Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Too Many Trips to the Super-Hero Well?

Summer is over. We’re slow-steeped in the barrage of fall horror films offered just in time for the Halloween season, and soon all the prestige flicks will be out just in time for the Oscar race to begin. If the XMas decorations going up all over malls across America aren’t enough to scare the crap out of you, how about the trailer releases spotlighting next summer’s big blockbusters?

Is it any shock that most of the most anticipated films of 2013 are yet again the next chapters in most of the more popular superhero franchise films, that you’re still mentally digesting, especially after a summer fighting dark knights, avengers assembled, and the return of a friendly neighborhood wall-crawler? Brace yourself...next year we’ve got a full-slew of men of steel, and the first one keeps proving invincible!

Hot off the presses with little time to have cooled in the furnace Marvel Studios has launched a blitzkrieg with the new Iron Man 3 trailer. As expected with fan boys still recovering from New York City Comic-Con, this was just the injection the Internet needed to get things going. Still a ways away from hitting theaters even Tony Stark admits that the recent attack on New York City (as experienced in this summer’s hit The Avengers) has taken its toll on him. Which begs one to ask: Are theater audiences also exhausted by Hollywood’s continually, and sometimes uninspired trips to comic book well?

I’ll probably get slammed for saying this but let’s face it – the just released trailer for Iron Man 3 isn’t really all that cool. Beat for beat it looks and feels like a rip-off of the premiere shots from The Dark Knight Rises. But let’s be honest too about one other thing as well, it may not be all that cool...but if it was any less impressive, we wouldn’t be all that excited to catch this next installment of this winning franchise.

In the film teaser we see a battle weary Stark (played by Robert Downey Jr.) fixated on creating a powerful new suit of armor – one that responds to his every whim, but like one other famously brilliant inventor, has he created a monster out of the man? The trailer reveals the film’s new threat and the Marvel character’s greatest adversary, The Mandarin. He appears poised to take down our Armored Avenger down with what looks like the contemporary Marvel villain, The Iron Patriot. Who exactly is hiding inside that suit is still up in the air, but with young Harry Osborn set to reappear in The Spectacular Spider-Man could his notorious father Norman be behind the plot to destroy Stark?

So many questions, but one thing is for sure – Gwyneth Paltrow’s Pepper Potts has seen better days! Relegated to the damsel in distress, it looks like she gets tossed from a plane, kidnapped in her sleep, and strapped to a metal harness. Totally not cool, but fortunately the Academy Award winner has a paycheck for all of her troubles. Not bad for a day’s work!

As a comic book fan from the days when comic books only mattered in 2D, I feel that I am an authority to discuss the manner in which the film industry has turned the summer into a super hero blood bath. I feel comfortable voicing my opinion because I know that most of you will agree – summer’s have become nothing more than the season of the big blockbusters. It’s just too bad that all the films are based on the same thing.

As kids we hoped and prayed to one day meet our heroes in the flesh. The first Superman film proved that a man really could fly...but by the third installment, and the quest for peace, audiences were looking for a new hero. After waiting and wanting for such a long time to see the X-Men up on the big screen, were they really all that they were cut up to be? Did Phoenix’s death in X2 have the same resonance as the now classic issue of The Uncanny X-Men #138?

And how about Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns? Does that compare in any way to what the brilliant Christopher Nolan created on the big screen for his trilogy? Does it surpass the printed version. The film version of Watchmen tried really hard, but fell short to Alan Moore’s incredible graphic novel (which is really great as an animated comic). Are we jaded and just sitting around waiting for the next “Watchmen”?

With the success of this summer’s Avengers the next wave of Marvel films can’t fail. Everyone is waiting with baited breath for Thor, Ant-Man, The Wolverine, Spider-Man, Captain America and yes, the next Iron Man. But will we judge them as harshly if they suddenly fail to deliver on the original? Fortunately for us, the movies are taking these mythological heroes to entirely new levels, so until Justice League comes along...make mine Marvel with a bucket of popcorn!

JC Alvarez is the Nightlife Editor for EDGE On The Net and a pop-culture columnist covering celebrity and entertainment. He is the voice behind the nationally syndicated Internet radio show “Out Loud & Live!” that broadcasts every Friday @ 9pm EST on www.modernworldradio.com