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I'm a movie buff, and I love anything to do with entertainment (especially science fiction and British dramas!) I write about current and upcoming films and other entertainment-related news. I currently work as a communications coordinator, and I'm an aspiring novelist. - Ashley Marie Pauls

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2016 summer movie preview

X-Men-Apocalypse-Poster-No-Text.0.0It’s that time of year again — summer blockbuster season is here! Summer is typically my favorite time of the year at the movie theater, because it tends to bring more science fiction and superhero films, my two favorite genres. This year, however, my “must see” list seems to be a little smaller than normal. There definitely are some really big and really exciting movies coming up, but there just don’t seem to be as many that made me think, “Wow, I’ve got to pre-order my ticket for this right now!” It could be that overall, this year’s offerings aren’t quite as strong as years past, or it could simply be that studios are moving some of their big-ticket items to other parts of the year (but more on that later).

The top item on my summer list is, of course, “Captain America: Civil War” (May 6), and I’m betting it will be the biggest movie of the summer and (hopefully!) my favorite. I’m excited about the concept, which pits two of the best Marvel superheroes against each other. Captain America normally respects the rules better than Iron Man does, so it’s interesting to see that this time, Captain America is the one on the run from the law. I’m glad to see Ant-Man joining the team, and I’m looking forward to the introduction of Black Panther. My one fear is that, similar to “Age of Ultron,” Marvel may have packed too many superheroes into this film. Hopefully they’ll keep the focus on the ideological and also personal conflict between Captain America and Iron Man.

I’m also looking forward to two other superhero movies: “X-Men: Apocalypse” (May 27) and “Suicide Squad” (Aug. 5). I’ve really enjoyed the X-Men prequel series featuring the younger versions of Professor X and Magneto, and I think the immortal Apocalypse (Oscar Isaac) will prove to be a worthy foe. While “Suicide Squad” — which recruits a group of unstable villains to save the world — could be more of a gamble, I hope this movie will be as fun and dark and crazy as the trailers seem to promise.

Although I’m sad the Star Trek reboot franchise has had to continue on without director J.J. Abrams, I’m glad that Simon Pegg, the actor who plays Scotty, has helped write the script for “Star Trek: Beyond” (July 22). I’ve really enjoyed these reboot films, and I think film makers picked a great cast to carry on the spirit of the original series. While I’ve heard some concern that the trailer makes this look too much like a standard action film, I think there are some cool elements in the trailer, and hopefully this movie will continue to push the franchise into exciting and uncharted territory.

The final film on my “most looking forward to” list is actually a bit of a departure for me.:) “Me Before You” (June 3) is based on a novel about a young British woman who becomes a caregiver for a quadriplegic who resents his paralysis and no longer wishes to keep living. They do end up falling in love, but the ending is far from conventional. I read this book with my book club and absolutely loved it, even though it’s a bit different from the kind of books I normally read. I’m also excited about the “geek cred” of the cast: Daenerys from “Game of Thrones”; Finnick from the Hunger Games series; Clara, Doctor Who companion; and even Mr. Bates from Downton Abbey!😉

I do have some films that I’m keeping an eye on, to see what initial reviews are. I’m worried about sequels like “Alice Through the Looking Glass” (May 27) and “Independence Day: Resurgence” (June 24) and maybe even “Jason Bourne” (July 29). Has it been too long since the previous films in these franchises came out, and will audiences still find these movies relevant? I do think “Jason Bourne” could be an interesting opportunity to show how the world — and the nature of national security — have changed since the first Bourne movie came out almost 15 years ago. “The Legend of Tarzan” (July 1) has a good cast and could turn out to be cool, and while “Ghostbusters” (July 15) does have a fun (and funny) cast, it’s always risky to mess with a classic.

As I look at all the other movies coming out this year, I’m wondering if we’re starting to see a bit of a shift away from the traditionally crowded summer movie season, and film makers are more willing to release big crowd-pleasers at other times of the year. “Batman v. Superman” fits the traditional summer movie mold but was released in March, and late fall/early winter has proven to be a good fit for some major films, such as the Hunger Games franchise and “Star Wars: The Force Awakens.” I’m actually really looking forward to the fall and winter season this year, with “Doctor Strange,” “Star Wars: Rogue One,” J.K. Rowling’s “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them,” and Jennifer Lawrence and Chris Pratt’s “Passengers,” simply because it’s a sci-fi movie starring Jennifer Lawrence and Chris Pratt (what more could I ask for?).😉

So, what films are you most looking forward to this summer? What will be the biggest hit or the biggest flop?

Marvel’s ‘Doctor Strange’: To boldly go where no superhero has gone before?

Mystical-Strange-005-EWAfter finding success with films about Iron Man, Thor, and Captain America, Marvel Studios has been trying its hand at superheroes who are a little farther outside the mainstream. “Ant-Man” had its skeptics, and while I wondered how well the concept of a man shrinking down to the size of an ant would translate to the big screen, the movie turned out to be hilarious and fun. Although “Guardians of the Galaxy” may have seemed like a tough sell with its walking, talking tree and trigger-happy mutant raccoon, it became a huge hit and is now one of my all-time favorite movies. Now, Marvel is preparing to introduce us to another unconventional hero: the mystical Doctor Strange, who has the power to bend the elements and even reality itself.

Marvel just released the first trailer for the “Doctor Strange” movie, which is coming to theaters in early November. The trailer leaves us with a lot of questions, but I’m not really too worried. By this point, I pretty much just trust Marvel; if they could make “Guardians of the Galaxy” work, they can make anything work. The only Marvel film that really disappointed me was “Age of Ultron,” because I felt it introduced some interesting ideas but didn’t push them far enough. In order for “Doctor Strange” to work, I think Marvel needs to fully embrace the, well, “stranger” aspects of this character and not shy away from the weird or supernatural elements of this story.

Stephen Strange (played by Benedict Cumberbatch) is a top neurosurgeon who is injured in devastating car crash that ends his career. While on a desperate quest for healing, he meets a mythical being called the Ancient One, who trains him to use magic. Doctor Strange rises from the ashes of his former life to become a superhero protecting the world from evil forces.

I’m a big fan of Benedict Cumberbatch, and I’m excited to see him take on this role (his American accent did throw me a bit at first, though).😉 While I love him as the title character in the BBC show “Sherlock,” it’s also nice to see him take on different and potentially challenging roles, like this one. The rest of the cast is good, too: Chiwetel Ejiofor as the maybe good-guy or maybe bad-guy Karl Mordo, another pupil of the Ancient One, and the always intriguing Tilda Swinton as the Ancient One herself.

However, as good as this cast is, what really grabbed my attention in the trailer were the gorgeously weird visuals (and I do mean “weird” as a compliment). It reminded me a little of “Inception,” with the way the magical characters could manipulate landscapes and reality. While I’m hoping it won’t be too much like “Inception” and will find its own voice, I think we’ve only seen a small taste of what will be in the final film, and hopefully it will be genuinely mind-blowing.

I’m also intrigued to see how Marvel handles the use of magic in this film. We’ve seen superhuman powers in Marvel movies before, but according to producers this one is supposed to serve as the official “doorway” to the supernatural side of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. We could be seeing alternate dimensions and a blend of science and magic. I hope Marvel doesn’t play it too safe here, because I think they could bring us something really exciting and different. I think Marvel is saving the best elements for the film itself.

So, what do you think? Are you feeling excited or skeptical about “Doctor Strange”? What do you hope to see in the film?

The Rebellion strikes back: Some quick thoughts on the first trailer for ‘Star Wars: Rogue One’

ybrhoyn9luekz3ulvh9lThis week was a double treat for Star Wars fans: “The Force Awakens” was released on DVD, and we got the first trailer for the upcoming “Rogue One” film about a team of Rebels fighting the Empire, which takes place before the events of “A New Hope.”

“Rogue One” is a new type of project for the Star Wars Cinematic Universe. We’re used to seeing Star Wars films that are part of epic trilogies that revolve around the Skywalker family and involve the battle between the Jedi and the Sith. “Rogue One” is a bit different — it’s meant to stand on its own and appears to focus on non-Force-users.

Here’s what we know so far: Felicity Jones plays Jyn Erso, a member of the Rebel Alliance who is tasked with a secret mission to steal the plans for the Death Star. From what we’ve seen in the trailer, she’s a bit of a loose cannon who prefers to play by her own rules. We catch glimpses of an Imperial official played by Ben Mendelsohn, a character who is possibly a bounty hunter played by Forest Whitaker, and a warrior (perhaps a former Jedi?) wielding a quarterstaff played by Donnie Yen. There’s a battle with AT-ATs on a beach with palm trees, and we witness the dawn of the Death Star.

Like most good trailers, the trailer for “Rogue One” teases more than it reveals. But so far it looks good — really good. Star Wars has a long history of strong female characters, and Felicity Jones’ Jyn Erso looks like she’ll carry on that tradition well. I’m curious to learn what her character’s background is, and why she joined the Rebel Alliance.

I also really like that this film has its own vibe; it’s definitely Star Wars, but it stands on its own. I have a feeling “Rogue One” will be to Star Wars what “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” is to the Avengers. The characters in “Rogue One” may not be the main heroes, and they might not have amazing Force powers. However, they’re still a key part of the Rebellion, and without them, Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, and Princess Leia couldn’t save the galaxy.

I’m thinking this film won’t have a happy ending, because we all know what happens in “A New Hope.” The Rebels don’t stop the Death Star from being built, and they can’t save Alderaan from being destroyed. Still, it will be interesting to see how this sets up the original trilogy.

My one disappointment about the trailer is that we don’t get to see Darth Vader. I’ve heard rumors he’s going to be in the film, and I hope it will be more than just a cameo. We haven’t seen Darth Vader in a full-on battle before, and I really, really hope we get to see him in action, running across a battlefield with his lightsaber. My gut feeling is that they purposefully chose not to show Darth Vader in this trailer, to build up suspense, and then they’ll give us just a little glimpse of him in the next trailer.

So, what do you think? Are you excited for “Rogue One”? What are you most looking forward to about it?

Dawn of Justice: What’s next for the DC Extended Universe?

batman-v-superman-dawn-of-justice-000220568DC has begun building up to its Justice League team-up film, although its start has been a little rockier than Marvel’s build-up to its Avengers movie. DC and Warner Bros. recently released “Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice,” which serves as a teaser for their big Justice League film in 2017. “Batman v. Superman” has made an impressive amount of money at the box office, but critics weren’t kind, earning it a score of 29 percent on Rotten Tomatoes. It’s fair to say that score is probably too harsh; there are definitely good parts to the film, namely Ben Affleck, who is actually quite good as Batman/Bruce Wayne, and of course Wonder Woman, who arguably steals the whole show. However, the film did have weaknesses, and DC’s Extended Universe is not yet on as strong a footing as Marvel’s.

On paper, I think DC and Warner Bros. have good ideas. I like that they’re not just trying to copy Marvel and give us a bunch of individual movies leading up to their team-up film. I also like the darker tone the DC films seem to be taking. Everyone knows how much I love Marvel😉 but I think that DC does need to have its own voice. DC’s execution has just been a little hit or miss so far. Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy is a masterpiece, but it won’t be a part of the DC Extended Universe going forward. Fans are split on their feelings for “Man of Steel” and “Batman v. Superman,” and it’s probably better if we just don’t mention “Green Lantern,” which also seems to have been excluded from the DCEU.

The good news is, I don’t think DC will have that hard a time getting people excited about their Justice League team-up film. While “Batman v. Superman” proved to be a little polarizing and didn’t seem to leave fans as pumped as they were after “The Avengers,” people will still want to see “Justice League.” The Batman and Superman characters are enough of a draw on their own. That said, if “Justice League” has a lukewarm reception, that will be a big liability for the franchise going forward, and it will be challenging to build up momentum for upcoming solo films featuring characters like the Flash and Aquaman.

After seeing Wonder Woman in “Batman v. Superman,” I am really excited for her solo film next year, and if this film is good, it will definitely help build excitement for “Justice League.” I haven’t seen a lot on this film so far, other than that it will be an origin story. Entertainment Weekly recently ran a sneak preview photo that shows Wonder Woman on Paradise Island, home of the Amazons, so we know at least part of the film will take place there. It’s also possible this film will take place in the past. In “Batman v. Superman,” Bruce Wayne finds a photo of Wonder Woman taken during World War I, and I noticed one of the other people in this photo looked like Chris Pine, who has been cast as a character in the Wonder Woman film. Does this mean part of the film will be during World War I? I really loved the retro feel of the first Captain America movie, which took place during World War II, and I’m excited to see “Wonder Woman” attempt something similar, but with its own flair.

I’m also intrigued by “Suicide Squad,” which is coming up later this summer. While it’s not as direct a tie-in to “Justice League” as “Wonder Woman,” I’ve enjoyed the trailers for this film. It looks dark and zany, featuring reject heroes who are sort of a twisted DC version of “Guardians of the Galaxy.” While I don’t see this team playing nice with the Justice League, it could be a cool counter-franchise, if all goes well.

After the Justice League film in 2017, DC and Warner Bros. will follow up with solo films for the Flash and Aquaman in 2018. I’m still a little skeptical about the Flash movie, just because the CW TV show is so good and it’s hard to think of someone other than Grant Gustin in the role. However, I’m definitely willing to keep an open mind, and hopefully this film can bring something new to the character. We’ve only seen a short teaser of Jason Momoa as Aquaman in “Batman v. Superman,” but he definitely looks like a hero you shouldn’t take lightly. I think Aquaman will add a different and exciting element to the team. Still, the Justice League film will need to be REALLY good in order to convince people to watch solo films on these other characters.

So, what do you think? Are you excited about these upcoming DC films? What do you think DC will need to be successful going forward?

Movie review: ‘Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice’

Batman-v-SupermanAlthough “Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice” promised to show fans an epic smack-down between two of the greatest superheroes of all time, the initial reviews for this film were, unfortunately, not-so-super. “Batman vs. Superman” is currently sitting at 29 percent on Rotten Tomatoes, and one critic called it “an onslaught of too much, too often, and for too long” (ouch). However, these reviews didn’t seem to dampen moviegoers’ enthusiasm too much — the film pulled in an impressive $170 million over the Easter weekend, and audiences rated it a far less painful 73 percent.

Despite the 29 percent critics’ rating, the film isn’t as bad as you might first believe. I walked into the theater with a good deal of skepticism but found I was actually entertained by the film. There are some good moments, and even flashes of greatness, though it’s also fair to say the film isn’t all that it could have been. Since there are some pretty stark contrasts between the good and the not-so-good, I’ve decided to skip my regular movie review format and instead do a list of what works and what doesn’t.

What works

Ben Affleck as Bruce Wayne/Batman. Although Ben Affleck initially got quite a bit of flak for his casting, he actually turns out to be a pretty interesting Bruce Wayne/Batman. I like the choice to portray an older and more world-weary Batman; every time you see Bruce Wayne, there’s a sad, almost tired look in his eyes. His years of vigilantism — and his isolation — are starting to wear on him, and we get the feeling he’s keeping up this superhero business more out of a sense of duty than a burning desire to champion the cause of justice. He provides a thought-provoking contrast to Superman. Unlike Superman, he doesn’t have any supernatural powers; all his special abilities come from tech he’s developed. It was also nice to see him hold his own in the film’s inevitable fight between the two heroes (hey, you can’t call it “Batman vs. Superman” and not have a battle between these two).

Gal Gadot as Diana Prince/Wonder Woman. While I worried that DC might be adding too many heroes to this film, essentially turning it into “Justice League Lite,” I’m really glad they included Wonder Woman. Marvel has Black Widow (and now the Scarlet Witch), and it’s great to see DC bring in a female superhero, especially one with powers as impressive as Wonder Woman’s. I loved watching her interact with the other superheroes in the big battle during the film’s third act. I’m also now pretty pumped for her solo film next year.

The dark/gritty tone. This film is pretty dark, both literally and figuratively — the film itself is shot in a muted color palette, and the tone is somber. While some critics said the film is too serious and doesn’t take enough time for fun, I’m glad DC didn’t try to copy the Marvel template. I love the Marvel films, but DC’s Cinematic Universe needs to develop its own voice and its own style. Besides, I’d much rather have it be too serious than too silly (I’m looking at you, “Green Lantern”).

Superhero accountability. While the case could be made that this film didn’t explore the theme of superhero accountability as deeply or effectively as it could have, I still liked the discussion about the benefits and dangers of relying on heroes with super powers. When humanity is in a bind, it’s great to have Superman intervene and save lives. However, what if Superman were to turn evil, and use those powers against us? Should there be someone, or something, keeping superheroes accountable? If so, who? And how do you keep a superhero in check who has seemingly unstoppable powers? Marvel’s “Captain America: Civil War” will be dealing with many of these same themes later this year, and I’m curious to see their take on it as well.

What doesn’t

Lex Luthor. Although Lex Luthor is one of the most iconic DC villains, in this film he unfortunately comes across as too cartoonish. I don’t really blame actor Jesse Eisenberg for this; I think it has more to do with the director and the way the character was written. It’s almost like they’re trying to echo the Joker without echoing the Joker, and it doesn’t quite work. The mutant monster that Luthor creates at the end of the film is also a little too reminiscent of some other superhero film finales, but it was pretty cool to see Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman fighting this creature together.

Some plot confusion. Some fans and critics have called out the plot for being confusing and not always tying all the various elements together. Although I enjoyed the movie while I was watching it, as I thought about it over the weekend I did think of more plot holes. There is a lot going on, and it doesn’t always connect. I also felt the film needed more interaction between Bruce Wayne/Batman and Clark Kent/Superman. Much of the time, they’re following separate storylines, and the film waits too long to bring them together.

Rushing to the finish. I don’t think DC necessarily needs to be like Marvel, which introduced all of its main heroes in solo films before giving us the epic team-up “The Avengers.” Yet it still feels a little like DC is trying to fast-track the Justice League film, which is coming to theaters next year. By necessity, “Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice” has to spend time setting up this team-up film. I wish DC would slow the pace a little, and earn their team-up film like Marvel earned theirs. Putting Batman and Superman in a film together was a good idea. The solo Wonder Woman film is also a good idea, and I’m now really excited about it after seeing Wonder Woman in “Batman vs. Superman.” I’d also like a solo Ben Affleck as Batman film too; maybe the Flash could have a role in this film so we get to know him a little better before seeing him in the Justice League film (I still wish they’d called Grant Gustin from the TV show “The Flash” up to the big leagues — no pun intended — but I’m happy to give Ezra Miller a shot). I just feel like a Justice League film next year is a bit too soon.

All in all, I paid $7 for a matinee ticket for “Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice,” and I felt like I got $7 worth of entertainment out of it. While the DC Cinematic Universe has not yet produced an offering that I love as much as the best of the Marvel films, I think they have the elements — and the cast — they need to succeed. Maybe “Justice League” can be that film.

So, what did you think about “Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice”? Did you love it? Hate it? Somewhere in between?

Indy rides again: Thoughts on the announcement of ‘Indiana Jones 5’

indiana-jones-reboot-castingWhen I was a kid, I thought Harrison Ford was pretty much the coolest person ever. After all, he was Han Solo AND Indiana Jones, my two favorite movie characters. Since then, Star Wars and Indiana Jones have remained two of my favorite film franchises, and I was very pleased with Star Wars’ recent return to the big screen with “The Force Awakens” — and Harrison Ford’s role in that film. Now we’ve learned Indiana Jones will be returning to the big screen as well: Disney just announced that a fifth film in the franchise, starring Ford, will be released on July 19, 2019. However, even though Disney found success with Star Wars, is it a good idea to try the same thing with Indy?

The first Indiana Jones film, “Raiders of the Lost Ark,” was released in 1981 and is one of my all-time favorite movies. The brainchild of Steven Spielberg and George Lucas, the film is an old-fashioned action-adventure with both historical details and supernatural surprises. Harrison Ford was perfectly cast as the danger-seeking archaeologist Indiana Jones. While the sequel, “The Temple of Doom,” didn’t quite live up to “Raiders,” the third film, “The Last Crusade” was a fun return to form and featured Sean Connery as Indy’s father. It seemed as though that film would be the end of the franchise, until “The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull” arrived in 2008. And it’s a bit of a different story.

Many fans don’t have fond memories of watching “The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.” I personally don’t hate it, and I think there were plenty of redeeming features. However, it is the weakest film in the franchise. Shia LaBeouf doesn’t quite fit as Indy’s son, and it’s probably best not to even bring up the film’s strange ending involving aliens.

Although I’m nervous that Disney’s new Indy film could turn out more like “The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull” than “Raiders of the Lost Ark,” I do think it would be nice to end the franchise, or at least wrap up Harrison Ford’s involvement, on a higher note. Steven Spielberg is returning as the director, which I’m pleased about, and it’s good to see Ford will also have a role in the film. Part of me is still curious about what the film would have been like if those rumors about Chris Pratt taking over the role had been true. Maybe Pratt could still play Indy’s grown-up son or assistant in this new film.

It’s been a while since I’ve watched “The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull,” but it seemed to be that maybe Harrison Ford’s heart wasn’t fully in that film. However, I thought he was amazing in “The Force Awakens”; you could tell he wanted to be there, and he was excited to play the character one last time. I hope he’s able to bring that to the fifth Indiana Jones film. I’m assuming this film will be to the Indiana Jones franchise what “The Force Awakens” was to Star Wars: a chance to celebrate what’s come before but also carry the franchise into the future.

I’d love to see Indy go on an adventure with either his grown-up son or assistant (Steven Spielberg, please, please, please pick Chris Pratt!). It would be nice if this adventure returned to the roots of the franchise: an adventure with ties to history and a few hints of the supernatural (no more aliens this time). Maybe they could go on a quest to find something like the lost city of Atlantis.

Overall, I’m cautiously optimistic about this film. I love the character, and I’d like to see Harrison Ford in the role one more time. What are your thoughts on the film? Do you think it’s a good idea to add another movie to the franchise? If so, what do you hope to see in “Indiana Jones 5”?

Superhero showdown: DC’s ‘Dawn of Justice’ vs. Marvel’s ‘Civil War’

civilwar2If you’ve read my blog, you’ve probably figured out by now that I’m a huge Marvel fan, probably second only to my love for Star Wars.😉 So it likely comes as no surprise that I geeked out — big time — over the recently released second trailer for “Captain America: Civil War” (we finally get to see the new Spider-Man!). The film comes to theaters May 6, and it already looks amazing. I’m trying not to let myself get too hyped up ahead of time, because I felt the same way about the trailer for “Avengers: Age of Ultron,” a film that ultimately didn’t quite live up to the expectations fans had for it. However, I think “Civil War” will end up delivering the darker conflict and character development we were hoping for from “Age of Ultron.” We’ll get to see what happens when the Avengers are forced to fight against each other in a conflict with more gray areas than black and white.

“Civil War” isn’t the only superhero vs. superhero film this year — “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice” premieres March 25. I admit I do have a Marvel bias, so that’s probably one of the reasons why I’m not *quite* as excited for “Dawn of Justice” as I am for “Civil War.”😉 It also will be difficult for DC to top Christopher Nolan’s previously released Batman trilogy, which ranks among the best superhero movies ever made. Will one of these two superhero vs. superhero movies emerge as the victor at the box office, or do they both have a chance to shine?

“Captain America: Civil War” will likely be the highest-grossing film of the summer, barring another “Jurassic World”-type surprise (and it may even be the highest grossing film of the year, though I’m still pulling for “Star Wars: Rogue One”). I’m really excited to see this film, which I hope will be genuinely game-changing for the Marvel Cinematic Universe, in a way that “Age of Ultron” could have been but wasn’t. Iron Man and Captain America are my two favorite Avengers, and I’ve always enjoyed watching the dynamic between them. Although the dilemma raised by the film is a completely hypothetical one, it’s also incredibly intriguing: should people with super powers be held accountable for their actions, and if so, who should hold them accountable? And do the people holding the superheroes accountable need to be held accountable, as well? Another feature which makes this conflict interesting is that Tony Stark, who’s normally a bit of a rebel, is in favor of more government oversight of superheroes, while the formerly loyal soldier and ultimate S.H.I.E.L.D. agent Steve Rogers find himself suspicious of that authority.

I’m also super excited to see the introduction of Black Panther, and I’m glad Spider-Man and Ant-Man will have roles in this film. The only potential downside I see is that the film could end up packed with too many heroes, and we’ll lose sight of the central conflict between Iron Man and Captain America. This is going to be a big, epic film, but it also needs some powerful personal moments, as well.

I’m a little more concerned about “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice,” but I’d like to see it succeed too. This film also has an opportunity to show how superheroes hold each other accountable, and then set aside their differences to combat a larger threat. Unlike Marvel, which spent several years releasing solo superhero films and then gave us an epic round-up, DC is introducing a lot of heroes at once and then will give us individual films later. While this strategy could backfire, because we don’t have the same attachment to some of these new characters as we do to Thor or Captain America, thanks to their solo films, it could help get people excited about these new characters and motivate fans to see the solo films when they do come out.

Some have expressed skepticism about Ben Affleck as Batman, but I think he could surprise us. I like how the film is presenting an older, more world-weary Batman. This isn’t an origin story; Batman has been a vigilante for a long time now, and maybe he’s struggling under the weight of it all. I think “going darker” is a good strategy for this film; Marvel movies are known for being fun — and funny, but a grittier tone could help “Dawn of Justice” stand out. I hope Wonder Woman will have a significant role in this film, and I’m looking forward to her solo film in 2017. Right now I’m not sure if I’m buying Jesse Eisenberg’s take on Lex Luthor, but I’m hoping that will surprise me too.

So, what do you think? Which superhero showdown film will top the box office? Which one are you most looking forward to?

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