AMC Network Entertainment LLC

This browser is supported only in Windows 10 and above.

To 3-D or Not to 3-D? That Is the Comic Book Movie Question

With the announcement that Thor and Captain America: The First Avenger will be released in 3-D, comic-book movies have officially caught up with the rest of Hollywood. Whether we like it or not, 3-D is here to stay. But is this a good thing for our favorite superheroes? Fans are concerned that “up converting” (shooting in traditional 2-D and converting in postproduction) will result in muddy, less-than-stellar films that tarnish their beloved characters. (Witness the current backlash for The Last Airbender.)

While 3-D makes sense for the splashy adventures of Spider-Man, the trend could spell doom for the gritty, realistic world of Batman. Let’s take a look at how 3-D could positively (and negatively) affect some upcoming comic-book-movie releases.

Next May, the Mighty Thor will be the first Marvel hero to battle evil in 3-D. (Though Superman Returns got the Imax treatment at select theaters, back in 2006.) The 3-D technology could be just what director Kenneth Branagh needs to bring Asgard to life. From Odin’s palace to the rainbow bridge that connects the Earth to Asgard, the world of Thor is simply begging to be seen in more than two dimensions. (Besides, anyone worried about realism should pick up some Thor comics — there’s a lot of crazy stuff going on.)

greenlanternreynolds-125.jpgGreen Lantern
No speculating
here: Warner Brothers has already confirmed that Ryan Reynolds will be
wielding the Green Lantern ring in 3-D. As with Thor, 3-D could
help Hal Jordan’s chances at the box office. Fans will want to see all
sorts of eye-popping creations from Green Lantern’s ring, which can do
whatever the wearer imagines. (Not to mention that the recently unveiled
CGI costume will pop in 3-D.) Superhero cops battling aliens is exactly
the sort of big-screen spectacle 3-D was made for.

cap-125.jpgCaptain America: The First Avenger
While Marvel’s Thor plans make sense, having Captain America punch out Nazis in 3-D smacks of bandwagon jumping. Cap’s origin story should be a
straightforward World War II tale, not an eye-popping extravaganza.
(Outside of Cap’s shield, what else could possibly leap from the screen?
Bucky Barnes tossing liberty cabbage at Red Skull?) Meanwhile,
director Joe Johnston is also wary, calling 3-D “overused” and
“gimmicky” in the pages of the Los Angeles Times.

bacon-125.jpgX-Men: First Class
With its cast in place (word is Kevin Bacon will play villain Sebastian Shaw), Matthew Vaughn’s
X prequel is all but guaranteed to get a 3-D makeover. After petering
out with the flat X-Men: The Last Stand, the franchise could use a
visual boost to get it back on track. We’ve yet to see Cyclops’s optical
blasts in 3-D, and with new mutants like Banshee and White Queen onboard the potential for nifty special effects has increased. Plus,
getting a face full of Wolverine’s claws could be pretty intense.

chris_nolan-125.jpgUntitled Batman Project
With news that the
third Bat flick will commence production in April, fans are already speculating whether director
Christopher Nolan will take the Caped Crusader into the third dimension.
Considering that a follow-up to The Dark Knight is basically a
license to print money, it’s safe to say that DC Comics and Warner Brothers
will push for 3-D, in an effort to inflate ticket prices. Word has it that Nolan would rather shoot
entirely in Imax, in order to retain the epic look of his previous
Batman outings. Here’s hoping the great director sticks to his guns.

Nick Nadel writes for
places like HBO and and is the “geek” blogger for Follow the “Comic Book
Movies” column on Twitter.

Read More