Our cups runneth over with more capes, spandex and gadgets you can shake a rolled-up comic book at!
2014 will have no shortage of huge theatrical releases. In fact, some are saying that this Spring/Summer season could very well be one of the biggest ever for blockbusters (superhero films in particular). We have the likes of Spider-Man, X-Men and Captain America on the horizon (just to name a few), and that barley brings us up to the month of June. Not to mention all the huge films still in development, like the much anticipated Batman vs. Superman film, as well as Avengers: Age of Ultron. Needless to say, comic book movies have certainly made their mark on the film industry over the last 10 years+. They’ve proven they’re not just viable financial ventures, but something that mainstream audiences yearn for.
To prove that fact, Encore has recently announced it will air 23 uncut Superhero films in their entirety during the month of May. Dubbed the “Heroes Collection,” they will broadcast …”every night at 8pm et/pt, starting Thursday, May 1st at 8pm et/pt only on Encore.” It will be a celebration of sci-fi, fantasy and comics, as many of the films featured will not just be current release (like Iron Man 3 for example), but classics that paved the way for much of what you see in these types of movies today.
So if you’re a fan of video games, comics or just awesome movies in general; here are just a few from Encore’s “Heroes Collection” you shouldn’t miss (or at least re-watch if you’ve already seen them)…
This is one of those movies that came out before the vampire-love craze. You won’t find any sparkling, metro-sexual Gap models here; just plenty of nasty, blood suckers that exploded at the first sight of garlic or silver (truly a lost art). Telling the story of Blade (the half-human, half-vampire) and his father-figure Whistler, this film is a reminder of what a good vampire flick used to look like.
The Legend of Zorro (2005):
Ok, I’m going to be honest with you, at first I thought this said Mask of Zorro. The first film featuring Antonio Banderas was great, chronicling his rise from a peasant to the glory of taking on the identity of our masked hero (after being trained by Anthony Hopkins in a very Jedi sorta’ way). However, Legend of Zorro is still worth a watch, as it continues our story of swashbuckling in the old west (but still see the first one).
If I had to pick one action film from the 80’s as my absolute favorite, Robocop gets the nod. Even though these were the days of Die Hard and Lethal Weapon, the touch of sci-fi combined with a gritty cop drama was a perfect fit. Also, a remake was recently released, which some of you may have already seen. Believe me when I tell you, THIS is the version you want. You’ll forget about the reboot within 20 minutes. Also, Robocop 2 (1990) will be aired on Encore next month, which is equally as entertaining.
This is really the grand-daddy of them all. Richard Donner took the first strides at bringing legitimacy to comic book films. Before Superman, all we had were goofy TV shows or god-awful direct-to-video titles that did more to hurt the genre than anything else. Casting Christopher Reeves (and taking the source material seriously) were two A+ decisions that literally changed the face of superheroes at the theater. The special effects don’t’ exactly hold up anymore, but see this film anyway. You won’t regret it.
And now we come to the grand finale, the best superhero film of all time! While some may not agree, Tim Burton’s gothic style combined with Michael Keaton’s spot-on portrayal of what a freakin’ man-bat should be changed everything. This movie was so good; its influence was even felt in Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight Trilogy. One example being the part where Bale has difficulty turning his head in the batsuit (which comes directly from a quote Michael Keaton gave during an interview back in the day). Also, while I do give props to Heath Ledger’s performance as one of the most memorable ever, Nicholson as The Joker had a charm that (to me) better suits the Clown Prince of Crime of the comics. Burton and Keaton would go on to make one more Batman film together (Batman Returns), which also is highly recommend. Oh, did I mention the original won an Oscar?
If you find yourself with nothing else to do some night in May, flip over to Encore and enjoy one of these films (preferably with a big bowl of buttery popcorn). I promise there isn’t a single movie on my list you’ll regret watching (as there are some stinkers like Batman & Robin airing on the channel that you might).
My articles don’t often come with a guarantee. But if I had a “Nintendo Seal of Quality” of my own, each of these films would get one (except for maybe Zorro 2...I really wish this was the first one).