It’s been a busy couple of days in the world of superhero cinema. The last 48 hours have seen at least two significant announcements and the debut of a much anticipated trailer. For those who don’t keep their ear to superheroic turf, here’s a quick rundown of the highlights:
1. Gal Gadot is Wonder Woman
The Israeli actress and model will star opposite Henry Cavill (Superman) and Ben Affleck (Batman) in 2015’s Man of Steel sequel. Recognized by others for her role in the latest Fast & Furious movies, she’s a completely unknown quantity to me. She certainly has the look– beautiful and mildly exotic–even if she will have to do a considerable amount of beefing up to fill the role convincingly. As for personality and presence, I can’t really say. For now, I’m more than willing to offer her the benefit of the doubt. Little known actress was definitely the way to go for this part.
However, I am still curious about the inclusion of Wonder Woman in the film at all. I suppose it is commercially logical to introduce the character alongside properties with better established box office records. And if DC Entertainment/WB want to play universe-building catch-up with Marvel Studios/Disney, I’m not sure they can afford the time necessary to set up each character individually. Still, if any of DC’s leading trinity of heroes could benefit from a well-executed origin movie, it’s Wonder Woman. Everybody knows the broad outlines of Bruce’s and Clark’s histories, but Diana’s story is not as familiar and begs for cinematic interpretation. It will be interesting to see how they tackle the idiosyncrasies of her concept within a film in which she plays (what I’m assuming will be primarily) a supporting role.
2. The Amazing Spider-Man 2 Trailer
So, if I’m understanding the trailer correctly, this entire movie is a prologue to the next film in the franchise which will evidently feature the Sinister Six. Don’t all the hanging plot threads in the first one qualify it as a prologue, too? Will we ever get another solid, standalone Spider-Man movie? Don’t get me wrong: there are things I love about this rebooted series. Andrew Garfield (a personal favorite of mine) nails Peter Parker, and Spider-Man’s physicality is better and more convincingly represented than it’s ever been. But this trailer gives me no confidence that the creative team has remedied the rewritten/recut/rewhatevered mess of a plot that afflicted the first Amazing. In fact, this trailer reminds me of Raimi’s Spider-Man 3, and that is not a good thing. I’ll keep my fingers crossed and my hopes low.
3. X-Men: Days of Future Past sequel announced
You’ve read my rant about my moderate loathing for FOX’s X-Men franchise. If there was one storyline that I prayed they would stay away from, it was “Age of Apocalypse,” but I find it difficult to imagine that Singer is talking about anything else. (“AoA” envisions a twisted timeline in which Xavier is assassinated at a young age, never establishing the X-Men. Without the X-Men to counter him, an immortal, genocidal mutant called Apocalypse rises to power, tyranically ruling a dystopian Earth and actively culling the planet’s human population.) What made that event so potent was its inversion of 30 years of X-Men stories. I’m not sure the stories and characters in the films yet carry enough weight to merit that sort of treatment.
Then again, I could be completely wrong. Maybe they’re going a completely different direction with the Apocalypse character. Or maybe Days of Future Past will mark a turning point in the franchise. “To me, my X-Men.” I really would love to eat my words on this one.