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 A Marvel-ous Year
After the recent sucess of comic to film conversions (Spider-man and its sequel, the two X-men films, Daredevil, Hellboy and the upcoming Punisher film), next year will see this trend go into overdrive with a large number of comic book heros being brought to the big screen.

Planned releases for 2005/2006 include: -
  • The Fantastic Four
    A group of astronauts gain superpowers after a cosmic radiation exposure and must use them to oppose the plans of their enemy, Doctor Victor Von Doom.

    The cast has been announced - Ioan Gruffudd (King Authur) as Reed Richards/Mr. Fantastic, Jessica Alba (Dark Angel) as Susan Storm/The Invisible Girl, Michael Chiklis (The Shield) as Ben Grimm/The Thing, and Chris Evans (Not Another Teen Movie) as Johnny Storm/The Human Torch, with Julian McMahon (Charmed) as Dr Doom.
  • Batman Begins
    As a boy a young Bruce Wayne watched in horror as his millionaire parents were slain in front of his eyes, a trauma which led him to become obsessed with revenge but his chance is cruelly taken away from him by fate. After disappearing to the East where he seeks counsel with the dangerous but honorable ninja cult leader, he returns to his now decaying Gotham City overrun by organised crime. The discovery of a cave under his mansion, leads him to take on a new persona, one which will strike fear into the hearts of men who do wrong - he becomes, Batman. In the new guise, and with the help of rising cop Jim Gordon, Batman sets out to take down the various nefarious schemes in motion by, the twisted doctor/drug dealer Jonathan 'The Scarecrow' Crane. As the title suggests this will be the origin story of the Dark Knight.

    With the role of Bruce Wayne/Batman going to Christian Bale (Equilibrium, Reign of Fire), and Michael Caine as Alfred, as well as a supporting cast including Liam Neeson, Morgan Freeman, Gary Oldman, Katie Holmes, Cillian Murphy and Rutger Hauer, there is a lot expected of this movie. Hopefully this will turn out to be as least as good to the 1989 Tim Burton film.
  • Iron Man
    Billionaire Tony Stark, previously one of the world's most imaginative weapons defense technology creators, decides to retire from weapons manufacture. A powerful competitor attempts to kill Stark, and almost succeeds. To keep himself alive, Stark must build a modern-day suit of armor. He then begins to build more agile and powerful versions of the suit, and uses it to fight crime as the Invincible Iron Man!

    Casting rumours abound at the moment but currently Tom Cruise is the current favourite to don the iron mask. And as this is a Marvel comic adaption expect the obligatory Stan Lee cameo somewhere.
  • Ghost Rider
    This is the story of motorcycle stunt performer, Johnny Blaze, who agrees to become the host of a "spirit of vengeance" in exchange for the safety of his true love, but the price he pays is to be cursed with the avenging spirit that takes its form at night as a demon with a flaming skull on a motorcycle of hellfire.

    This film has been in limbo for years now, but its resurfaced for a 2006 release. The one constant in all this time has been the star - Nicolas Cage!
  • The Green Hornet
    Millionaire newspaper publisher Britt Reid is secretly The Green Hornet, a masked crimefighter backed up by his kung-fu fabulous chauffeur, Kato.

    Although not a comic book hero, The Green Hornet is based on the characters created by George W. Trendle (who also created The Lone Ranger) and was made famous in the 60's by Van Williams and Bruce Lee as The Green Hornet and Kato respectively.

    The 2007 movie will be written by Kevin Smith (Clerks, Dogma) but as yet the cast has still to be confirmed. Finding someone who can do justice to the role of Kato after Bruce Lee will be the biggest challenge for them.

    Miramax have reputedly offered any car company that wishes to supply the Green Hornet's vehicle, a $35 million deal for the product placement rights!
    Also look out for the Daredevil 2 (Ben Afflick back in the lead role) and its spin off Elektra (with Jennifer Garner likewise reprising the title role).
Article by Paul

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