Miscellaneous Popgeekery

The Summer of Spandex (or Superhero Movies, 2011 Style)

In recent years, the Superhero has been making it to the Silver Screen in a big way. Beyond just the usual Batman and Superman reboots, select lesser-known heroes have been getting their turn in the mainstream spotlight. This summer, four superhero films grace the screen, and, as fellow movie junkies and nerds, we decided to break them down, Smuggler style, in case you’re wondering which ones you should watch.

Release Date: May 6

Summary: The powerful but arrogant warrior Thor is cast out of the fantastic realm of Asgard and sent to live amongst humans on Earth, where he soon becomes one of their finest defenders.

Heroes: Thor, The Asgards, S.H.I.E.L.D

Villains: Thor’s brother Loki, the God of mischief

And the winner is… A tie! Thor is pretty damn awesome (and funny, and incredibly ripped) but Loki totally kicks-ass as well (he pulls on some seriously emotional heartstrings. Well done, Loki. Well done.)

See it because… Kenneth Branagh is a wonderful director who managed to add Shakespearean gravitas to the age-old fight between brothers. Cool special effects and fight sequences; Asgard looks AWESOME. Tom Hiddleston as Loki knocked our socks off. Chris Hemsworth as Thor is SO hot (Thea’s note: Meh, he was hotter as Kirk Sr., but no one can argue with that enormous body in Thor). Hawkeye has a cameo and OMG he is played by Book Smugglers’ Favorite, Jeremy Renner. Plus, and we can not stress how important this is: The Avengers movie cast is almost complete with Thor. Is it next year yet? *insert fangirl scream*

Possible Rotten Tomato Factor: Ugh, Natalie Portman’s role is completely superfluous in this movie (even though it is faithful to the origin story in the comics). The romance is ridiculously lame in its ultra-fast development. Also ultra-fast: Thor’s redemption and move from super-arrogant hero-wannabe to Mr nice-guy and self-proclaimed Earth’s protector.

X-Men First Class
Release Date: June 3

Summary: In 1962, Charles Xavier starts up a school and later a team, for humans with superhuman abilities. Among them is Erik Lensherr, his best friend… and future archenemy.

Heroes: The (alterna-universe) X-Men’s first class formation: Professor X, Banshee, Beast, Havoc plus Mystique, Angel, Darwin, and others, including an American CIA version of Moira MacTaggert

Villains: Magneto and The Hellfire Club (Sebastian Shaw, Emma Frost, Azazel, Riptide)

And the winner is… Dude. Magneto.

See it because… of the Fassbender. Simple as that. Plus: Best. Suprise. Cameo. Ever.

Possible Rotten Tomato Factor: The portrayal of Emma Frost is frustratingly sexist (and January Jones, beautiful and Emma Frost in appearance though she might be, is not much of an actress either and doesn’t bring anything deeper to the character). The treatment of “I adapt to survive” Darwin and the other PoC characters is problematic at best, insulting at worst.

Green Lantern
Release Date: June 17

Summary: A test pilot is granted a mystical green ring that bestows him with otherworldly powers, as well as membership into an intergalactic squadron tasked with keeping peace within the universe.

Heroes: Hal Jordan, Abin Sur, Sinestro, the Green Latern Corps

Villains: Peter Sarsgaard as Hector Hammond, Parallax

And the winner is… Dude, Saarsgard is BADASS.

See it because… you’re a green lantern fan and have been waiting for Hal’s portrayal. Make sure you save the cash and watch the 2D version, though.

Possible Rotten Tomato Factor: Terrible reviews, bad CGI, super cheesy dialogue, ho-hum script, and a strangely un-likable Hal make for a mediocre (at best) film.

Captain America
Release Date: July 22

Summary: After being deemed unfit for military service, Steve Rogers volunteers for a top secret research project that turns him into Captain America, a superhero dedicated to defending America’s ideals.

Heroes: Goodie two-shoes Captain America, Bucky Barnes, the Howling Commandos

Villains: HUGO “I’M A MUTHAF*CKIN’ BADASS” WEAVING as Red Skull. We repeat: HUGO WEAVING. Red Skull.

And the winner is… Verdict’s out until we can see the movie, but Evans looks to be an interesting Steve Rogers, and what tantalizing glimpses we’ve seen of Red Skull in the previews look AWESOME. Hugo Weaving is such a good villain. We shall see.

See it because… It actually looks pretty cool. Plus, as mentioned before, this is the final piece of the Avengers movie puzzle.

Possible Rotten Tomato Factor: Annoying female sidekick/love interest status is high, just as the possibility of cheese factor also high. Ana is still not convinced with the casting of Chris Evans as the Cap, but we’re both cautiously optimistic.

And that’s it from us! How do you feel about the superhero films this summer?

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  • Iris
    June 25, 2011 at 4:31 am

    Out of these, I have only seen X-Men, which I actually really liked. I had never seen an X-Men movie before, so I don’t know how they compare. And now I feel very ashamed of not noticing how the POC-characters were treated. That is definitely something that makes me reconsider my enjoyment of the movie.

    Green Lantern doesn’t appeal to me at all, though I will probably go to see it once it’s out over here. And Captain America, I’m expecting more from that one than the Green Lantern, but still no high expectations.

  • Sandy Williams
    June 25, 2011 at 5:08 am

    I’ve heard such awesome things about Thor. Can’t wait until it comes out on Blu-Ray!

  • Ammy Belle
    June 25, 2011 at 5:18 am

    Ah, superhero movies! I am not sure I agree with all your assessments – though you make good points and I do understand where you’re coming from. Funnily enough I had the same criticism of Thor. I don’t want to see Xmen because I am afraid they will X3 it (for reference: read the comic, then watch X3 – no, just no.)

    Thanks for the post! I wish we had more female comic superhero movies … Elektra was okay … Wonderwoman is apparently going to be a weird tv show … Supergirl was in the 80s … come on people!

  • KB/KT Grant
    June 25, 2011 at 7:52 am

    Green Lantern, even with the delightful Ryan Reynolds was horrible. I’m hoping Captain America is much better. The trailer gives me hope and the fact that Richard Armitage plays a baddie in it.

  • Alexandra
    June 25, 2011 at 8:10 am

    I thought the portrayal of Loki was atrocious. It almost ruined the film for me. I’ve never read the comics, but in the mythology Loki is an awesome mischief-making badass. In the movie he was nothing more than a whiny child. No heart strings were pulled on my part. The mythology gave them an interesting and fun villain, and it was completely ignored.

  • Pam
    June 25, 2011 at 9:13 am

    The only one I watched was Thor and I did like it.

  • Marg
    June 25, 2011 at 9:28 am

    I’ve only seen Thor, and I thought it was fairly mediocre. I regret wasting my money. Like you, I was all WTF? about the super fast romantic development & Thor’s change in character. Also, the movie had zero substance and not all that much action either.

    X-Men First Class looks rather meh and both the Green Lantern & Captain America movies seem really cheesy (and not in a good way).

  • de Pizan
    June 25, 2011 at 10:35 am

    Ammy Belle, the Wonder Woman show isn’t going to happen…again. First Joss Whedon was going to do it, which would have been cool, but it never took off the ground. But then it passed on to David E Kelley (which, why?, he said more than once in interviews he doesn’t know anything about comic books or science fiction), and there was so much outcry over how bad the leaked scripts and costume were, that it was canned again, although NBC claimed it was that it just didn’t fit with their schedule. So we’ll have to keep waiting for a good female superhero movie.

  • Ceilidh
    June 25, 2011 at 4:44 pm

    Haven’t seen any of these, which looks like a good and bad move on my part. Branagh’s my favourite film-maker so I feel like a bad fan for not seeing Thor.

    My dream comic book movie adaptation – a Wonder Woman film written by Gail Simone and directed by Kathryn Bigelow.

  • janicu
    June 25, 2011 at 5:22 pm

    Well the only one I’ve seen so far is THOR. You’re SO spot on in what you say about it though. I liked some of the emotional layers in Thor and Loki, although I wish there was more, and I wish Thor’s maturation wasn’t so.. pat, and YES, the romance could have been thrown out because it did nothing for me. He takes off his shirt, BAM, it’s love you guys! What was that?!

  • Four Years of Book Smuggling… | The Book Smugglers
    January 7, 2012 at 2:23 am

    […] celebrate the Summer of Spandex and the awesome Superhero movies out this year: Thor, Captain America, X-Men First Class and oh […]

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