The Week in Spandex – The Avengers, The Dark Knight Rises, The Amazing Spider-Man, X-Men 4, Hancock 2, Kick-Ass 2 and more

Our weekly round-up of all the big news stories from the world of movie superheroes…

Despite the arrival of the latest Tim Burton / Johnny Depp collaboration Dark Shadows, The Avengers is expected to continue its dominance at the box office this weekend, with analysts predicting that Marvel’s money train will hit the $1 billion mark on Sunday after raking up a frankly astonishing $888m by close of play on Friday (you check out a thank you letter from director Joss Whedon over at fan-site Whedonesque). If you’re one of the handful of people out there yet to contribute to this global haul, then please be advised we’ll no longer be attaching spoiler warnings to any discussion of The Avengers in this column. So, if you don’t know that a certain member of S.H.I.E.L.D. shuffles of this mortal coil, or that a particularly powerful villain pops up in the end credits… then shame on you because you should have seen the flick by now…

…On the subject of those two specific spoilers, MTV Splash Page has posted a video tribute to the beloved Agent ‘Phil’ Coulson (Clark Gregg), fallen hero of S.H.I.E.L.D., while Whedon and producer Kevin Feige also discussed the origin of The Avengers’ mid-credits scene and the decision to include Thanos in a chat with /Film. Meanwhile someone with too much time on their hands at a disaster-cost predictment firm worked out that the damage done to Manhattan in The Avengers’ final battle would have cost $160 billion, while someone else with too much time on their hands over at Vulture decided to answer a question we’ve all been wondering – just how much screen time does each of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes enjoy? Chris Evans’ Captain America comes in first with 37:42, followed by Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.) with 37:01, Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) with 33:35, Bruce Banner / The Hulk (Mark Ruffalo) with 28:03, Thor (Chris Hemsworth) with 25:52 and poor old Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) taking home the wooden spoon with 12:44…

…Looking further ahead in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and Disney has confirmed that development is underway on The Avengers 2 (you don’t say!), but before that comes another round of solo movies – the first of which, Iron Man 3, has just got another cast member in Rebecca Hall (The Prestige), who has stepped into the role of ‘a sexy scientist’ (thought to be one Dr. Maya Hansen) after Jessica Chastain (The Help) opted to pass due to scheduling conflicts. Elsewhere, Edgar Wright (Hot Fuzz) teased movement on his long-in-development Ant-Man adaptation, Scarlett Johansson told AceShowbiz that she’s discussed a Black Widow origin story with Marvel Studios which they “would be happy to entertain” and Kevin Feige spoke to C.H.U.D. about all things Marvel, including the Skrulls, S.H.I.E.L.D., Iron Man 3, Thor 2 and Captain America 2 – stating that the latter will include “revelations of who is still alive from [Cap's] days in WWII.” Winter Soldier, perhaps..?

…Of all the mystery surrounding The Dark Knight Rises – Will Bane (Tom Hardy) break Batman (Christian Bale)? How does Catwoman (Anne Hathaway) figure into things? And who the hell is John Blake (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) anyway? – one question that seemed to be academic was the identity of Marion Cotillard’s ‘Miranda Tate’. Well, according to the actress herself, Ms. Tate is simply an ‘ecologically minded businesswoman’ and “a good guy”, rather than a pseudonym for Talia al Ghul. Still, we know that Liam Neeson will reprise his role as Ra’s al Ghul from Batman Begins, and we know that Joey King is playing a young version of Talia alongside Josh Pence’s younger Ra’s, so it kind of makes sense that we’ll be seeing her as an adult too. Unless Christopher Nolan really throws us a curveball and it turns out Talia’s undergone gender realignment and is now working as a Detective in the Gotham City Police Department, there doesn’t seem to be any other candidates besides Cotillard…

…Sticking with The Dark Knight Rises for a moment, Total Film got their hands on a few new images of Batman, Catwoman and Bane as part of their latest issue, which also includes some quotes from Nolan and the key cast, not to mention a retrospective of the entire Batman movie franchise. Take a look at the highlights here, and be sure to grab yourself a copy of the magazine…

…With all of the excitement surrounding the release of The Avengers and the huge levels of anticipation for The Dark Knight Rises, it’s been easy to forget that The Amazing Spider-Man is also swinging onto screens this summer, but Sony will be hoping to change that as they push ahead with an increased marketing blitz on the Marc Webb-directed reboot. A TV spot was released this week that featured new snippets of footage and promised a four minute preview on Monday’s season premiere of America’s Got Talent, while a fourth (!) theatrical trailer has also been classified and will join the first Skyfall trailer in playing before Men in Black III in cinemas later this month.

…As part of their ongoing viral marketing campaign, Sony has also launched ‘official websites’ for Midtown Science High School and Oscorp Industries, the latter of which features two videos – one of Rhys Ifans’ Dr. Curt Connors discussing Oscorp’s internship program and another showing us some new footage that culminates with a glimpse of Connors’ transformation into The Lizard. Meanwhile the latest batch of images to hit the web include new promotional shots of Andrew Garfield’s Peter Parker and Emma Stone’s Gwen Stacy [see them here], a few images of Dr. Ratha (Irrfan Khan) [see them here] and some absolutely appalling promo art of The Lizard [I really wouldn't bother seeing them here]…

…From one Spider-Man to another: As Andrew Garfield prepares to take over the reins as the friendly neighbourhood wall crawler, the new Spidey star found himself interviewed by his predecessor Tobey Maguire in an interesting article over at VMan, where the two actors discuss the role and the impact it has / may have on their careers. Be sure to have a read here…

…A few weeks back Fox CEO Tom Rothman discussed several of his studio’s potential X-Men spin-offs including The Wolverine, the X-Men: First Class sequel, Deadpool and even New Mutants, but there was no mention whatsover of the long-rumoured X-Men 4, which according to producer Lauren Shuler Donner, was in “active development” at Fox as of last year. Although everything seems to have fallen quiet on that front, Iceman – a.k.a. Shawn Ashmore – had a few words about his hopes for a sequel in an interview with The Examiner: “I am still under contract to play Iceman if they make another X-Men movie but there are so many superhero films out there right now. The market is saturated with them. I would love to come back and play that character again, though. It was really unique to sort of grow up playing a character. As I was growing up and maturing, so was the character. But it was an amazing experience and I would love to do it again. I hope that we get chance to make another X-Men movie but I really do not know if we will. I guess we will just have to wait and see…”

Last week The CW’s Arrow pilot was “considered a lock” to be picked up by the network for a full season and sure enough, it’s now official. It’s not yet known how many episodes the season will consist of, but the series is expected to begin airing this fall with a cast that includes Stephen Amell (The Vampire Diaries) as Oliver Queen, Katie Cassidy (Supernatural) as Dinah Laurel Lance, Colin Donnell (Pan Am) as Tommy Merlyn and Willa Holland (The O.C.) as Thea Queen…

…George Newbern (Justice League) is set to reprise his role as Superman in the latest direct-to-video feature in the DC Universe Animated Original Movies line, Superman vs. The Elite, and Warner Premiere have released four new images and the first clip ahead of the film’s North American release on June 12th. You can view them over at WorldsFinestOnline, along with a selection of clips from this week’s episodes of Young Justice and Green Lantern: The Animated Series

…Back in March, Battleship director Peter Berg said that he planned to reunite with Will Smith for a sequel to the 2008 hit Hancock and the Men in Black III star had a few words about the possibility of Hancock 2 during an interview with MTV Splash Page earlier this week, although judging by his response it could be a while before we see the return of the reluctant superhero: “This is a world where entertainment is consumed on so many different levels that sequels and all those ancillary products and that stuff are always in the working. There are so many outlets now that need to be filled, so I think that producers are always discussing those things. It’s something I would be interested in. But it’s not actually in the works as of yet…”

…And finally, Kick-Ass creator Mark Millar promised there’d be movement on the long-rumoured sequel to Matthew Vaughn’s 2010 adaptation and now it finally seems that the follow-up is gearing up to go into production, with filmmaker Jeff Wadlow (Cry Wolf, Never Back Down) signing on to take over the reins from Vaughn as writer and director on Kick-Ass 2. According to reports, negotiations are now underway with Kick-Ass stars Aaron Johnson (Nowhere Boy), Chloë Grace Moretz (Dark Shadows) and Christopher Mintz-Plasse (Fright Night) and filming is expected to commence this August.

Gary Collinson

Holy Franchise, Batman! – Now available for pre-order from Amazon.

  • Some_Random_Dude

    F*ck… They're taking Vaughn off the Kick-ass sequel? And the new director doesn't seem to come close. Vaughn is one of my favorite directors, so I really wished to see him directing the sequel as well. Oh well, as long as he still works on the First Class sequel it's not all bad.

  • http://twitter.com/HolyFranchise HolyFranchiseBatman!

    I believe he is still attached as producer, and apparently hand selected Wadlow as his replacement… if that is any consolation!

  • another_random_dude

    i hope chloe morets returns as hit girl, it won't be worth watching otherwise…