I usually prefer my films fully realised before I pass judgment, but for one weekend of the year I embrace the speculation, and binge on the masses of news stories coming out of the San Diego Comic-Con. I’d actually love to go to Comic-Con. I’m thoroughly intrigued by the place. Here are the key bits that have piqued my interest.
Superman and Batman are teaming up for their next feature, which I’d bet money on being called World’s Finest. Apparently it will take a tonal cue from Frank Miller’s tale of an aged Caped Crusader, The Dark Knight Returns. The book is a real favourite of mine, and the thought of that tome’s Kent and Wayne being reimagined to fit the current DC movies agenda does actually appeal. Essentially Kent is a weapon under the control of the US government, while Wayne represents the opposite, a vigilante out on his own. There’s some speculation that DC’s new Batman will be just that, a new Batman, who isn’t associated with Wayne, tying in the continuity of this new film with that of the earlier Christopher Nolan Batman films. I hope that isn’t the case, given that the singularly most interesting aspect of the pairing would be in their conflicting paternal despairs.
While DC have quite literally put all of their eggs in one basket, the Marvel domination of the Summer superhero blockbuster continues apace. Over at the Fox wing of the Marvel family, Days Of Future Past looks set to be a first for the X-franchise, in that it looks thoroughly interesting. An adaptation of the late-80s Chris Claremont story, which sees the X’s playing around with time travel in a dystopian future, Days Of Future Past may just be the springboard that this side of the Family M needs to converge all of its talents and messy timelines. A more Marvel Studios-esque approach to their films (interconnection, sprawling stories over a number of films) is mooted, should this be a success, with an X Force spin-off in the planning stages while, as any readers of the original source material will know, Days Of Future Past perhaps offering the ideal bridging scenario to Fox’s other Marvel property, the Fantastic Four.
Finally, Marvel Studios themselves, the most successful wing of the Marvel film producers revealed that The Avengers 2, the film that they’re correctly working towards for release in 2015 would be subtitled The Age Of Ultron.
The Age Of Ultron was a 10-issue comic-book mini series that actually only finished last month. It was actually pretty good too, although it had its detractors. Set in a dystopian future (not unlike Days of Future Past), a mass genocide has wiped out most of humanity. Said genocide came at the hands of Ultron, a robot (created by Hank Pym aka Ant Man), who was presiding over his crusade somehow from the future. The remaining Avengers split in to two factions. One faction would remain in the original timeline, while the other would travel to the future and kill Ultron. Unbeknownst to the others though, a surly Wolverine travels *backwards* in time (not unlike Days Of Future Past), to take care of the problem at conception. And that’s just the setup. Thankfully the film apparently has nothing to do with the comic-book Age Of Ultron, which is good news as far as I’m concerned, given the complexities of the whole affair. The inclusion of Ultron in an Avengers sequel is interesting in itself though, and gives a good idea of the sort of thing to expect in the films immediately leading in to it. My only real concern is that Marvel might be being too ambitious including both Ultron and Thanos (who made an appearance at the end of the first Avengers film and is set to be a key figure throughout the next two story arcs of the Marvel cinematic uni set) in their plans.
Of those two arcs it’s Guardians Of The Galaxy is probably the one I’m looking forward to the most, although the 70s conspiratorial vibe hinted at for Captain America: The Winter Soldier is really exciting. The recently relaunched Guardians Of The Galaxy is the one Marvel book I read regularly these days, so there’s that personal connection that’s willing me on to really hope it does well.
Adam Batty – Editor-In-Chief
The Marvel Panel. i09 on the Marvel panel.