Dec 31, 2015

    The Avengers, the X-Men and the Merc with a Mouth

    2016 will be a bumper year for Marvel and DC fans as both sides of the superhero divide fight for box-office supremacy. JOANNE SOH gives you a preview of the action.


    DEADPOOL (Feb 11)

    THE vast Marvel Cinematic Universe has been a treasure trove for film-makers.

    Amid the two most bankable Marvel Most Valuable Players (X-Men and Avengers), Deadpool is the first superhero flick out of the gate next year, while Doctor Strange and Gambit are slated for a year-end release.

    Ryan Reynolds first portrayed the titular anti-hero in 2009's X-Men Origins: Wolverine, although fans of the wisecracking masked man cried foul over the lack of authenticity.

    So the new-and-improved Deadpool - the directorial debut of Tim Miller - will stick closely to the source material and revolve around former special forces operative Wade Wilson (Reynolds) who, in an effort to cure his cancer, is subjected to an experiment that leaves him with accelerated healing powers, disfigured skin, an unstable mind and a dark, twisted sense of humour.

    And it looks like fans are lapping it up. The first trailer, which was screened at the San Diego Comic-Con International this year, received a standing ovation.

    Many have applauded the movie's breaking of the fourth wall, too, much like how it is done in the comics.

    But it remains to be seen if he can attract new viewers and turn them into solid fans, especially if they are already followers of automatic hits like X-Men and Avengers.


    It's going to get political in the third Captain America instalment, in which friends become foes after Steve Rogers aka Cap (Chris Evans) is asked to take sides following the events in Avengers: Age Of Ultron.

    The new status quo fractures the Avengers, resulting in two camps, one led by Steve and his desire for the Avengers to remain free to defend humanity without government interference, and the other following Tony Stark/Iron Man's (Robert Downey Jr) surprising decision to support government oversight and accountability.

    Avengers fans will be equally divided on who to root for.

    Another plus for Civil War is the appearance of the new Spider-Man (Tom Holland), who will interact with others from the Marvel Cinematic Universe for the first time.

    X-MEN: APOCALYPSE (May 19)

    The X-Men universe is a buffet spread of heroes and villains and this latest sequel looks set to get even more crowded with the introduction of one of the most formidable big bads around.

    In Bryan Singer's fourth X-Men outing, the group find themselves in danger of extermination from what could be the world's first mutant, Apocalypse (Oscar Isaac), who wants to "cleanse" humanity and create a new world order.

    It's up to Charles Xavier (James McAvoy) to rally his team of young mutants to battle Apocalypse and his Four Horsemen - Angel (Ben Hardy), Psylocke (Olivia Munn), Storm (Alexandra Shipp) and Magneto (Michael Fassbender).

    Jennifer Lawrence's Mystique becomes Charles' vital ally, while Sophie Turner's Jean Grey and Rose Byrne's Moira MacTaggert get more screen time.