Continuing a look back at some of the highlights and happenings in the geek universe, as it was in 2013…
A MAN OF STEEL RISES AND BATFLECK BEGINS…
After Green Lantern failed to launch the DC Comics answer to Marvel’s behemoth film universe and confirmation that Christopher Nolan’s Batman films are a standalone trilogy, DC (and studio Warner Brothers) certainly had a lot resting on Watchmen director Zack Snyder’s Superman reboot.
As numerous trailers were released, anticipation was set feverishly high. Maybe that’s the problem these days, too many trailers and too much hype means that expectations can never be fully met and whilst Man of Steel may have provoked some mixed geek reactions it pretty much ticked all the boxes so far as I’m concerned. Along with the epic scale, Henry Cavill brought strength and conviction balanced with a healthy measure of humanity to the role of the world’s greatest superhero in a film that delivered a promising launch point for the burgeoning cinematic iteration of the DC Comics universe.
Despite grumbles in the fan community, Man of Steel still grossed over $650 million in worldwide box office takings and a sequel was inevitable. Little did we know that DC would announce the inclusion of their other great ‘hero’, none other than the Batman himself! Drums rolled and the fan community waited with baited breath for the big announcement…the new Batman will be…Ben Affleck? The internet well and truly exploded and no-one seemed happy (and still aren’t), to be fair Daredevil was ten years ago and Affleck has since matured into a superior actor (and not to mention his efforts as an Academy Award worthy director – could DC/Warner Brothers be eying him up for Justice League?) and judgement should rightly be reserved until the film is released. Christian Bale will certainly be a tough act to follow and his performance possibly never bettered but Batman is an enduring pop culture icon and as long as the bat suit is free of nipples It’s worth being open minded.
We’re promised a slightly different take on the Dark Knight detective this time with an older more weary and even angry Bruce Wayne, borrowing heavily from Frank Miller’s seminal comic book opus The Dark Knight Returns.
Of course before the year was out DC/Warner Brothers pulled another surprise reveal…Wonder Woman (a role bequeathed to Fast & Furious 6 actress Gal Gadot) will also feature in the Man of Steel sequel (or Superman/Batman film, just don’t cheapen it by calling it Batman vs. Superman), securing further foundation for that inevitable Justice League film.
Is this all a step in the right direction? We’ll see in July 2015, but expect a trailer by Christmas…
WHO IS THE DOCTOR?
2013 marked the 50th Anniversary of a ‘little’ television series called Doctor Who. The British science fiction series first aired in November 1963 on barely a shoestring budget, yet the character of the Doctor and his heroic adventures through time and space has captured the hearts and minds of many and has been enjoying a contemporary resurgence and even earned mainstream popularity since his return to screens in 2005 (the series now thankfully bolstered by much higher production values).
As plans for a 50th anniversary special were kept tightly under wraps, Matt Smith revealed news of his departure in the 2013 Christmas Special (leaving many heartbroken) and ensuing speculation of who his successor would be. Kudos to the BBC and Doctor Who show runner Steven Moffat with their choice – Peter Capaldi. Capaldi – best known for his sharp, expletive laden turns as Malcolm Tucker in the BBC political satire The Thick of It (and spin-off film In the Loop) is an inspired choice – will we see a return to the older more cantankerous iteration of the Doctor established by the late William Hartnell?
Of course let’s not forget that 50th Anniversary special. The Day of the Doctor saw Matt Smith’s Doctor team up with his previous ‘incarnation’, facilitating the return of David Tennant (arguably the best Doctor since Tom Baker). It was a fun adventure and a fitting celebration that benefitted further from the inclusion of A-list guest star John Hurt.
Completing the 50th Anniversary ‘package’ was the rather excellent An Adventure in Space and Time, a BBC ‘docudrama’ (by Who and Sherlock writer Mark Gatiss) following the conception of Doctor Who and it’s swift rise in popularity thanks to the efforts of producer Verity Lambert (Jessica Raine) and leading man William Hartnell (David Bradley). Bradley turned in an earnest yet heartfelt performance as Hartnell, certainly worthy of a BAFTA and the surprise cameo of Matt Smith’s Doctor was both surreal and a treat for fans.
Well, there you have it, a small selection of the numerous highlights of 2013 in anticipation of the many to come in the next twelve months. It’s certainly a great time to be a geek, long may it continue!
What are your favourite geek highlights of last year? Share your thoughts below!