The future is bright for Comic Book movies and with four major film studios vying for blockbuster payouts there are a plethora of quality titles to entice you into the cinemas in the coming years.
As we continue through 2017, the year that will bring us Guardians of the Galaxy 2 and Wonder Woman, we are set to see yet another Spiderman outing along with more galactic outings from Thor, the formation of DC’s Justice League and some Lego capers. This is how 2017 wraps up:
Untitled Spider-Man Movie (Sony/Marvel) Dir. Drew Goddard
So there are two huge questions to be addressed for the re-re-instalment of the Spider-Man franchise. What version of the web-slinger will we see and will it be faithful to the comics?
The question of what version of Spider-Man will be seen in Captain America: Civil War and consequently what version will be used for this re-reboot has been the topic of many conversations online. In Civil War, at least in the comics, he is older than we have seen him so far in the movies. The repercussions of casting a younger actor and placing Spidey back in high school would mean changing his involvement in the comic book version of the Civil War story-arc. After Toby Maguire and Andrew Garfield, do we really need another origin story for the friendly neighbourhood crime-fighter? No, not really. I really hope they take this in a different direction and either stick with the older casting of Peter Parker, i.e. not 16-18, or take it in a completely different route.
Although it would be taking it in a altered arc than the comics, there is an interesting take on the Spider-Man universe that has been filling the web over the last few months; forget Peter Parker and introduce Miles Morales.
Morales is a Black Hispanic teenager and is the second Spider-Man in the Marvel Universe. His character was created by one of my favourite writers, Brian Michael Bendis (All New X-Men, Saga), and has had positive reviews since taking over from Parker in 2011. This would be a big shout for Marvel and obviously a cause of much debate. I for one would prefer a new face in there as the Uncle Ben, Gwen Stacey, Mary Jane, Aunt May, Norman Osborn etc. etc. storylines are all well known and pointless to recreate.
We will know for sure, leading up to Civil War, what direction Marvel/Sony want to take this and how the story will go for this July 28th release.
Thor: Ragnarok (Marvel) Dir. Unknown
Due to Marvel and Sony sharing the spoils of Spider-Man, Thor’s third solo feature has been pushed back to November 3rd of 2017 and Spidey slips into the July release date. That push back might not be the worst thing as Ragnarok promises to be the biggest project for Chris Hemsworth and his team. Writers Craig Kyle and Christopher Yost have been involved in the Marvel Animation world for some time now and have worked separately on the first two Thor outings, so they are familiar with the going-ons in the world of Asgard.
The term Ragnarok actually has two meanings in the Marvel Universe; it is the name of a cyborg Thor created by Iron Man and used in the Civil War comics with devastating results and it is also the Asgardian term for their apocalypse. Although both are interesting concepts, the latter seems to be the direction this sequel is heading in.
Thor will have to protect the city of Asgard, and probably earth too, from the 1000-foot tall, fire demon named Surtur and his army of scumbag demons. We’ve had the ice giants of Jötunheim in the first, Malekith and the Dark Elves in the second, why not an apocalyptic hoard for the third? MCU Daddy Kevin Feige has called Ragnarok
“a very important movie for us in Phase 3… we plan on taking Thor to another level”.
This could be in reference to the aftermath of Civil War, or purely down to the level of destruction this film could bring.
Ragnarok is actually part of Norse mythology and it involves a series of future events that will include a heavenly battle with the death of many Gods including Odin (Thor’s Dad), Heimdallr (the “gatekeeper” played by Idris Elba), Loki and even Thor himself. Also, with the heavenly battle above, Surtur’s flames eventually engulf the Earth and we all die; it is an apocalypse after all. Now, I am not expecting Marvel to kill everyone off, but it could be the end for quite a number of key players. We can also expect Sif and the Warriors Three to be back fighting by Thor’s side as they have for the first two, so they too may fall in the great battle.
Anyone who has not caught the first two instalments of Thor’s solo features, I highly recommend you check them out and get up to date before Age of Ultron kicks off your love for everything Marvel again next week.
The Justice League (Warner Bros.) Dir. Zack Snyder
After Snyder introduces Batfleck and others in Dawn of Justice in early 2016 he sets his sights on the DC Universe’s version of The Avengers, The Justice League, which is scheduled to hit our cinemas on November 17th.
Unlike Marvel’s approach of introducing the characters in stand-alone features before combining the superheroes, Warner Brothers have decided to introduce their characters in Dawn of Justice and The Justice League before giving most of their big names a solo release. Jason Momoa (Game of Thrones) and Ray Fisher will both feature as Aquaman and Cyborg respectively before their own movies take to the cinemas. Wonder Woman will be the only character to get a pre-Justice League push as Gal Gadot dons the whip in the release of the self-titled adventure earlier in the year. The Flash and Green Lantern seem to be getting their first outing in Justice League, although they could make cameos in Dawn of Justice if the latter is cast in time. We will have to wait and see if this pays off for the big shots at Warner.
Ezra Miller (The Perks of Being a Wallflower, We Need to Talk About Kevin) has been cast to play The Flash on a three movie deal, Justice League 1 & 2 and his solo flick. Although, from the bits I have seen, the recent series following Barry Allen aka The Flash are poorly acted however, it has received some positive reviews and will definitely have brought the character back to the forefront of people’s minds.
Warner Bros. still has one major problem; they are putting their vision of an Avengers-beating franchise in the hands of Zach Snyder. With a director whose interest rests more in visual effects than story, the DC Supermovies will continue to take a back seat to Marvel’s dominance. Screenwriter Chris Terrio (Argo) might have to battle to keep the story moving along as Snyder urges him to cut some pointless back-story for a half hour of destruction here and there.
Even though my heart will always be with Marvel I hope that this DC staple can pull off a big ask and compete with Marvel and Fox’s big hitters; competition is always healthy and it will push each studio to make better films.
The Lego Batman Movie (Warner Bros.) Dir. Chris McKay
Everyone loved The Lego Movie; that is a fact. If someone tells you that they didn’t like it, then it’s time to rethink your relationship with said person, mainly because they just lied to your face. Robot Chicken veteran and Lego Movie animation supervisor Chris McKay takes command of this spin-off of the BAFTA award winning animation. With Will Arnett (Arrested Development) back on board as the wisecracking titular caped crusader, this has a lot to live up to after the brilliance of its origin.
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With his quick wit and Christian Bale-mocking voice, Batman was a star in The Lego Movie and, as we saw in the first film, just about anyone can pop up to help out along the way. I would not be shocked to see them use other Justice League characters as well as other random pop-culture heroes as Batman gets out of some, as of yet undisclosed, hijinks.
The Lego Movie’s co-director Chris Miller called McKay the “unheralded hero” of the last year’s animated delight, so I have high hopes for him in the director’s chair. Seth Grahame-Smith who wrote the story for Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter and Dark Shadows is currently writing the screenplay; although those two films flopped critically, his quirky humour is evident. He tackled those previous features alone however, and just as the first Lego Movie, I am sure more writers will come in as time moves on.
Whatever the plot, I for one will certainly be going to see the block-headed superhero in this solo feature. There is one problem however; it has not gotten its release date as of yet. Fingers crossed it doesn’t get pushed back to a later year.
*UPDATED* When initially writing this piece, the release date was unknown and I fretted that it may even get pushed back. Thankfully we have only to wait until February 10th for it’s US release, making it the first Supermovie of 2017.
Coming up in Part 6:
In Part 6 we push into 2018 and feast on the Avengers: Infinity War Part 1 as well as the first lead role for a black super hero (unless Miles Morales gets the nod) in Black Panther. We take a look at the first of two Justice League solo films with The Flash and talk a little about X-Men after Apocalypse.