In the past few years, Marvel Comics has been enjoying its success with Avengers, Captain America, Iron Man, Ant-Man, Guardian of the Galaxy, Thor, Hulk, Fantastic Four, Ghost Rider, Daredevil (TV), Jessica Jones (TV). DC Comics, on the other hand, had nothing but failures, including The Losers, Jonah Hex, Green Lantern, The Dark Knight Rises (the worst of the Nolan films), and the terrible Man of Steel film.
DC's last film was the space-invader Superman film in 2013, and after a three year break, DC is finally getting their act together with some exciting announcements: Batman v Superman and Suicide Squad (with Wonder Woman and Aquaman sometime in 2017).
I'm going to break down these upcoming 2016 titles.
I really hate the title Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. I can understand it, it tells us that Batman will be fighting Superman... and somehow it involves the Justice League. Based on the first trailer of the film, like so many other fans, I have come up with the storyline: Lex Luther introduced Clark Kent and Bruce Wayne. They later duke it out. Then they have to team up to fight Doomsday... but is saved by Wonder Woman. I hope there's more to it than that... and since it's directed by Zack Snyder, I'm sure it'll look great.
We already know that Snyder is a big Frank Miller fan, having directed 300, so I'm assuming Snyder will also be paying homage to Miller's work from his The Dark Night Returns 1986 work (featuring an aging Batman fighting Superman). The Dark Night Returns, along with Miller's Batman: Year One, is possibly the most influential Batman story. With some other titles, including Alan Moore's Watchmen (which Snyder also adapted and directed), The Dark Knight help launched the so-called "grim and gritty" era that followed it.
I just hope that these upcoming films won't be so 'dark and gritty', but all evidence (including Man of Steel) kind of point us in that direction.
I am super-excited for this upcoming Suicide Squad film. Everyone is talking about how great the new Joker looks, but the obvious standout is clearly Harley Quinn, who is the comedy relief of the picture.
If you didn't know or follow the comic book, the current version of the group first appeared is at the end of John Ostrander and John Byrne's Legends cross-over limited series that introduced the (then) new Justice League in 1987. I remember attending a comic book convention and we asked why a vendor was selling Legends #7 for $75 and he told us it was because of Suicide Squad. We couldn't believe it.
Since newer fans may not know who is actually in Suicide Squad, here is a list of characters:
Rick Flag: A military officer, team leader of "Task Force X" (aka Suicide Squad). Apparently Tom Hardy was originally cast for this role.
Katana: She's in this film as part of Flag's crew, she's a hero from her days with Batman and the Outsiders.
Deadshot: A Batman villain and assassin, known for his expert marksman. I have often confused him with Deathstroke and Deadpool.
Captain Boomerang: An Australian villain from The Flash comics. He kills people with deadly boomerangs... not really sure why he's all that deadly.
El Diablo: I don't keep up with the current DC's 52, but this villain has pyrotechnic abilities.
Killer Croc: A Batman villain, this half-man, half-crocodile is the strongman of the group.
Harley Quinn: One of the few characters that did not come from comic books. Her origin is from Batman: The Animated Series. She's come a long way from being the Joker's sidekick to a true fan favorite.
Enchantress: A very different look on the character from her comic book appearance (green hat, etc). Based on the trailer, it seems she can control men.
The Joker: He is actually not in the Suicide Squad team, but the trailers seems to show that he has a big role in the film. I'm assuming he's the villain, or at least has a part in the big threat of the film.
With TNT recently decided to pass on Teen Titans the TV show, we're left with only CBS' Supergirl (which debut in November 2015) and this 2016 show called Legends of Tomorrow.
I just saw the Legends pilot episode, and it is pretty good... although I suspect I will eventually stop watching the show, as I have dropped Arrow and The Flash. Legends suffers from all The CW programming: melodramatic acting, "teenish" editing, and boring storyline.
There are big stars in this series, including Prison Breakers Dominic Purcell (Heat Wave) with Wentworth Miller (Captain Cold), and Superman returner Brandon Routh (Atom). The large cast of characters and villains might be problem for new fans, as you need a "who's who" guide to tell you what is going on. Hopefully, with so many characters, the writers won't have a problem writing a compelling story spotlighting and building up these characters.
Firestorm: I'm familiar with the original Nuclear Man, featuring a white "jock" and a professor. The new Firestorm swap out the white jock for a black one, but the concept is still the same: youth stupidity and seasoned smarts of a learned professor. Personally speaking, I think Firestorm is visually the coolest superhero.
Atom: Like Marvel's Ant Man, the Atom's new origin has a similar story: he's the inventor of a power-suit capable of shrinking down to the size of an atom.
White Canary: Basically the same character as Black Canary (who often teamed up with Green Arrow). Based on the explanation in the pilot, she was paying tribute to Black Canary (obviously I didn't keep up with the Arrow series).
Hawkman / Hawkgirl: Ask anyone who follow the Hawkman/Hawkgirl timeline, it is a mess. A few years ago, Geoff Johns tried to unify their origin by explaining that they reincarnations of ancient Egypt (which I feel still doesn't explain the Hawkmen of Planet Thanagar). Still this series follow the current Hawkman reincarnation story.
Heat Wave / Captain Cold: The two villains in this heroes-group, both are Flash villains. No one (including the fans) knows why they are part of the group... only perhaps I have jokingly said that they needed a job, and this is a good fit for them.
Vandal Savage: The immortal is the villain of the series. Personally speaking, I don't really understand why he is such a threat. Outside of being immortal, he doesn't really have any other super powers. Even his nemesis (?) Resurrection Man is able to come back to life with the powers that killed him. Savage, on the other hand, is just amassing power and weapons throughout history. I really don't think Savage is all that scary.