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, James Spader opens up about Ultron, George Clooney opens up about Ben Affleck as Batman, and Spider-Man gets his own billboard.

‘The Avengers: Age of Ultron’


Joss Whedon has been a chatty Cathy as of late, opening up about his preparation for ‘The Avengers: Age of Ultron.’ He has been talking about how Ultron will be created (blame our government), how he plans to better utilize Black Widow, and how the second ‘Avengers’ movie will lead into Marvel’s cinematic Phase Three … which should be able to take the studio’s storytelling methods to new levels. He touches on several of these topics in this outstanding conversation he had at Nerd HQ as part of a fundraising effort for Operation Smile, which you can listen to right here. (Fast forward to the 28-minute mark.)

Did you ever get around to seeing Marvel’s amazing Comic-Con teaser for ‘Age of Ultron?’ Because it finally made it online, and it’s pretty incredible:

And now that we know James Spader is playing Ultron, the ‘Less Than Zero’ actor is able to open up and reveal HOW Whedon intends to film him in character. Hint: It will involve motion-capture!

Just this weekend I went in for them to take very extensive photographs, head scans, body scans, and all kinds of things in preparation for figuring out how the hell I’m gonna fit in this Ultron character!

‘The Avengers: Age of Ultron’ blasts into theaters on May 1, 2015

‘The Amazing Spider-Man 2’


Who’s that familiar face wall-crawling on the above billboard?

Marc Webb’s ‘The Amazing Spider-Man 2’ posted its first billboard on the Sony Pictures studio lot. SuperHeroHype snapped the pic, in true Peter Parker fashion.

Andrew Garfield’s masked superhero also graced the cover of SFX’s new magazine, though he’s striking an all-too-familiar pose:

We’re in dire need of some new Spidey footage. Thankfully, we’re still expecting to see the first official ‘Spidey 2’ trailer attached to ‘Thor: The Dark World’ in November, so stay tuned.

‘Thor: The Dark World’

Speaking of the Asgardian god, ‘Thor’ started unveiling multiple TV spots an featurettes as it prepped audiences for the upcoming sequel, which is now only six weeks away.

First, there was this teaser clip, which aired during last week’s ‘Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.’ premiere:

And the character posters continue to drop, courtesy of EW and Marvel. Last week, we brought you Jane and Sif one-sheets. Today, it’s Malekith the Accursed and Heimdall:


And finally, Total Film has a great conversation with ‘The Dark World’ director Alan Taylor, in which he admits:

Halfway through shooting, someone at Disney proposed the title ‘The Dark World,’ and that really seemed to confirm the movie we were making and label our tonal intention. So we are the darker chapter, but I think we're doing the right balancing act of remaining within the tone of Marvel to advance that character's story but it also has to fit in because every few years all the characters have to join the party and be in Avengers movies.

‘Batman and Superman’

Everyone has weighed in on Ben Affleck’s casting as Batman … except for former Batman George Clooney. Until now.

Warner Bros.

The ‘Gravity’ star was asked by Empire Magazine about his friend and colleague stepping into the Bat suit, and Clooney handled it in his traditional tongue-in-cheek fashion:

I am the least qualified person to comment on anyone playing the role of Batman since I so terribly destroyed the part. I tend to look at it like this - let's just see what the movie is before everyone starts beating him up. He is a smart man, he knows what he is doing.

You know who else believes he know what he is doing? David S. Goyer, who is writing the Batman-Superman movie, and claims that they are much further along in the process than fans are giving them credit.

From a fan point of view, we’re conscious of that when you’re working on these things, but you can’t let yourself be paralyzed by that," Goyer tells The AP. "At the end of the day, you still have to create something. And if you try and think, ‘Well what would the fans like?’ then you stop being creative. It’s sort of like, 'Where does it end?' You have to write the story that you want to write, and hope that people want to see it.

But what we really need to know is the answer to the imagination fight we ALL wage in Internet chat rooms on a daily basis: Who would win in a Batman-Superman fight. And Goyer has an opinion, stating, “Most comic book purists would say Batman, because he is the ultimate strategist. Even though it makes no sense whatsoever. If Superman just flicked his finger, Batman would be done for.”

He might be. We’ll know for sure when Zack Snyder’s movie finally reaches theaters in 2015.