2012 was perhaps the greatest year yet for superheroes. Marvel's the Avengers and The Dark Knight Rises were the two biggest movies of the year, each surpassing a billion dollars in worldwide box office receipts. Spider-Man was successfully relaunched and even C-listers Judge Dredd and Ghost Rider were given the chance (though they were not successful) to relaunch potential film franchises. The found footage film Chronicle was another bright spot in the genre paving the way for the success of lower budget films. DC churned out three more animated films with Batman: The Dark Knight Returns Part 1 proving that the film line hasn't yet run out of tricks. So can 2013 top this past year? Perhaps not financially, but there are a ton of projects worth getting excited about. Let's countdown the most anticipated new superhero shows of 2013...
BUT, Before we dive into the debuting shows, there are plenty of returning shows to be excited about. Season 1.5 of Green Lantern the Animated Series promises the debuts of Sinestro and Larfleeze. Young Justice Invasion promises an epic conclusion to the second season which will hopefully lead into a season 3.
DC Nation Shorts set to debut (beginning Jan 5th) include Amethyst, Doom Patrol, Thunder and Lightning, Dr. Fate, Shade the Changing Man, and Justice League of Animals.
Arrow promises to continue delivering live-action appearances by non-powered DC villains and heroes and a new take on t he Emerald Archer. But enough about the old, let the countdown begin.
19) Iron Man & Hulk: Heroes United (Trailer) - 23 Apr 2013
If instead this had been a Hulk VS sequel with Hulk vs Hulkbuster Iron Man it would have been near the top of this list. Instead it looks to be a horrible disaster and not even a pretty one. I hope I am wrong, but this was thrown together for a promotional tie-in to Iron Man 3 with very little care for quality. The voice acting sounds terrible, the animation is atrocious and who knows if there is even a plot. What a waste.
18) Hulk and the Agents of SMASH
Alas, poor Hulk. So many shows, so little love. I actually think the idea of a "Hulk family" series has potential but after the massive disappointment that was Ultimate Spider-Man and knowing that this series is supposed to be in the same "comedic" vein, I just cannot have much anticipation. It may be good, it may even be great, but as of now I am not looking forward to it one bit.
17) Avengers Assemble
This one is a bit of a wild card. While it was completely unnecessary to cancel Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes only to launch a new Avengers cartoon just months later, that alone is not the cause for my lack of enthusiasm. Based on Ultimate Spider-Man and Agents of SMASH, my expectation for this series is another juvenile jokey throw away, BUT that could turn out to be completely wrong. Aside from this promotional picture there is little else known about the series. Maybe this will be the one to get Marvel animation back on track... but I am not holding my breath just yet.
16) Lego Batman: DC Heroes Unite (Trailer) - Spring 2013
Its hard to get too excited about this entry since it appears to be a simple repackaging of cut scenes from the Lego Batman 2 video game. I have enjoyed playing the Lego games, and so I guess it will be fun watching the scenes cut together. I am hoping that game play sections are filled in somehow for a cohesive movie, but no matter what, I can't be too excited for recycled footage.
15) Red 2 - 02 Aug 2013
Starting to get a little more excited. Red was a surprisingly entertaining, though somewhat forgettable action movie. If Red 2 is more of the same, I will be moderately entertained for a couple of hours.
14) Lone Ranger (Trailer) - 03 Jul 2013
Although it seems like the Lone Ranger's ship should have sailed years ago, I am holding out some hope that this movie will deliver the same sort of surprising fun that we got from the first Pirates of the Caribbean movie. With some rumored supernatural elements and old west setting, at least this mixed things up a bit. And its pretty much guaranteed to deliver more that Jonah Hex.
13) Iron Man: Rise of Technovore (Trailer) - Spring 2013
I am confident this will be a highly stylized and beautifully animated anime, the question that remains is how compelling a story will it tell? The potential is there but I am not a true believer quite yet.
12) Beware the Batman (Teaser)
I wish this series was higher on my list, I really do, but none of the promotional material has really done much for me yet. I liked the idea of introducing new villains, but not at the complete expense of the old. I like the inclusion of Katana, but not at the expense of Robin, Batgirl, or Catwoman. I am not thrilled about gun-toting Alfred. I am also not mesmerized by the CG animation and am nervous that this will be aimed at a younger demographic. Then again, there have been so many Batman series, and good ones, that Beware the Batman would risk getting lost in the shuffle if it didn't make some bold choices. Call me hopeful if not excited.
11) Wonder Woman (CW)
For the love of Hera, Wonder Woman deserves some respect. It seems unlikely she will star in a movie soon, but there is lots of potential for a TV series. Arrow being a surprising hit has given me increased confidence that the CW just might be able to pull off a decent take on the Amazon Princess
Iris Diana. With a compelling lineup of villains drawn from mythology, this could be good - and yet, it could also go horribly wrong. Thus for now it remains out of the top 10.
10) Teen Titans Go!
9) Marvel's S.H.I.E.L.D.
Whats not to like about a series set in the world of the Avengers? Well, I can actually think of a few things, like the fact that we probably won't really see the Avengers. Still, the concept has merit and the pilot written and directed by The Avengers own Joss Whedon should not disappoint. The series could be great, but again, I am remaining a bit skeptical until I see some footage.
8) G.I. Joe 2: Retaliation (Trailer) - 29 Mar 2013
While it may be heresy to rank this higher than S.H.I.E.L.D., what can I say? The trailer looks fun and I actually really liked the first G.I. Joe movie for what it was. And at the risk of double heresy, I think this franchise is better than the Transformers film franchise. But lets be honest, neither is high art.
7) Superman: Unbound - Jun 2013
It may be a bit hypocritical to place this so high when I have not seen as much as a single image from this movie, and yet, DC has such a good track record with their animated films that its almost assured to be good or better. Combined with the strong source material from Geoff Johns' Brainiac story, this is going to be the summer of steel!
6) Batman: The Dark Knight Returns Part 2 (Trailer) - 29 Jan 2013
Batman: The Dark Knight Returns Part1 was one of those rare surprises that arguably improved upon the source material. At least in my opinion, the original novel (taking nothing away from its historic importance to the character of Batman) is a tad over rated. But the movie brilliantly brought to life the gritty source material and set the stage for a part 2 which adds the Joker and Superman and should be even better than part 1.
5) Justice League: Flashpoint - T.B.A.
Like everything else, Flashpoint has its critics, but there were some great character moments (that I won't spoil here) for Flash and Batman. Its also about time for another alternate timeline tale and for Flash to more or less get a leading role in one of the DC animated films. I think this will be an excellent choice for an intense and yet tidy adaptation.
4) The Wolverine - 26 Jul 2013
Learning that The Wolverine would not be squeezed into current X-Men continuity, but that it would take place post X3 gave me a bit of relief. I was also pleased that this would not be another vehicle for introducing more fan favorite mutants regardless of their relevance to the story. This stand alone tale set in Japan should be a decent enough story with its own flavor that even if its Hugh Jackman's 5th non-cameo role as Wolverine, I am looking forward to seeing the portrayal once again.
3) Iron Man 3 (Trailer) - 03 May 2013
I'm not going to defend Iron Man 2. It was not a complete disaster or anything, but I think it is hands down the worst of the Marvel universe line. So why the anticipation of the sequel? IM3 looks to return to the core of what made the first Iron Man great and to strip away the focus from all the tangential characters that distracted from IM2s plot. There is also a chance, albeit a slim one, that this could be Downey Jr.s last time in the suit and I am exited to see how the Marvel universe moves forward post Avengers.
2) Man of Steel (Trailer) - 14 Jun 2013
I really wanted to like Superman Returns and there are elements of that film I enjoyed, but most of the enjoyment comes from nostalgia for the wonderful Superman I and II rather than anything great from the confused sequel / reboot / homage. I am ready for the next great Superman film. I am ready for the Man of Steel to offer a new take on the character. I am ready for this possible first entry in the combined DC film universe. While the trailer does not give too much away, it does seem like Man of Steel has the potential for greatness. If I had just a little more to go on, this could have taken the top spot, but #2 with room to grow ain't too shabby.
1) Thor: The Dark World - 08 Nov 2013
Thor just edges out Man of Steel - which may be thanks to my own imagination and expectations than to anything legitimate. While Thor was a pretty good movie there remained so much untapped potential which I expect to see in the sequel. Thor's travels to the nine realms has me hoping for something along the lines of Lord of the Rings meets superheroes, and while I could end up very disappointed, for the time being anticipation is through the roof.