The Decade of the Superhero Film II

"You forget Hulk? HULK SMASH!"

Never one to capitalise on my 15 minutes in the blogosphere spotlight (coincidentally my Twitter is over there –>) here’s a look at the superhero films I neglected to mention in my earlier article. Looking at the brief list provided by vintagejenta in the comments of my last post it’s safe to say that I had put a mental block on the majority of these films. There’s a lot of crap in here so let’s get started.

The League of Extraordinary Gentleman (no stars) is a classic for all the wrong reasons. It’s the dictionary definition of a flop but it’s known of rmore than that. Unfortunately it was the last film in the legendary career of Sean Connery. Rumour even has it that he turned down the role of Gandalf in the Lord of the Rings to star in this film. Definitely one of the larger skid-marks on the underwear of Hollywood. A couple more of those skidmarks would be Catwoman, Ghost Rider and Elektra, which to be honest I haven’t seen. Perhaps I’ve lost some credibility passing judgement on those films without seeing them but if I had to choose between that and losing 315  minutes of my lift (imdb confirms) then I choose the former.

Still crap but not quite on that level are the Fantastic Four films. The first (**) wasn’t too bad but was instantly forgettable and not helped at all by the baffling decision to cast Julian McMahon as Doctor Doom. The second (**) was no worse or no better despite the inclusion of uber-baddie Galactus, seen below in his more familiar guise. The franchise, which I don’t see ever being a success, is soon to be rebooted.

The Hulk is the biggest superhero to have never enjoyed major success. The Ang Lee Version (**) was far too self-indulgent for it’s own good while the version starring Edward Norton (***) was a far better attempt. The character is rich in potential which is presumably what attracted Norton to the role but film audiences just can’t get past the idea of a large green angry fellow. I would love to see Hulk get the film he deserves but I think it’s best left alone for a while. In The Avengers we’ll get to see the green giant again but in both the films we’ve seen already he hasn’t reached the hero status he’s known for. He was never a hero in the same way as other characters due to his limited intelligence. How they’ll handle that and the new actor in The Avengers will be interesting to see. Rumours once circulated that Hulk would be a villain.

The best of the what I missed out were the Hellboy films. Directed by Guillermo del Toro they feature his trademark style and his keen eye for memorable design. The two seem a perfect match in the same way Ron Pearlman seems to be the only actor who could ever play Big Red. The first (***) was a hint of the potential of the series and a decent action film but the second (****) was far better. The characters came into their own thanks to great performances and some witty dialogue. The villainy was top-notch and the hints towards the third in the trilogy were tantilising.

That’ll do for now, no doubt someone in the comments will point out ten more that I’ve missed. Ahhh the circle of life!

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19 responses to “The Decade of the Superhero Film II

  1. You have to see Catwoman. It’s stunningly bad.

  2. A good call on almost all counts.

    I like your point about the endless potential of reboots for superheroes (God knows the comics have been doing it for decades), but I have a nagging feeling that it’s just wishful thinking. The little bit I’ve read about the coming Spiderman reboot (in 3-D, no less), are disappointing at best. Also, I have difficulty of rebooting a franchise within the same decade: there’s no nostalgia factor to drive it, so it becomes a case of essentially admitting that the last Fantastic Four movie (for example) sucked and the studio wants a mulligan. I’m afraid that too many do-overs will alienate the geek crowd and confuse everyone else, leading to the downfall of the genre.

    Here’s hoping that I’m wrong, that Joss Whedon will finally produce a commercially successful franchise, and that a star manages to stick with a franchise for more than three films (or that franchises will end after three). Here’s hoping.

    • I think they may be trying to bring in a younger audience maybe. After all, they are having it set during his high school years. Maybe they’re targeting High School teens, you never know. Will it be successful? probably, but will it be a good movie? If it’s anything like Spiderman 3, you can bet against it.

  3. I agree with all of choices

  4. Whoops I made an mistake,
    I REALLY agree with YOUR choices.

  5. You should see Watchmen… it’s very good.

  6. I’m not 100% in agreement – yes, we all have our follies, and The League is mine.

    It sits on my shelves next to hallowed greats from all genres, from Brief Encounter to Downfall to Get Carter, and will remain there.

    I have to agree, it misses the source material by a country mile. But its “look” is what gets it for me. Steampunk is a much-underrated sub-genre – you may have caught a snippet of it in the dying minutes of the last Sherlock movie – and this film brings it to life in joyous, if somewhat muted, technicolour.

    That’s all really, but it’s enough for me.

  7. Sean Connery is a cum rag and the Fantastic four are the biggest bunch of homos ever. These films were always doomed.

  8. Yeah, I totally agree that with your first list you had a lot of great ones but Hell Boy was definitely missing from it. That is one of my favorites and the second movie I just love… especially a lot more than the first. I never understood why the first movie didn’t focus more on Hellboy but instead on the secondary lead male character who was the newbie to it all and Hellboy took a backseat to this male character.

  9. I actually liked Ghost Rider….AND the Fantastic Four films. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t consider them amazing masterpieces or anything…but I was entertained.

    Also, I’m with Paul Beattie on The League…I liked it…but when I watch it I pretend the book doesn’t exist. The look was great and some of the characters drew me in….

    I thoroughly enjoyed Ed Norton as Bruce Banner…I thought he did a great job of making the character relatable and really managed to draw sympathy from the audience…I’m not getting into how much I hated the on-screen vomit known as “HULK”….

  10. I’m glad I followed through and checked out your next blog post, because, while I’ve seen the first Hellboy, I was kind of reluctant to see the second. Since you tout that it is better than the first, I may just have to give it a shot.

  11. IMHO Iron Man and Hellboy was the greatest superhero films of decade.

  12. No wonder you forgot about Hulk in your first post. Totally forgettable even for those who like superheros. It’s just not as bad as Catwoman and Elektra… shivers down my spine!

  13. V for Vendetta, one of the best comic book adaptations by James McTeigue, based on the original of Moore, with Portman, Weaving and Rea.

  14. Surprisingly, I actually liked The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, maybe because I’m a literature buff and liked the inclusion of so many characters from classic novels. Haven’t seen any of the others, which are terrible flops from what I have heard and which has only been backed up here. Hellboy was pretty good though, I’ll agree.

  15. Indeed. A number of superhero movies were made in this decade. The Dark Knight by Christopher Nolan stands out. Heath Ledger will be known for his performance as the joker. Heath Leger was worth watching in it even much than the Batman..

  16. I agree with all of choices

  17. Alright, so I just got done watching Hellboy 2, and I must say, I loved it. definitely worth the 4 stars you gave it. Glad I found your blog, otherwise, I might not have ever watched the movie.

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