After the enormous success of Marvel’s Cinematic Universe films (Avengers, Iron Man etc) and Nolan’s Batman series, comic book movies have now proven themselves not only as a great source of revenue, but also being of genuine artistic worth. Now that the most well known superheroes have been used, has the genre already peaked?
Nolan redefined the superhero genre, showing the depth and humanity of the man in the cape and cowl. Gone was the camp crusader of the 90′s, with Batman & Robin being one of, if not the worst superhero film’s of all time, most notably in one scene where Batman brandishes a Batman-branded credit card, and the declaration that he ‘never leaves the Batcave without it.’ The Dark Knight Rises inclusion of Catwoman eradicated Warner’s abysmal outing, replacing the Wrestlemania-ready ‘brought back to life by a cat’ vision and instead alluded towards Bob Kane’s original creation of a mysterious burglar and jewel thief. This is where DC has truly succeeded, realising the importance of character exploration. Next summer marks the return of Superman, with DC undoubtedly hoping that they can build a new critical and commercial reboot which can go one of two ways:
1) A second attempt-Hulk like flop, similarly to the Brandon Routh failed reboot just a few years ago.
2) Nolan’s successful in presenting Superman in a modern context, leading to universal critical acclaim and a sizable box office performance, paving the way for future DC films.
DC will be hoping that the latter is the case, with a Justice League film in the pipeline with a 2014 release date being considered, any chance of getting the green light will almost certainly be riding on the success of Superman. One big problem with such an intended release date is bringing Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, The Flash and Green Lantern together without the stable support of individual lead in films as Marvel achieved so well with The Avengers. Zach Snyder has said that Henry Cavill’s Superman won’t be part of Justice League, which will ‘have it’s own Superman and Batman.’ With no foundations being built prior to its potential release, it’s hard to see a Justice League film performing anywhere near as well as The Avengers.
With a Hulk TV series in the pipeline, could this be the next step for superheroes? Going from the big screen to the small screen allows for much more character exploration than any 2 hour film would allow. With Marvel ever-expanding its Universe, TV series could easily strengthen any future films with cameos to keep the Universe a constant.
The Avengers and the five films that lead into it—both Iron Man films, The Incredible Hulk, Captain America, and Thor have earned Marvel Entertainment almost $4 billion dollars, making it the fourth-highest-grossing film franchise of all time. With the announcement that Avengers 2 is due for a 2015 release date, and sequels to Thor, Iron Man and Captain America due prior to this, as well as a new entry based on Guardians of the Galaxy, it’s hard to imagine Marvel not making a ton of money from these films. The Marvel Cinematic Universe is building an insular world that can hold any number of heroes and story arcs, and the more success it’s current franchises gain, the more likely they are to transfer lesser known comic book heroes to screen. Reboots are inevitable, regardless of whether a film performs well or not, allowing for fresh vision as proven with The Amazing Spiderman. With the Superman insignia being just as recognisable as the American flag, there will always be a place for reboots whether it be on TV or the big screen, it’s just a matter of when.
With a presidential election looming and three high profile shootings taking place in just a few weeks, gun control is almost guaranteed to be one of the issues front runners are going to be asked to address.
Guns are deeply rooted into American society, and it seems that no number of firearm related homicides (11,493) or gun-related suicides (18,735 in the past year) will bring into force any restrictions or legislation, unable to dislodge the notion that the ownership of more than 300 million guns makes America a safer place.
Alan Korwin, the author of nine books on guns has made regular national TV appearances on the matter suggests that those opposed to guns have a medical condition, rather than guns themselves being a political problem. ‘They have a rampant hatred of guns. It’s called ‘hoplophobia- a morbid fear of guns. The anti-rights crowd is afraid that if they had a gun, they’d shoot someone. So, they psychologically project this fear onto everyone else. Because they don’t trust themselves, they don’t trust their fellow man.’ Talking of the Colorado cinema shooting he adds that ’80 people die in car accidents every day, while 12 people died in that movie theater.’ The counter arguement to this is that cars provide a function, to get from A to B, whereas guns are weapons, their intended use being to harm or kill.
Such radical views are held towards guns that Korwin has proposed a Gun-Free-Zone Liability Act in Arizona, where any business that establishes a gun-free zone would be fully liable for the harm it causes. ‘Guns were banned from the movie theater where that shooting took place,” said John Lott, author of More Guns, Less Crime. “So, law-abiding citizens obeyed, but the criminal didn’t. Obviously, these gun-free zones make it easier for lawbreakers to engage in this type of violent behavior, producing the opposite effect of what we want to see happen.” Korwin doesn’t stand alone with his views, after a campus shooting at Virginia Tech in 2007 that resulted in 32 deaths, some politicians pointed to the University’s campus-wide gun ban as a contributing factor, suggesting that the problem wasn’t down to the fact an unbalanced student came into school with two weapons, but that the students and staff weren’t themselves armed. Nor were they alone, a national student group of over 15,000 members formed in the hope of overturning laws restricting the use of weapons on campus. It would appear that a large amount of people believe the problem is also the solution, that weapons cancel out weapon use.
Despite numerous shootings happening recently it appears that a large proportion of US citizens are pro-guns, which suggests that in the run up to the election candidates may avoid tackling the issue to prevent alienating potential voters. Vigilantism however, is not a sustainable model for a peaceful society. America needs less guns, not more. But with such extreme views rooted in society, it would be almost impossible to recall weapons or bring in any restrictions. With even politicians seeing weapons as a solution to gun crime as opposed to a problem, any proposed action will undoubtedly be an uphill struggle which will be fiercely resisted.
If London were a Phoenix, it has undoubtedly risen from the flames of last summer’s riots. Hosting one of the greatest Summer Olympics the world has ever seen. London has come out of the Olympics shining brightly, a stark contrast to the images beamed around the world during the riots.
Rewind a mere 12 months and London’s reputation was severely damaged, concerns were raised over the consequences the riots would have on tourism, one of the capital’s biggest sectors. The images shown worldwide were disfiguring, offering a city burning, littered with black hollowed-out cars, deserted streets and boarded up buildings. London appeared shabby, unsafe and unprepared for the security feat and influx of visitors the 2012 Olympics would bring to the city. Quite shockingly, prison sentences totalling over 1,800 years have been handed out to a total of 1,292 offenders. Then, the face of London was one of masked youths making bold statements, claiming the streets as their own for the whole world to see. An extreme difference to today, with the face of London 2012 being that of the smiling welcome offered by the 70,000 Olympic volunteers.
Britons reunited over the course of the Olympic games demonstrating both pride and patriotism, something that no doubt gained momentum since the Diamond Jubilee just a few months prior. Team GB ran, cycled and rowed their way to 29 Gold medals, 17 Silver and 19 Bronze, our biggest haul since 1908. Ranking an impressive third, it’s noteworthy to compare this achievement to just 16 years ago at Atlanta 1996 when Great Britain walked away with just one lonely gold medal, ranking in 36th place.
London had its greatest love affair with the Olympics portraying a small island capable of true greatness, uplifting the view of London and the UK to visitors, tourists, athletes and even its own people. Speaking yesterday, Lord Coe said: “I’m glad the world is now seeing the London I recognise.” Reflecting on the events of last year, he said: “It was a nightmare. It wasn’t a London I recognised. London was changed beyond recognition.”
Aside from being a worthy tourism advert, what other positive outcomes will come from the London Olympics? For now it’s legacy to inspire future generations is the main agenda, and something that will require a great deal of work to not only build but sustain. It did however show that despite the numerous crisis Britain contends with, it can still put on a show, and it can still deliver, creating a great amount of hope and optimism for the athletes of tomorrow.