My 2013 Superhero Movie Roundup
2013 has been a pretty good year for me, I caught most of the releases that I wanted to catch, found quite a few hidden gems here and there, caught up on plenty of classics, and started a brand new podcast that’s been going swimmingly. I’m going to avoid taking another look at some of the worst movies this year, instead of giving them more attention, I prefer to focus on the positive and the negative will eventually fade away. I’ve got a top 10 list of superhero and comic book movies and while I might have a couple that you would expect, I imagine that most of the list will be a bit of a surprise.
The Ones I Missed
But first, I’d like to take a quick look at the superhero and comic book movies that came out this year that I missed out on for one reason or another. First up is Jay and Silent Bob’s Super Groovy Cartoon Movie. It’s a movie based on Kevin Smith’s comic run of Bluntman and Chronic where Jay and Silent Bob became Batman-like crimefighters with a cadre of phallic-inspired supervillains, a comic that is actually one of the handful that I own. It was produced by Jason Mewes and animated by Steve Stark who has worked on the SModimations for Smith. It went out on a Red State-like theater tour, but I haven’t heard any news on any other sort of release. Next up is Blue is the Warmest Color which is based on a graphic novel originally called Blue Angel and is a three hour slice of life about a young lesbian, it’s currently notorious for a very graphic sex scene, but most of the reviews point out the realism and insight into the rise and fall of a relationship in a young woman’s life; gay or otherwise. You can also listen to the InSession podcast where they review it. There’s also Snowpiercer which is a Korean movie based on another French graphic novel with English actors and is in English, but so far it’s only been shown in Korea and there has been some debate on whether or not Harvey Weinstein will release the director’s cut or his threatened edited down version when it finally comes out in the US who knows when. And finally, there’s this other bizarre movie called Nuiguruma Z which is an Asian movie where a schoolgirl morphs with her pink teddybear to become a superhero. Don’t take my word for it, it was actually screened in Sweden where Jessica at the Velvet Cafe got to see it
As for some of the others I wasn’t looking forward to quite as much. First up there’s Red 2, featuring Bruce Willis as a retired CIA agent who’s still doing jobs on the side, or something like that. I’ve seen the trailers, but that’s as far as it goes, since I never watched the first one it was harder to fit in 2 movies instead of just one, but you can read Justin’s review of it over at Today I Watched a Movie. It looks like it should be pretty funny, but I haven’t heard anything exceedingly positive about it. There’s also The Lone Ranger which I’ve heard almost nothing but negativity about it aside from a few amazing action sequences in a bloated uninteresting story. I still have hope that I’ll enjoy it, but we’ll see when I get to it. For now, have a look at Tom’s fairly negative review over on At the Back. But enough of the movies I didn’t see, I did manage to catch 20 movies that were released in theaters and/or on home video in 2013 and I did enjoy many of them so I thought I would celebrate with a top 10 that I enjoyed the most.
I’m never entirely sure how to classify the release date of a movie, is it when the movie is finished? Is it when the movie is first seen by the public? Is it when the movie first has a theatrical showing? A first wide-release theater run? Whatever, this movie was released to those who helped fund the kickstarter campaign just a couple weeks ago, which does include myself, so I was able to watch this documentary about how people all over the country use Batman as an inspiration in their life. Batman is part of our modern mythology and it is used in many different ways as an inspiration to be better people, to help people, and this documentary looks at several different people’s lives and how Batman has made those lives better. Very beautiful and I hope it gets a good festival/documentary run in 2014.
This was a surprise for me, I just happened upon it during a trip to Wal-Mart’s movie section. I never watched any of Blue Falcon’s proper shows, but I was very familiar with Dynomutt in the various Wacky Races and other Hanna Barbera mash up shows that were rerun aplenty on the early days of Cartoon Network. Here, the Blue Falcon is being rebooted and there’s a major press event during a Comic-Con style convention with an aging Adam West-like actor who played the original Blue Falcon. There is of course, the requisite Scooby-Doo ghostly mystery for the gang to solve, but there’s a ton of classic Hanna-Barbera easter eggs in the background and a lot of 60’s Batman humor turned into Blue Falcon humor. It was a lot of fun to watch, and a nice fresh take on Scooby-Doo.
I’ve always been a fan of Lego, and especially their style of humor ever since they came out with the Lego Star Wars video games. I mentioned a lot of classic Adam West style humor from Scooby-Doo, and there’s a lot of that here as well with some of Batman’s classic villains. But director Jon Burton brings in references to pretty much all of the cinematic Batmen but does it entirely in a world of Lego. Everyone seems to be having a good time, from the voice actors to the animators. The humor is always family friendly, but it’s never too kid-focused.
This is one that pretty much came out of nowhere, I only found out about it whenever Partners Hub contacted me for a DVD giveaway in October. When I got the chance to see it, I really loved it. It very much has a comic book sensibility to the visuals, but it’s a post-apocalyptic grindhouse style movie with a ton of violence and sexy outfits. It follows Drifter and Mary Death as they make their way to the Council of Nine to find out why Drifter himself was put on the hit list of white collar criminals. It’s stylish, hyper-violent, and has plenty of familiar faces in small roles. Very fun and worth a watch.
6. Hentai Kamen
This is one of the most recent movies I’ve watched this year and also one of the most bizarre. It’s an Asian superhero parody using perversion as a superpower and taking plenty of shots at generic action anime movies along the way as well. It’s got so many scenes that are just so very very wrong and so many scenes featuring a superhero in nothing but a pair of underwear pulled up over his shoulders, a pair of fishnet stockings, and a pair of women’s panties on his face like a mask. Trying to describe it in words does not do this movie justice, it’s something that just has to be seen to be believed. But if you’re not easily offended by a close up of a guy’s crotch many times over, then you might just enjoy this one.
There are probably quite a few controversial choices on my list, and this is sure to be another one. It’s a very low budget movie that was actually made several years ago before finally coming out on home video early this year. It was made by the same guy who did that post-apocalyptic DDR movie called the FP. I really enjoyed this movie because it really stretches where you can take the superhero story. It puts a group of superheroes in a no win scenario filled with death and losses left and right. It makes the heroes vulnerable, makes them sacrifice everything that they have and still are unsure if they’ve actually gained any ground on their adversary until the very end. It struggles with the limitations of its own budget, but I really enjoyed the concept behind it, and I didn’t really have a major problem with the execution. It really is worth a chance.
This is a great story about time travel, the Flash, and a very dark alternate reality. I really appreciated how dark DC was able to go in this animated movie, but it’s not just violence for violence’s sake, it all helps tell the overall story. And there’s plenty of DC fanboy tidbits thrown around all over the place, so much so that I only even recognized a fraction of it, but had an inkling of the rest to know that it wasn’t just background fluff, but actual DC characters. It tells a fascinating story and it resonates on several emotional levels, both with Barry Allen, and Bruce Wayne at the end, it’s another great addition to the DC animated library and another reason why the live action writers and directors should be taking a page from the animated animators and directors.
3. Man of Steel
If I had made this list shortly after this movie had come out, I doubt it would be a controversial choice at all, but as the months have gone by, it seems that more and more people have been coming out to decry this movie as one of the worst Superman movies out there, and it just isn’t that at all. I still think it’s a great origin story with some of the best representations of super speed I’ve ever seen and a battle between two titans that’s like a comic book come to life. Sure, there’s massive destruction, but if this were made ten years ago, no one would have questioned whether or not the people in the buildings were ok. It’s an origin story, and it sets up the world of Metropolis and Superman beautifully, and more than that, makes me more interested in him as a character than any other Superman movie since the Christopher Reeve’s version.
I could technically include the part 1 & 2 combined movie which also came out this year, but out of the 2 parts, I enjoyed the second part the most. It’s from a very celebrated Batman graphic novel which I never read myself, but it features the return of Batman after years of retirement. He’s much older now, but he’s still the Batman, and Batman’s return brings about Joker’s return as well as his end in a stunning sequence in the tunnel of love out of all places. That, among other things, causes Batman to fall on the wrong side of the law, and they send out their heavy hitter: Superman, in order to stop him once and for all. But since this is Batman we’re talking about, he doesn’t go down without a fight, and let me tell you that it is one impressive battle and if the live action movie has anything close to this, then I’m all in.
There were a lot of surprises for me this year, but this probably wasn’t one of the biggest. I was a fan of the original Thor, but I would probably rank it somewhere in the middle of the Marvel movies. The sequel, however brought things up a notch and brought a lot of needed depth to Loki, even though I wasn’t a huge fan of how they worked him into the ending. As much of a superhero fan as I am now, I’m still just as much of a sword and sorcery fan, and this brings the mix of those two in a fantastic way, with all the Marvel style humor that I’ve come to know and love. It’s not a perfect movie by any means, the villain is a big weak point, but it was one of the most enjoyable theatrical experiences that I’ve had all year. And that’s as good a reason as any to have it on the top of my list. Until next time, this has been Bubbawheat for Flights, Tights, and Movie Nights.