The Week in Spandex – The Dark Knight Rises and The Amazing Spider-Man trailers, Marvel Cinematic Universe, Arrow, The Wolverine and more

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

Although The Avengers finally arrived on North American shores yesterday, we’ll start things off this week with the third and final trailer for The Dark Knight Rises, which hit the internet earlier on Tuesday following a viral campaign that included such goodies as an arrest warrant for John Doe – a.k.a. ‘The Batman’ – a wanted poster, and a letter from Peter Foley, Deputy Police Commissioner, who is thought to be the character portrayed by Matthew Modine and previously referred to as ‘Nixon’.

As for the trailer itself, it was pretty spectacular stuff, giving us plenty of shots of Batman (Christian Bale), Bane (Tom Hardy) and Catwoman (Anne Hathaway) in action, as well as a surprising amount of footage featuring Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s mysterious police officer John Blake, and some brief glimpses of supporting characters such as Commissioner Gordon (Gary Oldman), Lucius Fox (Morgan Freeman) and Miranda Tate (Marion Cotillard). All three of The Dark Knight Rises’ trailers have done a fantastic job of ramping up the anticipation for Christopher Nolan’s third and final Batman feature, leaving fans giddy with excitement for the film’s release on July 20th.

Arriving with considerably less fan-fare than The Dark Knight Rises trailer was the third and final theatrical trailer for Sony’s The Amazing Spider-Man, which teased a completely revamped origin story for Andrew Garfield’s Peter Parker – a move that may prove contentious for fans of the web-crawler. If you’re looking to avoid any potential spoilers for the film, I’d advise skipping down a couple of paragraphs now… Still here? Well, according to Badass Digest, “Spider-Man’s origin has been changed in The Amazing Spider-Man. The spider bite no longer gives Peter powers, it rather activates something already in his genetic structure. Something placed there by his father. Peter Parker is no longer super-powered by chance, but rather by design.”

Personally, I’m not too sure how I feel about that. I can understand not wanting to deliver a retread of Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man, but they could have always avoided another origin story and by changing it up so dramatically, they run the risk of ticking off a large percentage of Spidey’s fanbase. Nevertheless, ‘untold origin’ aside, the new trailer does a decent enough job of selling the Marc Webb-directed reboot, with plenty of flashy web-swinging action (a vast improvement over the early first-person stuff) and what looks to be solid performances from the likes of Garfield, Emma Stone and Rhys Ifans.

Still, I don’t fancy Spidey’s chances much once he has to go up against The Dark Knight Rises

In other Spidey-related bits and pieces, Sony has also released another generic-looking international poster and a new few stills that you can check out here, while Marc Webb took part in a lengthy interview over at Collider, during which he discussed everything from the 3D effects to designing the look of The Lizard.

Moving on to the Marvel Cinematic Universe and after opening in most international markets on April 25th, The Avengers finally assembled on North American screens this week, and while it’s midnight opening of $18.7m fell some way short of the $43.5m record set by Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2, it did manage to overtake The Dark Knight’s $18.5m to claim the highest midnight opening for a superhero movie. According to reports, The Avengers added a whopping $80m on Friday and is currently on course to record the highest North American opening weekend of all time, which should help to push the film beyond the $500m mark world-wide by close of play on Sunday. At this rate, Joss Whedon’s Marvel team-up looks set to become the first film of the year to cross the $1 billion mark, and will likely duke it out with The Dark Knight Rises and The Hobbit: There and Back Again for the highest-grossing movie of the year.

As a reward for their patience, North American audiences were also treated to an additional post-credits scene for The Avengers, although its unlikely that a shot of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes sitting around eating shawarma managed to generate the same kind of excitement as a certain mid-credits character reveal. Anyway, for those who have caught the film, you can check out our various reviews of The Avengers here, here, here and here, and feel free to share your thoughts on the epic superhero ensemble…

The past week has also brought plenty of talk about future installments in the Marvel Cinematic Universe… Robert Downey Jr. gave MTV a brief update on the status of Iron Man 3, promising that he’ll “be leaking secrets” once principal photography gets underway in the coming weeks… Chris Hemsworth spoke to Splash Page about his hopes that director Alan Taylor will bring a Game of Thrones-inspired feel to Thor 2… Marvel exec Paul Gitter hinted at the possibility of another solo outing for The Incredible Hulk, which seems increasingly likely considering the positive reception for Mark Rufallo’s Green Goliath, not to mention the fact that the actor is reported to have signed a six-picture deal with the studio… Scarlett Johansson and Jeremy Renner discussed the future of both Black Widow and Hawkeye in an interview with Total Film… Kevin Feige revealed that Marvel Studios Co-President Louis D’Esposito “directed a little something that we’re going to reveal in the coming months”, which must surely be another Marvel One Shot short for the home entertainment release of The Avengers… and finally, Feige also gave his thoughts on how he feels about Marvel Studios not having the rights to some of their ‘big guns’:

“Well, look, clearly we would prefer everything be at home, so to speak. But all the contracts are different. Some of them have very firm reversion dates, and some of them we don’t expect to get back any time soon, let’s put it that way. We’re fine with that. We have a great relationship with Sony and Fox. Would we like to have them all back? Sure. But we are more than comfortable with the way things stand now, because it worked out pretty well, right? The Avengers is a gargantuan part of the Marvel Universe, as big a part or bigger part than X-Men, bigger than Fantastic Four. There’s no doubt that Spider-Man is the most well-known, but in terms of families of characters, Avengers is bigger. Yes, the book has been around so long that almost every single character has popped in and out at some point. But there was a little bit of planning and a lot of luck that we ended up with Iron Man, Hulk, Thor, Captain America, Hawkeye, Widow, Fury, S.H.I.E.L.D., all within our rights. Because that obviously led up to The Avengers…”

News Shorts…

…FOX CEO Tom Rothman has given another update on the status of the The Wolverine, which is finally coming together under director James Mangold after what seems like countless delays and setbacks: “Hugh Jackman is finishing Les Miserables in London, we’re gearing up and prepping now. We’ll shoot the stage work in Australia and the location work in Japan, and we’ll start casting in the next month or so. There’ll be a lot of local Japanese talent in it,” Rothman told Collider. “This is […] a pretty original take. It’s based on a very successful run in the comics, but it’s a true Wolverine movie, I mean this is the true berserker, bad ass Wolverine…”

Man of Steel director Zack Snyder will be in attendance at the 2012 Hero Complex Film Festival on May 18th, where he’ll be joined by The Walking Dead creator Robert Kirkman to celebrate the zombie subgenre, but according to the Hero Complex website, he’ll also be sharing “tidbits” about his upcoming projects, including next year’s Superman reboot…

…The Incredible Hulk’s popularity is through the roof at the moment off the back of The Avengers, and now the Green Goliath returns to Marvel’s animated universe as a special guest star in this weekend’s ‘found footage’ episode of Ultimate Spider-Man. If you want to get a look at the Hulk in action, you can watch a couple of clips from the episode here and here

…Switching over to DC Nation, and Cartoon Network have also released a number of preview clips for this weekend’s episodes of Green Lantern: The Animated Series and Young Justice, as well as the DC Nation shorts DC’s World’s Funnest and Animal Man. Check them all out over at ComicBookMovie

…And finally, The Hollywood Reporter are suggesting that CW’s Arrow pilot is “considered a lock” to be picked up for a full series. Based on DC’s Green Arrow – with a Jason Bourne-style twist – the pilot episode features Stephen Amell (Hung) as Oliver Queen, with a supporting cast that includes Katie Cassidy (Taken) as Dinah ‘Laurel’ Lance, Jamey Sheridan (Homeland) as Robert Queen, Susanna Thompson (Kings) as Moira Queen, Willa Holland (Straw Dogs) as Thea Queen, Paul Blackthorne (Justice League: Doom) as Detective Quentin Lance, Colin Salmon (Punisher: War Zone) as Walter Steele, David Ramsey (Dexter) as John Diggle, Darren Shahlavi (Ip Man 2) as Constantine Drakon and Brian Markinson (Battlestar Galactica: Blood and Chrome) as Adam Hunt.

Gary Collinson

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

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

    How so? By saying The Amazing Spider-Man arrived with much less fan-fare? It did… and it's not as good as The Dark Knight Rises trailer… I'm not really sure that's me being biased, just honest.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/XYTDMQ32YNENNZOAHQALDAFTLQ JamesS

    i think ur wrong holy franchise. u and the reviewer. in my theater i actually had 2 people boo after the batman trailer and after spiderman we all cheered.. and they didnt even show the new spiderman trailer it was the second one.. so i dont know where either of you got ur information but everyone for the exception of you 2 are saying the amazing spiderman looks way better that the dark knight

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

    Well, I am the reviewer, so I guess that just makes one of us. But of course you are wildly mistaken if you honestly believe I'm the only person who thinks The Dark Knight Rises looks better than The Amazing Spider-Man. So mistaken in fact, that I'm not even sure how you managed to come to that conclusion. Hit a few message boards, you'll soon see…

  • Asentiff2004

    Fact my ass, what planet do you live on? You think Spider-Man looks better than Dark Knight Rises? Seriously? Stop smoking crack TROLL!