Comic Book Movie Anticipation

I was hanging out with some friends, none of whom are comics nerds, and I asked if there were any movies they were excited for this year. They all, in their own way, informed me that they don’t really follow or get excited for things like movies. Nothing snobby, just matter of fact. I was unexpectedly floored by this revelation. I get not like certain genres or preferring TV to film, but these guys seemed to not have a pop culture bone in their bodies. Rather than force the issue, I decided to have another beer and wait to share my thoughts with the iFanbase.

To be fair, I’m not a guy who really gets all that excited for movies either. I watch a lot of trailers (it’s a segment on my podcast) but rarely do I get to the theatre to see them. And I almost never sit down on the couch to watch a movie at home. It’s something of a production to find a night where neither myself nor my girlfriend don’t have work to do in the evenings, can actually decide on a movie, and then sit down and watch it. And when the stars align usually one of us falls asleep. It’s not that we don’t love movies, she has a degree in film, it’s just when you’re not in the habit going to the actual theater seems like an extravagance and staying home requires too much coordination.

I expect at this point some of you understand my situation completely, whereas others are beyond perplexed. The latter half of you are probably feeling something akin to how I felt when my friends said they didn’t care about new releases at all. I’d say I’m somewhere in the middle leaning towards not caring, but a part of this community enough that I can’t avoid some of the news and thus some of the anticipation. This tends to mean that the only movies I DO get to the theater for are comic book movies.

So which movies am I excited enough to brave the multiplex (or Netflix) for? Let’s find out.


Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance

Excitement level: Idris Elba

At one point somewhere in between Luther and Ultraviolet I commented that I’d probably watch anything that had Idris Elba in it. Then Ghost Rider got a sequel and I had to eat my words but I had zero desire to get anywhere near that movie, let alone pay money for it at the theater. It’s already come and gone so it may be a moot point, and it’s not that I don’t think the Ghost Rider character has potential, I just don’t care and can’t pretend that I do. Sorry, Idris.





Marvel’s The Avengers

Excitement level: Mosh pit

In my younger days I enjoyed a good punk show, and nothing makes a punk show good like a mosh pit. And the more I think about it, the more I’m convinced that it can provide a sound metaphor for The Avengers. We all went and saw Iron Man hoping for a good movie that maybe referenced other aspects of the Marvel U, and what we got was more. Nick Fury after the end credits was like the initial clearing of the circle, showing you that maybe, just maybe, there could be more to this rock show than just music. Then we pushed our way through the other movies: Hulk, Iron Man 2, Thor, Captain America; until we found ourselves standing at the edge, suspended between sweaty cramped safety and cleared-out chaos. We know as soon as we dive into the fray it’s going to be some kind of mess, lots of pieces bouncing off and around each other, with the perpetual risk of getting elbowed in the face. If the pieces move in some kind of synchronicity, all could be well and The Avengers will win the day. Or it could fall apart and we’ll have to call the paramedics. Either way, I’ll be at the theater for this one.


The Amazing Spider-Man

Excitement level: Blonde

I am actually looking forward to the Spider-Man reboot. But as much as I’m stoked, I also feel like I know what I’m going to get. It’s the Spider-Man origin featuring Gwen Stacey and the Lizard (Marvel’s other mild-mannered scientist who gets green when angry). This is a story I’ve seen time and time again, I’m hoping there’s an unexpected twist of the whole thing, which it sounds like there might be concerning Peter’s parents, but I don’t know enough about that potential storyline to really get pumped. However, I love Spider-Man. The original Spider-Man movie was extremely high on my anticipation spectrum (I even read the novelization before the movie came out), and I expect I’ll actually enjoy this incarnation more, so this one will get me to the cinema as fast as if I was web-slinging.


The Dark Knight Rises

Excitement level: Threat-level midnight

Where to begin? The Dark Knight Rises is easily at the top of my stack in terms of sheer excitement. I’ve liked a lot of Nolan’s work because it doesn’t spoon feed the viewer and give people exactly what they want, so I expect nothing less with his final chapter for Batman. I’ve heard a lot of speculation and have some of my own (the topic of an upcoming column) but if he can match the suspense, intrigue, and realism of the first two films I think we’re in for a treat. I know Batman Begins and The Dark Knight aren’t perfect films, but the fact that those two movies have put a twist on the mythos means that anything could happen to finish out the series. This might be the only midnight movie for me in the bunch.




Excitement level: huh?

Oh yeah, there’s a new Judge Dredd movie coming out. It has Karl Urban, which is a definite plus, but I have no particular affinity for the character and might still be in recover from Rises, so this one is completely up in the air for me.


And of course this column ends as any column like this should, with a question. What about you noble iFanbase? Have I panned your favorite? Exalted your pariah? Let’s hash out it in the comments!


Ryan Haupt doesn’t criticize the science in movies as much as you might expect, but he did watch Jurassic Park with his podcast pals and post that online as a Special Edition of his show Science… sort of.


  1. Yeah, I don’t really get excited for movies any more. Maybe I’m kinda-sorta excited for The Hobbit, but even that… meh…

  2. I am about to explode waiting for the Avengers.
    Dark Knight Rises has me somewhere between excitement and worry, mainly because of what a mess Inception was, and the fact that it’s the 3rd movie in a trilogy… almost never a good thing.
    The Twilight tone of Spider-Man gives me pause, but I’m going in with mind and heart open. The parents thing could be a debacle, but then, Bensis made it work in Ultimate.
    Dredd will be great either way, I’m sure. It’ll eaither be awesome, stupid fun or a spectacular disaster like the first one.

    God, I love movies.

  3. Not too excited for anything this year on the comic front aside from The Dark Knight. Prometheus on the other hand almost has me squealing with anticipation.
    The Avengers would have been on my radar had Joss Wedon not been attached to the project. I can’t stand anything that guy has ever done.

  4. I have to disagree. The Dark Knight was a perfect film.

    • I would point to two flaws. The dialogue did a bit to much exposition at some points but it was going for a wide audience so that is quickly forgiven. The final sequence with the assault by Batman on the tower using that echolocation thing was a bit clunky and compared to other action sequences over the top. Other then that it was fantastic.

    • or when Batman jumps out a window, leaving Joker in room with all of Gotham’s elite…

  5. I’m definitely excited for Avengers and Spider-Man. I’m sort of excited for Dark Knight, but I feel like the buzz is really muted on this one compared to the last movie. Granted, there’s no Heath Ledger factor, and maybe the choice of Bane as the big bad affects it too.

    Truthfully, I’m more interested in the Hobbit. Going to back to Middle-Earth with Sir Ian is a wonderful Christmas present, and unlike the Star Wars prequels it’s kind of hard to screw this up. Also very interested in Prometheus.

  6. I really, really, really want to see Avengers. But that is nothing compared to how excited I am to see Dark Knight Rises. Aaaand now I have to watch the trailer again.

  7. I’d like to be more excited for movies like the Avengers and Dark Knight, but i realized that i’m slightly apathetic to them due to the generic adversing and marketing campaigns. its really the same campaign over and over again. Same music, same trailer that hits all the same cues, same art direction for the posters, same strategy, same SFX on the logos and other materials. I feel like i’ve already seen these movies for the past few years even though i know they are new….at least for me, i tend to get excited by new things, not recycled things. Its crazy how the modern movie marketing machine works.

    In contrast, when i first saw the trailer for “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” i kinda freaked out…its was just so different and interesting. I definitely took notice and was all about seeing it.

    • I loved the Dragon Tattoo trailer. It hit a perfect balance of telling what the tone and style of the movie would be while telling you nothing about the plot.

    • That’s funny, I thought the first GWTDT trailer sucked. A lot.

      Loves the books. Liked the movie very much. But that first one was … hmmm … epileptic? If I hadn’t already read the books or been waiting anxiously for the movie, I don’t think I would’ve seen it based on that trailer. Then again, it could just be the fact that I vomit-burp every time I hear someone cover Led Zeppelin.

  8. I too have encountered people who aren’t “really into films.” I recommend holy water.

    Also, I wouldn’t mind being in a mosh pit with Scarlett Johanssen.

    • being in a mosh pit with scarlett johanssen is probably a look like bumping into two pillows over and over again. and other jokes about her boobs.

  9. DK Rises (does it bother anyone else that the abbreviation DKR is already taken in our lexicon?) is definitely at the top of my list. By a long stretch.

    Though I am looking forward to Avengers.

    ASM a little less so, but I’ll see it.

    Am I the only person here looking forward to Skyfall?

    Others include Prometheus, Lockout, and Total Recall (I’m just so damn curious).

    Next year’s list will have Star Trek and Man of Steel right up top.

  10. All else pales in comparison to my quivering anticipation for Avengers.

    Coupled with my anticipation of the return of the cartoon, and the cartoon tie-in comic.

    All. Else. Pales.

    Spider-Man and Batman. Eh. I’ll go see them, but it’s been done before.

    Ghost Rider. Meh. I’ll watch it on DVD some year. Next.

    I would definitely be interested in a better Judge Dredd movie.

    Not interested enough to actually go to a first-run theater, but maybe a cheap matinee on a rainy Saturday.

    Nothing compares to Black Widow. Sorry.

  11. like most of the world, i’m excited for avengers and dark knight rises, but in very different ways.

    avengers is state-fair-excited, in that i’m looking forward to gorging myself on funnel cake, awesome rides, and general trashy entertainment. in a good way.

    the best way i can describe dark knight rises is nervous-excited, in almost *exactly* the same way i was nervous-excited for when radiohead’s “kid a” was about to be released. it’s a i-can’t-wait-but-please-don’t-fuck-this-up type of excited.

  12. I’m very excited for the Avengers, slightly less excited for the Dark Knight Rises. I’d be more excited for Spider Man, but I’m not as interested in seeing the origin story again. I’ll never understand why comic movies always feel like they need to start over with the origin story again. Treat it like James Bond up to Casino Royale, just put another guy in the suit and assume everyone will catch up, if you need to tell how they got their powers, let us know in the credit sequence. They don’t start with a new version of Bond in “Spy Academy” every time they have a new star take up the role.

    I don’t want to sound too negative, I’m almost certainly going to see Spider Man and I think it will probably be pretty good, I’m just not as excited about it as I am for the other two.

    • You’re right, though.

      One of the Superman animated movies tells his entire origin in the opening title sequence.

      Even my wife, who doesn’t really read comics, but who has sat through enough S:TAS episodes to know the broad strokes of Superman’s origin, was like:

      “Oh yeah, his parents put him in a rocket and he was raised by that nice couple on that farm, right?”

      From the title sequence.

      So, you’re absolutely right. It can be done. Didn’t Morrison prove you could do it in four panels?


  13. Heh. Yeah, I’m like your friends: I’m a comic nerd but I don’t get excited for the movies anymore. There’s just too much to do in life, and there are already wall-to-wall pop culture products vying for my attention.

    When the Avengers comes out, I may see it that weekend . . . or I may not see it till a month or more after. I just don’t plan my time around these things anymore. There are so many of them that none of them seem that special to me. I can see where the rare movie might have me hyped to see it on opening weekend — that’ll probably be the case with the next X-Men First Class installment — but even then it’s not like I ever count down the days anymore.

    I’m actually surprised people are still THIS hyped for multiple comics movies a year. I got “hype-fatigue” a long time ago.

    • I can dig feeling like that, which is why there are still a bunch of comic book movies that I’ve never seen, and I’ve been a comic book reader for a really long time.

      Once upon a time, they all sucked, and they were all disappointing. I never got excited about any of them.

      Three things changed that for me.

      1) It’s the Avengers, possibly my favorite Marvel title/franchise of them all.

      2) It’s one of my favorite periods of their history. Here it’s right at the very beginning. But this is some of the same personnel that was seen regularly in this part of the Marvel Universe right around ’65 and ’66, an era when the Black Widow, Nick Fury and Hawkeye were continuing characters in the Avengers saga. An era echoed in the first season of the cartoon. The fact that the cartoon is really boss doesn’t hurt.

      3) Marvel’s movies so far have been really fun to see at the theater, with my wife, who is not a comic book person, so they also have to succeed as movies, which they have. Of the “preludes” to this, the only one we haven’t seen is Hulk. We saw all of the rest of them, on the big screen. She loved them all. Which meant my enjoyment was not affected by her hating them.

      Oh and the fourth thing was something I saw on the Polish trailer for the film. Something that would put a smile on the face of Black Widow fans everywhere. Lovely.

      Yeah, I’m usually pretty jaded, but this is going to be a fun movie.


  14. I’m excited for Dark Knight Rises. Avengers isn’t really doing much for me, but I’ll probably go see it, because of Robert Downey Jr.

    The others might as well not exist. I might check out Spider-man if I hear good things.

  15. I am confused how you can be hanging out with a whole group of people you consider friends and none of them seems to share your interests. They don’t get excited about new movies at all?! Not even a little glimmer of interest, at least for the sake of conversation? When I am talking with friends who like sports, I at least politely indulge them for a bit on the subject and do my best with it to seem engaged.

    What iS this group of friends interested in Ryan? What brought you together? They don’t care AT ALL about movies, not even enough to try for the sake of conversation. So I imagine they care even less for comics. Do they like… Theater, science, sports, what? Why do you hang out with them? What made you guys friends?

  16. I’m really extremely excited for TDKR & Avengers.

    Spidey had me excited until I found it it’s yet another origin story. Doesn’t everyone on Earth by now that Spider-man was bitten by a radioactive spider & that’s how he got his power? couldn’t they just do like the did the Norton Hulk movie & just recap the entire origin in a opening credits montage & just move on with the story?

    Dredd? does anyone care?

    As for Ghost Rider, I was out as soon as I saw Cage was back, sounds like I made the right decision.

  17. I wrote a column last week at “” that’s like the “after” to this column’s “before”. I think. I may have mixed that up…

    Check it out!