With the release of Avengers: Age of Ultron last week, superhero movie season has just begun.Back in the late 1970-mid-1990s era, audiences were lucky to get one big comic book adaptation a year. Now, this is the tentpole genre, with several new superhero movies being released each year. Both Marvel and DC Movies have revealed a busy slate for the coming years. The reality is, however, that the new superhero hero movies are unlikely to be ‘new’ at all, with the plethora of remakes, spin-offs and reboots that are due to come out in the next few years.
New Superhero Movies
There are in fact some new superhero movies set for release – that is to say films that feature characters or concepts that have not been depicted on the big screen before. These include…
Marvel’s next cinematic release is Ant-Man, which hits the big screen on 17th July 2015. Despite not being one of Marvel’s better-known superheroes, Ant-Man first appeared in comics in the early 1960s. Not carrying the same exposure in other media as some other Marvel title characters, it will be interesting to see how Ant-Man fairs with audiences. Nevertheless, Guardians of the Galaxy was not harmed by a lack of mainstream audience consciousness.
Director David Ayer has been teasing fans will glimpses of the film on his Twitter account. Although some of the characters have appeared in feature films before (notably the Joker and Lex Luthor), Suicide Squad is classed as one of the new superhero movies because the story of this group has not previously been depicted on the big screen.
Benedict Cumberbatch plays the lead role in Marvel’s Doctor Strange. The sorcerer first appeared in marvel comics in 1963. The film, which is set for release on 28th October 2016 in the UK, appears to be an origins story. Which is just as well, given that the superhero is not one of Marvel’s most popular characters.
Although there has been a television film (aired in 1974), as well as the famous television series, Wonder Woman has never starred in her own feature film. Perhaps the most iconic of all female superheroes, Wonder Woman will finally take centre stage in her own cinematic release on 23rd June 2017.
This category occupies the majority of forthcoming releases in the comic book adaptation genre. Many of the new superhero movies are sequels to films released in the last few years, including…
Ryan Reynolds reprises his role (from 2009’s X-Men Origins: Wolverine) as the Marvel antihero in Deadpool. It is unclear how much of a crossover there will be with the X-Men series of films. But with the star power of Reynolds and the lure of a R-rating in the US, Deadpool is sure to bring in audiences when it is released on 12th February 2016.
Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice
One of the most anticipated movies of 2016, Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice is a follow-up to 2013’s Man of Steel and seemingly a precursor to DC’s forthcoming The Justice League Part 1 and 2. Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice will offer viewers their first look at Ben Affleck as Batman when it is released on 25th March 2016.
Captain America: Civil War
2014’s Captain America: The Winter Soldier was one of the best Marvel films thus far, so expectations are high for its sequel. The film will feature a host of Avengers’ characters, including Iron Man, Black Widow and Hawkeye. It seems to be the closest fix to an Avengers movie until 2018, when Avengers: Infinity War Part 1 is released. Captain America: Civil War will hit the big screen on 29th April 2016.
The follow-up to 201’s X-Men: Days of Future Past, X-Men: Apocalypse sees the return of director Bryan Singer. The film reintroduces a number of characters viewers of the first film series will be familiar with. This time they appear as younger versions, including Kodi Smit-McPhee as Nightcrawler (pictured above). X-Men: Apocalypse will be released on 19th May 2016.
Another off-shoot of the X-Men franchise, the character is the subject of his own film when Gambit is released on 7th October 2016. This time around, the character is played by Channing Tatum, following Taylor Kitsch’s turn in the role in X-Men Origins: Wolverine. It has been reported this week that the character may not make an appearance in X-Men: Apocalypse, making it unclear whether Gambit is a sequel that relates to this world, or is a reboot of the character from the 2009 film.
The third-standalone Wolverine film is set for release on 2nd March 2017. Star Hugh Jackman indicated on his Instagram account that this would be the last time he would play the role. Little is known about the plot of the film; it does not yet have an official title. Perhaps the three X-Men film released before Wolverine 3 will have some impact in shaping the film.
Guardians of the Galaxy 2
A cinematic adaption one of Marvel’s less-popular franchises, 2014’s Guardians of the Galaxy was a huge worldwide hit. The sequel, when it is released on 28th April 2017, has a lot to live up to. At the moment, it is unclear whether there’ll be any crossover with the Avengers universe, although one of Guardians of the Galaxy 2‘s stars hopes this will be the case.
There are two clear superhero reboots scheduled for release in the next two years, although some of the above films may fall into this category. Audiences can look forward to seeing new versions of…
The 2005 film Fantastic Four and its 2007 sequel were hardly great fan favourites, so there does not seem to be a great deal of upset at the reboot of the Marvel franchise. What is promising about this new version is the cast, which includes Miles Teller and Michael B. Jordan. With a 2017 sequel already planned, Fantastic Four hits the big screen on 6th August 2015.
Yes a Spider-Man reboot has already been done, with the sequel to that reboot only being released last year. However a new reboot is scheduled for release in 2017, with a number of actors being discussed for the lead role. Although not much is known about this new film at the moment, Spider-Man will appear in next year’s Captain America: Civil War.
This is not the last of this swath of new superhero movies, with both Marvel and DC planning a slate that will continue until at least 2020. These include standalone films for Aquaman and Black Panther, sequels for Thor and others, and reboots such as Green Lantern. After Marvel’s recent dominance of the superhero genre, it will be interesting to see whether DC can regain some of their earlier magic. Despite the apocalyptic action depicted in the films, this is where the real battle lies.