02 June 2006

Pajama Party - Retrospective 2004

Following in the tradition of the 2005 retrospective look, I bring you the comics on screen in 2004.


In April, Hellboy did modest business for the Dark Horse Comics hero. This son of Satan was summoned by the Nazi's but raised by the good guys to fight paranormal threats. The film was ok, had some decent action, and mustered a good enough following to get talk for a sequel. Unfortunately for Hellboy fans, plans for the sequel, The Golden Army, were just recently put on hold, though an animated series of features is still forthcoming.

Later in April, a Lundgrenless version of The Punisher split business with Kill Bill Vol 2. I did not see this one, but I guess it was not too bad, as Punisher 2 will be coming soon.

The highly anticipated Spider-Man 2 spun into theatres in July. Though the science was a bit sketchy (why exactly are mechanical arms the secret piece to the puzzle of sustaining a fusion reaction!?), Doc Ock a hit with fans (much preferred to the Mighty Morphin Green Goblin), and the film received critical praise on its way to nearly $375 million. This film's story seemed to be inspired by the beloved Superman 2 plot, where Supes loses and regains his powers. While I also prefer this sequel to the original, I was surprised to hear Ebert supporting the film for a possible Best Picture nomination. With the success Spidey 3 was a sure thing for 2007.

Also in July, Catwoman littered up the screens failing to recoup its $100 million budget, and attempting to put another nail in the Batman coffin by association. This film was a mess through and through. From Halle Berry's casting, to the bondage style costume with rat style hood, to jokes about "milk, straight up," everything just screamed "don't make this movie." Original plans were for there to be 9 Catwomen in the world, of which Batman's was just one. Thankfully, this film only had 1 life. If they insisted on doing a Catwoman film, why not use Michelle Pfeiffer, the best part of Batman Returns?

In November, Pixar scored its sixth straight hit with The Incredibles. This film borrowed heavily from established superhero lore (particularly The Fantastic Four), but it got everything so right, that no one seemed to mind. From the jazzy score, to the clever jokes about capes and monologuing, I love this film. I know Pixar isn't in the sequel business for the most part, but I would love another helping of these folks.

Blade: Trinity, the final entry of the Blade trilogy, took a risk opening against Ocean's 12. The gamble didn't really pay off as the film only did so-so. The following remained strong enough to provide for the upcoming Blade TV series on Spike TV.

On TV, Smallville season 4 featured a quest for three crystals that when assembled would form Clark's icy fortress of solitude. And animated series The Batman and Justice League Unlimited made their debuts.

And that Folks was 2004. Overall I'd have to say it was the year where lesser known/darker heroes failed to escape the shadows of the better known good guys' success... But at least they got their shot.

Previous Retrospectives

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