I just stumbled across this article on IGN encouraging some healthy debate on the recent offerings of our Super Hero Summer that has, sadly, now come to an end.
Four movies are in the frame and there to be ranked in order of how good we, us humble viewers, thought they were. Obviously, being a writer, working for BL and having a lot of the geeky and pseudo-geeky friends and acquaintances that I do, this is something that would generate a massive amount of discussion so I wanted to throw it out onto the bloggosphere and find out what you good people think.
First up, it’s worth mentioning that I am not a comic book geek. Not really. True, I have a few of the more key events (usually from DC) in trade and have even begun to collect digital editions of certain comics by virtue of my android phone (this and Comixology have been something of a revelation for me), but I don’t properly regard myself as someone who can wax lyrical about continuity, nor do I really care if said continuity goes ’squiffy’ from time to time. I just like a good story about characters I love that’s well told.
So, I’m more of a movie buff and this is probably why this post caught my interest. I won’t attempt to be too much of a critic here, at least not in the strictest sense (not a big fan of critics – usually, they are people who the sound of their own rhetoric, who try to convince the world they are right about everything but have never actually produced anything themselves. Nuff said) but I will provide you with my rankings and some reasons for the order given.
It should also probably be said that the super hero movie I am most anticipating doesn’t get a cinema release until next year (and I don’t mean The Avengers). For my £7.50, I am would totally choose The Dark Knight Rises over anything that’s come out this summer, but then I’m a fan of the gritty and realistic world that Chris Nolan has created with these fantastic movies (and let’s just say that re-invigorating the franchise after the debacle of Batman & Robin and Joel Schumacher’s Reign of Poo was something of a feat).
So, the four films in question are (in order of release, I believe):
X-Men: First Class
Captain America: The First Avenger
For me, it’s interesting how this turned out because in my head I was expecting something really quite different. Let me take you back to May 2012 before Super Hero Summer had gotten going. This wonderous slate of super hero flicks was laid out before me like the cinematic buffet I’d always dreamed of… ‘All these films in one summer!’. I had to have a quick trouser change.
Before even buying my popcorn and slipping into my semi-comfortable but ever so slightly tight and narrow seat, I had formed some opinions about how all of this was going to play out.
I figured Thor would be okay and that X-Men: First Class would likely suck and just be a weak add-on to the much meatier blockbusters of Captain America and the Green Lantern. It was actually these latter two that I was looking forward to seeing the most, especially Lantern. I’m not a huge fan of the mythos (it’s not that I don’t like it, I just wasn’t very up on the background) but re-watched the DC Animated Movie Green Lantern: First Flight and bought the recent GL trade Blackest Night to get me in the mood. The trailer (the second one with all the cool stuff in it) looked amazing and I was looking forward to it.
It all turned out so differently…
My rankings then are as follows:
1. X-Men: First Class
I genuinely thought this was a throwaway movie but with its 1960’s period vibe and star turns from Michael Fassbender and James McAvoy, it really wowed me. I totally loved it. Fassbender deserves special mention as Erik Lehnsherr, especially in that notorious sequence in the film where he’s going after the Nazi’s that killed and persecuted his family. Stunning.
A close second and only by virtue of the fact that it didn’t quite give me enough Asgard for my money, but Thor was one of those films that really surprised. Sure, it glossed over some bits that could’ve benefitted from being fleshed out (or a director’s cut perhaps?) and the fights weren’t quite satisfying enough but it really brought one of Marvel’s iconic heroes to life. I watched it in 3D (which was an after thought – I wish film makers would stop jumping on this technological bandwagon) and then again on a tiny screen on a plane heading back from Chicago to the UK. Top movie that I’ll be getting on Blu-ray on Monday and enjoying on big screen HD.
3. Captain America
Barring the excellent first 20 minutes, I kind of loathed this film at the cinema. I expected Captain America to be a special forces badass with awesome skills (a bit like Tim Roth when he got the super soldier formula in The Incredible Hulk) but unfortunately Cap was quite leaden and uncharasmatic. It all felt a bit random to me and almost too referential to the source material (and perhaps this is where my pseudo comic geekery let’s me down). I’m willing to give it another go. With my expectations lowered, I’m hoping I’ll ‘get it’, plus I want to have an Avengers movie night (or series of nights) with Captain America, Iron Man, The Incredible Hulk, Iron Man 2 and Thor all watched in sequence. Can’t do that without Cap…
4. Green Lantern
Again, the first 10 (maybe it was 5, actually) minutes were pretty good and I had some high hopes for this movie. Ryan Reynolds, who I honestly thought would suck as Hal Jordan, was great and eminently watchable as the titular character. But the story… ugh! It was pretty weak, focused on all the wrong things and just didn’t work for me. All the great stuff was given lip service and a very odd and pointless backstory about three characters who alledgedly grew up together was crowbarred in. It felt like it wanted to focus on a bunch of stuff but ended up focusing on nothing and being vague and disjointed instead. The effects were great but the movie had no heart and seriously underused Sinesto and Mark Strong who, when allowed to appear on screen, totally dominated it. In better hands directorially and with better writers Green Lantern good really work on screen but not like this. Very poor.
So there you have it. Despite saying I wouldn’t critique, I kind of did, but this is just my opinion and I know lots of folks will differ with my crude assessements. So, what do you think movie-watching masses? What would your order be and how are you feeling now the super hero summer is over?