A little over a year ago, I put out a blog citing my opinions and expectations for future superhero films/franchises. Recently, various developments have been made within the superhero movie community, so I have decided to write an update, highlighting the possibilities that these movies are cropping up (and will continue to crop up). Some of the decisions made have been very interesting (if not a bit surprising), so I'll go through those and, as usual, give my completely biased opinion. Read on. The following is in alphabetical order by title and may contain SPOILERS.
THE AMAZING SPIDERMAN 2: Coolest thing so far about this film is the villains. Electro (Jamie Foxx) has been hyped up as the main antagonist for Spidey to battle, but I've seen an image of Alexsi Sytsevich (Paul Giamatti) in a robotic suit that could be later digitalized for the Rhino. Director Marc Webb has specifically stated that he only wishes to use Giamatti as only Alexsi, and for comic relief purposes, but Sony has plans for a third and fourth ASM film, so I'm betting we'll get a Rhino soon. The movie also introduces Norman (Chris Cooper) and Harry (Dane DeHaan) Osborn. Norman's been sick, and it seems like Harry returns to New York and reunites with Pete. With Norman ill, is Harry taking over OsCorp? Is Norman seeking a cure? If so, will this "cure" make him a little...goofy in the head? We'll see. People have predicted the rise of a Sinister Six, which I honestly hope will happen. Fans hated on Raimi's SM3 for using too many villains, and that was only three, but maybe Webb can make six work out. We have the Lizard, Electro, possibly Rhino, and most likely the Green Goblin. I'm going to say the guy who visited Connors in his cell at the end of ASM wasn't Norman, and I'm not going to listen to certain fans' idea that Harry will join his father as another Goblin (Green Goblin Jr? Hobgoblin?). If Harry becomes any sort of superpowered individual, I'm going to say he allies himself with Spidey. So we've got two villains left, mysterious dude and someone else. Recent rumors mentioned Jim Carrey as Carnage, though I believe those were debunked. Calm Feore (Laufey from Thor) was mentioned as possibly being the Vulture, which I think would be cool. Another villain who can fly, sure, but it makes Spidey's job more difficult. We could have Mysterio, Sandman, Kraven maybe...Spidey has a good rogues gallery, so the filmakers have a lot to play with. And will this movie, or the others, mess with Gwen's death? Norman kills her, makes Spidey mad, then beats the tar out of him with the SS...lot of pain for the hero, which could make him even more heroic by story's end. The possibilities are numerous and exciting to think about. Plus, we're going to get a really awesome score by Hans Zimmer, so summer 2014 is looking good!
ANT MAN: A joke? A tease? A dream? Nightmare, more like it. I've been anticipating Marvel movies for years, but I will beg them to have production problems with this one. Ant Man, guys? World's smallest hero, can communicate with ants...Maybe he's a scientist. Maybe he was an original member of the Avengers (Joss Whedon wisely left him out). But the guy is so...lame. Edgar Wright (who I really don't know anything about) is set to direct, and Marvel Studio president Kevin Feige says the film will begin Phase 3 (of, like, 500 probably, if Marvel has their way) of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. It may also have both Hank Pym and Scott Lang as characters, so does that mean we have to deal with TWO Ant Men? And who the heck is the bad guy? Ultron is slated for Avengers 2 (which fortunately comes out before Ant Man), and the only other "major" Ant Man villains I know are called Porcupine, Whirlwind, and Egghead (who's dead, so...). No idea as far as plot, but I have to put this in here because the idea seems so ridiculous. To top it off, Wright says there will be humorous elements, which could very well make it worse because now we have a movie that is so bad and then is TRYING to be funny. I will see it, sure, but only because it's Marvel. Hey, I'll get it on DVD, too, but only because it's Marvel. Marvel has Ant Man...the day DC makes an Aquaman movie will begin the end of Heroic Age of super movies, I'm predicting. There. That's my legacy, a prophecy. Rememder it when I'm dead. Which may be from derisive laughter after I watch Ant Man.
THE AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON: After stopping Loki and his extraterrestrial army, the Avengers will have to band together to battle Ultron (James Spader)...who isn't created by Hank Pym. IMDB says he's a government weapon created to replace the Avengers, but, as is typical, it turns out that making a super-powerful weaponized robot is not a GOOD thing...Whedon states he will be incorporating both Quicksilver and the Scarlet Witch in the film (which are mutant characters, I'm assuming, not owned by Fox), to give the film a little more fun, since he believed a lot of the guys in the first film had "punchy" powers (as in punching, not an incurable ability to keep laughing, though there was a bit of that in the first movie). Some fans may be disappointed that Thanos, the villain depicted at the end of Avengers, is not the main antagonist, but Whedon claims he's too "out-there" we'll say. Not reasonable enough...right. The Norse god is fine, the soldier who got frozen in ice is fine, but the alien overlord is just a little over the top. Uh-huh. This is coming from a guy who co-wrote Toy Story and a TV show with "Vampire Slayer" in the title. I can totally see his point. Nevertheless, Ultron should be an interesting enemy. He's an incredibly powerful and brilliant antagonist and, being an A.I., is completely devoid of emotion. He'll be ruthless, which is what I like to see. Though I'll still be waiting for Thanos.
MAN OF STEEL 2: Ben Affleck is the Dark Knight. Like many of you, I groaned upon hearing the news that the man who received three Rasberry awards would be taking the cowl from Christain Bale. BUT, I did get over the news of a Batman/Superman (Henry Cavil) team-up (which I initially considered bizarre), so I'll probably accept this before long as well. Knowing that Batman will be returning to theaters in 2015 is exciting, especially since the decision heralds what could be a Justice League film and the creation of multi-hero universe like what Marvel has done. But what is Batman's role? Is Bruce Wayne coming to Metropolis to help financially with the rebuilding needed after Superman's and Zod's climatic battle in MoS? This could coincide with a theory I mentioned in another blog about having them skip over Batman's origin story. Just put him in Metropolis as both Wayne and Batman; the audience will already know who this guy is. Snyder has cited Frank Miller's The Dark Knight Returns as a source of inspiration, a comic that pits an older Dark Knight against Superman, a fight which Batman wins by using Kryptonite gloves. Will we see physical Kryptonite, or will Batman use some Kryptonian atmospheric gas or something? Definitely, fans are expecting Batman and Superman to go toe-to-toe. And Snyder has confirmed that, yes, they will duke it out. My only other question about that is: Who's the villain? A title like "Batman vs. Superman" gives no hint at the enemy, but fans speculate Lex Luthor's involvement. If the bald baddie is involved, I hope he'll be at least somewhat formidable, especially if he's the one putting DC's flagship heroes at odds. Luthor has always been manipulative, which would be good to show in the film. Summer 2015 will reveal what DC plans on doing, but it's good to finally know that they're headed in the direction Marvel has been ruling for a long time.
X-MEN: DAYS OF FUTURE PAST: Bryan Singer, director of the original X-Men Trilogy and the Wolverine (and Superman Returns...gag), returns to helm Days of Future Past, a film based off one epic storyline I have never read. It's going to be released next year, and the story will combine two X-Men teams, the guys from X-Men: First Class as well as the team from the original trilogy. This means that the cast is going to be absolutely huge, with actors from the other franchises plus fresh faces. X-Men, being a team whose members can be created by using just about any kind of power imaginable (and sometimes doubling-up), has always had a much larger roster than, say, the Avengers. You can make and kill off mutants all you want, so we'll see if the filmakers can get by with such a large cast. Singer says that it will be his biggest movie yet, which is very reasonable to see. The story has the heroes traveling through time and teaming up to save the world...from who? The original comic has the X-Men facing the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants to keep a senator from being assassinated in order to prevent a future where this senator's death ends with mutants in internment camps guarded by Sentinels. The senator in question, in the film universe, died in the very first X-Men film, so we'll see how this plays out. What will be interesting will be seeing different versions of characters, such as Xavier and Magneto. While I'm not a big X-Men fan, this movie has potential. If nothing else, it will be huge.
More cool superhero movies are coming our way within the next two years. And, except for Ant Man, all of them look awesome. On top of that, Ant Man aside, no origin stories will be appearing. All these movies will be building on foundations that previous films have already established. No long introductions, no boring transitions from human to hero. Straight-up superhero awesomeness from the get-go. 2014 and 2015 are going to be fun.