Sunday, September 4, 2011

Man of Steel, Dark Knight Rises, The Avengers: First Looks

Superhero movies are a growing trend these days. To some, they're like crack and too much is never enough. To others, like me, who are self-proclaimed movie buffs but not devout comic book geeks, they're like any other movie.

With both big comic book franchises trying to one-up each other, it's like the viewers are sitting in the middle of a war zone. Marvel comes out with a Thor flick, so DC just has to come out with a Green Lantern movie. It's been going on since the days of the original Tobey Maguire Spider-Man series, and will continue on for years to come.

I've been purposely avoiding posting spoilers for The Dark Knight Rises and Man of Steel because they haven't been too substantial until now. Chris Nolan (Inception), who will be helming the new Batman flick, tends to keep things under wraps until the release date is just around the corner. So, it's no surprise that our first sneak peek at The Dark Knight Rises didn't really tell us much of anything. On the other hand, Zack Snyder (300), director for Man of Steel, has been dropping mini picture bombs of Henry Cavill (Immortals) as his new Superman all over the internet.

But that's not really why you clicked on this post, is it? You want to hear about The Avengers, right? Chris Nolan movies seem to be a dime a dozen these days (and they're all equally awesome), and Zack Snyder's casting choices have gotten me all huffy (plus, the 2013 release date is just... not cool), so the only movie I'm truly stoked about for next summer is The Avengers. If you went and saw Captain America: The First Avenger this summer, you've likely seen the teaser trailer for the new movie after the credits. That, or you went on YouTube and saw it.

Anyway, The Dark Knight Rises will star (of course) Christian Bale (The Fighter) as Batman/Bruce Wayne, Michael Caine (Cars 2), Gary Oldman (Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy), Marion Cotillard (Contagion), Joseph Gordon-Levitt (50/50), Anne Hathaway (One Day), Tom Hardy (Warrior) and Morgan Freeman (Dolphin Tale). Most of the original cast are reprising their roles from the first two movies in the franchise, but we've got some new faces to fill in the gaps for the new characters. And while I'm not at all happy about Anne Hathaway's casting as Catwoman/Selina Kyle, I do look forward to seeing Tom Hardy as the new baddy, Bane. He looks positively badass in the teaser trailer.

As for Snyder's Man of Steel, we've got Henry Cavill taking up Brandon Routh's mantle as the new Superman, with Amy Adams (The Fighter) starring opposite him as his new Lois Lane. Russell Crowe (Robin Hood) will be playing bio dad Jor-el, while Kevin Costner (The Company Men) and Diane Lane (Secretariat) will be adoptive parents Jonathan and Martha Kent. As the recently controversial Perry White, we have Laurence Fishburne (Contagion), and Michael Shannon (Machine Gun Preacher) to round out the cast as the movie's villain, General Zod. When I found out Henry Cavill, who's most famous for his role as Charles Brandon in the HBO series The Tudors, was going to be cast as the new Supe, I was disappointed, to say the least. And that was after the disappointment of finding out Zack Snyder would be directing. There's nothing wrong with Snyder. His movies are just usually not to my taste. And the only reason I was angry about Cavill was because I can't reconcile him as the Clark Kent I've had in my head all these years, but these new pictures do have me rethinking that preemptive judgement. And Amy Adams as feisty firecracker Lois Lane? Pfft. I guess we'll just have wait and see when the movie comes out... in 2013. (sigh)

Lastly, we have the cast of The Avengers. There's not much to say about it since most of the actors in it will be reprising roles from the previous Marvel movies like Iron Man, Thor and Captain America. Let's go through the laundry list anyway, since there have been a couple of additions and changes. First of all, we have Robert Downey Jr. (Due Date) as Iron Man/Tony Stark, Scarlett Johansson (Iron Man 2) as Black Widow/Natasha Romanoff, and Gwyneth Paltrow (Contagion) as Pepper Potts, all from Iron Man 2. Next, we've got Chris Hemsworth (Thor) coming back as the god of thunder, Thor, Tom Hiddleston (The Deep Blue Sea) playing the movie's villain and Thor's brother, Loki, and Stellan Skarsgard (Melancholia) as Professor Erik Selvig from Thor. Rounding out the cast we have Chris Evans (What's Your Number?) as Steve Rogers/Captain America from Captain America: The Last Avenger, Jeremy Renner (Thor) as Clint Barton/Hawkeye and Mark Ruffalo (Margaret) taking up the gauntlet as Bruce Banner/Hulk. Previously, Edward Norton had been cast as the Hulk, and even starred in the Marvel movie The Incredible Hulk in 2008, but negotiations fell apart for The Avengers and the role was given to Ruffalo instead. I'm a fan of both actors, so the disappointment of Norton not taking up the part again was abated by the casting of Ruffalo. I don't know much about Renner, so we'll have to see how he does as Hawkeye when the movie comes out, and I'm not sure how much I'm diggin ScarJo's orange hair...

My biggest pull for The Avengers is Joss Whedon (Dollhouse) who wrote the movie's screenplay and will also be directing. For Buffy the Vampire Slayer fans, you know Whedon's good at doing geeky, so this comic book mash-up should be perfect for him. I'm truly excited to see how well he'll do.

As you can see, all three movies are chock full of big name actors, so box office-wise, they should do perfectly well. Next year (and the year after) are bound to be busy years for Hollywood as blockbuster after blockbuster hits the big screen.

Regardless, that's enough babbling. Here's the real treat. Below are pictures from all three flicks, plus a teaser trailer for The Dark Knight Rises and also the one for The Avengers.

Man of Steel comes out on June 14, 2013; The Avengers hits theaters on May 4, 2012, with The Dark Knight Rises following on July 20, 2012.

The Dark Knight Rises

Man of Steel

The Avengers


[Image creds to RottenTomatoes,, IMDB, Fandango; video creds to YouTube]

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