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'Avengers' and 'Spider-Man' top list of geek movies to watch in 2012

The golden age of geek movies will continue in 2012 with films like "The Avengers," "The Amazing Spider-Man" and "Men in Black III."

Self-proclaimed geeks from the IT community and beyond are gearing up for a slew of new movies about superheroes, aliens and all manner of monsters in 2012.

According to a highly-unscientific and slightly-biased survey of geeks from the worlds of IT and comic books, the two most highly anticipated geek movies of 2012 are The Avengers and The Amazing Spider-Man.

The latest in an onslaught of movies about popular Marvel comic book superheroes, the two films each bring up some interesting questions, according to movie geeks. One of those questions centers of whether The Avengers, due out in May, will live up to years of hype.

The Avengers focuses on The S.H.I.E.L.D. agency’s efforts to build a team of super-humans that can save the Earth from destruction by alien invaders. A sort of superhero dream team, the squad includes Iron Man, Thor, Nick Fury, The Incredible Hulk, Captain America and more. Geeks in the know have watched Marvel foreshadow the plot of The Avengers for some time now with enigmatic scenes at the end of previous Marvel movies. With all of that buildup, geek movie lovers are praying that Marvel delivers.

The Amazing Spider-Man, a reboot of the popular Spider-Man film franchise due out in July, once again focuses on nerdy teenager Peter Parker’s rise to superhero prominence. But this time the role of Peter Parker is played by Andrew Garfield of The Social Network fame -- not Tobey Maguire. Fans will just have to go to the movie theater -- or at least read some reviews and wait for it to come to cable -- to find out if Marvel has managed to recreate that old Spidey magic.   

Movie geeks say they’re also gearing up for a host of other 2012 debuts including Dark Shadows, a big-screen version of the classic television show, due out in May; Total Recall, a remake of the classic Arnold Schwarzenegger flick, due out in August; and Resident Evil: Retribution, due out in September.

Nicholas Cage reprises his role as the undead biker with a serious skin condition in Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance, due out in February. Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones will be back in black in May with Men in Black III. Due out in September, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey promises to be a treat for fantasy geeks.

Bale to make last appearance as Batman

Fans who can’t get enough of their favorite winged vigilante will be happy to know that The Dark Knight Rises, starring Christian Bale, hits movie theaters in July. For more information about the newest Batman flick, turned to a different kind of geek -- a man who makes his living in a world of superheroes.

“This is the last of Christian Bale as Batman,” said Chris Morse, the owner of Chris’ Cards & Comics in Salem, N.H. “It’s also Christopher Nolan’s last Batman movie [as director] and this one has Anne Hathaway as the villain, Cat Woman.”

Morse also offered some insight as to why technophiles and other geeks tend to love far-fetched movies about superpowers, extra-terrestrials and technology-gone-haywire.

“Years ago, [geeks] were the people put in a corner,” Morse said. “But now, with all these superhero movies and Facebook and [advanced technology] the geek is no longer stuck in the corner. They’re at the forefront.”

Technologically savvy individuals are also drawn to science fiction and other fantastic tales because of the inspiration such stories provide, according to Itamar Ankorion, vice president of business development and corporate strategy at Attunity Ltd., a provider of change data capture and data replication technology. 

“Technology is often about doing something that doesn’t yet exist -- trying to go beyond what is normal,” he said. “[Geek movies] inspire people to think about new things.”

A quick look back at the past year in geek movies

With movie debuts like Captain America: The First Avenger, Thor, X-Men: First Class, The Green Lantern and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2, the past year boasted plenty of fare for geek movie lovers. But at least one not-so-typical geek movie from 2011 also deserves honorable mention, according to Max Schireson, the president of 10gen Inc., a provider of the open source database MongoDB.

Schireson thinks that Moneyball, starring Brad Pitt and Robin Wright, is the kind of underdog movie that geeks everywhere can get behind. Based on true events, the movie focuses on the life of former Oakland A’s General Manager Billy Beane -- a man who used a combination of number crunching and out-of-the-box thinking to achieve success against the odds.

“About 10 to 12 years ago the Oakland A’s did really well and the Yankees and everybody else just stole all their top players by offering them more money,” Schireson said. “And [Beane] realized that he just couldn’t compete with business as usual.”

Beane decided to take on the big guys by ignoring the baseball scouts and hiring a statistician. The statistician ultimately helped Beane find the most undervalued players and build up a spectacular team.

“It was really sort of a Revenge of the Nerds story,” Schireson explained. “The way Billy Beane succeeded was by ignoring conventional sports wisdom and looking at the numbers.”

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