If you are a fan of the superhero genre or not, it is hard to avoid the Marvel Cinematic Universe these days. With four films being released last year and another three scheduled for 2022, on top of the television series which have been steadily pouring onto Disney+ since the platform’s inception as well as the posters plastered onto buses and billboards, the MCU is becoming inescapable.
For those who may be looking to get into the genre, the mass amounts of interlinking content in the MCU, make it hard for people with no previous knowledge of the universe to jump into this year’s releases. Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, which is expected to release this May, has been said to potentially feature more character crossovers than ever before. Here’s what is known of the plot so far: Doctor Strange, Wong, and Wanda Maximoff combat forces from the multiverse, stemming largely from the events of multiple previous films and television shows. So, instead of having to sit down and watch hundreds of hours of content, here are some superhero projects, outside the MCU, to look forward to this year.
Set for release on March 4th, DC’s The Batman will see Bruce Wayne return to the big screen in director Matt Reeves’ reboot of his story. The film is set to explore Wayne’s detective role more so than previous iterations, whilst simultaneously featuring the characters and villains that have been beloved by fans for decades. Robert Pattinson joins his third large sci-fi/fantasy franchise, (having famously portrayed Cedric Diggory in the Harry Potter film series as well as broody, teenage vampire Edward Cullen in the Twilight series) and takes on the role of Bruce Wayne with the cast being fleshed out by many names, including: Zoe Kravitz as Catwoman, Paul Dano as The Riddler, Andy Serkis as Alfred and Colin Farrell as Penguin. Whilst there are plans to develop sequels and a television series, The Batman requires no previous viewing, and is therefore the perfect starting point for new fans.
Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse – Part One
Across the Spider-Verse is the first sequel to the 2018 Academy Award winning Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse. An impeccable voice cast, including the likes of Shameik Moore as Miles Morales, Jake Johnson as Peter B. Parker and Hailee Steinfeld as Gwen Stacy, are all returning for the sequel which is expected to hit the big screen this October.
The first film in the series follows the origin of Miles Morales as he becomes the Spider-Man of his universe, with the help of webslingers from multiple universes. Every frame of the stunningly animated film is a work of art in itself and they come together to create one of the most vibrant and exciting films in decades. It is a must watch for fans of Marvel, animated films or simply just fun, and from the teaser trailer, the sequel looks to be on par with, if not even better, than the first.
DC’s Harley Quinn is an adult animation series that follows Harley, post breakup with the Joker, as she attempts to make a name for herself as a villain and as head of her crew in Gotham City. Whilst Gotham is usually portrayed as a dark, gritty, crime invested landscape, the adventures of Harley (voiced by Kaley Cuoco) and her crew provides a hilarious outlook on life in a city highly populated by vigilantes and villains. Harley Quinn is a brilliant, nuanced lead character for the series and her journey of self-discovery, her battle with good versus evil, and her turbulent relationships throughout will have you uncontrollably laughing one minute and crying your eyes out the next. Now is the perfect time to catch up on the first two seasons before season three debuts (hopefully) later this year.
If you do plan on tackling all 27 films and 17 television series which are now technically canon in the MCU, make sure to set aside enough time (20040 minutes; or 334 hours; or almost 14 solid days) before Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness premieres on May 6th.