The X-Men films are our last connection to the superhero films of the early 2000s. The films weren’t particularly great, with the series hitting a low point beginning with X-Men: The Last Stand and being followed with the absolutely awful X-Men Origins: Wolverine. Whatever good the first two movies had done, disappeared, and no one could understand why 20th Century Fox just didn’t reboot the franchise.
I never liked Captain America growing up. Always found him boring and a bit of a square, basically, I felt that he was just a way for America to show off their patriotism, and to compete with Superman for being the moral compass of their comics. I mean, the guy’s wearing the American flag on his chest. However, my opinion on Captain America changed after I watched Captain America: The First Avenger.
Captain America’s first entry in the Marvel Cinematic Universe turned out to be the Marvel’s best Phase One movie but also turned out to be my favourite Marvel movie. It was just a great movie from to start to finish; filled with with great character moments, a lot of heart, and is the only marvel film to earn it’s love story.
After The Avengers, Marvel raised the bar from what we can expect from comic book films in the future. This has obviously added pressure on Marvel’s stand alone films, who have to now meet those high standards set by The Avengers and provide an entertaining film with a captivating plot and character moments. Thor: The Dark World, brings the action and its fun characters but when characters are just going through the motion of the plot, there is only so much fun that is to be had.
Sequels are always tough. Not only do you have to create a film that is a follow up to the original but it has to have it’s own identity. It will always be compared to the original and even the most die hard of fans will scrutinize it. No one fucks with the original, a phrase echoed by fanboys through the years. Kick-Ass 2 is envious of the original film. It wants to live up to the original so bad you can sense its eagerness to do so. This causes the film to loose it’s heart, wit and joyful energy that the original has become synonymous with.
A film like Dredd is an easy one to ignore. On the surface it looks like a cheesy B-movie, whose action and excessive gore would bore you half way through but Dredd is more than just that. It is a character study about a man who is fueled by violence. Dredd is a gritty B-movie filled with dead pan humour, self-satire and enough blood and gore satisfy your bloodlust.
The long anticipated Superman reboot, Man of Steel, is here and it’s amazing. Directed by Zack Snyder, produced by Christopher Nolan, and scripted by David Goyer, Man of Steel is a brilliant revival of a classic and beloved character. Superman has always been portrayed as a truly good hero almost to the point where directors have ignored his internal struggles. I love the old Donner films but it was time for Superman to lose the red underwear and stop saving cats from trees. Even the recent Brian Singer film, Superman Returns, stayed to close to the older films never bothering to re-imagine Superman for modern audiences, which was one of the main reasons it failed to connect with many people.