THE RISE OF THE SUPERHERO.
I am a self confessed geek. I have many graphic novels and comics and could quite gladly get into a conversation picking apart a superhero’s back story but I would like to ask Hollywood a question: What is with the onslaught of superhero movies and TV shows and will you ever do them justice?
Batman and Robin (1997)
Okay I didn’t watch it in 1997 because I would have been six but it was the first superhero film I ever watched. I thought it was amazing and I totally fancied Robin! (And I still kinda do.) If you’ve never seen it I’ll give you the basis: Batman and Robin discover a new bad guy called Mr Freeze. Mr Freeze basically threatens to freeze Gotham but, of course, Batman and Robin save the day.
Now I’m not saying the film is totally bad. Arnold Schwarzenegger is an amazing Mr Freeze and Uma Thurman is good as Ivy but George Clooney unfortunately lets the side down for Batman. All in all if you haven’t watched it you’re not missing out. From a comic book perspective, it’s rubbish. Batman and Robin seem weak compared to their comic book counterparts and the one thing that really annoyed me: BATGIRL WAS BLONDE! Batgirl shouldn’t be blonde, she’s a well known redhead. Super annoying.
My first introduction to a good superhero film had to be X-men (It was also my first introduction to Hugh Jackman: Amazing Actor). When I first saw this film I was a girl obsessed. I wanted to be Rogue and have super powers and go to a school with other people like me. I wanted red hair with a white streak (Thank god I didn’t). I just wanted to be part of the team. As I watch it now I still think it’s a pretty awesome film and groundbreaking for its time but I am (thankfully) no longer a girl obsessed. It’s a great start for Mr Hugh Jackman and, as many know, X-men films wouldn’t be successful without him. I’ve read a few X-men comics in my life. It’s not far from accurate but still not perfect.
Lots of people hate this film, I love it. Ben Affleck is an amazing daredevil and I think it contains the right amount of action and humor to make the film work.
If you don’t know the plot, a young Matt Murdoch is being raised by his father who is a boxer. He is killed (as you probably know no parents survive comic book films) and Matt is blinded. He has to learn see without eyes and become aware of his surroundings. He becomes a successful lawyer but feels justice isn’t always being served. He then dons a mask and fights crime dressed as Daredevil. It’s good and the humour is great. Jennifer Garner as Electra adds a wonderful element. I know others hate it but it is one of my favourites.
Christopher Nolans Batman Trilogy (2005-2012)
Now I could easily talk about these films as individuals but to save time I’ll talk about them as a trilogy. They are great visually and the story telling is fantastically done. However, in relation to the comic books, it’s not very accurate. My favourite from the trilogy is The Dark Knight (2008) I think Heath Ledger is the best joker ever . He’s scary, funny, an unknown soul, everything The Joker is in the comics, he absolutely nailed it.
Christian Bale nailed the role of Batman too. He was in great shape for batman and the American accent is super except from the grizzly voice when he is Batman and not Bruce Wayne. I mean what is with that? Why the voice? I understand that they have to put a voice on to conceal their identity but really? No need for it! Tom Hardy is a excellent Bane in The Dark Knight Rises except from the voice. Seriously Hollywood, what where you doing to the voices? He sounded like Patrick Stewart with a sore throat. Liam Neeson makes a good Raj Al Ghul, he is both freaky and intelligent.
I loved these films and they are some of my favourites. If you need a comic book binge watch, this is the trilogy I’d start with.
Man of Steel (2012)
I couldn’t do a list of superheroes without mentioning the big guy, Superman. Man of Steel was not his first outing but one of the best ones I have seen. Henry Cavill dons the big red cape and it’s a whole new take on a classic story.
Basically, it’s an origin story with one of Superman’s biggest bad guys threatening the city Metropolis featuring the wonderful Lois Lane who is played by Amy Adams. When this film first came out the whole comic book fandom had a hissy fit about how Amy Adams was a redhead and Perry (her boss) was black. I however saw past these because it’s a really good film. Henry Cavill pulls off Clark Kent and Superman with a smooth American accent that had Americans shocked when he took part in his first interview and spoke with quite a posh British Accent.
Overall one of my favourites but doesn’t do the comics any justice. If you can look past that because it’s definitely worth a watch.
The Avengers (2012)
Now I stand here and I’m going to tell you what I tell everyone who asks me. I HATE THE AVENGERS. I think its awful and a pointless film. It takes at least an hour and a half to even get into some action as it’s an introduction of all the characters. Erm hello, isn’t that why they all had their own stand alone films.
The action was long as well. It’s a big destruction of the city and that annoys me. As well as this, why have members of the team (I’m looking at you Black Widow and Hawkeye) who don’t even need to be there? They still would have won without them. The only thing that saves the film is Robert Downy Jr. He is amazing as Iron Man. A contrast of humour and seriousness makes Iron Man a brilliant hero.
Arrow (2012 – Present)
I love, love, love this show. It’s one of my absolute favourites and I can watch it over and over again. I didn’t know much about The Green Arrow going into this show, all I knew was he was part of The Justice League and once had a sidekick who now works alongside Red Hood, (Batman’s second Robin until he got killed by Joker and then resurrected) one of my favourite anti-heroes. But to see it adapted as a TV show was exciting to say the least.
The Arrow is played by Stephen Amell. He had appeared in a few things before Arrow but probably nothing we would have seen over here in the UK. He portrays playboy millionaire Oliver Queen who is involved in a boat crash and is left on an island for five years until he is rescued. He then dons a hood and goes around fighting and killing the bad guys until he decides against it (I won’t tell you why. Massive spoiler).
He works alongside a team and together they continually save the day. It truly is a thrilling watch. My only problem with the show is the bad guys. It’s almost like they ran out of bad guys from the Green Arrow comics and then decided to take some of Batman’s less known bad guys such as Count Vertigo.
The Flash (2014-Present)
The Flash is one of the spin offs from Arrow and it shows the character of Flash aka Barry Allen. I knew a little bit about The Flash such as his ridiculous high-speed and he happens to be good friends with Green Lantern but again that’s about it.
Barry Allen is first introduced in Arrow as a crime scene investigator. This is where he sparks up a romance with Felicity and then goes back to his hometown after discovering that the Arrow is Oliver Queen. He is then struck by lightning and goes into a coma. This leads through to the first episode of the Flash where we see him awaken and discover that the lighting gave him super powers and cue a guest appearance from the Arrow.
The show is okay but I find it a bit dull. In terms of sticking to the comic books, it does pretty well, from the origin of The Flash to some of the bad guys such as Captain Boomerang. I gave up on this series and keep dipping back in when people tell me it’s got better but in my opinion it hasn’t.
If you like the comics then this might be the one for you but i’d say don’t knock it until you’ve tried watching at least 3 episodes.
Gotham (2014- Present)
Gotham before Batman. How boring does that sound? Well actually it’s really good and it follows Detective Jim Gordon as he fights crime in Gotham.
The show opened with the origin story of Bruce Wayne (Batman). His parents were killed and Detective Jim Gordon makes a promise to a young Bruce that he will find the man who killed his parents. This goes on throughout season 1 and season 2 while Gordon has to fight other bad guys.
It’s also very clever because it brings in well known characters from the comics as well as introducing their own bad guys such as The Ogre. All in all it’s not really got it’s own comic origin except Batman but doesn’t really have to live up to it.
The problem I have with it is the accuracy of the characters ages. In this Riddler is older then Bruce by a long way but in the comics the impression is given that he is younger and it’s a similar case with Catwoman.
I think I’m being picky though. If you haven’t started watching it yet then you need to. It’s on Netflix and you can always play catch up as we are only on season 2.
The whole point of this was to make you aware of how Hollywood are progressing through comic books. I’m really looking forward to the new comic book films that this year has to offer such as Deadpool and Suicide Squad but the one I’m really looking forward to is Batman vs Superman. But if it’s not good. I’m sure I’ll be ranting about how bad it is for years to come.
Featured Image – MoviePilot