2011 Comic Book Movie Predictions

Before this season of comic book movies, I decided to take a swing at the upcoming movie season with some generalized predictions based on the available trailers, and see if I can apply all these years of study to useful analysis. Let's take them in order, starting with next week's big release, the first of the summer season.


Thor – May 6 (Director Kenneth Branagh)

At first, I would have said that this flick was a bomb from jump. Thor isn't a typical superhero, and it's a tricky thing to make the wonders of Asgard, as least as typically depicted in comic book form. But as the trailers kept coming, there was a feeling of "hey, this might actually be OK," and scuttlebutt from the folks who've seen it is pretty good. Branagh is a capable director, but not without his flops (such as 1994's Frankenstein). He's never done a movie like this however. Still, Hemsworth looks the part, and Natalie Portman is always a favorite. There's something to the myth of Thor that's been appealing for a long time, and he's been woefully underexposed in a cinematic sense. While I think the poster might lead some to believe that it's a wrestling film, I've got high hopes, and I think it might have some legs. It might not be a monster like Iron Man, but the crowds will get behind it, and it'll take a couple of weeks at the top spot.

Josh's Predicted Film Rating: B-B+


Priest – May 13 (Director Scott Charles Stewart)

Yeah, I know, I was surprised too. Apparently this film, from the director of the best forgotten Legion, was based on a comic book series from Tokyopop. Apparently the company didn't want to stick around in the US long enough to reap the potential riches. I think we're looking at an average and forgettable film with a profile not even high enough to garner religious protests that can often accompany a flick like this. Dont blink or you'll miss it. But don't worry, because it will be on cable by the time you even think about it again.

Josh's Predicted Film Rating: C-


X-Men: First Class – June 3 (Director Matthew Vaughn)

Named, but not patterened after the Marvel series by Jeff Parker, I've been excited about this movie all along. I'm not much of an X-Men fan, but I am a big Matthew Vaughn fan, and when I heard that the film will be set in the 60's, that was all I needed. I'll take a period piece any day. Vaughn has impressed me with the handful of films he's put out, and what a movie needs, more than anything, is a director with a srong vision in his head. It's a story we've seen before, but in a way we haven't, and despite some negative fan grumblings based on trivialities, I'm looking forward to this more than any of the other films coming up. There's the chance that this one could overreach, or that the studio held up the creative vision, but I don't think that's likely. The film will make a lot of cash either way since every X-Men movie, regardless of quality, has done pretty well at the box office. I think this will become a favorite X-Men film for a lot of fans, and be held up there in esteem for a long while.

Josh's Predicted Film Rating: A


Green Lantern – June 17 (Director Martin Campbell)

I don't have the highest hopes for this one, folks. I can't say exactly why, because there isn't a single element that's all that bad. Martin Campbell is a capable action director, and Casino Royale is a recent triumph, but at the same time, I just look at the trailer and I'm not all that excited. And it's more than just the toes I'm talking about here. I don't think Ryan Reynolds is bad, but I'm not getting the vibe from him I want. That's not to say audiences won't connect. If they're looking for more movies like Iron Man, this might be right up their alley. But personally, I can't get jazzed for it. I think will be a lot of flashy glowy things, but that's easy. The trick here will be bringing the audience something compelling and unique. Is Ryan Reynolds and the enormous commitee definitely behind this film the way to get there? I'm not sure. We shall see. I think we're going to see a bit opening weekend, and word of mouth will determine where it goes from there.

Josh's Predicted Film Rating: C+


Transformers 3: Dark of the Moon – July 22 (Director Michael Bay)

I'm pretty sure this will be garbage, but make enough money to buy a second planet. I do know that the trailer tricked me into thinking this would be a movie I'd like. Jerks.

Josh's Predicted Film Rating: D


Captain America: The First Avenger – July 22 (Director Joe Johnston)

I want this to be a great flick. Again, I'm super excited that it's a period piece, but there are some elements that give me pause. I am an unabashed Captain America fan, and this is one of those cases where, if they don't get him right, I'm just not going to get into this. I have no problem with Chris Evans, it should be noted. The movie Sunshine alone is proof that he's got chops outside of comedy. Joe Johnston is a guy who does action movies that are OK, but not terribly memorable. A lot of folks are stuck on The Rocketeer, but it's never been a thing for me. Jurassic Park 3 was a fine time, but I never thought about it again until I wrote these words. Yet the potential for a really fun movie, albeit with tempered expectations exists. I'm going to aim low, and expect to be surprised. I've got my fingers crossed for Cap.

Josh's Predicted Film Rating: B


Cowboys & Aliens – July 29 (Director Jon Favreau)

I haven't read the source material, but what I do know is that there's a hell of a lot of sexy in this movie, on paper at least. Daniel Craig is an action movie star born, and you add in Harrison Ford, aged just right, along with someone named Olivia Wilde that fanboys done on about, and it looks good. Jon Favreau is coming off two huge Iron Man movies where he had to work within a framework he came to not understand, so now he's on his own, making what could be an incredibly fun movie. At least I hope. Will audiences react? A western theme is always dicey, but you've got to admire the straight up nature of the title. There is no mistaking what this flick is about. I predict modest success.

Josh's Predicted Film Rating: B


Conan the Barbarian – August 19 (Director Marcus Nispel)

I suppose this is sort of a comic book movie, and if I leave it off the list, people will notice the omission, so here it is. Still, I'm not really sure what to say here. The available teaser is sort of vague, but looks like it could be part of the Starz network. The director, Marcus Nispel has never done a movie I've seen, or would be particularly driven to seek out, so I think I'll be forced to reserve judgment. I can tell you this, if Conan is content, then his fans will as well. There's no telling how many of those fans actually exist though.

Josh's Predicted Film Rating: Incomplete


  1. Hm. Seems a little contrary to the general “don’t judge until you see it” vibe people have been getting crazy about around here recently.

    That said, my gut agrees on most of the predictions, except Cowboys and Aliens. Intensely excited for that one.

  2. Think how much fun you’ll have when it turns out how wrong I am!

  3. Avatar photo Paul Montgomery (@fuzzytypewriter) says:

    We’re going to say Dylan Dog is the “Landry inadvertently kills a would-be rapist” plot of 2011 comic book movies. I have already said too much. 

  4. I think X-Men, if the trailers have told me anything (and we know trailers are always accurate in telling how good a movie will be), will be the surprise hit.  Thor and Captain America may be getting the most summer movie hype, but X-Men seems like it’s being different and focusing on new territory.  Of course, we know nothing yet until the movies come out, but that’s what I’ve assessed so far.

  5. i saw thor… it’s funny, enjoyable. iron-man again.

    i can’t really get behind first class because i think Vanghn is pretty horrible. Stardust and Kickass aren’t good movies at all. I kind of see the same problems with this movie as i did with X-men 3 and wolverine – too many spunky mutents doing random “cool” stuff. however, setting it during teh civil right and bay of pigs context may give the movie a little more excitment than i think it’ll have.

    the big problem with green lantern is Reynolds, the guy is pretty bad. the movie seems like style over substance. However, the thing about Martin Campbell is that he understands the weight of on-screen deaths to story, i hope he might give the movie some actual heart and emotion

    the other movies? zero interest

  6. Avatar photo Kelly (@annaluna) says:

    There’s something about how Jon Favreau tells stories that resonates nearly perfectly with me.  Unless he lets the actors get away from him i think i’m going to love Cowboys v. Aliens to bitty bits.  Besides, if he can wrangle the Iron Man cast, Will Ferrell, and Vince Vaughn, i think he can handle them.

  7. Completely agree with you on every movie rating. X-Men First Class did not really show that much on its trailers but just for the idea, the actors I mean only heard a few lines with the trailers and already I can tell that Michael Fassenbender is going to be perfect as Magneto, James McCavoy we’ll see, and I love every single movie that Matthew Vaughan has done. And you’re right with Green Lantern in that there is just something about it that feels missing with the expected tone of a Green Lantern movie. As for Thor however I am really excited to see that because of Hopkins, Hemsworth, Hiddleston & Hawkeye cameo! Captain America is probably the one I am most worried about b/c the trailers are a bit 50/50 in terms of awesomeness & I am still waiting to hear some dialogue from Hugo Weaving’s Red Skull. Also Wolfman, Johnston’s last movie did not really help my worries either. Yet despite all of that I am confident that Evans & Weaving will do awesome in the film, also with Tommy Lee Jones on the roster you can not go wrong (Batman Forever duly noted, but he’s still awesome nonetheless). Cowboys & Aliens actually looks like a lot of fun so I am pretty interested in seeing that one. So far the 5 comic book movies that I am most excited to see this summer in order of excitement (from most to least) is: 1) X-Men First Class, 2)Thor, 3)Captain America, 4)Cowboys & Aliens, 5)Green Lantern

  8. @Kelly  I can’t shake the memory of Made. Man, rarely has a movie disappointed me thus. I should be over it by now, I know.

  9. I am extremely excited and have high hopes for Thor and X-Men.  Secretly, I’m kind of hoping Green Lantern is as terrible as some of the trailers look. 

  10. I am far more excited for Captain America than I ever thought I’d be.

  11. I would be delighted, but VERY surprised if First Class ends up being an A.  I sincerely hope Josh is right, but I haven’t seen anything that makes me think he is.

    Green Lantern has generally looked pretty weak, but should at least be fun.

    I feel EXACTLY the same way about Transformers.  That trailer is so promising, but it is impossible to forget the more ridiculous elements of the first two. 

  12. I learned a lot from that Landry storyline. My new policy in any difficult situation is to set a car on fire and then never speak of it again.

  13. Captain America and X men is all i’m excited about. Cowboys and Aliens seems interesting…maybe a dollar theater thing. Everything else doesn’t look like its worth the $35 it costs for me and the wife to catch a movie.

    I think Thor and Green Lantern will be in for a rude awakening. I was talking about those movies with my wife and a few friends who generally like summertime action movies (they all loved the Iron Man’s and Dark Knight etc)…but aren’t into comics. They think those two look pretty silly and have no desire to see them. Heck, i like comics and i have no desire to see those two movies. A small sampling i know, but still telling at least for me. Unless they get like a 90% plus Rotten Tomatoes rank, most prob a Netflix. 

  14. I am most excited for Thor. It looks great and well done. Cap of course is my favorite character and the movie looks good but I will like it no matter. X men looks very good and I will go see it. Green Lantern looks suspect. I think DC/WB wants to make a tie together franchise but if this is to be a tentpole franchise, then iy better be holding back for the movie.
    I disagree on Transformer’s. I saw the trailer in 3d and thought that it will be better in 3D. It may be the element that has been missing, plus the bad luck penny, Megan Fox, is gone!

  15. Thor might be spot on there josh. I expect it to be really good, but there’s still some casting choices I dont like. (Mainly cause I hate Natalie Portman because she’s a terrible actress)

    Don’t care about Preist……I’ll be kind and give X-Men a C-. I think X-Men might have some good moments but it’ll be the same mess we got with the previous ‘X’ films. I think your spot on with Green Lantern too. I mean I still have yet to see advertising for it, and seeing the same clips over and over again (with poorly rendered costumes) doesn’t fill me with high hopes. Captain America will probably be really good, maybe the A- range.

    Lastly I think Cowboys and Aliens is really going to be the sleeper hit of the summer. Yes it has big names and a big director on board. But with all the Marvel movies coming out I think this is being overlooked by the media. I believe in Faverau to make a fantastic movie and I hope it’s A+ material.

  16. Transformers, Cowboys and Aliens, and Conan will all likely end up in my Netflix queue, which means I may never actually watch them.

    I am excited for Thor and Captain America–or maybe a better way to put it is to say that I am totally stoked by the idea of a movie crossover franchise, which is what I think the entire family of Avengers-related films will turn out to be. When everything is said and done I think we’ll look back a say they were all competent, well-made films worth watching again all together in a row over the course of a lost weekend. Marvel will be selling these as a seven or eight DVD collection.

    Regarding the Green Lantern, I don’t read the comic books, so know nothing about the character. What I see in the trailers appears to be a clever blend of superhero/science fictio wow and adult comedy. But I don’t think my interest in this movie amounts to a hill of beans. What I know for certain is that Green Lantern is the ONLY superhero film my nine year old nephew even talks about. If this is a movie that young parents can watch with their kids and that everyone enjoys then this will be the surprise hit of the summer.

    p.s. Don’t forget that Harry Potter Deathly Hallows Part Deux comes out on July 15. It isn’t a comic book film but will dominate the box office for at least a week or two. I pity the film that opens in proximity to this one.

  17. @cahubble09  –ALso Pirates of the Caribbean and Scream 4. Those will kick butt. 

  18. actually nevermind Scream 4. HAHA. 

  19. p.s. X-Men First Class = YAWN …

  20. @Wally: haha … I finally got around to watching the Scream flicks … they were … entertaining. I enjoy the Pirates franchise, but probably won’t see it in the theater. I try to save my theater $$ for the movies I think I’ll regret not seeing on the big screen … Lord of the Rings is a good example.

  21. @cahubble09  –Love the Scream Trilogy, had no idea part 4 was out…though it was coming later. i don’t pay attention to advertising, which is ironic considering my job. I’ve seen every Pirates in the theatre….its always fun. 

  22. I saw Thor yesterday – loved it. Whereas in a lot of cases the conversation occurs when a director has to say “Right, what aspects of this character won’t work here, what do we need to jettison in order to turn this into a movie?” Branagh just went “Fuck that – I’m using ALL of it, because it’s all AWESOME.”

  23. I might reverse Thor and Captain America and put Cap at a B+ and Thor at a B- or even a C.  I just saw the previews for Cowboys and Aliens and thought it was awesome, until I saw the spaceships and the alien wrist watch.  I still did a jumping high kick afterwards.  I think Green Lantern seems to be going more family friendly, which means ultimately it will suck leaving First Class to be my Obi-Wan for this summer.  Having said that, I will see every one of these movies, minus Priest unless it gets good reviews.

  24. @ Josh  I’ve never seen a movie direct by Marcus Nispel either, BUT, apparently he did direct the music video for Faith No More’s “A Small Victory”.  For that alone I will give it a chance.  🙂

    And I agree, about Made. Vince Vaughn’s characteractually made me mad in that move.  Had to turn it off.

  25. The sad thing about Priest is that the book is quite good, and it actually would make for a cool western.  Only one of the books delves into any of the future mythology, and I think that’s where we are getting this from, but, ‘based’ is a bit reaching.  The only thing they seem to share, and from what I’ve read, is purely the name and the scary bit.

    Like I said, kinda too bad.  If you like satanic horror set in western, then go seek it out.   

  26. I’m so excited for Captain America, Thor, and X-Men. I’m sorry @Josh isn’t more optimisitc about Captain America, although I understand his worry, Captain America is my favorite Marvel character.

  27. I had no idea that Thor hadn’t come out in America yet, usually America gets stuff months and months before we do.
    I saw it last week.

  28. I had no desire o see Thor at all, although the past few days, I’m thinking it might be fun. It looks pretty decent, and I really like natalie portman, so maybe Ill check that out. captain America looks pretty good, too. I love that it’s a period piece. I have zero desire to see Green lantern. I don’t like the character, I don’t like Ryan Reynolds, there’s really nothing in there for me. if It was a Guy gardner movie, I might go. Hal Jordan? no thanks.

  29. To make us more worried about Green Lantern:

    Variety reports that WB is spending an extra $9 million dollars to tighten the CGI for the final cut. Either A) It’s not done yet so close to release or B) WB thinks they can improve slightly better then what they have.

    Either way that can’t be good. 

  30. @thenextchampion  Who could hate Natalie Portman, she’s a godess

    I can’t imagine Green Lantern will be terrible.  I doubt it’ll change anyones live, but surely it’ll be enjoyable?

  31. Just pre-booked my ticket to see Thor 3D in Tauranga tomorrow, can’t wait, I’m hopnig for at least a B rating.

    I’m terrified of GL, I REALLY hope that it’l be good, but I’m also not getting the greatest vibe from it….. really hope it does well though. 

  32. i cant get over how shit the cap costume looks….seriously it looks like a kids padded suit and really ruins it for me

  33. I am similarly psyched for first class.  Really think that’s gonna be great.  

    And sadly, am similarly worried for green lantern.  I want that movie to be great sooo badly, but every time I see any of the effects, they just look silly.  

  34. I will watch and probably enjoy everything except for Transformers. That’s just shit.

  35. im looking forward to most of these movies but i will admit that captain america has me a little worried. i really really enjoy ed brubaker’s run on cap but im preety sure that wont be the cap we see,lets hope for the best. it seems like every week theres a new crisis happening with green lantern so i wont even comment on it anymore.

  36. I dont think Green Lantern will be horrible, I think it will be serviceable.  I’m a huge GL fan, and have long said Flash and Green Lantern are my two favorites.  Serviceable isn’t what anyone wants to hear though.  Not the audiences and not the studios.   I think the only major flaw I can see is that Reynolds, while okay in some parts, doesn’t have the right feel for Green Lantern (I’d have actually put him as the Flash myself).  Who they needed for the Flash is someone that conveys a more test pilot feel to him, like a younger Kevin Costner or Dennis Quaid.   I’m not talking the acting range of either Costner or Quaid, but rather the the spirit either of them brings to their role.

  37. Avatar photo Paul Montgomery (@fuzzytypewriter) says:

    Is there really such thing as a serviceable movie? 

  38. @PaulMontgomery  Yeah, porn.  😉

    @kidCharlemagne  It is a padded suit, and that is what it is supposed to look like.  A 1940’s utilitarian, but somewhat more durable set of fatigues.  Since that is what they were going for, in that respect, it is a success.

  39. I for one enjoyed Branagh’s Frankenstein movie version–it was closer to the book and a nice contrast to the Universal Karloff version.  I don’t think I’ve seen a trailer yet of the Thor movie that intices me to see it at the theater, but I think the Celestials look cool (if indeed that’s them).  I’ve heard it came out okay, and is fun,  so fingers crossed. 

    Priest probably will do okay as will Dylan’s Dog–young teens enjoy volence, gore, horror, and stuff of that nature.  I doubt they’ll garner much critical attention. 

    I hope X-Men turns out well.  Doing the 60’s seems like an interesting concept.  Though i’m more intersted in the Capt. America movie.  If anything gets me off my butt to the cinema, it’ll probably be that one.  I really hope that’s good.  By the way, I love Rocketeer too.

    The Green Lantern–Ryan Reynolds looks as goofy in his costume here as he did in the indie film Paper Man with Jeff Daniels. 

    If this Transformers isn’t better than the second movie, I think it’s doom for the francise. The trailer at least makes it look interesting enough to draw a crowd.   I enjoyed the first movie, never saw the second one due to the bad reviews.

    Cowboys & Aliens may be the sleeper hit.  And Conan has more fans due to the pulp books.  But unless the movie is done well, like any other movie, it won’t get any support.  Something along the line of Kevin Sorbo in Hercules or Kull won’t cut the mustard even on straight to the DVD market.  Why such failed attempts even try is beyond me. 

  40. @PaulMontgomery It was late, it made a little more sense then, but….just adequate.  Watch it once, and like what you saw, but not something you’d invest anything further in.

  41. @TheNextChampion: In most cases, there’s a difference between disliking a thing and it actually being terrible.  In your case, there’s a huge difference between what you don’t like and what is actually terrible.  Natalie Portman is not a terrible actress.  You just don’t like her.  That’s allowed.  But anyone who actually knows anything about acting will tell you that she does her work, and does it well. 

  42. @Wheelhands: It’s going too off topic but I find her terrible in everything she’s in. Saw ‘My Blueberry Nights’ in class the other day and she was awful. Worse Southern Accent Ever.

  43. Maybe Cowboys & Aliens. Everything else looks like garbage. The sooner these movies start to bomd the sooner they will either start paying attention to what they are doing or just stop making them all togther.
    If it wasn’t for Jack Sparrow and Harry Potter I would really have no movies to go see this year.

  44. @Smutty –yeah i think they are doing it to get early word of mouth buzz (rotten tomatoes rankings are up) for American audiences who seem like they are largely on the fence, as well as gauge reactions in case they have to make a massive American media buy to make all their cash on opening weekend (aka the we know it sucks, Last Airbender strategy)