Avengers Promo Art Assembles the Heroes

Marvel Entertainment (click for larger view)
Last month, Marvel dropped a collection of Avengers concept art posters on us that showcased each member of the team. Now they've assembled the heroes via this promotional image that might serve as the cover for a movie tie-in comic book called Road to the Avengers. There's nothing in the image that we haven't seen before, but anything Avengers-related is worth a look, especially when it features a glowering Hulk in the background.

The Avengers opens May 4, 2012 (USA)

From Marvel Studios -
Continuing the epic big-screen adventures started in “Iron Man,” “The Incredible Hulk,” “Iron Man 2,” “Thor,” and “Captain America: The First Avenger,” “Marvel’s The Avengers” is the super hero team up of a lifetime. When an unexpected enemy emerges that threatens global safety and security, Nick Fury, director of the international peacekeeping agency known as S.H.I.E.L.D., finds himself in need of a team to pull the world back from the brink of disaster.

Anne Hathaway on Playing Catwoman

Anne Hathaway

Anne Hathaway
was her usual adorable self when she paid a visit to Regis and Kelly on August 18 (Cat Deeley was filling in for Kelly). Fast forward to 1:00 and you'll catch what she had to say about filming The Dark Knight Rises in Pittsburgh. She also talks about idolizing Catwoman since she was a kid and what it took to fit into the Catsuit.

'The Avengers' Trailer Shown to a Lucky Few at Disney Expo

Cast of The Avengers - Marvel Enterprises
If you're like me, you can't wait for the first real trailer for The Avengers to be released. While we all wait, a few lucky people at the Disney D23 Expo in Florida were treated to an early look at some footage. While it'll probably be a few more weeks until the rest of us can see it, we do have a summary of what it shows. 

IGN posted a detailed report of what happens in the trailer and I've included a sample below. As we all knew, Loki appears to be the main villain, and the Cosmic Cube is mentioned, along with a big, angry, green-skinned dude. Spoilers ahead.
"The scene takes place aboard S.H.I.E.L.D.'s Helicarrier where there's a terse exchange between Fury and Loki (Hiddleston), who is caged inside a hi-tech chamber encased by glass walls. Loki sports much longer hair and an altered green and gold costume from he what he had in Thor. (Indeed, all of the characters have new duds in the film.)
 Fury warns Loki that if he tries to escape, or even touches the glass, he'll plummet 30,000 feet to his doom. Fury then opens a portal to reveal the dark and stormy sky outside. Loki remarks that the cage he's in was built for someone different from him -- Hulk." -IGN
Check out the full report at IGN

Ghost Rider Returns in 'Spirit of Vengeance' - Trailer

Sony Pictures/Marvel

All the early info about this flick seems to indicate it's a much darker, more nightmarish version than the first Ghost Rider (2007) movie.  As far as I know, it hasn't been assigned a rating yet, but 
an "R" is likely. According to a script review of the film, Johnny Blaze (Nicolas Cage) has been in exile for several years since the events of the first film and is asked to protect someone from demonic forces. I think the trailer rocks and I'm totally on board for this one. Lemme know what ya think of the trailer. 

Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance 
 Nicolas Cage
 Idris Elba 
 CiarĂ¡n Hinds 
 Directed by 
 Mark Neveldine 
 Brian Taylor
Opens February 17, 2012 (USA)

Rhys Ifans on Playing Spidey Villain 'The Lizard'

Rhys Ifans (photo credit: Pascal Guyot/AFP)
Geoff Boucher of The Los Angeles Times spoke to Rhys Ifans, who will play Dr. Curt Connors, aka The Lizard, in The Amazing Spider-Man. Ifans gave his thoughts on director, Marc Webb, and how this Spidey is different from the first trilogy's depiction.

Ifans on Webb's vision -

Marvel Comics
Not to be disparaging to the other movies at all but they were kind of going a certain way and Marc has rolled it back to its delicate, human domesticity. Spider-Man is a working-class hero. He’s an everyman. And I think Marc as a director and Andrew in his performances are doing special — we’re reclaiming the poetry of the hero and of the story. - Rhys Ifans
The actor also spoke about how Connors isn't a one dimensional villain -

Curt Connors is a man with one arm and he wants to grow his arm back. He has access to a science that can enable that. But he has to make a moral decision, an ethical decision, to achieve that. In a story both he and Peter Parker are presented with these amazing abilities, and it’s about this gift that life gives us. More than any other super-hero, Spider-Man presents us with something very local in its ethics. It’s not messianic. It’s far more tangible. He is, again, a working-class hero. - Rhys Ifans
I've heard a lot of grumbling from fans of the first Spider-Man trilogy - about how it's too soon for a reboot and how no one can top Sam Raimi's version of Spidey. Well, I liked Raimi's films, but I'm totally on board for a different take. From what Ifans said, it sounds like this is going to be a grittier, more realistic movie, and that sounds great to me.

The Amazing Spider-Man opens on July 3, 2012 (USA)

Read the entire LA Times article at the link below 
‘Spider-Man’ star: ‘We’re reclaiming the poetry of the hero’ | Hero Complex – movies, comics, fanboy fare – latimes.com

Spy Video - Stuff Blows up REAL Good on the Set of 'The Avengers'

The Avengers - Marvel Enterprises

YouTube user, popeboy, uploaded this fantastic footage from the set of The Avengers. Popeboy (I love those YouTube names) shot this yesterday (August 16) in Cleveland, Ohio, and it seems to show one of the major action sequences in the film - about one minute of non-stop explosions! Awesome video, popeboy!

The Avengers opens on May 4, 2012 (USA)

Captain America Pics - from the Set of 'The Avengers'

Oh yeah! Cap in full battle gear! This slide-show contains pics that originally appeared on Celebrity Gossip, today (August 16). They show Chris Evans in the modern Captain America costume on the set of The Avengers, in Cleveland, Ohio. Check out the last pic in the set that appears to show some type of weird alien-looking weapon.

Cinema Superheroes and the Lack of Diversity

Wesley Snipes as Blade - New Line / Marvel
A complaint that's often heard about today's superhero movies is the lack of racial diversity when it comes to casting. While there have been a few exceptions, major cape movies starring someone of color are few and far between. Of course, the Blade trilogy, starring Wesley Snipes, is the most famous example of a successful superhero franchise starring an African-American. It's ironic that Blade (1998) is considered by many film experts to be the movie that kicked off the current superhero dominance of the box office. Unfortunately, Blade's success didn't translate into more starring roles for non-white actors.

Will Smith as Hancock - Sony Pictures
The topic of diversity in cape movies has been on my mind recently, and when I read an opinion by John Ridley, a commentator for National Public Radio, I wanted to address it here. Ridley poses the argument that Hollywood is misjudging white audiences' reluctance to see a cape movie starring a non-white actor. He cites a study that seems to show that a movie's non-white cast doesn't influence a white audience's willingness to see it. In other words, a well-made superhero movie starring a black actor should do just as well at the box-office as one starring a white actor. 

Here's how Ridley states it - 

Every hero needs a villain, and I can tell you from experience that supposedly "liberal" Hollywood loves to make the audience the bad guy. There's a self-fulfilling delusion at work in the studio system that white audiences won't pay to see black actors cast outside a narrow type of role.
Black Panther - Marvel Comics
Weaver found that white audiences tended to be racially selective with regard to romantic movies, but not necessarily when it came to other genres. So, sorry, Hollywood. You can't blame it on the ticket buyers. And as the bankability of comic book franchises begins to cool — did we really need four hero-in-tights movies this summer alone? — you have to wonder if studios will ever get hip to the possibilities of going after multi-cultural audiences.There is, however, a bit of evidence to back that claim. In the concisely titled study "The Role of Actors' Race in White Audiences' Selective Exposure to Movies," Indiana University professor Andrew Weaver writes, "Movie producers are often reluctant to cast more than a few minority actors in otherwise race-neutral movies for fear that the white audience will largely avoid such films." - John Ridley, NPR
Ridley raises a fascinating question in his piece. Would audiences - white audiences - embrace a superhero movie, say Superman or Iron Man, that starred a non-white actor? I think the answer is "yes", and I would love to see a daring casting decision - such as a black actor being cast as Superman. However, unfortunately I don't think that's going to happen anytime soon. How about it? Do you think Hollywood will ever put more diversity into the cinema superhero ranks? 

Read the entire NPR article at the link below. 
Hollywood Superheroes Losing The Fight For Diversity : NPR

Fan-made Poster for 'The Dark Knight Rises'

Fan art poster by Andrew - deviantART
I always like to promote outstanding fan art when I stumble across it, and this poster simply rocks. It's by an artist who goes by "Andrew", and it combines the Batman logo from all three films in the Christopher Nolan Dark Knight trilogy. The fascinating aspect to this work (as Andrew points out on his web page) is how the logo becomes more and more damaged with each film. That couldn't be a pure coincidence, right? Nolan probably conceived all three logos long before the first film was made. What do you think?

Check out Andrew's other work here

First Pic of Anne Hathaway in Catwoman Costume

Anne Hathaway as Selina Kyle/ Catwoman - Warner Bros/DC 
Aww yeah, teasers from the set of The Dark Knight Rises get better every day. Today, we have the first pic of Anne Hathaway in her Catwoman costume - aboard what looks like a version of the Batpod, no less!

Below is another pic from Just Jared showing Anne Hathaway's stunt double, giving us little a better look at the entire costume.
The Dark Knight Rises - via Just Jared - Photo credit: Chris Watts 

Marvel Moves Forward on 'Doctor Strange' Movie

Doctor Strange copyright Marvel Comics - art by Alan Davis

Marvel Entertainment is moving ahead with plans for a movie based on one of its earliest and best known supernatural characters, Doctor Strange. It's reported that a screenplay featuring Stephen Strange, the surgeon turned sorcerer, has been submitted to Marvel from the writing team hired in the summer of 2010.

Most likely, Marvel is going to weave some of its other cinematic universe elements into a Strange movie, since the good Doctor isn't that well known to mainstream audiences. Marvel even hid a Doctor Strange "Easter egg" in a recent movie (As a hint that Strange will be seen in future films, perhaps?). Sharp-eyed viewers caught a glimpse of Strange's mystical amulet, The Eye of Agamotto, in Odin's Vault in the recent Thor. 

Below is how The Playlist describes Doctor Strange's long path to the big screen -

"An adaptation of “Doctor Strange” has been knocking around Hollywood for years and its easy to see why. For those of you out of the comic world loop, the character is a self-centered New York surgeon who can no longer practice after a car accident. He becomes a drifter, finds his way to a healer in the Himalayas, and learns to tap into psychic powers to battle evil wizards and other bad dudes. His mind is his weapon and his powers include energy and astral projection, teleportation, telepathy, creating shields and more. It’s no wonder then that the property, licensed out to various studios over the years, has attracted a number of writers and directors including Bob Gale, Wes Craven, David Goyer, Stephen Norrington andGuillermo del Toro. Oh yeah, remember “The Illusionist” with Edward Norton? He said he modeled his character after Dr. Strange (and too bad he already played Hulk because really, he’s a great fit for the role). But with Marvel back in control, they will undoubtedly stay reverential to the source material." - Kevin Jagernauth

Read the entire Playlist article at the link below.

Marvel Moves Ahead With ‘Doctor Strange’ As Script By Thomas Donnelly & Joshua Oppenheimer Handed In > The Playlist

The Amazing Visual Effects of the 'Captain America' Movie

How'd they do that???
If you've seen the new movie, Captain America: The First Avenger, from Marvel Studios/Paramount, you're probably wondering how they transformed Chris Evans into his skinnier version. The image above from The Daily shows some of the many steps that the visual effects people had to go through in order to make the skinny Evans believable. Click on the image for more info.