Once the sole preserve of the nerd with no friends, comic books and graphic novels have become an ingrained part of the cinematic landscape and a constant source of inspiration and exploitation.
Since the dawn of the 21st century, comic-book movies have ruled popular taste and the global box-office. We just can’t get enough of them. Here are 4 movies to watch out for in 2014.
Top: Chris Evans portrays Captain America once again in the upcoming film.
“300: Rise of an Empire” brings Frank Miller’s unpublished graphic novel to the screen.
300: Rise of an Empire
“300: Rise of an Empire,” based on Frank Miller’s unpublished graphic novel, “Xerxes,” is focused on the Battle of Salamis, a naval skirmish that was fought at the same time as the Battle of Thermopylae (depicted in Zack Snyder’s “300”). Rodrigo Santoro is once again playing the giant Persian king Xerxes. Filling out the cast is “Game of Thrones” star Lena Headey (another returning cast member from “300”), Jack O’Connell and French actress Eva Green as Artemesia, the Greek queen who sided with the Persians. The film has retained the look of Zack Snyder’s original and controversial 2007 epic with computer-generated backdrops, comic-book style compositions and the sepia hued photography. Even if “300: Rise of an Empire” turns out to be rubbish, at least it’ll look stunning!
Captain America returns this summer to take on “The Winter Soldier.”
Captain America: The Winter Soldier
Steve Rogers/Captain America is the only Avenger I could ever imagine having a beer with. The others aren’t exactly what you’d call an approachable bunch: Tony Stark is an ego maniac; Thor, an alien god; Bruce Banner/Hulk, a grumpy soul with wild and dangerous mood swings; Hawkeye is a loner; and Black Widow is, well, deadly. Rogers, by comparison, is a down to earth guy who just so happens to have gnarly fighting skills thanks to a super serum injecting into his formerly weak body! In “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” the “star-spangled man that can” is forced to defend the stars and stripes against Russian baddie, The Winter Soldier (Sebastian Stan).
Spidey defends NYC against several new villains, including Electro (Jamie Foxx), in “The Amazing Spider-Man 2.”
The Amazing Spider-Man 2
Sony decided to reboot the beloved character and the entire series after the studio and Sam Raimi came to loggerheads over the direction of “Spider-Man 4.” Marc Webb (director “500 Days of Summer”) was drafted in–along with British actor Andrew Garfield–to re-spin one of the most popular comic book creations of all time. “The Amazing Spider-Man” was a resounding smash-hit with audiences worldwide and, as is standard in Hollyweird, sequel dates were announced before any of the scripts had been written. Pressure much?
Recent trailers for “The Amazing Spider-Man 2” highlighted the typical mix of soul-searching drama and Spider-Man swinging around NYC. This time, Spidey is up against The Rhino (Paul Giamatti), Electro (Jamie Foxx) and OsCorp (Harry Osborn is played by rising star Dane De Haan). Doesn’t anybody remember Spider-Man 3?! Too many villains spoil the broth.
X-Men past and X-Men present unite for this latest entry in the series.
X-Men: Days of Future Past
The X-Men are my personal favourites among the world of superheroes. The rich subtexts–ranging from social exclusion to the personal struggles in accepting one’s place in the world–and a political resonance (Professor X is Martin Luther King and Magneto is Malcolm X) make the world of X-Men deeper than most. Plus, director Bryan Singer owes the fans a mighty fine movie after bailing on “X-Men: The Last Stand” and leaving it in the hands of super-hack Brett Ratner to ruin.
“X-Men: Days of Future Past” sees both the cast from the original movies and the recent prequel (“X-Men: First Class”) come together for what should be a real cracker. All the signs are good. 20th Century Fox and Singer are so confident, in fact, they’ve already announced a further movie for 2016: “X-Men: Apocalypse.”
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