Monday, April 11, 2011

Pop Culture Smackdown!! The Battle of the Superhero Movie Trailer

It's that time of year again. The Blockbuster season is almost upon us. And this year is no different from any other - prepare yourself people - we are about to be inundated with a shitload of superhero movies.

This year there are no less than 5 superhero movies coming our way. But which ones should we be watching? We all know how these things go - the story either follows a normal guy or gal who has some kind of life-changing event and decides to use the opportunity to kick ass and take names, or it's an alien/mutant creature who by some contrived reason is the only person who can save the world. Most of them are derived from comic book lore and have an army of devout fans slaving over their every detail on the internet.

Considering that I have never read any of the source material, have limited prior knowledge to most of these stories and am basing my judgement solely on the trailers released for each of them, I present to you my uneducated guess at which ones look to be worth your time and money.

Which superhero trailer will prevail?

Director:  Kenneth Branagh
Cast:  Chris Hemsworth, Natalie Portman, Tom Hiddleston, Anthony Hopkins, Rene Russo, Stellan Skarsgard, Kat Dennings, Ray Stevenson, Idris Elba, Clark Gregg.

Part of the Marvel Universe, you might recognise Thor from the post-credit teaser in Iron Man 2.  In fact Thor is part of whole universe of superhero movies that tie into next year's event film The Avengers.  In this particular movie, we get the origin story of the warrior Thor, whose reckless actions on his home planet reignite an ancient war and get him cast down to Earth to live amongst us disgusting humans.  He, of course, then has to save us from the evil aliens.

Why this could be awesome:  It looks like a particularly epic story and the superman who walks amongst the people element could be interesting. Plus there's a giant hammer.

Why this could be horrible:  Umm… has anyone noticed that they've cast Kim from Home and Away to play the main character, and against Anthony Hopkins no less? Did they want to make him look more wooden? The trailer actually looks rather uninspiring. Not sure about Kenneth Branagh's chops as a director in this genre. Kind of afraid it's going to end up being some kind of Shakespearean mess - Alas poor Thor, I knew him well.

X-Men: First Class
Director:  Matthew Vaughn
Cast:  James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence, Kevin Bacon, January Jones, Rose Byrne, Nicholas Hoult, Oliver Platt.

It's the X-Men origin story.  See all your favourite X-Men in the 1960s as Professor X and Magneto discover their powers and band together with fellow mutants to stop a threat to the world.

Why this could be awesome:  The X-Men franchise has been fairly successful and by re-booting it old-school to the origins of Professor X and Magneto this looks like it could be great. And they've scored a pretty interesting cast. McAvoy and Fassbender - two great actors - are perfectly cast.

Why this could be horrible:  To be fair the only X-Men movies that worked were the original Bryan Singer ones. And even though he's involved in this one as a producer, and Matthew Vaughan has proved himself a dab hand at directing the fantasy/action/superhero kind of themes (with Layer Cake and Kick-Ass), this could end up being a mess. Although anything would have to be better than that awful Wolverine movie.

The Green Lantern
Director:  Martin Campbell
Cast:  Ryan Reynolds, Blake Lively, Mark Strong, Peter Sarsgaard

The saga of The Green Lantern begins as test pilot Hal Jordan is bestowed a mystical green ring of otherworldly powers and becomes the first human to join an intergalactic squadron of peacekeepers.  Until all hell breaks loose (of course). 

Why this could be awesome:  The story looks like a giant space opera fantasy - we've got green rings of power, evil aliens, good aliens, explosions, giant big-headed Peter Sarsgaard and Ryan Reynolds walking around in little more than bodypaint.

Why this could be horrible:  The trailer doesn't seem to know what kind of movie this is - Is it comedy? Is it fantasy? Are the jokes meant to be funny? Is Blake Lively meant to annoy me as much as she does? I love you Ryan Reynolds, but I'm not really sold on this.

Captain America: The First Avenger
Director:  Joe Johnston
Cast:  Chris Evans, Hugo Weaving, Sebastian Stan, Stanley Tucci, Tommy Lee Jones, Hayley Atwell

Part 2 of the pre-Avengers universe, Captain America is the origin of Marvel's Super Soldier as he hits the European Front to take on the Nazis and the Red Skull.

Why this could be awesome:  Basically the first trailer that has made me go - Shit yeah I want to see that. Love Chris Evans (and highly amused by weedy Chris Evans), love Hugo Weaving as the bad guy, love love love Stanley Tucci in absolutely anything he's in, and completely intrigued by the WWII-era setting. Did I mention that I love Chris Evans?

Why this could be horrible:  Considering the protagonist is called Captain America, I'm really hoping that this isn't one of those super patriotic American movies. If I see too many American flags flying bravely in the wind, I won't be impressed. Even Chris Evans's abs won't be enough to appease me.

Director:  James Gunn
Cast:  Rainn Wilson, Ellen Page, Liv Tyler, Kevin Bacon, Nathan Fillion, Michael Rooker, Linda Cardellini

Differing from every other movie on this list, Super is an original tale of a sad-sack loser, who after his wife falls under the influence of a suave drug dealer,  transforms himself into Crimson Bolt, a superhero with the best intentions, though he lacks for heroic skills.

Why this could be awesome: A twist on the standard superhero movie, this comedy could be hilariously dark-minded. And I'm intrigued by the glimpse-and-you-may-miss-him appearance by the delightful Nathan Fillion.

Why this could be horrible: Looks like a middle-aged Kick-Ass. And the jokes seem a little try-hard.

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