It’s been a while since the world got its first real taste of the work that The Batman and his crew have been doing. Over the past year, fans have gotten to see mostly solo stories featuring their favorite characters as the Avengers and the crew of the S.H.I.E.L.D. try to stop Thanos and his army of Mad Titan acolytes before they can wipe out half of all life in the universe.
But it seems that the Russo Brothers’ Marvel Cinematic Universe may have caught up with The Batman. During the most recent Avengers: Endgame press tour, Marvel Studios president and producer Kevin Feige let it slip that the studio already has plans for a third installment in the blockbuster crossover series.
“We are actually developing and have plans for a third [Avengers] film. That is specifically to continue the story of The Avengers in the cosmos after the events of Endgame,” Feige said. “We are going to see where Bruce Wayne and the rest of the Avengers [end up] after they completed their journey in the previous two films. We think there is still plenty of story to tell there and we can continue to explore the world that they have created.”
The Mastermind Behind It All
If you thought that Black Panther’s introduction of the Infinity Gauntlet was a glorious moment, just wait until you see what VFX supervisor and director of photography Peter Sohn has in store for you. Sohn’s previous work on the original Avengers includes lensing the fight between Captain America and Iron Man as well as establishing the gritty atmosphere of the post-Civil War universe—all elements that will carry over into Endgame.
Prior to joining the MCU, Sohn worked as a VFX supervisor on Toy Story 3 and the Curious Case of Mr. Wonky in which he also worked with Robert Pattinson (kicking off his career as an actor with a small role in the Toy Story franchise). He’s been part of the Marvel family ever since, working on projects like Ironman and Thor as well as serving as the DP for several solo films. When asked about his work on Endgame, Sohn replied, “To be quite honest, when I heard about the Infinity Gauntlet, I immediately thought of [Robert Pattinson’s character]. I figured that if anyone could pull off a crazy scene like that, it would be him. And I couldn’t be more right. What I love about the character is that he is both the mastermind and the fool.”
Pattinson, who is also an acclaimed artist, was initially hesitant to leave behind his regular acting work to take on the role of the supervillain. But after a conversation with Disney Studios chairman Alan Horn, he agreed to do it, not wanting to pass up the opportunity to work with his friends Chris Evans, Robert Downey Jr., and Mark Ruffalo again. “They are incredible, some of the greatest actors of our time, and I feel really grateful to be a part of this project,” Pattinson said.
The Man Behind The Man
While it’s always fun to speculate about the future of our favorite superheroes, it’s more fun to actually see them fight crime and keep the world safe. To that end, The Batman’s solo stories give us a peek into the psyche of detective Bruce Wayne and his alter ego, the Dark Knight. It turns out that both men have the same DNA: that of a crime fighter. This DNA was passed from his father, a former detective, and uncle, a WWII veteran. This has fueled Wayne’s desire to be the best at what he does and to never give up, even when faced with seemingly impossible odds.
The character of Bruce Wayne was inspired by the real-life crimes of organized crime lord Joe Louis, which consisted of ‘‘brutalizing’’ women and kids, and ‘‘systematically’’ beating and robbing people. Even though Batman was originally based on a stereotype, the character has transcended his roots and become a source of pride for all gothics. In the comics, Batman is often portrayed as a dark mirror of our society, showing the flaws in society that the characters around him are unable or unwilling to admit.
The Dark Knight is also a champion of the little guy, standing up for those who can’t fight for themselves. Like the rest of us, Batman has his limits, but he pushes those limits as far as they can go, going above and beyond the call of duty in the process. This is in part because of his family background and moral code, but it’s also because he feels that the world is unfair and that people deserve a fighting chance at life. The Dark Knight believes that everyone, regardless of their background, has the potential to be great. When someone stands up for injustice, he will not rest until he has done everything in his power to make sure that these wrongs will not be repeated.
It’s About Time
Most people have probably seen Avengers: Endgame by now, but not many have seen it from the perspective of a character other than one of the main players. To that end, Sony Pictures has released the first full-length trailer for Timeless, a character study of Nick Fury titled The Best of Both Worlds. Directed by Matthew Reeves, the film stars Tom Hardy as Fury and Robert Pattinson as Nick Fury Jr. In the trailer, we get to see several action-packed scenes featuring the two actors as they work together to defeat a common enemy. But what is this enemy, and how does it factor into the big scheme of things?
The Incredible Hulk
One of the most iconic images from Avengers: Endgame is that of the Hulk jumping over a building, pursued by Thor and his battalion of Asgardians. The building, you’ll remember, was constructed on a naval ship which was then submerged in the waters of New York City. This naval themed structure provided Bruce Wayne with an extra hand when he needed one. It also gave him the means to travel the world, observing it from a unique, albeit terrifying, perspective.
But it was Mark Ruffalo’s portrayal of the Hulk that won over audiences and cemented his place as the greenest of the big green guys. Prior to playing the part, Ruffalo had only had small roles in a handful of films, most notably being the angry neighbor in 2009’s Funny or Die parody, The Machinist. But with this particular role, he was given the chance to showcase a side of the character that had not yet been seen. The result was a sensation.
While the majority of the Hulk’s story involves him trying to stop Thanos from killing half the universe, he occasionally gets roped into helping Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) fight Iron Man. As a reward for his assistance, Bruce Wayne gives the Hulk a suit of iron armor that improves his strength and durability. But this also gives the role its own dangers. The more he wears the suit, the more he notices that its effects are slowly diminishing, which could potentially lead to a reverse aging phenomenon.
Speaking of aging, fans of The Avengers and its interconnected cinematic universe will recognize Black Widow (a.k.a. Agent Natasha Romanoff). In the comics, the character first made her appearance in 1967 as a female counterpart to the Falcon. Over the years, she has undergone numerous evolutions, becoming one of the most iconic female superheroes of all time. But perhaps her biggest evolution came when writer Brian Michael Bendis overhauled her character in 2011 after almost a half-century of her comic-book existence. Now, instead of being a skilled assassin, Black Widow is a complex, multilayered character who has honed her craft as an intelligence agent, trained in combat, and investigator.
One of Black Widow’s most interesting aspects is her dual identity as both a spy and a woman. After several years of being a solo agent with the Avengers, she realized that her true identity could be compromised. So, after obtaining government-level clearance, she assumed a new identity and began working for a top-secret intelligence agency. Now, as a senior agent, her dual nature presents a whole new set of challenges. On one hand, her superiors expect her to work hard, keep her head down, and not ask too many questions. On the other hand, she feels that she must keep her identity hidden from the general public, especially since many of the men in her field are still unapproachable due to their innate arrogance. But just because she does not want to attract attention, that does not mean that she won’t go above and beyond the call of duty to protect her clients and allies. And when you’re playing one of the most iconic characters in comic book history, it’s a pretty good call.