The Week in Spandex – Iron Man 3, Man of Steel, The Avengers 2, The Wolverine, The Fantastic Four, Doctor Strange and more

Our weekly round up of the latest stories from the world of screen superheroes, including Iron Man 3, Thor: The Dark World, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Guardians of the Galaxy, The Avengers 2, Doctor Strange, Man of Steel, Superman Lives, The Wolverine, X-Men: Days of Future Past, The Fantastic Four, The Amazing Spider-Man 2, Kick-Ass 2, Hellboy 3, Arrow, Avengers Assemble, Superman: Unbound, Teen Titans Go! and more….

Iron Man 3 cast and crew posterAfter what must have been an agonising wait for North American audiences, Iron Man 3 finally made its way across the Pond this week, posting a $15.6 million midnight opening on Thursday to kick off a projected $160 million plus weekend at the domestic box office. Marvel’s first Phase Two offering has already pulled in $345 million from international markets by Friday – having topped the debut weekend of The Avengers, dominated the UK box office, and shattered the midnight opening record in the lucrative Chinese market – and the Shane Black-directed solo sequel has now overtaken the worldwide hauls of both The Incredible Hulk ($263.4 million) and Captain America: The First Avenger ($368.6 million). By Sunday, it should have surpassed Thor ($449.3 million) and could even be pushing the total grosses of Iron Man ($585.2 million) and Iron Man 2 ($623.9 million)…

…If you’re still clamoring for all things Iron Man, Marvel Studios has given us a look at a rather splendid pulp-style cast and crew poster (which you can see above), along with 16 minutes of behind-the-scenes footage from Iron Man 3, which includes interviews with Shane Black, Robert Downey Jr. (Tony Stark / Iron Man), Ben Kingsley (The Mandarin), Don Cheadle (Rhodey / Iron Patriot) and Marvel legend Stan Lee. TheVerge also posted a featurette centred on the Mandarin, while Ben Kingsley spoke to The Huffington Post about that twist, and if you’re yet to see the film, I’d suggest holding off a while before you click that last link…

The Winter Soldier concept art

…The latest issue of Entertainment Weekly was packed full of details about Marvel’s slate for Phase Two and beyond, with Kevin Feige confirming that the rights to Ghost Rider have reverted to Marvel Studios (so I guess that means we really won’t be seeing Nicolas Cage back for a third outing), as well as offering up some details on Thor: The Dark World, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Guardians of the Galaxy, The Avengers 2, Ant-Man and Joss Whedon’s small screen Avengers spin-off Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.; check out the highlights here, along with a new image of Chris Hemsworth’s God of Thunder in Thor: The Dark World and previously unseen concept art of from Captain America: The Winter Soldier (featuring Sebastian Stan’s Winter Soldier) and Guardians of the Galaxy

…Of course, with Iron Man 3 rolling out across the rest of the world this past week in the build up to yesterday’s North American release, the ever-busy Kevin Feige has been taking part in a tonne of promotional interviews, fielding questions on just about every aspect of the Marvel Cinematic Universe that you can think of; EW posted coverage of a Q&A from the CapeTown Film Festival, during which Feige addressed the possibility of a Daredevil reboot and a She-Hulk feature; speaking to The Huffington Post, he offered up some spoilery thoughts on the thinking heind Iron Man 3’s ‘reimagined’ Mandarin, the possibility of Robert Downey Jr. returning as Tony Stark / Iron Man (“it certainly is our plan to continue to have Robert Downey in the persona of Tony Stark for many, many years to come”) and the casting of screen legend Robert Redford in The Winter Soldier; and chatting with SuperHeroHype, he confirmed that Iron Man is an integral part of The Avengers 2, as well as explaining why he wants to make Ant-Man and what – if any – impact he believes Disney’s acquisition of Star Wars could have on the MCU (the short answer: none, which isn’t surprising considering the roll that Marvel Studios has found itself on)…

Anthony Mackie as Falcon in Captain America: The Winter Soldier…In other Phase Two bits and pieces, we’ve had our first look at Anthony Mackie (Pain & Gain) in full costume as Falcon in Captain America: The Winter Soldier courtesy of some new set photos [see here], as well as a collection of spy snaps featuring Chris Evans’ Steve Rogers and Scarlett Johansson’s Natasha Romanov confronting S.H.I.E.L.D.’s Agent Jasper Sitwell, played by The Avengers’ Maximiliano Hernández [see here]. Elsewhere Star Trek Into Darkness star Zoe Saldana had a few words for Total Film about her upcoming role as Gamora in Guardians of the Galaxy, revealing that the character will be realised through traditional make-up as opposed to CGI or performance capture, and director James Gunn has taken to Facebook to defend criticism Chris Pratt (Parks and Recreation), who is set to play the Guardians’ leader Star-Lord alongside the likes of Dave Bautista (Riddick) as Drax the Destroyer, Michael Rooker (The Walking Dead) as Yondu, Lee Pace (The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey) as an as-yet-unrevealed villain and Ophelia Lovibond (Mr. Popper’s Penguins) as an aide to The Collector…

…Phase Two will of course culminate with the release of The Avengers 2 in 2015, and while it had been expected that Earth’s Mightiest Heroes would go up against Thanos in the sequel, Joss Whedon has hinted that the Mad Titan could be held back for The Avengers 3: “Thanos is more powerful. He’s not someone you just trot out and punch him. Like you did in the comics, you want him to be threading through the universe and to save the big finale for the big finale. He’s definitely a part of what I’ve got going on. The thing about The Avengers is, that they are very powerful, but they aren’t very stable. There’ll definitely be some people who are gonna shake them up in the next instalment…”

…Sticking with The Avengers 2 for a moment, and after Joss Whedon’s comments last week that his script for the sequel introduces a “brother/sister act”, it has apparently been confirmed that siblings Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch will become the latest characters to debut in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Although the two Avengers are the offspring of Magneto in the comic books, Marvel Studios will be unable to make reference to the Master of Magnetism or the fact that the characters are mutants, due to the fact that 20th Century Fox hold the movie rights to X-Men (and can also use their own incarnations of the characters). Meanwhile, after Morris Chestnut (Kick-Ass 2) blew any chance he had of playing Black Panther by stating that T’Challa could appear in The Avengers 2, El Mayimbe of Latino Review is suggesting that 42 star Chadwick Boseman is now under serious consideration for the role (which probably spells bad news for Boseman and his chances)…

…Before we move on from the Marvel Cinematic Universe, we’ll briefly turn our attention to Phase Three, with Kevin Feige revealing that the long-rumoured Doctor Strange movie has moved into active development and is likely to join Ant-Man as part of the studio’s next wave of movies: “Our executive producer of Iron Man 3, having done Captain America: The First Avenger and as that was finishing he started working on the bones that would become Iron Man 3, and now that he’s finished with Iron Man 3, he’s working on the bones that would become Doctor Strange. Now that Iron Man 3 is finished, some of our quote-unquote spare time is going to be devoted to trying to crack Strange. As we look past 2015, past Avengers 2 and Ant-Man, I think Doctor Strange should be one of the next movies in the years following that…”

Man of Steel movie poster…Taking a break from the multitude of Marvel movies now and with less than six weeks to go until the arrival of Man of Steel, Warner Bros. has released a new poster and banner featuring Henry Cavill’s Superman, as well as offering up some new footage from the Zack Snyder-directed reboot courtesy of two TV spots. Elsewhere, we’ve had our first look at General Zod (Michael Shannon) wearing his battle helmet, while the Boardwalk Empire star spoke briefly about his role as the Kryptonian warlord during promotional interviews for his latest film The Iceman with EW and The Huffington Post. Zack Snyder and his wife and producing partner Deborah Snyder also had a few words for SFX (via ComicBookMovie) about eagerly-anticipated film, including the casting of Henry Cavill, the reimagined Superman suit and how the director feels his film can compete in today’s Marvel-dominated superhero movie landscape: “If you get [Man of Steel] right, that’s the question you’ll be asking everyone else. That should be the question you’re asking Iron Man and Thor. How is it you feel you can be making a superhero movie in a world where Superman and Batman exist..?”

…If you’re looking to avoid any potential spoilers from Man of Steel, you might want to skip ahead to the next paragraph now… Okay, so it seems that Superman’s costume, Lois Lane’s (Amy Adams) hair colour and Perry White’s (Laurence Fishburne) ethnicity might not be the only changes to the Superman mythos we’ll see this June. According to a new report, General Zod’s motivation for coming to Earth is to bring Kal-El back to Krypton, which obviously means his home planet was never destroyed (and would also explain the lack of Kryptonite): “In this iteration, Clark Kent’s heroic tendencies would rise to the surface only when the threat was great enough. It would have to be a global menace — one that might also trigger an internal conflict about whether he belongs on Earth even as he yearns to be among his own kind. That’s what pits him against General Zod (Boardwalk Empire’s Michael Shannon), a Kryptonian tyrant who wants Clark to join him back on Krypton, which would mean abandoning his post as defender of the weaklings of Earth…” Update – well, looks like the rumour has been debunked by none other than Russell Crowe, via his Twitter

Brainiac concept art from Superman Lives

…ComicBookMovie has uncovered a selection of concept art from illustrator Rolf Mohr produced for the ill-fated Superman Lives, which would have been directed by Tim Burton, with Nicolas Cage taking the lead as the Last Son of Krypton. Among the images are sketches for Superman, Doomsday, Brainiac, Lexiac (a hybrid Brainiac and Lex Luthor) and the infamous giant mechanical spider which producer Jon Peters finally managed to force upon director Barry Sonnenfeld for his 1999 steampunk western Wild Wild West

…Back in March, 20th Century Fox gave fans at WonderCon a sneak peek at the upcoming X-Men solo sequel The Wolverine, and this week saw the studio releasing the snikt!astic minute-long trailer online, which featured plenty of new footage from the film, including a glimpse of Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine going up against his nemesis, the absolutely giant Silver Samurai (Will Yun Lee). Check it out here along with a new Silver Samurai poster, and be sure to head over to SlashFilm to see Jackman’s video responses to a Twitter Q&A, during which he touches upon the Japanese setting, the film’s supporting cast, his thoughts on director James Mangold, the pressure of carrying a solo X-Men movie, and reuniting with Bryan Singer and the majority of the original X-Men cast for the currently-in-production X-Men: Days of Future Past

…And while we’re on the subject of X-Men: Days of Future Past, director Bryan Singer has given us our first look at a leather jacket-sporting Hugh Jackman (or at least, the back of a leather jacket-sporting Hugh Jackman’s head) as Logan on the set of the mutant epic, as well as a behind-the-scenes image of the returning Ellen Page as Kitty Pryde. The new images are the latest in a series of Twitter character reveals from Singer, which have so far included Patrick Stewart’s Professor Xavier, Nicholas Hoult’s Beast, Halle Berry’s Storm and Shawn Ashmore’s Iceman. Of course, with a cast that also includes James McAvoy (Professor X), Michael Fassbender (Magneto), Jennifer Lawrence (Mystique), Ian McKellen (Magneto), Anna Paquin (Rogue), Daniel Cudmore (Colossus) and X-Men newcomers Fan Binbing (Iron Man 3) as Blink, along with Omar Sy (The Intouchables), Booboo Stewart (The Twilight Saga: Eclipse) and Peter Dinklage (Game of Thrones), Singer certainly has a healthy supply of Twitter content to see him through the shoot…

…Looking beyond the X-Men franchise, and this week has brought us our first real casting rumours on Fox’s upcoming reboot The Fantastic Four, with director Josh Trank said to be keen to reunite with his Chronicle star Michael B. Jordan, who has apparently met with the studio on several occasions about stepping into Chris Evans’ shoes as Johnny Storm, a.k.a. the Human Torch. With Jordan being a black actor, the news certainly sparked plenty of debate around this potential change of ethnicity for the youngest member of Marvel’s First Family, and also conflicted with earlier reports that white actress Allison Williams (Girls) was being eyed for the Torch’s sister Susan Storm / The Invisible Woman…

…Moving on to another Marvel universe (if you can call it a universe with just one property now that Ghost Rider is back at Marvel Studios) and this week has brought us another selection of spy photos from the set of Sony’s The Amazing Spider-Man 2, which sees Andrew Garfield’s wall-crawler meeting Jamie Foxx’s pre-Electro Max Dillon [see here], along with our first look at the Russian gangster Aleksei Sytsevich (a.k.a. Rhino), thanks to a shot of a stuntman dressed in a latex Paul Giamatti mask and ‘Hollywood Russian gangster costume’, a.k.a. an unzipped Adidas tracksuit and gold belcher chain [see here]. Giamatti’s stunt double was spotted during the filming of a huge chase scene, and you can check out an assortment of set photos and videos of the stunt sequence in progress over at ComicBookMovie

…Things have fallen a little silent on the Kick-Ass 2 front as Universal’s sequel takes a back seat to Marvel and Man of Steel, although a new image has surfaced featuring Jim Carrey’s Colonel Stars and Stripes in training with fellow Justice Forever members Battle Guy (Clark Duke), Insect Man (Robert Emms) and the crimefighting couple Remembering Tommy…

Ron Perlman as Hellboy

…With Guillermo del Toro set to follow the upcoming Pacific Rim with the Victorian ghost story Crimson Peak and an adaptation of DC’s Justice League Dark on the horizon, it’s starting to look increasingly unlikely that we’ll see the filmmaker returning for the long-rumoured third instalment in the Hellboy franchise. Nevertheless, Ron Perlman hasn’t quite given up hope, with the actor taking a moment to urge his buddy to complete the trilogy by moving ahead with Hellboy 3 before its too late: “I’ve been giving Guillermo body shots for two years. We both walked away from Hellboy 2 agreeing that there would never be another one. But, with the passage of time, it became clear to me that he really always designed it as a trilogy. He has a very well-articulated idea of what the resolve would look like and it’s amazingly theatrical and is epic in scope and would make for amazing cinema, with or without the first two movies. But there are so many questions posed in the first two films that absolutely need to be answered. I said, ‘You owe it to the world to finish this trilogy.’ I’ve been giving him Jewish guilt. He’s just so busy, but I’m going to keep working away at the body. I’m pushing seventy so he better f*cking do this soon…”

…As we approach the penultimate episode of Arrow, The CW has released a May Sweeps poster for its hit superhero series, while TV Guide got its hands on a couple of mildly-spoilery stills from the season finale ‘Sacrifice’, which is due to air in the States on May 15th. First up is ‘Darkness on the Edge of Town’ this coming Wednesday; here’s the official episode description, and check out an extended promo: “With the Undertaking days away, Malcolm (guest star John Barrowman) dons his black hood to conclude business with seismologist Dr. Brion Markov (guest star Eric Floyd) and his team. Oliver (Stephen Amell) and Moira (Susanna Thompson) entertain a number of surprise – and mostly unwelcome – visitors. Hooded confrontations at home and the Meryln Global Group reveal dark secrets. Meanwhile, Roy (guest star Colton Haynes) and Thea (Willa Holland) are still looking out for a hero. Laurel (Katie Cassidy) makes a decision after Tommy’s (Colin Donnell) revelation. In a flashback to the island, Oliver, Slade (guest star Manu Bennett) and Shado (guest star Celina Jade) struggle to prevent Fyers (guest star Sebastian Dunn) from shooting a Ferris Air jet out of the sky…”

The Suicide Squad

…Turning towards the second season of Arrow and executive producer Andrew Kreisberg has hinted that a version of The Suicide Squad could be set to arrive in Starling City, which probably adds a further nail into the coffin of producer Dan Lin’s (Godzilla) planned big screen adaptation: “The Suicide Squad is definitely something we’ve discussed with DC Comics. There’s no definitive plans right now to introduce Amanda Waller, but certainly we carefully chose A.R.G.U.S. and did not make Lyla Michaels work for the FBI or CIA. A.R.G.U.S. is the S.H.I.E.L.D. of the DC Universe, and it felt like a fun thing to introduce into our world. And we hope it’ll play a bigger role in Season 2…”

…If Phase Two isn’t enough to satisfy your Marvel cravings, Earth’s Mightiest Heroes will be heading back to the small screen in animated form this summer for the new cartoon series Avengers Assemble, and Disney XD has released a new poster for the upcoming show which evokes the theatrical one-sheet for last year’s blockbuster, albeit with Nick Fury replaced by new recruit Falcon…

…Warner Bros. marketing department has been working overtime on the promotional campaign for the forthcoming direct-to-video animated feature Superman: Unbound, which hits shelves this coming Tuesday. Check out a new clip featuring Lois and Clark, along with video interviews with voice actors Matt Bomer (Superman) and Molly Quinn (Supergirl)…

…And finally, any hope of Young Justice and Green Lantern: The Animated Series returning to DC Nation has been dashed by the news that Warner Bros. has squashed a fan campaign by SMGO to save the two series. So, it looks like DC Comics fans will have to make do with Teen Titans Go! and the upcoming Beware the Batman for their DC Nation fix this year; head over to The World’s Finest to view a gallery of clips and images from this weekend’s Teen Titans Go!, and be sure to pick up DC’s Free Comic Book Day super sampler today for a taste of Beware the Batman ahead of the CG-animated show’s premiere in July. 

Holy Franchise, Batman! Bringing the Caped Crusader to the Screen – Available now via Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.com.

Gary Collinson



Around the Internet…

  • http://awkwardmoviereviews.wordpress.com/ Anthony Donovan Stokes

    The poster isn't retro style ,it's a pulp novel poster inspired by the Johnny Gossamer books from Shane Black's Directorial Debut Kiss Kiss Bang Bang

  • http://flickeringmyth.blogspot.com/ Flickering Myth

    You are correct.

  • http://awkwardmoviereviews.wordpress.com/ Anthony Donovan Stokes

    Hmmm.. She – Hulk? Marvel is really scaring me with it's choices for characters or at least the rumored ones, how about Class B characters only.

  • http://awkwardmoviereviews.wordpress.com/ Anthony Donovan Stokes

    Thank you good sir

  • http://awkwardmoviereviews.wordpress.com/ Anthony Donovan Stokes

    I think if Fox goes with those two casting choices with Fantastic Four I might gain a little interest, especially the guy from Chronicle, Handsome, Funny, and charming as hell. Shit he'd probably make a decent tony stark in an alternate universe

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

    If they're anxious over another Hulk movie, there's no chance that She-Hulk will get a solo movie. Seems like Marvel are just throwing names out to keep the fans talking and speculating. A lot of these characters, they could probably hold their own movie, but selling it to the public and keeping the run of big-money hits going won't be easy. I think we might see quite a few of the

  • http://awkwardmoviereviews.wordpress.com/ Anthony Donovan Stokes

    I really want to see Iron Fist and Black Panther

  • http://www.facebook.com/BobWhite78 Robert R White

    Pretty sure Krypton blows up Man of Steel: The Fate of Krypton<br />http://amzn.com/0062235931