DC Comics takes on Marvel in summer's superhero films

Thor leading the charge in May, a parade of superhero films hits theaters this summer, as DC Comics'
Green Lantern takes on Marvel's
Captain America and

Cowboys & Aliens, starring Daniel Craig and Harrison Ford and adapted from a graphic novel, joins the superhero flicks hitting the box office this summer.

These action-adventures are packed with special effects to display the characters' superpowers, and plans for upcoming sequels, such as Captain America 2, are already in the works. The third in the Transformers series may be its last, while the fifth installment of X-Men is the first of a trilogy that tells the origin story.

This season's sci-fi and fantasy stories span eras from ancient times to present day, from the 1800s' Old West to 1940s' wartime and the Cold War of the 1960s.

X Men: First Class
Release dates: June 1-3 internationally, June 11 in Japan
The fifth installment in the superhero series, this X-Men prequel, the first of a trilogy, freshens the franchise with a younger cast to tell the origin story. Set during the 1960s' Cuban missile crisis, X-Men: First Class stars James McAvoy ( Atonement) as the young Charles Xavier/Professor X and Michael Fassbender ( Inglourious Basterds) as Erik Lehnsherr/Magneto. Directed by Matt Vaughn ( Kick-Ass), it also features January Jones ( Mad Men) as Emma Frost and Jennifer Lawrence ( Winter's Bone) as Raven Darkholme/Mystique.
Trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UrbHykKUfTM

Green Lantern
Release dates: June 16-17 in North America and the UK; Japan, Asian and South American territories on July 22; European countries in August
This DC Comics superhero follows Hal Jordan, the first human Green Lantern played by Ryan Reynolds ( The Proposal). Directed by Martin Campbell ( Casino Royale) with lots of 3D special effects, the cast features Mark Strong ( Robin Hood) as Sinesto, Peter Sarsgaard ( An Education) as Hector Hammond, and Blake Lively ( The Town). The story follows a test pilot recruited by an intergalactic squadron keeping peace in the universe.
Trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8NWGl_A3b60

Transformers: Dark of the Moon
Release dates: June 29 - July 1 internationally; Japan on July 29
Michael Bay's epic robot extravaganza returns for a third go-round with Shia LaBeouf, Josh Duhamel and Tyrese Gibson. In 3D this time, the Autobots learn of a Cybertronian spacecraft on the moon and race against the Decepticons for the Transformers' final battle. Joining the cast are model Rosie Huntington-Whiteley and the team of John Turturro, Patrick Dempsey, Frances McDormand and John Malkovich for one of the year's biggest.
Trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y51X6KKIMTk

Captain America: The First Avenger
Release dates: July 22 in North America, July 29 in the UK and India, further roll-out in August
This Marvel story in 3D follows a World War II soldier who participates in a military experiment that turns him into a superhuman fighter. Stars Chris Evans ( Scott Pilgrim vs. the World) as Steve Rogers/Captain America, plus Hugo Weaving ( Transformers) and Tommy Lee Jones ( Men in Black). Directed by Joe Johnston ( The Wolfman), the film sets up 2012's The Avengers, which will gather superheroes from Iron Man to the Incredible Hulk.
Trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JerVrbLldXw

Cowboys & Aliens
Release dates: July 29 in North America; August in the UK, India, Malaysia and more; September in Germany and Japan
This sci-fi Western hybrid stars Daniel Craig ( Quantum of Solace) as a mysterious loner and Harrison Ford ( Indiana Jones) as a colonel who battle an alien invasion in 1800s Arizona. Costars Olivia Wilde ( Tron:Legacy) and Sam Rockwell ( Moon). Produced by Steven Spielberg and directed by Jon Favreau ( Iron Man), it is based on a graphic novel.
Trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3arzKYqKyXg

Conan the Barbarian
Release dates: August 19 in North America and the UK; France on August 24; other markets through September
A 3D remake of the 1982 Arnold Schwarzenegger action-adventure sword and sorcery fantasy, the tale tells of Conan meeting with monsters and witches as he sets out on a rampage across the continent of Hyboria to avenge the murder of his father and slaughter of his village. Starring Jason Momoa ( Baywatch), Ron Perlman ( Hellboy), Stephen Lang ( Avatar) and Rose McGowan ( Grindhouse), it is directed by Marcus Nispel ( Friday the 13th).
Trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UhclOA9bVLs


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