March 5, 2012

Movie Monday: 2011 Superhero Films, Part I

2011 was a big year for superheroes, so I'm splitting this into two parts. Today I'll cover The Green Hornet, Green Lantern, and Super. Next week I'll cover the Marvel films Thor, X-Men: First Class, and Captain America: The First Avenger.

Book CoverI loved The Green Hornet. I can't believe it only has 2-1/2 stars on Amazon. (I also can't believe it was directed by Michael Gondry of the almost-perfect Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and the interminably awful The Science of Sleep.) Seth Rogen and Jay Chou have wonderful chemistry as Britt Reid and Kato, the two men who fight crime by pretending to be criminals. I liked that they were equals as the Green Hornet, but had difficulty working as equals to their previous relationship. I also enjoyed Cameron Diaz as Lenore Case, the love interest who ends up with neither guy because she's too smart to put up with their antics. Christoph Waltz, as villain Chudnofsky, slowly loses his mind throughout the film, providing the best comedic moments. The Green Hornet may not stand at the head of its genre, but it's a perfectly serviceable superhero movie.

Book CoverI may not be qualified to speak about Green Lantern since I feel asleep for half an hour in the middle of the movie. But that says quite a bit in itself, because I have a high tolerance for terrible movies. I'll give Green Lantern credit for having one of the best lines ever uttered in a superhero film:
What do you mean? I've known you my whole life! I've seen you naked! You don't think I would recognize you because I can't see your cheekbones?
Of course, it is said by Blake Lively as Carol Ferris, ace fighter pilot and successful business woman. Blake tries her hardest, but she's not very convincing as the tough-as-nails Carol. She comes off as a bit of a marshmallow. As for the central character . . . Hal Jordan has never been my favorite Lantern. And the movie takes way too long to make Hal seem like a good candidate for the ring. As for the daddy issues everyone in the film is suffering from: Iron Man did it better.

Book CoverI love superhero movies. I love black comedies. I love parodies. I love deconstruction. I love Ellen Page. Super should've been right up my alley. For a while, it was. It was over-the-top and made me squirm, but the ugliness of Frank's (Rainn Wilson) actions as the Crimson Bolt made a fair point about the likely mental state of people who decide to don a costume and fight crime with a wrench. But the violence kept going beyond my comfort zone and I found Page's psycho Libby funny at first, then extremely off-putting. Can we all agree that rape isn't funny, even when it's female-on-male? And, for the people arguing all over the internet that it wasn't rape, it was. Frank said no. That's all it takes. The actively resisting and throwing up afterward were the icing on the terrible, no good, very bad cake. So despite what I thought at the beginning, Super was very much not my thing.

(ETA: Super is considered a 2010 movie because it premiered at TIFF that September. It didn't release in the US until April 1, 2011.)


  1. Michel Gondry directed Green Hornet? I had NO idea! I love his movies- The Science of Sleep was brilliant and sweet and sad. Okay, I'll have to check this one out, plus I love Seth Rogen (if you haven't seen "Funny People", do).

  2. I love most of his movies, but as I said, I just can't get into The Science of Sleep. I was really surprised to learn he was the director, but the next time I watch the movie I saw some of his personal touches.

    As for Funny People, I'm a big fan of the first 2/3rds or so. The ending section isn't as emotionally affecting.


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