01 January 2011

What to Expect in 2011

A new year is upon us!

The Cape

2011 will kick off to a quick start on January 9th with the hour long superhero drama The Cape on NBC. Ol wikipedia describes the series as:

"The series, set in the fictional metropolis of Palm City, follows an innocent cop who has been framed for a crime he did not commit and then left for dead after he is caught. He is eventually saved by a circus ringleader who prepares him with special abilities to defend himself against his foes. Separated from his wife and son, he tries to clear his name while protecting them from being killed in the event that he should be reported alive. He takes the law into his own hands by taking the guise of his son's favorite comic book hero, The Cape, after he is given a special suit that has unique capabilities. Vowing to get rid of the corruption that has taken over both the city and the police force, he goes after the person responsible for setting him up and causing his "demise"."

Color me skeptical. The title is lame and the promo looks a bit Heroes season 4 meets The Greatest American Hero, but who knows. "Suit Up!"

The Green Hornet

Just 5 days later on January 14th, the first superhero movie of the year arrives in theaters, The Green Hornet. Oh, and its in 3D of course. I don't know about this one either. It looks like a decent B grade superhero movie like a Rocketeer, but the January release scares me. January is not friendly to movies as its known as the dumping ground of crappy films. The Hornet may get stung and is surely going to struggle to earn back its $90 million budget. I am guessing it tops out at around $75 mil.

All Star Superman

On to February and one of my more anticipated entries this year with the release of the animated movie All Star Superman. I am sure that many of the good moments from the graphic novels won't make this 70 some minute movie, but hopefully most of the great moments will. This is a quintessential Superman story and if the movie lives up to the hype it will be a classic.

Thor: Tales of Asgard

On the other hand, the Thor: Tales of Asgard movie from Marvel may or may not arrive in February after a delay of more than a year. As far as I understand, the movie is complete, but just waiting to capitalize on the release of the Thor movie in May. The Marvel movies just haven't been quite as good as those from DC and this "teen Thor" doesn't really excite me. I mean, doesn't Thor have a hammer. That's like the one thing people know about him. This is the last announced animated movie from Marvel so depending on its performance there may not be any more for a while.


March and April will be the quiet before the summer storm ushered in by Thor on May 6th. I have to be honest, as big of a fan of Green Lantern as I am, the marketing for Thor thus far has been far superior. This just looks like an awesome movie. Thor is less mainstream than even Iron Man, but who knows, maybe Marvel will score another mega-hit here. I think it has the potential, though I expect something more in the modest $200 million range which is nothing to sneeze at since neither Hulk movie was able to reach that milestone.

Oh and psst... Hawkeye is rumored to appear in a post credits sequence ala Mjolnir and Nick Fury.

X-Men: First Class

On June 3, less than a month after Thor, Fox will release another Marvel film with X-Men: First Class a pseudo prequel to the X-Men trilogy and even less related to X-Men Origins: Wolverine. Its odd that we still know so little about this movie. We know it focuses on young Magneto and Charles Xavier and a bunch of X-Men that haven't been on screen yet. It also seems unlikely that continuity can be maintained with the other movies, but really who cares? A trailer should be coming soon, but in the mean time all we have are some images of Emma Frost with a fuzzy Bondesque hat. This movie will make back its $120 million budget, but will not reach the $200 million mark landing in Wolverine territory and paving the way for even more X sequels, prequels, spinoffs, and faux reboots.

Green Lantern: Emerald Knights

Days after the X-Men return, DC will premier its second animated film of the year on June 7th with the anthology Green Lantern: Emerald Knights. I don't know if "Knight" is code for anthology since the last such movie Batman: Gotham Knight aka Batmanime has a similar multi-story structure. This movie will include six segments featuring various rings possibly including Rori Dag, the first Green Lantern, Mogo, Abin Sur, Kilowog, Sinestro, and Hal Jordan. We should know a lot more about this when All Star Superman arrives.

Green Lantern

Just 10 days later, on the 17th of June, the long awaited Green Lantern movie hits theaters. Hopefully this movie lives up to its epic potential giving this generation a new Space Opera. Can you tell I'm excited? The first trailer makes it seem that a few kinks still need to be worked out with the animated suits and hopefully the trailer is also playing up the humor. Depending on how good this is, I see $250 million plus potential paving the way for the planned trilogy and a slew of additional DC movies.

Transformers 3: Dark of the Moon

Albert Einstein said insanity is doing the same thing over and over an expecting a different result. Well, I must be crazy because I have hope for this movie. Arriving on July 1, just in time to cash in on another July 4 weekend, Transformers 3 may prove to be a Teflon coated movie. With its awkward title and all I suspect people will try and forget Transformers 2 with its racist twins, robot heaven, and nonsensical plot and make this entry another gargantuan hit. I mean, people just can't get enough of giant robots killing each other, and where the heck is Voltron? I do expect some drop-off from part 2, but $350 million is not out of the question.

Captain America: The First Avenger

By July 22, superhero fatigue will have to have set in giving the Cap an uphill battle for winning fans. One thing going for this movie is that it is set during WWII times, giving it a unique aesthetic. From the images released so far, it looks as though they have found a balance between keeping true to the spirit of the comics without going too cheesy... that's quite a trick for this character. Expect Captain America to fall short of Thor's earnings but to muster around $150 million.


From the mind of the writer of X3 and Elektra, the SyFy network has also imagined up the superhero series Alphas, set to debut in the summer of 2011. The series is described as, "Alphas follows a team of ordinary citizens whose brain anomalies imbue them with extraordinary mental and physical abilities. Taking the law into their own hands, the unlikely team, led by Dr. Lee Rosen, investigates cases that suggest other Alpha activity to uncover what the CIA, FBI and Pentagon have not been able, or willing, to solve. These gifted individuals must balance their quirky personalities and disparate backgrounds with their not always visible powers as they work to solve crimes, stop the ticking time bomb and catch the enemy." I'm cautiously nervous for this one.

Batman: Year One

Fall 2011 is still a ways away, but we do know there will be a highly anticipated third DC animated film in the September time frame, an adaptation of Batman: Year One. Although not a well known as The Dark Knight Returns, in my opinion, this is the superior story. A faithful adaptation will be a big hit.

Green Lantern: The Animated Series

Like 2010's Young Justice premier event, expect the Green Lantern animated series to make a showing in late 2011 with some sort of double episode movie event. This series will introduce viewers to many of the lesser know members of the GL Corps along with their enraged counterparts of the Red Lantern Corps. All I can say is, its about time GL got his own series.

The Toxic Avenger 5: The Toxic Twins

Another entry hardly worth mentioning is the upcoming Toxic Avenger direct to video fourth sequel. That mention is more than it probably deserves and I don't even know why I am aware of this. It will probably make like $50.

Fall TV series

As we delve into speculatory territory, there are rumors of a few upcoming superhero television series debuting in the fall. DC has threatened a Raven series to replace the outgoing Smallville featuring the Teen Titans character. I don't mind Raven and even think a Teen Titans / Raven series has potential, I just don't want to see a Twilightesque Raven but knowing the CW that may be just what we get.

Marvel on the other hand has three projects in the mix. Giving up on big-screen Hulk, they may be casting the 4th Hulk in the last decade for a TV spinoff / reboot. Also in the works are takes on Jessica Jones AKA Jewel AKA Knightress AKA that supereheroine from the Alias comic of no relation to the TV series other than oddly existing at the same time. Lastly, Cloak and Dagger may also be getting a treatment, though likely not until 2012 or beyond.

So, in a nutshell, 2011 is going to be a busy year for superheroes. Sadly, I just don't know if there is a rich enough audience for all of these properties to thrive. And just think, on top of all this we almost also got Spider-Man 4 vs the Vultress. But alas, we will have to make due with a mere 3 Marvel branded Summer blockbusters, 3 Green Lantern projects, and a smattering of other nuggets to carry us over until 2012 brings out the big screen big guns (Batman, Spider-Man, "The" Wolverine, and possibly Superman).

31 December 2010

Retrospective 2010 - Part 4


In October, RED aka Retired Extremely Dangerous arrived in theaters and outperformed fellow DC owned (Homage comics) actioner The Losers to the tune of $89 million.

The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes

The bigger event in October was the countdown to and debut of Avengers Earth's Mightiest Heroes. Disney released one 5 minute micro episode online each day for the 20 days leading up to the series premier. Avengers hasn't held back, airing 16 of its scheduled 52 total episode run in just 2 months giving various main and secondary characters a chance at the spotlight.

Superman / Shazam! The Return of Black Adam

In November, Superman / Shazam! The return of Black Adam headlined a rare misstep release from DC animation. The double short (20 minutes) itself was well done, though once again Captain Marvel and Superman are hardly lesser known heroes who were indicated as the targets for these shorts. The problem was that the DVD only contained this short and "extended" versions of the previous 3 shorts whcih had already been used to encourage purchase of pricier special edition releases throughout the year. In all the full priced purchase got you at most 60 minutes of content and at worst 20 minutes of content. The extended versions of the the shorts were also a joke as someone would have to watch them side by side to discern any difference. Sales were modest, and it looks like the shorts may be on hold, which is a shame becasue it was the marketing, not the quality, that fell short.


2010 may have been the year of the super villain. The Summer offered up a huge hit with Despicable Me and Dreamworks hoped for a similar success with Master / Oober / MegaMind in which a super villain had to become a hero to thwart a bigger villain. In the end, the movie was not a big hit, earning nearly $150 million, and less overseas, in a very competitive computer animated market making a sequel unlikely.

Young Justice
The highlight of the Fall for me had to be the debut of the Young Justice animated series. The double length premiere saw Robin, Kid Flash, Aqualad, and Superboy (along with Miss Martian) forming a covert team under the supervision of the Justice League. The show has fantastic animation and a serious tone that played perfectly. The creator is fresh off The Spectacular Spider-Man series, the Web-Head's finest to date, and hopefully this lives up to that standard.


Following the debut of Young Justice, Cartoon Network also released the computer animated Firebreather movie based on a comic series about a kid with a dragon dad. I didn't catch this one.

Joker's Funhouse

One last gem that shouldn't be overlooked was the online animated "commercial" for Super Friends toys from Fischer-Price. The animated short titled The Joker's Playhouse is a work of genius and hopefully will find its way to DVD somehow soon.

And that my friends is a wrap. Twas a busy year but next year is going to be even busier. Imagine 2010, but instead of Vertigo and Homage Comics' unpowered "heroes" getting movies we will have Marvel and DC busting out some top tier super powered heroes. It should be fun.

30 December 2010

Retrospective 2010 - Part 3

Dwight's Crimson Bolt hit the Toronto Film Festival in September in the dark comedy Super. The movie will get a release in 2011, but time will tell if its the next Kick-Ass or the next The Rocker.

Superman Batman: Apocalypse

DC's third direct to video of the year didn't make quite the splash of the first two, but it was still a fairly decent romp. Between the army of Doomsdays, the Female Furies, and Darkseid himself, the fights compensate for a mediocre story.

Green Arrow

Accompanying the Superman Batman: Apocalypse movie was DC's third short film. Although the short was pretty good, it was a bit disappointing the Green Arrow got the spotlight when he is much closer to a household name than the Spectre or Jonah Hex. He has been on Smallville for years for crying out loud. Hopefully next year will bring more shorts focusing on some of the underdogs of the DC universe.

No Ordinary Family

The fall also brought a fantastical take on a super-powered family of four. Dad's got super strength and can "Hulk-jump," mom is the Flash, kid girl is a telepath, and kid boy is smart. I guess this is the closest thing we will get to a decent take on the Fantastic Four, though it feels an awful lot like an ABC Family show rather than a primetime ABC show.