This year is going to be a big year for comic book movies. We’ve already sat through perhaps one of the greatest comic book movies ever to be put on our screens with “The Avengers”. The superhero ensemble spectacular gave us some of Marvel’s most recognisable characters all in one awe inspiring spandex clad package.
Then come July, Christopher Nolan will close off his Batman trilogy which single handedly made us forget about the utter car crash that was Batman and Robin. Though on dark nights I sometimes relapse and am taunted by Arnie telling me to chill out while sporting the dreaded nipple suit. Curse you Joel Schumacher. Those scars will never heal.
Then let us not forget that the The Amazing Spider-Man will also be swinging onto our screens come July. If that were it we’d say it’s been a pretty good year for superheroes and comic book nerds.
There is however one other movie coming out this year that, as strange as it may sound in the face of such competition, I’m anticipating even more than the above titles. Yes I’m looking forward to it even more than “The Dark Knight Rises”. That movie ladies and gentlemen, is “Dredd”.
In the face of Marvel and DC duking it out over the summer with their heavy hitters, you could be forgiven for forgetting or not even knowing that there is a brand new Judge Dredd film coming our way this September. The media coverage has been quiet to say the least. Judge Dredd was created in 1977, first appearing in 2000 AD’s second issue, making him the franchise’s longest running character. Created by John Wagner and Carlos Ezquerra, Dredd has become the most recognisable and well known character from the British comic scene. Dredd’s been busy ever since he was first introduced. Seeing as time passes in real time in the comic strips, Dredd is in his seventies these days, and still going strong.
I grew up with Dredd. I thought Spider-Man whined too much and all I knew of Batman was from the various films released during my childhood. Dredd’s world sucked me in. It was mad, bad and utterly insane. A playground where the writers could let loose their wildest creations, all the while taking a shot at Thatcherite Britain, even if I didn’t understand the satirical elements until I was older. Dredd is the faceless representation of the law. Neither good nor bad. You admire him, but would never want to meet him. He’d probably throw you in a detention cell for loitering. Which is why the original Stallone movie was soul crushingly disappointing, and this brand new adaptation could inject new life into the character.
The original movie was Stallone being Stallone. Sure he had the chin for the job, and that’s about it. It was clear the writers had no idea what they were doing with the source material and were hoping for a quick cash in. Dredd’s face has never been revealed in the comics. Ten minutes into the movie and Stallone obviously felt he wasn’t getting enough face time, so off came the helmet. Add in Rob Schneider as the lovable rogue and you’ve got a film that to fans was both insulting and bewildering. The new film though, Dredd, is already looking great and I haven’t even seen any footage.
The film makers have already come out and said that the helmet is staying on. Sure we’ll know it’s still Karl Urban under the hood, but we can all get behind that commitment to the character. It helps that Urban grew up with Judge Dredd and so we can expect a certain amount of respect towards the project. The films also been given an R rating in the States. That means we can expect lots of explosions, fire fights, dirty language and just some good old fashioned ultra violence. Everything that’s the standard in your average Judge Dredd script, but which was sorely lacking in that “other” adaptation.
Providing the counter point to Urban’s Dredd, he’ll be going up against drug running psycho killer Madeline “Ma-Ma” Madrigal who is being played by Lena Headey. You might recognise her as the actress who plays the role of Cersei Lannister in HBO’s Game of Thrones. This is a reboot with the potential to be turned into a franchise if it performs well at the box office. There’s no over convoluted plot about clones and brothers being sent to penal colonies on Titan. It’s just a dark, violent and loving tribute to Britain’s single biggest contribution to comics, and Dredd’s going to make the Dark Knight look like a little choirboy.
Judgement is coming, Mega-City One style on the 7 September in the UK and Ireland.