Marvel Makes Some Moves

In the giddy afterglow of $200mil’s worth of opening weekend receipts, Marvel Studios has decided to make it rain superheroes in Summers 2010 and 2011.  Release dates for Iron Man 2, Thor, Captain America, and The Avengers can all be found here. As CHUD’s Russ Fischer points out in that link, we’ll see how ambitious the new studio is feeling after The Incredible Hulk opens later this summer, but I have high hopes that Marvel is planning something DC has as-of-yet failed to do on the big screen.   

See, Robert Downey Jr.’s Tony Stark makes a cameo crossover in Ed Norton’s Hulk later this summer, and The Avengers was set up in the post-credits scene from Iron Man so that sector of the Marvel universe will likely be explored further in Iron Man 2.  Furthermore, Captain America has the tentative title of The First Avenger: Captain America, which obviously won’t do but at least speaks to an intent by Marvel to thread all of these films together leading up to the all-star ensemble Avengers movie.

Executed properly this could be pretty badass: a canon of film franchises that creates a motion picture version of an expanded comics universe. It’s like Lord of the Rings or Star Wars franchises taken to a whole new level. Sure Marvel Studios could probably feed everyone in Sub-Saharan Africa for a week with the money spent on all of this celluloid bombast, but then you wouldn’t have a reason to spend $11 dollars on $0.79′ worth of popcorn on a gorgeous summer day two years from now. I mean let’s have some priorities. 

And what about Justice League, you say? As much as I’d love to see DC execute its classic ensemble franchise with aplomb, their track record doesn’t fill me with confidence.  The planned Superman/Batman World’s Finest movie was put on ice after Wolfgang Petersen ditched to make Troy, and though there is a Justice League movie in development for a summer ’09 release, even if it does actually get made the film universe in which it would take place will not be fleshed out to the degree the Marvel universe will be by 2011.  

Basically what I’m saying is that my money’s on Marvel to produce the best string of superhero films over the next few years, while DC should get its ass in gear so they can crossover and we can all enjoy the most convoluted and decadent exercise in popcorn cinema of all time when Warner Brothers and Marvel Studios presents a Jon Favreau version of JLA/Avengers in which the two superhero teams plot an elaborate casino heist to rip off the Penguin (played by James Gandolfini).  

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