Does Tony Stark have more to fear than the Mandarin? Does Thor have a greater adversary than Malekith? Should they all be quaking in their suits with Superman and his fellow DC heroes approaching?
Today, Marvel released the first trailer for Thor: The Dark World, which in November will follow Iron Man 3 in the comic book studio's "Phase 2" of superhero movies — that is, the post-Avengers attack on the box office with character driven sequels bent on becoming legitimate franchises of their own. And Thor's standalone sequel looks almost as good as Chris Hemsworth, setting up an intriguing new relationship between Thor and Tom Hiddleston's main Avengers antagonist, Loki.
And yet, in the face of last week's pretty damn extraordinary (and redemptive) new trailer for Man of Steel, it's hard not to wonder what the future for Marvel holds. The non-Iron Man Avenger movies — Thor and Captain America: The First Avenger — weren't universally well received, even if they did pull in more than $175 million each in domestic box office. In "Phase 2" Marvel pairs the third Iron Man with sequels for those two movies, and some untested properties, like Guardians of the Galaxy, which is building a weird cast for its weird collection of heroes, which, yes, includes a raccoon.
Of course, Marvel has plenty of intrigue lined up. Robert Redford is joining Captain America, and Edgar Wright, best known for quirky British fare like Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz, is helming Ant-Man. (You might chime in to remind us that sequels The Amazing Spider-Man 2 and X-Men: Days of Future Past are also Marvel properties, and both currently in production. That is correct, but they are not controlled by Disney, at least not totally, and not part of the Avengers web of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.)
That's not to say that DC poses an enormous threat outside of Man of Steel. But Anthony Breznican of Entertainment Weekly reported that the film will also "lay the groundwork for the future slate of films based on DC Comics," perhaps not unlike what Marvel did leading up to The Avengers. There is that whole Justice League thing, which could be a franchise launching pad of its own.
In the meantime, Latino Review's El Mayimbe tweeted an idea as to what Tony Stark might have thought last week, upon seeing the Man of Steel trailer:
Tony Stark's thoughts on seeing Man Of Steel trailer! RT twitter.com/elmayimbe/stat…— elmayimbe (@elmayimbe) April 17, 2013