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Superman, Wolverine, Thor and Iron Man prepare to crash into theaters

Start cranking out the popcorn and get those costumes out of storage: Four major superheroes are getting big-screen movies this year, and we've used our superpowers to try and sniff out any dish we can about the new films.

Disney, Warner Bros, Paramount

'Man of Steel,' June 14
First, let's talk Superman. "Man of Steel" is the only film of the four that's a complete reboot, with a new actor -- Henry Cavill of 'Tudors" fame -- taking over the iconic role. Befitting Superman's stature, the rumor mill has already begun turning with a variety of super information, some much more believable than others. Talk of a possible Joseph-Gordon Levitt cameo seems far-fetched, but then again, he didn’t reveal that he would play Robin in last year’s "Dark Knight Rises" in advance, either. Even a possible Christopher Reeve cameo thanks to a little CG magic has been floated as a possibility. Sounds like a nice homage, but it’s a heck of a stretch. As for the film's tone, don't expect slapstick. Screenwriter David Goyer tells Empire Magazine, “We’re approaching Superman as if it weren’t a comic book movie, as if it were real.” IT'S NOT?


'Iron Man 3,' May 3
If you watched the Super Bowl and saw the "Iron Man 3" trailer, and perhaps watched the extended version online, you know some of the details. Robert Downey Jr. is back again of course, and so is Gwyneth Paltrow as his girlfriend Pepper Potts and Don Cheadle as Col. James Rhodes, aka War Machine. But the villain, as always, gets all the buzz. Sir Ben Kingsley will step into the role of Iron Man’s archenemy, Mandarin. That may be old news to those in the know, but the extent of his role is new. Downey Jr. recently told Entertainment Weekly, “Sir Ben is probably going to steal the movie. There are a lot of contenders who may, but right now he’s probably at the top of that list.” Now that Shane Black has taken the director’s chair from Jon Favreau we can expect a grittier film, one to match the hyper-successful Christopher Nolan Batman trilogy. We can only hope Downey, Jr. isn’t robbed of his zippy wit (or ill-timed cheeseburger hankerings).

'The Wolverine,' July 26
Hugh Jackman’s furious, clawed character returns once again in "The Wolverine." The self-healing ex-X-Man will follow a young woman to Japan to reconnect with a former prison mate in Nagasaki, according to Empire. After receiving a gift from the man, Wolverine, aka Logan, is whisked into a dangerous world and set on a personal journey. Hugh Jackman revealed some of Wolverine’s internal complexities to Entertainment Weekly, saying, “I was fascinated with the idea of portraying Logan as a ronin – the definition of which is a samurai without a master, without a purpose. Kind of a soldier who is cut loose. War is over. What does he do? What does he face? What does he believe anymore?” He added, “I think those questions are especially interesting when you’re dealing with a character who is essentially immortal.” Like Superman and Kryptonite, Wolverine’s one weakness could be his heart, so we’ll see if he can fight bad guys and his own existential crises when he heads to theaters this summer.

'Thor: The Dark World,' Nov. 28
Three years, three Thor movie appearances for Chris Hemsworth. The Aussie actor played the Norse god/hero in 2011's "Thor" and 2012's "The Avengers," and will return this year in "Thor" The Dark World." Natalie Portman will be back as Jane Foster, his love interest, and Stellan Skarsgård and Kat Dennings turn up as scientists. The plot has been so far kept intentionally vague, but we know that Thor will face off with The Dark Elves as well as The Marauders, a new group of baddies in the world of Asgard. Interestingly, the dry humor of Kenneth Branagh’s "Thor" will give way to “a definite Game of Thrones vibe,”  Hemsworth told MTV, thanks to the presence of director Alan Taylor, who’s directed episodes of "Game of Thrones," "Mad Men" and "Bored to Death."

Not seeing your favorite superhero in the mix? If you can hold out till 2014, we'll be getting "Captain America: The Winter Soldier," "The Amazing Spider-Man 2," and "X-Men: Days of Future Past."

Which superhero film do you most want to see? Vote in our poll, and tell us on Facebook.

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