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The Golden Age of Film

If you are a nerd, a geek, or a rabid comic book fan, there has never been a better time to be alive. Though there have been more than a few misses with some of the recent comic book movies, even the misses have been at worst average or mediocre. That list in my opinion includes: Superman Returns, Thor, Iron Man 2, Green Lantern, The Amazing Spider Man and both Fantastic Four movies – the hits though have been truly seismic. You could arguably start this period in 2005 with Batman Begins or in 2008 with Iron Man, depending on your franchise preference it is certainly still ongoing, given the slew of comic book movies on the horizon.

The first Iron Man film blew me away, due in equal parts to low expectations and the majesty of the visual effects; It set a new standard in comic book movies until The Dark Knight. I forgave most of the faults of the second film based on these factors. The most recent Batman trilogy, on the other hand is almost flawless. It might be the best trilogy of all time, competing only with Back to the Future for that honor in my mind. From the tone of the third movie, to the amazing acting of the Joker in the second – Batman did almost everything right.

And The Avengers? ‘Nuff Said.

Watchmen? Amazing. Truly wonderful. Better than the book in plot and execution. Even the way they updated the ending. Let’s just hope they don’t get it into their heads to pollute the silver screen with the mediocre prequel material that is currently all the rage.

The only truly terrible comic book film to come out in all of this is Spiderman 3. That is a movie of which I can say nothing positive. Even Venom was not enough to salvage this movie, and there are few villains cooler than Venom. The rest – the also-ran’s and mediocre scripts had their high points and good scenes. Despite all the problems in Green Lantern for instance, I thought it was a lot of fun to watch – showing a movie full of effects that just wouldn’t have been possible even a few years ago.

I sincerely hope that DC gives us some more Hal Jordan, preferably with Batman and a rebooted Superman in a JLA movie. Really what I am waiting for, is the next installment of Iron Man; I’m sure the Mandarin at the top of the page clued you in. What about you? What is it you really want to see in theaters? What misses bothered you the most?

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This entry was posted by David Winchester.

8 thoughts on “The Golden Age of Film

  1. Of your list of the weaker comic movies, I’ve got to say that Superman Returns is struggling to be on that list. It was pretty dull despite a pretty good performance by Kevin Spacey in my opinion.

    Batman Begins does sort of stand alone as it’s own thing during that period of time. The tone of Gotham city is closer to the comics and I admire his push to really do a prequel of an otherwise major comic character. Most people rebooting Batman would throw in the Joker immediately, 99 out of 100 times. While the later movies could be argued to be better, Gotham became much more of a New York or Chicago in style with glossy skyscrapers and if anything, Nolan pulled the setting even further down to earth.

    Iron Man probably still stands as the best of the bunch. Partly I think because it has half it’s foot out of the ‘comic book movie’ genre. There’s nothing supernatural/weird happening. Just Robert Downey Jr. (a masterful casting stroke for Tony Stark) building the world’s first mechanical combat suit.

    I liked the Avengers. Didn’t love it. Great popcorn flick.

    Special Effect technology has finally given us the tools to make some very whizz-bang movies. Tomorrow’s technology will only improve this. It’s also allowed TV shows to stretch it’s creative legs and do some things that used to be out of their budgets.

    The question is, is this really a golden age in hindsight? Or will our children watch these movies and complain about the crappy CGI? Perhaps what’s making this such a good time to be a comic nerd isn’t so much the technology but the fact that it’s socially acceptable to pay Hollywood a lot of money to watch these things now. The terms ‘nerd’ and ‘geek’ have not taken on meaning that didn’t apply to the individuals in Revenge of the Nerds. Remember when using a computer made you a dork? Now we have facebook.

    Oddly long reply post. Kind of fried, going to bed soon. Good post David. 🙂

    • Meant, “The terms ‘nerd’ and ‘geek’ have now taken on meaning that didn’t apply to the individuals in Revenge of the Nerds.”

      As I said, I’m fried. Hope that comes up bold or else I’ll look even more the idiot.

    • “The tone of Gotham city is closer to the comics and I admire his push to really do a prequel of an otherwise major comic character. Most people rebooting Batman would throw in the Joker immediately, 99 out of 100 times.”

      Very good point, I hadn’t thought of it before, but it is totally true.

  2. I’ma gonna kick you. ‘Golden age’ indeed. Anyhow, I have to disagree with Eric’s point about Iron Man, or at least, offer a counterpoint with the Puinisher films. Nothing supernatural or weird there. Yet they are barely considered comic book flicks. Hell, the only difference between Frank Castle and say, Porter from Payback (the 1999 Mel Gibson version) is that Castle had a history in comic books. Heck, even that comparison is weak at best, since Payback was based on the novel ‘The Hunter’ by Donald Westlake. Who used the pseduonym ‘Richard Stark’, who, as we all know, was Tony’s drunken, embarassing uncle.

    Is it a golden age? Too soon. Yes, there have been a few great films recently. But for every Batman Begins, there’s a Rise of the Silver Surfer, for every Spiderman, a Spiderman 3.

    • You know what the real difference between the Punisher films (all of them) and Payback was? Payback was quite good. I mean, it was a revenge story, and didn’t have much in the way of deep plot, but it was excellent for what it was.

      To your final point, I think if we made a list of all the comic book movies of the last decade, and divided them into the categories of good, bad, and average that there may indeed be as many terrible films as great ones; however, since there will be a pile of decent movies as big as both of those combined, I will find that to be an acceptable ratio.

      • Not sure what the disagreement is. Are you saying that Punisher should also be considered a good movie based on that particular criteria? I’d actually argue that being ‘grounded’ out of supernatural elements is a strength for adapting a Punisher story to the movies — which makes it a continual shame that they keep screwing it up. There’s been what, three of them now?

        I didn’t mean to imply that this one element is launching Iron Man to the stars, only that it helps sell it to regular audiences. The wackier universe movies (Thor, Green Lantern) would never have been made without things like Iron Man ‘bridging the gap’ of acceptability of disbelief.

      • “The wackier universe movies (Thor, Green Lantern) would never have been made without things like Iron Man ‘bridging the gap’ of acceptability of disbelief.”

        Again, great point. This is 100% true. My only point RE: Punisher was that the movies were no good.

  3. 1991: The Rocketeer. No supernatural ties, just good old fashioned pulp. I always thought it was a good comic-to-movie adaptation, if not very playfully done. Also this was never billed as a comic book movie.
    I am in total agreement with the other points that have been made though I have not yet seen The Avengers (I know, I know, up on the cross with me…) Very good points indeed, I only bring up The Rocketeer as I enjoyed the film. There are many other comic book movies that aren’t known as or thought of as such, I just cannot seem to recall them at this point in time.

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