! I’ve never really been a big fan of Marvel except for a select run here or there (Joss Whedon’s Astonishing X-Men being the most recent), but Thor has ignited a desire within me to read some classic Marvel comics again.
Superhero movies are those types of movies that are either awesomely good or just plain awful. There doesn’t seem to be a whole lot of wiggleroom. Anyways, here’s my thoughts on all the major superhero movies. And I’m focusing on superhero movies, not just comic movies, since V for Vendetta and Constantine would blow everyone away.
X-Men. This was the first modern superhero movie, by my reckoning. Sure, we could count the older Superman and Batman movies, but X-Men was the first superhero movie I saw in theatres. And for its time, it was really good! I especially appreciated Ray Park as Toad and Patrick Stewart as Professor X. This was pre-Lord of the Rings so I didn’t know who Ian McKellan was. However, I don’t think X-Men has aged that well, and doesn’t deserve it’s near canonization that fans have given it. Why? The movie has almost no super powers! It’s a lot of talking, followed by a quick display of mutant ability, followed by more talking. I want to be wowed like I am in the comics, and instead I’m given too much human drama.
Spider-Man. Honestly, never liked these movies at all, although Spider-Man 2 is the best of the bunch. I guess from reading the comics I expect a little bit more than a stereotypical nerd geek from Peter Parker. I grew up reading Spidey after he had already been married to MJ and was working a normal job, so regressing was just kinda painful. Plus, I really, really, really don’t like Kirsten Dunst. However, I can recognize greatness when I see it, and despite the power ranger mask, Willem Dafoe is brilliant.
Daredevil. Now, I hear the regular theatrical cut was terrible, but the director’s cut is not half bad! Clearly relying more on in-camera stunts and special effects than visual effects (visual refers to computer effects, special refers to effects done on set in reality), it was still a great story with great performances. I never did see the sequel, Elektra, but from what I’ve heard, I haven’t missed much. The director’s cut was notable because it added an additional 30 minutes to the film, with whole new characters and subplots. It really feels like a complete experience, one decidedly mature than other superhero films.
Fantastic Four. Another Marvel misfire. There is very little good that I have to say about these films, despite them having some pretty decent actors in them (Julian McMahon is awesome!). I’m still somewhat mad I allowed my friends to talk me into going to see the second Fantastic Four movie. They did the whole “we’re all going, you’d rather sit here than go?” bit. And I absolutely hated the movie. It sucked. Sucked horribly.
Superman Returns. Great opening sequence. Truly beautiful and stunning. Rest of the movie was boring and very creepy. People expect such great things from it after Bryan Singer left the X-Men franchise (after directing the amazingly good X2), but Singer brought all this problems with him to the production, namely his reliance on drama and exposition and not on actual superheroics and super powers. A terribly missed opportunity. I do need to rewatch this again sometime.
Batman Begins. Did not expect this movie to be this good. I had nearly no interest going in to seeing it. I think it wasn’t until the scene in the docks when Batman strikes from the shadows that I began to grin like an idiot and realized they had finally gotten Batman right! Dark Knight only blew up the franchise even further, bringing the best Joker ever to life with such a memorable performance. I’m still saddened that Katie Holmes couldn’t have been in the sequel, but that’s just a minor gripe compared to the greatness that is that film.
Iron Man. I remember seeing the trailers and thinking “this movie looks stupid”. Then I was utterly blown away. I consider this the reboot of the Marvel franchise, at least everything that is non X-Men related. Robert Downey Jr is again, all kinds of awesome. This movie kicked some serious butt, and is pretty much perfect.
The Incredible Hulk. You know, I never saw the other Hulk film that came out last decade. I never heard anything good about it, despite it having a pretty decent videogame tie-in. But Edward Norton is the serious version of Robert Downey Jr. He just lights up and steals any scene he is in; he’s easily one of my favorite actors. I’m disappointed that Edward Norton won’t be back to play Bruce Banner in The Avengers, but hopefully his replacement will do a decent job.
So am I missing anything? Any other superhero movies come out recently?
And FYI, I am REALLY looking forward to the new Green Lantern movie!
PS – Did anyone catch Thor cop a feel on Natalie Portman? Watch for it during the big fight scene.