We're approaching the end of the 2012 summer movie season. And the only really BIG movie left is ‘The Dark Knight Rises’. Sure, there are still ‘Total Recall’ and ‘The Bourne Legacy’ but at this point, we're all waiting for the Bat Signal to figuratively light up the sky again.
And the good thing too, as this has been a pretty uneven summer despite having an improved movie line-up. The summer started off on the highest of notes, with ‘The Avengers’ crushing all of its competition and setting records all over the world.
Bang, off to a great start, we all thought. Three more months of ass-kicking movies! No. we were wrong -- instead, the shadow of ‘The Avengers’ loomed large over everything as almost every release came crashing with a loud thud (save for‘The Amazing Spider-Man’ which was awesome).
Here are some of the disappointing stuff that transpired over the last few weeks and what we learnt from the movies of this summer:
The first victim of the ‘Avengers’ effect, ‘Dark Shadows’ is the first big movie to disappoint financially as viewers continued to flock to watch Marvel's epic super team on the big screen. While that might be a good excuse, this Tim Burton-Johnny Depp outing was also pretty mediocre as a film. We’ve never seen a movie with more crucial plot points happen off-screen than on screen. Meh.
It was alright, maybe a little uneven. The only thing we really noticed was newbie director Rupert Sanders' obsession/fetish for turning everything in his universe into thick goo.
We loved it; but upon leaving the theatre, we progressively liked it less and less. It was muddled and full of plot holes. Here's what we learnt: Aliens work out a lot in their spare time and scientists are stupid.
We were all ready to forgive Hasbro/Paramount for the horrible first movie. Then Paramount pulled the movie in favour of a 3D conversion and some reshoots. Head on down to Toys R' Us and check out all the depressed stacks of ‘G.I. Joe 2’ toys. That just sums it up all the depression in a very visual sense.
The Batman vs Bane showdown will be one epic battle
Unfortunately, none of these films really became the next big movie event of the summer – the one that sets everyone's tongues a wagging for a week or two.
“The Avengers” certainly accomplished that; for almost a whole month after the movie was released, that was all the interwebs could talk about. Word of mouth was incredible, everyone we knew was encouraging one another to watch if they hadn't, and people were going for multiple viewings.
“The Avengers” became the gold standard of the summer and the question soon turned to those of this ilk, who could dethrone The Avengers? Well, ‘The Dark Knight Rises’ certainly has a fighting chance to be just as big as an event.
As soon as Marvel's superhero team-up started breaking records left, right and centre, there was already talk of Christopher Nolan's final take on Batman rivalling that. Unlikely, since “The Avengers” had the advantage of 3D ticket prices and IMAX theatres (‘TDKR’ is filmed in IMAX) are a lot rarer than 3D screens, but hey, it'd be nice to see someone actually put up a fight.
But that’s beside the point. The little game of one-upmanship between Marvel and DC is fun for the fan-boys, but what cinema-goers this year really could use another is big movie event again after a summer of big unfulfilled promise.
So far, the hype hasn't failed it yet. Reports of several critic screenings back in the States ending with standing ovations, midnight screenings sold out -- anticipation is through the roof.
The last few trailers have really hinted thoroughly at the anarchy Bane is about to bring onto the streets of Gotham. And yet, so many questions are still lingering about the film. Will Batman die? Will Bane break the Bat (like in ‘Batman #497’)? Will Joseph Gordon-Levitt take over as Batman? What's Catwoman got to do with all of this? Will Batman reveal the true inspiration of his gruff voice -- Cookie Monster? Is Bane's mask just a cover up for a pansy-sounding voice?
And how fitting too, considering that a superhero epic opened the summer and we'll have another one to end it. One filled with out of this world cosmic fantasy and the other, a grounded tale of crime (not to mention pompous philosophizing by Chris Nolan). Batman truly is the hero we need and deserve to save the rest of the summer from the shadow of ‘The Avengers’.