The film universe of Marvel Comics seems to be unstoppable. Even before Marvel Comics existed, a successful Captain America serial was made in 1944 but other than a disastrous collaboration with George Lucas to bring Howard the Duck to the big screen, it was not until Blade was released in 1998 that the comic book giant saw success at the movies.
Two years later, X-Men was released which started the golden age of comic-based movies and was followed by two sequels as well as the Spider-Man trilogy, two more Blade movies, two Fantastic Four movies, two Hulk movies and more.
Marvel started another generation of movies with Iron Man, Thor and Captain America ultimately leading to the super-successful The Avengers, which has since seen Iron Man 3 become another hit as well as a Thor sequel this fall and a Captain America sequel next spring. (Not to mention a reboot of The Amazing Spider-Man which sees a sequel being released next summer).
However, this week it is The Wolverine, which is a sequel to X-Men Origins: Wolverine and will likely serve as a bridge between 2011’s X-Men: First Class and next year’s X-Men: Days of Future Past.
Hugh Jackman returns as Logan/Wolverine, the immortal mutant with regenerative powers and shiny retractable claws.
Based upon the 1982 comic series by legends Chris Claremont and Frank Miller, it is set sometime after the events of X-Men: The Last Stand as Logan travels to Japan in a quest to rid himself of his cursed immortality. However, while battling his inner demons, he must also do battle with deadly samurai.
Written by Christopher McQuarrie (The Usual Suspects), The Wolverine is directed by James Mangold, director of both Walk the Line and 3:10 to Yuma.
And Marvel has big plans for the future. Not only are there Captain America, Amazing Spider-Man and X-Men sequels next year, there is Guardians of the Galaxy and then over the next five years there will be a Fantastic Four reboot, an Avengers sequel, two more Amazing Spider-Man sequels, an Ant-Man movie and at least three more Marvel films that are only billed as “unrevealed.”
Trying to sneak in as a sleeper hit is the raunchy comedy The To Do List, the feature debut of writer-director Maggie Carey (Funny or Die) and stars Aubrey Plaza (TV’s Parks and Recreation).
Set in the summer of 1993, Plaza plays an overachieving, awkward high school senior who attempts to lose her virginity before she goes away to college.
The supporting cast includes Bill Hader, Rachel Bilson, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Andy Samberg and Connie Britton.
The Way Way Back is a funny and poignant coming-of-age story from the Academy Award-winning writers of The Descendants.
It is the story of a 14-year-old’s summer vacation with his mother and her overbearing boyfriend and his unlikely friendship with the manager of a local water park.
The incredible cast includes Steve Carell, Toni Collette, Allison Janney, AnnaSophia Robb, Sam Rockwell, Maya Rudolph, Rob Corddry and Amanda Peet.