The clash amongst the comic book readers as to who has the toughest, meanest and most powerful group of superheroes – Marvel or DC – is now ready to spill onto the big screens in 2016. Warner Bros., that owns DC Comics, has geared itself for a lengthy battle with Disney’s Marvel by releasing its own movie lineup which rivals Marvel’s Phase III of its popular cinematic universe. The battle begins this year, with both studios releasing two movies each, the success and failure of which can change the course of the superhero space in the coming years.
DC played its cards right when it revealed at the 2013 San Diego Comic-Con that the sequel to Man of Steel would be a clash between two iconic superheroes, Batman and Superman. That was some way to catch people’s attention! The movie, subsequently called Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, made more headlines when Ben Affleck was handed over the role of Batman, something that did not go down too well with the fans. But director Zack Snyder has shown his faith in Affleck playing this middle-aged Bruce Wayne who does not like the idea of Superman going unchecked. With Wonder Woman and Aquaman also part of the film, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice will gradually take us closer to a Justice League film. The first teaser trailer was mind-blowing which raised my hopes, but the subsequent longer trailers have been quite disappointing, I hate to admit. There’s a lot riding on this movie – it is the foundation on which DC plans to build its own cinematic universe, but be assured the audience will not go easy on Zack Snyder’s treatment of two of the greatest superheroes ever. Releasing in late March 2016, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice is the first one to enter the ring.
Marvel will bring out its challenger in early May 2016. Captain America: Civil War is by far a safe bet; a lot of known figures here gives me the confidence to walk into the film blindfolded. Just as DC is about to throw in a clash between Batman and Superman, Marvel will also create a split amongst its superheroes led by Captain America and Iron Man as the leaders of the opposing teams. The movie is being directed by Anthony and Joe Russo who were in-charge of the terrific Captain America: The Winter Soldier and will also be taking over the third Avengers movie from Joss Whedon. Apart from the familiar names, the movie is also eagerly awaited to catch the first appearance of Black Panther on the big screen. We have already seen him in the captivating trailer released by Marvel, and it would be interesting to know how the events of this movie tie-in with the standalone Black Panther movie due in 2018. Captain America: Civil War will also bring Spider-Man into the fold of Marvel’s cinematic universe for the first time, after Disney and Sony agreed upon the tie-up, which is another great reason to be excited about this film. I can only see this movie strengthening Marvel’s franchise further.
In early August 2016, DC will release its ambitious project, Suicide Squad. A movie on supervillains who are recruited by the Government for dangerous black ops missions. The movie has a fantastic group of actors, starting from Will Smith, Margot Robbie, Jai Courtney, and the incredible Jared Leto as Joker. The return of Joker on the big screen ever since Heath Ledger’s Oscar winning performance in 2008 is a massive reason to catch up with Suicide Squad. The movie is being directed by David Ayer, whose previous work on the World War II movie Fury got him a lot of recognition. Suicide Squad has a lot of potential and I am betting on Ayer and the people at Warner Bros. to make it count.
Marvel is going to reply to DC’s challenge with the introduction of a new superhero to cinema, Doctor Strange being played by Benedict Cumberbatch. Marvel’s ability to create massive films with new superheroes was tested and proven with 2014’s Guardians of the Galaxy. Last year’s Ant-Man worked quite well too. So the worry with Doctor Strange is lesser than I had with the previous two films. Director Scott Derrickson comes on the back of a string of horror movies like Sinister and Deliver Us From Evil. His knowledge on mixing supernatural elements into entertaining and commercially successful movies is what Marvel desired for Doctor Strange that deals with a surgeon who gets a new lease on life when a sorcerer takes him under his wing. With a cast that boasts of Benedict Cumberbatch, Rachel McAdams and Tilda Swinton, Doctor Strange, releasing in early November, should not be disappointing at all.
The familiarity of the Marvel world makes me lean towards its movies but DC has a lot to offer which cannot be ignored. The superhero space is large enough for both sets to co-exist and I hope that is how it pans out in the coming years. 2016 though is not even done with just these four superhero movies. There are two more releases in this genre from 20th Century Fox which are essentially Marvel comic book heroes.
Deadpool will be a rare R-rated superhero movie releasing in February starring Ryan Reynolds. It’s a spin-off from the X-Men movie series, and the trailers have really gotten the fans excited. The movie looks to be bold and ambitious, and might just get the superhero genre off to a good start in 2016.
With X-Men: Apocalypse we sort of know what to expect. Director Bryan Singer is once again overseeing things after delivering the biggest hit of the franchise in 2014. This time, X-Men will face a much bigger and deadlier enemy in the form of a powerful mutant called Apocalypse. The movie will release in late May. Expect it to be a big summer blockbuster!