Brawn mania: Feast of superhero outings this summer

By Robin Bansal, IANS
Monday, January 24, 2011

NEW DELHI - Goons might just pack up their bags and head for retirement as Captain America, Thor, X-Men and Green Lantern are all set to save mankind with a gaggle of superhero outings this year.

If Superman, Batman, Spider-Man and Iron Man laid the foundation for successful big screen adaptations of comic book idols, aficionados will get a chance in 2011 summer to feast on “Thor” (May 6), “X-Men:

First Class” (June 3), “Green Lantern” (June 17) and “Captain America:

The First Avenger” (July 22).

“I would not be able to comment on behalf of other filmmakers, but I am very excited about doing my first superhero movie. I do know that a lot of people are making superhero movies and I guess it is also for the audiences who love to watch these movies,” Martin Campbell, who is helming “Green Lantern”, told IANS via e-mail from London.

“And if I am not wrong, superhero movies have always had a wide audience. Maybe it is just a coincidence that a lot of these movies are being made at the same time,” added the director behind Bond hits like “GoldenEye” and “Casino Royale”.

Acclaimed filmmaker James Cameron, who recently criticised Hollywood’s love affair with franchises, also predicted success for the ’super’ outings.

“Everyone in Hollywood knows how important it is that the film, before it hit theatres, is already a brand. If a brand has been around, ‘Harry Potter’, for example, or ‘Spider-Man’, you are light years ahead,” he said.

“Green Lantern” shows Ryan Reynolds, 34, continue with his superhero stints after “Blade: Trinity” and “X-Men Origins: Wolverine” as Hal Jordan, the first human turned DC Comics superhero. Packing his formidable six-pack into the bright green unitard, he takes an oath to keep inter-galactic order as the protector of peace and justice.

While director Matthew Vaughn turns back time in “X-Men: First Class” to the days when Professor Charles Xavier/Professor X (James McAvoy) and Magneto (Michael Fassbender) were friends. Set in the 1960s, the fifth instalment in the “X-Men” series mostly consists of new blood and is a prequel to the first three outings.

Kenneth Branagh, on the other hand, will finally bring to screen the much-delayed hammer wielding Nordic god of thunder “Thor”. Starring Chris Hemsworth as the powerful but arrogant mighty who is forced to live among humans as punishment, the epic gets sweetened with Tom Hiddleston, Natalie Portman, Sir Anthony Hopkins and Jaimie Alexander in pivotal roles.

“Fantasic Four” Human Torch Chris Evans will now take on the mantle of a physically unfit Steve Rogers, who volunteers for a secret military operation Project: Rebirth to be physically transformed into a super-soldier, Captain America. Directed byJoe Johnston, the 3D outing shows him fighting Hitler’s treacherous head of advanced weaponry, the Red Skull (Hugo Weaving).

The sudden dose of bodysuit wearing comic book He-men also compels one to think about the dearth of content in Hollywood, but director duo Brothers Strause think otherwise.

“We wouldn’t say that. Hollywood has all types of stories and offers movies in various genres. Every person has the right to express themselves the way they want and filmmaking gives the opportunity to tell a story the way you have imagined,” the duo told IANS over e-mail from Los Angeles.

Pioneers of visual effects, they have supervised VFX in super outings like “Iron Man 2″, “X-Men Origins: Wolverine”, “The Incredible Hulk”, “Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer” and “X-Men: The Last Stand”.

It doesn’t stop there as these pave the way for the much-anticipated hero outings “Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance”, a “Spider-Man” reboot, “The Dark Knight Rises”, “Deadpool” and “The Avengers” that will light up 2012.

Then there are those with release dates unknown like “Iron Man 3″, “Superman: Man of Steel”, “Hancock 2″, “X-Men Origins: Wolverine 2″ and “Ant-Man” not to miss rumoured outings like “Silver Surfer”, “Wonder Woman”, “Flash”, “X-Men Origins: Magneto”, “Doctor Strange”, “Iron Fist”, “Nick Fury” and another “Fantastic Four” movie.

Call it coincidence or pure economics, 2011 looks undoubtedly the year of the superhero. After all in Hollywood “there is no fate but what we make”.

(Robin Bansal can be contacted at

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