Posts Tagged ‘ Captain America: The First Avenger ’

How Would a Guardians of the Galaxy Movie Work?

Guardians of the Galaxy (2008 team)

Guardians of the Galaxy (2008 team) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

With The Avengers come and gone, Marvel Studios prepare to enter ‘Phase 2’ of their cinematic universe. With Iron Man, Thor and Captain America all due sequels, it was tough to see what Marvel’s mystery project in 2014 could be. Was it Black Panther, Ant-Man? Well our questions have been answered, and Marvel’s first film away from the Avengers universe is set to be Guardians of the Galaxy!

But wait? Who are the Guardians of the Galaxy and how would a movie work? The team originally debuted in 1969, although far less familiar than the modern team seen today. Dwelling on the 31st Century, the original team focused on obscure characters like Starhawk and Major Victory. It wasn’t until 2008; when sci-fi writers Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning (or DNA for short) took the team into new heights post Marvel’s mega-cosmic event ‘Annihilation‘.

Essentially making the team ‘Space Avengers’ DNA made GOTG one of Marvel’s best books, featuring iconic characters such as Adam Warlock, Drax the Destroyer and talking rodent Rocket Racoon. It was a high-adrenaline affair that had been missing from comics since the 90’s. The Avengers books had long focused on street heroes and New York, while Thor was in the process of being rebooted after a brief hiatus. Marvel was missing a cosmic universe, and DNA responded by creating one that easily rivalled DC’s own Green Lantern universe.

1) Control the humour.

One of the main reasons Avengers worked is because it took a tricky concept, and grounded it in reality by using humour. How else would icons such as Iron Man, Thor and Cap work together if there wasn’t some bickering involved? The problem with GOTG is that it’s a much more grand concept, and over-using the humour could almost make the film more self-parody than action-blockbuster.

That doesn’t mean limit the jokes altogether though. After all, it’s a film featuring a talking racoon.

2) Streamlined Narrative

DNA’s cosmic books tended to require full concentration from the reader in order to truly understand what was going on. They weren’t always the most accessible books for new readers, and as a result Marvel didn’t give the book the publicity it deserved. A movie can’t rick alienating (excuse the pun) audiences unfamiliar with the team by throwing alternative universes and shifting-timelines at them.

The movie’s script is rumoured to be based on DNA’s swansong event ‘The Thanos Imperative. Take this with a pinch of salt, as that book couldn’t really be streamlined at all for new audiences. For inspiration, Marvel should look at James Cameron’s sci-fi epic ‘Avatar‘. The film had quite a basic plot, but was carried by the thrill of seeing a new extraordinary universe and as a result it’s now the highest-grossing movie of all time. With the GOTG there is the potential to do what Marvel’s last fantasy film Thor failed to do by fully exploring new worlds and not just their glossy interiors. What are the moons of Titan? Are their other Titans that live there besides Thanos? Where does Rocket Raccoon come from? These are questions a GOTG movie could explore making it much more adventurous than your average comic book movie. The plot does not have to be convoluted. Even it was just Thanos showing up threatening to conquer the galaxy it would work.

3) Who are these characters?

Where The Avengers truly succeeded is that it gave every character a voice. No one felt too out of place (Hawkeye slightly) and each character got his or her chance to shine. The Guardians needs that exact treatment in order for it to feel different. For instance leader of the Guardians Star-Lord/Peter Quill is not a Steve Rogers stand-in. He’s more of a Han Solo character, with a bit of Rogers thrown in. With Robert Downey Jr. unable to play Iron Man for much longer, Star-Lord would easily fill the void into the cinematic universe.

Other characters such as Drax, Adam Warlock and Gamora can easily work on screen too. The film would need a smaller roster, so I’d hope it doesn’t feature Nova (another one of DNA’a cosmic revelations) as Richard Rider deserves his own film.

Perhaps the major trump card a Guardians of the Galaxy movie has is that it features Rocket Raccoon. Providing the film avoided making Rocket too goofy, he could potentially be a new money-making machine for Marvel. He’s the kind of character Marvel can stick on toys, clothes, lunchboxes and more.

4) Connect it to The Avengers.

A GOTG sadly won’t sell itself without some heavy marketing involved. When the mid-credit scene in Avengers arrived, fans all over the world left theatres wondering who ‘that purple guy’ is. What better way for a GOTG film to take on a pre-sold identity by offering to answer that question. Maybe make it a prequel to Avengers? How did Thanos lose the Cosmic Cube/Infinity Gauntlett in the first place? Why is it that he’s stuck in limbo needing the cube to get out? The Guardians are no strangers to time travel therefore making their film a prequel to Avengers certainly would be interesting. If that’s seen too much of a backwards step, the film could end with bookends in the present day setting up Avengers 2.

So there are my ideas for how to make a Guardians of the Galaxy film work. If enough care and marketing is put into the project, Marvel has a potential billion-dollar franchise on their hands. What do you think? Is a Guardians of the Galaxy movie possible? Would you have preferred to see Black Panther or Ant-Man debut first. As always, leave your comments below!

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Is Kevin Feige Wrong To Delay The Incredible Hulk 2?

The Abomination in The Incredible Hulk (2008).

The Abomination in The Incredible Hulk (2008). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It’s been a thunderous week for Marvel fans, as early screenings of The Avengers have gone down fantastically well with critics and fans alike! While official reviews are embargoed for the next couple of days, much praise has been given to the way the film has brought new life into the Incredible Hulk, which is why some fans are disheartened by Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige for announcing there are no plans for a Hulk sequel…

Marvel’s mindset is clearly ‘if it’s not broken, don’t try and fix it’. The Jade Giant has had two films in the last ten years, which haven’t gone down well at the box-office, 2008’s Incredible Hulk is the lowest ranked film from Marvel Studios, earning an unimpressive $263,427,551 worldwide. While The Avengers will undoubtedly open doors for new characters into the cinematic universe, ruling the Hulk out so soon is a tad drastic considering the story potential left for the character. In the two films we’ve seen the Green Goliath, all he’s done is run from the military, and face some sort of rogue science experiment in both film’s endings. There’s so much more to the character than crushing tanks and running as a fugitive.

When The Avengers pre-production geared forward, it was obvious Joss Whedon had decided to make Bruce Banner more comfortable with himself, as opposed to the tortured character we are so used to seeing. This appears to have gone down well with audiences, as most early reactions from the film point towards how well the Hulk was handled. Baring there’s not a sudden rush of scathing reviews next week, surely now is the perfect time to create the fun Hulk sequel we all wish to see. Granted there’s a television show supposedly in production, but there are still plot threads left open from 2008’s Incredible Hulk to be addressed.

Tim Blake Nelson impressed as Dr. Samuel Sterns in 2008, and we still haven’t seen how his transformation to supervillain The Leader occurs. While there is supposedly an Avengers comic book addressing the Leaders whereabouts, I feel a Hulk vs. Leader showdown would be an epic contrast to 2008’s underwhelming brawl with the Abomination.

I can’t help but feel Marvel will go back on their word and give the Hulk a sequel some time in the near future. Feige has hinted Ant-Man and Guardians of the Galaxy films are on their way as well as guaranteed Iron Man, Captain America and Thor sequels. Marvel are preparing a cinematic onslaught and I doubt they’re going to leave out one of their most beloved characters

 

Captain America 2 Is Happening

Neal McDonough as Dum Dum Dugan as depicted in...

Image via Wikipedia

Continuing my Avengers centric theme, it’s just been revealed that Captain America 2 will start filming this year. Speaking to IMDB, Neal McDonough, the actor who played Dum Dum Dugan in last year’s Captain America: The First Avenger, revealed that a Cap sequel would likely start production by the end of this year. He also revealed he is set to star in a Nick Fury movie, alongside Samuel L. Jackson.

It was always likely a Cap sequel would take place. For me, it was last year’s dark horse. A movie many predicted would flop, actually managing to be one of Marvel’s best yet. Sure, it was lacking in some areas, particularly villain and side character development, but it was a fun, story driven film. A sequel has a chance to build on the excellent groundwork already set, and deliver what could potentially be Marvel’s finest movie yet. Like the last movie, Captain America 2 will likely face a struggle to win over the sceptics. There are some ways it can help itself though, and here’s my prediction for how it may turn out.

1) Introduce The Winter Soldier:

This has to be the main draw. When we last saw Cap’s partner Bucky (Sebastian Stan), he was plummeting to his death over a mountain. It’s a little different to his comic book origin, but Cap fans expect to see the Winter Soldier in film form at some point. Bucky Barnes has reached an all time popularity high, after writer Ed Brubaker controversially brought him back to life in the pages of Captain America in 2005. Adding him to a Cap sequel, will only aid the movie by giving it an emotional driven story. X-Men: First Class showed superhero films about friendship can be done well, so Cap should do the same.

2) Mix The Modern Day Setting With Flashbacks:

What makes the Captain America comics so compelling is that they are set in the present day, but constantly feature flashbacks from various WW2, and Cold War scenes. There’s no reason the Cap sequel couldn’t replicate the success of the comics using this formula. WW2 settings could be used to add gravitas to the Steve and Bucky friendship, while a Cold War setting would be brilliant for exploring the origin of the Winter Soldier. It would be challenge to weave through the timelines, maintaining a constant narrative, but if Marvel pulled it off it could easily be their best movie yet.

3) You Don’t Need Hugo Weaving For The Red Skull:

Cap fans were disappointed last year, when Hugo Weaving announced he has no plans to return as the Red Skull. Granted Weaving was impressive in the roll, but Marvel are no strangers to recasting, and a certain plot device allows them to easily recast the Red Skull for a Cap sequel. In the comics, the Cosmic Cube is responsible for transferring the Skull’s conscious into other bodies, and the Skull even used this to take on the form of Aleksander Lukin, the man left in charge of the Winter Soldier. The plot is already there, Marvel could easily transfer it on screen. The only problem is, it wouldn’t make for great popcorn entertainment, as the story wouldn’t involve as much action as the last film.

So there are three paths I think a sequel to Captain America could explore. With Marvel risking oversaturation of the comic book movie market, every film they produce needs to win over critics and fans. A Cap sequel could easily do this.

 

Which Comic Book Movie Will Be The Best In 2012?

The Dark Knight Rises

Image via Wikipedia

2011 was a huge year for comic book movies. X-Men: First Class was the best-reviewed superhero movie of the year, but Thor and Captain America: The First Avenger weren’t that far behind. The only disappointment was Green Lantern. Now with Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance, The Avengers, The Dark Knight Rises and The Amazing Spider-Man coming up this year, I’m going to look at what movie I think will triumph best over fans and critics.

Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance:

Scheduled for release on February 17th 2012, Spirit of Vengeance is a sequel/reboot to the 2007 film Ghost Rider. Once again starring Nicholas Cage, Spirit of Vengeance faces an uphill battle. The original Ghost Rider was a relatively small success, but was met with mixed to negative reviews leading to the confusion of fans as to why a sequel is actually being released. Regardless, The Spirit of Vengeance’s trailer looked impressive, but my hopes were dashed when the first set of reviews came in claiming the sequel is worse than the original. Prediction: 2/5

The Avengers:

It’s taken four years and five movies, but the 27th April 2012 (UK) sees the release of Marvel’s star-studded ensemble film. Starring Robert Downey Jr., Samuel L. Jackson, Chris Hemsworth, Chris Evans, Jeremy Renner, Scarlett Johansson and Mark Ruffalo, The Avengers unites the heroes from the Marvel Universe to save the world from Loki (Tom Hiddleston) and his army.

There’s so much riding on The Avengers. If the film is met with both critical acclaim and financial success, it will burst open the doors for Marvel to explore films for other characters. Financially, The Avengers should break records, but the X-Men franchise has shown it can sometimes be difficult for superhero films to handle an ensemble cast, and with a star studded cast like this, Joss Whedon has a huge challenge on his hands making sure every character gets enough development. Expect high-octane action, but perhaps some lack of character development. Prediction: 3/5

The Dark Knight Rises

Set eight years after the events of The Dark Knight, Christopher Nolan concludes his Batman trilogy with the arrival of a new villain Bane, (Tom Hardy) who pushes Gotham City to his limits, forcing a fugitive Batman (Christian Bale) out of retirement after taking the fall for Harvey Dent’s crimes.

It’s such a common trend for the third movie in a franchise to falter (Spider-Man 3, X-Men: The Last Stand) but Christopher Nolan shouldn’t have any problems here. With a new female lead in Catwoman, (Anne Hathaway) The Dark Knight Rises should provide an epic conclusion to the Batman saga. The only problem I can see arising is criticisms towards Bane’s distorted voice, but otherwise this will probably be the best comic book movie of the year. Prediction: 5/5

The Amazing Spider-Man

Directed by Marc Webb, The Amazing Spider-Man marks a reboot in the Spider-Man saga. Starring Andrew Garfield as Peter Parker, Emma Stone as Gwen Stacey and Rhys Ifans as Dr. Curt Connors/The Lizard, respectively. The film will showcase Peter Parker’s origin in high school/college as he develops his superpowers.

It was a bold move for Sony to reboot the Spider-Man franchise so soon. With Spider-Man 3 released only five years ago, it baffled many as to why Sony chose to reboot a franchise that audiences generally liked. Nevertheless, it’s back to school for Peter Parker, in a move that might harm the film’s chances of success. Spidey has the most well-known origin of all the superheroes, and seeing Uncle Ben die again might not strike gold at the box office. Regardless, the practical web-slinging effects should render the film unique from other superhero movies, and it should earn enough to warrant a sequel. Prediction: 3/5

There are my predictions for which comic book movie will be the most critically and financially successful in 2012. With the exception of Ghost Rider, audiences should look forward to what will likely be another successful year for comic book movies. Excelsior!

The Incredible Hulk 2?

The Incredible Hulk

You have to give Marvel credit. They are putting out movies on their best characters on a yearly basis, and good news is, that’s not about to stop anytime soon. Next year we have The Avengers, the year after gives us Iron Man 3 and Thor 2, and 2014 sees the release of the sequel to this year’s Captain America: The First Avenger. So we know we’re going to see more of Iron Man, Cap and Thor, but where does that leave the Incredible Hulk?

The last time we saw the Green Goliath was back in 2008, in the Hulk reboot starring Edward Norton as Dr Bruce Banner. Whilst the movie was far from groundbreaking, it was a decent action flick, even though it lacked substance. To no surprise, the role of Banner was taken from Norton and given to fellow actor Mark Ruffalo for next year’s Avengers film. In my personal opinion, Ruffalo does not suit the role of Banner. When we last saw Bruce, he was on the run from the military, sneaking across America in his quest to remain hidden. If continuity matters, (and to Marvel Studios it’s meant to) how has a man who’s spent years hiding in less developed countries managed to put on a lot of weight and age considerably since we last saw him. I realise the role of The Incredible Hulk is often referred to ‘Hamlet’ in the sense that there are lots of different actor’s takes on the giant, but how can The Incredible Hulk be considered cannon if Bruce Banner looks completely different in The Avengers?

Which brings me to my point. If there were going to be an Incredible Hulk 2, the role of Bruce Banner would again need to be recast. Even if Ruffalo gives us a brilliant performance as Banner next year, he’s not suitable to carry his own Hulk movie. As Green Lantern proved, with comic book movies at an all time high, there are bound to be some bad ones, and if done wrong The Incredible Hulk 2 could be a bad one. The movie will need all the help it can get, meaning a new lead actor who can draw in the big audiences Ruffalo would struggle to do.

People criticise Ang Lee’s Hulk, but the one thing I liked about it was Eric Bana as Bruce. Bana’s portrayal gave The Hulk some depth and drama, which Norton lacked. A new Hulk movie would again need to tap into the mind of Bruce Banner, and how he feels about his inner monster. 2008’s Hulk got it partially right with Banner desperate on the run, but it needed to go that extra mile and when it did, it had its most powerful scene with Bruce Banner attempting suicide in the Arctic cut. Scenes like that would be critical for a new Hulk movie, as comic book movies need to show they have enough depth to succeed.

Lastly, and perhaps the most important factor is making sure the Hulk is seen as a hero. We’ve seen Hulk vs. the military too many times now, and hopefully The Avengers movie will put the green giant back in the hero shoes so a new Hulk movie can hit the ground running. After all, we already have a villain. When we last saw Samuel Sterns, his head was being enlarged by a leaked gamma source. The Leader is a great villain for a Hulk film, as he possesses the power to challenge Banner on an intellectual level, and the Hulk on a physical level. If Hulk 2 is a go, The Leader must be the villain.

Will we actually get an Incredible Hulk 2? I doubt it. I think Marvel will likely stick to their hot properties and are more interested in starting brand new franchises than reviving old ones. I would still love to see a new Hulk film. He’s one of Marvel’s most iconic characters and if Ant-Man can get a movie, so should Hulk.

Deconstructing: Captain America Modern Day Bookends

Avengers Poster 2

Image by Boogeyman13 via Flickr

(Warning, if you haven’t seen Captain America: The First Avenger, the following article presents a major spoiler)

Marvel Studios are on a roll. Since the construction of their cinematic universe back in 2008 with the fantasticIron Man‘, Marvel Studios have given us four fantastic superhero films, and joint top of the bunch with Iron Man, is their latest flick ‘Captain America: The First Avenger’.  Starring Chris Evans as the skinny guy with a heart of gold, who volunteers for a top secret operation that will turn him into a super soldier, The First Avenger is Marvel Studio’s last solo film, before delivering next year’s pay-off ‘The Avengers‘. Of course, to get WW2 movie ‘The First Avenger’ to present day Avengers territory, Marvel had to connect the ending of Captain America to The Avengers film. Did it work? Not really. Check out the short clip here.

What damaged the ending of The First Avenger is that the emotion suffered through Steve’s suicide mission in the 40’s, was instantly lost as he awoke in the present day. I really enjoyed the final fight scene in Captain America, as Steve’s sacrifice was really well handled. His modern day revival wasn’t though. In recent adoptions of Steve’s modern day awakening, his revival is a tough ordeal for those involved as he lashes out suspecting he’s being held prisoner. It just wasn’t very satisfying.

I praise the decision to have Steve’s first reaction as ” I had a date” to being, told the news that he’s been asleep for almost 70 years. It was a sweet moment that really adds some gravitas to the Steve Rogers/Peggy Carter romance. It just wasn’t enough. We didn’t see enough scenes of him being freed from the ice. Also, the way the scene had Steve asleep in the bed with the football report on the radio was slightly cheesy, as how could the nursing team be sure of the exact moment he’d awake? From then on Steve’s escape from the facility was too easy, with dozens of guards failing to apprehend him, whilst on right on cue, Nick Fury appears. How did Fury even get to Times Square so fast?

I hope Joss Whedon chooses to revisit this scene in The Avengers, as it could do with a bit more explaining. Don’t let this fault put you off seeing the move however, as I stand by my claim that Captain America: The First Avenger is one of Marvel’s best.

 

Captain America: The First Avenger Movie Review

E3 2011 - Captain America's shield from Captai...

Image by popculturegeek.com via Flickr

(warning: this is a comprehensive review therefore may contain spoilers)

A lot of pressure was riding on Captain America: The First Avenger. If done well, Marvel could have their best movie yet, whilst generating huge hype for The Avengers. If done wrong, plans for The Avengers would have taken a huge hit. Has director Joe Johnston truly managed to bring the magic to one of Marvel’s most iconic characters?

Based on the iconic character from WW2, The First Avenger follows a brave young Steve Rogers from Brooklyn, New York (Chris Evans), as he deemed unfit to serve for the military. With nowhere else to go, Rogers volunteers for an operation that will turn him into a super soldier, led by Dr. Abraham Erskine. The operation is a success but Dr Erskine is quickly killed, along with the secrets of the super soldier formula. Realising their only living super soldier is too much of a risk for combat, the US military decide to parade Rogers out on USO shows to boost morale and gain funding. However when an evil plot reveals itself lead by the evil Johann Schimdt/Red Skull (Hugo Weaving), Rogers must step up to the task and become Captain America.

The movie handles the hardest part well. It is successfully able to avoid turning a flag wearer into a flag weaver. Instead Evans comes across a well likeable character, who hates bullies and isn’t afraid to stand up for himself. Steve’s character is given proper treatment, before he becomes the Nazi bashing super soldier, as Evans proves he can handle more than just comedy putting any confusion over him being The Human Torch to rest.

Hayley Atwell gives us a convincing performance as the strong, but sensitive Peggy Carter, and Tommy Lee Jones is on scene stealing form as the cocky Colonel Philips who is prone to one-liners. The rest of the cast either struggle to impress or are not given enough time to do so. It’s been a tough summer for Bucky Barnes. He suffered a cheap death in the comic books recently, and his treatment in The First Avenger fairs little better. Sebastian Stan tries to make the most of what he is given, as it’s evident that Steve and Bucky are long-term friends. Once Barnes is quickly dealt with however, he’s soon forgotten. Captain America’s support group The Howling Commandos (although they are never actually called that in the film), cry out for their own spin-off as they provide some of the films more fun scenes.

Several disappointments I had with this film were Howard Stark (Dominic Cooper) and The Red Skull (Hugo Weaving). The Howard Stark portrayed in this film had little charisma, and it often felt forced how many times the name Stark was mentioned, as if to keep re-enforcing the fact that he’s Iron Man’s dad to the audience. Weaving’s Skull is so fanatically unhinged, he even disgusts other Nazis, but it’s sometimes difficult to see where his intentions lie. Is he simply just obsessed with being a god? The Red Skull certainly isn’t the diabolical villain I read in the comics. I also hope we see more explanation behind the Cosmic Cube in The Avengers. Ordinary cinema viewers would have perhaps found it difficult in this film to understand just what is the cube’s power.

That’s where the film loses a star. The main threat HYDRA, the Nazi deep science division, only really has two main figureheads, therefore never really feels like a world threat. Perhaps if we had seen more classic cap villains such as Baron Zemo and Baron Von Strucker, HYDRA might have looked more of a threat.

Did the film work as a period movie? Easily yes. Whilst maintaining enough historical ground to make it work, but not bogging it down too much until it becomes boring, Johnston mixes the perfect amount of history and fantasy to create a truly unique superhero movie. The special effects were actually a welcome surprise. Despite my initial fears Chris Evans’s head would look awkward on a skinny man’s body, Marvel pulled it off fantastically well. The battle scenes all look convincing, and they easily rival the effects seen in Thor.

To conclude Marvel can look back at Captain America: The First Avenger as job done. A great performance from it’s lead character, good action, good special effects and a great story all round. Captain America isn’t a classic by any means, but full credit should be given to Johnston and Marvel for making this happen.

Rating: 8/10