The State of Superhero Nation

It’s been a busy couple weeks in superhero movie news. Remember in the early 2000’s when the grown-ups thought superhero movies were a fad? Ten years later and there’s something like 917 superhero movies coming out over the next couple years. Here’s a rundown on what’s happening with the longest-lasting “fad” (haha, grown-ups are so silly) in cinema.

Spider-Man

Marc Webb’s Spidey reboot got a name—The Amazing Spider-Man—and the first image of Andrew Garfield fully suited-up was released, too. I have been largely indifferent to this project since we just had the Tobey Maguire Spider-Man in the last few years, however, the images both official and unofficial have intrigued me. I LOVE the new Spidey suit. It seems so much more…athletic. More like a second-skin than the previous suit. And comic book nerds are geeking out over the mechanized web shooters Spidey 2.0 is sporting. Apparently this means something but I am not a big enough comic nerd to know what that is, nor do I care enough to look it up. I can wait until the movie explains it to me next year. I do like the idea that Peter Parker is enough of a nerd himself to come up with that, though. I just realized that the guy directing Spider-Man is named “Webb”. Heh.

X-Men: First Class

First came rumblings of trouble, of prolonged reshoots and then Emma Frost (January Jones, Mad Men) dropped a line about their rushed production schedule, though she cast it in a less-disturbing-sounding light. Still, it always kind of unnerves me when the talent starts talking about production in terms of “rushed”, “crazy”, etc, and then ends with, “We should be fine.” The first trailer finally dropped, though, and it’s…not terrible. It’s not great either, not by a long shot. I am merely whelmed. There are individual shots of each mutant—nice. The crew wears a costume derived from the famous “yellow spandex” of the comic series—nice. Michael Fassbender (Jane Eyre, Inglorious Basterds) and James McAvoy (Atonement, our collective dreams) look like the sexy beasts they are—NICE. But um…we’re pretty skint on dialogue, no? And in a two-minute trailer, it takes over thirty seconds before we get to actual stuff happening in this movie, and not stuff that happened in the first X-Men from a decade ago.

I’m in wait-and-see mode with this one. Because that trailer, while well made, is engineered to show off the good while hiding the bad but it seems to be having some trouble holding back the bad (where is the dialogue?!). In other X-News, Darren Aronofsky is prepping The Wolverine for filming and Black Swan’s Oscar-nominated cinematographer, Matthew Libatique, is on board. Hopefully this won’t suck as bad as Wolverine: THIS NEVER HAPPENED did, but the comics lost my interest when they got into Logan’s time in Japan which doesn’t bode well for the movie.

The Avengers, et al

Making fanboy dreams come true, Joss Whedon has included The Avengers in New Mexico’s “Film and Media Day”, which includes an open casting call for several productions. It’s going down tomorrow morning in Santa Fe—please someone go there and take some pictures for hilarity’s posterity’s sake. Also in Avengers news, Variety reported that How I Met Your Mother’s Cobie Smulders (greatest name EVER) has been tapped to play Maria Hill, Nick Fury’s assistant/underling/something at SHIELD. I like Smulders a lot. She’s one of the last reasons left to be watching HIMYM these days. She’ll be a good foil for Samuel L. Jackson’s Fury—certainly better than boring Scarlett Johansson was.

As for the two Avenger movies due this summer, Thor continues to uninterest me and Captain America got a kickass and funny fan-made trailer parody.

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