Saturday, January 31, 2015

A Look At The Various Superhero Movie Universes

There's about four superhero cinematic universes running around right now, each with varying degrees of success and potential. Since two of them unleashed trailers of their newest features onto the world in the past month, I thought it was time to look at each of these four superhero universes and analyze how well they're doing currently and what ventures they have planned for film and television in the future.

Marvel Cinematic Universe (2008-Present): The juggernaut that started the whole shared cinematic universe craze is coming off a huge 2014, where they had two of the years five biggest movies domestically. In 2015, The Avengers: Age Of Ultron is pretty much surefire hit, and the Daredevil show in April will kickstart a new deal with Netflix for Marvel to produce several superhero shows for the streaming giant.
Ant-Man, their second movie for 2015, released a trailer this month that went over decently. It wasn't a huge hit critically like that first Guardians teaser, but it conveyed the films unique characters and visuals well enough and also managed to become the 3rd most watched Marvel trailer of all-time (ahead of Captain America: The Winter Soldier and Guardians Of The Galaxy, which both cracked $250 million domestically). Beyond that for 2015, the rest of Agents Of SHIELDS second season will start in March, while the second Netflix program A.K.A. Jessica Jones will likely arrive in November 2015. In 2016, Captain America: Civil War will introduce Black Panther and Baron Zemo to the MCU, while Benedict Cumberbatch will headline the much anticipated Doctor Strange. Two other Netflix shows, Iron Fist and Luke Cage, are also expected to debut in 2016.
DC Cinematic Universe (2013-Present): Considering the middling reception from audiences and critics Man Of Steel received, one would think Warner Bros. would be trying to get the movies sequel, Batman v. Superman: Dawn Of Justice, out a little quicker, but the film is officially slated for March 25, 2016. This film is crucial for the rest of the DC Cinematic Universe, as it'll essentially introduce each member of the Justice League, who will get their own spin-off movies. DC will also release Suicide Squad in 2016, which will introduce numerous DC Comics baddies like Harley Quinn to the world of cinema, and have Wonder Woman and Justice League: Part One planned for 2017.

Sony's Spider-Man Universe (2012-????): It feels like each day brings a new rumor as to what exactly Sony has planned for your neighborhood friendly Spider-Man. The original plan after The Amazing Spider-Man 2 was to do another Spidey movie in 2016, but that film was scrapped and a Sinister Six movie was placed in 2016 instead. But considering the movie comes out in 22 months,, there's an insane lack of news on the project, making me doubtful it'll even happen.

FOX's X-Men/Fantastic Four Universe (2000-Present): The folks at 20th Century Fox didn't plan for those merry mutants to become a shared universe, but the success of The Avengers has made them decide to utilize the two Marvel properties they have the film rights to (Fantastic Four and X-Men) and have them meet. Filmmakers like Simon Kinberg have been coy about the two franchises colliding, but it's impossible to imagine the two wind up being separate entities. As for the separate franchises, the Fantastic Four reboot unveiled it's first footage this week in the form of a trailer that received a pretty good reception and smartly emphasized this as being different from past film adaptations of the characters. Fox's confidence in the film can be seen by planning a sequel for June 2017.

X-Men films have meanwhile managed to become a stunning success again, as 14 years into their run the franchise released their biggest movie ever by a wide margin, X-Men: Days Of Future Past. The film got amazing reviews and reinvigorated interest in the franchise. To that end, Fox not only has a sequel to that film, X-Men: Apocalypse, arriving Memorial Day 2016, as well as spin-offs for Deadpool and Gambit slated for the same year. There are also early plans for a TV show spin-off, though they'll have to negotiate with Marvel Television Studios to get that project going.

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