Ok, for my second non-Avalanche, non-hockey blog, I've decided to touch upon the big summer blockbuster movies. You may agree with me, you may not. Anyone who knows me knows that I am a huge fan of comic book movies. I think about 80% of the Blu-rays I own are comic book movies. This summer has been a pretty good one for the aforementioned genre. Marvel graced us with three films this summer, two of which will lead us into next year's The Avengers, with Thor and Captain America: The First Avenger. 2008's Iron Man and last year's Iron Man 2 also will lead into The Avengers. I though both Thor and Captain America were good, solid flicks. Chris Hemsworth, who made a brief appearance in 2009's Star Trek as Captain Kirk's father took on the role of Thor. He certainly looked the part. He had Thor's trademark long blond hair and beard and he certainly put on the necessary muscle to embody a Norse god. Thor also boasted a worthy supporting cast of Natalie Portman, Kat Dennings, Stellan Skarsgard, and Anthony Hopkins. While not a household name, Tom Hiddleston did a good job as Loki, Thor's brother and the film's primary villain. He will return in The Avengers as well. Thor had a good, entertaining story and was a good mix of comic book and mythological elements. I would certainly welcome a Thor 2 after next summer's Avengers flick.
The second comic book flick of the summer was X-Men: First Class. When I first heard about this project, I honestly wasn't too excited. It seemed like they were just rebooting the X-Men series after 3 pics and a Wolverine spin-off. However, First Class played much more like a prequel to Bryan Singer's 2000 film and even featured cameos by Hugh Jackman as Wolverine and Rebecca Romijn as Mystique (although Jennifer Lawrence played the character for the majority of the film). Sure, there are some definite continuity errors between First Class and the other X-Men movies. *SPOILERS AHEAD* In X2, Hank McCoy is seen as still human looking, but in First Class, he transforms into his blue Beast version. Professor Xavier is paralyzed at the end of First Class, but at the beginning of X-Men: The Last Stand, an older Professor Xavier (Patrick Stewart) is seen walking with Erik Lensherr. The Emma Frost character does not lineup with the Emma Frost depicted in X-Men Origins: Wolverine. *END OF SPOILERS* However, despite the inconsistencies, I really enjoyed First Class. In fact, I would say that it was my favorite flick of 2011 thus far. Jennifer Lawrence was good as a young Mystique and I think she will be very good as Katniss in the upcoming Hunger Games series. Michael Fassbender of Inglourious Basterds was also very good as young Eric Lensherr. Expect big things from him. James McAvoy was also good inheriting the role of Charles Xavier from Patrick Stewart. Seasoned actor Kevin Bacon also made a very good villain in Sebastian Shaw. I hope they follow through with making First Class into a new prequel trilogy.
The only DC venture this summer was Green Lantern. While Ryan Reynolds is probably the most well-known actor to take the big screen this summer as a comic book hero, Green Lantern was actually the only film of the four to receive negative reviews. I liked it. Sure, it was by no means the best comic book movie of all-time, let alone this year, but it was good and entertaining. Reynolds was a perfect Hal Jordan (and he would also make a perfect Wally West/The Flash) and Blake Lively was good as Carrol Ferris, Strong as Sinestro, and Peter Sarsgaard as Hector Hammond. Green Lantern was criticized for being to comic booky, but sometimes it's okay for comic book movies to be comic booky! Not everything has to be serious and realistic like Christopher Nolan's Batman series. The Fantastic Four series got similar criticism. When you're dealing with a hero who has a ring that can create whatever he imagines, it's going to be comic booky. Same with a guy whose power is to stretch himself and a guy made out of orange rock. While Green Lantern was not a huge success at the box office, I do hope they green light (pun intended) a sequel to further explore the character and build on the series.
The final comic book movie of the summer was Captain America: The First Avenger. Chris Evans, who was already a familiar in the Marvel world after playing Johnny Storm/The Human Torch in The Fantastic Four and its sequel played Captain America. Evans has a reputation as playing funny, wise-cracking character such as Johnny Storm, Jake Jensen in The Losers, and Nick Gant in Push. However, he displayed his acting ability in Captain America by showing a serious side. He also bulked up to play the super soldier. When watching Evans in Captain America, you did not think of Johnny Storm. Newcomer Hayley Atwell was good as his love interest and the always reliable Hugo Weaving was a good Red Skull. Weaving always plays villains well like Agent Smith in the Matrix trilogy and voicing Megatron in the Transformers movies. Tommy Lee Jones was also solid as the cliche Colonel. Captain America was the darkest of all four of the movies, but was very good overall. In fact, it pretty much leads right into The Avengers!
Other than comic book films, I thought they did a very good job wrapping up the Harry Potter series. Surprisingly, The Deathly Hallows Part 2 was only the second of the series that I've been able to see in theaters. The other one was The Half-Blood Prince. I enjoyed the latest Pirates of the Caribbean flick. Even with the departures of Orlando Bloom and Keira Knightley, I would say it's the best Pirates movie since the original. Bridesmaids was funny, but I didn't love it as much as Heidi did. Some of the movies I missed this summer, but want to see are Super 8, the new Transformers, and Cowboys and Aliens.
Looking ahead, we still have Immortals to look forward to in November, which will hopefully gain better recognition than the Clash of the Titans remake did. Future Superman Henry Cavill, Freida Pinto, and Mickey Rourke lead that cast. In December, the first of the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo trilogy comes out with Daniel Craig as the lead. I am currently finishing the Swedish versions of the series. Next year, Hunger Games comes out in March and in July, the conclusion of the most epic comic book series of all-time, The Dark Knight Rises. While this may not live up to The Dark Knight and Heath Ledger's masterful performance as The Joker; Nolan, Bale, and company will no doubt end the series well.