The Golden Globes nominations are in, and conspicuously absent from the list of nominees is the Caped Crusader. But just because Batman isn’t getting awards-season love, doesn’t make the following statement any less true: 2012 was the year of the comic book movie.
Sure, sure — for years now, it feels like every year is the year of the comic book movie. But 2012 brought forth two of the most show-stopping entries in the genre’s entire existence — “Marvel’s The Avengers” and “The Dark Knight Rises,” two films that dominated commercially (they’re the top two box-office performers of the year; “Avengers” is the third highest-grossing movie of all time), and creatively assembled oh-so mightily for critics and casual moviegoers alike.
The arrival of “Avengers” and the conclusion of “The Dark Knight” trilogy were two of the most anticipated movie moments in years. We couldn’t wait to see if Marvel could stick the landing with the crown jewel in their proposed cohesive universe; and they didn’t let us down. We waited on the edge of our seats for “Rises” to finish the journey that Christopher Nolan and Batman began nearly a decade ago now; and that delivered, too.
Many expected the comic book craziness to die down once the dust settled on those films. They couldn’t be more wrong. Expectations and anticipation for the next wave of Marvel and DC films are higher than ever before. What’s more, other studios are taking notice: Fox is stepping up their game with an ambitious plan for their “X-Men” and “Fantastic Four” franchises, while Sony is swinging right along with their rebooted “Spider-Man” series, with round two dropping in 2014.
Beyond the mainstream superheroes, there’s smaller-scale comic book adaptations for fans to look forward to next year, like sequels to “300” and “Red,” the continuation of Mark Millar’s “Kick-Ass,” Dark Horse’s original entry “R.I.P.D.” (with Jeff Bridges as an undead cowboy detective!) and their maybe-possibly-lord-we-hope-so-because-it’s-about-damn-time adaptation of Eric Powell’s “The Goon.”
(And let’s not forget about TV. Surely you’ve heard about “The Walking Dead” by now? How about “Arrow,” The CW’s big-hit adaptation of DC’s emerald archer? There’s more to look forward to with both of those hugely successful shows, plus other adaptations on the horizon, including a potential new “Wonder Woman” series called “Amazon,” and “S.H.I.E.L.D.,” Joss Whedon’s ABC show set within the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Boy howdy, that’s a lot of small-screen win.)
So, yes, 2012 was the year of the comic book movie. But with so much to look forward to on the horizon, I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised if I’m back here with the same message every year from now through 2015 (and likely beyond) when “Fantastic Four,” “Justice League” and the “Avengers” sequel land on Earth — and as someone who deals in comic book movies every single day for a living, you’ll forgive me for being very excited about the year that was, and the years that are about to be.