Seconds out… welcome to the 2nd annual Superhero Showdown!
LAST TIME OUT
2009 was all about Marvel pulling away from DC Comics in the race for big-screen superhero superiority after a hard fought 2008 in which Marvel’s Iron Man and The Incredible Hulk slugged it out with The Dark Knight. Last summer the House of Ideas unleashed their second-biggest movie property with prequel X-Men Origins: Wolverine (along with third-time-still-not-quite-lucky Punisher: War Zone) while on DC’s side was one of -if not the – most revered graphic novels of all-time, Watchmen.
Our prediction from last year’s Superhero Showdown – “Reviews, word-of-mouth and so on will likely favour Snyder’s effort, but when the dust settles this summer the adamantium-clawed mutant will have slashed his way to twice the worldwide gross of Watchmen. However, he’d need to enlist more than a few of his old X-Men chums to have any chance of beating Dr. Manhattan and Co. in terms of quality and lasting appeal.”
The reality – Despite reviews, word-of-mouth and so on favouring Snyder’s effort, the adamantium clawed mutant slashed his way to twice the worldwide gross of Watchmen, despite being a more than a tad rubbish. [The year’s other comic-book adaptation Punisher: War Zone proved little more than a fart in a hurricane].
THIS TIME OUT
Marvel look set for another successful summer as Robert Downey Jr. returns in Iron Man 2, while DC counters with Wild West antihero Jonah Hex. Oh, and you can also throw a little Kick-Ass into the mix…
Iron Man 2
Directed by Jon Favreau
Starring Robert Downey Jr., Don Cheadle, Mickey Rourke, Gwyneth Paltrow, Scarlett Johansson and Sam Rockwell
With a worldwide gross of $585m for their first self-financed feature, Marvel Studios couldn’t have wished for a better start in the movie business. This summer they’ll be hoping Iron Man 2 continues the trend and paves the way for 2011’s Thor and The First Avenger: Captain America, which of course ultimately leads to the proposed Avengers film the following year.
Downey Jr. returns as billionaire industrialist and ol’ Shellhead himself Tony Stark, with Iron Man facing off against nemesis Whiplash (Mickey Rourke) and ‘plucky comic relief’ villain Justin Hammer (Sam Rockwell). Expect plenty of S.H.I.E.L.D action with Samuel L. Jackson returning as Nick Fury alongside newcomer Scarlett Johansson as Black Widow, while sidekick Rhodey (Don Cheadle, replacing Terrence Howard from the original) also gets into the action as War Machine. Iron Man 2 is released on April 30th in the UK and May 7th in the North America. Be sure to check out the latest theatrical trailer.
Directed by Matthew Vaughn
Starring Aaron Johnson, Chloe Moretz, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Nicolas Cage and Mark Strong
Based on Mark Millar’s adult comic book series (published under Marvel’s Icon imprint), Kick-Ass tells the story of teenager Dave Lizewski (Aaron Johnson), a comic-book fanboy who decides to take his obsession as inspiration to become a real-life superhero. Despite a lack of powers, Kick-Ass begins to make a name for himself and is soon joined in his crusade by fellow vigilante Red Mist (Christopher Mintz-Plasse) and father-and-daughter team Big Daddy (Nicolas Cage) and Hit-Girl (Chloe Moretz).
Directed by Brit Matthew Vaughn (Stardust), the $70m action-comedy has already attracted controversy over its red-band trailer, with criticism from family groups over its violent scenes and offensive language – publicity sure to help the film when it hits screens on April 2nd (UK) and April 16th (North America). Watch the international trailer here.
Directed by Jimmy Hayward
Starring Josh Brolin, John Malkovich, Megan Fox, Michael Fassbender and Michael Shannon
Combining elements of the supernatural with adventures in the Old West, Jonah Hex brings DC Comics’ scarred anti-hero to the big-screen in the form of Josh Brolin. Ex-Confederate soldier turned bounty hunter Jonah Hex is hired to track down the villainous Quentin Turnbull (John Malkovich), who has sworn vengeance against the gunslinger for the death of his son during the Civil War and is raising an army of the undead to liberate the South.
Jonah Hex marks the live-action debut of Robots and Horton Hears a Who! director Jimmy Hayward and also features Megan Fox as Hex’s cradle-snatched love interest and gun-wielding prostitute Leila, along with Michael Shannon (Revolutionary Road) and Michael Fassbender (Inglourious Basterds). Co-financed by Warner Bros. and Lionsgate, the film has recently been the subject of reshoots, which doesn’t bode well for plans to launch a new franchise…
A no-brainer here with Iron Man 2 odds-on – nay, certain – to storm the box office this summer and likely to challenge for the highest-grossing film of the year. It should easily treble the world-wide takings of both Kick-Ass and Jonah Hex (possibly even combined) and will no doubt manage to out-perform its predeccessor. Meanwhile, despite its adult content Kick-Ass should enjoy a good run for a comfortable second place, with Jonah Hex sinking down the outhouse and struggling to recoup its budget.
Agree? Disagree? Let me know what you think.