Well, 2012 is gearing up to be a very big year for what should be some major blockbuster films. The question will be can they live up to the hype surrounding them and satisfy fans and critics. Here I have selected the three films that I think have the most potential, the highest expectations, and which also have built-in fan bases just waiting to get a sneak peek at them. I won't venture to predict what films will work and what ones won't, but I have offered brief commentary to clue people in on my take as to what the pros and cons of each are. However you look at it, whether you're a Batman, Spider-Man, or Middle-earth fan, 2012 is going to be an epic year at the cinema!
The finale to Christopher Nolan's Batman trilogy is the obvious choice for the "most likely to live up to expectations" award. Thus far, the prior two films have been huge hits, Nolan's Inception became a monster success with most audiences, and here he's chosen a superb cast. Whether the new villain can ever compare with Heath Ledger's The Joker is doubtful, but at least he hasn't resorted to recycling lame old villains like Poison Ivy and Mr. Freeze. Plus, on the upside, Nolan has refused to let the film be released in 3D, so you know he's not allowing the studio to force him into gimmicks that will cheapen the drama. To sum things up, it's going to be a blast with Anne Hathaway as Catwoman and Tom Hardy as Bane.
Right off the bat (shameless pun), we have a reboot of the Spidey franchise with a new director, a new cast, and new suit, which is a lot of new. I'm not sure how this will pan out since there haven't been many big revelations about the plot and Marvel hasn't been doing very well with its superhero adaptations recently. But I like the casting so far, especially Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone, and it looks to be a more serious, character-driven film - something desperately needed after the silliness and constant action of the oft-panned Spider-Man 3 directed by Sam Raimi.
And here's the big question mark. Peter Jackson hasn't had much luck lately (King Kong and The Lovely Bones weren't so kindly received by critics and audiences), so now he's returning to the fantasy world that brought him his first success, but can he live up to the standards of his fans, the fans of Tolkien, and pull this off? I'm not so sure. Thus far, I've been discouraged with the choices he's made in the screenplay and casting. His approach just doesn't seem at all right for the material. He's splitting the film into two parts and shooting it in 3D, both choices of which are completely unnecessary from a storytelling perspective, but will help him to make big bucks for the studio regardless of whether it's a hit or not. Add to the matter that he's changing the story, adding characters and events that aren't in the book, and that he's casting young attractive actors as dwarves and this film could suffer the "prequel plague" that George Lucas' last three Star Wars films were infected with.
See my quick tip detailing concerns about the direction of the film.