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.

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.

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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.

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.

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The Amazing Spider-Man – Review

In these current times nothing is more common than a movie sequel, adaptation or reboot. Yep franchises are the only way to fly in the film industry, in most cases, its a safe and sure bet. Enter the Amazing Spider-Man, Sony’s new version of their not so amazing trilogy that went out with a very underwhelming finale. But I have to say… This time, they got it right!

Peter Parker is a young man living with his aunt and uncle in New York City, this much you already knew… What we didn’t know is why or how our young Spidey-To-Be is the way he is. In this film, Richard and Mary Parker leave Peter with Aunt May and Uncle Ben after their home was ransacked. Richard is a geneticist with some dark secrets and very dangerous research. Peter’s parents leave that night and never return.

Fast forward to present day and Peter (Andrew Garfield) is a senior at High School. He’s a photographer, very smart but not a nerd just a little awkward. Completely different and refreshing personality. There’s a girl (there always is) but not who the typical audience would expect, this time its back to the comics with Peter’s first girlfriend, Gwen Stacy (played by a blonde Emma Stone).

Becoming Spider-Man is a little “Second ‘verse, same as the first”… There isn’t really a way around it but it is nice the skip over the sort of things we’ve seen before. This change is much more interesting and sped up. Which gives the story more flow. The story, while people would think that they’ve seen it before, “why see it again?”, is very different to the 2002 Spider-Man it almost feels like its a more realistic story yet it sticks to the comic books. So pretty much… It’s Awesome! If I’m going to criticise this film, it would be that Spidey takes off his mask way too much! And people’s sections to Peter being Spider-Man is a little underwhelming.

The comedy and timing of the dialogue is great and it just feels like they weren’t trying as hard as the original. That’s not a bad thing by the way, it’s great to have Marc Webb at the helm. You’ll remember Marc Webb as the director of one of my favourite films, 500 Days of Summer. He once again provides us with a very good film that never feels to epic but somehow seems to pull if off anyway.

Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone play Peter and Gwen very well, their romance seemed to skip a few stages at times but I’m fine with them being on the cutting room floor, because it still worked. Rhys Ifans plays Dr. Curt Connors, an Oscorp geneticist who worked with Peter’s father before he disappeared. Connors lost his arm before the story begins and attempts to find a way to regrow it with lizard gene tissue. This goes horribly wrong and the villain of the film, The Lizard is born.

Ben and May Parker are played by Martin Sheen and Sally Field, they portray a younger couple than the ones in the original films. But they are still a very nice couple instilling their kindness and sense of responsibility in Peter. Irrfan Khan plays Dr. Rajit Ratha, a devoted Oscorp employee and Denis Leary rounds out the key cast as NYPD Captain and Gwen’s father, George Stacy. Stan Lee also cameos in one of his best yet! Keep an eye out for that!

Bottom Line: Some would say that this reboot is purely for Sony to keep the rights to make Spider-Man films… In my opinion they can keep them. The Amazing Spider-Man was made with care and a level head. I hope this film franchise doesn’t go the way of the last because this honestly felt and looked so much better. I really enjoyed this movie, it has brought Spider-Man back to life.

The Amazing Spider-Man: Average