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April 20, 2010

What's New with Superheros!?

I apologize for the lack of posting lately, as I am finishing up my final semester of college and haven't had the time or money to see new movies. But I have found plenty of time to surf like the sad, obsessed movie viewer I am, so here are some updates on what is going on with the crazy amount of superhero adaptations and remakes set to be released in the next few years (we'll try to go chronologically).

Iron Man 2 - May 7, 2010
Set for release just a few short weeks away, we're picking up where we left Tony Stark in 2008, when he had just announced to the world that he is Iron Man. Yes, we love that cocky bastard and can't wait to see him light up the screen as the rock star of superheros. Director Jon Favreau has some pressure riding on him, since this film will be setting the stage for a slew of Marvel Universe movies that will all tie together with similar characters (Samuel L. Jackson's Nick Fury, who I've read will have a bigger role in this movie) and the eventual Avengers film. Thanks to the success of "Iron Man" and "The Dark Knight" in the summer of '08 (and I think "The Incredible Hulk" was note-worthy too), the newest comic flicks have been announcing all-star casts, though this can be seen in the "X-Men" trilogy and the original Batman franchise as well. Robert Downey Jr. is back, but Oscar nominee Don Cheadle will be replacing Terrence Howard as Rhodey, who will be seeing more action this time around as War Machine (Iron Man's sidekick, more or less). Oscar winner Gwyenth Paltrow ("Shakespeare in Love") is back, and new additions include the underrated Sam Rockwell ("Choke," "Moon"), the beautiful Scarlett Johansson ("The Other Boleyn Girl," "Vicki Christina Barcelona") and Oscar nominee Mickey Rourke ("The Wrestler"). My only concern is Rourke as the villain, Whiplash, as he speaks Russian for a good portion of the movie, and I don't consider him that talented of an actor. Then again, Iron Man resurrected Robert Downey Jr.'s career, so can it sustain Rourke's recently saved one?

The Green Hornet - January 14, 2011
You may not have heard of this one, but Seth Rogen stars as a newspaper publisher turned crime fighter with martial arts toting sidekick. No, that's not a joke, and no, it's not supposed to be a comedy. It's actually a remake from 1966. This version will star Cameron Diaz, Oscar nominee Tom Wilkinson (one of my favorite supporting actors) and recent Oscar winner Christoph Waltz (only known to Americans as Hans Landa in "Inglourious Basterds") as the villain. I'm having a hard time believing this isn't supposed to be hilarious. It was just pushed back to the date listed above, reportedly because it is now going to be in 3D. Yay?

Thor - May 6, 2011
The next step in the Marvel arsenal will star Chris Hemsworth (died in the first 10 minuets of "Star Trek" as George Kirk) as the Norse warrior. Natalie Portman ("V for Vendetta," "Garden State") is the love interest required in any superhero story, and veteran actors Anthony Hopkins ("Silence of the Lambs") and Stellan Skarsgard ("Angels and Demons," and the Pirates trilogy as Bootstrap Bill) lend their talents as well. This is being directed by Kenneth Branagh, who won multiple Oscars for directing and starring in "Henry V," and believe it or not, he was the confederate villain in the wheel chair in Will Smith's "Wild, Wild West." This film is rumored to feature a lot of special effects, due to portions of the film spent among a world of Gods. The hammer-totting hero is already in the filming process.

Green Lantern - June 17, 2011
Ryan Reynolds has always been the guy making witty, smart-ass remarks in comedies, and in the past few years also a romantic comedy go-to guy. But he's also thrown in the occasional action appearance, but only in comic book adaptations like the "Blade" trilogy and "X-Men Origins: Wolverine." In fact, his portrayal of Wade Wilson, aka Deadpool, in "...Wolverine" earned him a solo Deadpool film also set to release in 2011, which is very confusing. He fits the part of Deadpool so well, as he is a smart-ass assassin full of witty quips and a killer instinct. Some feel he doesn't have what it takes to be the Green Lantern. Blake Lively ("Accepted," "The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants,") also stars along with a slew of talented actors like Peter Sarsgaard ("Garden State," "Jarhead,"), Oscar winner Tim Robbins ("Mystic River," "The Shawshank Redemption,") and Oscar nominee Angela Bassett.

The First Avenger: Captain America - July 22, 2011
It took forever to cast the red, white and blue superhero, but Marvel finally landed on Chris Evans, who appeared in both "Fantastic Four" films as the Human Torch, Johnny Storm. Luckily for them, those movies weren't that great and they aren't making any more (at least not with the same cast). Evans signed a nine-picture deal (similar to Jackson's deal as Nick Fury), ensuring he will appear in several films, including cameos in other Marvel Universe films (again, trying to tie everything together). The rest of the cast has not been solidified, but Hugo Weaving ("The Matrix" and "Lord of the Rings" trilogies), has been rumored to play Captain's arch enemy Red Skull, which would be fantastic. The film is set to take place in the 1940s during WWII, which is how the Captain America story begins. Director Joe Johnston ("The Rocketeer," "Jumanji" and most recently, "The Wolf Man,") is being doubted in his abilities, but the hope is that he can pull it together to introduce the most important part of the Avengers team.

Untitled Batman Project - 2011
Christopher Nolan, as usual, has been pretty hush-hush about the next Batman installment, supposedly his last. Nolan is returning with writers, his brother Jon and David S. Goyer, and the same core cast of Christian Bale, Michael Cain, Gary Oldman and Morgan Freeman. These facts alone are very reassuring. The villain and plot has not been announced, but ridiculous amounts of rumors and speculation have overrun the web since the success of "The Dark Knight." Nolan has said that he knows he can't out-do TDK, but everyone's expectations will be for him to do so, which is probably why he wants to get out of the Batman game before it goes the way of 1995's "Batman Forever."

A slew of X-Men related projects beginning in 2011
As for "X-Men Origins: Wolverine 2," so far only Hugh Jackman is cast and this will center on Wolverine's time in Japan...I really don't think this needs to be made. "X-Men: First Class" is also planned for 2011, though not a single detail exists yet. It's supposed to focus on the original class at Xavier's school for mutants, so basically younger versions of all the X-Men we've already seen in the trilogy. Speaking of the trilogy, some sort of "X-Men 4" is supposed to happen at some point with the same characters, but no one knows anything about that. "X-Men Origins: Magneto," which actually sounds really interesting, has been delayed numerous times and is now set for a 2012 release, but so far the only promising fact is that David S. Goyer is writing it. This franchise is so messed up.

Deadpool - 2011
Supposedly set for 2011, this was mentioned above in the Green Lantern section, as Ryan Reynolds will be playing both. This is a bit confusing, but it will probably be a better film. The question is, if the summer of 2011 is as jam-packed with important superhero films as it seems to be, is Reynolds going to be facing off against himself? At least this doesn't have the words "X-Men Origins" in front of the title.

The Avengers - May 4, 2012
This is the one that brings several years of Marvel movies together, and some of the biggest actors as well. Already set are Iron Man, Thor and Captain America (obviously). So much speculation and rumors have been swirling around as to who else would make up The Avengers team. Edward Norton is rumored to reprise his role as the Hulk in some way, and some feel characters like War Machine and Black Widow from "Iron Man 2" and Loki from "Thor" will also appear. Other superheros who won't be featured in their own movies before 2012 that might make the list include Hawkeye (which some are saying recent Oscar nominee Jeremy Renner is rumored to play), Wasp and Ant-Man. Acclaimed writer Joss Whedon ("Buffy the Vampire Slayer" series, "Firefly" series) is set to direct and has been asked to re-write the already existing script. It seems like Marvel is putting a lot of faith in him, though he is a trusted pick since he has actually been writing comic books featuring these heroes in recent years. This will be a big budget production and, like I said, a culmination of Marvel's recent and upcoming work. Whedon's biggest challenge will be directing the cast and the film in his own style, since all the other movies are being directed by different people.

Untitled Spider-Man reboot - July 3, 2012?
Ugh! I might be the only one who thought "Spider-Man 3" was not bad enough to derail the entire series, but I guess the studios did. Considering the backlash from internet fans, it made a decent amount of money, especially in its opening weekend. Director Sam Raimi said he knew what he did wrong and planned on fixing it in the fourth installment, which is now not happening. Reportedly, John Malkovich was possibly going to play The Vulture - not a great villain, but a fantastic actor. What many speculated, and what I was hoping, was that Peter Parker's professor and friend, Dr. Connors, would turn into the Lizard, which it seemed was a plan all along. Either way, the old Spider-Man franchise is dead, and just five years later they'll be putting out the newest one, which will go back to Peter's highschool roots (again) and will probably star a young actor that teenage girls love (which will make him a poorly-fitting Peter Parker). I also can't wait to see them ruin villains that were so perfectly portrayed like Willem Dafoe's Green Goblin or Alfred Molina's Dr. Octavious. Oh, and I read this is supposed to be in 3D (...just became not worth seeing).

Ant-Man - 2012?
The imdb entry itself is mostly speculation, especially the date. This will probably appear after "The Avengers" comes out but no one knows for sure when. All that they know is that Edgar Wright ("Shaun of the Dead," "Hot Fuzz") is directing, so it will not disappoint. Whether Ant-Man will appear in "The Avengers" is yet to be seen, but I think he probably will, which will create more interest in a lesser known superhero before his solo movie comes out.

Superman: Man of Steel - 2013
Supposedly this is not a sequel to 2006's "Superman Returns," which also was not a sequel, though the title implies such. Basically that film stood alone between the Superman series of the '70s and '80s and the 2006 reboot. So here's another reboot, currently being written by David S. Goyer (this is the third time he's being mentioned in this post so clearly he's important to this genre), and a helping hand is being lent by Batman guru Christopher Nolan, though he's not writing or directing or in any way taking over the project. Just...supervising? Either way, this story is going back to the roots of Superman and retelling the story, but it has been said it will not be a complete origins story as Goyer assumes the audience knows the story of Superman by now. Not much is known about this movie, but it should be the first good approach to the character in a while, assuming we all make it to 2013.

On top of all this, imdb pages exist for "Wonder Woman" and "Justice League: Mortal" in 2011, which seem pretty unlikely since there are no details announced. If you think this is a ridiculous amount of superhero movies to be coming out in the next two or three years then I completely agree. We've had more happen in the past 10 years than most people probably realize, but the trend just keeps on growing. Marvel definitely has the best idea of tying their movies and characters together, drawing in more fans and causing viewers to be pushed from one movie to another based on curiosity at the very least. You can also expect eventual sequels to most of these films, since no one ever seems to know when to quit when it comes to a good thing.

"A hero kills people - people that wish him harm. A hero is part human, and part supernatural. A hero is born out of a childhood trauma or out of a disaster that must be avenged." - Dwight Shrute


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