2012: The Year Of The Smart Superhero Movie

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Although last year was the year of the "staggeringly disappointing superhero movie," according to NPR arts and entertainment reporter Neda Ulaby, 2012 may mark the year of the smart superhero movie with releases of The Amazing Spider-Man, The Avengers and The Dark Knight Rises.

Ulaby tells weekend All Things Considered guest host Rebecca Sheir that superheroes have always reflected what's going on in politics, "whether it's Captain America punching Hitler on the cover of a comic book in 1941 or the X-Men that much more recently explicitly critiqued issues like homophobia or the Patriot Act."

Studios aren't doing well, but continue to produce superhero movies. Perhaps they hope "someone in a cape is going to swoop in and save the day," Ulaby says.

There are other big screen offerings to look forward to in 2012: The Great Gatsby and The Hobbit are two of the most anticipated literary adaptations. Movie readers are looking forward to The Hunger Games, which is based on the popular young adult novel. The book series has sold more than 12 million copies and is intended to be a mass-market blockbuster.

Kids should get ready for the movie version of The Lorax, which will be released on Dr. Seuss' birthday in March.

Copyright 2012 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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