Tag Archive: comic books


Back in 1975 Jaws became the highest grossing film to date. It’s arguably one of the most famous films ever that has been parodied and referenced in countless numbers of films and has a theme tune that everyone can hum and recognise. The release and the popularity of Jaws marked the arrival of the summer blockbuster, which would become a staple in the cinema calendar; the summer blockbuster spots are reserved for the biggest studios to bring out the big guns and rake in the profits over summer. The whole idea of a ‘blockbuster film’ has gone through celebration and survived criticism but you can not deny that they are still apparent and, as we have seen this year, are the most bankable films of the year. But the originality has gone, and with that so has some of the fun.

Among the top ten highest grossing films of the year so far there are eight films that have been released in the summer. Only one of those is an original concept: Pacific Rim. When Jaws was released it marked a trend of ‘event’ films that major studios released to compete with Jaws and its sequels. Taking this into account Pacific Rim seems like a typical summer blockbuster remade for a modern audience. It seems like everything a summer audience want: mindless action, giant robots fighting gigantic aliens and what’s more the film had major clout behind it as it was directed by Guillermo Del Toro. Pacific Rim only just managed to double its budget worldwide despite all the hype surrounding it and Idris Elba booming “today we are cancelling the apocalypse” before every other summer film that you would go and see. Of course, one reason why Pacific Rim could have fallen short of expectations is because Michael Bay did such an awful job with the Transformers film that any film with robots in will now be tossed aside without thought.

 

But then a film with fighting robots also became the fifth highest grossing film of all time: Iron Man 3. So this seems to suggest that that was not the only reason for Pacific Rim‘s failure to make a huge impression on the audience. In a world with so many sequels it is becoming more important to see those sequels when they come out, especially with what Marvel are doing with each film becoming a huge stable of cinema in itself and an unmissable event. People want to see what they already know because the first films are so good and successful that it gives a sequel credibility before it is even released. The likes of Star Trek Into Darkness, Fast and Furious 6, Monsters University and even Despicable Me 2 cracked the top ten highest grossing films – all coming off the back of successful franchises or original films. World War Z and Man of Steel also join the list but they’re coming from hugely successful books and comic books. With World War Z it also seems to suggest that star power is also important for a summer blockbuster with Brad Pitt no doubt being responsible for some of the surprisingly huge audience the zombie action film found.

So what of Will Smith, Tom Cruise and Johnny Depp? Three of the biggest movie stars on the planet absolutely tanked at the box office in 2013. Smith’s After Earth and Cruise’s Oblivion both seemed pretty similar in their basic premise: Earth has been abandoned and now Will Smith/Tom Cruise come back to Earth and find out that it’s not as bare as they might have thought. It was assumed that one film would take the spoils because they were too similar but as it turned out, neither film did and both failed. Johnny Depp looked to bring a new franchise to the big screen and should have been more successful being as though The Lone Ranger is integrated in popular culture – everyone has heard “Hi-Yo, Silver!” at least once in their lives. But a difficult time in production seemed to put an end to any plans Disney had of making a sequel. And the less said about R.I.P.D the better.

 

Another one of the most anticipated films of the year was Neill Blomkamp’s Elysium. After Blomkamp’s debut feature District 9 was an Oscar nominated film people were expecting something exceptional from Elysium, starring Matt Damon and Jodie Foster. However, as of now it has only just managed to make back its budget and not set the world alight as people expected. Of course, a late summer release won’t have helped being as though it seems everyone had already spent their money on previously mentioned films. So why is it so hard to find a spot for originality in the summer months?

For me, I think it comes down to the cost of going to the cinema. Over summer the children are off school and people go to the cinema as a family. This means that you’re going to be spending around £25-£35 on tickets and then another £20ish on drinks and popcorn which makes it seem pretty expensive just to go and sit down for a couple of hours. Nobody wants to go and see a bad film at the cinema anyway but when it’s costing that much you want to know that you’re going to enjoy what you watch. Therefore, I believe people are more likely to go and see Iron Man 3 when Marvel have a spotless record and you’re guaranteed a great performance from Robert Downey Jr. rather than take a chance that something like R.I.P.D or Pacific Rim which you don’t know much about.

 

In the next couple of years we are going to see more Marvel films – Guardians of the Galaxy in 2014, The Avengers: Age of Ultron in 2015. The Man of Steel sequel featuring Batman is coming out too, the same as the seventh chapter of Star Wars and presumably a third in the new Star Trek trilogy: add to that another Fast & Furious film, a sequel to World War Z and X-Men: Days of Future Past. It seems like so many huge franchises are begging for people’s money that it seems impossible for anything new to turn heads. For the sake of cinema that has to change sooner rather than later.

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Marvel’s Phase Two is now underway with Iron Man 3 becoming the first movie of the year to gross over one billion dollars. With Thor: The Dark World, Captain America: The First Avenger and Guardians of the Galaxy resulting in The Avengers 2 it looks to be another successful couple of years for Marvel. Then with Phase Three some new arrivals are set to touch down in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) with Ant-Man and Doctor Strange making it to the big screen, and rumours Black Panther will be there, Marvel are taking risks developing new properties. Runaways seems to be a comic book that would fit beautifully into the world that the MCU has taken on.

For anyone not familiar with Runaways, it is one of the most exciting and innovative Marvel comic books in recent years. A group of teenagers find out that their parents make up the super villain group known as The Pride. These teenagers decide to run away from home and set about making up for their parents’ wrongs by becoming superheroes in their own right. Along the way they make some startling discoveries (one of them is a mutant, another a witch, one an alien, one owns a pet dinosaur) but their group dynamic makes for some very interesting reading and would make a great story on the big screen.

Back when the MCU was first coming together Runaways was one of the films under consideration: a script was being written (Drew Pearce actually got the job of co-writing Iron Man 3 due to the strength of his Runaways script), casting calls were put out and actors and actresses were even being contacted about the film. However, Marvel decided (rightly judging by the huge amount of money they have made) to focus on bringing The Avengers to the big screen and as such the Runaways project was unfortunately shelved. Recently though, Marvel President of Production Kevin Feige stated that a Runaways film is being developed along with Ms. Marvel and Iron Fist among others.

So why is Runaways such a good choice? Well the comic book series is laden with references to the wider universe. The teenagers themselves are fans of superheroes like Spider-Man and Hulk, in fact it begins with them role playing as other Marvel superheroes. In a universe like the one Marvel has created with their films it is obvious that children will want to imitate these heroes and they will have an effect on ordinary people, which could be explored in Runaways.

Up to this point, the effect that these films has on the wider world has not been touched upon all that much. That may change with Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D television series but it can also be shown in Runaways. The way that Runaways could intertwine with other Marvel characters and franchises would be different to everything that has been done so far. With Thor, Iron Man, Captain America and Hulk the movies just focus on the primary characters with nothing else really being explored; Runaways opens up the door for a self referencing corner of their universe where other films can be discussed as well as allowing this new team to have their own stories.

More importantly, with the popularity of Runaways it would be guaranteed to be a financial hit (lets face it, anything with Marvel attached to it is going to make money right now) but it is not a safe choice. This would be their first film featuring adolescent protagonists and can discuss more social and personal issues than the science of Iron Man or magic of Thor allow for. It would take the MCU to a grittier corner where everything isn’t always fine and where fighting your parents or dealing with an ultimate betrayal is everyday life.
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After the events of X-Men: The Last Stand and Origins: Wolverine, fans have been pretty on the fence about whether to bother with The Wolverine or not. However, as more and more news has unravelled about Logan’s next venture The Wolverine had my curiosity but now, with the release of the first international trailer, it has my attention.

The Wolverine takes place after the events of The Last Stand: Jean Grey, Cyclops and Professor X are dead and the X-Men are disbanded. Wolverine is coming to terms with the fact that he is always going to outlive everyone he ever cares about and comes close to, he will be forever grieving. He is in a state of hopelessness, without identity now more than ever. Who is The Wolverine?

Despite being the lead character in the original X-Men films and obviously in Origins, a lot of time was given to other mutants – to the point in Origins that there were perhaps TOO many mutants for anyone to really be bothered about. However, what we have here is a true solo Wolverine film. Based on one of the greatest story arcs of all time by Chris Claremont and Frank Miller, Wolverine travels to Japan and meets a mysterious figure from his past.

Hugh Jackman is a man who clearly loves his art. This will be the sixth time that Jackman has took on the role of Wolverine and will be playing the part again next year as well. It is hard to think of any other actor who clearly cares for his character so much. Despite the poor outings in his last two features Jackman is still portraying the clawed animal, determined to give fans the true incarnation of Wolverine that they want. And now it looks as though all of his waiting is about to pay off.

Thankfully, there are a lack of mutants in The Wolverine, with most of the conflict coming from assassin’s guilds. However, the other mutants who do appear are set to offer something new to the franchise. There is a wealth of characters that FOX haven’t even come close to alluding to in the X-Men universe so it is good to see some fresh faces here. In particular there is Silver Samurai, played by Will Yun Lee, who has access to an electrified suit of samurai armour and is the son of Shingen Yashida, the figure from Logan’s past. But there is also Viper; in the comics she is a skilled martial artist and tactician with an enhanced life span and teleportation abilities, but it is unclear how much of this will be used in the film adaptation of the character, but she is played by the beautiful Russian actress Svetlana Khodchenkova.

The preview images have been impressive. Fans have longed to see Wolverine in his suit and now they get to see him, finally in… well, a suit. Nobody really knew what the stakes were going to be for Wolverine in Japan but now we know; will he really lose his ability to heal himself? Is that truly what he wants?

Director James Mangold (of 3:10 to Yuma fame) previously listed a series of films that had influenced his take on this iconic character. Among them were Chungking Express, The Outlaw Josey Wales, The French Connection and 13 Assassins which are all fantastic films and it will be very interesting to see the impact that these films have on The Wolverine.

We’re shown flashbacks in the trailer of World War 2 presumably. There’s a little glimpse of Famke Janssen, is that The Last Stand footage or a new cameo that she preciously teased? One thing we know for certain, or that I am willing to speculate anyway, is that this will be the Batman Begins of Wolverine’s story. I predict that The Wolverine will be the surprise package of 2013!

The Wolverine hits cinemas worldwide on July 26th.

Last year FOX released X-Men: First Class and up until release nobody really knew whether it was a reboot or a prequel to the original X-Men trilogy. After it’s release and the cameo appearances from Hugh Jackman and Rebecca Romijn still nobody knew whether it was a reboot or prequel and that continues to be a mystery as anticipation for the sequel X-Men: Days of Future Past grows with speculation that characters from the original X-Men trilogy could be in line to make a surprise return to the franchise, something which the Days of Future Past storyline from the comics would allow.

In Marvel’s comics the Days of Future Past storyline became one of the most successful X-Men titles of all time and, along with the Age of Apocalypse and House of M, is a storyline that all X-Men fans have wanted to see on the big screen. The story switches from present day to a future where the X-Men failed to stop Mystique’s Brotherhood of Evil Mutants from killing Senator Kelly; in the future mutants are a dying breed as the United States are ruled by Sentinels with the mutants placed in internment camps. The present day (or past) X-Men are forewarned about this by the future version of Kitty Pryde whose mind travels back in time into the body of her younger self.

Obviously there are a few characters missing if this was to take place; both Kitty Pryde and Rachel Summers both had large parts to play in Days of Future Past in the comic books yet neither appeared in First Class and Rachel Summers hasn’t even been hinted at at all throughout the history of X-Men films. This wouldn’t be too much of a problem as the 90s cartoon version of X-Men portrayed this storyline with Bishop taking on the Kitty Pryde role, although Bishop is another character yet to make it to the big screen. However, Patrick Stewart has hinted recently that he could reprise his role of Charles Xavier and so perhaps there is a chance there to make Professor X the centre piece with Stewart’s older character finding a way to contact his younger self played by James McAvoy.

Famke Janssen has also hinted that her character could return to the X-Men continuity (which is already a mess if you want to get into the nitty gritty details, FOX really haven’t even tried to make it all add up to the correct answers) and this shouldn’t be a surprise because, yes she may have been killed by Wolverine in the awful X-Men: The Last Stand but she also ‘died’ in X2 and has died countless times in the comic books but she just keeps on coming back! I have to be honest and say that I would have really liked an X-Men 4 done properly after the travesty of The Last Stand, seeing what took place afterwards with Beast and Angel staying on at the mansion, the return of Professor X, what happened to Cyclops? It may have been poor in comparison to the previous two films but The Last Stand left ideas there for another sequel and I would like to see Cyclops, Storm and Wolverine all back on the big screen (that would also save us any more individual Jackman fuelled Wolverine efforts). But would it be right?

Obviously the storyline makes it possible for the older characters to return and continuity shouldn’t bother FOX as it never has done before but perhaps with the appointment of Mark Millar now as consultant on FOX’s Marvel properties he may manage to reign them in a little. Matthew Vaughn (director of First Class and producer of Days of Future Past) has previously stated that he only wanted to introduce one main character in the sequel and although he said that a very long time ago it would make this possibility of returning X-Men seem less likely, but would you really count the return of the original X-Men as an ‘introduction’ per say?

I would have liked to have seen an X-Men 4 and maybe a Days of Future Past film would be a good way to sort of make it happen and tie up loose ends for fans that want answers but if FOX have any sense I think they should stay away from this idea. The continuity has been tampered with too much and I think now is their chance to make First Class the real start of a reboot and cut all ties with the original trilogy. There are still plenty of characters they could introduce to still make the Days of Future Past storyline anything like the comics by introducing Bishop for example. The X-Men roster is always growing so there are countless ways to take this story.

What do you think?

Bale as a fictional hero on the big screen.

Christian Bale’s acting talents have brought him praise after praise for a number of films including The Fighter, The Prestige and 3:10 to Yuma but in terms of his public image Bale is sometimes dealt a raw deal. In fact, you never really hear much about Bale off screen but one infamous news story took place back in 2008 whilst Bale was filming the largely unsuccessful Terminator Salvation. You may remember that a video was released onto the internet of Bale having an incredible rant at the director of photography after he walked into Bale’s line of sight during a take. This incident was reported all over the world on main news channels and made Christian Bale look like a petulant little brat. When he later apologised for his actions this was kept away from most of the news. Therefore, it is common when people think of Christian Bale nowadays to associate him with this incident and strike him down almost instantly as not a nice person. However, I aim to change that with these news stories that didn’t quite do the rounds as much as the ‘rant’ but should have and should be brought to the forefront of people’s minds to show just what a fantastic character and heart warming person Christian Bale is.

Christian Bale is known for taking his acting very very seriously and has shown it time and again by slimming down radically, to the point of looking really ill, to pull off roles accurately (The Fighter, The Machinist). But Bale seems to have taken the role of Batman to heart and is carrying out all his duties to make people see what a real hero he is. Earlier this year upon the release of The Dark Knight Rises there was a tragic shooting in Aurora, Colorado. 12 people were killed with a further 58 reportedly injured. These victims were just waiting to see a midnight screening of the third and final chapter in Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy. Just a few days later Christian Bale was in Aurora visiting the survivors of the attack. Bale spent a few hours at the hospital where he spoke to victims, doctors and police officers who were among the first to respond to the shooting. These people wanted to see Batman and Christian Bale made sure that they did.

Bale meets Aurora shooting victim.

And now Bale has been at it again, making a young child’s wish come true. Five year old boy Jayden Barber was diagnosed with terminal bone cancer back in 2010 and it was his dream to meet Batman. A Facebook campaign was started by Jayden’s family to try and get Christian Bale to visit his young fan and sure enough, Bale was more than happy to oblige. Christian Bale flew Jayden and his family out to Los Angeles to meet him and he had dinner with the family too. This isn’t something that Bale needed to do but he obviously takes his job seriously and playing Batman he will have become something of a real life hero and a role model and this is a wonderful thing of him to do: making a young boy’s wish come true. And there was more good news for Jayden and his family as they recently found out that the cancer was in remission.

Christian Bale makes a young boy’s wish come true.

Christian Bale isn’t the only big screen hero to have done this recently though as Ron Perlman, famous for playing Hellboy has done the same recently this year. Perlman donned full make-up and costume to visit leukaemia sufferer, six year old Zachary . When asked for what he wished for most Zachary said that he wanted to meet Hellboy and don the make-up himself. Sure enough, Perlman and Spectral Motion made this boy’s wish come true.

Ron Perlman becomes Hellyboy to make a young boy’s wish become reality.

The three biggest action stars in the world… ever.

During the eighties and nineties the action genre was the place to be and many action stars were born. Bruce Willis, Sylvester Stallone, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Steven Seagal and Dolph Lundgren all made careers out of being action heroes. Their films were, most of the time, nothing more than a simple storyline where a hero just got to kick ass and the audience would have fun cheering the hero on while he did so, eg. Die Hard, Rambo. Nowadays you won’t really find that among the big Hollywood films, the genre has evolved over time and action films seemed to get more serious, genres started to merge and the days of the real action genre and action heroes are behind us, I think.

While people like the actors mentioned above are still making films I do believe that the only real action hero we have left is the English born Jason Statham. He is most famous for the Transporter trilogy and his films continue to get a cinema release whereas the likes of Lundgren, Seagal and Jean Claude Van Damme do not, so why is this? I think it is because Statham does have a real talent for acting whereas a lot of action heroes are just there because of their size and physique; Statham has shown before he can manage the acting as well as the action, he seems like a really nice guy which audiences always like and he is still relatively new in his career, having only started out in 1998. It’s been 14 years sure, but actors these days go for a lot longer than that!

The Expendables 2 is coming out later this year and back in 2010 we saw a return to the sole action genre with the original film directed and written by Sylvester Stallone himself. The idea was to bring together a great ensemble cast of action heroes to bring the genre back to the forefront of blockbuster cinema. The cast included Jason Statham, Jet Li, Dolph Lundgren as well as a scene that features three stars synonymous with the action genre: Stallone, Schwarzenegger and Willis. The sequel retains this cast and expands with Van Damme and Chuck Norris. The idea to revive the big action block buster was a good one in theory and went down well with fans as the film opened to huge commercial success across the globe but critics were less favourable as the film received mixed to negative reviews. Despite this, a third film is rumoured to happen and Steven Seagal says he has been offered a part. But it does seem as though the only way to get a big action film back on the big screen is to bring together an ensemble, otherwise audiences are not going to be grabbed.

Asian cinema still features a lot of action films and the very successful The Raid (originally titled Serbuan Maut) was even released in British cinemas earlier this year and went down very well with critics so maybe it is just Hollywood that can’t get it right? I suppose that the nearest thing we have to a pure action film these days is the Fast & Furious franchise but you could hardly say that Paul Walker is an action hero or that even Vin Diesel is (come on, he was in The Pacifier) no matter how much he really likes to think he is himself. The Bourne films are marketed as action films and I guess they could be described as such but this is still an evolution from real action films as it features more in crime and even political genres, however the action does feature a lot. And Matt Damon would not consider himself an action hero I don’t think. Liam Neeson isn’t particularly an action hero yet his film Taken is probably the most successful action movie of recent times and is the only really really good one that I can think of right now.

I would argue that the nearest thing we have to real action films now are the superhero movies. The action heroes have been replaced with those of the comic book world as they appear on the big screen and clearly define the theme of good versus evil and the hero goes on to kick some ass very much like Rambo, John McClane or Frank Martin would do. All the time, trying to keep it fun for audiences.

Over time all genres do evolve as audiences crave something new, something that will break boundaries or challenge them to put the pieces together themselves but I, for one, would like to see more old school action films being made. But none of these rubbish straight to DVD films, I want real action blockbusters with real action heroes in them. All it will take is for one new action hero to step out of the shadows and then a flurry of them will follow as it did for he superhero movies and for the fairy tale films too. So whoever he is, he better step up quick.

Fanboys exist in all walks of life however it is a term most often seen associated with fans of comic books and comic book movies and this should come as no surprise as this group, despite being still looked down upon as nerds or geeks by a large number of people, are one of the most vocal about expectations of a film, especially on internet forums. This arises out of fear: fear of one of their most beloved characters or teams from the comic books that they have read for decades (Batman, X-Men, Incredible Hulk) will be ruined by a big screen adaptation because the wrong actors/actresses will be cast, the writer won’t know the source material or because things in the movie won’t be EXACTLY the same as they appear in the comic books. I would willingly describe myself as a fanboy, I kicked off (and still do) that in X-Men: The Last Stand Beast’s blue fur is part of his mutation, that Juggernaut is a mutant, that Juggernaut is not Professor X’s brother among many other things but I am not as extreme as some fans. An example being when Hugh Jackman was cast as Wolverine there was outrage because Hugh Jackman is a good foot taller than Wolverine’s comic book height; Wolverine went on to become synonymous with the X-men movie franchise and is, to date, Jackman’s most iconic film role. But that doesn’t mean that everything fanboys do is negative.

It is because of fanboys that these huge blockbuster films are possible; if the comic books never achieved a following in the first place then the characters would never have become known to mainstream audiences and would never have turned in to icons of the silver screen like they have done today. The characters owe their movie adaptations to these very fanboys. It is also these fanboys that will go and see films like The Dark Knight and The Avengers five, six or even as many as ten times! They’re passionate about what they love but if you do it right then you can win fanboys over forever, do it wrong and you will most likely be demonised and thought of as the spawn of Satan himself every time your name is mentioned.

Fans had every right to kick off when the might Galactus was represented as nothing more than a cloud in Rise of the Silver Surfer.

Among the majority of Batman films Christopher Nolan is held up as a God. He took their beloved Bruce Wayne and transferred his persona to the screen with all these very fine similarities to his comic book character without sticking directly to the source material. And if Christopher Nolan is God then Joel Schumacher is surely the devil; his camped up Batman & Robin with the infamous bat-nipples are often thought of a the worst comic book movies ever made. Other films to incur the wrath of the fanboy include X-Men: The Last Stand (as mentioned earlier), X-Men Origins: Wolverine, Hulk, Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer and one of the worst movies I have ever seen, Catwoman. Get them wrong and they can be really really horrible creations but if handled in the correct way a masterpiece can be achieved (see Iron Man, Batman Begins).

Whilst fanboys have their good parts as well as their bad points the real thing that annoys me about them is the rivalry between DC fans and Marvel fans. Of course, most of these people will watch films made by both companies and enjoy the characters. I read mainly Marvel comic books but I can sit and enjoy the Batman films more than some of the Marvel ones because I am a film fan most of all. But a minority of fans (we’re talking hardcore ‘Nolanites’ and ‘Whedonites’) will only see DC films or Marvel films (whichever they read) and will go out of their way to boycott the rival films, meaning that some pour souls out there have limited themselves to only seeing one of either The Dark Knight Rises or The Avengers which are two of the best films I have ever seen, let alone of this year.

Two examples of internet memes created by Whedonites and Nolanites.

The extent of the rivalry should be put aside in favour of the huge spectacles that are brought to the big screen and while sometimes the fanboy community can go over the top in it’s dislike for a film, their passion should not be simply dismissed.

When The Amazing Spider-Man was announced there was a mixture of uproar and confusion among audiences. After all, Sam Raimi and Tobey Maguire’s trilogy had only ended in 2007 and Spider-Man 3 became the highest grossing movie of that franchise so why start from scratch again, why not continue? Everyone had an opinion on whether it should be rebooted or not but one thing was guarantee; whether it was Spider-Man 4 or The Amazing Spider-Man people were going to see it because Spider-Man is one of the most popular superheroes in the world. I will only make one comparison between The Amazing Spider-Man and the trilogy of the last decade and it is this:

Things that are better in The Amazing Spider-Man than in Sam Raimi’s trilogy: EVERYTHING.

Andrew Garfield takes on the role of teenager Peter Parker who after being bitten by a spider… blah blah blah. Everyone knows the story, so what is different here? This time Peter Parker is looking to try and find out who he is, why his parents disappeared when Peter was just a child, what work his father was working on that was kept so secret. All the time, trying to come to terms with his new abilities and manage a love life with the beautiful Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone), avoid being captured by the head of New York Police who just so happens to be Gwen Stacy’s father (Denis Leary) and eventually saving New York from a huge giant Lizard, or Dr Curt Connors, if you would prefer, (Rhys Ifans). So really, he’s got it easy.

Andrew Garfield in the lead role is superb. A genuine fan of Spider-Man since he was a kid and it shows in the charisma and life he brings to the troubled teenager on screen; he carries a great emotional range and the one liners and witty remarks are delivered perfectly. The chemistry with his co-star Emma Stone is there for all to see and she puts in a performance to rival that of Garfield’s. The lead duo are supported excellently by Rhys Ifans, a man born to play villains. But my favourite performance of The Amazing Spider-Man is from Michael Sheen as Uncle Ben, really really fantastic!

The Amazing Spider-Man is visually wonderful and I really would not have expected anything less from director Marc Webb. A lot of trust was put in Webb with this being only his second ever film and his first on a big budget but he proved with (500) Days of Summer that he has a great talent for capturing great performances, stunning visuals and examining relationships.

Despite this being a clear superhero comic book movie film, the superhero antics seem to take a back seat and we are allowed to delve deeper into the characters. Peter Parker is clearly a conflicted guy who has grown up having a troubled life which isn’t about to get any easier and the relationships he forms with his Uncle and Aunt are really well written, his relationship with Gwen Stacy (a vital part of Spider-Man history in the comic books) is dealt with wonderfully and with a huge deal of respect. You get a real sense that all of these characters are believable in their motivations, their friendships, their triumphs and short comings.

The Amazing Spider-Man doesn’t quite match up to The Avengers and probably won’t beat The Dark Knight Rises either but what we have here is proof that they were right to reboot the Spider-Man series. Seeing Andrew Garfield as the wise-cracking friendly neighbourhood Spider-Man is a treat that everyone should witness.

My Rating: 9/10

Casting is a vital part of the film; if you get the wrong actor to play a character it can go horribly wrong and the whole movie could fail because of it. Never is this more true than in the world of comic book movies. Millions of fans all over the world are already in love with the characters before they are brought to the big screen and if you cast someone that the fans are not happy about they will not hold back, you shall know about it! But when casting goes right, it brings out some of the best performances and best characters in the world. Here are my top eight perfectly cast comic book movie characters.

8. Chris Evans as The Human Torch

Known to many comic book fans now as Captain America, Evans made his first appearance in comic book movies in the awful Fantastic Four films. Despite both films being criticised heavily by almost everyone, fans and critics alike, nobody could criticise Chris Evans as Johnny Storm, the Human Torch. He outperformed the rest of the cast by a country mile and bought a much needed charm and sense of humour to the role.

7. Ed Norton as Bruce Banner

When it was announced that Ed Norton would not return for The Avengers as Bruce Banner fans were outraged and with good reason. Norton’s performance as the troubled scientist who turns into the Incredible Hulk was brilliant. Norton had a lot of hard work to do because of the negative fan reaction to Ang Lee’s 2003 interpretation of the character but the casting of Norton and his incredible performance won the hearts of many Hulk fans.

6. J.K. Simmons as J. Jonah Jameson

The original Spider-man trilogy, directed by Sam Raimi, may not have been the most perfectly cast Spider-man film in the world but J.K Simmons as J. Jonah Jameson was a masterpiece. He looked identical to the comic book portrayal of the character and fans loved his performance. A highlight of the, soon to be rebooted, Spider-man franchise.

5. Christopher Reeve as Superman

Does this really need explaining? The man IS Superman. There has never been a better Superman before or since on neither the big screen or small screen. Reeve was an excellent casting as the Man of Steel and is still celebrated among comic book fans.

4. Heath Ledger as The Joker

Ledger won a posthumous Oscar for his appearance as the Joker and rightfully so. Ledger managed to bring this psychotic vision of The Dark Knight’s arch nemesis to the screen and make him genuinely scary. It was a sad loss when he passed away but he will always be remembered as the Joker and one of comic book movie’s finest castings.

3. Chloe Moretz as Hit Girl

Many people don’t think of Kick-Ass when they think of comic book adaptations but this is where the origins of the story lie. Chloe Moretz is great as the ‘hero’ Hit Girl. She is a small girl who packs a powerful performance and is the star of Kick Ass without a doubt. She has a huge career ahead of her built on this performance.

2. Patrick Stewart as Professor X

Straight off, Patrick Stewart looks the part, down to a tee. But his performance further proves why he was the perfect choice to play the mentor to the X-men, Professor X. His calm and cool demeanour brought a lot of character to the role and then in the second instalment, X2 (one of the best comic book movies ever made) he was able to show off the emotional side to his character even more. And as well as that, his chemistry with Ian McKellen’s Magneto was a joy to behold. A fine casting decision.

And finally…

1. Robert Downey Jnr. as Tony Stark

Perfection!

The perfect casting of a comic book character if ever there was one. Downey Jnr doesn’t just play the character, he actually is Tony Stark. He has the look sorted; he has the charm, the wit, the charisma and you believe his intelligence. Iron Man was the beginning of the whole Marvel Universe which comes together this summer with The Avengers so a lot was riding on this first film and Robert Downey Jnr drew the plaudits right from the offset. Tony Stark came to life in the Iron Man films and made Downey Jnr a household name again; his performance was a joy to behold and I sincerely hope he is Tony Stark for a long time to come.

Honourable mentions

Ian McKellen – Magneto

Kelsey Grammer – Beast

Ron Perlman – Hellboy

Jackie Earl Haley – Rorschach

Anthony Hopkins – Odin