Forgive me for being a complete geek, but this decade so far has been a serious wonderland of comics turned film. And two quick observations: 1) they didn’t all suck, and 2) they seem to have no end in sight. So, from someone who has made a habit of seeing every comic book that gets adapted to the big screen, here are my predictions for the comics coming to a theater near you (scoring based on numbers of blow pops. 5 blow pops means lots of sucking. No blow pops means no sucking)
release date: January, 2011 How much it will suck: 1 blow pops
Frankly, no one cares about the Green Hornet. I mean, some people will SAY that they care, me for instance, but in reality, no one claims Green Hornet as their favorite. And if they do, it is because they are likely mixing him up with Green Lantern or Green Arrow. But… that is this movie’s biggest strength. The old TV show with Bruce Lee is where this character had its heyday, not in comics. So now, with Seth Rogen in the lead role, I for one would love to see some more screen time magic with GH. I was sketchy about it, but once I saw the trailer, it really looks like a lot of fun. My prediction: Kato will steal the show in this movie. This movie will only marginally suck, if at all.
Release date: May, 2011 How much will it suck: 4 blow pops
I have very fond memories of reading Thor comics as a kid. Thor, wielding his mystical uru hammer, Mjolnir vs. Surtur the Flame Giant. Fighting Ymir the frost Giant. Kicking in the head of Malekith, the Midgard Serpent, Ulik, the wrecking crew, and of course, battling the villainy of Loki. What made all of this so cool was the draw on the Norse mythology, given a crazy visual interpretation by Jack “king” Kirby. That is where this film will fail. Have you seen the costume Thor is wearing for this movie? Let me say this once and for all – Kirby was a comic artist. His stuff does not translate well to real life. Trying to make Thor look Kirby-esque was a big mistake. And I believe that because we will not be able to take Thor seriously, this movie will seem overinflated and more of a sad fan-film or worse, some kind of parody of the cool stuff I read as a kid. Kenneth Branagh as the director is completely untested in this genre, both with superheroes, big budgets, and special effects. The only reason this isn’t complete suckage? Volstag is in this film. That, I gotta see.
Release date: July, 2011 How much will this movie suck: 3 blow pops
Ok, here is the part where I admit my bias. Green Lantern is my favorite hero of all time. I have unfathomable amounts of GL memorabilia, including a replica power battery that my kids and I chant the green lantern oath to periodically while wearing our green power rings. So….. I am owning right now that I cannot be objective about this one. So far, everything looks exactly right on. Good casting all around. They picked the villains I would have picked (Sinestro, Hector Hammond, and Parallax). The director, Martin Campbell, has been praised for other big budget action movies. DC’s media liaison, Geoff Johns is positively glowing about this movie, and I have come to trust him, both as a critic and as the best comic writer of my generation. So why 3 blow pops of suckage? Experience. If fans want something to not suck really bad, their prayers are often not answered. I want this movie to succeed so badly that I know it will not live up to expectations. And setting the bar low, I will not be as disappointed. Could it be great? Yes. And I pray to my Lord Jesus Christ, born of a virgin, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead and buried, and on the third day he rose again, that this movie won’t suck. But hope is a fragile thing indeed.
Release date: July, 2011 How much will it suck: depends
Most every person can recognize Captain America by name, if not by sight. He is the quintessential hero that embodies the American spirit. And that’s where this all goes downhill. Captain America has traditionally not used guns. Cap always does the right thing. Cap fights for the underdog. Cap even averts his eyes when an adult movie comes on at a bachelor party. America, however, is about none of those things. America uses all kinds of guns. America does not always do the right thing. America is decidedly not for the underdog. America does not mind one iota if you watch adult films until your eyes bleed. Many politicians indulge their libido far more liberally than that. And I honestly think that fans caught on to that dissonance.Many will argue that Cap embodies the ideals of America, not what America is. Fair enough. But do you honestly think that no other country has similar ideals? He might as well be Captain goodness. Or Captain Western Nation. Unless you want to really be honest about him representing America, then you could call him Captain Technological Therapeutic Militaristic Consumerism. But they wont.
So, in the movie, cap will be a bad-ass warrior. Gun-toting, costume colors dulled down, probably making a crass joke or two, fighting big bad guys on a big global stage. This will be a more colorful, more explosive, hero-driven version of Platoon, where America is reinforced as the only thing right in a backwards world.
So how much it sucks will depend on how much you like American imperialism.