Jesse Blume – It’s a bit of toss-up for me between the first Harry Potter film and The Dark Knight. To say that I liked Harry Potter growing up would be a colossal understatement. I was completely obsessed with the stories to the point that I still have some of the books mildly memorized to this day. I was counting down days, the whole nine yards. On the other hand, there was the Dark Knight. I’d loved Batman Begins, and was looking forward to seeing The Joker, but like most people I was thrown for a hell of a loop when it was announced that Heath Ledger would be portraying him. We were making jokes like “Holy brokeback mistake, Nolan!” But then the first teaser hit, and it sounded chilling. Then there was the first theatrical trailer attached to I Am Legend. In my opinion, that first trailer is the best that’s ever been made. Thankfully, both of those movies completely delivered on all their hype.
Tony Beaulieu – Rise of the Planet if the Apes. I’m a huge fan of POTA and I was excited to see them redo the series after the 2001 Tim Burton fiasco. It’s even better that the film was the exact type of reboot the series needed. I wouldn’t add anything to it. It was perfect. Can’t wait for Dawn of the Planet of the Apes.
Caliber Winfield – Freddy vs Jason. I’ve been a fan of the Friday The 13th series since I was a kid. I was allowed to watch the movies on TV because they were censored, and not all that scary. However, I wasn’t allowed to watch Freddy until I was much older, but still knew plenty about him, especially since my babysitter was a huge fan and would tell me all the time how he’d kick Jason’s ass. He even drew pictures. So, literally since the age of 8 I’d been wanting a Freddy vs Jason film.
I truly couldn’t believe it when the day had arrived. This film had been in what’s known as ‘developmental hell’ for 10 years, and had about the same number of script drafts. One of which featured a cult known as the Fred Heads who were going to throw his heart into Crystal Lake in order to revive him. Thankfully, we did not get that.
Finally, the day had arrived. I went to the first showing, and was so stoked that if I punched someone in the face it’d break their leg. And that doesn’t even make sense. That’s how jacked I was. Usually these tales end in heartbreak, but not this time. With the exception of Kane Hodder not playing Jason, FvJ completely delivered. It had a fantastic story, paid respect & homage to the origins & mythology of each character, and absolutely made good on the one thing people paid to see; Freddy vs Jason. One hell of a movie, and my second favorite movie going experience of all time.
Shawn S. Lealos – The Avengers. Yeah, a lot of people here are big Batman fanatics, however I grew up a tried-and-true Marvel boy. From Fantastic Four and Spider-Man to the Defenders, Captain America, Iron Man and X-Men, I loved everything Marvel.
However, my favorite comics were always The Avengers. I loved that team dynamic, and while the FF sometimes overcame them for my love (especially when Galactic showed up), The Avengers was on top more than any other in my mind. Plus, my favorite character of all time is Hawkeye.
So, while Iron Man was BRILLIANT and Incredible Hulk was a ton of fun, it was the fact that they freaking interconnected them in one universe that had me excited. Iron Man 2, Captain America and Thor just built the anticipation.
Then they signed Joss Whedon to direct it. I make no secret that I loved Buffy the Vampire Slayer, thought Firefly was freaking brilliant and consider Angel my favorite television program of all time.
So, take my favorite comic book team as a kid, add in the man who made me fall in love with television as a director and then tease me with five very fun movies leading into it, and by the time Avengers came out, I was flying high. I saw it twice within three days – something I NEVER do (because I’m always broke) and I LOVED EVERY FREAKING MINUTE OF IT.
I was most excited about it coming out – and it lived up to my expectations.
Derek Ciapala – I was most excited for Man of Steel, and for the most part it didn’t disappoint. It could have been more balanced, but overall, I really enjoyed it. I’m already hyped about the sequel.
Rick Tym – Why was I so pumped for The Dark Knight? Because of the end of Batman Begins. Escalation. Bruce Wayne and Jim Gordon had begun to learn their limits, but the promise of a playing card meant that limit was about to be stretched to its absolute extreme. I still get chills thinking about the way Begins ended, with the promise of the greatest comic book villain of all time coming our way in the sequel.
And then it began. The murmurs, the rumbling. “How could they cast Health Ledger as the Joker?” “Hurrm…” The the film went viral. I actually got a Joker voicemail on my cell phone, from number 000-000-0000. It. Was. Chilling. And that coupled with the promise of seeing the Clown Prince of Crime realized on screen in Nolan’s Batverse are the reasons why I have never felt as much anticipation as I have for what I consider to be one of the greatest sequels — and standalone comic book films — of all time.
Sandy Cilla Stachowiak – For me the choice is easy: “Saw”. Every October I looked forward to the next one in the series hitting the theaters. It became a tradition for me and my friends to see the next “Saw” together on or close to opening day. Jigsaw and his legacy carried on through the series and nothing set the tone better for Halloween-time than that movie. The story was always a surprise and more gruesome than the one before it. I love how they tied people together throughout the series and you really could never guess what was coming. I really miss the “Saw” movies!
I remember ever hearing about this film. I was so excited and pumped that I went on to investigate Tom Hardy knowing he would play Bane. Thank goodness I did because I discovered Tom Hardy’s amazing acting talent (BRONSON, WARRIOR etc). And seeing all of the pics of Bane I knew I wanted to cosplay as the guy. So I started lifting more to gain mass to get Bane’s look as did Renegade Cinema writer and friend Aiden Myles Green. Him and I went to the IMAX Trilogy midnight showing dressed as Bane. We loved the films ending and the film itself whilst acknowledging it’s flaws, and it is a flawed film. But at least Nolan brought back Bane’s character after a certain director destroyed him in a certain Batman adaptation that I will not mention by name. But this film I could not have been more excited for.
Aiden Myles Green – THE DARK KNIGHT RISES. Never has my anticipation for a film been so massive, so passionately a part of my soul that it changed who I was and how I saw cinema. Like Brandon said, we acknowledged the film’s flaws and it’s big, sprawling, and sloppy – but there was nothing like the summer of 2012 when my life was measured in the amount of days until Christopher Nolan’s conclusion to his Batman trilogy was released. Here was a film so ballsy that audiences going into it were wholly prepared to watch Batman die on screen. The air was electric. The communal passion for a piece of art so massively anticipated was amazing. Few events can rise – RISE – above their surface level meaning, but July 20, 2012 was one of them.