We live in a world inverted from the one that existed only ten years ago – genuine enjoyment and the very things that used to get a kid picked on mercilessly in high school is now common place. But maybe you’re still not convinced. Spandex-clad superhero movies are for kids, right? Read on to find out why that’s just not true and what you’ve been missing out.
Man of Steel
Superman has had a bit of a rough trot on the big screen since Richard Donner’s seminal 1978 film starring Christopher Reeve. Donner-less sequels paled in comparison and Bryan Singer’s 2006 Superman Returns was another misfire. Warner Bros then turned to Zack Snyder to direct a grim, grown-up take on the Man of Tomorrow, putting a new spin on his origin, ratcheting up the violence and setting up DC’s own expanded cinematic universe. If you’re missing this movie from your collection, head over to the Warner Bros. website and put it in its rightful place – your DVD player.
Guardians of the Galaxy
One of the most obscure superhero teams in comic books history just became everyone’s new favourites. Director James Gunn’s take on Peter Quill and his merry band of space misfits going head to head with Kree zealot Ronan the Accuser is lighthearted, action-packed, full of heart and is very, very funny. Many of the sly jokes zoom right over the heads of any kids in the audience.
Director Matthew Vaughn’s take on the comic by Mark Millar and John Romita Jr. about slightly-demented-but-otherwise-everyday people becoming self-styled, costumed vigilantes is fast-paced, ultra-violent (seriously, you will not actually believe how violent it is) and darkly funny. This is a very adult film and, as such, should be kept far away from the younger crowd. It’s sequel, Kick-Ass 2 was released in 2013.
One of the best superhero movies ever made. Don’t be fooled by the fact that it’s a Pixar production – this is one of the most grown-up films either studio has ever produced. There are so many things going on here: a mid-life crisis story, a political witch-hunt that sees costumed heroes driven into hiding, super-powered teens trying to figure out the world and their place in it and, to top it all off, a maniacal plot by a disgruntled former fan turned super-villain. As close to perfect as it gets.
The Dark Knight
This is The Godfather Part II of superhero films. Christopher Nolan’s 2008 sequel to Batman Begins took everything that made its predecessor a success and ratcheted up the stakes. The Joker, a mysterious criminal mastermind who hides behind a mask of smeared clown paint, begins a sustained campaign of terror against Gotham City; it’s up to Batman and Jim Gordon to find a way to stop him. Riveting, complex film-making.
These are just a few of the many films that are changing public perception of superheroes being just for kids. It’s a fantastic time to be a comic-book fan but it’s an even better time if you’ve ever wanted to find out more about superheroes but were too afraid to ask. Who’s you’re favourite hero? Which superhero would you like to see get their own movie (Come on, Wonder Woman)? Leave your thoughts in the comments below, True Believer!