Of origin stories and end games, there's much for superhero fans this year

The reach and popularity of movie adaptations of comic book superheroes is, quite literally, unparalleled. But until 2008’s Iron Man, studios weren’t exactly tapping into the potential of superhero franchises as much, with only the occasionalSuperman, Spider-Man, Hulk orX-Menmovie hitting screens. In the years since, studios that held the rights to comic book adaptations have gone all out to bring our favourite superheroes to the screen frequently. And the superhero franchise looks set to stay on for a while, what with movie makers rebooting popular ones with new casts. Like the past few years, 2019 also looks very promising for fans of the superhero genre and while Avengers: Endgame appears to be the most awaited one of them all, there’s a lot else to cheer for. Here’s a quick look:

Spider-Man: Far From Home

Cast: Tom Holland, Zendaya, Michael Keaton, Jake Gyllenhaal

Tom Holland’s Spider-Man had one of the most emotional moments during the final few minutes of Avengers: Infinity War, before he too turned to dust. But given that the sequel to his stand-alone,

Spider-Man: Homecoming was already in the works, fans were assured that friendly neighbourhood web slinger would be back. After the events of Endgame, spidey teams up with Mysterio, played by Jake Gyllenhaal, to battle evil forces.

New Mutants

Cast: Anya Taylor-Joy, Maisie Williams, Alice Braga, Charlie Heaton, Blu Hunt

An offshoot of the X-Men universe, this film is rumoured to be about five young mutants who are locked up in a facility that mirrors a haunted house. Still only discovering their abilities and held against their will, they fight to save themselves. James McAvoy is rumoured to reprise his role as Professor X in the film.

Shazam!

Cast: Asher Angel, Zachary Levi, Djimon Honsou, Mark Strong

It would be every teenager’s dream come true to not only become an adult, but a superhero at that, by just muttering a few words. That’s Shazam for you, which traces the story of 14-year-old, Billy Batson (Asher Angel), who turns into the superhero played by Zachary Levi, courtesy an ancient wizard, and has fun with his new powers.

Avengers: Endgame

Cast: Chris Hemsworth, Robert Downey Jr, Chris Evans, Jeremy Renner

When audiences walked out of theatres after watching Avengers: Infinity War, pretty much everyone was taking count of the fallen heroes and wondering how they would return to kick Thanos’ ass. They will, no doubt, but how, remains the big question, with fan theories pointing towards Captain Marvel’s involvement.

Captain Marvel

Cast: Brie Larsson, Jude Law, Samuel L Jackson

Cinegoers were teased with the idea that one of the comic world’s most powerful warriors, Captain Marvel, would save the day for the Avengers, after Thanos snapped his fingers to wipe out half the world’s population. But we will have to wait to see how that will unfold a little longer, what with the superhero’s origin story slated to hit theatres this March, with Oscar winner Brie Larsson slipping into the title role. Set in the 90s, the film should explain how Nick Fury (Samuel L Jackson) gets hold of the pager that he summons Captain Marvel with at the end of Avengers: Infinity War.

X-Men: Dark Phoenix

Cast: James McAvoy, Jennifer Lawrence, Sophie Turner, Jessica Chastain

When Famke Janssen’s Dr Jean Grey took on her Phoenix avatar in X-Men: The Last Stand, she disintegrated Prof Charles Xavier and it was only Wolverine who could go up against her, given his regenerative capability. X-Men: Dark Phoenix takes a look at Jean again as she unleashes her power to its fullest extent. This time around, it is Sophie Turner who plays the mutant and given that Hugh Jackman has hung up his Wolverine boots, it would be interesting to see how the X-Men fare against her.

Joker

Many actors have played Gotham’s Clown Prince of Crime, before him, but when Heath Ledger took on the mantle in the Dark Knight, which turned out to be his last film, he set a new standard. Jared Leto, who became the next onscreen Joker, had his work cut out for him and while he is not done with the role yet, this year’s Joker origin story sees Joaquin Phoenix play one of Batman’s most famous opponents. The film, we hear, will explore how a failed stand-up comedian turns into a

psychopathic criminal mastermind.

Hellboy

Cast: David Harbour, Milla Jovovich, Daniel Dae Kim

Guillermo Del Torro’s two-movie franchise gets a reboot this year and sees the return of the well-meaning half demon Anung Un Rama, aka Hellboy. David Harbour plays the large red-skinned demon, who works for the Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defense and fights dark forces.