History of Superheroes in Movies

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Superheroes To Save Us From The Apocalypse

With the supposed Apocalypse coming at the end of 2012 the superhero films are coming out hard and fast with this year and next year looking to be bigger and better than previous years.

2011-

Green Hornet – Hopefully not a sign of things to come as far as the next two years in Superhero films go.

May, June and July (around the American Summer Break) seem to be this year’s Super Months. Thor, featuring Australian, Chris Hemsworth is set to be released around Late April – Early May. It’s the story of Marvel’s least original superhero, the Norse god of Thunder Thor and his exile to earth. Next on the bill, in June is X-Men: First Class. This film is about the first generation of mutants – Professor X, before he was a professor, Magneto, before he was a total evil badass… and many more. Modelled after the new Star Trek film, the producers want to take the series in a new direction with a fresh young cast. This film is seen as the first film in a new trilogy in the franchise.

To DC’s only release this year, The Green Lantern. Ryan Renolds plays Hal Jordan, one of the first characters in the comic books to don the ring and fight for the Green Lantern Corps. The movie is seems to have a Iron Man sort of feel to it and from the trailer it’s difficult to say how this movie will go. Hopefully it will do well and one day DC might follow Marvel’s suit and create a Justice League movie.

Wrapping up the summer of super is Captain America: The First Avenger, the film is a chronicling of the first Avenger, from his rise out of the super soldier program to his status as “America’s Greatest Superhero”. Chris Evans plays the scrawny come super, Steve Rogers. While Hugo Weaving plays the evil Nazi, Red Skull.

2012-

Casting has been announced for the new Nolan produced Superman film with Diane Lane joining the cast as Martha Kent. Earlier this year Henry Cavill was cast as Superman for the film. The casting of Cavill made me think that maybe Christopher Nolan wants the world’s super heroes to be british? Batman played by Christian Bale and now Superman standing up for Truth, Justice and The Way of the Queen. That aside the director of the reboot tentatively titled “Superman: Man Of Steel” is Zack Snyder. This mix of Nolan and Snyder could be a strong one! – Superman: Man Of Steel is set to be released the end of next year. Another Nolan addition to the ranks is The Dark Knight Rises, the third and final instalment in the rebooted Batman series. Christian Bale returns as Bruce Wayne/Batman. Anne Hathaway is slated to play Selena Kyle (Catwoman) and Tom Hardy to play Bane. Could Batman’s back be broken in this film by the deadly Bane? All I know is it’s Batman and it’s back… Nolan Style. Prepare for epicness! – The Dark Knight Rises is expected to be released July 20, 2012.

Marvel returns in 2012 with 3 movies so far… a Ghost Rider sequel, the Spider-Man Reboot: “The Amazing Spider-Man” and the ultimate superhero team up movie… The Avengers.

Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance will star Nicolas Cage as Johnny Blaze/Ghost Rider again. It’s been several years since making a deal with the Devil and Johnny Blaze (Cage), living in self-imposed isolation, finds himself as the only person who can help save 10-year-old Danny – and ultimately the world – thanks to his unwanted and uncontrollable power – he has the ability to transform into the hell-on-wheels monster known as the Ghost Rider. Andrew Garfield, famous for playing the co-founder of Facebook in The Social Network returns to the screen in 2012 as Peter Parker in The Amazing Spider-Man, the reboot of the series that ended only a few years ago. Marc Webb, the director of (500) Days Of Summer, has signed on as the aptly named director of this film. The Lizard and Van Atter, the Proto-Goblin are billed as the villains of the film.

The ultimate cross over sequal, The Avengers is Marvel’s flagship movie for 2010-2012 with almost all their films tying in to this movie. Iron Man, Thor, Captain America, The Incredible Hulk, Black Widow & Nick Fury are all planned as cast in this movie directed by the one, the only… JOSS WHEDON! The ultimate comic-y fanboy has signed on to direct what will hopefully be an epic film of epic proportions!

The next two years are going to be incredibly super if all the movies work out… the are a few at the moment I’m not too sure about at the moment but we’ll see how they go. Who knows maybe 2013/2014 will be just as good… although the only Super-Film planned at the moment is Iron Man 3 :/

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