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Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Marvel movies: A tale of three teaser photos

ALL MY EXES: The cast of X-Men: First Class
It's a big day in pointless superhero movie hype, as Warner Bros. announces that Anne Hathaway will play Selina Kyle, aka Catwoman, in Christopher Nolan's The Dark Knight Rises, while Marvel releases a full-cast image (above) from X-Men First Class, partially filmed in Savannah. The X-Men image, compared to early images of Marvels other upcoming movies, Spider-man and Captain America, shows advantages and pitfalls over overhyping a single shot.

X-Men First Class is a prequel to the previous X-films and recasts such notable actors as Ian McKellan and Patrick Stewart. Film School Rejects has a handy list of who plays whom, from left to right:

* Michael Fassbender as Magneto — Pre-helmet.
* Rose Byrne as Dr. Moira MacTaggart — Nobel-winning expert in genetic mutation.
* January Jones as Emma Frost — Sporting, naturally, some duds from Frederick’s of Hollywood.
* Jason Flemyng as Azazel — Nightcrawler’s daddy.
* Nicholas Hoult as Beast — Looking sort of like the blue Hulk here.
* Lucas Till as Havok — Cyclops’s plasma-blasting younger brother.
* Zoe Kravitz as Angel Salvadore — An ice-blasting left hand, a fire-blasting right, and acid spit. Not bad.
* Jennifer Lawrence as Mystique — Keeping the classic movie make-up intact.
* James McAvoy as Professor X — Standing!

Comic book geeks will appreciate that some of the characters seem to be wearing the same costumes the first X-Men wore in the 1960s. Even January Jones' kinky outfit is authentic. Overall, though, it's murky, awkwardly Photoshopped and likely to dim audiences hopeful that director Matthew Vaughn can improve on the previous X-Men movies. And it doesn't even include Kevin Bacon as bad guy Sebastian Shaw.

The Social Webwork: Andrew Garfield
  • Courtesy of Sony/Marvel
  • The Social Webwork: Andrew Garfield
Last week, Marvel released the first photo of Andrew Garfield in costume as Spider-man in Marc Webb's 2012 film. Mostly, It's the kind of image that you look at and say, "Yep, it's The Social Network guy dressed as Spider-man, all right." It looks more moody than one might expect from (500) Days of Summer director Marc Webb, but it doesn't really tell you anything about the movie. Overall, though, it's a promising glimpse of Spider-man and counteracts the bad press emanating from Broadway's accident-prone Spider-man stage musical.

You can only read so much into an on-set photograph, especially from modern superhero movies and their reliance on post-production special effects. The shot below, one of several released from Captain America a few months ago, is an exception to the rule. You'd think we'd have trailer for Captain America: The First Avenger by now, but this image, of Chris Evans as Steve Rogers, I think could be a great teaser poster - it conveys the gritty, reasonably realistic World War II setting of the film, with Captain America's shield hinting at superheroics to come. There's a little mystery about Captain America, since we can't see his face, and he seems to be with a group of enlisted men fighting the war in Europe, while standing separate from them. (Plus, by showcasing Cap's old medieval-style shield, as opposed to the round one he'd eventually carry, it hints at the characters history.) This image, in fact, makes me more excited about Captain America than anything I've seen from X-Men, Spider-man, The Green Lantern or Thor.

GOT YOUR BACK: Chris Evans as Captain America
  • GOT YOUR BACK: Chris Evans as Captain America

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