Film Surf Report: Suddenly, Everyone Is Fighting! Super Heroes Work Out Their Issues


Santa Monica, CA — The theme of the year for Super Hero Franchise Films is Conflict.

Batman is going up against SupermanCaptain America and Iron Man seem to be at war.  The X-Men are at it again, but this time, it’s apocalyptic.

Has anyone else noticed that all of our favorite superheroes are fighting amongst themselves? These films were developed years ago, not to mention separately, so it’s pretty coincidental that all involve so much in-fighting. Zeitgeist!

Of course, these conflicts are necessary.

Batman must go up against Superman on March 25th in order to usher in the Dawn of Justice.  Their battle brings out Wonder Woman, Aquaman and The Flash, all of whom will be joining the newly formed Justice LeagueLex Luthor, likely orchestrator of said conflict, must be assembling the Legion of Doom!

(Looking at you, Suicide Squad.)

Meanwhile, Warner Bros. and Zack Snyder are the true masterminds behind this epic fight in order to create the DC Extended Universe, wherein, all of our favorite Super Friends and Villains now live in a shared cinematic story world which kicked off in Snyder’s Superman re-boot Man of Steel, a film I thought was just okay.

I worry about DC’s ability to make great movies the way Marvel has.  Warner Bros.’ super hero movies have generally been kinda cheesey, relying on multiple villains and little Story.  (Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy being the exception to this generalization, natch.)

Here is the DCEU film slate, which includes 10 films in five years, generating billions:

  • Batman Vs. Superman    (March 25th)
  • Suicide Squad    (Aug. 4th)
  • Wonder Woman    (2017)
  • Justice League Part One    (2017)
  • Aquaman     (2018)
  • The Flash     (2018)
  • Shazam!      (2019)
  • Justice League Part Two    (2019)  Introducing Green Lantern!
  • Cyborg    (2020)
  • Green Lantern    (2020)


In May, the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) hosts the Civil War between Captain America and Iron Man, which seemingly is a spat over The Winter Soldier, but I don’t believe it.  Those darn Infinity Stones are at it again!

If the trailers and posters are to be believed, Team Cap has Bucky (TWS), Ant-Man, Falcon, Hawkeye and Scarlet Witch while Team Iron Man has Black Widow, The Vision, Black Panther, and War Machine.

Thor and The Hulk appear to be sitting out this fight.  Perhaps, they are gearing up for Thor 3: Ragnorak.  But who are our heroes really fighting? Surely, not Spider-Man, who also makes an appearance.

The Avengers: Infinity Wars are coming up, so this civil war must be a set-up of sorts.

Here is the Phase Three MCU film slate, comprising 13 films in five years, generating billions and billions:

  • Captain America: Civil War   (May 3, 2016)
  • Dr. Strange    (Nov. 4, 2016)
  • Guardians of the Galaxy 2     (2017)
  • Thor 3: Ragnorak    (2017)
  • Black Panther    (2018)
  • Ant-Man & Wasp    (2018)
  • Infinity Wars Part One    (2018)
  • Captain Marvel   (2019)
  • Infinity Wars Part Two    (2019)
  • Inhumans     (2019)
  • TBA x 3 (2020)  Fingers crossed one of these will be a Black Widow standalone film!


Meanwhile, X-Men are still in Prequel Mode introducing us to young Jean Grey, young Storm, young Cyclops as well as the first look at the new Angel and Psylocke.

At least, we know the villain is Apocalypse, the first and most powerful Mutant.  He creates a new team of the Four Horsemen to pick a fight with young Professor X, Mystique, Beast and the Gang.

X-Men may be running out of creative steam or at least, running in timeline circles compared to the planned rollout of the MCU and the DCEU.  Fox needs to address this if they are to compete with Disney and Warner Bros. in the superhero wars.  At least, they have new cash cow Deadpool, who presumably, will be toplining Strike Force in the very near future.  They must re-boot Fantastic Four (again!) at some point in order to retain the property, as well.

Here is Fox’s  X-Men schedule of films:

  • X-Men: Apocalypse   (May 24th)
  • Wolverine 3    (2017)
  • Gambit    (2017)
  • Deadpool 2 (TBD)
  • Strike Force (TBD)
Universal has responded by creating its Monsters Extended Universe where Van Helsing, The Mummy, Dracula, and Frankenstein presumably get into fights with one another before battling a common foe in a team franchise of, ahem, Extraordinary Gentlemen!
Paramount appears to be getting left in the dust, though.  Star Trek and Mission: Impossible have maybe one more mission each.  Perhaps, a planned re-boot of Lara Croft: Tomb Raider will help.  No shared universe as of yet.
As is, Sony, which just announced a standalone film for Venom which doesn’t bode well for an already weakened Spider-Man franchise. (Sorry, Tom Holland, Zendaya, Marisa Tomei.) I suspect Sinister 6 will be getting dusted off real soon.
Up Next:  Pilot Season’s Hits & Misses!






About Surfing Hollywood

Steve La Rue is an internationally recognized leader in Film & Television with 20+ years experience as a Development Executive championing such series as Buffy The Vampire Slayer, The X-Files, The Simpsons, King of the Hill, Battlestar Galactica, and Farscape. He writes, blogs, and consults on All Things Entertainment from his home at the beach in Santa Monica, CA, where he balances his life by surfing every damn day.
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