Arts and Entertainment Robert Downey Jr as Marvel Comics' superhero Iron Man

Eight of the top 10 financial sucesses of last year picked up on previous films

'Le Batman Francais' finds a formidable foe in right-wing America

Holy baguettes, Batman. Your brand-new French lieutenant – aka "le Batman Francais" – is already in trouble. This must be a job for the caped crusader, or maybe the crusader with a képé.

Megamind (PG)

Voices of: Will Ferrell, Brad Pitt, Tina Fey

Album: JLS, Outta This World (Epic)

For most of its 14 tracks, Outta This World is boy-band R&B at its most formulaic, tracks like "That's My Girl" and over-autotuned opener "The Club Is Alive" ticking along meekly, with the boys simpering in the required manner through "Love You More", balladry so mechanical you can virtually hear the conveyor-belt trundling around.

A very British squad of superheroes

They're the Asbo avengers who beat 'Spooks' and 'The Street' to a Bafta. Gerard Gilbert welcomes the return of the Misfits

Out with specs, in with skinny jeans – Clark Kent has a super new look

After years of chasing Lois Lane and changing in a phone box, Superman is being hipsterised. In the latest iteration of how Clark Kent, originally from the planet Krypton, swoops to the rescue of a crime-afflicted metropolis, he wears a hoodie and skinny jeans.

Emma Stone: Spider-Man's new girl

This week Emma Stone was named as the arachnid superhero’s co-star. But first she stars in a comedy inspired by Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter. Gill Pringle meets her.

'Comic book nerd' to direct new Superman adventure

After Christopher Nolan's success at rejuvenating the Batman movies, fans of the Superman series reacted with understandable glee when it emerged that he was in line to produce a new film about the caped hero. Yesterday they discovered he will be joined by a director lauded for his comic book adaptations, Zach Snyder.

DVD: Kick-Ass (15)

"A putz in pantyhose," is how Mark Strong's wise-guy crook, Frank D'Amico, describes Kick-Ass, a crime-buster in a green wetsuit (snapped up for $99 on the internet) and yellow rubber gloves.

My Life in Ten Questions... Newton Faulkner

'I was suspended from school for a mixture of arson, knife-wielding and pornography'

Superman Rossi seventh fastest after stunning return to track in Germany

MotoGP world champion Valentino Rossi made a stunning comeback six weeks after breaking his leg with the seventh fastest time in German Grand Prix practice yesterday.

Wonder Woman (age 69) ditches her boots and hotpants

You can get away with a lot when your superhero arsenal includes a "lasso of truth", some "bracelets of victory" and the ability to fly. But as she approaches her 70th birthday, Wonder Woman has finally come round to the view that it's no longer a good idea for a lady of her age to venture outside in a pair of extremely revealing hotpants.

'Wonder woman' jailed for student con

A college principal once celebrated as education's "wonder woman" was jailed yesterday for conning overseas students into enrolling for bogus courses.

'South Park' censored after death threats from Islamists

In the 200th episode of South Park, which was broadcast last week, a proposal to bring the Prophet Mohamed to town is met with short shrift at a community meeting. "Are you nuts?" one character says. "If Mohamed appears in South Park we get bombed!" "We don't know that," another replies. "Maybe enough time has passed that now it's OK to show Mohamed."

Tim Walker: This summer's cinematic trend is the light-hearted ensemble action thriller

The Couch Surfer: We should expect one bad film, one good film, and one so-bad-it’s-good-film from the genre

Masters of the universe redesign the world at Davos

The small village of Davos, hidden in the Swiss moutains, is once again to host the world's most spectacular private gathering of the masters of the universe; among the exclusively invited guests are 2,500 power brokers, including 30 heads of state, royalty, 1,400 executives and owners of billion-dollar enterprises, and at least 12 central bank chiefs.

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Wolf (Nathan McMullen), Ian (Dan Starky), The Doctor (Peter Capaldi), Clara (Jenna Coleman), Santa Claus (Nick Frost) in the Doctor Who Christmas Special (BBC/Photographer: David Venni)
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Jenna Coleman as Clara Oswald in the Doctor Who Christmas special
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Independent Travel
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – Five-star MS Swiss Corona 7 nights from £999pp
Lake Como St Moritz & the Bernina Express 7 nights from £809pp
Vietnam
Lake Maggiore, Orta & the Matterhorn 7 nights from £939pp
South Africa
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A Christmas without hope: Fears grow in Gaza that the conflict with Israel will soon reignite

Christmas without hope

Gaza fears grow that conflict with Israel will soon reignite
After 150 years, you can finally visit the grisliest museum in the country

The 'Black Museum'

After 150 years, you can finally visit Britain's grisliest museum
No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

Doctor Who Christmas Special TV review
Chilly Christmas: Swimmers take festive dip for charity

Chilly Christmas

Swimmers dive into freezing British waters for charity
Veterans' hostel 'overwhelmed by kindness' for festive dinner

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all