The history of superhero movies based on comic books has two distinct eras, and they’re handily demarcated by the start of a new century. For a long time, superhero movies were a sub-standard ghetto, with occasional bits of brilliance, and a lot of nonsense. Even the stuff that was of higher quality — for example, The Incredible Hulk TV movies that spun off into what was Marvel’s only live-action success for a very long time — was always done with a sense of not taking the source material seriously. Heck, Kenneth Johnson, the show-runner for the Hulk series, has gone on record as thinking of comic books as an inferior storytelling medium.
But that all changed with the release of X-Men in 2000. Made by Bryan Singer, an avowed fan of the comics, he was the first of a succession of writers and directors who came to superheroes from a place of affection, and who saw the comics, not as four-color embarrassments, but as something to do justice to.
Anyhow, I’m rapidly running out of 20th-century films to cover in “4-Color to 35-Millimeter: The Great Superhero Movie Rewatch” over on Tor.com, and once that happens, there’ll be a slight adjustment. With a few exceptions, I’ve settled into doing two movies per week, but at the end of February, that won’t always be the case. Some of the 21st-century films in this rewatch will get solo entries.
Here’s the tentative, subject-to-change plan through to the end of June:
- 26 January: Captain America (1990) and Fantastic Four (1994)
- 2 February: Generation X and Justice League of America
- 9 February: Blade, Blade II, and Blade Trinity (this is the last time I’ll do as many as three films in one week, as it’s really too much, but these three kinda should go together)
- 16 February: The Spirit (1987) and The Spirit (2008)
- 23 February: X-Men
- 2 March: X2: X-Men United
- 9 March: X-Men: The Last Stand
- 16 March: Superman Returns and Hulk
- 23 March: Spider-Man (2002)
- 30 March: Spider-Man 2
- 6 April: Spider-Man 3
- 13 April: Daredevil and Elektra
- 20 April: Hellboy and Hellboy II: The Golden Army
- 27 April: Witchblade and Catwoman
- 4 May: Constantine and Man-Thing
- 11 May: Fantastic Four (2005) and Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer
- 18 May: Batman Begins
- 25 May: The Dark Knight
- 1 June: The Dark Knight Rises
- 8 June: Ghost Rider and Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance
- 15 June: V for Vendetta and Watchmen
- 22 June: X-Men Origins: Wolverine and The Wolverine
- 29 June: Kick-Ass and Kick-Ass 2
After doing the two Kick-Ass movies, we’ll look at the Marvel Cinematic Universe: the subsequent six weeks will cover “phase one,” including the first two Iron Man films, The Incredible Hulk, Thor, Captain America: The First Avenger, and finally Avengers. I’m hoping not to miss time, but real life does sometimes intervene — assuming real-life lets me off the hook, though this will carry me to mid-August.
Again, this is tentative and subject to change. But it’s the current plan. (I’ve actually got the whole thing planned out to the end of February 2019.) Hope y’all will join me for the ride.