There certainly is no shortage of news in the department of Marvel films. First, it seems that Marvel has confirmed that Spider-Man 4 is officially set for release. Additionally, May 6, 2011 will be its official release date.
Some major adjustments have also been made regarding the release dates of Marvel-related films for the next few years. (Possibly reacting to the presence of Spider-Man.) Specifically affected are The Avengers and its related prequel films. According to information officially released from Marvel Studios, the revisions will occur as such:
|Marvel Studios Feature Film Pipeline|
|Film/Character||Prior Release Date||Current Release Date|
|IRON MAN 2||May 7, 2010||May 7, 2010|
|THOR||July 16, 2010||June 17, 2011|
|THE FIRST AVENGER: CAPTAIN AMERICA||May 6, 2011||July 22, 2011|
|THE AVENGERS||July 15, 2011||May 4, 2012|
Breaking it down, this arrangement works far better. Iron Man 2's May 2010 release predates the next Avenger film, Thor, by over one whole year. This gives fans time to breathe, digest the film, and possibly build-up excitement over any possible Avengers-related revelations Iron Man 2 may have in store. By the time we get to Thor in June, 2011, fans will be rested and more apt to see this (the arguably weakest) Avengers tale, whetting appetites for the stronger film, The First Avenger: Captain America in July. The idea of a 2011 "Avengers Doubleheader Summer Blockbuster" works just fine. I also doubt that the May release of Spider-Man 4 will muddy the waters too much.
Finally, we get nearly one year to stew on those films and rest, until May of 2012. That's when The Avengers hits. This one should be the "Grandaddy of them all." In essence, it will be the full realization of all these films, embodied into one giant, unprecedented comic-movie epic. This is the one that for Marvel Studios, is "too big to fail" (hopefully not jinxing them with "bailout" lingo.)
At the risk of possibly fanning my own narcissism, I can't help but think that Marvel took my advice (yeah, that's the ticket) when it came to my fears of wearing the superhero genre too thin with releases too close together. It was clear that from the initial outlook of 2010-2011, that it would have been Avengers overload. Considering the huge commitment that is being made in regards to these films, it would have been a tragic miscalculation if they were into too deep and were forced to churn out these films, knowing that they would be destined for a general public who really didn't care any longer.