|Favourite hero, villain, and costume in one picture...|
Britain's favourite superhero is... Batman.
That is, according to the 90-minute compilation of clips and interviews on Channel 4 last night (entitled Britain's Favourite Superhero).
I wasn't expecting a particularly erudite examination of the the superhero phenomenon, but was pleasantly surprised.
The public opinion polls, even the final countdown of the top five heroes chosen by viewers of Channel 4, were a very small part of a reasonably well researched primer to modern superhero movies.
Sure, they skipped over some films (e.g Ang Lee's Hulk, Guardians Of The Galaxy, Ant-Man, Age of Ultron, Winter Soldier, and the Andrew Garfield Amazing Spider-Man flicks, for example) and also forgot about Hawkeye when talking about the characters in Avengers Assemble, but they had a lot to cover in a short span of time.
I'd feared the usual parade of comedians and random Z-list celebrities spouting vacuous put-downs and general snark that these "countdown" shows are often padded out with, but instead the documentary featured a handful of film critics (most knew their stuff, although one was really irritating) and a veritable cavalcade of genre-specific personalities from Mark Millar, Dave Gibbons, and Stan Lee (on the comic book side) through to Margot Kidder, Richard Donner, Mark Hamill, Christopher Nolan, David S Goyer, Michael Caine, and Burt Ward (on the cinematic side).
The only "everyman" who popped up was comedienne-of-the-moment Katherine Ryan, who admirably made up for her appearance on last week's appalling Grease Night debacle with Alan Carr.
From the first Christopher Reeve Superman via Sam Raimi's Spider-Man and the original Batman movies, right up to Deadpool and the (nearly) current Marvel and DC slate (with mentions of the upcoming Suicide Squad and Wonder Woman films), this show was a pretty decent overview of the genre.
It emphasised British involvement, where applicable, and homegrown box office numbers, and didn't shy away from mentioning films that didn't do so well (e.g. Ed Norton's Incredible Hulk) or the divided reaction to Batman v Superman: Dawn Of Justice.
In the opinion polls, that were dotted throughout, viewers chose "flight" as their favourite superpower; their favourite film was The Dark Knight, favourite villain was The Joker, and favourite costume was Batman's (you can see why he was voted the country's favourite superhero).
In second place, behind Batman, came Superman, third favourite was Spider-Man, fourth favourite was Iron Man, and in fifth place was Wonder Woman.