History of Superheroes in Movies

superman

While there were superhero movies in the 1940s, 50s and 60s it wasn’t until the 1978 film Superman opened the door for comic books and their characters to be taken as serious movie ideas, but that faded over ten years until 1989’s Batman put them back on the map again. Unfortunately, with the exception of Batman Returns (1992) the popularity of superhero films declined again until 2000 when X-Men got it right.

xmen

Since X-Men superhero movies have been on the up and up. Production companies started taking the concepts seriously again rather than trying to make it comical and camp (I’m looking at you Joel Schumacher). 2002 saw Spider-Man swing on to the silver screen and both the X-Men and Spider-Man films spawned major film franchises for Fox and Sony respectively. But we’ll get to the major production companies later. Fox continued it’s push with Daredevil (2003), X2 (2003), Elektra (2005) and Fantastic Four (2005) while Sony (Colombia) released Hellboy and Spider-Man 2 in 2004. Following the success of
these franchises DC and Warner Bros. took a different angle and rebooted the popular Batman franchise with Batman Begins (2005) which had a much darker tone to it than the Marvel films that were being released at the time. Superhero films cashed in on the success of the early 2000 hits for a few more years X-Men: The Last Stand and Superman Returns in 2006 and Spider-Man 3 and Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer in 2007 (which might I add were all franchise killers) but come 2008 something clicked in the minds of Marvel, DC, production companies and audiences… Superhero Movies could be better than exciting. They could be exhilarating the perfect escape for people young and old just like the comic books they were based on were for people years ago.

darkknight

2008 was a big year for Superheroes, with Marvel’s start of their Cinematic Universe (Actually owning the rights to these characters this time) Iron Man blasted on to the screen, reviving the dwindling superhero audiences and Robert Downey Jr.’s career at the same time. On top of that the reboot of the Hulk franchise with The Incredible Hulk re-established another character for something in the future. Iron Man would have been the walk-away hit of superhero films that year had the follow-up to Batman Begins not been released. The Dark Knight wowed audiences and box officenumbers proved that superhero movies were not just a sub-class of action films. They were their own genre. Mixing comedy and drama with action, visual effects and the characters people of all ages could enjoy. The superheroes were here.

avengers

The late 2000s brought us a prequel to X-Men in X-Men Origins: Wolverine and a surprise cult classic with Watchmen. The start of the new decade brought in more of the independent heroes in to the spotlight, Kick-Ass and Super depict average joes standing up and answering the call against villainy and Iron Man 2 delved deeper in to the mystery behind S.H.I.E.L.D and why they were showing up in all these Marvel movies. 2011 was another big year for Marvel with Thor and Captain America: The First Avenger setting up for the biggest superhero team up in film history. Fox released a re-invigoration of X-Men going back to the early days of Professor X in X-Men: First Class and DC unfortunately missed the mark with Green Lantern. Last year blew me away though with The Avengers, The Amazing Spider-Man and The Dark Knight Rises three of the four big superhero movie powerhouses put everything they had in to these films and they were incredible.

The superhero film genre has risen over the last twenty or so years to become films that provide drama, comedy, explosions and an all round entertaining visit to the cinemas.

J.J. Abrams to Direct Star Wars Episode VII

Hope you like your lightsabers with lens flares because many online magazines and trade reporters have announced, the director or Star Trek and Super 8 is taking on the huge role of directing the new Star Wars film set for release in 2015.

The creator of LOST originally said that he wasn’t a huge fan of taking on the role because of the big influence the series has had on his life. But the burden seems to be not as big of an issue as originally thought.

J.J. Abrams’ new film Star Trek into Darkness hits theatres May 17.

This Is 40 – Review

A Judd Apatow movie that I actually liked.

This Is 40 claims to be a sort of sequel to Knocked Up. If it is a sequel it is definitely better than it predecessor.

The film follows husband an wife, Pete and Debbie (Paul Rudd and Leslie Mann) in the week that they both turn 40 (or 38 if you believe Debbie). They go through a lot of things you’d expect to happen over a few months rather than a week. Financial trouble, rebellious children, fights with each other, fights with parents at their children’s school (just one of the highlights in this film and a reason to stick around for the credits) and issues with their parents who both have second families.

Filled with heaps of pop-culture references including digs at John Goodman and J.J. Abrams, This Is 40 had me laughing for most of the film (and like I usually say, there is only one good rom-com a year… Shame this one was so early on).

3 Stars

This Is 40 is in cinemas now.

The Watch – DVD Review

When you see the cast, Stiller, Vaughn, Hill and Ayoade… you think “cool, that might be pretty good”.

When you see that it’s a movie about a neighbourhood watch group taking on aliens… you think “ok, that sound strange but yeah… it might be alright”.

When you see the movie you’ll think… “That was a god awful movie… I want my money back”.

The Watch is out on DVD now and this is a review… but also a warning… to not buy it. If you absolutely must see it… rent it… on like cheap tuesday or something. This movie is not worth the disc it’s burnt to.

 

Ben Stiller plays a Wal Mart manager who has his life pretty much sorted for him in the quiet community he lives in. But when the night security guard is killed at his store he forms a neighbourhood watch group to find the killer since the police don’t seem to care. The group attacks only three other members, Vince Vaughn as a seemingly single Dad who has a rebellious teenage daughter, Jonah Hill plays a high school drop out who failed to make it as a police cadet and Richard Ayoade as an odd british man who is new to the neighbourhood. A couple of sex jokes and useless profanity later they discover that an alien is responsible and a few more sex jokes and useless profanities later the movie is over. Slight twist that I won’t give away but in the long run. Nothing really happens.

Some bits are slightly funny but overall. Steer well clear of this movie. If you want a good aliens-attack-neighbourhood movie… see Attack the Block.

 

Just terrible… 1 Star

The Watch is out now on DVD… but don’t bother.

Gangster Squad – Review

The last good gangster movie that made much success in recent years was Public Enemies, set in Chicago, the traditional gangster setting. But Gangster Squad adds the Hollywood Flare in more ways than one. Set in LA in the 1940’s Gangster Squad is based on the real-life story of the secret task force of LAPD cops who formed the Gangster Squad Unit to take down Mickey Cohen and his stranglehold on the city.

The gangster squad unit is started by John O’Mara (Josh Brolin) and is subsequently joined by four other detectives (played by Anthony Mackie, Giovanni Ribisi, Michael Peña and Robert Patrick) the squad gains it’s final reluctant member after a hit on Mickey Cohen’s illegal casino goes wrong in Jerry Wooters (Ryan Gosling). Throw in Emma Stone as the typical female character in these sorts of films, the bad girl, turned damsel in distress when she gets caught up in the cross-fire between the two sides and you’ve got your stereotypical story that doesn’t do all that much to enrich the mind.

In saying that, the visuals are appealing and it is a nicely shot film. There’s a lot of colour that gangster films tend to leave out. This can probably be attributed to this film being set in LA, where the life was a little more glamourous than the windy city. Perfect example of the appealing and colourful visuals can be seen when Emma Stone is on the screen… y’know… just as a reference.

Overall the movie has a somewhat interesting story line but you only really feel connections to some of the minor characters when their lives are in danger (a young boy and a pregnant woman), you don’t feel much for the main characters… even the ones they spend time on making sure you realise that they have a family and that they are putting them in danger as well. It just didn’t do it for me. But it looked pretty.

3 Stars

Gangster Squad is in cinemas Now.