Tuesday, 24 March 2015

DC v Marvel: Age of Justice, the Future of Comic Book Movies and Television

We all love superheroes and over the last few years DC and Marvel have been showing us a lot of comic book love on television and on the big screen. DC is struggling at the box office at the moment with Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy being the only venture that really worked out well for them. Green Lantern was a bit of a disaster and Man of Steel didn’t quite succeed in capturing what Superman is really about, what with the big blue Boy Scout probably killing more innocent people in Metropolis than he saved in his fight against General Zodd. While DC may be lagging behind on the big screen they are dominating the small screen, with shows like Arrow, The Flash (which is just pure gold, you guys) and Gotham. Marvel has Agents of SHIELD, which goes from annoying to really good and then back to annoying again. Agent Carter is nice too, I guess. The Peggy Carter character is less tiresome than most of the people on the Agents of SHIELD roster at any rate. Marvel had a great 2014 at the movies with Captain America: Winter Soldier and The Guardians of the Galaxy being absolutely amazing. They are looking to do the same in 2015 with Avengers: Age of Ultron and Ant-Man. Marvel also has more things lined up for television to compete with DC on that front.

Big things are happening for both DC and Marvel this year and going ahead so let’s dive into some of the fun stuff from both of the studios, shall we. Let’s kick off with Marvel’s detailed plan for things to come and then look at how DC responds.

Marvel is taking the Avengers out on their second outing on the 1st of May in Age of Ultron and geeks everywhere can’t wait to get some of that comic book goodness. Heck! People in general can’t wait to get hold of that comic book goodness. Then there is the bonus we South Africans have of seeing Hulk smashing downtown Jozi. Move over New York! Marvel knows how to make movies that appeal to everyone and they do it with such charm. Just to make sure that everyone knows that Marvel knows what they are doing they went ahead and announced their complete Phase 3 line-up. Just like that. BOOM! Phase 2 closes off with Ant-Man on July 17 this year. Ant-Man is looking to be the sleeper hit that The Guardians of the Galaxy was last year.

Donald Glover for Spider-Man!
Phase 3 kicks off with Captain America: Civil War set for May 6, 2016. Marvel Studios acquired the rights to Spider-Man from Sony and this is great news as he is an important part of the Civil War storyline and will finally get to play with the rest of the Avengers gang. I doubt that Spidy will be getting his own movie before then but let’s see. Also, a black Spidy seems to be a thing with Donald Glover’s and other names being thrown around. On the 4th of November 2016 Marvel taps into the magical corner of the comic book universe by bringing in the Sorcerer Supreme in Doctor Strange. The lovable Guardians of the Galaxy go on their second space adventure on 5 May 2017 (so far away to see more of Groot) and things get all sort of apocalyptic in Thor: Ragnarok on November 3, 2017. The Avengers (and probably the Guardians of the Galaxy) assemble again to face off with the big bad Thanos in Infinity War Part 1 on May 4, 2018. Black Panther makes his debut on July 6, 2018 (I imagine we will see him in some sort of cameo before this though). Captain Marvel gets her day in the sun on November 2, 2018. The Avengers continue their Infinity Gauntlet story in Infinity War Part 2 on May 3, 2019. The Inhumans are now a thing on Agents of SHIELD but the royal family gets their own movie on July 12, 2019. I doubt we’ll be seeing any of the royal family on TV before then.

Marvel is good at interconnections between all of its franchises and for all the flak I give Agents of SHIELD it ties in nicely with the events in the films and will continue to do so if all the plans on the table work out. The 10th of April will see the launch of Daredevil on Netflix and by the look of the trailer it’s set to be a lot darker and grittier than the other Marvel stuff. It will also tie into the bigger Marvel universe like Agent Carter and Agents of SHIELD. Later this year we’ll also get A.K.A. Jessica Jones. Iron Fist, Luke Cage and The Defenders will also be getting some love on the small screen but their dates have not been announced yet.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch . . . The Justice League is clearly still a thing for DC with Superman v Batman: Dawn of Justice scheduled for 25 March, 2016. Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot) will be a principal character in the movie, so that’s the big three in the Justice League right there. Jason Momoa (Game of Thrones) has been cast as Aquaman and his character has been revealed in costume on posters with the tagline: Unite the Seven. This could refer to the seven seas of which he is king or the seven founding members of the Justice League. Cyborg (Ray Fisher) is also set to make an appearance in the movie.

The Big Three

DC is playing catch up with Marvel and so they also announced their line-up for their . . . DC Cinematic Universe. DCU? DCU 52? Well, whatever they call it, here it is! After Dawn of Justice we get to see the Suicide Squad in action on 5 August 2015. Who doesn’t like themselves some anti-heroes? Really. Look out for Jared Leto as The Joker, Will Smith as Deadshot, Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn and Jai Courtney as Captain Boomerang. Oprah Winfrey was one of the people being considered to play Amanda Waller but Viola Davis (Ender’s Game) got it in the end. The Suicide Squad makes a regular appearance on Arrow so I guess the TV and cinema worlds won’t be linked as the actors aren’t the same. Gal Godot returns as Wonder Woman on 23 June 2017. 17 November 2017 sees the biggie in the form of Justice League Part One. The Flash zooms in on March 23, 2018 and we take a look at what’s going on in Atlantis in Aquaman on July 27, 2018. By the power and beard of Zeus we will be graced by Shazam (Captain Marvel to some but Marvel has their Captain Marvel so yeah, that) on April 5, 2019. The Rock has been cast as Black Adam so you know this will be fun. Justice League Part Two is set for June 14, 2019, Cyborg for April 3, 2020 and DC will try again with Green Lantern on June 19, 2020.

There’s not much to say about DC’s TV presence other than that they are having a good time. In addition to shows like Arrow, The Flash and Gotham they have Constantine exploring the magical realm. Supergirl is getting her own show this year and Lucifer and Preacher are on the cards as well.

We have a lot of comic book movies and TV shows to look forward to over the next few years and the name of the game from both studios is clearly shared cinematic universes, which we love. DC seems not to be sharing storylines or characters between their TV shows and movies though but hey, it still looks like a lot of big things going on. Feel free to get excited about all the cool things headed our way. See you at the movies and on the couch at home.

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