Entertainment Weekly's latest issue profiles the new generation of superheroes, represented on the cover by new Superman Henry Cavill. As his director Zack Snyder puts it: “Other actors put that suit on and it’s a joke, even if they’re great actors. Henry put it on, and he exuded this kind of crazy-calm confidence that just made me go, ‘Wow. Okay, this is Superman.’ If you can put on that suit and pull it off, that’s an awesome achievement.” An even better achievement? Still having a career after the spandex has lost its stretch.
Ryan Reynolds says of his Green Lantern character: “He’s not in the mainstream the way Superman or Spider-Man is.” And he once considered himself a purely comedic actor: “I looked like Dick Van Dyke, so I thought I was going that route.”
The Amazing Spider-Man exec-producer Avi Arad says Andrew Garfield as the new Peter Parker is "not a comeback…You have to look at it this way: Do you want to know more about Spider-Man? This movie is going to tell stories that you didn’t see in movies 1, 2, and 3.”
Below, we profile the new superheroes (and a not-so-new Batman), consider what they did before, and what their fate will be after the tights come off (plus trailers):
Role: The Dark Knight Rises, Bruce Wayne.
Film: Christopher Nolan directed his script, developed with David S. Goyer and Bob Kane (July 20, 2012).
Super powers: Bank account, accessories, killer body.
Notable Sidekick/Lover: Anne Hathaway as Selina Kyle aka Catwoman.
Before they became a superhero: Wide range as young actor growing up before our eyes, singing in Newsies, Laurie in Little Women, macho character roles such as American Psycho.
Career Prediction: Limitless. He is equally convincing playing crack heads, superheros, psychos and sweethearts.
Role: Superman: Man of Steel, Clark Kent.
Film: Zack Snyder directs a David S. Goyer script; shoots Summer 2011 (December 2012).
Super powers: Flying, speed, invulnerability, strength, X-ray vision.
Notable Sidekick/Lover: Clark Kent's fellow reporter Lois Lane may not return in this reboot.
Before they became a superhero: Sex machine in HBO's The Tudors, period-piece fixture in The Count of Monte Cristo, Tristan & Isolde and Stardust.
Career Prediction: Promising. Potential type-casting after Superman, but this Brit's theatrical roots may help to steer him into broader territory. Either way, he'll never be without a date.
Role: Captain America: The First Avengers, Steve Rogers
Film: Joe Johnston directa a script by Christopher Markus/Stephen McFeely (July 22, 2011).
Super powers: Agility, strength, speed, endurance, combat skills, peak human form.
Notable Sidekick/Lover: Hayley Atwell as Peggy Carter.
Before they became a superhero: Fantastic Four and 4: Rise of the Silver Surfer, Scott Pilgrim vs. The World and Sunshine.
Career Prediction: He's been superhero and jock stock material from the start and will likely have a hard time moving beyond that.
Role: Spider-Man, Peter Parker.
Film: Marc Webb directing a James Vanderbilt/Steve Ditko/Stan Lee script (July 3, 2012).
Super powers: Arachnid-like abilities include agility, strength, speed, sticky hands and feet, web-slinging, superhuman flesh.
Notable Sidekick/Lover: Emma Stone as Gwen Stacy.
Before they became a superhero: Serious-Brit-actor-stuff like The Red Riding Trilogy, Never Let Me Go and of course, The Social Network.
Career Prediction: Promising. Like Tobey Maguire, he's nerdy enough to not be typecast -- or ever cast -- as a superhero-type again.
Film: Kenneth Branagh directs a script by Ashley Edward Miller/Zack Stentz/Don Payne (May 6, 2011).
Super powers: Strength, stamina, semi-immortality, regeneration, time travel, weather control, weapons…he can probably bake a killer apple pie too.
Notable Sidekick/Lover: Natalie Portman as brainy Jane Foster.
Before they became a superhero: Regular on beloved Aussie soap Home and Away, then imported for Star Trek (George Kirk); upcoming is The Cabin in the Woods, Red Dawn and The Avengers.
Career Prediction: Superhero and/or action star for the lifespan of his muscles.
Role: Wonder Woman, Diana Prince
TV Show: NBC's David E. Kelley directed pilot
Super powers: Flight, strength, speed, regeneration, vision, etc.
Notable Sidekick/Lover: TBC
Before they became a superhero: TV's Friday Night Lights, Supernatural, Lone Star and several films including Legion and the upcoming Red Dawn.
Career Prediction: Too soon to say, but if Wonder Woman takes off, it will likely be her defining -- if not limiting -- role.
Role: The Green Lantern, Hal Jordan
Film: Martin Campbell directing a Greg Berlanti script; in theatres June 17, 2011.
Super powers: A power ring and power lantern that significant control over the physical world if the user has the adequate willpower and strength to use it.
Notable Sidekick/Lover: Blake Lively as Carol Ferris
Before they became a superhero: TV sit-com Two Guys, A Girl and a Pizza Place launched him into a varied film career - from The Amityville Horror, Smokin' Aces and Van Wilder to rom-coms Definitely, Maybe and The Proposal and the man-in-a-coffin genre's Buried.
Career Prediction: Stellar. He's multi-genre-gold.
The Green Lantern
Captain America: The First Avengers