Check out this Mega Image Gallery for 'The Dark Knight Rises'

Warner Bros.
This past week, Warner Bros. unleashed a torrent of promotional material for The Dark Knight Rises, including two TV spots and a bunch of new posters and other images. I wonder - Does the timing of this advertising wave have anything to do with the tremendous success of The Avengers, and is Warner Bros. trying to take the spotlight away from Marvel? Who knows? The main thing is - with every passing day, we get a better look at the costumes and other design elements of TDKR. Check out the gallery below and see if you agree. 

The Dark Knight Rises opens on July 20.

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New TV Clips for 'The Dark Knight Rises' Feature Bane and Catwoman

This week was a good one for everybody waiting to see the final chapter in Christopher Nolan's Batman trilogy. We were treated to not one, but two TV spots that give us just a tad more info on what The Dark Knight Rises has in store when it opens on July 20.

In the first clip below, a tired-looking Bruce Wayne (Christian Bale) tells Alfred (Michael Caine
"I need you to get me back in the game." 

Bane (Tom Hardy) says something at the beginning that I still can't translate. If you know what he says, let me know, please...

...and here's the TV spot featuring a brazen Selina Kyle (Anne Hathaway) making off with a very sweet ride and leaving Bruce to walk home.


Any thoughts on these clips? How about Bane - is that who Alfred refers to when he says "Born and raised in hell on earth."?

Thanks to Collider and Batman-News

Check out the Official Marvel Movie Timeline

Avengers copyright Marvel Comics/Marvel Studios
Now that The Avengers is a huge pop culture event, we all want to learn as much as possible about how the movie was, um, assembled. A couple of weeks ago we showed you this fan-made infographic that did a decent job of explaining how the five solo Marvel movies fit together in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Those five films were of course Iron Man, Iron Man 2, The Incredible Hulk, Thor and Captain America: The First Avenger. Now, Marvel has released the official timeline of those movies, which also includes information from tie-in comic books. What many people don't realize is that the events in the five solo movies took place in the same week. Marvel gave us clues that this is the case - for example, when news reports of the Hulk's rampage at Culver University (which occurred in The Incredible Hulk) appeared in Iron Man 2. Although the time between the end of that big week and the beginning of The Avengers isn't stated in the infographic, we assume it was approximately one year.

Whaddya think? Does this graphic answer any questions you had about the Marvel movies?

Thanks to MTV for the heads up, and to see an enlarged version of the image, click HERE.

Marvel Enterprises

This image is included in the book Avengers: The Art of Marvel's The Avengers - available from Amazon now.

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'The Amazing Spider-Man' Director Gives Us Behind-the-Camera Access

Sony Pictures
Sonymakedotbelieve is a YouTube channel from Sony Pictures that gives us behind-the-scenes access to the studio's films, and this week the new Spidey movie is in the spotlight. Marc Webb, director of The Amazing Spider-Man, talks about some of the most important things he had to consider while filming this huge, complicated production. After watching this clip, it's clear that Webb knew exactly how he wanted to present his version of Spider-Man. He also seems remarkably calm and relaxed for someone responsible for a movie with a $258 million budget and legions of fans looking over his shoulder.

"The best part has been the spirit of collaboration with those artists who are trying to create something interesting and beautiful. There is an intuitive, instinctual thing that happens that doesn't feel corporate and doesn't feel procedural. You've gotta be able to push forward and allow for moments of inspiration along the way. If you can maximize and capitalize on those moments, you're in a much better position to create a piece of art that feels exciting and new and thrilling." -Marc Webb  


"The Amazing Spider-Man is the story of Peter Parker (Andrew Garfield), an outcast high schooler who was abandoned by his parents as a boy, leaving him to be raised by his Uncle Ben (Martin Sheen) and Aunt May (Sally Field). Like most teenagers, Peter is trying to figure out who he is and how he got to be the person he is today. Peter is also finding his way with his first high school crush, Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone), and together, they struggle with love, commitment, and secrets. As Peter discovers a mysterious briefcase that belonged to his father, he begins a quest to understand his parents' disappearance – leading him directly to Oscorp and the lab of Dr. Curt Connors (Rhys Ifans), his father's former partner. As Spider-Man is set on a collision course with Connors' alter-ego, The Lizard, Peter will make life-altering choices to use his powers and shape his destiny to become a hero."

Let us know what you think of The Amazing Spider-Man's head honcho Marc Webb, and if you like this article, please share it with your friends.

Why The Avengers is the Best Superhero Movie Ever

Avengers copyright Marvel - fan art by Satria W.
Hmm, not much happening in the world of superhero movies this week, so it's tough finding a topic to write about. Yeaaah, right. Damn, what a week it's been! With the spectacular box office success of The Avengers and the near unanimous critical acclaim it's received, this is the highpoint in the history of cape movies.

So, this week has been a time to sit back and reflect on what it all means. Besides replaying the best scenes endlessly in my mind, I spent this week thinking about some of the larger implications of the success of The Avengers. The impact of this movie is so huge, it's going to be felt for years and I'm sure entire books will be devoted to explaining "The Avengers Era" (I just invented that term). I figured I'd get a head start on the rest of the movie writers and ponder one of the big questions that The Avengers raises.

Why the box office record and the enormous overall success? 

The Avengers set a U.S. record that many experts thought was impossible - earn $200 million dollars in three days. It also set records in other countries, where it's racked up many millions more. With no major competition at the box office in the next couple of months and being entertaining enough for multiple viewings, the movie is on the way to being the most successful superhero flick ever.

Why? The short answer - because for the first time somebody (Marvel and Joss Whedon) finally put all the puzzle pieces together and created a film that nearly everyone could like. Sure, there have been great superhero movies in the last decade or so, but none of them appeal to as wide an audience as The Avengers. It literally has something for everybody and I'm sure that even people who don't usually like "comic book movies" have been won over.

After spending several afternoons in Starbucks deep in thought, contemplating what contributed to The Avengers phenomenon, here's what I came up with -

The build-up - If I had to choose one reason why The Avengers is (I think) the greatest superhero movie ever, it's because of the long-range plan of Marvel Studios. If Marvel had decided a couple of years ago "Hey, let's make an Avengers movie!" with no solo movies, the movie would've flopped. Millions of non-comic book fans had to be educated about the origins of Captain America and his teammates and that five-year education process was critical. Even long-time fans had to be gradually introduced to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, as it's now being called.  

No origin story - Marvel's brilliant strategy of introducing the four main characters in a solo movie meant less time having to explain how they came to be. For once, a cape movie didn't have to spend the first thirty minutes explaining how the character got his or her power and how they made their costume and blah, blah. This allowed the movie to start right in the middle of the action without a boring prologue.

Humor - I can't remember an action movie having as many laugh-out-loud moments as this one. The humor wasn't just corny jokes about costumes and the like - it was genuinely smart, clever dialogue that played off each character's back story. The perfect example being when someone made a Wizard of Oz joke, and Steve Rogers (who was frozen in ice since 1945) proudly says "I got that reference." For long-time Marvel fans like yours truly, the witty dialogue was also reminiscent of the classic Avengers comic books.

Villain - A basic rule of thumb for superhero movies - You must have a great villain - and Tom Hiddleston was perfect as Loki. Marvel also avoided the blunders that other cape movies have made - having a villain that's not enough of a threat as in Superman Returns' Lex Luthor, or having one that's too alien and weird, as in Green Lantern's Parallax.

Lack of romance - The Avengers is the rare Hollywood blockbuster that has no romantic plot thread at all. This was another brilliant decision on Whedon's part - cut out the mushy stuff and keep the accelerator at full throttle. Yes, there are a couple of scenes in which Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) and Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow) flirt and their relationship is hinted at, but that only takes up about three minutes and doesn't qualify as a "romance". As The Dark Knight proved, a romantic relationship can be an important part of the plot in a superhero movie, but a full-on love story in The Avengers would've ruined the movie.

There you have it - a few reasons why The Avengers has set a new standard for superhero movies. I know there are a ton more, so drop yours in the comments, and while you're here, don't forget to like our Facebook page (link is on the right).

Watch 16 Minutes of Behind-the-Scenes Avengers Footage

Marvel Studios
Marvel Studios
The Avengers has set an all-time U.S. box office record for an opening weekend, becoming the first movie to make over $200 million in the first three days. If ever there was a movie that deserved to set a new record, The Avengers is it. Without exaggeration, it's a landmark movie in the same way Jaws, Star Wars, or the first Superman movie set a new standard of quality. Even at nearly 2 and a half hours, and two viewings this weekend, I'm still looking for anything and everything Avengers-related. I did some searching and found two fascinating videos that deserved to be shared.

The first is nearly fourteen minutes of behind-the-scenes footage showing the actors preparing for scenes and  talking to director Joss Whedon. I loved how this clip shows the incredible sets that were built for the movie, including the Helicarrier and the New York street. There's no narration, just background music, but it's still a lot of fun to watch. Thanks to DigitalSpy

The next video focuses more on the visual and special effects that were the best of any superhero movie to date. Industrial Light and Magic was responsible for some of the most spectacular effects in The Avengers, and in this clip ILM's Jeff White explains how some of the more difficult shots were achieved. Thanks to The Daily

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Four Awesome Things about The Avengers

Marvel Studios
It's finally here - The Avengers - the culmination of fifty years of comic book history, seven years of planning by Marvel Studios, and five blockbuster films that set the stage for the superhero epic. By now you've heard that The Avengers more than lives up to fans' expectations and you've already seen it or will soon. Really, at this point another review by yours truly is hardly necessary, but I would like to hear what you thought about the movie. Below, I listed a few things that I thought about in the few hours since I saw it today. I've been careful to avoid mentioning any spoilers - these are just some thoughts on the overall picture and what impressed me.

The Screenplay - I think the screenplay by Joss Whedon is an incredible piece of work. It somehow manages to give each major character a chance to develop some depth and a backstory without bogging down the pace.  By giving each of the Avengers a chance to develop before the main action starts, the movie avoids being just another CGI-fest in which you really don't care about the characters. Also - this is one of the funnier movies I've seen this year with several laugh out loud scenes and some memorable lines of dialogue.

The Visual and Special Effects - The Avengers is a fantastic-looking movie from start to finish. From the S.H.I.E.L.D. Heli-carrier to the climactic battle and everything in-between, the "look" of this movie is dialed in perfectly. Special mention goes to the designers and artists who worked on the Iron Man scenes. They managed to create an exo-skeleton for Tony Stark that's even cooler than previous versions, but at the same time realistic. This is also the best version of Hulk we've seen yet. For the first time in Hulk's movie history, his facial features actually resemble the actor portraying Bruce Banner (Mark Ruffalo).

Watch the trailer for The Avengers here

The Cast - The Avengers has one of the most talented group of actors of any movie in recent memory. What's even more remarkable is that there's no one star that's featured above the rest. I can tell that everyone in this cast knew that they were collaborating on something extraordinary - something never done before - and it showed in their performances. Special mention goes to Tom Hiddleston, who of course plays Loki - Thors's brother and a seriously pissed off villain. Hiddleston was on the screen more than any other character (I think) and he was a pitch-perfect combination of murderous rage, brilliant intellect, and fragile ego. Loki is one of the most memorable screen villains in a long time.

Joss Whedon - Of course, a huge credit for the triumph of The Avengers goes to director and screenwriter, Joss Whedon. I must admit, when I first heard Whedon had been tapped to direct the movie, I was skeptical. I thought Marvel needed someone with more experience with huge-scale action pictures, but it turns out I was dead wrong. I don't think anyone could have nailed this movie any better than Whedon. He got everything right - the overall tone was perfect; there was a brilliant mixture of character scenes, action set pieces, and genuinely funny moments; and finally, it was clear that Whedon understood these characters deeply and he was careful to showcase the strengths and abilities of each one. The pressure on him must have been tremendous, and Whedon did nothing more than deliver an instant classic.

There you have it - a few of my favorite things about The Avengers. I could go on about my admiration for this film, but like I said earlier, I'd rather hear what you liked or didn't care for. Please leave a comment or two, and if you liked this article, share it with your friends on Twitter, Facebook, or Google+. Thanks!  

You might also enjoy "Tom Hiddleston talks about the villainous Loki"

The Lizard Strikes in New Trailer for 'The Amazing Spider-Man'

Sony Pictures - The Amazing Spider-Man - opens July 3
Sony Pictures released a new trailer for The Amazing Spider-Man and it gives us a better idea of some of the movie's major plot points. There's no doubt - director Marc Webb has created a vastly different Spider-Man universe than the one in the trilogy directed by Sam Raimi. In addition to the dark and brooding tone, it looks as though this movie will focus on the danger that donning the Spider-Man costume brings with it.

"I've made enemies, powerful enemies." 

That's what Peter Parker (Andrew Garfield) says in a voice-over at the beginning of the clip. This could be alluding to Oscorp, the huge corporation that might somehow be connected to his parents' mysterious deaths, or maybe he means the entire New York City Police Department - or both.

(To view in HD, visit iTunes Movie Trailers)
Sony Pictures

The trailer also reveals that Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone), Pete's girlfriend and the daughter of a New York City Police Captain, knows his secret identity - at one point saying:

"You're a wanted man, Peter Parker. My father has 500 officers looking for you."   

In addition to some spectacular action scenes, the clip has several revealing moments with the main villain, Dr. Curt Connors (Rhys Ifans), AKA The Lizard. We learn that Connors has information that could help Pete finally learn what happened to his parents when Connors says:

"If you want the truth about your parents, Peter, come and get it." 

If that's not enough, the trailer reveals that Spider-Man faces an even greater threat when a newscaster says:

"There's been a biological attack on New York City."

The scene then shows a huge cloud emanating from a skyscraper and The Lizard spraying a green mist into the air. Could this be an attempt by Connors to turn the entire city into creatures like himself? 

You might also enjoy Rhys Ifans - Six Interesting Facts about Spider-Man's New Foe 

Most intriguing of all, at one point the clip hints that there's much more to Spider-Man's origin than we've been lead to believe. A scene shows someone (Connors?) pulling off Spidey's mask and asking: 

"Do you think what happened to you, Peter, was an accident? Do you have any idea what you really are?" 

Could this dialogue be referring to the work that Mr. and Mrs. Parker were doing for Oscorp before they died? Was Peter somehow genetically altered even before he was bitten by the spider? Whether or not that's the case, this trailer makes it clear that the filmmakers are setting up a layered story that will unfold over several installments. I can't wait to see what the opening chapter has in store. 

Thanks to for the heads up.

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New Trailer for 'The Dark Knight Rises' Shows a Battered Bruce Wayne

Warner Bros.
The new trailer for The Dark Knight Rises has a battered and broken Bruce Wayne, an incredible-looking escape sequence from an airplane, and more muffled, ominous threats from the villain, Bane (played by Tom Hardy). Actually, I think Bane is featured more than Batman in this clip, and the more I see of the steroid-enhanced Bane, the more I think he was a great choice as the Bat-nemesis. We also see more of Joseph Gordon-Levitt's character, John Blake, but we still don't have much info on who exactly Blake is or how he fits into the story. I guess we'll find out when The Dark Knight Rises opens on July 20. What's the most interesting part of this clip to you?

"Eight years after Batman took the fall for Two Face's crimes, a new terrorist leader, Bane overwhelms Gotham's finest, and the Dark Knight resurfaces to protect a city that brands him an enemy."