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'Iron Man,' 'Wolverine,' others are ready to make summer super

By By Luis Rendon/Lrendon@vicad.com
May 1, 2013 at 12:01 a.m.


WHO RUNS THE WORLD?

The comic book world has a nasty stereotype of being a boys club, but this summer some fierce ladies are stepping up to the plate to kick some butt, too. Gwyneth Paltrow (the World's Most Beautiful Woman, by the way) is said to have a way more pumped-up role in the latest Iron Man installment as Pepper Potts. Factor in the always awesome Hit Girl in the "Kick-Ass" sequel and the bevy of heroines and villainesses in "The Wolverine," and it's almost enough to make us to stop being mad about not having a "Wonder Woman" film out yet - almost. On the opposite side of the screen, lady moviegoers are also showing their love for these unabashedly geeky movies. "For the record, Batman is the best superhero," said Rosebud Film Society president Kelly Dodson, though noting that the new Superman, Henry Cavill, is "much cuter" than Christian Bale. And after an impassioned response as to why we love our superhero movies, nurse Melissa Crooks boiled it down to one thing, "Let's face it - Robert Downey Jr. is awesome."

Marvelous

The Distinguished Competition, erm, DC Comics that is, just can't seem to get it together. "Man of Steel" might be the kick in the pants that will get the wheels in motion for a more consistent set of movies, but in the meantime, it's a Marvel show for the years to come. Here's what's coming up for the comic powerhouse.

•  "Thor: The Dark World"- Nov. 8, 2013

Thor has some 'splaining to do since he didn't swing by to see Jane Foster the last time he was on Earth. Granted, he was a bit busy saving it. Also, he turns to an imprisoned Loki for help defeating a new foe. What could possibly go wrong?

•  "Captain America: The Winter Soldier" - April 4, 2014

One thing holds true for soap operas and comics: no one is ever truly dead. Cap learns this the hard way when his presumed-dead bestie Bucky Barnes comes back as a brain-washed enemy spy.

•  "Guardians of the Galaxy" - Aug. 1, 2014

Not well-known to audiences, but director James Gunn - who cut his teeth on Troma fare and went on to do "Slither" and "Super" - could help change that. When the fan favorite of this rag tag team of aliens is a gun-toting raccoon, you know this has the potential to be a fun flick.

•  "Avengers 2" - May 1, 2015

Joss Whedon returns for writing and directing duties. What else do you really need to know?

•  "Ant-Man" - Nov. 6, 2015

It's been a long wait in the development department, but director Edgar Wright's ("Shaun of the Dead") take on the miniscule hero will finally see the light of day. This is the first film that will be a part of Marvel's Phase 3 in their film series. One can only hope for Simon Pegg's involvement as well.

•  "Doctor Strange" - Date TBD

Not much to go on other than Marvel's confirmation that the mystical hero will indeed be a part of their Phase 3 films. Also, the reign of fashionable goatees will continue in case Iron Man doesn't come back for a fourth movie.

  • Blain Hefner

Graphic novel primer

A short list of comics to read that served as inspiration for the filmmakers. - Blain Hefner

• "Iron Man 3," opening Friday: "Iron Man: Extremis" by Warren Ellis and Adi Granov

•  "Man of Steel," opening June 14: "Superman: Red Son" by Mark Millar, Dave Johnson and Kilian Plunkett, "Superman: Secret Origins" by Geoff Johns and Gary Frank

•  "Kick-Ass 2," opening Aug. 16: "Kick-Ass 2" by Mark Millar and John Romita Jr.

•  "The Wolverine," opening July 26: "Wolverine" by Chris Claremont, Frank Miller

Forget the rising temperatures, crowded beaches and all that celestial science. You know summer is officially here because of one thing and one thing only - your favorite superheroes are on the big screen.

Like rippling beach bodies, crystal clear beaches and outdoor concerts, our heroes were made to be seen in the summer.

The season is a time for escape, and these movies provide the getaway, says Melissa Crooks, a nurse at DeTar Hospital who also happens to fancy herself a good superhero movie,

"On some level, everyone wants to be a superhero," she said via Facebook. "Superhero movies teach us that in a world full of evil and violence, goodwill always prevail."

Lisa DeVries, adviser of the Victoria College Film club, agrees.

"We need hero stories, especially when our own lives are in the doldrums," she said in an email. "I think there is a conception, too, that anyone can be a hero if they want to be, and this is a very seductive idea."

While no stranger to the big screen, this year there are caped crusaders from all corners of the comic universe making their mark to satisfy every fanboy and fangirl's appetite.

First up is "Iron Man 3," the Marvel universe's favorite playboy. Then, DC is hoping to jumpstart its other favorite hero, Superman in "Man of Steel" in June.

July will bring back Hugh Jackman in his sixth appearance as Wolverine in the aptly titled "The Wolverine." And finally, Kick-Ass and Hit Girl are back to fight a villain whose name is not suitable for a family publication such as this one in "Kick-Ass 2."

Justin Cavazos, 23, enjoys the spread of heroes to choose from.

"I think Hollywood is starting to realize the diversity in these movies," he said.

A family man, Cavazos is especially appreciative of the positive life lessons and role models that are created within the movies.

As a child, Cavazos saw Tim Burton's 1989 "Batman" with his father. Now, he watches superhero movies with his two kids, even though it means sometimes skipping the midnight premieres.

"I consider myself a fan that would go to all the midnight shows, but life gets in the way sometimes," he said with a laugh.

Life won't be getting in the way of him checking out the new Superman movie, though. Cavazos says he already has plans to take work off to go check it out on IMAX in Austin.

"As long as they stay true to the comic books, I'll be good."

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