Columns > Published on November 7th, 2011

2012 Comic Book Movie Preview

A lot of us on staff here at LitReactor are big fans of the comic book adaptation. We normally try to bring everything back to writing, so this is admittedly a bit of a reach.  Having said that, it's time to strap on that utility belt and tie a blanket around your neck--hero season at the movies is bearing down on us faster than a speeding production company.  Let's begin.

Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance

Nicolas Cage has an interesting past with the comic book movie.  He was lined up to play Superman in the Tim Burton-directed potential shit show Superman Lives.  A black and silver costume that glows--need I say more? Then he was set to play Scarecrow in Schumacher's Batman Triumphant, but people decided they had seen enough nipples and neon, and it fell through.  Cage finally caught a break with Ghost Rider, which was great for him because he's actually a Ghost Rider fan and has the tattoo to prove it.  Of course, Ghost Rider isn't the most well-known hero, and the first film was a critical flop. But that doesn't change the fact that it crossed the $100 million mark.  When a film makes that kind of money--whether you like it or not--you're getting a sequel.  Honestly, unless there's some huge positive buzz on this, I will probably pass.


The Good: Don't count on Mr. Cage phoning this one in.  He loves this character so much he'll bust ass to perform the hellfire out of it.

The Bad: If you didn't like the first Ghost Rider movie, prepare for more of the same.

The Ugly: The part where Ghost Rider goes pee pee and flames come out.  Pretty sure that never happened in the comic book.

The Amazing Spider-Man

I still feel a bit weird about this one, considering it's a reboot of a successful franchise whose last installment dropped a mere four years ago.  The first film of said trilogy was pretty good, the sequel nailed it, and part three gave us an emo Spider-Man with jazzy musical numbers. Amazing is going to stick a little closer to the source material, however.  Gwen Stacy will be the love interest as opposed to Mary Jane.  Yes, in the comic, Gwen was the  "first love," and hot damn, doesn't Emma Stone just look totes adorbs!  We're getting mechanical webshooters, so Mr. Parker can finally show off his scientific abilities.  Then there's the costume, which has more of a homemade quality about it.  It always bugged me a little that in the Raimi version, Spidey's suit looked like it was tailor-made by the Sony costume department and not a high school student.  Director Mark Webb seems to be angling more in the "realistic super hero" direction that made Nolan's Batman films such a huge success.  Then there's Andrew Garfield who, quite honestly, I liked in The Social Network, so I think he's got what it takes to pull off the Parker character.  It's how he plays the hero that feels iffy.  Spider-Man is sarcastic, quippy, and a little bit over the top with his bravado.  Hopefully, Garfield can capture both sides of the coin and Webb can make this version his own.  Whether he likes it or not, he's going to get compared to Raimi as long as he's at the helm.


The Good: Loving the realism angle and the cast--especially Rhys Ifans as the Lizard.

The Bad: Having to sit through the origin story again.  That's going to eat up about the first hour or so.

The Ugly: That Mirror's Edge POV in the trailer.  Yikes, that was terrible.

The Avengers

Hot damn, this feels like a lock.  I'll see Spidey, of course, but The Avengers is the film I might fork over the extra $16 to see a second time.  You really have to hand it to Marvel, they did it right putting this thing together.  After seeing a Sam L. cameo in both Iron Man films, the last Hulk Film, Captain America, and Thor--we're finally going to see it all come together.  This looks to be a cavalcade of awesomeness.  My only concern is that it might suffer from Transformers 2 syndrome.  No, not racist robots. I'm just hoping that amongst all the awesome fights and other cool shit that the actual story doesn't become an afterthought.  Tony Stark doesn't exactly have all of his shit together.  Captain America just woke up from a 70-year ice nap.  Thor is almost completely new to life on Earth.  And Bruce Banner (the Hulk) is being played by yet another actor, so there's that to establish.  Then there's the issue of getting all of these guys to work as a team.  There's plenty that needs to be sorted out on a personal level whilst Loki goes nutty nuts with power.


The Good: The pay-off to a methodical build-up that started in 2008.  Expectations are high, and with Joss Whedon at the helm, this looks like a sure shot.

The Bad: I have to wait until May to see this? Dammit!

The Ugly: They never seem to make the Hulk look right, do they? Where's Ferrigno?

The Dark Knight Rises

Look, I believe in Christopher Nolan.  There's no disputing that.  The guy took the genre and the Batman character and made it about as perfect as anyone could (with that one exception of the weird voice).  I have no doubt that The Dark Knight Rises will be a commercial and critical success, but the thing is, I'm just not too terribly excited for it.  I remember getting chills when I first heard Ledger do the Joker voice in The Dark Knight teaser, and then he stole the show with his performance.  Bale kicked ass, as always.  It was arguably one of the best movies I had seen--not just in the comic book genre.  We're talking movies period.  Now we have the last installment in the form of The Dark Knight Rises. Hathaway's Catwoman costume sucks.  The Bane costume is meh.  The trailer is Gordon being sick in a hospital bed and some chanting.  We're not getting much action in the way of new villains.  I'm just not seeing anything that's creating that same need to see this movie.  You can bet your ass I will, but with reasonably lower expectations.  Nolan has a great track record, and I'm willing to gamble he'll come through yet again. Whether this installment will trump TDK remains to be seen.


The Good: Nolan is ol' reliable.  Expect a great flick to close out his run on the franchise.

The Bad: Bane's S&M mask and Catwoman's bland leather get-up aren't cutting the mustard.

The Ugly: A backbreaker delivered by Bane if Nolan decides to include it.  Potential SPOILER.

Okay kiddos, chime in with your thoughts in the comments.

About the author

Brandon Tietz is the author of Out of Touch and Good Sex, Great Prayers. His short stories have been widely published, appearing in Warmed and Bound, Amsterdamned If You Do, Spark (vol. II), and Burnt Tongues, the Chuck Palahniuk anthology. Visit him at
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