THE GREEN HORNET PRIEST CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE FIRST AVENGER X-MEN: FIRST CLASS THOR GREEN LANTERN COWBOYS AND ALIENS TRANSFORMERS: DARK OF THE MOON CONAN THE BARBARIANThat's definitely quite a list and there sure has been a lot to be excited about this year. Looking back, who would have thought that Seth Rogen's turn as an action hero would actually be quite good? What about that reboot / prequel to the X-Men franchise? If anyone would have told me last year that it would have ended up being my favorite X-Men film to date, I would have told them they were flat out crazy. Of course, we can't forget the last two pieces to this year's THE AVENGERS that were finally placed and, guess what, they both turned out to be quite good. Not an easy feat when you look at the two characters they left for last: a Shakespearean God-like superhero and a patriotic poster boy. Each of these characters has the potential to come off as very cheesy and I think directors Kenneth Branagh and Joe Johnston did an extremely good job of avoiding that. A mish-mash of genre's led us to Jon Favreau's latest which combined the old west, aliens, James Bond and Indiana Jones. While not everyone was pleased with the end result, to me, it was still a fun summer movie. Perfect? No, but then neither was the final (for now) Transformers movie, and I sure enjoyed the heck out of that one. Was the summer free from errors? Absolutely not. I'll be honest and say that I haven't yet seen Priest and that's not because of time constraints, but I just find myself having such a hard time devoting an hour and a half of my life to this movie and that's saying a lot since I really enjoy Paul Bettany's work. Maybe as my new year's resolution, I will vow to complete my comic-book based viewings for 2011 by watching it. Conan was also a miss for me and I really hate saying that because I was actually rooting for this one. It looked gritty, it looked visceral, it looked like a barbarian movie and that was exciting to see, but two words ruined this movie for me. Rose McGowan. Normally I love her, but her over-acting was just too much and took me right out of the movie. Finally we come to Green Lantern. First off, let me say, I did not hate this movie, but I don't feel it was everything it could have been. Let's look at this from a fan's standpoint. You have a movie about a cosmic cop with unlimited powers controlled by his by his mind via his ring that polices a sector with more stars than you can see in the sky on the darkest night and we spend 3/4 of the movie on Earth? I wanted to feel the wonder of this man being taken from Earth and not only see the realization that we are not alone in the universe but also the awe that he must be feeling. Being the man who can overcome fear does not mean that you are emotionless. This movie was promised to be the Star Wars of comic book movies and, well, it wasn't. There was just so much wrong with it. To me, the movie was enjoyable and some of the cheese and letdowns can be overlooked, but when you have the expectation built of what it COULD be and see that not realized, especially by a director like Martin Campbell, it just leaves you, well, unsatisfied. There are still some fun moments and it is great to see another member of DC's Justice League getting a shot at the big screen. Let's hope DC and parent company Warner Brothers take a step back, look at the movie for what it is and decide to green light a sequel in which they keep the good and fix what didn't work. This time however, let's put this thing in space and keep it there. I want more of what we saw in the opening scene, I want to see more of Oa, and I defintely want to see some space battles. But that's the past. What do we have to look forward to? Well, let's take a look ahead, shall we? 2012 looks to be just as exciting as 2011. Actually, if you really think about what we are getting, there is pause to consider that this may end up being one of the greatest years for these types of movies. What do we have coming? Well we have two dreaded number 3's (it is very rare for the third in a trilogy to outshine the previous two efforts), yet both of these have something special up their sleeves. THE DARK KNIGHT RISES is being touted as the epic conclusion to this masterful story by expert film-maker Christopher Nolan and then we have MEN IN BLACK 3 which benefits in that unlike many number 2's in a trilogy, their second one did not do a good job of setting a high bar. This makes going out on a high note that much easier. We also have three movies that are starting over. The wise-cracking webhead will be swining back onto the big the screen with a new cast and a fresh start in THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN. While the original trilogy for Spider-Man was very well received, not all of the reboots and restarts had the luxury (or misfortune) of following an attempt that did so well. In DREDD, we see Karl Urban try and show us how a proper Judge Dredd movie should be (Read: no Rob Schneider) and in GHOST RIDER: SPIRIT OF VENGEANCE, we get a semi-reboot, semi-sequel, semi-something in the Ghost Rider series. More on that below. We also get the sequel to the suprise smash hit of 2009, G.I. JOE: THE RISE OF COBRA, yet this one also feels like a reboot. Taking off of themes from the first movie, we will see an almost entirely new team of Joe's facing off against Zartan in this one. Check out our thoughts below as well. 2012 will also bring us the first big-screen appearance of the Edgar Rice Burroughs creation, John Carter of Mars in JOHN CARTER. Besides a direct-to-DVD film entitled PRINCESS OF MARS, this will mark the first time that we will get to see the space jumping hero on brought to life since his debut in 1912. Finally, we get to see the pay off of one of the most creative and intensive set-ups in movie history in MARVEL'S THE AVENGERS 3D. Teased to us all the way beck in the closing credits of 2008's IRON MAN, we will see the culmination of Marvel Studios efforts to create a cinematic universe come to fruition as the characters are begrudgingly forced to work together to save Earth from Loki and his secret army. So without any more introduction, let's take a look at the comic book and graphic novel based movies that will grace our silver screens in 2012.
IN ORDER BY RELEASE DATE:.. GHOST RIDER: SPIRIT OF VENGEANCE Official Website: www.TheSpiritofVengeance.com Release Date: Friday, February 17, 2012 MPAA: PG-13 for intense sequences of action and violence, some disturbing images, and language. Presentation: 2D / 3D Studio: Columbia Pictures (Sony) Genre: Action, Adventure Screenwriters: Scott M. Gimple, Seth Hoffman and David Goyer. Director: Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor Starring: Nicolas Cage as Johnny Blaze / Ghost Rider Fergus Riordan as Danny Ketch Ciarán Hinds as The Devil Violante Placido as Nadya Christopher Lambert as Methodius Idris Elba as Moreau Johnny Whitworth as Carrigan / Blackout Anthony Head as A Monk Synopsis: Nicolas Cage returns as Johnny Blaze in Columbia Pictures' and Hyde Park Entertainment's "Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance." In the successor to the worldwide hit "Ghost Rider," Johnny - still struggling with his curse as the devil's bounty hunter - is hiding out in a remote part of Eastern Europe when he is recruited by a secret sect of the church to save a young boy (Fergus Riordan) from the devil (Ciaran Hinds). At first, Johnny is reluctant to embrace the power of the Ghost Rider, but it is the only way to protect the boy - and possibly rid himself of his curse forever.
Our Take: Ok, this is one of the strangest remakes / sequels / reboots of them all. The movie is not really ignoring what happened before, it might actually hint to it, but there is going to be a new origin story (supposedly) so, yeah, we are not really sure what it going to happen here. With new directors Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor (CRANK series), we are defintely in for a visual treat. Will they be able to pull in the overacting of their star or will we be treated to another bad wig, bad acting interpretation of Johnny Blaze? At this point, who knows. All I can say is, Ghost Rider himself looks cooler, the action looks insane, and I am pretty sure that we will see a flaming hell-demon skeleton peeing fire and driving a 700 foot strip miner that he has turned into one of his fiery hell vehicles. Count me cautiously in.... JOHN CARTER Official Website: www.disney.com/JohnCarter Release Date: Friday, March 9, 2012. MPAA: Not Yet Rated Presentation: 2D, 3D and IMAX 3D Studio: Walt Disney Pictures Genre: Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi Screenwriters: Andrew Stanton, Mark Andrews and Michael Chabon. Director: Andrew Stanton Starring: Taylor Kitsch as John Carter Lynn Collins as Dejah Thoris Samantha Morton as Sola Mark Strong as Matai Shang Ciaran Hinds as Tardos Mors Dominic West as Sab Than James Purefoy as Kantos Kahn Daryl Sabara as Edgar Rice Burroughs Polly Walker as Sarkoja Bryan Cranston as Powell Thomas Hayden Church as Tal Hajus Willem Dafoe as Tars Tarkas Synopsis: From Academy Award winning filmmaker Andrew Stanton comes "John Carter", a sweeping action-adventure set on the mysterious and exotic planet of Barsoom (Mars). "John Carter" is based on a classic novel by Edgar Rice Burroughs, whose highly imaginative adventures served as inspiration for many filmmakers, both past and present. The film tells the story of war-weary, former military captain John Carter (Taylor Kitsch), who is inexplicably transported to Mars where he becomes reluctantly embroiled in a conflict of epic proportions amongst the inhabitants of the planet, including Tars Tarkas (Willem Dafoe) and the captivating Princess Dejah Thoris (Lynn Collins). In a world on the brink of collapse, Carter rediscovers his humanity when he realizes that the survival of Barsoom and its people rests in his hands.
Our Take: JOHN CARTER is the movie that I am most worried about. While it is probably the oldest property on this list (conceived in 1912 by Edgar Rice Burroughs) it doesn't have the huge current following of some of the others. This can be a good thing as movie-goers have lowered expectations, but a built-in fanbase can be a huge help, especially to a big-budget movie such as these (see: THE DARK KNIGHT RISES and MARVEL'S THE AVENGERS 3D). The trailer is decent and shows off the Martian homeworld and the natives, but this one just doesn't jump out at me like many of the others. For this movie to do well, they need to up the trailers, push out more marketing and hope that critics are kind and that word of mouth favors kindly for them. I think one of the biggest issues, and a reason I am finding myself having a hard time investing myself in this one, is reports from NYMag and Vulture that state that in order to justify a sequel, JOHN CARTER will have to bring in a whopping $700 million dollars, putting it ahead of blockbusters like WALL-E and IRON MAN. I think it's time for Disney to pull out all the stops and show us something amazing.. MARVEL'S THE AVENGERS 3D Official Website: www.Marvel.com/Avengers_Movie Release Date: Friday, May 4, 2012. MPAA: Not Yet Rated Presentation: 2D / 3D Studio: Walt Disney Pictures, Marvel Studios, Paramount Picture Genre: Action, Adventure Screenwriters: Joss Whedon Directed By: Joss Whedon Starring: Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark / Iron Man Chris Evans as Steve Rogers / Captain America Mark Ruffalo as Dr. Bruce Banner / Hulk Chris Hemsworth as Thor Scarlett Johansson as Natasha Romanoff / Black Widow Jeremy Renner as Clint Barton / Hawkeye Tom Hiddleston as Loki Stellan Skarsgård as Professor Erik Selvig Samuel L. Jackson as Director Nick Fury Clark Gregg as Agent Phil Coulson Cobie Smulders as Agent Maria Hill Amanda Righetti as Agent Sharon Carter Paul Bettany as the voice of Jarvis Synopsis: Continuing the epic big-screen adventures started in "Iron Man," "The Incredible Hulk," "Iron Man 2," "Thor" and "Captain America: The First Avenger," "Marvel's The Avengers" is the superhero team up of a lifetime. When an unexpected enemy emerges that threatens global safety and security, Nick Fury, Director of the international peacekeeping agency known as SHIELD, finds himself in need of a team to pull the world back from the brink of disaster. Spanning the globe, a daring recruitment effort begins.
Our Take: Unlike anything that has come before it, MARVEL'S THE AVENGERS 3D is the first time that a comic publisher has taken it's print universe and tried to recreate it in glorious live action over several movies. What's truly unique about these is that all of the movies take place in the same universe, many taking place at the same time as others (see the timeline here), but they do not act as sequels to each othere. There was not THE AVENGERS 1, THE AVENGERS 2, etc., it was IRON MAN (94% Fresh), THE INCREDIBLE HULK (66% Fresh), IRON MAN 2 (74% Fresh), THOR (77% Fresh) and CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE FIRST AVENGER (79% Fresh). Each of these movies was able to stand on their own and they were all even able to garner a Fresh rating over at Rotten Tomatoes (did you hear that Mickey Rourke?), but if you paid attention, you saw that they were building to something more grand, something never before seen in cinema. A collective universe where characters move in and out of each other's movies, setting up the be-all to end-all of superhero movies. Fanboy favorite, and comic genius (check out his run on X-Men) Joss Whedon stepped in to take the reigns, rewriting the script (and also taking a polish at the Captain America script as well) and taking full control of this monster. The masterful story teller gets to play Atlas, the [Marvel] world on his shoulders. With so many great movies all acting as essentially trailers for his movie, the pressure to deliver is on and from what we saw in the first trailer, we are in for a ride. As Bachman-Turner Overdrive would say, "You ain't seen nothin' yet!".. MEN IN BLACK 3 Official Website: www.meninblack.com Release Date: Friday, May 25, 2012 MPAA: Not Yet Rated Presentation: 2D / 3D / IMAX 3D Studio: Columbia Pictures (Sony) Genre: Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi Screenwriters: Etan Cohen, David Koepp, Jeff Nathanson and Michael Soccio. Director: Barry Sonnenfeld Starring: Will Smith as Agent J Tommy Lee Jones as Agent K Josh Brolin as Young Agent K Jemaine Clement as Boris Emma Thompson as Oh Nicole Scherzinger as Lilly Alice Eve as Young Agent Oh Michael Stuhlbarg as Griffin Bill Hader as Andy Warhol Synopsis: In "Men in Black 3," Agents J (Will Smith) and K (Tommy Lee Jones) are back... in time. J has seen some inexplicable things in his 15 years with the Men in Black, but nothing, not even aliens, perplexes him as much as his wry, reticent partner. But when K's life and the fate of the planet are put at stake, Agent J will have to travel back in time to put things right. J discovers that there are secrets to the universe that K never told him -- secrets that will reveal themselves as he teams up with the young Agent K (Josh Brolin) to save his partner, the agency, and the future of humankind.
Our Take: It's been awhile since our favorite alien-policing, single-digit named Agents have graced the big screen and let's face it, compared to the stellar first outing, the second one came up way short. Let's hope the time away has allowed them to come up with something brilliant that just begs to be on the big screen because if not, why do it? In the third one, we see Agent J (Will Smith) as he travels back in time to save the planet and ends up working with a younger version of K (played superbly by Josh Brolin. No seriously, check out the first trailer. He's in it for 2 seconds and steals the entire trailer). This one has the potential to bring the franchise back, to erase the memories [insert neuralizer joke here] of the second one. Let's all hope. Let's all hope that this is the dialogue between MIB3 and MIB2: MIB3: You know the difference between you and me is, right? MIB2: What's that? MIB3: I make this look good!.
Our Take: Ok, I am going to go full monty here and let the world know, I enjoyed the first G.I. Joe movie. You know why? It was fun and it reminded me of the fun that I had watching the original G.I. Joe cartoon as a kid. Much like Transformers, the original cartoon was actually kind of cheesy, but it sure was fun. The fantastical weapons and vehicles, the crazy world-dominating plot and the Joes. To me, even more than Michael Bay's TRANSFORMERS, this movie got the fun factor right. Now we have a loose sequel on the way, upping the star ante with Bruce Willis and Dwayne "Man was he huge in FAST FIVE" Johnson, and giving a new director a shot at the fun chair (Jon Chu who is more known for dance based movies like STEP UP 3D and the alway enjoyable [where's my sarcasm button] JUSTIN BIEBER: NEVER SAY NEVER). The very first trailer hit the web and let's just say it. It looked pretty dang good. Will this one win you over if you weren't a fan of the first? Probably not, but as we get closer, we will definitely see more and hopefully we get can a better feel for the movie so we will know. And Knowing is half the battle! Yo Joe!! (And yeah, more Snake Eyes fights without that weird mask with lips....). THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN Official Website: www.TheAmazingSpiderMan.com Release Date: Friday, July 3, 2012MPAA: Not Yet Rated Presentation: 2D, 3D and IMAX 3D Studio: Columbia Pictures (Sony) Genre: Action, Adventure Screenwriters: James Vanderbilt, Alvin Sargent and Steve Kloves Directed By: Marc Webb Starring: Andrew Garfield as Peter Parker and his alter ego, Spider-Man Emma Stone as Gwen Stacy Rhys Ifans as Dr. Curt Conners and his alter ego, The Lizard Embeth Davidtz as Mary Parker, Peter Parker’s Mother Mary Parker Campbell Scott as Richard Parker, Peter Parker’s Father Sally Field as May Parker, Peter Parker’s Aunt Martin Sheen as Ben Parker, Peter Parker’s Uncle Denis Leary as Captain George Stacy, Gwen Stacy’s Father Stan Lee will have a cameo as Stan the Librarian Kelsey Chow as Sally Avril Hannah Marks as Missy Kallenback Irrfan Khan as Dr. Ratha Amber Stevens as Ariel Synopsis: Like most teenagers his age, Peter is trying to figure out who he is and how he got to be the person he is today. In his journey to put the pieces of his past together he uncovers a secret that his father held…a secret that will ultimately shape his destiny as Spider-Man. This is the first in a series of movies that tells a different side of the Peter Parker story. On July 3rd, 2012, the untold story begins. And starring Andrew Garfield (Peter Parker), Emma Stone (Gwen Stacy), Denis Leary (George Stacy), Rhys Ifans (Curt Conners), Martin Sheen (Ben Parker), and Sally Field (May Parker), directed by Marc Webb, The Amazing Spider-Man movie is swinging into theaters in IMAX 3D!
Our Take: Sam Raimi did an excellent job bringing ol' web-head to the silver screen. Sure, everyone has their little things that they like to moan and bitch about, i.e., the Power Ranger Green Goblin, Kirsten Dunst as Mary Jane, the almost humorless Spider-Man or that whole third movie, but overall, the series was tremendous and the second one stands out as easily one of the 10 greatest comic-book based movies EVER. So when it turned out that Sony and Sam were no longer going to play in the sandbox again, many were quick to jump towards aprehension at such an early reboot of the series. From there, fanboy chatter went crazy with people upset with the movie. Whether it was the leaked costume photos, Andrew Garfield as Peter Parker or the relative newcomer, Mark Webb, taking over the directorial duties, the internet was full of complaints, but come on, when you have a guy named Webb doing a Spider-Man movie, there must be some sort of fate intervention going on here. Something kismet this way comes. The very first teaser trailer hit and things turned around. Now, instead of constant griping, the talks turned to "surprise hit of the year", that this would be the 2012 equivalent of X-MEN: FIRST CLASS, a movie that many people were quick to dismiss as unnecessary and wrong, but turned out to be one of the best comic related movies in a long while. Andrew Garfiled has shown that he is a very talented actor and when you put him together with a seriously amazing, all-star cast and pit him against a new villain in the Lizard that we have not seen in any of the previous movies (even though we were teased with his alter ego, Dr. Curt Conners, in the final two movies by the always wonderful Dylan Baker), all we can say is that this movie has the potential to give our two big, heavy hitters a run for their box office money this year. Now, let's see a new trailer showing off that scaley nemesis!!!. THE DARK KNIGHT RISES Official Website: www.TheDarkKnightRises.com Release Date: Friday, July 20, 2012 MPAA: Not Yet Rated Presentation: 2D, IMAX Studio: Warner Bros. Pictures Genre: Action, Thriller Screenwriters: Jonathan Nolan, Christopher Nolan and David Goyer Director: Christopher Nolan Starring: Christian Bale as Bruce Wayne and his alter-ego Batman Anne Hathaway as Selina Kyle and her alter-ego Catwoman Tom Hardy as Bane Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Officer John Blake* Marion Cotillard as Miranda Tate* Gary Oldman as Commissioner Jim Gordon Morgan Freeman as Lucius Fox Michael Caine as Alfred the Butler Josh Pence as a Young Ra’s Al Ghul Juno Temple as Holly Robinson* Matthew Modine as Nixon Aidan Gillen as a CIA Agent Nestor Carbonell as Mayor Anthony Garcia Liam Neeson as Ra’s Al Ghul** Cillian Murphy as Jonathan Crane and his alter-ego Scarecrow**
* There is speculation that these may or may not be their true characters in the film. ** There are rumors that these characters have filmed scenes in the movie.
Synopsis: Eight years after the events of The Dark Knight, the terrorist leader Bane arrives in Gotham City, pushing it and its police force to their limits, forcing its former hero Batman to resurface after taking the fall for Harvey Dent's crimes.
Our Take: Christopher Nolan is one of the greatest living directors. From his early roots with movies like MEMENTO to his huge summer blockbusters like THE DARK KNIGHT and INCEPTION, his devotion to whatever film he is currntly shooting shows in the details and love he puts into each of them. Always wanting to give the audience a deeply layered and moving cinematic experience, nothing seems to signify that this, his latest, and most likely his last, entry into his brilliant retelling of the Batman character will be any different. Like most of his movies, there is an air of secrecy on the set and about the plot. It is rumored that the ending to the movie was never printed (that Chris would only relay that information verbally), that many of the characters may not be who they claim they are and, the big question, will we see one of the most famous scenes from all of the Batman comics: Bane breaking the bat over his knee. It is common knowledge that in trilogies, heck, even in single movie, the third part is always the toughest and in many cases, the weakpoint in a movie or in a trilogy. It's harder to finish something in a way that is satisfying yet unpredictable, yet, somehow, in Nolan we trust. This guy just can't seem to do any wrong. With so much secrecy and only a small teaser and only one full length trailer, I can honestly say, I don't know much, but I can't wait to see how it ends..
Our Take: No Sylvester Stallone? No Rob Schnieder? A lead actor that is so dedicated to the roll of the character that he insisted that the only way he would do it is if the judge keeps his helmet on, just like he does in the comics? Count me excited. The brilliant Karl Urban (STAR TREK, RED) takes the lead mantle as the famous Judge, who, apparently, is the law! While there has been rumors of a breakdown in faith between the studio and the director, all we know for sure is that the images we have seen look like a faithful adaptation of the British comic book. We are going to have to see a trailer and some promotional material to get a better grasp on what we have in store for us, so keep your eyes open right here for the first trialer, sure to hit in the next few months.So there you have it. What are your thoughts on these movies? Is 2012 going to be the best year for comic-book movie greatness? Let us know in the usual place. .