Let’s rewind a bit to 2008. This was the definitive year for comic book movie, with gems like Iron Man, Hellboy II: The Golden Army, and The Dark Knight all coming out within two months of each other. For comic book fans everywhere—of which we’re of the diehard variety—we imagined a golden age of comic book cinema was upon us that was going to highlight creativity above commercialism.
Unfortunately this past summer cemented the fact that the superhero trend has become too valuable for studios to take any real risks with. It all started with Iron Man 3, which was touted as a political thriller but wound up making Lethal Weapon 3 look like high art. We don’t know which was worse: Ben Kingsley doing his best Peter Sellers impression as The Mandarin or Guy Pearce inexplicably turning into a fire-breathing CGI laughingstock. This was supposed to be an epic sendoff for the Iron Man solo movie franchise, but instead it bordered on Batman Forever territory.
“Alright,” we thought, “At least we still have Man of Steel to look forward to.” The trailers that made the movie look like a blend of Terrence Malick imagery and Steven Spielberg action, and for a moment we thought this would be the Superman movie we always wanted. Unfortunately, this is still a Zack Snyder film, so of course we wound up with impressive visuals, but a scattered plot and transparent characters. Snyder’s preference for action over character is fully evident in the fact that Superman barely has more than 10 lines throughout the entire movie. We're starting to get the feeling that Superman's kryptonite is Hollywood itself.
Whoever predicted that The Wolverine would be the best superhero movie of the summer, give yourself a pat on the back. And for everyone who paid good money on tickets to these embarrassments, we feel your pain.