‘Man of Steel’ Sequel Delayed Until 2016

Whaaaaat?!  I hear you all cry (well…I certainly did), in hindsight it was inevitable but now a reality – Warner Brothers have announced that the release of their as yet untitled Man of Steel sequel (which I still refuse to call Batman vs. Superman) has been pushed back by almost a year to May 2016.

It’s a smart move, with the inclusion of Batman and Wonder Woman it was already a massive undertaking and given the continuous raft of rumours (that seem to be emerging almost on a daily basis) surrounding possible casting and additional DC Universe characters being incorporated in some capacity (Green Lantern and, now, Aquaman), could this end up being an even more ambitious project than DC/Warner Brothers had initially intended?

Following the success of Marvel Studios, particularly the overwhelming response (both commercially and critically) to Avengers Assemble, DC/Warner Brothers have naturally become restless in their efforts to cultivate their own cinematic universe and more development/production time will surely allow them to fully realise this goal (and not to mention 2015 is already overcrowded with high profile releases).

All that’s certain at this point is that Henry Cavill, Amy Adams, Diane Lane and Laurence Fishburne will return and will be joined by Ben Affleck as Bruce Wayne/Batman and Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman in a film we’re assured that will be very much a Man of Steel sequel that will undoubtedly build further towards Justice League.  Zack Snyder will direct from a screenplay by David S. Goyer.

But let’s not get carried away with all those rumours, they are exactly just that.  The prospect of throwing more DCU characters into the mix is both tantalising and disconcerting – it could very easily fail as much as it could work, so let’s have faith and wait to see…

What are your thoughts on the Man of Steel sequel?  Leave a comment below!

Geek Highlights of 2013 – Part Two

Continuing a look back at some of the highlights and happenings in the geek universe, as it was in 2013…

A MAN OF STEEL RISES AND BATFLECK BEGINS…

After Green Lantern failed to launch the DC Comics answer to Marvel’s behemoth film universe and confirmation that Christopher Nolan’s Batman films are a standalone trilogy, DC (and studio Warner Brothers) certainly had a lot resting on Watchmen director Zack Snyder’s Superman reboot.

As numerous trailers were released, anticipation was set feverishly high.  Maybe that’s the problem these days, too many trailers and too much hype means that expectations can never be fully met and whilst Man of Steel may have provoked some mixed geek reactions it pretty much ticked all the boxes so far as I’m concerned.  Along with the epic scale, Henry Cavill brought strength and conviction balanced with a healthy measure of humanity to the role of the world’s greatest superhero in a film that delivered a promising launch point for the burgeoning cinematic iteration of the DC Comics universe.

Despite grumbles in the fan community, Man of Steel still grossed over $650 million in worldwide box office takings and a sequel was inevitable.  Little did we know that DC would announce the inclusion of their other great ‘hero’, none other than the Batman himself!  Drums rolled and the fan community waited with baited breath for the big announcement…the new Batman will be…Ben Affleck?  The internet well and truly exploded and no-one seemed happy (and still aren’t), to be fair Daredevil was ten years ago and Affleck has since matured into a superior actor (and not to mention his efforts as an Academy Award worthy director – could DC/Warner Brothers be eying him up for Justice League?) and judgement should rightly be reserved until the film is released.  Christian Bale will certainly be a tough act to follow and his performance possibly never bettered but Batman is an enduring pop culture icon and as long as the bat suit is free of nipples It’s worth being open minded.

We’re promised a slightly different take on the Dark Knight detective this time with an older more weary and even angry Bruce Wayne, borrowing heavily from Frank Miller’s seminal comic book opus The Dark Knight Returns.

Of course before the year was out DC/Warner Brothers pulled another surprise reveal…Wonder Woman (a role bequeathed to Fast & Furious 6 actress Gal Gadot) will also feature in the Man of Steel sequel (or Superman/Batman film, just don’t cheapen it by calling it Batman vs. Superman), securing further foundation for that inevitable Justice League film.

Is this all a step in the right direction?  We’ll see in July 2015, but expect a trailer by Christmas…

WHO IS THE DOCTOR?

2013 marked the 50th Anniversary of a ‘little’ television series called Doctor Who.  The British science fiction series first aired in November 1963 on barely a shoestring budget, yet the character of the Doctor and his heroic adventures through time and space has captured the hearts and minds of many and has been enjoying a contemporary resurgence and even earned mainstream popularity since his return to screens in 2005 (the series now thankfully bolstered by much higher production values).

As plans for a 50th anniversary special were kept tightly under wraps, Matt Smith revealed news of his departure in the 2013 Christmas Special (leaving many heartbroken) and ensuing speculation of who his successor would be.  Kudos to the BBC and Doctor Who show runner Steven Moffat with their choice – Peter Capaldi.  Capaldi – best known for his sharp, expletive laden turns as Malcolm Tucker in the BBC political satire The Thick of It (and spin-off film In the Loop) is an inspired choice – will we see a return to the older more cantankerous iteration of the Doctor established by the late William Hartnell?

Of course let’s not forget that 50th Anniversary special.  The Day of the Doctor saw Matt Smith’s Doctor team up with his previous ‘incarnation’, facilitating the return of David Tennant (arguably the best Doctor since Tom Baker).  It was a fun adventure and a fitting celebration that benefitted further from the inclusion of A-list guest star John Hurt.

Completing the 50th Anniversary ‘package’ was the rather excellent An Adventure in Space and Time, a BBC ‘docudrama’ (by Who and Sherlock writer Mark Gatiss) following the conception of Doctor Who and it’s swift rise in popularity thanks to the efforts of producer Verity Lambert (Jessica Raine) and leading man William Hartnell (David Bradley).  Bradley turned in an earnest yet heartfelt performance as Hartnell, certainly worthy of a BAFTA and the surprise cameo of Matt Smith’s Doctor was both surreal and a treat for fans.

Well, there you have it, a small selection of the numerous highlights of 2013 in anticipation of the many to come in the next twelve months.  It’s certainly a great time to be a geek, long may it continue!

What are your favourite geek highlights of last year?  Share your thoughts below!

WHO am I again?  Peter Capaldi's confused entrance in the 2013 Christmas Special of 'Doctor Who' was brief yet tantalising...

WHO am I again? Peter Capaldi’s confused entrance in the 2013 Christmas Special of ‘Doctor Who’ was brief yet tantalising…

Geek Highlights of 2013 – Part One

Happy New Year!  I hope you’ve all had a blast and ready to settle back into normality (depressing, I know).  With 2014 now underway and numerous geek treats in store in the coming months I thought I’d take a look back at a personal selection of some of the highlights, controversies and reactions surrounding the various releases, announcements and fanboy/girl meltdowns of 2013.  Be warned, the below contains some minor spoilers…

MARVEL’S NEXT PHASE

Almost a year after assembling their Avengers, Marvel Studios unleashed their next salvo on film going audiences across the globe.  Iron Man Three burst onto screens, quickly passing the $1 billion mark in box office gross (and now established as the highest grossing film of 2013).

It’s a film I had issues with on theatrical release primarily due to the slapstick handling of the Mandarin (he’s just an actor?!).  Still, I bought the Blu-ray and despite the odd lingering quibble, I was glad to find on reflection that Iron Man Three is actually rollicking good fun.  As a fan of Iron Man comics for many years, it’s still not quite the more serious interpretation of the character that I would like to see but one I’ve certainly warmed to and there’s no doubting the talents of Robert Downey Jr.

We also saw the return of Marvel’s titular ‘God of Thunder’ with the release of Thor: The Dark World, a bigger and bolder sequel that, although perhaps lacking a stronger emotional core, proved every bit as entertaining as Kenneth Branagh’s Thor (and surpassing its takings at the box office) featuring a reliably fun performance from Chris Hemsworth and another star turn from the phenomenal Tim Hiddleston as the menacing Loki.

Not content with simply dominating the multiplex, Marvel commenced their attack on television screens with the highly anticipated Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.  Developed by Avengers Assemble maestro Joss Whedon, we saw the welcome return of Agent Phil Coulson (Clark Gregg) in Marvel’s companion piece (or promotion between films if I was wearing my cynical hat) to their cinematic universe which launched with a slick and promising pilot.  Now at mid-season the series certainly has its creative shortcomings, the family-friendly ‘case of the week’ already becoming a little tiresome but as the characters are being fleshed out I have hopes that with some growth in mythology it can improve so, we’ll see.

Of course there are still all those comic books hitting newsstands (both physical and virtual) week in, week out…

KHAAAAAN…?!

Before jumping aboard the Millennium Flacon and heading off to a galaxy, far, far away (Star Wars Episode VII inbound December 2015), director/producer J.J. Abrams successfully guided Star Trek Into Darkness onto cinema screens…but not without a healthy measure of fan controversy.

Opening to generally positive reviews from critics and film goers alike, the Trek fan base was well and truly shook up by the revelation of the film’s central villain and numerous nods to earlier cinematic voyages (most significantly Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan).  Was the inclusion of Khan a sound decision?  It sat well with me – Benedict Cumberbatch turned in an enjoyably weighty performance and provided high stakes for the crew of the Enterprise and it’s certainly not the first time an established character has been reinterpreted for a modern audience.

I certainly consider myself a ‘hardcore’ fan (I love Star Trek more than any other geek franchise) and felt that Into Darkness was a breathtaking piece of blockbuster entertainment, featuring strong performances from Chris Pyne and Zachary Quinto, a pleasing secondary villain in Peter Weller’s Admiral Marcus and some neat homages that should be permitted so long as future instalments don’t rely on them.

With Abrams’ commitment to Star Wars, the director’s chair has been left vacant and as Star Trek and Star Trek Into Darkness screenwriter Roberto Orci teams up with fresh blood – Patrick McKay and J.D. Payne – to forge the next adventure for Kirk and the crew of the Enterprise, the search for Abrams’ successor goes on, Attack the Block’s Joe Cornish now all but ruled out.  As the 50th Anniversary of Star Trek approaches, a 2016 release date for Star Trek 3 (or 13 depending on how you look at it) is likely so we should certainly expect an announcement before the end of the year.

Look out for Part Two next week!

What are your thoughts on the above? Or do you have a favourite geek highlight of 2013? Leave a comment!

His name is...John Harrison, no wait, it's - KHAN! A solid reinterpretation of the iconic character by Benedict Cumberbatch.

His name is…John Harrison, no wait, it’s – KHAN! A solid reinterpretation of the iconic character by Benedict Cumberbatch in ‘Star Trek Into Darkness’.