In case you didn’t know (and how could you not?), superhero epic “Marvel’s The Avengers” sees its long-awaited theatrical release in American theatres this coming Friday, even though its UK release was last Thursday, when I went and saw it (if you will allow me to gloat and grin and dance merrily down the street for a moment or two). To celebrate, I thought I’d take a look at the ten finest examples to come out of the cinematic superhero genre, which I have listed below along with justifications for each entry. Some of the films are based on comics, some of them are original; some of them are straight-faced, some of them are comedies; some of them are bloody, one of them was made by Pixar. And hey, one of them might even have a certain Iron Man, Thor, Captain America and The Hulk in them (nudge, nudge). [Read more…]
We are currently living in the age of the superhero movie, a financially-friendly genre that is at present flying its way around cinema screens on what is noticeably becoming a regular basis. With the earth-shattering advances in special effects over the past couple of decades, it’s becoming increasingly easy for super-powered vigilantes to make the transition from the pages of a comic book to being projected on the silver screen, which has resulted in a recent explosion of cinematic offerings from the superhero genre. Just this year we’ve already feasted on Kenneth Branagh’s “Thor” and Matthew Vaughn’s “X-Men: First Class,” and last Friday (June 17) we were presented with Martin Campbell’s “Green Lantern,” which shall be followed by Joe Johnston’s “Captain America: The First Avenger,” released July 22 in the US. It seems you can’t look at your local cinema listings without seeing someone in a cape or a mask or with their skin a funny colour (no racism intended). But what is the history of this genre? Where did it all begin? When did it really become popular? And what is with our current fascination with crime-fighters who have awesome, otherworldly powers?