The Ninjabot

Was 2013 The Year of Mediocre Comic Films?

Posted on December 22, 2013 at 3:00 am by Heather Antos

We live in a world where we get lots of comic-related films every year, and that’s something that makes all of us happy. However, If “honesty is the best policy,” then I honestly wasn’t that horribly impressed with any of the comic book inspired films that 2013 had to bring. That being said, instead of doing the usual end of the year Best Of/Worst of list, I’ve decided to ask the question: “Was 2013 The Year of Mediocre Comic Films?”

Iron Man 3

iron_man_three_ver9_xlgWhere do I even begin with this film? Not only was it less settled than its post-Avengers anxiety-ridden hero, Tony Stark, but also every plot twist and turn that writer Shane Black deemed necessary landed like a backhanded slap in the face to the fan and the franchise itself. Not only was the comic’s canon character and nemesis of Stark, The Mandarin, made a complete joke and fraud, but the film’s ending with the “simple removal” of the shard in Stark’s chest completely disregarded  some of the major plot points of the first two films. Not to mention the incredibly ill-timed “comedic” lines every 10 seconds. Basically, Iron Man 3 did something that I had once believed to be universally impossible – make Iron Man 2 look like a good film!

The Wolverine

The_WolverineI had a really hard time deciding which film I hated more, Iron Man 3 or The Wolverine. Either way, Marvel has done a bang up job of disappointing their fans this year. Outside of a really fantastic opening scene depicting Wolverine’s involvement during the atomic bombings in Japan during WWII, the film was just a normal, run of the mill, flashy action flick. I had a lot of hope for The Wolverine‘s villain Viper, but that soon fell short due to her lack of development, as well as her late integration in the film. Combine that with the writer’s inability to make an enticing or interesting plot, and I dare say The Wolverine  was just as bad as it’s predecessor Wolverine: Origins.

2 Guns

2 gunsThough entertaining, Blake Masters’ 2 Guns (based on Steve Grant’s graphic novel) was a typical Hollywood blockbuster that relied entirely on the comedic and charismatic capabilities of its leading actors, Mark Wahlberg and Denzel Washington. With all the nonstop banter, these two definitely make being a tough guy and a  crooked undercover cop look enjoyable. However, when it got right down to it, this film was all graphic and with none of the novel to be found.

Red 2

red 2Finally, a sequel on this list that can stand strong beside the quirky action-packed predecessor before it! Like every other cinematic extravaganza these days, it’s light entertainment about the threat of annihilation, and though very similar in plot structure to 2010’s RedRed 2 is able to hold it’s own as it adds veteran actor Anthony Hopkins to its cast of nutty gun wielding Retired, Extremely Dangerous ex-agents. The down side? The film hit a large snag about an hour in once the heros and villains realized they were unknowingly working together, and the film was never able to quite regain its footing.

Thor: The Dark World

thor the dark worldOr, what should’ve been named, “Loki. Loki. LOKI! And Loki’s brother, Thor…” Even though I found this film to be the best Marvel sequel so far (as it was very entertaining), it wasn’t exactly the film fans were promised – though I’m sure the fan girls got their wish! It’s incredibly hard to craft a film around a hero who pretty much has it all (the looks, the name, the throne), and who is pretty much invincible. He has nothing left to gain, and grew to his potential in Thor. However, Loki has everything to gain and is quite the ambitious adopted brother to the throne, which I suppose explained why the studio decided to go back after the film had already wrapped production just to add more Loki for the fans. Thor: The Dark World, as with Iron Man 3, felt more like a sequel to The Avengers than anything else. The poetic language that Thor director Kenneth Branagh brought to the franchise was also greatly missed, especially since the majority of the sequel took place in the mythological world of Asgard. When it comes down to it, though, Marvel tried to do far too much and left me wanting more plot and character growth – and not necessarily in a good way.

Kick-Ass 2

kick-ass 2If there was one thing to be learned from Matthew Vaughn’s 2010 Kick-Ass it’s that an adaptation doesn’t have to match its source material page-for-page to be able to pay the book honorable homage. And while Jeff Wadlow added a different level of comic book appeal to the 2013 sequel, Kick-Ass 2 was a fun ride that kept its audiences on their toes , though perhaps a bit overwhelming at times. Dave and Mindy are back fighting crime as Kick-Ass and Hit Girl, and are soon joined by other ambitious vigilantes-to-be. Jim Carrey, as per usual, does a stellar job in his role as Colonel Stars and Stripes, and Christopher Mintz-Plasse is crazier than ever as The Motherf*cker. My only complaints? Perhaps some effects (such as a device that causes its victim to projectile vomit) should’ve stayed in the books, as on screen they came across quite far-fetched. However, Kick-Ass 2 left me wanting more. The writers tried too hard to feature both Kick-Ass’s story as well as Hit Girl’s. I would’ve much rather had two separate films rather than one film that scrambled to smash as much plot into its limited two hour length. Hell, I would’ve even sat for a 3 hour movie (that’s the trend now, anyways). I’m interested to see what a third installment will bring about – though I hope a third movie means Matthew Vaughn will come back to the franchise and bring back a less cheesy comic universe. No sharks necessary.

Man of Steel

man of steelIn what was probably the most anticipated film of the summer, Zack Snyder’s Man of Steel definitely did not disappoint audiences. While not a perfect adaptation to our favorite big blue boy scout, the summer blockbuster provided the dark and gritty origin story that many fans had hoped for. David S. Goyer once again proved himself an unprecedented screenwriter in the genre of superhero films as he weaved Clark Kent’s past and present into one seamless plot. The film had an all around top notch cast, properly displaying the acting chops of Russell Crowe, Amy Adams, Michael Shannon, and the Man of Steel himself, Henry Cavill. Goyer’s script and Snyder’s directing paired up General Zod’s and Superman’s near perfect foils for each other almost flawlessly. However, the film wasn’t without its problems, particularly the level of destruction we saw. While it makes sense that General Zod could care less about Earth and its inhabitants, you’d think that Superman would think twice before slamming his mighty fists into the sides of skyscraper after skyscraper. Needless to say, the city of Metropolis better be under construction during Man of Steel 2. And though I felt Man of Steel was the best superhero film this summer, I felt that three hours of Clark’s constant struggle facing the world’s inevitable doom on his own got a bit repetitive (not to mention redundant!).

And there you have my take on what I felt was a particularly mediocre year for comic-related films. Let me know if you agree or disagree with me in the comments below!

Want more of Heather’s Comic Book Rants & Raves? Follow her on Twitter: @HeatherAntos

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