Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance - February 17th
Its a shame that a year full of outstanding comic book film properties that we have to start with Ghost Rider.
I'm sure I was not the only one who left the cinema after the first Ghost Rider film rather disappointed with what we'd just seen. I certainly wasn't thinking "Hmm, what I really want is a sequel".
Instead we're getting a "requal" (not my word I'd like to add), where the first film may or may not have happened. Unfortunately we've also still got Nic Cage back as the titular character.
In some ways, I want to like this film. The special effects look darker and the action in the trailer is over the top. Reading a preview with the directors in SFX made me slightly more interested, as they seem to want to make a fun action packed movie. Given my general lack of knowledge about Ghost Rider, I'm even going to not worry about continuity issues! However, I just can't forget the hash Nic Cage made in the last outing.
Avengers - May 4th
If this was the only comic book movie out this year, I'd still be a happy fan. It has been 4 movies in the making, and will see teaming up some of the biggest guns in the Marvel Universe.
This is the end result of Marvel Studios taking a bigger part in the production of their films, 4 franchises combined in one film! They were able to control the shape of the plots, as well as build up an over arcing world for the film to take place in. Its a shame they can't do similar with X-Men, Spiderman and Fantastic Four properties.
So the trailer hasn't given much away about the plot, Skrulls are presumed but no big bad has been seen. What we have seen is some great snippets of inter team dialogue, as well as some amazing special effects.
I'm really looking forward to seeing more of the SHIELD team on screen, including how the Helicarriers look.
If you only see one comic book film this year, Avengers is my suggestion.
Its been 5 years since Spiderman 3, long enough for the pain of seeing emo Peter Parker dancing. Now we get a re-boot of the series with a decidedly angsty looking Peter Parker!
While the film poster may want to make out that this is an "untold story", the Spiderman origin is one of the most know comic book origins there is. So what can we expect from the reboot?
Well, for a start we have Gwen Stacey as his girlfriend, and taking on the role of misunderstood bad guy is Dr Curt Conners aka The Lizard. Peter himself looks less clean cut, more of a scruffy outsider than Maguire's clean cut smart arse.
Its nice we see something of Peter's parents in the trailer, and I'm hoping for plenty of screen time for
The Dark Knight Rises - July 20th
We now come to DCs only release this year. Christopher Nolan's darker and more modern take on the Batman mythology has been outstanding, and The Dark Knight Rises brings it to a close. Drawing on themes from across the Batman canon, it should prove to be a fitting end to the trilogy.
While not everyone has agreed with the more modern takes on classic Batman characters (personally, Micheal Caine makes a terrible Alfred) you can't deny that these films have once again shown that Batman can be a valid film franchise. I sorely pity the person who is asked to do the next Batman film treatment.
For those of you who care, technically Men in Black 3 counts, as it was originally a comic book published by Aircel Comics. Aircel was bought out by Malibu Comics, which got absorbed by Marvel Comics. However, the least said about MiB3, the better!