Superhero Movies

From the looks of it Django Unchained, Pacific Rim and Anything Marvel Does Forever are topping the list of the most anticipated movies hitting Comic-Con 2012. The question is, with 400 million (number estimated) other movie panels showing up in San Diego, how will you possibly see everything? And how can you see anything if you aren’t going to be there? Since the list of events is massive, we’ve teamed up with 14 other movie websites to make sure that every inch of the convention center is locked down. Consider this your portal, bookmark it, and return often to check out the full spectrum of coverage from ours and other fine sites. To get started, here’s a small look at what all of us are most excited to see.

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The Amazing Spider-Man

Back when Sony Pictures announced it was going to reboot the Spider-Man franchise, it felt as if Dr. Octopus had simultaneously slapped my face, sucker punched me and whacked me on the nuts. After waiting three years for signs that Sam Raimi would recapture the magic of Spider-Man and Spider-Man 2 (and make amends for the listless mess that was Spider-Man 3), the disheartening news came. The powers that be had decided to serve up the same old familiar origin story (misfit Peter Parker gets bitten, goes through Spidey-puberty and lets his uncle die because he hasn’t got his proverbial caca together), instead of taking the saga into more interesting territory. This was not just an “aw, shucks” let-down like the one I felt when I heard Edward Norton wouldn’t be reprising the role of Bruce Banner in The Avengers. I actually sunk into an existential lament for the future of the superhero genre. I imagined a future where other franchises would follow suit, offering formulaic retreads of the exact same plot points ad infinitum. But three things happened: Time passed, my doctor upped my meds and I suddenly found myself able to put things in a brighter perspective.

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The Amazing Spider-Man

It was a kinder, simpler time back in January of 2010. Daybreakers and Youth in Revolt were both in theaters, New York City was asking people to eat less salt, and we were all about to find out the one-two punch that Sam Raimi was done with Spider-Man but Sony was not. It was the sort of news that reeked of corporate thinking – extending a franchise cash cow without the creative forces behind it; rebooting an unimaginably familiar character just five years after his last outing; and deciding to do all that on a dime. Optimism pointed to characters like James Bond getting new actors, but this was that rare time where a character introduced to us was being re-introduced to us, and the announcement was, admittedly, a bit surreal. It won’t be revolutionary, but there are two ways, two chances for that reboot to change the ways that movies are made. Marc Webb‘s The Amazing Spider-Man will have a lot of eyes on it these week, and a few of them will be watching it as an experiment instead of entertainment.

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Marvel Logo Collage

More than a few people will consider this a spoiler, so consider that your spoiler warning, but really it’s just a bit of speculation that might be a really cool element to a part of a movie that’s not even part of the movie. Confused yet? Excellent. According to the rumor mill over at indie haven The Playlist, art house film Iron Man 3 might be introducing a highly-anticipated hero in its post-credits tag. Of course that isn’t really a spoiler because, well, of course Marvel is going to tease the next movie in the line-up at the end of their current movie. The question is, what hero will it be?

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The Amazing Spider-Man

It’s the oldest, three-year-old joke in the book: ubiquitous movie marketing means we know everything about a movie before it comes out. It’s resulted in many fans shunning trailers altogether or, gasp, avoiding Twitter. Here finally, Sony has given Vimeo user SleepySkunk the ammo to prove what we all already know (which is too much). The result is a 25-minute version of The Amazing Spider-Man cobbled together from advertisements and featurettes. At first, watching it is sort of funny – a video middle finger to an overzealous marketing culture – but after a few minutes, it starts to feel like you’re watching the movie itself. That’s a creepy feeling, knowing that the movie is almost completely out there in the world, waiting to be assembled with a little editing magic. What’s even crazier is that it features a beginning, middle and end. At 25 minutes, it’s missing a lot, but it’s like watching a plot outline version of the final product. Check it out for yourself:

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Justice League Alex Ross

Sure, The Avengers being really awesome probably had a lot to do with the fact that it’s now the third most money-making movie of all time. But, more than that, the film probably has Marvel’s long term planning to thank for its extreme level of success. Instead of just making a movie about a team of superheroes, Marvel first introduced each member of the team in their own films, they dropped hints about the fact that they would all be coming together at some point, and, when it was all said and done, The Avengers finally premiered after six years of build-up and anticipation. That’s pretty unprecedented. Seeing as they own DC Comics, Warner Bros also has a fairly impressive stable of superheroes at their command. And they’ve even managed to leverage their properties into a bunch of successful animated television shows in the past. But, in recent years, the only character they’ve had any real success with in the live-action feature format is Batman. They’re not even close to doing something with DC’s premier superhero team, The Justice League, that could be on par with what Marvel did with The Avengers.

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The fine folks at Marvel would like to prove that production on Iron Man 3 has begun as a reminder in these dark knighted times. As if their dominance of the early summer isn’t enough, the production house is getting the official advertising/awareness campaign going 11 months before Shane Black‘s film hits theaters with Robert Downey, Jr. back in the Stark suit. As the above picture (click it to enlargify) shows, he’s got a lot of them now. He’s also got an odd man with a clapboard following him around. Watch out, Tony! He’s got a fanny pack of some sort! Jokes aside, has a threequel ever been this anticipated based not on the second installment, but on another film entirely?

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Mads Mikkelsen in Casino Royale

Blood-crying Bond villain and skull crusher Mads Mikkelsen is in talks to play a villain in Thor 2 according to Variety. Great news or greatest news? The impeccable actor is fresh off of a strong showing at Cannes with The Hunt, which is another addition to a growing list of powerful roles he’s taken on. Now what kind of silly costume will he get? Citing rumors that The Enchantress will be in the film, Devin Faraci is opining that Mikkelsen may play the brutish Executioner. If all that comes to pass, Natalie Portman’s Jane Foster isn’t safe at all. However, I still hold out hope that he’ll play his character from Valhalla Rising, making this a sweet cross-over project.  

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UPDATE: After speaking with the head of WETA’s marketing, we can confirm that the sizzle reel mentioned below was not WETAs. Again, this IMDB posting should be taken at arm’s length, and there’s also the possibility that Rothbart got the effects company wrong, but if these scenes are real, they are not the work of WETA. Original posting follows: There was never much doubt that Man of Steel would have a comic book feel. It was only slightly less guaranteed than it looking like a Zack Snyder movie. The Warners mulligan on Clark Kent is set for theaters in June of 2013, but apparently WETA just showed two scenes as part of a sizzle reel that played at a fancy gathering with smoked salmon and a bunch of visual effects artists. Allegedly, one of those effects wizards, Jonathan Rothbart (Avatar, Priest, Iron Man), posted a description of the scenes on the film’s IMDB message board. He was pretty excited. Here’s what he (spoilerifically) had to say:

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In a recent interview with Collider, Idris Elba claimed that his schedule was so packed that he moved out of his home without signing a lease anywhere else. It’s all movie set trailers from here on out. He’s probably not exaggerating. He’ll be seen later this year in Prometheus and potentially the Western They Die By Dawn. Next year, he’ll be in the thriller No Good Deed and Pacific Rim. After that, it’s a turn as Nelson Mandela for director Justin Chadwick’s Long Walk to Freedom and what promises to be another Mandela-esque turn as Heimdall in Thor 2. This comes on the heels of Joss Whedon’s massive success with The Avengers and a public suggestion that the sequel will see more female superheroes.

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Boiling Point

The Avengers is kind of a major success. What, you hadn’t heard? Of course you did. Avengers box office is on the tips of tongues, internet screens, newspapers, and even within the pages of Time Magazine. You don’t make a billion dollars that quickly without garnering a lot of attention. With attention comes discussion. People always want to be included in the discussion, it helps get a little bit of that attention directed their way. If at this point you feel the need to point out the hypocrisy of this entire thing, go for it. What do I care? In attempting to be part of the discussion and gather up some of that sweet, sweet spotlight, everyone has been discussing the Avengers box office results and asking the question we all ask of super hero teams and double rainbows: What does it mean?

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WARNING – THIS ARTICLE GIVES AWAY SPOILERS FOR THE AVENGERS, SERENITY, AND DR. HORRIBLE’S SING-ALONG BLOG. YOU’VE BEEN WARNED. Joss Whedon has a penchant for killing off his characters, particularly the likable ones. This is something you should know going into this article. It’s the reason why there’s so much built-in weight to his projects, the idea that characters you grow accustomed to might meet a bad end before it’s all said and done. It’s also the reason why the 360-degree shot in The Avengers – you know, the one your comic book geek mind exploded over after seeing it for the first time – shouldn’t be used as a marketing tool. One has to think that the shot was designed for trailers and TV spots long before the actual storyboards for The Avengers were even inked on. It’s the kind of shot that makes fans of the series, comic book and film, alike, furious, stomp out of the theater, head for the box office, and pre-order a whole row for The Avengers. They’ve got friends.

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The level of neon-glowing attention to detail in Panos Cosmatos‘s Beyond the Black Rainbow is intense. The first-time director has taken the images of forbidden horror VHS tapes on rental store shelves and transformed his imagined movies into something very real, and very frightening. It’s a trip into a lonely cult that mixes religion, science and pills. We’ll talk with the writer/director about his psychedelic terror-scape. Plus, Battleship Pretension hosts David Bax and Tyler Smith battle in our Movie News Pop Quiz, and the discussion turns to the nature of superhero movies. Are they an action subgenre? Can there be a superhero movie without any action? Is The Avengers the zenith? Reject Radio starts now. As soon as you click that. Download Episode #133

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We normally reserve 10 & 5 posts for big movies that are familiar to the masses, but once in a while it’s good to shine a light on a low profile indie film. This is not that time though, so instead we’re taking a look at the movie with the biggest opening weekend in history. Joss Whedon‘s entertaining as hell blockbuster, The Avengers, has already earned a rare A- grade from us (read Cole Abaius’ review), but Robert Fure and Rob Hunter wanted to take a more detailed view complete with potential and actual spoilers. Warning: There are major spoilers below. Major spoilers. You’ve now been warned about the major spoilers.

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This is the world we live in, one where Kevin Spacey dons a superhero costume and kicks ass in China. It’s a great day to be alive. Although this trailer for Inseparable doesn’t show it, the two-time Oscar winner rocks a lot of tight spandex and a helmet mask for the movie from Dayyan Eng. It also stars the great Daniel Wu (Shinjuku Incident, The Man With the Iron Fists). In a way, it would be far better if this trailer were insane, but it’s maybe even more bizarre that it’s, you know, not bizarre. It looks incredibly straight forward. Except the part where John Doe dressed up like a blue version of the guy in Super.

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Every Girl’s Guide to The Avengers By Internet Princess Quartney Vagington Hey, gurrrrls! It’s your BFF Quartney Vagington! I’m gonna save your cute butts again, so get ready to thank me. Your boyfriend has probably looked up from his Xbox a couple times in the last week to say, “Dude, we gotta see The Avengers on Friday! It looks totally sick!” I know Trevor has! I just rolled my eyes and was like, “LOL, whatever you want, honey-bun,” and then I went back to texting. But guess what, bitches? He’s totes serious about it! Your boyfriend is too, unless he’s like a dork or whatever, in which case, ew, why are you dating a dork? Anyways, me and Trevor are gonna see The Avengers on Friday cuz it’s his turn to choose the movie, cuz he let me choose which Olive Garden we went to last week (the nice one, or the one close to Pinkberry), and so I was like, “Aah! I don’t know what these dumb comic book movies are about!” So then I was like, “Help me, Facebook, LOL!” And so then Facebook was like, “Here are some Tumblrs and Wikis about it!” So you guys, I totally did some research to help you know what the eff is going on when you see “The Avengers” with your boyfriend! You can thank me later, I accept Hot Topic gift cards, LOL. (P.S. if you do not have a boyfriend then I don’t know what to tell you […]

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The Avengers want you to see The Avengers in theaters.

It’s been open overseas for a week, already raking in more than $200m, and now The Avengers is landing on U.S. soil with one of the biggest summer openings in history. But does that mean you should see it now? Or do you wait for home video? Sure, there’s plenty of arguments as to why you can wait, including obnoxious crowds, high ticket prices, and the general hassle of getting your butt off the couch and driving to your local multiplex. However, here are seven ultimate reasons should convince you to, paraphrasing Shakespeare, “Get thee to a theater!” and witness Marvel’s greatest achievement in superhero movies.

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Did you hear? Did you hear? Go tell Paul Revere! Joss Whedon and Marvel’s The Avengers is out this weekend which marks the beginning of the summer and an end to the anticipation. To discuss the film, we turn to comic book/Avengers expert John Gholson from Movies.com. Plus, ScreenCrush critic Jordan Hoffman plays Movie News Roulette and talks Dark Knight Rises, Star Trek and texting in theaters. Download Episode #132

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Drinking Games

In case you haven’t heard, there’s a new superhero movie kicking off the summer movie season. Joss Whedon’s The Avengers assembles Iron Man, the Incredible Hulk, Thor and Captain American (along with Hawkeye and Black Widow, neither of whom got their own movie). Many superhero fans are preparing for this release by watching the first five films from Marvel Studios, which lead up to this blockbuster: Iron Man, The Incredible Hulk, Iron Man 2, Thor and Captain America. Or, they’re planning on seeing them in a long-form marathon leading up to the midnight release of The Avengers. Both are good ideas. Whether you watch these films on video at home or are doing so at a theater that serves alcohol, assemble some adult beverages for yourself and play along.

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Along with Cole Abaius, I was quite taken with pure popcorn joy of The Avengers. Walking out of the theater one cannot imagine any blockbuster delivering a level of fun at that caliber. Plenty of moviegoers will come away this weekend thinking that exact sentiment, but then they’ll recall this fantastic final trailer for The Dark Knight Rises that will play before Joss Whedon‘s Marvel pic, and they’ll realize we still have one more superhero epic coming our way. If this eerie and evocative trailer is any indication, it’ll be the epic finale this series and the summer deserves. Take a look at Bruce Wayne “rising” with a far less laughable voice this time around:

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published: 12.23.2014
B+
published: 12.22.2014
C-
published: 12.19.2014
A-


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