The release of Iron Man 3 this weekend marks the beginning of summer blockbuster movie season more importantly, the summer of comic book-inspired blockbusters. As expected Tony Stark and Co. should break records with ticket sales and will likely be challenged by the next few weeks’ crop of movies. As far as summer movies go, I cannot recall a more exciting season for comic fans and geeks. This year’s crop of movies is specifically geared up for nerds of all ages and, quite frankly, I cannot wait.
After Iron Man 3 kick-offs the summer movie season, it will be shortly followed up by J.J. Abrams highly anticipated, Star Trek sequel due out later this month. The nerdom doesn’t finish there, with Kick-Ass 2 and The Man of Steel making their respective debuts in June shortly followed up by Hugh Jackman’s second installment of the clawed berserker, Wolverine. July also brings Sci-Fi fans a unique spin on the old Godzilla movies we all grew up with. Director Guillermo del Toro (Pan’s Labyrinth) brings us Pacific Rim, which is his adaptation on the giant-monsters-tearing-up-Japanese cities genre. Just picture the Beastie Boys, Intergalactic, video on the big screen. Ultimately, the summer movie season wraps up with Red 2 and September’s release of Riddick.
Fret not, though the summer season only sets up the anticipation for the fall/winter releases of Sin City: A Dame to Kill For (October 4th), Thor 2: Dark World (November 8th), and The Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug (December 13th). It’s a bit over-whelming even for a nerd like me to think our childhood fantasies have literally taken over Hollywood. Nearly every major movie debuting this summer is inspired by either a comic book or a Sci-Fi inspired theme. The craziest part is such a theme doesn’t just stop in August, but carries over into autumn and winter. It would be easy for me to sit here and establish an argument, about which ones are must-sees, which ones won’t match the hype, but what interests me more than the geek-takeover of Hollywood is the underlying fight between DC and Marvel laid out for this summer.
Marvel is benching on Iron Man 3 to smash box office records along with being the main challenger to arguably the summer’s most anticipated movie, Zach Snyder’s, Man of Steel. However, Marvel also has The Wolverine along with Thor 2 debuting this year to help produce revenue. DC has it sole pitch on Superman. Granted Superman is THE world’s most recognizable hero, but it will be hard to topple Marvel’s share of revenue this summer, especially with three movies facing off against one.
The drama in the comic book heavy-weight movie-off is the stance their movies will take on direction. With the ultra-success of The Avengers, I believe it safe to say that Marvel, being a product of Disney, is gearing up to market majority of their films (especially the Avengers heroes) toward kids. In doing so, Marvel and Disney can expect more profits in toy sales and merchandise through more marketable characters; the whole idea behind this is that the films may still please us older comic fans, but we should expect less intricate story-lines and more kid-friendly PG-13 style violence in such movies. Now, The Wolverine may fall under a slight exception to the rule considering Logan has always been a renegade with a homicidal rage inside him, but fans should still expect a diluted form of that beast.
It is with DC that I’m betting my stake on comic-book inspired movies that hinge on a darker, more adult scale. For starter’s we have already seen Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy dive into the darker side of Batman. Considering Zach Snyder (Watchmen) we should expect to see a slightly darker Superman than we are used to. Now when I say darker, I should specify, I don’t mean darker as in evil, let’s be honest Superman doesn’t kill. However, I expect DC to market their heroes with that “darker” side which is in essences, that particular realism DC has always been able to convey with their heroes. DC heroes/villains have always had a higher sense of relate ability to humanity and mortality than their Marvel counter-parts in my opinion. DC characters have always had a sort of inner-demon they are always fighting. Batman’s has always been his inability to let go of crime-fighting; the bat suit became his addiction. Superman has never been able to cope with being alone, the last of his race, he may help the human race, but without Louis Lane to keep him centered, Superman would be alone.
Now Marvel could go that route with Tony Stark in the new Iron Man and focus on Tony Stark’s dive into substance abuse with alcohol or completely commit and make a Wolverine movie that is rated R focusing on the animal that is Wolverine, but Marvel/Disney have too much to gain with merchandise sales with children to take that chance. DC however, has found itself in a unique situation in the film industry right now to capitalize on the older demographics and focus on that realism of their characters. Focusing on that realism of their characters fighting inner demons brings out the darkness in them and in the end we all can relate to fighting something else within us all. Now, who knows what route they will take, but as a fan I would love to see DC take charge and bring us un-diluted comic-book inspired movies and showcase the heroes/villains as we imagined them to be. Whatever may happen this will surely be a movie summer nerds and geeks will forever remember as theirs.