Movies based on characters from comics published by DC and Marvel took a summer sabbatical this year -- I'm trying really hard to pretend X-Men Origins: Wolverine was only a bad dream -- but the next couple of summers promise a healthy dash of costumed superheroes to liven up movie theaters. As noted in a post earlier today, next summer will see the return of Robert Downey, Jr. as Tony Stark in Jon Favreau's Iron Man 2. Two summers hence will feature the big-screen debut of Kenneth Branagh's vision of Thor, with Chris Hemsworth playing the hammer-wielding Norse god and Tom Hiddleston as his adopted brother / arch-nemesis Loki, followed by Joe Johnston's adventure The First Avenger: Captain America, set primarily during World War II. And 2012 will finally bring superhero team-up The Avengers, plus another unspecified movie. Could it be Edgar Wright's Ant-Man? Or something else?

Without being an expert on any of these characters -- for that I bow gratefully to our own Elisabeth Rappe -- from strictly a movie fan's perspective, I'm most anticipating The First Avenger: Captain America. That's because director Joe Johnston hasn't let me down yet, and the film's World War II setting and sense of wholesome, patriotic adventure play to his strengths. But the more I think about these projects, the more I like the variety of settings and styles. Sure, they're all superheroes, but there's plenty of room for the films to establish their own identities.

What do you think? What's your most anticipated Marvel movie? Feel free to suggest other characters that should have their own movie in the comments.

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categories Movies, Cinematical