The Week in Spandex – Man of Steel, Justice League, X-Men: Days of Future Past, The Winter Soldier, The Avengers 2, Unbreakable 2, SheZow and more

Our weekly round up of all the latest stories from the world of screen superheroes, including Man of Steel, Justice League and a DC Movie Universe, The Wolverine, X-Men: Days of Future Past, The Avengers 2, Iron Man 3, Thor: The Dark World, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Guardians of the Galaxy, The Incredible Hulk, The Amazing Spider-Man 2, Kick-Ass 2, Unbreakable 2, Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Arrow, Booster Gold, SheZow, Teen Titans Go! and more…

As you’d expect with less than two weeks to go before its release, Man of Steel has dominated much of the headlines again this past week as Warner Bros. continues its marketing blitz for the eagerly-awaited Superman reboot. Having press screened the film in the States, early reactions are starting to trickle through, with the majority of them being extremely positive, while embargoes have been lifted on set visits, leading to a flood of interviews with the cast and crew (I’d recommend checking out Collider’s coverage). Meanwhile, plenty of promotional goodies have arrived online, including several of TV spots [see here, here and here], a ‘Battle of Smallville’ featurette [see here] and almost  50 high resolution stills featuring everyone from director Zack Snyder, producer Christopher Nolan and stars such as Henry Cavill (Superman), Michael Shannon (General Zod), Amy Adams (Lois Lane), Russell Crowe (Jor-El), Kevin Costner (Jonathan Kent), Diane Lane (Martha Kent), Antje Traue (Faora), Ayelet Zurer (Lara Lor-Van), Christopher Meloni (Colonel Hardy) and Laurence Fishburne (Perry White) [see here]….

…Not only does 2013 mark the Man of Steel’s return to the big screen, but it’s also the 75th anniversary of the character created by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster. As part of the celebrations DC Comics has announced that Zack Snyder will team up with the likes of Bruce Timm, Jay Oliva, Mike Carling, Peter Girardi and Geoff Johns to produce a new animated short based upon the iconic superhero. Meanwhile, Snyder has also spoken about his approach to the character in Man of Steel, and more specifically, the comparisons between the reboot and Christopher Nolan’s acclaimed Dark Knight trilogy: “[The only similarity is] that it’s a modern way in looking at the characters. Everyone’s used to Superman in a way, maybe in your mind you say, ‘I know exactly what Superman is.’ We were able to say [with Man of Steel], what about this way of looking at him? We tried to make him more modern but it’s hard to talk about him that way, in those terms. Everyone asks ‘Oh, did you make him more modern’ but what does that mean? We just tried to make him cool…”

…There is of course a growing air of expectancy that Man of Steel will serve as Warner Bros.’ Iron Man, launching a new wave of DC adaptations and both David S. Goyer and Charles Roven have offered a few thoughts on a cohesive DC movie universe this past week. While Goyer stated he “wasn’t sure” about whether he’d have any interest in working on Justice League, Roven was much more upbeat about the possibilities post-Man of Steel: “I think you can go anywhere beyond this film that the mind can take you, and certainly we’ve been reading online all of the various possibilities being laid out there by both fan sites and fans.” Let’s just hope they haven’t been taking some of these “various possibilities” from fans too seriously, otherwise we could potentially end up with a Justice League movie that’s got fifteen or so origin stories and a cast the size of Game of Thrones, with Christian Bale and Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Ryan Reynolds, John Stewart, Lex Luthor, Darkseid, Brainiac and Sinestro, along with a cameo from Lobo and a post-credits sequence featuring Doomsday…

…But what does Superman himself think about Justice League? Speaking to CraveOnline, Henry Cavill revealed that he’s has no idea about Warner Bros.’ plans for the long-rumoured team-up: “You know what, there’s so much talk about it constantly. Everyone’s talking about if Justice League will happen. None of it has ever been official speak. It’s always been what if, and if we were to do, how would we do it? It’s always just been brainstorming and fun ideas as opposed to genuine thoughts. Certainly when it comes to me, because if there is genuine thought about it, it’s probable behind very locked doors.” Similarly, he wasn’t giving anything away about Man of Steel 2: “Of course I’m open to it, very much open to it, but I have no idea what plans are for that. I’m not privy to that kind of information. I think it would be a lot of fun to explore the character further and a continuing journey, but I know nothing about those plans so far…”

…Man of Steel wasn’t the only film to have its set visit embargo lifted this week, with Collider and ScreenRant both posting their coverage of 20th Century Fox’s upcoming X-Men spin-off The Wolverine, which include in-depth interviews with director James Mangold and star Hugh Jackman. Meanwhile two new international posters have surfaced [see here and here], along with a selection of stills featuring Wolverine (Jackman), Mariko (Tao Okamoto), Harada (Will Yun Lee), Shingen (Hiroyki Sanada), Yukio (Rila Fukushima) and Viper (Svetlana Khodchenkova)…

Michael Fassbender and James McAvoy in X-Men: Days of Future Past

…Looking further ahead in the X-Men franchise and some new set photos have arrived online from Bryan Singer’s currently in production X-Men: Days of Future Past, including a shot of Jennifer Lawrence in full make-up as Mystique [see here] and a couple of pictures showing James McAvoy’s Professor X and Michael Fassbender’s Magneto, along with Peter Dinklage’s villain, who is now pretty much confirmed to be Bolivar Trask [see here]. Meanwhile Hugh Jackman has described the upcoming mutant epic as X-Men’s version of The Avengers, as well as expressing his hope for a potential crossover between Fox’s X-Men world and Marvel Studios’ Cinematic Universe: “One of the great things about [X-Men: Days of Future Past] is that a lot of people from Marvel are here and it seems a lot more inclusive than it has been in the past. I don’t know what’s happening behind the scenes, but I think it’s fantastic. I actually just asked the other day, I said, ‘I don’t know what the legal situation is, but why don’t [Fox and Marvel Studios] come together? Why isn’t it possible?’ Because personally, I would love to mix it up with Robert Downey Jr. and Iron Man and kick his ass. It’d be great. (laughs) There you go. There’s your quote. (Laughs)…”

…Of course, given the whole Quicksilver situation, a link up between 20th Century Fox and Marvel Studios seems highly unlikely at this or any other point in time, but despite Bryan Singer swooping in to include the character in Days of Future Past, Joss Whedon has reaffirmed his commitment to include Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch in The Avengers 2 – stating at a Much Ado About Nothing Q&A that the siblings are “in the movie and they’re going to be AWESOME” – while he’s also offered up some minor hints about the 2015 sequel’s plot, and its as-yet-unrevealed bad guy: “I’m very excited about the villain, and have a lot to say about him. But if you watch my shows, the one thing I’ve never been very good at is guest stars, because I’ve always been so interested in the ensemble. With The Avengers, I’m still most fascinated by them. How do these guys feel, and what’s the way they conflict, and what’s the unexpected way they connect? Forming a team is one story; being a team is a very different story. The other thing is, you don’t try to top it. I know I will never make as pleasing a moment in a film as Hulk and Loki. You can’t chase that dragon. If you try to do exactly the same thing, the chances you’re going to do it better are very slim, and the only reason for me to devote three years to making another Avengers movie is the hope of making a better one…”

Iron Man 3 may have got Phase Two of the Marvel Cinematic Universe off to a fantastic start at the box-office (having climbed to fifth in the list of the highest-grossing movies of all time this past week), but it seems there could be trouble behind-the-scenes on the studio’s next release Thor: The Dark World. Earlier this week Marvel parted ways with composer Carter Burwell (True Grit), citing “a creative split”, and there’s also been unconfirmed talk that the studio are in dispute with director Alan Taylor (Game of Thrones) over the cut of the God of Thunder’s second solo outing. Apparently, Marvel want Taylor to trim around half an hour from the film’s 2 1/2 hour plus running time, which the director is reluctant to do, and it’s been said he could take an extended – and enforced – “vacation” when the film opens this November. Whether there’s truth in the reports or not the show must go on, and Marvel has launched the official Thor: The Dark World website, as well as releasing some new stills featuring Hemsworth’s God of Thunder, Christopher Eccleston’s (G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra) Malekith the Accursed and the Dark Elves of Svartalfheim…

…Moving on to next year’s Marvel offerings and while we’ve seen already seen quite a few set images from Joe and Anthony Russo’s Captain America: The Winter Soldier – including shots of Chris Evans (Captain America) and Scarlett Johansson (Black Widow) [see here], Samuel L. Jackson (Nick Fury) [see here] and Anthony Mackie (Sam Wilson / Falcon) [see here] – this week we got our first look at returning Captain America: The First Avenger star Sebastian Stan as the eponymous villain thanks to several spy photos showing The Winter Soldier in action [check them out here]. Meanwhile, it’s also been announced that four new names have been added to the cast, with Jenny Agutter (An American Werewolf in London) reprising her World Security Council role from The Avengers alongside Chin Han (The Dark Knight), Bernard White (The Matrix Reloaded) and Jim Robinson Alan Dale (virtually every American TV from the past decade) as part of Alexander Pierce’s (Robert Redford) S.H.I.E.L.D. team…

Captain America: The Winter Soldier wasn’t the only upcoming Marvel movie to gain some new cast members this past week, with director James Gunn (Super) adding a few names to the cast of Guardians of the Galaxy; first up came word that John C. Reilly (Step Brothers) had been offered the part of Rhomman Dey, a member of the Nova Corps (who in the comics passes on the identity of Nova to Richard Rider), while Glenn Close (Damages) was subsequently announced as the head of the intergalactic police force. And, late last night, it was also revealed that Doctor Who star Karen Gillan has signed on to portray the film’s lead female villain, who remains unknown at this point. Filming on Guardians of the Galaxy is set to begin later this month, with a cast that so far includes Chris Pratt (Parks and Recreation) as Peter Quill/Star-Lord, Zoe Saldana (Avatar) as Gamora, Dave Bautista (Riddick) as Drax the Destroyer and Michael Rooker (The Walking Dead) as Yondu, along with Lee Pace (The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey) and Ophelia Lovibond (London Boulevard)…

…Before we move on from the MCU, director Louis Leterrier has given us some insight into the issues he encountered when helming 2008′s The Incredible Hulk during an interview with The Huffington Post, including his well-documented “clash” with star Ed Norton over the editing of the film: “It literally was about one scene. It’s one scene that still in the movie. It was either the long version of the scene or the short version of the scene. Edward wanted the longer version of the scene and I wanted the shorter version. It was the psychoanalysis scene. It was a very interesting character scene — to go back to what we were talking about. It was analysis, going into the dark places of Bruce Banner — very adult themes. It was a great scene and the scene is on the DVD.” Leterrier then went on to explain how Marvel blocked his first choice for the role of Bruce Branner - The Avengers star Mark Ruffalo: “When people are asking me, because Mark Ruffalo is in [my new film Now You See Me], who’s the better of the Bruce Banners — both are great; both are fantastic — but I actually wanted to cast Mark Ruffalo as Hulk and Marvel was like ‘No, you should get Edward Norton because he’s more famous.’ So you see what I am saying? They are the ones who wanted Edward — and I was thrilled to meet him and work with him. I wanted Mark Ruffalo. And they were like, ‘No, no, he just does smart, intellectual movies…’”

The Amazing Spider-Man 2 NYC set photo

…If you were beginning to fear that The Rhino’s involvement in The Amazing Spider-Man 2 might have been limited to Paul Giamatti’s Russian gangster driving a truck like a mad man before having his pants pulled down by Andrew Garfield’s wall-crawler, then fear no more as this week saw Spider-Man and a pint-sized companion (played by youngster Jorge Vegas) confronting a pre-CGI Rhino in a scene shot on the NYC set; you can check out some images here, as well as a selection of shots featuring Andrew Garfield’s Peter Parker (and Spider-Man) with Emma Stone’s Gwen Stacy [see here and here]. Meanwhile, with the Daily Bugle is set to feature in the upcoming sequel (well, its logo, at least), does that mean we might be in for an appearance from Spidey’s least favourite editor-in-chief J. Jonah Jameson too? And if so, what are the chances of J. K. Simmons returning to the role he made his own in Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man trilogy? Not good, according to the man himself, with Simmons telling MTV: “There’s always talk. I’m doing it in animation land [on Ultimate Spider-Man], but Sam Raimi’s take on the world of Spider-Man has run its course. We were all excited and ramping up for ‘Spider-Man 4‘ a few years ago, but for a variety of ridiculous showbiz reasons it ended up not happening. The reboot is a very different universe. Both versions are legitimate, and this one doesn’t have a J. Jonah Jameson so far. As far as I know, I won’t be putting on the flat-top again…”

…Having been pushed back from its original July release date to avoid (presumed) big hitters such as The Lone Ranger, Pacific Rim and The Wolverine, things have fallen pretty quiet on the Kick-Ass 2 front for the time being, but to keep things ticking over Universal have released a few new images from the Jeff Wadlow-directed sequel, including shots of Hit-Girl (Chloe Grace Moretz), The Mother F*cker (Christopher Mintz-Plasse) and Colonel Stars and Stripes (Jim Carrey) [see here], as well as Kick-Ass (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) himself [see here]…

…During an interview with EW, Fast & Furious 6 star Michelle Rodriguez was asked if she has any interest in portraying a superhero on the big screen: “I was a big Iron Man, Superman, and big Spider-Man fan. I love all the DC Comic characters. I love all the great male superheroes. They’re awesome. I especially love the rebellious ones like the Punisher. Like when he went head to head with Spider-Man? That was so cool! There aren’t a lot of chicks that I like at all in comics, as a matter of fact, in order to have one, I’d probably have to invent one. They just don’t exist now…”

…Another thing that just doesn’t exist now is M. Night Shyamalan’s credibility as a filmmaker, and with the Will Smith / Jaden Smith sci-fi epic After Earth seemingly adding to his run of misfires, the director could be looking for one last throw of the dice by returning to the superhero genre for the long-rumoured sequel to 2000′s Unbreakable. According to Shyamalan, Unbreakable 2 is “on his radar” and that “as long as it can be connected to something that I’m feeling right now then it’ll work for me.” While that’s all well and good, Shyamalan should probably remember that he couldn’t get the a green light for Unbreakable 2 way back when his stock was at its highest…

…Shifting to the small screen and we’ve heard on several occasions not to expect too many familiar faces from the Marvel Universe popping up in ABC’s upcoming TV series Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., so it will come as little surprise to learn that there’s no truth to a report this week which suggested Travis Love (The Walking Dead) had been hired to portray Tony Masters – a.k.a. Taskmaster – in the already-shot-and-in-the-can pilot episode of the Joss Whedon-produced series…

…During an interview with IGN, Arrow star Stephen Amell offered a few details about what we can expect for his character in the second season of The CW’s hit superhero show: “We’re just going to find everybody in a different place. I think we’re actually going to find Oliver literally in a different place at the beginning of next year. It’s our second season, but it’s kind of like a new series. So I’m excited… The reason that he was the vigilante, the Hood, all that stuff is gone now. Merlyn’s been stopped, the list is essentially somewhat obsolete, the Glades are destroyed. If he’s going to become the vigilante again or something different, he’s gonna need a new reason…”

…Oliver Queen could soon be joined on the box by another DC Comics character, with Arrow executive producer Andrew Kreisberg taking to Twitter to reveal that he’s submitting his script for the pilot episode of Booster Gold to SyFy this coming week…

…There was some controversy this week when U.S. kid’s network The Hub announced that it was to air a new cartoon series entitled SheZow, which centres on a 12-year-old boy called Guy who turns into a female superhero by activating a magic ring with the catchphrase “you go, girl!”. Particularly upset was Ben Shapiro of Breitbart News, who slammed the show as part of a left-wing conspiracy to indoctrinate children into accepting “gender-bending” (presumably Ben would rather indoctrinate them in discrimination?), with SheZow creator Obie Scott Wade subsequently offering the following response via io9: “Just based on what they wrote, they’re reading a lot into the show that’s not there. I didn’t set out to make a show about any sort of political agenda, I just wanted to make a comedy. I wanted to make a cartoon that I would have liked as a kid. So I think people are just reading a lot into it. And one of the biggest misconceptions people have about SheZow is that Guy’s body changes when he puts on the ring: it doesn’t, he’s still a boy, just wearing a different outfit and hair. And the only ones who know that SheZow is a boy are his sister, his best friend Maz, and his supercomputer named Sheila — everybody else thinks SheZow is a girl…”

…As always, The World’s Finest has also posted a selection of stills and clips from this coming Tuesday’s episode of Teen Titans Go!; entitled ‘Hey Pizza’, the episode sees Robin struggling with the decision whether to build a senior center or a pool, while Beast Boy and Cyborg try to get a pizza for free. Scintillating stuff, I’m sure you’ll agree…

…Warner Bros. Animation may have revealed the title of the next instalment in the ongoing DC Universe Animated Original Movies line of direct-to-video features, with the box art to the upcoming Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox announcing a special sneak peek at Justice League: War. As yet, there’s been no official confirmation from Warner Bros., but you can check out the box art for yourself over at The World’s Finest

…And finally, in celebration of the Man of Steel’s impending return to the big screen, June is ‘Superman Month’ here at Flickering Myth; things get underway today with a review of Kal-El’s first full-length motion picture, the George Reeves-headlined Superman and the Mole-Men from 1951, and over the next few weeks our writing team will be reviewing all of Superman’s movie appearances, as well as posting a selection of features about the man himself. Oh, and we might just have a few Man of Steel posts in there too…

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://delusionallosers.wordpress.com/ Anthony Donovan Stokes

    People are making Marvel look real bad right now

  • debrawells

    From all the things I’ve been reading about Marvel wanting to cheap out on both personnel and, thereby, quality, I’m appalled.
    Because they have had such smashing successes, of late, they seem to have the idea that people will come in droves no matter who plays the parts, writes the music, directs or how many minutes we’re given for our buck.
    This kind of thinking will, ultimately, precipitate a fall.
    The actors are right: just right. That’s why the movies have worked. Start messing with the casts–”Avengers”, notably– and I don’t care how devoted the fans are, they will diminish in number. These are the people we see, we like, we cheer on. Why does some talking head seem to believe that it’s all the story and none of the character? If they continue down this path, they’ll discover that we don’t want just any Hulk: we want Ruffalo–the first actor to play the role spot on. We want Evans as Cap, we want Hemsworth as Thor. I see Marvel movies multiple times. Take away the people I want to see and I will boycott. I’m not alone in this.
    I want the extra half hour for “Thor 2″. Every blessed minute of it, which I will savor a half dozen times before the film leaves the theater. Changing composers from the original was already a stupid idea. The music from “Thor” was throat-chokingly beautiful.
    I don’t know what is wrong with the Marvel honchos (too big for their drawers, no doubt), but I hope Downey makes good on his threat to walk if the studio decides the people we want to watch are not worth paying .
    Until I see some forward-thinking–understanding audience wants and needs–I’ll remain disgusted.

    • AdrFax

      Frankly, I could not agree more… it’s very disappointing that Marvel are letting lose, green billion-dollar fumes tampered their judgment or something… supposedly they want the film to be shorter because it allows for more screenings after release, gathering more $$$… if they focused on content and not quantity, they would gain just as much giving fans what they want and expect.

    • John B

      There is no way Robert Iger will allow Fiege to mess this up over money is there? All it would take is one phone call from Iger with one directive: “open the purse and make Disney another billion or Ill find someone who will.” Fiege cant be this stupid

      • debrawells

        The most comprehensive article I’ve read on this–and the one which all others on the subject have quoted–can be found at Deadline Hollywood: “Avengers Cast and Stingy Marvel Ready to Rumble over Sequel Cash and Strong-Arming.”
        There seems to be enough idiocy to go around among the Marvel bureaucracy. It’s so disappointing that, instead of celebrating these fun and transporting movies with those who contributed to their success, they spoil the entire experience with a major and completely undeserved cheap-out.
        I do think, as mentioned in my first post, this kind of attitude invariably precipitates a fall. I hope someone wakes up before that happens.