The Week in Spandex – Kick-Ass 2, Thor: The Dark World, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Batman vs. Superman, X-Men: Days of Future Past, Chronicle 2 and more

Our weekly round up of the latest stories from the world of screen superheroes, including Kick-Ass 2, Thor: The Dark World, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Guardians of the Galaxy, The Avengers: Age of Ultron, Ant-Man, Iron Man 3, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Super Buddies, X-Men: Days of Future Past, The Wolverine, Chronicle 2, Batman vs. Superman, Arrow, The Flash, Aquaman, Beware the Batman, Teen Titans Go!, Super Pets and more

Well, the year’s fourth big superhero movie is now here, with Universal’s Kick-Ass 2 pulling in an estimated $1.3 million midnight debut in the States on Thursday and looks to be heading for a domestic weekend of around $20 million, battling it out against Lee Daniels’ The Butler for first place at the box office. With a production budget of just $28 million, the sequel to Matthew Vaughn’s 2010 cult hit looks to be a surefire success and should be in the black globally by close of play this weekend, meaning we should probably expect to see the green light given to an adaptation of the third and final instalment of Mark Millar and John Romita Jr.’s comic book trilogy in the very near future (unless they want to change Hit-Girl to Hit-Woman, that is). Anyway, here’s a couple of excerpts from our spoiler free Kick-Ass 2 reviews here at Flickering Myth…

Kick-Ass 2 is not, by any stretch of the imagination, your average superhero movie. The best thing about this movie is that is doesn’t have an ego. It is so utterly self-deprecating and self-aware that it’s hard not to love it. There’s something about the homemade costumes, the fact that none of Justice Forever can really fight, but still win; the idea that anyone can go out and stand up to the bad guys. What makes this film a cut above similar movies is the believable, gritty reality of the characters in moments of tension, and the consequences that threaten them. Just like the first one, this film has moments of nail biting tension and moments where you also want to give Dave or Mindy a big hug. Meanwhile, in its simplicity it maintains a level of closeness with its audience that can’t be had with other, more fantastical superhero movies – and that for me is Kick-Ass 2′s greatest triumph…” – Kirsty Capes; read her ★★★★ review here

…If it sounds like a mixed bag, truth be told it is, but don’t let that cloud the fact that Kick-Ass 2 is still very enjoyable. Some of the action scenes are good fun, and have some decent laughs despite the less biting tone, but without the superb turn of Moretz, it would have fallen well short of the original. As it is, it’s not quite what we were hoping for, but it’s still worth taking the ride….” – Scott Davis; read his ★★★ review here

…While you’re on, be sure to check out Kirsty’s interview with director Jeff Wadlow, during which he discusses his work on the film, his thoughts on Jim Carrey, 20th Century Fox’s X-Force adaptation, and whether he’s got any interest in returning for Kick-Ass 3; we’ve also got a couple of featurettes centred on Aaron Taylor-Johnson’s Kick-Ass and Chloe Grace Moretz’s Hit-Girl, while Sky Movies has an interview – kind of – with Cinna, the German Shepherd who plays Colonel Stars and Stripes’ crime-fighting partner Sophia…

…Last weekend saw Marvel Studios showcasing their Phase Two line-up at Disney’s D23 Expo, during which director Alan Taylor took a moment to discuss the similarities between the upcoming Thor: The Dark World (which has been confirmed for an international IMAX 3D release from October 30th) and Game of Thrones during an interview with IGN, as well as commenting on the current round of reshoots and rumours of a fall-out between himself and Marvel Studios: “There’s a rumor out there that I was hanging on to a long cut and that Marvel wanted a shorter cut. Hilariously, that was never an issue because I don’t know what the running time is. The change it’s going through now had nothing to do with running time. There are some tonal pushes and shoves. We have relationships [in the movie] that we need to end the right way and there’re new ways of branding them than we had before. The one fall-out I had with Marvel was over music. I had a composer [Carter Burwell] that I really wanted to go with, and it didn’t work out with Marvel…”

…Also coinciding with D23 was the release of a new synopsis for Chris Evans’ second solo outing as Captain America, which is due to hit cinemas in April of next year: “After the cataclysmic events in New York with The Avengers, Marvel’s Captain America: The Winter Soldier finds Steve Rogers, aka Captain America, living quietly in Washington, D.C. and trying to adjust to the modern world. But when a S.H.I.E.L.D. colleague comes under attack, Steve becomes embroiled in a web of intrigue that threatens to put the world at risk. Joining forces with the Black Widow, Captain America struggles to expose the ever-widening conspiracy while fighting off professional assassins sent to silence him at every turn. When the full scope of the villainous plot is revealed, Captain America and the Black Widow enlist the help of a new ally, the Falcon. However, they soon find themselves up against an unexpected and formidable enemy—the Winter Soldier.”

Chris Pratt as Star-Lord in Guardians of the Galaxy…Marvel caused quite the stir at Comic-Con and D23 by giving fans an early look at James Gunn’s Guardians of the Galaxy and the footage leaked online this past week, although unfortunately the studio’s legal department has since been working overtime to remove any trace of the leak (I’m sure if you dig deep enough in Google you’ll be able to find it. In other Guardians news, along with a batch of London set photos featuring extra-terrestrial extras, Vin Diesel’s big Marvel announcement has finally been revealed this week, with the Fast & Furious star signing on to lend his voice to Groot (according to Diesel, the role appealed as Vin’s too busy for a bigger role, Vin’s doing it for the fans, and Vin can do what the f*ck he wants, including repeatedly referring to himself in the third person). So, that just leaves one place in the cast now, and if rumours from GuardtheGalaxy are to be believed the director’s brother Sean Gunn (Gilmore Girls) may have signed on to lend his voice to Rocket Raccoon…

…And just to wrap things up from D23, you can watch highlights of the presentations for Thor: The Dark World, Captain America: The Winter Soldier and Guardians of the Galaxy here, and be sure to check out a selection of interviews including Thor stars Anthony Hopkins (Odin), Natalie Portman (Jane Foster) and Tom Hiddleston (Loki) [see here, here and here], Captain America directors Anthony and Joe Russo and stars Sebastian Stan (Bucky Barnes / The Winter Soldier) and Anthony Mackie (Sam Wilson / Falcon) [see here], along with Cap himself Chris Evans, who also offered confirmation that Joss Whedon’s hugely-anticipated sequel The Avengers: Age of Ultron is set to start shooting the first week of March 2014 [see here]…

…And while we’re on the subject of The Avengers: Age of Ultron, Kick-Ass star Aaron Taylor-Johnson has again discussed the possibility of him joining the roster of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes in the role of the silver-haired speedster Quicksilver during a chat with HeyUGuys: “It’s not 100% yet, it’s not official. You’ve got to remember that they start filming next year in February or March or something like that so we’re still a long way away. It’s all in discussion and in a friendly way as well, you know, I’ve met with Joss Whedon now twice and we spoke about it a lot and I’ve been with the Marvel guys and they’re f*cking awesome dudes, so I am flattered to be asked to be a part of The Avengers, who wouldn’t? But more importantly to me, I have to know if I can convey that character in the right way because that’s what it comes down to. So that’s all for now really, they still have loads of other characters and actors to make sure they can schedule and stuff. I’d f*cking love to do it…”

…Just as Vin Diesel sparked speculation about a possible role in the Marvel Cinematic Universe by posting an image of himself next to an Avengers poster at Marvel’s HQ, so too did The World’s End and Star Trek Into Darkness star Simon Pegg, who set tongues wagging about him potentially securing the role of Hank Pym in Edgar Wright’s Ant-Man this week by posting an image of him pointing to the character. However, not so according to Pegg himself, who played down the speculation by stating: “FFS the Internet. All I did was point at the central character in my dear friend’s next movie, because I’m excited for him…”

…As Iron Man 3 gears up for its home entertainment release next month, we’ve seen a sneak peek at some of the special features, including a clip from the gag reel a deleted scene featuring Ben Kingsley’s ‘Mandarin’, and another spoilery deleted scene featuring the ‘Mandarin’, Robert Downey Jr.’s Iron Man and Don Cheadle’s Rhodey. Meanwhile, if you can speak the language, you might want to check out another scene from the Chinese cut of the film featuring Xueqi Wang and Binbing Fan…

…Speaking of Iron Man, Marvel may have tied Robert Downey Jr. up to return as Tony Stark for the next two instalments of The Avengers, but that hasn’t stopped 2 Guns star Mark Wahlberg from expressing his interest in taking over the role of Tony Stark in the future – as well as revealing that he was previously under consideration for the role of the Boy Wonder in Joel Schumacher’s Batman films: “I would like to take over the Iron Man franchise for Robert Downey. But it’s one of those things where I kind of like playing real people, [so] I’ve never been asked. Once I was kind of being talked about for the Robin role in Batman Forever. Somebody dodged a bullet…”

…With the runaway success of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, it was only a matter of time before Disney’s Buddies franchise got in on the superhero act, and sure enough this week brought a trailer for the upcoming direct-to-video release Super Buddies, which sees Air Bud’s offspring Budderball, Mudbud, B-Dawg, Buddha and Rosebud gaining super powers courtesy of magic rings (surely they should have gone with collars?). Check out the official trailer and synopsis here

…Before we move on from Marvel Studios, Entertainment Weekly has revealed that British actor Ian Hart (Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, Luck) has signed on for a recurring role as an unnamed scientist in Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., as well as revealing the show has an unwritten rule stating that “all super-powers introduced on the show must be explained by science – not magic or supernatural forces…”

…It wasn’t just the Guardians of the Galaxy footage leaking online this week, with a minute and a half of 20th Century Fox’s X-Men: Days of Future Past footage also surfacing online [watch it here, while you still can], while we also got our first look at Evan Peters (American Horror Story) as Quicksilver, thanks to two low-quality photos showing the character with his daddy Magneto (Michael Fassbender). Meanwhile director Bryan Singer also gave us another look at Fassbender’s Magneto with his latest behind-the-scenes production photo, along with a rather ominous-looking snap of mutant artifacts

…With his sixth outing as The Wolverine breaking the $300 million mark at the global box office this past week, a rumour emerged suggesting that Fox was set to offer Hugh Jackman a bumper $100 million payday to return as Wolverine for four more movies after next year’s Days of Future Past, although the actor has subsequently denied the claims, telling Entertainment Weekly that: “It’s not true. I would never do that. I’ve never done that mainly because, for the fans and for me, each time I’ve gone around there’s been a really good reason to do it and I don’t know what that reason is from here. I’m in the middle of making this and I just promoted the other and I’m really happy with the way The Wolverine came out.” Still, it wouldn’t be too much of a surprise to see Jackman reprising the role again after next year, especially as The Wolverine has now exceeded the $296 million gross of 2000′s X-Men and looks set to put up a strong challenge to the hauls of X-Men: First Class ($373.1 million) and X-Men Origins: Wolverine ($373 million) to deliver a solid box office success for this year’s entry in Fox’s mutant franchise…

…Last month it was confirmed that screenwriter Max Landis was no longer involved with Fox’s proposed sequel to Chronicle, and now Landis has given us an insight into what he had planned for the follow-up with a script entitled Martyr: “Gone was the aspirational ‘what would you do,’ gone were the pranks and the bromance, gone were lovely tragic Andrew and hopeful, bright Steve. In their place was a dark, frustratingly unblinking stare into a complicated world that posed the question is it worth it to be a hero, told from the point of view of a heartbroken and insane woman who would martyr herself to the cause of being the world’s first villain. It was, in my estimation, a sequel that elaborated on the ideas and situations from the first to create a different genre of movie. In the best of worlds, in my optimistic but wildly prejudiced eyes, this could make it an Aliens, a Terminator 2… in the worst a Grease 2. So, at the end of the day, maybe it’s better that Martyr never saw the light of day. Sad I didn’t get to do some of my other versions. The multi-movie low [budget] Chronicle-based found footage superhero universe culminating in an Avengers type team up was a real good one…”

…After being brought up as a potential candidate for the role of Lex Luthor a couple of weeks ago, Bryan Cranston has admitted he’s open to appearing as the Man of Steel’s nemesis in Batman vs. Superman, telling Metro: “Give me a call. I like Lex Luthor. I think he’s misunderstood. He’s a loveable, sweet man.” Meanwhile, The Lord of the Rings star Orlando Bloom became the latest name to be plucked from thin air as a potential successor to Christian Bale as the next Dark Knight, joining a list that so far has included Josh Brolin (Oldboy), Ryan Gosling (Only God Forgives), Joe Manganiello (True Blood), Richard Armitage (The Hobbit), Max Martini (Pacific Rim), Matthew Goode (Watchmen), Josh Duhamel (Transformers), Jude Law (Sherlock Holmes), Gerard Butler (300), Jon Hamm (Mad Men), Brad Pitt (World War Z), Ben Affleck (Argo), Jim Caviezel (Person of Interest), Jeffrey Dean Morgan (Watchmen) and Scott Adkins (The Expendables 2)…

…As Warner Bros. movies forward with its plans to expand the DC Cinematic Universe, so too do The CW and the producers of Arrow; this week it’s emerged that another DC character is heading to Starling City for season 2 of the hit CW show, with Bex Taylor-Klaus (The Killing) joining the cast as Sin – “a wayward youth befriended by the Black Canary [who] has a connection with fellow street urchin Roy Harper” – while executive producer Marc Guggenheim has spoken to ComicBookResources about expanding the DC TV Universe with the upcoming spin-off The Flash: “Honestly, I’m just excited to help be a part of expanding the DC Universe. I think one of the big thing that appeals to me about comics in general is the idea of the shared universe… I think it is a little bit unique. I don’t think we planned it. But at the same time, quite frankly, we didn’t plan to expand the DC Universe so much in the first season of ArrowI think a lot of people are justified in asking ‘What does [The Flash] mean for Arrow in terms of its tone?’ And my answer is that the trick that we have – and this is a challenge we’ve discusses a lot and have an awareness of how to face it head on – is the fact that Arrow‘ is like Iron Man where The Flash will be The Incredible Hulk. And just as The Hulk coming out did not change the tone of the Iron Man movies, The Flash will not change the tone of Arrow. We’re very cognizant of what Arrow is all about, and I think the Marvel movies demonstrate that each piece of a universe can have its own feel. Thor is consistent with the tone of Thor while Captain America is consistent with the tone of Captain America’s character. Arrow’s tone will remain consistent much in the same way, and we are looking forward to expanding our canvass a bit. And judging from the announcement, I think the fans are looking forward to it as well…”

…And finally, turning to DC’s animated output, and after showcasing The Flash in the latest DC Universe Original Animated Movies release Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox, it seems that Aquaman could be set to take centre stage in his own movie soon, at least according to Geoff Johns on Twitter. Meanwhile, as always we’ve got a selection of clips and images from the next batch of Cartoon Network’s DC Nation offerings in Beware the Batman, Teen Titans Go! and the latest DC Nation short, Super Pets – World’s Finest Bark; check them out here.

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

Gary Collinson

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