Summer of Superheroes

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Last month’s release of Marvel’s The Avengers officially kicked off summer 2012’s summer of superheroes. With the Joss Whedon-directed film continuing to dominate at the box office, Columbia Pictures’ The Amazing Spider-Man and the upcoming installment of The Dark Knight Saga have some serious catching up to do.

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The Avengers, which broke records as the third most successful movie in history, set the standard for summer blockbusters. The film, which centers around Iron Man, Thor, Black Widow, Hawkeye, Captain America, and the surprisingly endearing Mark Ruffalo as the Hulk, focuses on the reactivation of S.H.I.E.L.D’s Avengers Initiative as they stop the mischievous Asgardian, Loki. The movie had significant buildup, as the events that unfolded began in previous movies – Iron Man and its sequel, Thor, Captain America, and The Incredible Hulk. Those who haven’t seen the previous films wouldn’t be too lost, as the film explains pretty much everything with Whedonesque flair. After receiving critical success, Disney Marvel announced that an Avengers sequel was in the works.
Columbia’s The Amazing Spider-Man reboots the Spiderman universe with Brit actor Andrew Garfield (The Social Network) playing Peter Parker. In this reboot, Peter Parker is back in high school and trying to uncover the mystery of his parents’ disappearance, while experiencing personal growth and finding love. Emma Stone stars as Gwen Stacy, Parker’s love interest in this universe. Like previous Spiderman installments, creator Stan Lee makes a short cameo in the movie. The Amazing Spider-Man releases to US audiences on July 3, 2012. Spiderman 3, the last movie with Tobey McGuire as Peter Parker, currently ranks as the twenty-third highest grossing film in history.

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The last installment of the Christopher Nolan directed Batman trilogy releases July 20, 2012. The next chapter, The Dark Knight Rises, takes place eight years after the 2008 film, The Dark Knight. Bruce Wayne returns to Gotham City and meets the mysterious Selina Kyle (Anne Hathaway as Catwoman) who serves as an associate to the menacing villain Bane. Christian Bale, Gary Oldman, Morgan Freeman, and Michael Caine will reprise their roles as Bruce Wayne, James Gordon, Lucius Fox, and Alfred Pennyworth. The previous film, The Dark Knight, currently fills the spot of the twelfth highest grossing film in history.

While I personally do not believe that the upcoming superhero movies will surpass , I believe that The Dark Knight Rises has potential to make it into the top 20 highest grossing films. Christopher Nolan films are generally held in high esteem (Inception, anyone?) and the last movie received a lot of media attention. While that may be because of the tragedy that was the passing of Heath Ledger, Batman is one of America’s most popular superheroes, and the closing of the Dark Knight trilogy is sure to break some sort of record. Just not enough to even graze The Avengers, which is still raking in the cash.

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