ScreenCrush’s Comic Strip is a weekly roundup of the hottest superhero movie news items. From Marvel to D.C. and points in between, if it pertains to costumed comic-book heroes, we’re covering it here, bringing you our expert analysis. This week, we have an ‘Iron Man 3’ wrap up, ‘Man of Steel’ reactions and a very revealing outfit for ‘The Amazing Spider-Man 2’ star Emma Stone.

‘Iron Man 3’


Let’s put a post-script on Shane Black’s ‘Iron Man 3,’ which opened to a staggering $175 million in the U.S. over the weekend. It is the second largest opening weekend ever … surpassed only by ‘The Avengers.’ To date, the sequel has banked $680 million – meaning that the film will cross the $1 billion (with a “B”) without breaking a sweat. So yeah, Marvel and Disney have to be feeling pretty good today.

- Except for that decision to release a separate cut of the movie in China, because reports say it basically includes four additional minutes of product placement.

- The Mandarin has been the hottest topic of debate since ‘Iron Man 3’ reached theaters. has an excellent breakdown of the process Marvel went through to establish Ben Kingsley’s character as the main threat in the film … and how Black convinced them to change gears. wonders if The Mandarin is “The Best Comic Book Movie Villain of All Time.” I think that’s absurd. In fact, I hated the way Black treated Iron Man’s classic villain. But weigh in with your thoughts below.

- Let’s look ahead to ‘Iron Man 4.’ Marvel President Kevin Feige tells SuperheroHype that Shell Head will be a major part of ‘The Avengers 2.’ As for the next standalone Iron Man film, he says it will happen, but admits that it’s not on the immediate radar and might not reach theaters before 2016. Does that mean Downey will be retired by then?

- As for Gwyneth Paltrow, she tells US Magazine that her fans want her to don the armor in a standalone Pepper Potts movie. Do we?

"The nice thing is that everybody's sort of been very sweet about Pepper in this movie, like all the journalists who came in," she said. "They were like, 'Oh my god, you have to have your own movie,' because in the comics, Pepper gets her own suit, and she becomes a character called Rescue. They're like, 'We need a Rescue movie,' and I'm like, 'Okay, well, I'd better hit the gym.'"

- Meanwhile, not everyone loves these superhero movies, though. Stephen Colbert, for instance, tells his “Nation” that these comic book tentpoles are destroying America. It’s hard to argue with his logic:

More Marvel in a moment. For now, though, we shift gears and focus on …

’Man of Steel’

Now that ‘Iron Man 3’ is in theaters, the next major superhero movie on our radar is Zack Snyder’s Superman reboot, ‘Man of Steel,’ which opens everywhere on June 14. As if the Marvel-DC competition wasn’t heated enough, Snyder recently stirred the pot by taking a few public swipes at the (incredibly successful) Marvel Cinematic Universe.

When asked about the challenge of tackling a hero considered “transcendent,” Snyder barked back:

That should be the question you’re asking Iron Man and Thor. How is it that you feel you can be making a superhero movie in a world where Superman and Batman exist?

Well, they ARE making those movies, Mr. Snyder, and audiences are packing theaters to see the latest chapters. You can shut Marvel up by delivering the be-all-and-end-all Superman movie next month. We’re waiting.

- DC Comic co-publisher Jim Lee doesn’t have to wait. He has seen ‘Man of Steel,’ and he spoke with CBS on behalf of Free Comic Book Day, saying that Snyder’s movie is “epic.”

It’s got a lot of heart. But one things that was missing from the last Superman movie was the action and this movie has it in spades. It is a visual thrill ride. It is amazing. You get to see all the powers of Superman in all its glory and I think people are going to blown away.


- In the meantime, ‘Man of Steel’ recently released a new TV spot, a high-flying poster, and a banner.

- Russell Crowe addresses those rumors (spread by io9) that ‘Man of Steel’ might drastically change Superman’s history, particularly when it comes to the destruction of his home planet.

- Meanwhile, Geek Tyrant has photos of young Clark Kent from the kid-friendly adaptation of the upcoming movie.

- And ComicBookMovie has fantastic concept art from Darren Aronofsky’s planned adaptation of ‘Batman: Year One,’ which would have pre-dated Christopher Nolan’s ‘Batman Begins’ and might have changed the entire comic-book landscape as we know it.

UPDATE: Darren Aronofsky took to Twitter to say that "none" of the Year One concept art came from him. "Cant' take credit or blame for it," he writes. Sorry about he confusion, but I'm keeping the image, because it's a cool Batman sketch. Just not official.

’The Amazing Spider-Man 2’

OK, Spidey fans. Go grab your near-mint copies of ‘The Amazing Spider-Man’ issues No. 121 and 122, remove them from their protective plastic sleeves, and compare Gwen’s outfits in the pivotal bridge scenes to these photosof Emma Stone, photographed on a bridge as Marc Webb continues to film his anticipated sequel.


- SuperheroHype has a gallery of images of Stone in costume. Is it a deliberate nod to a seminal Spider-Man event … or will Stacey bite the dust around this time next year?

- Over the weekend, Webb continued to shoot a car chase scene for his film in Rochester, N.Y. Want to see a ton of police cars chasing an armored truck? Of course you do!

The chase appears to conclude in a massive shootout, which you can see glimpses of here:

- Meanwhile, a physically disabled Rochester man campaigned online to be an extra in ‘ASM 2’ while it shot in his hometown. To our delight, it worked. Grab a tissue and watch the best ‘Spider-Man’ story you’ll see all week (via ComicBookMovie):


Let’s jump back into Marvel’s sandbox, because a lot of news broke as studio president Kevin Feige talked to media in the days leading up to ‘Iron Man 3.’

For example, Feige told Collider that Marvel was actively “trying to crack” a Doctor Strange movie, and fans likely should expect to see that character on screen in Phase Three, after ‘The Avengers 2’ and ‘Ant-Man.’

He also updated on the status of The Hulk, as a character. His quotes shoot down that rumor of the Planet Hulk storyline powering Marvel’s Phase Three. Says Kevin Feige:

There's no script in the works or anything, but we are talking about it. All the Hulk energy right now is on ‘Avengers 2,’ but Mark Ruffalo is signed up [for more films]. What we're excited about exploring and expanding is Mark -- and Bruce Banner is not in Planet Hulk at all. The fun of Hulk is his interaction with humans.

So no Planet Hulk … unless they can figure out how to make Ruffalo a focal point.

- Then we had Zoe Saldana talking ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ while promoting ‘Star Trek Into Darkness’ during that film’s London junket. The beautiful actress tells Total Film that her ‘Guardians’ character, Gamora, will be done with green makeup instead of CGI or motion-capture.

And JustJared nabbed candid shots of Saldana’s ‘Guardians’ co-star, Chris Pratt, who appears to be working out, getting ready to play Star Lord in James Gunn’s adventure.

- He better bulk up. He has to fight alongside Chris Hemsworth, who was spotted in a new ‘Thor: The Dark World’ images shared via

- The magazine also shared this fantastic concept art for The Winter Soldier:

While we have some photos of Anthony Mackie in action as The Falcon from the upcoming Captain America sequel.



Let’s wrap this week’s Comic Strip with the latest on the merry mutants at Fox.

James Mangold Tweeted a stylish one sheet teasing the Silver Samurai, a villain in ‘The Wolverine.’

James Mangold's Twitter

- Earlier in the week, Hugh Jackman took part in an online Q-and-A for the ‘Wolverine’ movie, telling fans about his process. The best answer probably involves the scenes from the new movie he’s most excited for fans to see:

- And finally, Bryan Singer Tweeted (of course) the first shot of Ellen Page as Kitty Pryde for ‘X-Men: Days of Future Past.’

Bryan Singer's Twitter