It's Blue Monday, so banish all sad thoughts with our round-up of the must-read stories that are making the headlines.
First look at Tom Hardy as Venom's Eddie Brock
Spider-Man's symbiote nemesis Venom has had a troubled relationship with the big screen – his previous appearance was in the much-derided Spider-Man 3, and we've been waiting since then for the definitive take on the character.
Step forward Britain's Tom Hardy and Zombieland filmmaker Ruben Fleischer with their standalone Venom movie. Promising to right all the wrongs of the earlier film by taking Venom back to his roots, it'll mark Hardy's return to the superhero genre following 2012's The Dark Knight Rises, in which he played the villainous Bane.
As you might expect from Hardy, expert purveyor of tortured souls in the likes of Bronson and Locke, his character Eddie Brock is more anti-hero than the usual morally upstanding type. Brock is a reporter who, through contact with an extraterrestrial organism, develops a darkly comic alter ego, the twisted flip-side to Spider-Man, and this weekend the first image of Hardy was unveiled during Brazil Comic Con Experience (via IGN).
Fleischer said: "We want to be as true as possible to the comics with our film... But our story is primarily based on the Lethal Protector and the Planet of the Symbiotes books."
Lethal Protector is a 1993 six-issue run that marked Venom's transition from villain to anti-hero. Meanwhile Planet of the Symbiotes is a 1995 story strand in which Venom teams with Spider-Man and fellow superhero Scarlet Spider to prevent a deadly extraterrestrial invasion of Earth.
In name-dropping these two fan favourites, is Fleischer indicating a blend of Zombieland's irreverent sense of fun with grandiose apocalyptic carnage? We'd like to think so.
Supporting the above claim, Fleischer adds: "I can promise you badass action, Venom’s dark humour and I can also promise you an absolutely stunning performance by Tom Hardy."
The Sony-owned Venom movie, set to be rated a more adult-friendly R in America, isn't officially part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe franchise (overseen by Disney). There are conflicting statements as to whether the various properties will eventually cross over to give us new MCU movies that are darker in tone.
Marvel chief Kevin Feige said last year, "For now, there is NO plan for Venom in the MCU. It’s a Sony Project". However, Venom producer Matthew Tolmach, when pressed on the issue, was non-committal, telling MTV: "We are making a Venom movie is what I’m going to say. We’re making a Venom movie with Tom Hardy and I think you will be very pleased."
Co-starring Michelle Williams as Brock's wife Ann Weying, Venom is released on 5th October 2018. We know that seems pretty away, so in the meantime check out why Tom Hardy will redefine the role of Venom.
Tom Cruise wows London with Mission: Impossible 6 stunt
Last year, it became apparent that Tom Cruise isn't as invicible as we'd all like to believe. The Hollywood superstar, who has done everything from scaling Dubai's Burj Khalifa (the world's tallest building) to clinging to the outside of an airborne plane, delayed production on the sixth Mission: Impossible movie by three months when he broke his ankle during a stunt gone wrong.
Fortunately, the Cruiser was back up and running – literally – this weekend. He was spotted sprinting across London's Blackfriars Bridge in a daredevil sequence for the latest Mission: Impossible, due for release this summer. It's directed by Christopher McQuarrie, who steered previous movie Rogue Nation to blockbuster success, and features a bevy of returning faces. These include Simon Pegg, Rebecca Ferguson, Ving Rhames, Alec Baldwin, Michelle Monaghan and Sean Harris, with Henry Cavill filling in for a departing Jeremy Renner.
Mission: Impossible 6 is released on 27th July. Check out Tom in action in the following video. And if you want more, here's our list of Tom Cruise's most insane Mission: Impossible stunts.
Avengers 4 wraps filming
Directors Joe and Anthony Russo have completed principal photography on the as-yet-untitled sequel to the gargantuan Avengers: Infinity War, shot back to back. To celebrate, the filmmaking siblings revealed this epic cake, adorned by glowering super-villain Thanos (Josh Brolin) and his coveted Infinity Stones.
A different angle reveals more detail. We see Thanos is being born aloft by three hands and the bottom of the cake is adorned by symbols, each representing the original Avengers ensemble: Hulk (Mark Ruffalo), Captain America (Chris Evans), Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.), Thor (Chris Hemsworth) and Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson).
What does this possibly indicate? Well, for one, that the deadly Thanos holds the balance of power (already indicated by the Infinity War trailer). But the fact the original Avengers line-up have been singled out gives us pause for thought. Given that a significant face is poised to die in the movie (Brolin has hinted as such), might this be a not-so-subtle way of honouring the legacy of an imminently doomed character?
Do the arms represent three potential losses? Two of them look like Hulk and Black Widow, although the third is harder to make out. Given Black Widow is (finally) poised to get her own movie, we'd be surprised if she was for the chop (although that film could always take place in flashback, exploring her origins in the years before joining secret agency S.H.I.E.L.D.).
Avengers: Infinity War is released on 27th April with the next movie arriving on 26th April 2019. Get your comic book fix with our Marvel movie countdown to Infinity War.