Muppets and Avengers Trailer Mash-up

Disney/Marvel Studios
Okay, so The Muppets aren't one of the usual subjects that appear on this site, but this trailer for their upcoming movie is too good to miss. The folks at Disney have given Kermit, Miss Piggy and the rest, the voices of Robert Downey Jr., Samuel L. Jackson and everyone else from the recent trailer for The Avengers. The only question is - Where's Super Grover when you need him?

The Muppets opens in the USA on Nov. 23.

Thanks to ScreenRant for the heads up

Superhero Flicks That Coulda Been

Fan-made poster for Superman Lives - by David Nastula 
Storyboard art from James Cameron's Spider-Man - Source

I make a point to highlight articles on superhero movie history that I happen to stumble across - and today I have a good one. Over on Forever Geek, Robin Parrish has compiled a list of cape flicks that almost made it to the screen, but for one reason or another they were trashed in the development process. It's fun to look
at some these never-produced projects and wonder - "what if"?

Darren Aronofsky
Could his Batman have topped Nolan's?
What if James Cameron (Titanic, Avatar) had actually made a dark and gritty version of Spider-Man instead of Sam Raimi's lighter approach? What if Wolfgang Petersen (Air Force One, The Perfect Storm) had been allowed to film the ultimate team-up featuring Superman and Batman? What if a pre-Black Swan Darren Aronofsky had re-booted the Batman franchise using a drastically changed origin story? Those are the types of questions that make for excellent argument fodder, and are part of what makes being a movie fan so cool.

After reading Robin's article, you might be interested to check out my previous post about James Cameron's ill-fated Spidey movie and Tim Burton's trademark weird take on Superman in his aborted reboot of the Supes franchise.

11 Superhero Movies That Never Escaped Development Hell | ForeverGeek:

Marvel Studios Boss Talks New Heroes in 'Avengers' Sequel

Marvel Studios
Tom Hiddleston (Loki)
Last weekend (Oct. 14-16) at the New York Comic Con, IGN got some great info on The Avengers from Marvel Studios head honcho, Kevin Feige. From what Feige said in the interview below, it looks like we'll be seeing some new heroes join the line-up when the inevitable Avengers 2 hits the screen in a couple of years. Oh, by the way, if you're interested in what kind of mayhem Loki (Tom Hiddleston) might unleash in The Avengers, be sure to watch the video - Feige has some great teasers on that as well.

When asked about who we might see in a sequel, here's what Feige had to say -

"Absolutely. That's the fun of it -- introducing new characters," said Feige when asked point blank whether fans should expect a change-up to the roster. "Seeing: 'How will things change after Iron Man goes through his next adventure? After Thor goes through his next adventure? If we do another Cap adventure, how will things change? The dynamic between them? Their own worlds? So that the dynamic in Avengers 2 is actually quite different than it is in the first one."

Mark Ruffalo (Bruce Banner/Hulk) Featured in NY Comic Con 'Avengers' Clip

Mark Ruffalo - Marvel Studios
According to UnderWire, last weekend at the New York Comic Con, several minutes of The Avengers featuring Mark Ruffalo (Bruce Banner/Hulk) were shown to a lucky audience. As far as I know, this was the first time any Hulk-centric clips have been released publicly, so I was curious to hear what was shown. From the description of the sneak peek in the UnderWire piece, it sounds like a skeptical and jumpy Banner (who appears to be hiding out in the Middle East) is approached by Scarlett Johansson (Black Widow) to join SHIELD as some sort of scientific advisor. Bruce is having none of it, though, as he suspects a trap is being laid to capture the Hulk.

Hopefully, Banner/Hulk will get a substantial amount of screen time in The Avengers because I think he's the most intriguing character in the movie. I'm especially interested to see how the screenwriters devise a way for Hulk to be controlled or reasoned with in order for him to become a member of the team. Maybe in another trailer, we'll get a few more hints as to how they accomplish that feat. For now, we'll have to be satisfied with this little teaser.

Below is a brief section from the article describing the Ruffalo scene, and you can read the full piece here

Marvel Studios 
A little girl runs down the street, through a nondescript Middle Eastern village and into a city. She runs upstairs into a crowded house and starts begging for help from the doctor. The camera pans to reveal Bruce Banner (Mark Ruffalo) standing over a group of very sick patients. He asks if her family has what these poor folks have as well. She says yes and holds up a fist of cash. Bruce follows her.
Cut to Bruce and the little girl standing in front of a rundown shack. She runs forward, but Bruce holds her back and turns around, just as a jeep full of military personnel drives by. Bruce hides his face.
Bruce then follows the little girl into the remote home, far away from the crowded city we saw moments ago and into a shack. He walks through the door just in time to witness the little tyke jump out the window. He immediately knows it’s a trap, “Should have got the money up front, Banner.”
Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) steps out from behind the shadows. “For a man who’s trying to avoid stress, you picked a hell of a place to do it.” She’s not in her usual Black Widow catsuit. Instead, she’s wearing a long dress. She introduces herself as Natasha Romanoff.
Bruce shakes his head, “You brought me to the edge of the city. Are you here to kill me Miss Romanoff? Because that’s not going to work out.”
“I’m here on behalf of S.H.I.E.L.D.”
“What if I say no.”
“I’ll persuade you.” 
“What if the other guy says no.” (Crowd goes nuts.) 
“You’ve been two years without an accident.” They continue to argue a bit and Natasha reveals that Nick Fury needs Bruce’s help with a Tesseract rock, which has enough energy to wipe out the planet. They can’t find it and they need the best gamma ray scientist for the job. She continues to try to win him over stating, “No one is going to put you in a cage.” But at that moment Bruce loses it. “Stop lying to me!” he yells as he slams his hands on on the table. (Crowd goes nuts again.) - Meredith Woerner, UnderWire
And if you want a mega-dose of Marvel Madness, check out the entire Avengers Q/A panel from the New York Comic Con below.

Behind-the-Scenes Action from 'The Dark Knight Rises'

Don't ask me who shot this video, but kudos to whoever it was. It's over three minutes of action from The Dark Knight Rises, on a night time shoot in Los Angeles.
Watch Christopher Nolan and Batman in action with the batwing! Insane footage of Batman on the batpod being chased by more then 60 cop cars! - via the batmansaga

Thanks to ComicsCavern for the heads up.

'The Avengers' Trailer Online!

Marvel Studios
Thanks to ReelzChannel for the heads up on this new Avengers trailer...and yes, it's as cool as we all thought it would be.

The Avengers | Samuel L. Jackson | Robert Downey Jr. | Chris Evans | Movie Trailer | Review

Sneak Peek at New 'Avengers' Footage

The Avengers - Marvel Comics - painting by Alex Ross 
Thanks to SpaceGhost at for posting this sneak peak at tomorrow's Avenger's preview on Entertainment Tonight.

Michael Fassbender Really Wants that 'X-Men:First Class' Sequel

Michael Fassbender - 20th Century Fox

Micheal Fassbender
 is on the interview circuit promoting his new film A Dangerous Method, but of course he's going to be asked about the X-Men: First Class sequel. In this interview with MTV News, he mentions how much he'd like to take another swing at an X-Men picture, and praises director, Matthew Vaughn, and co-star James McAvoy.

Robert Downey Jr. - 'Iron Man' changed everything

Robert Downey Jr. - Marvel Studios

When the history of superheroes in cinema is written in some distant decade, Robert Downey Jr. might be singled out as the actor who had the biggest influence on the genre. In 2008, his funny, self-absorbed, sexy, and yes, heroic turn as millionaire Tony Stark in Iron Man launched the *Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Iron Man made several Top Ten lists in 2008 and won over many people who thought they'd never go see a "comic book movie". Of course, RDJ also starred in the very successful Iron Man sequel in 2010 and will join forces with fellow heroes in  The Avengers in 2012, followed by Iron Man 3 in 2013. So, it's not a stretch to say that RDJ is the actor that an entire "movie universe" depends on.

I was reminded of RDJ's impact on the superhero genre this week, when I read a great interview that Geoff Boucher of the Los Angeles Times recently had with the actor. In the article - originally posted on Boucher's blog The Hero Complex- RDJ gives some candid opinions about his career, and discusses many of his early films, such as 1985's Weird Science and Tuff Turfas well as his Oscar-nominated role in Chaplin (1992). However, some of the most revealing statements in the interview deal with Iron Man, and how the role completely altered his life - in a good way.

Below is a sample of the interview and you can read the full article here -
Iron Man (2008) and Iron Man 2 (2010):"The first one changed everything for me and with the second 'Iron Man' there were certain aspects that were dissatisfying and disappointing to me but at least they lit me right.... [The first one] was a meditation on responsibility and an exploration of how a small group of people can take a two-dimensional idea and, if the winds are right, create something that makes people say, 'That was my favorite movie of the year.' To me, Tony Stark's story is a karma story and a technology story. I love a good action movie — a Steve McQueen or Tom Cruise or Clint Eastwood, Bruce Willis or Mel Gibson in the right spot, and you smile and say, 'That's what this kind of movie is all about.' There were two times in my life I prepared for something manically, it was this and 'Chaplin.' I became the expert on this guy." - Robert Downey Jr. to Geoff Boucher, LA Times 9/9/11
If you need a reminder about how good RDJ was in the one that started it all, check out the clip below.

 *(From Wikipedia) The Marvel Cinematic Universe is a shared fictional universe that is the setting of superhero films independently developed by Marvel Studios, based on characters published in Marvel Comics. The setting is much like the Marvel Universe in comic books. The universe was established by crossing over shared plot elements, settings, cast, and characters. Five films set in this shared universe have been released theatrically: Iron Man and The Incredible Hulk in 2008, Iron Man 2 in 2010, and Thor and Captain America: The First Avenger in 2011. An additional three planned films are in various stages of production as of September 2011: The Avengersis in post-production and Iron Man 3 and Thor 2 are in development.

Spider-Man Film History 101

The Amazing Spider-Man - Columbia Pictures (2012)
One of the things I wanted to do when I began this site was to write or curate articles dealing with the long history of superheroes in cinema. While my output of original material has been...ahem, less than prolific, there are a lot of talented people out there who have done some great work recently.

Case in point, io9 posted a well-researched article by Charlie Jane Anders that summarizes nearly thirty years of ill-fated attempts at bringing Spider-Man to the big screen. Some of the knowledge that Anders drops in this piece might stump the most die-hard movie fan. I was surprised at how little I knew about Spidey's Hollywood history.

Poster for the never-made Cannon Spider-Man movie (1990)
For example, did you know that the very first attempt at making a Spider-Man live-action movie was in 1976 and would've included a 100 foot tall robot, Nazis, and the death of Gwen Stacy? No? Not surprising since it never made it to the production stage. Sounds like it would of been pretty cool, though.

How about this one? Bet you didn't know that Roger Corman, producer of B movie "classics" like It Conquered the World and Little Shop of Horrors, came close to making his Spidey movie in 1982. Had it been made, it would've been based on a screenplay by Spidey co-creator, Stan Lee.

Of all the failed attempts at a Spidey flick, the James Cameron version is the one that probably would've been the coolest. He actually wrote a script in 1993 that strayed quite a bit from the comic book (including the first use of organic webshooters), but unfortunately, the movie rights to Spidey got tangled up in a long court battle, and the movie was scrapped.

Pre-production image from James Cameron's ill-fated Spider-Man movie (1993)
Of course, Spidey finally got his blockbuster movie in 2001 thanks to Columbia Pictures and director Sam Raimi, but it was a long, strange trip to get there.  It's hard to believe that it took so long. Just think of all the terrible action movies, featuring lame characters, that were made during the time people were trying to make a Spider-Man film. Fortunately, now we have the 2012 franchise reboot, starring Andrew Garfield, to look forward to, and from the early trailers, it looks fantastic.  Meanwhile, if you want to catch up on your Spidey-on-film facts, click on the link at the bottom of this article.

While some of the info in the io9 article might be known to long-time Spidey fans (such as James Cameron's screenplay from the early '90s) some of the facts are pretty obscure. If you want to learn the complete history of superheroes in the movies, here are the three books Anders references in his article -
 Stan Lee and the Rise and Fall of the American Comic Book  by Jordan Raphael and Tom Spurgeon  

Superman vs. Hollywood: How Fiendish Producers, Devious Directors, and Warring Writers Grounded an American Icon (Cappella Books) by Jake Rossen

 Comic Book Heroes of the Screen  by William Schoell.

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