Superhero Movie Showdown: Thor, X-Men, Green Lantern & Captain America

Published 4 years ago by , Updated April 4th, 2011 at 2:17 pm,

Thor vs X Men First Class vs Green Lantern vs Captain America Superhero Movie Showdown: Thor, X Men, Green Lantern & Captain America

Four of our top ten Most Anticipated Movies of 2011Thor, X-Men: First Class, Green Lantern, and the first place-ranking Captain America: The First Avenger – are comic book movies that all arrive in theaters this summer. We’ve gotten to see footage from all four films, and debates are already raging over the actors/actresses cast, character portrayals, costumes, visual F/X, action sequences – you name the detail, it’s already been analyzed to death.

So here comes the big one question: Which one of these films looks the best? Which one appears to feature the best acting, direction, story, characters, and stands out above the rest as the best superhero movie of Summer 2011?

We could spend all day talking about which of these films appears to be the most loyal to the source material, but the convoluted nature of these superheroes’ mythologies makes that discussion tricky, to put it mildly. So I will be focusing specifically on how these films look based off the previously-released footage, previews, and trailers.

To refresh your memory, check out all the trailers, previews, and clips released for these films at their respective links below:

I will be focusing on three aspects of each film, as they are presented (briefly) in the previews – namely, the main/supporting characters, the action/effects, and the story as a whole.

The Characters

All four of these movies boast an impressive collection of leading men, ladies, sidekicks, and villains, and a couple minutes of footage can’t do justice to all (if any) of them. Based off what has been shown to us, which of these motion pictures looks to have the best cast of characters so far?

International trailer for Thor Superhero Movie Showdown: Thor, X Men, Green Lantern & Captain America

The Thor footage has done a nice job of illustrating the complex and multi-layered nature of the Asgardians (Chris Hemsworth as Thor, Anthony Hopkins as Odin, and Tom Hiddleston as Loki), but the regular Earthlings seem all the less interesting and one-dimensional in comparison. To be fair, though, Natalie Portman, Kat Dennings, and Stellan Skarsgård haven’t gotten to do much of anything so far – save fleeing in terror, looking confused by Thor’s behavior, and (in Denning’s case) providing comic relief.

All the same, this is (of course) foremost the God of Thunder’s story, and Hemsworth is the one who really needs to sell Thor’s transformation from an arrogant warrior to a more humble hero in order for this film to work – and so far, it looks like he’s done a pretty good job of just that.

x men first class professor x and magneto Superhero Movie Showdown: Thor, X Men, Green Lantern & Captain America

X-Men: First Class previews have so far focused on the relationship at the heart of the film: the bond between the young Charles Xavier (James McAvoy) and Erik Lehnsherr (Michael Fassbender). There have been brief hints about the personal conflicts and issues that supporting players like Beast (Nicholas Hoult) or Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence) will have to deal with, but nothing substantial enough to really pass judgement on just yet.

Much like the success of Thor rests in part on Hemsworth’s shoulders, McAvoy and Fassbender really have to pull off the difficult friendship between young Professor X and Magneto for X-Men: First Class to be engaging – and early signs indicate they’ve done just that.

Ryan Reynolds Hal Jordan Blake Lively Carol Ferris 570x380 Superhero Movie Showdown: Thor, X Men, Green Lantern & Captain America

Green Lantern‘s WonderCon trailer has really turned the tide of negative buzz this pic’s been riding on since the first trailer premiered. Now we’ve gotten a solid glimpse of Ryan Reynolds as Hal Jordan, and concerns that the character will come off as Reynolds doing his goofy but charming schtick have abated.

While we haven’t seen much of players like Carol Ferris (Blake Lively) or Hector Hammond (Peter Sarsgaard) yet, Green Lantern Corps members like Tomar-Re (voice of Geoffrey Rush), Sinestro (Mark Strong), and Abin Sur (Temuera Morrison) all appear readily distinguishable and interesting, with respect to their personalities. That’s definitely a good thing in my book.

Captain America steve rogers peggy carter 570x379 Superhero Movie Showdown: Thor, X Men, Green Lantern & Captain America

If Reynolds deserves credit for not doing his customary bit as Hal Jordan, then Chris Evans really ought to get props for ditching his usual comical bend as Steve Rogers in Captain America. The character seems quite genuine so far, like someone who earnestly wants and deserves the chance to help the world – and while that sort of do-good attitude won’t be to everyone’s tastes, Evans looks to have nailed it.

A shout out should go to Peggy Carter (Hayley Atwell) as well, since she seems a very active figure who’s more than just a love interest for the hero (I’m still skeptical about Portman’s Thor character in that regard). Tommy Lee Jones as Col. Phillips seems rock-steady as always, but we haven’t really gotten to see Hugo Weaving as Red Skull yet; still, it’s hard to imagine him not making a fantastic villain.

Verdict: This one is a close call, but for now I’m going to give X-Men: First Class the lead – with both Captain America and Thor being close behind.

Continue to Action & Visual Effects…

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  1. After finally seeing the new Green Lantern footage. That is the film I am anticipated the most. The effects should be even better by the time the final cut of the film is released in june! I’m tired of the whole XMen stuff. Been there and seen that enough already, noty interested in Spidey or Cap. I will probly watch Thor though. Green Lantern all the way for me as of now!

  2. Captain America sucks and always has outside of the Avengers. I vote
    1. Thor
    2. Green Lantern
    3. X-Men
    4. Pigs in Space
    5. Captain America

  3. got my money on GL.

  4. I think Captain America will end up being the summer’s most beloved superhero flick. Whether that means it’ll make the most money of the four movies remains to be seen, but it’s got more appeal to all audiences (including the older movie-viewers) than the other three.

    However, I hope Thor wins out. Obviously it’s garnered the most buzz for the longest amount of the time and I’d hate if it disappointed at all.

    I am however elated that Green Lantern looks to actually be showing some momentum now. That is a superhero where the possibilities are literally endless. It could easily spawn a number of spin-off films as well that has nothing to do with Hal Jordan. All they have to do is do it right.

    X-Men: First Class I have no interest in seeing, despite the recent trailer.

  5. 1. Thor \ Green Lantern
    2. Green Lantern \ Thor
    3. Captain America
    4. X-men First Class

    I’m a marvel fan so I really hope Thor beats out of Green Lantern in the box office, but I highly doubt that will happen (seeing as Green Lantern is more well known). As far as which film will posses more quality, I’m going to say Thor by a long shot.

    Have a feeling both X-men First Class and Captain America wont do so hot, but I bet Weaving’s performance in Cap. America will really make that movie worth the watch.

  6. I agree with your assessment. Now that we’ve seen that WonderCon footage, Green Lantern has leapt to the front of the pack! For me anyway. Cap is a close second as it looks like a great throwback adventure ala Raiders and The Rocketeer. Thor looks like a good time but I worry that there’s only two action scenes and 90 minutes of Thor wandering Earth with Natalie Portman trying to be “worthy”. Plus, the character has never really thrilled me (Asgard looks awesome though). X-Men is the only big question mark. I like Vaughn but didn’t they JUST wrap shooting? It feels so rushed. Here’s hoping!

    In the end, though, isn’t what matters that we have 4 HUGE superhero flicks coming out this summer that ALL look varying degrees of good to great?!?! I want them ALL to be good. That way, we all win!

  7. Wow, I am really on the fence right now. They truly all look equally impressive. My only doubt is X-Men but even that looks good right now by the trailer. Green Latern just did a superb turn around. Story wise, I am feeling Captain America. Visual effects and action, Green Latern and X-Men seem to be battling for. The characters seem all great for each individual film.

  8. I don’t know what to be more excited about…the actual movies, or the non-stop, mud-slinging, neo zoom dweebie debates that will result when all the dust settles! 😉
    I just really hope they all kick butt!!!

    • That would be nice.

      I’m with you. All the opinions raise the stakes. This is the nerd version of preseason sports talk.

      The only movie I’m worried about, box office wise, is X-men, which is my number one pick. But it’s also got the lowest budget.

      If I go see a movie more than once, in the theater, and then watch it a bunch of times on DVD, then I really like it. If even one of these movies is like that, even my last pick Thor, I’ll be happy.

    • (Insert just about any other movies here)

      Breaking Dawn? :-)

  9. this is wat i think
    2)Captain America
    3) X-men first class
    4)Green Lantern

  10. I am looking forward to one above all the others .
    Captain America.
    And I also feel the biggest Genre blockbuster wont have any Superheroes in it .
    Cowboys and Aliens.

  11. I don’t think x-men should even be a part of this debate because it was rushed. It’s only being released as a money maker for the studio. Rush it to the big screen and hope a ton of kids go to see it. A real joke…

  12. Thor, cap and green lantern all should be entertaining but I’m most excited for lantern.

  13. 1 GL
    2 First Class
    3 Caps
    4 Thor

    And the not so famous Comic Book adaptations

    1 Dylan Dog (im a huge fan of the comic)
    2 Cowboys e Aliens
    3 Conan
    4 Priest

    • I finally got to see the “Priest” trailer, and it was frickin’ cool! “Dylan Dog” looks like it will be a lot of fun, too.

      As for the four superhero films, my order is:

      1.”Green Lantern”


      3.”Captain America”

      4.”X-Men: First Class”

  14. Andy S

    I totally agree. I don’t think I’ve watched any trailers since the superbowl spot of cap because i want to be surprised. I didn’t watch a single trailer or teaser of inception and it was a great way to go into a movie.

    • Anybody else just went into a diabetic coma? :-)

      • It’s not so much the sugar; it’s the dirty feeling. I almost feel scared. Yikes.

    • Careful with all those deserts. You’ll have trouble fitting into your unde-roes.

  15. I can’t decide between Captain America or Thor, both have their exciting qualities and they are going to be EPIC films. Marvel is way better than DC!

    • Ryan T…

      Nope. Sorry, but thank you for playing. 😛

  16. You may think Marvel is better than DC but by company standards DC cares more about the quality of its films. Marvel is just spitting out movies for cash.

    Screenrant writers I think we need a Marvel vs DC discussion thread. And I’m talking about the companies, not just the movies but I do realize movies take precedence here.

    • What a load of crapola.

      Are you forgetting Batman 3 and 4? Yeah those two REALLY showed off the best DC had to offer. 😉 Or how about the awesomely horrible Catwoman? Or Steel with Mr basketball or even the just released Jonah Hex? You seem to have had selective amnesia when it comes to those films.

      Yeah DC cares more about the quality of its films my eye. I could keep going but I think I have proved my point.

      The truth is BOTH companies have pretty similar track records so lets stop with the X > Y crap.

        • loco lobo

          I’m sorry I should have pointed out after DC realized their mistakes with Batman 3 and 4.
          what’s BS? are you saying im not being truthful? my opinion is what it is. if you don’t like it tell me so in a normal manner instead of insulting me. kids these days…

      • mongoose,

        My opinion is crap? Geez, attempt to have a normal conversation without insulting someone.

        • “You may think Marvel is better than DC but by company standards DC cares more about the quality of its films.”

          You did EXACTLY the same thing so you can climb down off your moral high horse there.

          Normal conversation? The problem is you made your little statement without an “I think”, “imho” or otherwise making it clear it was merely your opinion. You listed it as if it were a statement of fact which is clearly is not.

          You also attempted to elevate DC while at the same time, calling Marvel a bunch of cash grabbers. I don’t like blatant fanboism replacing the facts.

          And you honestly think that the ONLY mistakes WB made were Batman 3 & 4? You liked Catwoman, Steel, SUPERMAN 3 & 4 and even the recent Jonah Hex and thought they were better than those Batman movies?

          • mongoose

            So, every time I say something I should put in “imo” at the beginning or end or you’ll take it as fact?

            • No, but if you are going to post things like this:

              “You may think Marvel is better than DC but by company standards DC cares more about the quality of its films.”

              You should either rethink how you phrase things, make it perfectly clear you are also expressing an opinion or be prepared for backlash if your “facts” aren’t correct.

              Sorry if I come off as harsh but the DC fanboism/Marvel mud dragging coupled denouncing someone elses opinion kind of touched me off.

    • Well as everyone always says, Marvel doesn’t own the rights to all these movies and are not in direct control of the quality so to speak. They clearly sold the rights for a profit at the time but, aside from the Avengers stuff right now they are not wholly responsible for how good or bad they are.

      Warner has been in control of the content for along time now and have probably profited even more with the television shows and movies they have been able to do without worrying about the rights, until now with the Superman case coming down on the families side.

  17. I think I’m more interested in the 2 marvel movies due to their relation with the upcoming Avengers movie. IF DC stated that “yes” this GL movie is just the beginning of some huge Justice League colaboration, I’d say there would be alot more buzz.

  18. After watching the new bad ass Green Lantern footage. That there is my #1 movie to see over the summer. X-Men has become boring and predictable. Cap looks like it will be a bad quality film. It looks like I will go see Thor now, just because the new Green Lantern 3D trailer will be attached with Thor.

    So,looks like I found a reason to watch the Thor movie now I guess.

  19. 1. Green Lantern (that new trailer was awesome, the film will be huge and unique)
    2. Thor (just because the 3D GL trailer will be attached I guess) the effects look like crap also)
    3. Cap (I might not even see Cap, Joe Johnston sucks and so does Evans as Cap)
    4. X: First Class (not going to waste time and money on this film. The X films are tired and have begun to bore me)

  20. whoever has the best villains is always the best comic book movie of the summer, and the GREEN LANTERN is my pick, plus it also has blake lively

  21. USA:
    4-X Men
    3-X Men

    • Why do you say Cap is last place in foreign countries?

      Just because he is an American hero doesn’t mean no one in other countries don’t know him.

      I live in South Africa and the hype Cap is getting here is incredible. Thor is obviously getting more interest but Cap is on his heels. I (and many of my friends) think Captain America: The First Avenger will be the most enjoyable film of 2011. I even have hopes for it getting an Oscar.

  22. First Class has had a lot of things going against it but I still think it’ll come out tops because what we’ve heard of the story and the character dynamics so far make it the most interesting story among the 4. I don’t think the special effects will be stellar, but they’ll be just right for what it’s trying to do, and provided the rushed shooting schedule didn’t mess with it too badly, I really think they’ll have taken out a lot of the mistakes from X3.

    Green Lantern? Sure it looks much improved, but it still looks extremely CGI-heavy to me. While Transformers was CGI-heavy, it was a seamless blend and it looked great. There’s a bit too much neon in Lantern for me, and I think the story won’t be anything too great either.

    Captain America looks like the 2nd most solid show, and if First Class ends up faltering I think this’ll come out on top. The setting and feel of it looks good, and the story seems fine as well.

    Thor could honestly go either way, I really can’t tell. The difference between the otherwordly fantastical Asgard and plain ol’ boring Earth may dampen the tone of it a bit but if it’s a real character’s story it may turn out real well. Just hoping Hemsworth will do more with the character than the typical arrogant bombastic idiot who turns out to have a heart in the end. It’s all on him, in the end.

    Well I’m judging by story, acting, and some originality here. Effects aren’t a big draw for me.

  23. So in all honesty, he is acting alil too Van Wilder, even in the extended/amazing newer trailer. I have faith in him and the movie, just wish they coulda found someone else. I don’t think Hal has ever been “funny”. My other gripe, Sinestro. I like Strong, but Im not feeling his approach (in the few trailers I’ve seen)