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The Big Reveals of Comic-Con 2013
At this years San Diego Comic-Con, some of the biggest pieces of news ever revealed were given to eagerly anticipating fans who are now in a frenzy over what the future holds in store at the cinema for the superhero genre.
At the Warner Bros. panel, the crew behind Man of Steel surprised the crowd with the reveal that the sequel to the successful Superman reboot will be released in Summer 2015 and will feature Batman, giving fans the long awaited Superman/Batman team-up that fans have dreamed of. This creates a number of possibilities that could make the sequel to Man of Steel an even bigger success that the original, not to mention the fact that including Batman furthers the plan to have a larger shared universe for DC characters the same way Marvel has done with their characters. Director Zack Snyder, Writer David S. Goyer, and Producer Christopher Nolan will return to their respective positions for the film, with Henry Cavill, Amy Adams, Laurence Fisburne, and DIane Lane set to return in their respective roles as Superman, Lois Lane, Perry White, and Martha Kent. It has been said that a new actor will don the cape and cowl as Batman, but rumors suggest that a Christian Bale return is not entirely out of the question. Reportedly, rumor has it that the studio has offered Bale $50 MILLION to return as Batman in the Man of Steel sequel and most likely any Justice League movie to come in the future. I hope he does come back, but since the list of actors rumored for the part that include Jon Hamm and Josh Brolin, a new actor won't be so bad providing they choose the right one.
As for the potential story, some fans think that it's a bad idea to include Batman in the Man of Steel sequel because one of the complaints(that I don't agree with) of that film was a lack of character development and including a character as major as Batman will further hinder the development of those characters. I do not agree with this concern because the sequel will easily be around two and a half hours long and with the film likely to center in Metropolis this time around then the characters who may have not gotten their due the first time around, according to those detractors, will get their just do this time around. Let's say that Lex Luthor is the main villain, then the opening sequence could take a page out of Christopher Nolan's sequels to Batman Begins and feature an action sequence to begin the film. This would be a good way to introduce Batman. He could fight some thugs from Intergang in Gotham City and find out that Lex Luthor is helping them after seeing some LexCorp markings on some criminal materials, which would give Batman a reason to come to Metropolis. After the massive amount of destruction caused by General Zod in the previous movie, LexCorp could enter into an agreement with Wayne Enterprises to help rebuild part of the city, giving Bruce a reason to enter the city and investigate as Batman. Then we could pick up with Superman and the rest of the cast from Man of Steel as he tries to adjust to life as Superman, his relationship with Lois, and his life as Clark Kent. If they treat Batman the way they treated Harvey Dent in The Dark Knight in terms of focus on the character, then he won't take away time from Superman and the other main characters since Batman will be interwoven with their stories. If the movie is as long as it should be and the proper focus is given to everything involved then we'll be in store for one hell of a great movie. I don't have any doubts that they will succeed.
As for the casting of Batman, if they choose a new actor for a new Batman separate from Christopher Nolan's trilogy, then that's fine. If they choose an actor like Josh Brolin or (my personal favorite) Karl Urban than they'll be in good standing. Urban is my top choice because he's young enough to sign on for future movies that include standalone Batman films and Justice League, despite being 41 years old(for reference, Robert Downey Jr. was 42 when he filmed the first Iron Man). He's old enough to give them a more experienced, veteran Batman, and young enough to sign on for six movies if the DC Cinematic Universe can get off the ground. Despite all that, I hope they're able to convince Christian Bale to come back on a multi-picture deal that would see him come back in the Man of Steel sequel and future Justice League movies. His return would canonize the Dark Knight Trilogy into the new shared universe and would give the fans the team we want, both rebooted actors in the rebooted characters for the first time. Cavill and Bale would make a great duo and be a delight to see together on screen. Even though he retired and faked his death at the end of Dark Knight Rises, Bruce could come back after the death of the John Blake Batman and the end of his relationship with Catwoman. To explain how he has the money to rejoin Wayne Enterprises, he could reveal that he had another fortune stored away for emergencies and used it to return to society. His frequent returns from the dead can be explained as being part of his super eccentric personality. Finally, he could convince Alfred and Lucious Fox to come back to his aide after the reveal of Superman became such a huge game changer across the world. The potential for this movie is limitless.
Update: Ben Affleck has been officially announced as the new Batman in the Man of Steel sequel. He's a choice that I definitely did not see coming and after the initial shock, I think he could be really good as Batman. He has successfully rebuilt his character after suffereing through the Bennifer phase of his career and failing as Daredevil with a series of great films that he directed himself. Gone Baby Gone, The Town, and Argo were all great films, with Argo winning the Best Picture Academy Award earlier this year. He turned in great performances in The Town and Argo, resurrecting his acting career through his own directorial efforts. At the age of 41, he's also young enough to star as Batman in several standalone films and the Justice League movies. Like I wrote earlier, Robert Downey Jr. was a year older than Affleck is now when he filmed the first Iron Man. Since Affleck has strong directing credentials, he could be a top contender to direct the Justice League film as well. He's already been rumored for the job before and he was asked to direct Man of Steel, but he turned it down. If Affleck was the guy he was a decade ago, I'd think that this would be a terrible choice, but since he's rebuilt his career and is now one of Hollywood's top talents, I'm willing to give Affleck a chance. After all, everyone was mad about Heath Ledger being the Joker and look how that turned out.
Another huge reveal at Comic-Con was the title of the next Avengers, which also reveals the film's villain. It will be called Avengers: Age of Ultron. The shocking reveal came when when a video played featuring dialogue from the first Avengers and the slow reveal of a helmet that looked like Iron Man but was revealed as the head of Ultron, one of the Marvel universe's greatest villains. The expectation of fans was that Thanos would be the main villain of the sequel after his reveal in the post-credits of the first Avengers. However, he will be featured prominently in Guardians of the Galaxy coming out next August and will still have a presence in the Avengers sequel, but it looks like he will more than likely be the main villain in the third Avengers film, which could possibly be the last of this series. A source of controversy among fans is that Ultron will not be a creation of Ant-Man and that Ant-Man will not be featured in Age of Ultron. Instead, Ultron will be created by someone else and all signs point to him to being an accidental creation of Tony Stark and/or Shield. I don't have a problem with this change as long it results in another great movie just like I didn't have a problem with that they did to Mandarin in Iron Man 3 since it still yielded an awesome movie. Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch will join the team. Iron Man, Hulk, Captain America, Thor, Black Widow, Hawkeye, and Nick Fury will all return to take on Ultron.
The Marvel panel also revealed footage from Thor: The Dark World, Captain America: The WInter Soldier, and Guardians of the Galaxy, which were all met with a positive response from the fans. Anticipation is at a fever pitch for the future Marvel universe films, but it's all about The Avengers. The first film is one the great achievements in the history of film and the sequel has every chance to match it's greatness with Joss Whedon back at the helm.
One of the movies that I am eagerly anticipating is X-Men: Days of Future Past, the dual sequel to X-Men: The Last Stand and X-Men: First Class. The first footage was revealed at Comic-Con and I watched the leaked video before it was removed from the internet and I believe that the movie looks great so far. The footage began with the remaining members of the X-Men from Last Stand in a dystopian, ruined future where mutants are hunted, killed, or put in concentration camps by the Sentinels. Wolverine asks the Patrick Stewart Xavier what he's supposed to do when he wakes up in his younger body and Xavier tells Logan to find him and convince him of what happens in the future. Then the Ian McKellan Magneto tells Wolverine that he'll have to find him as well and that he'll find him walking a darker path. We see various shots of the future X-Men including newcomers Bishop and Blink, then wee see the cast of First Class including James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Nicholas Hoult, and Jennifer Lawrence. We see young Xavier blow dust off of cerebro in the completed underground base for the X-Men, a shot of Mystique changing form in a crowd, a secret presidential bunker in the White House, a shot of Wolverine being riddled with gunfire, Beast fighting Magneto, and a scene where young Xavier mind melds with Wolverine and speaks face to face with Patrick Stewart's Xavier where he tries to convince his younger self to hope again that way they can stave off disaster.
I do not have a problem with Wolverine being prominently featured once again as some fans have criticized. It makes more sense to send his consciousness back in time to his younger body because Kitty Pryde(who was sent back in the comic) has not been born yet in the history of this series in 1973, which is where the past events of this movie take place. I can't wait to see how Xavier survived his death from Last Stand and how the movie will try to rectify continuity issues created by First Class. I believe that like in the comic, two timelines will be created by the events of this film and that Apocalypse will have some sort of role to play, sort of like Thanos in Avengers. I think it will be revealed that everything involving the First Class crew are part of an alternate reality being tampered with by Apocalypse so he can rule the world. Once the X-Men save the day in Days of Future Past, the result will be the splitting of each timeline where the First Class timeline will go forward, and the future timeline involving the original trilogy crew will movie forward as well, which could potentially give us X-Men films featuring both groups set in the different timelines. It's kind of awesome that the overlooked aspect of this film is that Peter Dinklage, Tryrion Lannister himself, will be playing Bolivar Trask and that his creation, the Sentinels, will be featured heavily for the first time on film. I can't wait to finally see the X-Men take on the Sentinels and see Peter Dinklage steal scene after scene as Trask. The future of the X-Men is pretty bright in my opinion.
Finally, the last superhero film revealed at Comic-Con that I can't wait to see is The Amazing Spider-Man 2. The footage begins with Spider-Man taking down a pre-transformation Rhino as his voiceover asks "You know what I like about being Spider-Man? Everything!" Then we a shot of Spidey meeting Max Dillon before he becomes Electro which we see happen in a scene where there's a lot of electrical wiring and a tank full of electric eels. We see shots of Peter with Aunt May and Harry Osborn speaking to his dying father Norman, a shot the Ravencroft Institute, and a quick shot of someone shedding green skin(possibly revealing the creation of the Green Goblin). We then see a shot of Peter and Gwen kissing, another shot of Max Dillon in an elevator with Gwen this time, and a huge shot of Electro unleashing his full power in times square.
I'm really looking forward to this movie because of the fact that they're approaching this new series as one long story broken up into different parts. They're building up to something huge and with the footage of green skin falling off of someone, the Green Goblin is part of those plans. This includes teases of Venom and the Sinister Six. I like the idea being thrown around that Harry will become the Green Goblin before Norman does, if he does at all, which has happened before in a different incarnation of Spider-Man. I'm looking forward to the reveal of Rhino post-transformation and Jamie Foxx in full Electro mode. It will be nice to see Jamie Foxx play a villain in a big studio movie which is something different for him. This current series has the potential to be better than the Raimi/Maguire trilogy. The filmmakers did a really good job with the first movie and the next three movies could be even better.
All in all, this was a big Comic-Con for some heavy players in the superhero realm. This fan can't wait to see everything unfold. I believe that the biggest reveal at this years event was the Superman/Batman film announcement which is a huge game changer for the future of DC Comic films and for fans who have waited forever to see Batman and Superman together on screen for the first time. The movie itself could be one of the top superhero films ever done and could easily surpass Man of Steel in every way.