Superhero movies weren't quite as successful (make that, $ucce$$ful) this year as in 2012, but there were several heavy-hitters - Iron Man 3, Man of Steel, Thor: The Dark World and The Wolverine - with bigger and (fingers crossed) better additions to the genre arriving in 2014, starting with sequels to two well-received Marvel comic-based titles: Marvel Studios' Captain America: The First Avenger (released in 2011) and Sony's reboot The Amazing Spider-Man (released in 2012).
Captain America: The Winter Soldier will start the 2014 superhero festivities off, in addition to testing the waters of an April launch for a Marvel Cinematic Universe movie in the U.S. (like Thor 2 did with a November release). The trailer has affirmed early positive buzz for the Cap sequel, as the directors Joe and Anthony Russo - whose past "action moviemaking" credentials are limited to the paintball episodes from season 2 of Community - seem to have delivered on the promise of an exciting political thriller, set in the world of the S.H.I.E.L.D. organization.
Meanwhile, Sony plans to build its own superhero universe with Venom and Sinister Six movies in addition to Amazing Spider-Man 3, but first we have to see if Amazing Spider-Man 2 keeps everyone invested in wanting that proposed future to happen. Oddly enough, the international trailer for director Marc Webb's sequel to his reboot of the Spider-Man franchise does a better job of promoting the film; the U.S. trailer mostly resulted in people talking about which super villains may come in the movies thereafter.
Scroll through the latest images from the Captain America and Amazing Spider-Man sequels in our gallery below, courtesy of Empire:
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It's no secret at this stage in marketing that Harry Osborn (now played by Dane DeHaan) gets into trouble in the Amazing Spider-Man sequel - reuniting with his childhood friend Peter Parker (Andrew Garfield) and taking some control of the business founded by his ailing old man, Norman Osborn (now portrayed by Chris Cooper).
As such, the appearance of Harry's silhouette in front of Max Dillon (Jamie Foxx) - newly transformed into the dangerous Electro - in the above image comes as little surprise. Webb, during his breakdown of the Amazing Spider-Man 2 trailer, did refer to OsCorp as an "evil empire," and it would make sense for the company to be the pulling the strings on all the villainous puppets in the film. More interesting question is, who is the mysterious "Doc" that Electro mentions in the teasers?
Speaking of mysterious players, we already know the motives (or, at least, have a rough idea of where they stand) of the S.H.I.E.L.D. agents feature in the latest Captain America 2 images, including Scarlett Johansson as Black Widow and Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury (the Winter Soldier, well, he's another story). However, Robert Redford's character remains something of an enigma - is he an antagonist? And, if so, then who is he opposing, seeing how allegiances may continually shift in the film?
Captain America: The Winter Soldier opens in theaters on April 4th, 2014.
The Amazing Spider-Man 2 opens in theaters on May 2nd, 2014.