Marvel vs. DC: Battle of the Announcements!

With Marvel and DC recently announcing a massive film line-up for both of the superhero-fueled studios, there has been a lot of discussion as to what each one plans to do with such drastic (yet exciting) release measures. With DC planning to build their cinematic universe off of 2013's Superman reboot Man of Steel, with films introducing Justice League members from Aquaman to Wonder Woman, Marvel plans to counter this with a much-anticipated expansion of their already-established universe, with sequels for Captain America and Thor, as well as origin films for Doctor Strange and Black Panther. In this jumbled mess of hysteria and excitement, the two comic studios continue their feud to see which of their characters can truly take control of the box-office. Just to ease my own hype for these films, here's my breakdown of how I feel about these sudden, yet fantastic, announcements:

Marvel's line-up is set to introduce many new characters in time for the third Avengers film!

(Caution: A lengthy post follows...Enter at your own risk!)

Freshmen Flyers- For every continuation there is for an already-established character, there's always a fresh face to enjoy. This year, with Cap and Spidey both gaining sequels, a new team, with equal force in the box-office took hold of movie-goers: That's right, it was the infamous (and unknown) Guardians of the Galaxy! Bringing cosmic charm and charisma to the big screen, along with a talking raccoon and tree as well, the Guardians stole the show with a fresh take on a Marvel film. Going for another home-run, Marvel, with DC hot on their tail, plan to bring a new set of comic favorites to the screen, hoping to please audiences with the right kinds of characters:

  • Ant-Man- The first fresh face to fly, or crawl, into theaters next year is the mighty yet small Ant-Man. Telling of a down-on-his-luck thief Scott Lang (Paul Rudd), who discovers a specialized suit created by Dr. Hank Pym, the film follows Lang as he is mentored by Pym (Micheal Douglas) in using this shrinking suit of incredible power for the right reasons, battling to save the world. While the plot may sound simple enough, this new character is sure to shine in summer 2015 as the next big (yet tiny) hero of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. With a mixture of heist crime meets superhero action, and more incredible super-science to go around, Ant-Man is sure to add a new dimension to this expanding universe of strange heroes. Ant-Man hits theaters July 17th.

  • Doctor Strange- Speaking of "strange" heroes, this next film (Out Nov. 4, 2016), spins a tale of cosmic and peculiar proportions. Dr. Strange tells the tale of neurosurgeon Stephen Strange (name-dropped in Captain America: The Winter Soldier), a brilliant yet egotistical man who cares solely about money, who is suddenly transformed into a mystical being with great power after encountering a magical hermit known as the Ancient One. Burdened with the power of the Sorcerer Supreme, Strange must do what he must to battle the mystical beings of our universe. With a magical premise similar to the thunder god Thor's, as well as famous Sherlock actor Benedict Cumberbatch in talks to star as Strange, this film already sounds intriguing. Hopefully being able to expand the vast universe even further than this year's Guardians of the Galaxy did, Doctor Strange sets its sights on the mystical realm of the Marvel Cinematic Universe that has yet to be explored. 
The race to become the Sorcerer Supreme has gone on for months,
many actors wanting to take up the magical role

  • The Flash- If you're a DC Comics fan, or you've watched the show on the CW at least once, then you know the Flash. Also known as the infamous Red Streak or the Scarlet Speedster, the Flash identity has been donned by many, including Barry Allen (CW's The Flash), Jay Garrick, Wally West, and Bart Allen. With The Perks of Being a Wallflower star Ezra Miller set to star as the fastest man alive in Warner Bros.' 2018 film, DC plans to bring more and more Justice League members to the screen, all before they unite in Justice League.  

  • Aquaman- Known as the King of Atlantis to comic fans, Arthur Curry has the ability to breath underwater, exhibit superhuman strength and speed, and oh yeah, talk to fish. While he may not be the best character to bring to the big screen, Warner Bros. plans to unleash its full arsenal of characters, gearing up for the inevitable Justice League films. With Game of Thrones star Jason Momoa acting as a brooding and bulky Curry, Aquaman looks to be going down the Man of Steel route, with a darker origin for the character. Also, Aquaman is set debut in 2016's Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice, giving the scaly hero more and more screen-time. Aquaman is set to release on July 27th, 2018. 

Team-Ups and Take-Downs- From the Avengers to the Justice League, and every small team in between, there are always popular team-ups to anticipate and cheer on. With Marvel reassembling the Avengers for another round, they also plan to bring the popular Guardians of the Galaxy back for a sequel as well. With these great teams assembling once more, DC brings the heat with their own team-ups. Beginning with the much-anticipated team-up/throw-down of the Man of Steel himself and the Caped Crusader, DC plans to construct their future Justice League films off this monumental battle. Also, DC holds the fort and follows Marvel, introducing a new team called the Suicide Squad:   

  • Avengers: Age of Ultron- The first of the many Marvel Studios releases to hit theaters next year is the much-anticipated sequel to one of the studio's biggest hits, The Avengers. This time around, there's no playing around, as Age of Ultron pits the team against their biggest foe yet, the artificial intelligence of evil that is Ultron. Awoken by Tony Stark, in an effort to bring a dormant protection program to life once more, this bot plans to protect the world in one way only: with the extinction of the Avengers. With the gang reassembling once more, and new members Quicksilver, Scarlet Witch, and Vision coming aboard the mayhem, Age of Ultron plans to give fans both the best villain in the MCU, and the greatest thrill ride of their lives.  

  • Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice- One of DC's and Warner Bros.' biggest challenges was the question of how to follow up after the success of the 2013 Superman origin Man of Steel. They could have just made a regular sequel like the rest, but they decided on something much, much more grander: Introducing the Dark Knight into the Superman universe. Veering away from the hit Batman trilogy erected by Christopher Nolan, director Zack Snyder went a new route, first with their surprising casting of Ben Affleck as Bruce Wayne aka Batsy himself. The surprises didn't end there. Soon, speculation led to rumor, and rumor led to truth, as DC announced just how this supposed Man of Steel sequel would inevitably turn into the birth of the Justice League. With many DC characters planning to debut in this film, from Gal Gadot's Wonder Woman to Ray Fisher's Cyborg, DC has their heart set of building this DC Cinematic Universe of theirs as quickly as possible.  

  •  Guardians of the Galaxy 2- As director James Gunn clearly showed us in his space adventure last August, the nearly unknown and not-so popular Guardians of the Galaxy can surely draw one hell of a crowd. Banking in as one of Marvel Studios hugest box-office wins since Avengers, the Guardians were more than likely to return for more wise-cracking mayhem in space. In this sequel, out May 5th, 2017, Gunn returns to the cosmic world to bring us another awesome adventure with his unique band of misfits. With little known about the sequel yet, fans hope to see other cosmic characters, like Nova and Adam Warlock, join the Guardians, as well the team battling a bad-ass villain hopefully coming close to the ranks of Thanos.   

  • Inhumans- On the topic of cosmic misfits, Marvel plans to unveil a new team in 2018, spawned from the cosmos and with an incredible array of abilities and stories to tell. They are the Inhumans, a band of human test subjects of the alien Kree, abandoned and forced to form their own society of people like them. With various abilities, after being exposed to the Terrigen Mist, this group led by Black Bolt, is definitely up Marvel's alley with a unique team to explore of the big screen. While I may not have the slightest idea of who this team is, having research them just a second ago, I think this team is surely something Marvel can pull off, just as they did with the Guardians this year. 

  • Suicide Squad- Another team film, hitting theaters August 2016, spawning from DC, is the Suicide Squad. Telling of a band of incarcerated supervillains, who act as antiheroes for the government, Suicide Squad is both unknown, and quite popular. With some comic readers being fans of the villain team, most know the squad from popular television shows Smallville, and more recently Arrow. With the members of the squad varying through the years, DC has an array of great villains to use, possibly including the likes of the Joker (rumored to be played by Jared Leto) or Jesse Eisenberg's Lex Luthor.  
The Suicide Squad has already appeared on the CW's Arrow

Sequels to Sequels- Like every great superhero film, a sequel (or two) is bound to spawn from it. With both Thor and Captain America bringing back the action for another go, Marvel has their hands full with great stories to tell. From the comic-event Civil War to the popular Thor tale of Ragnarok, these sequels plan to heighten the characters even more (and hopefully more than the Iron Man sequels did). Also, Marvel (over at 20th Century FOX) plans to reunite the X-Men team again, after a time-travel-filled power-fest in this year's Days of Future Past
  • Thor: Ragnarok- The god of thunder is set to return July 18th, 2017, with a vengeance. With nearly every detail undisclosed at this moment, other than the fact that Chris Hemsworth's Thor and Tom Hiddleston's Loki are set to return, the Thor sequel remains in the shadows. The only thing to go off of is the title: Ragnarok. Meaning the end of everything in Norse mythology (as Ragnarök), and also being an apparent Thor clone in the comics (created by Tony Stark, Hank Pym, and Reed Richards), this new adventure for the god of thunder seems all but pleasant. Hopefully releasing more details in the coming years, Marvel Studios hopes to continue the Thor series with one hell of a third film.  
  • Captain America: Civil War- Probably the hugest announcement by Marvel Studios was the announcement of the Civil War plot coming to the big screen. Telling of a division of the Avengers, after the government enacts a Superhero Registration Act, forcing the heroes to give up their secret identities and act under regulation, Civil War is exactly what it's described as: war amongst the people. With the second Captain America sequel revolving around this subject, Marvel plans to alter the storyline a tad, creating a variation of the plot to fit into their established universe. With Robert Downey Jr.'s Iron Man, as well as the debuting Black Panther, set to join Chris Evan's Cap in May 2016, this anticipated Cap sequel is definitely at the top of every fan's must-see list. 
    Iron Man and Captain America will duke it out in Civil War
  • X-Men: Apocalypse- Veering away from Disney's Marvel Studios for a moment, we find ourselves in 20th Century FOX's Marvel universe, where the 2016 sequel for X-Men: Days of Future Past is in the works. While it may be a different production company, the film remains to be Marvel, therefore making my list of Marvel's most-anticipated releases. With the X-Men team being one of my favorites on and off-screen, of course I'm excited for the continuation of First Class trilogy. With this film explaining the origins of the First Class crew, set in 1983, Marvel plans to introduce past characters like Cyclops, Jean, Nightcrawler, and Storm in their younger versions, letting fans enjoy the origins of these characters in one great movie. However, the film also focuses on the main antagonist, Apocalypse, as he rains vengeance on the X-Men team. While I may not know a whole lot about this new villain, I remain excited to see just how FOX can bring these characters to life, just as they did this year with Future Past.

Finally, A Black Hero- With characters like Sam Wilson aka Falcon and Black Panther becoming prominent African-American heroes in the comics, superhero films of today plan to better highlight that, bringing characters like Panther, Falcon (as seen in Captain America: The Winter Soldier), as well as DC's Cyborg, to the big screen. Acting as the lead heroes this time (excluding Falcon for now), these African-American characters strive to add diversity to the roles in most superhero films. While most heroes (like Iron Man, Cap, and Thor) are portrayed by white men, both Marvel and DC have a new goal in mind for the newest heroes of the superhero genre: 
  • Black Panther- Known to comic fans as the Prince of Wakanda, T'Challa aka the Black Panther is a character famously known as the first African-American superhero to hit American comics. Becoming a hit character in Marvel Comics, and eventually becoming a member of the Avengers team, Black Panther is one of those characters that deserves to be brought to screen. With 42 and Get On Up star Chadwick Boseman (another of Marvel's great castings) revealed to be playing T'Challa, Marvel Studios sets it sights on bringing more diversity to their films, beginning with their first black lead in his own film, out Nov. 3rd, 2017.     

  • Cyborg- With Marvel bringing Black Panther to the films, DC plans to counter-strike this with their own African-American hero in a lead role. Cyborg, aka Victor Stone, plans to debut in 2016's Batman v. Superman, played by newcomer Ray Fisher, along with starring in both Justice League films and his own standalone film in 2020. With Cyborg being one of my favorites, preferably as a member of the Teen Titans team, I'm hopeful that this character will bring a new depth to the DC films, along with a cool, mechanized hero to root for.   

Reboots Galore- Ah, reboots, both the great beauty and corrupt killer of characters and stories. With some reboots being successful (Dark Knight, Star Trek) and others bombing (Total Recall, Superman Returns), reboots thrive in the world of Hollywood. As for Marvel and DC, there's plenty to be paved over. With the merc with a mouth Deadpool being revived for his solo debut, Marvel plans to kill off the whole X-Men Origins: Wolverine dilemma, and start anew. Also from Marvel (at FOX again), the powerful team in blue, the Fantastic Four, are set to be renewed, this time going with a younger team and a black Human Torch. Coming out of DC's pot of unknown riches, is a hopeful Green Lantern reboot, kicking Ryan Reynolds to the curb (for Deadpool's sake I hope), and going for something a bit less shiny and a bit more serious:    
  • Deadpool- Migrating back to Marvel at 20th Century FOX, there comes a character many fans want to see done right on the big screen. That character is the merc with a mouth Deadpool, aka Wade Wilson. If you remember 2009's horrid X-Men Origins: Wolverine, then you may know Deadpool as the wise-cracking joker, played by Ryan Reynolds, who inevitably turned into a disaster by the end of the film, mouth sewn shut, with swords protruding awkwardly from his fists. Now erase that memory from your mind, as FOX plans to reboot the character in early 2016, giving fans a more comic-based version of the mercenary. Hopefully, if Ryan Reynolds returns (with a mouth this time), Marvel can do the character justice with an accurate depiction of this bad-ass fan-favorite.  
Deadpool test footage reveals just how crazy-good this film might be!

  • The Fantastic Four- Sticking with Marvel reboots, as well as 20th Century FOX, we move to another team that fans love: The Fantastic Four. After past attempts to bring the characters to screen in 2005's Fantastic Four and its dull 2007 sequel, FOX thought it best to reboot the franchise, bringing in a younger team like in the Ultimate Fantastic Four comics. With Chronicle director Josh Trank set to helm the film, with Miles Teller, Kate Mara, Michael B. Jordan, and Jamie Bell starring, 2015's The Fantastic Four plans to bring a new dimension to the Fantastic Four franchise, while also adding in some much-needed diversity. 
A black Human Torch! A skinny The Thing! The new FF cast seems quite unique

  • Green Lantern- Following a lack-luster debut for the man with the emerald ring, DC opted to reboot the Ryan Reynolds' film, and take on a new direction. With little known about Warner Bros.' and DC's intentions for the film, and it not being released until a hefty 2020, fans can only speculate as to what may occur in the new film. Some fans, like me, hope to see fellow Green Lantern, John Stewart, take the lead in the film, after Ryan Reynolds' Hal Jordan didn't appeal to most audiences. Personally, I grew up only knowing of John Stewart as Green Lantern, me being an avid fan of the cartoon Justice League Unlimited.    

Female Fighters- As men dominate the silver screens, at least superhero-wise, many movie fans, who also moonlight as comic fans, yearn for more female characters to get their own super-films. With the only females on Marvel's side being limited to Black Widow, Pepper Potts, Jane Foster, and Lady Sif (including Mystique and the others if we're including the X-Men films), Marvel is in desperate need of a powerful female lead. Enter Captain Marvel, aka Ms. Marvel aka Carol Danvers. With this introduction of a prominent female hero in the comics to the films, Marvel plans to bring more diversity to the screens. The same applies to DC, who is set to debut Gal Gadot's Amazonian (yet skinny) Wonder Woman in her own film:   
  • Captain Marvel- Laying out the origins of Carol Danvers, in the past known as Ms. Marvel, 2018's Captain Marvel highlights the first woman-led Marvel film, in an effort to bring more diversity to their films. After being caught in an explosion with the Kree superhero Captain Marvel, Danvers gains similar abilities to him, calling herself Ms. Marvel. As of 2012, Danvers became the new Captain Marvel in the comics, eventually prompting Marvel Studios to pick up the character for her own film. Knowing little about the character, I was initially skeptical about what this character could bring to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but, like every other fan, I remain hyped for the first female-led film from Marvel.  

  • Wonder Woman- Known to comic readers as Princess Diana of Themyscira, a warrior princess of the Amazons, Wonder Woman has been around for years, just as Superman and Batman have. With DC set to debut her as well in Batman v. Superman, Wonder Woman, played by Fast Five star Gal Gadot, plans to build slowly into her prominent role as a leader of the Justice League. Getting her own standalone film in November 2017, fans hope to see model Gal Gadot kick some ass with the Lasso of Truth, in order to solidify their desire for a bad-ass Amazon. 
Some fans continue to criticize the WW, as Gal Gadot appears "too skinny" to play the Amazon

Two Parts to Every Story- Following the past examples of massive blockbuster franchises from Harry Potter to Twilight, as well as the final Hunger Games films, Marvel and DC plan to release some of their hugest films in two parts. With Marvel gearing up the Avengers to take on the Mad Titan Thanos in Avengers: Infinity War Part 1 & 2, DC challenges them with their anticipated releases of the two-parter Justice League film. Both battling for the box-office, this shall be the final showdown of superhero films in the years 2017 through 2019: 

  • Justice League Part 1 & 2- If you're a DC Comics fan, or you at least know something of superheroes, then you must know the Justice League. Equivalent to, if not larger than, Marvel's Avengers team, the Justice League has protected the universe for years now, giving a home to many great DC characters like Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, and others. Now, with Warner Bros. and DC announcing one of their biggest projects, a two-part Justice League film, fans are dying with excitement all over the world. Even if the film may not have a perfect cast, every fan of the Justice League's legacy are sure to fill the theater seats in 2017 and 2019. Bringing together the characters DC plans to introduce in the coming years, from Ben Affleck's Batman to Ezra Miller's Flash, Warner Bros. plans to counter-attack the Avengers films, setting up their own team of amazing superheroes. 
Currently, the JL team consists of the New 52 team members in the comics
  • Avengers 3: Infinity War Part 1 & 2- I have saved the best for last. Probably even more anticipating than the Justice League films, is the third film in the blockbuster Avengers series (predicting Age of Ultron does well), Avengers 3: Infinity War. Breaking the film up into two parts, Marvel plans to leave nothing behind, pitting the Avengers team against the Mad Titan, Thanos, for a final round. Armed with the powerful Infinity Gauntlet (as seen in the first Thor film), Thanos (you know, the big purple guy from Avengers and Guardians of the Galaxy) takes on the Avengers for one final duking-out. With fans speculating that the film will throw in introduced MCU characters from future films, like Captain Marvel and Doctor Strange, this third film is set to be the biggest and most exciting of all the films in the MCU, sure to end Marvel's Phase Three with a BOOM...  

And there it is, the most-anticipated films coming soon from Marvel and DC. From the new arrivals to the newly rebooted, these superhero films promise to bring excitement, thrills, laughs, and great story-telling to the future of these two superhero giants. Whether you're a fan of Marvel or DC, or you just don't care, fans everywhere will be crowding theaters to see these films. In the end, it's not about Marvel vs. DC, it's about bringing the fans what they want, and also building amazing cinematic universes full of great characters from the odd to the interesting, to keep the fans coming. Personally, being a fan of Marvel over DC, I want to see nearly every film on this list, regardless of who is ahead of who in the race for glory at the theater. 

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