Tag Archive: superhero movies


After the events of X-Men: The Last Stand and Origins: Wolverine, fans have been pretty on the fence about whether to bother with The Wolverine or not. However, as more and more news has unravelled about Logan’s next venture The Wolverine had my curiosity but now, with the release of the first international trailer, it has my attention.

The Wolverine takes place after the events of The Last Stand: Jean Grey, Cyclops and Professor X are dead and the X-Men are disbanded. Wolverine is coming to terms with the fact that he is always going to outlive everyone he ever cares about and comes close to, he will be forever grieving. He is in a state of hopelessness, without identity now more than ever. Who is The Wolverine?

Despite being the lead character in the original X-Men films and obviously in Origins, a lot of time was given to other mutants – to the point in Origins that there were perhaps TOO many mutants for anyone to really be bothered about. However, what we have here is a true solo Wolverine film. Based on one of the greatest story arcs of all time by Chris Claremont and Frank Miller, Wolverine travels to Japan and meets a mysterious figure from his past.

Hugh Jackman is a man who clearly loves his art. This will be the sixth time that Jackman has took on the role of Wolverine and will be playing the part again next year as well. It is hard to think of any other actor who clearly cares for his character so much. Despite the poor outings in his last two features Jackman is still portraying the clawed animal, determined to give fans the true incarnation of Wolverine that they want. And now it looks as though all of his waiting is about to pay off.

Thankfully, there are a lack of mutants in The Wolverine, with most of the conflict coming from assassin’s guilds. However, the other mutants who do appear are set to offer something new to the franchise. There is a wealth of characters that FOX haven’t even come close to alluding to in the X-Men universe so it is good to see some fresh faces here. In particular there is Silver Samurai, played by Will Yun Lee, who has access to an electrified suit of samurai armour and is the son of Shingen Yashida, the figure from Logan’s past. But there is also Viper; in the comics she is a skilled martial artist and tactician with an enhanced life span and teleportation abilities, but it is unclear how much of this will be used in the film adaptation of the character, but she is played by the beautiful Russian actress Svetlana Khodchenkova.

The preview images have been impressive. Fans have longed to see Wolverine in his suit and now they get to see him, finally in… well, a suit. Nobody really knew what the stakes were going to be for Wolverine in Japan but now we know; will he really lose his ability to heal himself? Is that truly what he wants?

Director James Mangold (of 3:10 to Yuma fame) previously listed a series of films that had influenced his take on this iconic character. Among them were Chungking Express, The Outlaw Josey Wales, The French Connection and 13 Assassins which are all fantastic films and it will be very interesting to see the impact that these films have on The Wolverine.

We’re shown flashbacks in the trailer of World War 2 presumably. There’s a little glimpse of Famke Janssen, is that The Last Stand footage or a new cameo that she preciously teased? One thing we know for certain, or that I am willing to speculate anyway, is that this will be the Batman Begins of Wolverine’s story. I predict that The Wolverine will be the surprise package of 2013!

The Wolverine hits cinemas worldwide on July 26th.

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This week has seen a lot of casting being announced for several high profile comic book movies. I will start with The Amazing Spider-Man 2: with the original cast on board and the casting of Jamie Foxx as Electro and Dane DeHaan as Harry Osborn. Now it seems like another villain is going to be in the mix: Rhino. Although, recent incarnations of the character have seen Rhino have a more sympathetic side so that may indicate that Rhino may play a similar role to that of Catwoman in The Dark Knight Rises. The man in talks for the role is the ever wonderful Paul Giamatti. This would be very interesting casting as Giamatti isn’t known for being a very physically fit actor but he is flawless in his performances so this could be something to look out for!

 

Patrick Stewart, Ian McKellen and Hugh Jackman have already signed on to a return to the X-men franchise (although Jackman never really left) but this week has seen more familiar names from the original trilogy return for X-men: Days of Future Past. Shawn Ashmore (Iceman), Anna Paquin (Rogue) and Ellen Page (Shadowcat) are all set to return. Shadowcat plays a very important part in the comic book storyline this film is adapting but it is unclear how she will feature in the film. One thing that Bryan Singer (director) has promised though, is that Days of Future Past will include time travel that ‘makes sense’ and that it will be the biggest X-men film yet. I, for one, can not wait!

Sin City is often forgotten when talking about comic book movies because it isn’t your traditional comic book type film. However, among critics and fans it is one of the most highly praised of the genre. And after the recent casting of Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Ray Liotta the title role has now been filled in the sequel – Sin City: A Dame to Kill For. Playing the dame is the wonderful Eva Green, one of my favourite Bond girls ever, although that isn’t really saying a lot taking into account my view on the Bond franchise as a whole.

And finally, we knew that Marvel would be spearheading ‘Phase 3’ with Ant-Man and we now know that Dr. Strange will also have his origin told in a solo film after The Avengers 2. Also, there are rumours that Robert Downey Jr’s Iron Man will be seen going into space in an end credits scene after Iron Man 3 and that he may also feature in the post-credits scene of Guardians of the Galaxy. This would indicate good signs for the future of Marvel’s franchises as it would suggest that Robert Downey Jr is to continue as the charming Tony Stark after Iron Man 3.

With the shock announcement that Disney have bought Star Wars and plan to release a completely new trilogy beginning in 2015 it is no wonder that speculation has already begun about who would be the best choice for director. Let’s look at some of the contenders:

Christopher Nolan

Fresh from directing one of the most lauded trilogies of all time in The Dark Knight Christopher Nolan could pretty much get any gig that he wanted which, let’s be honest, makes complete sense. Every one of Nolan’s films so far has gone down a treat and with Inception he certainly showed that he is more than capable of making a truly magnificent science fiction piece and this is something that the next instalment of Star Wars needs to be!

 

Bryan Singer

In a world as big as the one that Star Wars has built for itself the ability to handle and direct an ensemble cast is a must. With X-men and X2 Singer took on a similar challenge and managed to make a couple of the best superhero films to date. Therefore, this shows that Singer has what it takes to work with a large cast and bring out specific characters. Although, with the recent announcement he is set to helm Days of Future Past then he may be out of the question.

 

Brad Bird

Bird made his name at Pixar where he was given the go ahead to direct The Incredibles and obviously because it is Pixar, as well as the fact that it is brilliant, he received a lot of praise for his work. Earlier this year Brad Bird was responsible for reviving the Mission: Impossible franchise with Ghost Protocol and made the Tom Cruise franchise a relevant and important one once more; could he do the same for Star Wars?

 

Guillermo Del Toro

The fan knows fantasy, he knows special effects and can create huge blockbusters. Del Toro is well known for his ability to draw up strange creations and to let him loose on the world of Star Wars would be, for want of a better word, pretty orgasmic. Most notable for Hellboy and Pan’s Labyrinth Del Toro is set to announce his return to the world of huge blockbusters with Pacific Rim next year.

 

Jon Favreau

It was Favreau’s work with Iron Man that convinced Marvel (and importantly Disney) that superhero films were worth backing and proceeding with, culminating in The Avengers. With Iron Man 2 perhaps Favreau did have too much to do and it may be a case of that happening again with Star Wars: it would be a risk but one that could be worth taking, especially as the name of Star Wars is going to bring in the audience anyway.

 

Joss Whedon

A God among geeks. Does much more need to be said about the man’s talents? It is practically impossible for Whedon to direct Star Wars unfortunately as he has a pretty tight schedule with Marvel’s Phase 2 in place at the minute but a future Episode of the huge science fiction franchise, why not?

 

Duncan Jones

The least well known of all of my choices but not at all less talented. With Moon and Source Code in his back catalogue Jones has shown that he is more than capable of telling some brilliant science fiction stories. I would love to see Jones achieve some success and get a chance to show mainstream audiences his talent although maybe this would be a step too far a little too early.

 

Obviously, most of these directors are very commercial and well known to audiences already with a proven record of directing hit films and creating believable and memorable characters whilst exploring the world that their films inhabit. This is an important trait when deciding who is going to continue the Star Wars franchise but there may be some hidden gems hiding in cracks and crevices somewhere… or even in plain sight. So let me know, who would you like to see direct the seventh instalment of Star Wars?

Well you don’t really need to look hard to find the big news of this week and when the announcement came yesterday I think it took everybody by surprise! Not content with already owning Pixar, without a doubt the best animation company in the world, back in 2010 Disney paid $4.2billion to take over Marvel Entertainment. And now on top of all that Disney have forked out around $4billion once again to purchase LucasFilm meaning that Disney now owns Star Wars. News which will no doubt be seen as both positive and negative among fans.

Disney have announced that with the rights going to them they are planning to release a new Star Wars film in 2015, with the next instalments coming every other year. These would effectively be Chapters 7, 8 and 9. With the horrible reception that the Episodes 1, 2 and 3 received you can see why fans would not want any more damage done to their cherished sci-fi western series, yet Disney do seem to get everything right; just look at what they’ve achieved with Marvel! There is no shortage of stories and characters in the Star Wars canon and new stories in such a wide and real world can be easily thought of for those with that ability. With a release date set for 2015 you have to imagine that something is already in the works and a director could soon be announced with only three years to work on the project. It is unknown as of yet if any previously seen characters will return and in what form.

Another piece of information from this deal is the fact that George Lucas will not be directing. This will be well received from fans, no doubt, who perhaps feel that in recent years Lucas has done more harm than good to the series and is using it basically to just milk the name for as much as is humanly possible. With science fiction doing so well right now with all the superhero movies being released and the reinvention of Star Trek Disney obviously feel that they can bring something new to the table with Star Wars and that news can only be good.

The deal struck here also concerns the ownership of Industrial Light & Magic, the special effects company will also be traded into Disney’s hands, along with the rights of other LucasFilm productions such as Indiana Jones although Disney have said that Star Wars is the only series they plan to continue at this time. And with Disney having produced Pirates of the Caribbean and National Treasure recently you can see why they don’t want to be seen to be doing too much of the same sort of style by throwing out Indy too.

So that’s the real big news of the week.

But there has been some other big news that may have escaped many people’s notice thanks to all of this Star Wars stuff. Not so long ago, Matthew Vaughn stepped down as director of X-men: Days of Future Past and speculation was rife as to who would replace him. Thankfully, his replacement has been found in the form of Bryan Singer(!), the man behind the camera of X-men and X2 which will no doubt please fans! This can only spur rumours on of cast members returning from the original trilogy but anyhow, it is great to see Singer back with the X-men.

A VERY happy Mr. James Marsden

James Marsden is a recognisable face in the world of movies. Marsden has been in some very popular films of a couple of genres so it strikes me that he is not more famous than he is, but there is a very good reason (or very bad, depending on how you look at it) as to why his career hasn’t quite reached the heights that I thought it would earlier in his career. This reason is the cause of the title for this post and all will become clear in a few minutes.

James Paul Marsden began acting in the 1990s and his career began like so many others, with bit part appearances here and there in a number of, what can only be deemed unsuccessful, television shows. Luckily, in 1996 Marsden landing a lead role in family drama TV series Second Noah and this ran for two seasons, with a further three final episodes being commissioned after fan campaigns. After the shows cancellation Marsden moved into films; after a couple of made for television movies he appeared in Disturbing Behaviour alongside Katie Holmes (the film didn’t do very well) and then Gossip which only made half of its budget back and again failed. After this start it’s a wonder Marsden made it as big as he has done, but he could have been bigger. Here’s what happened…

In the year 2000, after the success of Blade, a movie was being made out of another popular Marvel property. It was of course, the best superhero team of all time, the X-Men. And James Marsden was cast in the role of Scott Summers, or as he is more popularly known Cyclops. This SHOULD have propelled James Marsden into a huge Hollywood star, should being the most important word here. Anyone who knows anything about the X-Men knows that Cyclops is the rightful leader of the X-Men. However, this was a characteristic drastically overlooked during the X-Men films (although this was the only real complaint I have about the first two films, the third is a different kettle of fish altogether). So really, Cyclops and James Marsden should have taken centre stage in one of the most successful trilogies of all time and would have rightfully become a household name; the unfortunate truth is that unless you take a real interest in the X-Men films or make a habit of watching romantic comedies, you probably won’t know who he is. Why? Simple.

Wolverine. The popularity of Wolverine among comic book fans is very rarely matched by another character and it is for this reason that in all three of the X-Men films featuring James Marsden Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine took centre stage. This forced the character of Cyclops into the background and he became a bit of an unimportant character, seemingly his only function was to marginally get in the way of Wolverine and Jean Grey’s romance and he didn’t even do that well. You can’t blame James Marsden for taking the part as leader of the X-Men but surely he would have hoped for a more heroic role in the films before tragically being sort of (I still don’t believe he actually died) killed off in X-Men: The Last Stand.

The reason for Cyclops disappearing in X-Men: The Last Stand was because James Marsden had taken a part in Superman Returns, another film in which he had a relatively small and unimportant part, there again to have his on screen ruined by the main hero of the piece (he does get a bit of bad luck this James Marsden chap) and of course Superman Returns disappeared into comic book movie obscurity rather unsurprisingly as it was very dull. But aside from comic book movies James Marsden has mainly stuck to romantic movies. He had a role in arguably one of the most popular films of all time – The Notebook. He has also starred in romantic comedies such as 27 Dresses and Sex Drive; the musical Hairspray; the fantasy half animated-half live action Enchanted and a film some critics called the worst of all time The Box.

This year, Marsden made a successful move back to television with a role in comedy 30 Rock although his time on television this time looks set to be short lived with 2013 having quite a few films slated for release with James Marsden attached. There’s dramedy As Cool As I Am, thriller The Loft, Enchanted 2 is in the pipeline to be made in the next couple of years. Perhaps the most exciting movie James Marsden is attached to at the minute though is something I am very much looking forward to and is a shoe-in for a few Oscar nominations when it is released. This is The Butler about the life of Cecil Gaines who served as White House butler to eight American presidents over three decades. The cast is full of real Hollywood stars and emerging talent: James Marsden, Forest Whitaker, Alan Rickman, Robyn Williams, Alex Pettyfer, Melissa Leo, Minka Kelly, John Cusack,  Jane Fonda, Terrence Howard, Liev Schreiber and Lenny Kravitz. James Marsden will be playing the great John F. Kennedy himself.

With The Butler, James Marsden has the chance to get the recognition he deserves and reach the heights of fame that he should have done a decade or so ago. If the films had been more true to the comic books with the X-Men then James Marsden would already have achieved so much more than he has. Of course, this isn’t to say that his career has been a washout because he has still had it pretty good; but if X-Men didn’t focus so much on Wolverine it could have all been so different for James Marsden. He never looks disappointed though, I’ve never seen a picture of him without a smile on his face!

James Marsden on set as John F. Kennedy – he’s either blinking or sneakily checking out Minka Kelly… you decide.

Marvel’s The Avengers is out right now and breaking records left, right and centre; it has smashed the record for highest grossing opening weekend and is on course to break into the billion dollar club, who knows whether it will become the highest grossing film of all time. The highest grossing comic book movie to date is Batman flick The Dark Knight, the sequel to which, The Dark Knight Rises, comes out later this year and along with The Avengers looks to make this summer one for the comic book fans to really enjoy, but will The Dark Knight Rises be able to outdo The Avengers in terms of profit?

Batman Begins, the first of Christopher Nolan and Christian Bale’s Batman franchise, took in over $370 million at the box office which was pretty standard for a superhero movie at the time, putting it on a par with the very below average Superman Returns and the lacklustre Men in Black 2. However, The Dark Knight rose to critical acclaim worldwide and managed to rake in over $1 billion worldwide, becoming not only the highest grossing comic book movie of all time but also the eleventh highest grossing film of all time.

So The Dark Knight Rises has a tough act to follow and will it be able to follow that? Batman is a popular character and the huge scope of the audience that The Dark Knight managed to reach went beyond everyone’s expectations and now everybody knows about Batman and everyone knows what kind of film they will be getting going to see Nolan do another Batman movie. This is a good thing as you would expect a sequel to one of the highest grossing, and arguably best, films of all time would be able to make just as much money if not more, especially with the cast and crew all returning and the public hype the film is receiving.

However, something that could play against The Dark Knight Rises is that The Dark Knight created such high expectations in the minds of the audience that The Dark Knight Rises may not be able to reach. You have to assume that a lot of the money made from The Dark Knight was also made by a lot of people going to see the film on more than one occasion and if The Dark Knight Rises fails to live up to its predecessor then will fans really want to go and see it again? Probably not.

The reason for The Avengers making so much money so quickly, in my opinion, is because this is what a lot of comic book fans have been waiting for since the birth of the superhero movie; it is all of Marvel’s big hitters on screen at the same time: Captain America, Iron Man, Thor and The Hulk all sharing screen time. These characters were already introduced via their own movies in Marvel’s very clever and special approach to film making which meant that even if some fans didn’t like Thor or The Hulk, they would still see The Avengers for Iron Man or Cap. The Dark Knight Rises isn’t in that position; if you don’t like Batman you more than likely won’t want to watch a film about him.

Also, with The Avengers doing so well, the tide may turn for comic book movies and fans may want to see the colour of comic book pages brought to the big screen once again, they want the fun element of the comic books back on the screen and The Dark Knight Rises may be seen as TOO dark by some fans. However, Batman fans will be used to the darkness as his story has always been a dark one (minus the camping up by Adam West and Joel Schumacher over time) so that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

Personally, I don’t think that The Dark Knight Rises will make more than The Avengers; The Avengers is still going strong and will still be earning top dollars at international box offices for the coming weeks, then we shall have to see how The Dark Knight Rises does. But the originality that made The Avengers so popular is not there in Nolan’s ‘threequel’ but if achieves the same acclaim throughout its previews as The Dark Knight did then it would come as no surprise to see it break The Avengers‘ new opening weekend record.