Iron Man making a cool half-billion dollars at the global box office, it is
only natural that Marvel would want to dig up some more superhero
characters to turn into mega-blockbusters . . .
This week already sees the release of
Incredible Hulk, another stab at
milking money from this particular comic book character. Will it do as
well as Iron Man? It seems unlikely. The movie may be a fast-paced,
crowd-pleaser, but audiences remembering the disastrous 2003
probably won't bother.
Lined up for Marvel (which now produces its own movies
instead of relying on Hollywood to do so): an Iron
Man sequel, Thor,
Captain America and The Avengers. Like in the comic books
themselves, “cross-pollination” seems to be the name of the game. Samuel L.
Jackson shows up as Col. Nick Fury of the top secret SHIELD U.S.
government organisation after the end titles have rolled on Iron Man
to pitch the idea of a superhero team to Robert Downey, Jr.’s Tony Stark.
Downey’s character himself makes a small cameo appearance at the end of
Incredible Hulk to . . . you
guess it, pitch the idea of a superhero team to William Hurt’s General
And that team? That would of course be The Avengers, a
superhero team created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby as long ago as September
1963. Not to be confused with the ‘Sixties British TV series and rotten 1998
movie of the same name, The Avengers have always been a loose collection
of existing superhero characters.
Like most superhero teams it has always had an
ever-changing roster of members with characters coming and going. (In
fact, the only “superhero team” with a more or less consistent team
line-up has ironically been the always bickering
Fantastic Four – probably because they
had been created as a superhero team to begin with and weren’t just a bunch of existing
characters thrown together to form a team.)
"Ant-Man is no doubt quite useful at family picnics . . ."
The Avengers have always been a mixture of A-list
characters (such as Captain America) and B-listers such as Giant-Man, the
Wasp and so on. About the only constant members of the Avengers had been
Captain America, Iron Man and (sometimes) Thor. It is no coincidence that one of these characters
already have their own movie and that the other two are also slated to get
their own movies as well (Thor in 2010 and The First Avenger:
Captain America in 2011). The Avengers movie has been confirmed
for a 2011 release date and is to be written by Zak Penn, who wrote
Incredible Hulk. No announcements on casting yet, but it is
practically a given that Robert Downey, Jr. will return as Iron Man.
Putting all these instantly recognizable superhero
characters together in one movie is a wet dream come true for any marketer (which is probably why we are going to see a Justice League
movie even though fan response has been decidedly negative thus far).
Think of how many lunchboxes they will sell!
Without any casting news as yet speculation as to whom
the line-up will consist off right now will be quite futile.
However the smart money will be on Captain America,
Thor, Iron Man and perhaps the Hulk. Yes, the Hulk was a “member” of the
Avengers once. In fact he featured in the very first Avengers
comic! Also a clever bet would be B-list superhero Ant-Man, who (you
guessed it) can shrink to the size of an insect and telepathically control
ants, a superpower that no doubt makes him quite popular at family picnics
but which sort of seems somewhat useless otherwise. And if Ant-Man is
included, so will the Wasp, who is Ant-man’s miniature wife in the comics.
wants Freddie Prinze Junior!"