Last night, I saw Captain America, which means I have now seen all the superhero films that have been released this year and that is five.
I do wonder if this is the year that the superhero thing finally jumps the shark. It has been the fad du jour, ever since the first X-Men film in 2000 (though obviously made much more popular than that with the Spider-Man and Batman franchises), which is quite a long fad. But... I don't think that people are getting as excited by them these days as they used to be.
X-Men: First Class didn't make anywhere nears as much as either of its preceding (and bad) films. Did anyone go and see Green Hornet? Nobody that I know. And that's with two A-list stars and a well-loved director. Green Lantern also received very disappointing numbers (and reviews).
[Maybe people just don't like the colour green...?]
Thor did do pretty well, to be fair, if not Spider-Man numbers, and Captain America seems to be doing equally well (though with its patriotic title, it may not quite share the overseas success). All of which is good news for the Avengers film next year. Which will a) be brilliant and b) make a shit-ton of money.
I can't see the new Spider-Man, nor the new Batman, doing anything other than setting the Box Office alight, it's true, but they are established franchises now, all three, even with S-M's reboot. They won't be a success because they're superheroes, but because people loved the films that came before them. And as far as I know, they aren't releasing any new superhero films next year.
I wish the films this year had been better, and that maybe their hadn't been quite so many of them released in such a short space of time; even I'm getting slightly fatigued. After next year, I do wonder if we'll see a break from superhero films, aside from all the sequels to this year's most successful. To be honest, I wouldn't be angry if the studios started to look into some other fads, at least for a while. Like... maybe vampires? Ho ho.
For those interested, here is my little league table of this year's superhero movies, counting down from worst to best. 1 and 5 were easy, but the middle ones were slightly trickier, no doubt due to their patchy quality.
5. Green Lantern.
Not awful just... a bit bland. Not the fault of the performers, who all did well, just quite lazy storytelling and a pretty unfun script. It felt very much like a post-Men in Black, early Noughties action adventure, but slightly more boring.
4. Captain America
This could have been the Batman Begins of the Marvel films, and there were some flashes of that, but it just... wasn't. Given that it was set during, you know, WWII, it could have been all gritty and dirty, but it felt slightly neutered and, like GL, quite formulaic. And weedy Steve Rogers did not work. Great performances from Stanley Tucci and Tommy Lee Jones though!
3. X-Men: First Class
This would have been higher if not for the awful, nonsensical final 20 minutes. The visual style of the film was excellent, and the emotional journey of the central characters, but it felt like they got bored of subtlety towards the end ('They're just following orders,' says Xavier to Magneto, the concentration camp survivor) and turned every character into an cock. Also, the film was completely overburdened by its desire to give us the origin of everything (Xavier's disability, I get, maybe even Beast's blueness, but did we really need to know the back story of why Mystique likes to be naked?). So I really enjoyed most of this film, but the bits I didn't enjoy, I really didn't enjoy.
2. Green Hornet
I expected this one to be fifth. I didn't really even want to see it. But, I will tell you, it's pretty good! It's a bit like what would happen if Pineapple Express had more gadgets and kung-fu, basically. Which is a great idea. Combine that with some excellent action and trippy fight scenes, and it was a thoroughly entertaining film. I'd be hard pressed to pick between this and Kick-Ass in terms of quality (though this film does obviously suffer from a lack of Hit-Girl - as do all films). A very pleasant surprise.
This film was just excellent, I thought. Great action, sharp script, very likeable lead and an excellent mesh of the Norse mythology and the new Marvel movie-verse. They should make more of these.