During the 1990s and early 2000s the superhero commodity was seemingly ignored by audiences, producing many box office failures such as 1997’s Batman and Robin. Now superhero films are so prolific that it’s difficult not to notice when the genre gets an underwhelming response. 2011 appears to have been the year when superheroes were given their redundant packages. Although there were some successful releases, will 2012 in fact overshadow 2011 as the year of the superhero?
The Green Hornet was the first to grace our screens in 2011 and was quickly quashed for its failure to bring the fun of 1960’s TV series to the cinema screen. With a weak script and feeble acting it was difficult for the audience to decide whether they were watching a superhero film or a mockery of it. After it followed a string of disappointing adaptations including Marvel’s Thor, Warner Brother’s Green Lantern and the pale imitation of 300, Immortals. The third series of Misfits made a return to E4 in October and received mixed reviews. After an award-winning first two series, ratings quickly declined and the series succumbed to predictable plot lines and, tragically, the loss of originality it was once praised for. Channel Four appeared to put the final nail in the coffin with its First Cut documentary, Superheroes of Suburbia, in which the glamorous job of being a superhero took form in the unstable and pitiable residents of Torquay and Cornwall.
Although the heroes of 2011 appeared to have been let down by television and film makers, one beacon of hope was X-Men: First Class. The film explored the beginning of the X-men saga and was a welcome return to form for the franchise. 2012 promises to continue in this vein with a multitude of films that are set to mark an incredibly exciting year. The Dark Knight Rises, The Avengers, The Amazing Spider-Man and The Wolverine are a few of many big films that will hopefully drag our superheroes’ reputations out of the murky gutter that was 2011.