Posts Tagged ‘ Loki ’

New Avengers Trailer Deconstruction And Analysis

I didn’t think it was possible, but The Avengers is looking better than anybody could have ever predicted. Debuting exclusively via Apple, the new trailer offers us tons of fantastic action scenes, a closer look at Loki‘s ‘army’ and some intriguing story moments. Simply put, it was one of the best movie trailers I’ve ever seen.

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1) Continuity Counts

One of my main fears when Marvel first announced their intention to build a cinematic shared universe was that it would be difficult to interweave the separate films into the same continuity. True, there have been some hiccups here and there, and the recasting of James Rhodes/War Machine and Bruce Banner didn’t help. Thankfully though, this trailer at least confirms that the ending of Iron Man 2 will be addressed in The Avengers. I’m a strong believer that when this film hits, it’s going to bring all the Marvel films before it into better context. Plus, the new Stark tech looks fantastic.

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2) There’s Conflict In The Team

For comic book fans out there, you may have noticed how this scene looks as if it has been taken straight from the pages of Mark Millar‘s and Bryan Hitch‘s revolutionary series Ultimates 2. In the original trailer, we saw signs of hostilities between Captain America and Thor, but now this new trailer reveals more to the story. Has Loki manipulated events and turned the other Avengers against his brother? Either way, praise must be given to Joss Whedon for bringing this interesting dynamic to the team.

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3) Maria Hill Finally

Here we finally get a shot of Cobie Smulders as Agent Maria Hill standing alongside Agent Phil Coulson (Clark Gregg). We haven’t seen much of her so far, but knowing Whedon’s talent for handling female characters, I’m sure Maria Hill will be represented well on screen.

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4) Mind Control Or Double Agent?

An interesting moment here is seeing Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) engaged in combat with her former partner Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner). First assumptions would be that Loki has somehow used mind control over Hawkeye and is able to use the Avenger as a weapon against Widow. As a big fan of The Ultimates, I can’t help but wish this shot represented Black Widow revealing herself as a double agent working against the team. I doubt that’s going to happen (there’s not even the slightest hint of Russian) but it certainly would raise the stakes of the movie to another level.

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5) More Ultimates Genius

Here is another shot that brought back memories of reading the opening of The Ultimates 2. In that universe, Cap jumping out of planes is a trademark aspect to the character and it looks brilliant on-screen in The Avengers.

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6) Hulk Is Loose

Another pivotal screenshot, this time perhaps revealing that Loki is able to control the Hulk, and even manages to chase down Black Widow possibly on board the Hellicarrier. I’m really happy with how the trailer is able to convey the mess Loki is causing. It really is exceeding my expectations.

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7) Kneel Before Zo.. Loki

Perhaps my favourite moment from the trailer, simply because it highlights how Loki isn’t on Earth to simply destroy it or invade it, he wants to rule it. Anyone following the set pictures online knows how this ends up, but for now, Loki is winning.

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8) Hawkeye Is In The Film

In case you didn’t know, Hawkeye is in this film. He only gets a few snippets of screen time in the trailer, and even Agent Coulson gets more dialogue than him. Why do I get the feeling he’s going to take down the monster revealed at the end of the trailer though?

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9) Thor Imprisoned

Once again, another scene that looks as if it has been taken straight from The Ultimates, this time revealing Thor imprisoned by SHIELD as he screams in anger. What’s interesting is that Thor is imprisoned; yet still holding his hammer Mjölnir. Why would SHIELD imprison Thor while still armed with his hammer? Something doesn’t add up, is Loki yet again behind this?

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10) The Skrulls, Or Kree, Or Something Else Entirely

We are yet again teased at the identity of Loki’s alien army. We’ve been told time and time again they’re not Skrulls, yet that seems the most logical choice. I’m beginning to think they will likely be a new race created by Whedon himself.

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11) Hulk Is A Hero

Putting aside any rumours of Hulk being a villain in this movie, here we see Hulk catching a fallen Iron Man after taking heavy fire while attacking the invading army. It’s a shot that looks as if it has been taken straight from the comics. The Hulk has slipped off radar in recent years, it looks as if Whedon is about to put him straight back at the top. Mark Ruffalo also impresses as Bruce Banner, reminiscent of the classic Bill Bixby series.

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12) The Midgard Serpent?

Easily the best Easter egg ever found in a trailer. Is this a nod to the classic Thor villain, the Midgard Serpent, or a different take on the Marvel dragon Fin Fang Foom? Either way, the mechanical beast has the potential to make for a fantastic cinematic battle. May cannot come soon enough.


Deconstructing: The Avengers Superbowl Trailer

(Warning: Spoilers In This Article)

Debuting during the Superbowl, the action packed trailer for The Avengers offers us our first glimpse of the full Avengers team assembled. Simply put, the action packed trailer was just pure brilliance. Here I will look at some of the interesting moments from the trailer, and discuss how I believe The Avengers will be one the best comic book movies of all time.

Unlike many suggestions on the internet that seem to imply the scene with Tony Stark and Steve Rogers is when they first meet, to me, it looks more like they’ve just been ordered to make up after a brief spat by Nick Fury. One thing that separates the Avengers from the Justice League is that it constantly feels as if the personalities of the Avengers team shouldn’t be together. Yet somehow, the team works brilliant. With a huge ensemble move like this, each character needs to have unique distinctive qualities, and based on what we’ve seen so far, they’re bound to clash from time to time.

Here we see Iron Man flying towards what looks to be an oncoming alien invasion. Some have argued that Iron Man is flying towards the alien mother ship, however it looks more like he is flying towards the portal that links the alien world to Earth. Upon Iron Man and the Avengers Quinjet entering the portal, it looks as if Thor thunderously lands on the Quinjet, initially believing the Avengers to be either imposters or belonging to the alien species. This is why I think Thor attacks Captain America in the previous trailer.

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We also get our first glimpse of ‘Loki‘s’ Army invading Earth. Marvel have done very well here, as they have revealed the alien army’s appearance, yet it’s still difficult to determine what species they are. Everything seems to suggest Skrull, yet FOX apparently owns the rights to them. It’s definitely not Frost Giants as some have implied, as the aliens seen here are far too technology advanced to have come from an ice realm. The same goes for Atlanteans. I’m thinking it’s a lesser-known species such as the aliens from the Breakworld or even The Sons of Muspell. Hopefully though, there will be some hidden references to army in previous Marvel films so that Nick Fury creating the Avengers feels organic like it was planned all along, and not forced for the sake of giving this movie a villain

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Whedon promised that every character in this movie would have their moment, and this trailer certainly confirms that. From Cap performing death-defying leaps, to Hawkeye shooting off arrows while free falling, it looks so far as if no character is going to get left behind.

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Seeing the team fully Assembled proves to me that Joss Whedon seems on intent on delivery the perfect comic book move. One that is action packed, over the top and not held bad by contemporary realism. He also seems to have captured the one element that other superhero ensemble movies seem to miss, teamwork! With the heroes combined, there is a sense that whatever threat they’re facing is incredibly serious, and it really adds some gravitas to the movie, which the previous trailer failed to do. My only complaint would be that compared to Cap, Iron Man, Thor and Hulk, Black Widow arming herself with one gun is a little underwhelming. Hopefully there’s more to her than what meets the eye, and based on Whedon’s history with writing strong female characters, I’m sure Black Widow will impress on screen.

Towards the end of the trailer we see the confrontation between Loki and Tony Stark. After being told by Stark that the team is called the Avengers, Loki tries to threaten Stark by claiming he has an army, to which Stark replies, “We have a Hulk”. It’s cheesy, but it’s brilliant. It highlights how well the dialogue is being handled in this movie, as well as illustrating how dark Loki has become.

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My second favourite screen shot from the trailer involves the Hulk. It’s shows our first glimpse of a fully transformed Banner in action, as he smashes through a building and punches an aircraft high in the air. It’s brilliant. Simply because the Incredible Hulk is one of Marvel’s best characters, but some average movies and meant that his popularity has declined over the years. By including the Hulk in The Avengers, Marvel has a chance to put the Green Goliath back at the top where he belongs.

So there’s my deconstruction of the Superbowl Avengers trailer. While it was a little short, it’s completely revived my interest in the movie after a lack of serious marketing. Now though, I can’t wait for the movie to hit theatres, and I want to hear your suggestions about Loki’s army, and any other thoughts about the movie.

Did Thor Really Die During Fear Itself?

Mjolnir (comics)

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(This article contains spoilers)

It’s another postFear Itself article I’m afraid, this time focusing on the recent death of Thor. For those that read Marvel’s summer event Fear Itself, Thor sacrificed himself to defeat his uncle, The Serpent, who is actually the God of Fear.  Everyone knows deaths in comic books are never permanent, so how can we expect Thor to return in time for next summer’s Avengers movie?

It was revealed during the recent Fear Itself  #7.2 one-shot that a new God of Thunder known as Tanuras has replaced Thor. Little is known about this new God of Thunder so far, except that after Thor’s funeral, magical happenings have seemed to make everyone, but Loki believe Tanuras was always the God of Thunder. Where does this leave Thor? He was last seen in a state of limbo, which makes me believe he’ll be back next year to reclaim his role as the God of Thunder.

There are many ways Thor can be brought back. My theory is that Steve Rogers wielding Mjolnir in Fear Itself #7 bares more significance than we thought. After all, whoever holds the hammer is meant to wield the power of Thor, so is Rogers the key to the Odinson’s return? Comicvine ran an interesting article on Gods in comics being beyond the concept of death. That they are depicted as pure energy, and everyone knows energy cannot be destroyed. Will it just take some belief from humans to channel the energy needed to bring Thor back?

What happens when Thor does return though? Will Tanuras just move over and let Thor reclaim his position? With the reality shift in effect, will anyone even remember Thor? This would mean Loki would be the only one with the knowledge of what really happened making his newfound innocence even more interesting. I can see Thor taking on an Avengers team unaware of who is really is with Loki tasked to set things right. This should make the Thor and Loki dynamic even more interesting. Since Loki was resurrected as a young boy, his characterization has improved drastically. This is by far, the best depiction of the God of Mischief yet. What’s also interesting is that the Avengers trailer showed Thor attacking Captain America, and the solicitations for New Avengers in February 2012 show Thor attacking the Avengers. Are the comics and movie set to match up similar to Bucky’s death earlier in the year with Captain America: The First Avenger.

I’m really intrigued to see where Matt Fraction is taking Thor. I’m sold on him when it comes to Tony Stark, but he is yet to win me over with the God of Thunder. This Tanuras story has intrigued me, and for once I can actually say I am excited about where the events of Fear Itself are taking Marvel. I’m looking forward to what should hopefully be a blockbuster year for the God of Thunder in 2012.

Deconstructing: The Avengers Trailer

Avengers Poster V.2 Unofficial

It’s the day comic book fans across the globe have been waiting for. Today Marvel released their first full-length trailer for The Avengers movie due next year. Offering our first glimpse of Mark Ruffalo as The Hulk, the trailer certainly did not disappoint. Not much was revealed though, confirming that this is more of a teaser to keep fans satisfied for the time being. What we can do though, is speculate about the movie from what we’ve seen so far.

1) Joss Whedon is certainly keeping the team’s main threat under wraps for now:

During the trailer we saw gigantic expositions destroying cars and streets, as well as military forces preparing for what seemed like an attack from above. Could it be Skrulls? Could it be the Kree? Either way I have to give Whedon credit for not giving everything away too soon. We know Loki is the mastermind behind everything, what else he’s using remains a mystery.

2) Tony Stark takes the spotlight:

We saw a lot of Tony during the trailer. Whilst that’s certainly not a bad thing, it does however look like he will have a bigger part than most. Providing the film doesn’t suffer from X-Men syndrome, where other characters were ignored in favour of Wolverine, I’m happy for Tony to take the spotlight.

3) There is conflict between Steve and Tony:

One of the best moments in the trailer was watching Steve and Tony stand face to face. It’s great to see the dynamic between the characters taken from the comics. Credit to RDJ, who made the scene his own with an excellent response to Steve’s questioning. If they can provide this kind of character dynamic throughout the film, it could end up being one of the best comic book movies of all time.

4) The team has problems:

One of the more interesting moments was watching Thor attack Captain America in the forest. Given that Steve was in his new outfit, it would suggest Thor is either a late addition to the Avengers team, or perhaps Loki’s manipulation is what’s putting Thor against Cap. I’m presuming Loki’s voiceover at the beginning of the trailer was taken from a scene with him and The Hulk, plus Loki seemed to bother Black Widow when he walked past in captivity, so I expect Thor’s brother will be manipulating with the minds of all the heroes during the film.

5) Nick Fury unleashed

Samuel L. Jackson has appeared in four of the five Marvel Studio’s films so far, but he hasn’t really had any character development. Based on what we’ve see from the trailer, Nick Fury is set to get a bigger chunk of screen time next year, and seeing him armed with a bazooka was brilliant. It emphasises that Earth is facing a huge threat, whilst giving Fury some action scenes at last.

So there are the main things I took from The Avengers trailer. I can’t comment much on the Hulk, as we didn’t see much, but from what we did see, I’m glad we aren’t getting the ripped version from The Incredible Hulk. To conclude though, I have complete faith in Joss Whedon. He oversaw the brilliant Ultimate series by Mark Millar, and wrote one of the best X-Men story arcs ever created. From the look of this trailer, this is going to be huge.

Should this be the summer of villains instead of heroes?

X-Men First Class: Michael Fassbender & James ...

Image by Lyon & Pan via Flickr

I loved the Thor movie. I thought it was fantastic and finally delivered something comic book movies have been struggling with for a long while.

A classic villain.

Tom Hiddleston delivered a sensational performance as Thor’s brother Loki. Throwing out the tradition of simple minded, undeveloped villains which comic book moves tend to have, Loki was a complex, multilayered villain, who kept the audience guessing at every turn. Thor is just as much Loki’s movie as it is the God of Thunder’s. The same could potentially apply for all the villains in the upcoming summer comic book movies as well.

Starting off with X-Men: First Class, the movie focuses on the relationship between Charles Xavier (Professor X) and Erik Lehnsherr (Magneto), as well as the beginnings of the X-Men. Seeing as X-Men Origins: Magneto was supposedly cancelled, First Class is likely to at some point in the film depict Magneto’s origin as a survivor of The Holocaust. This will surely make for some compelling stuff, and is far more interesting then the rise of a rich telepath in Charles Xavier. Sir Ian McKellen‘s portrayal of Magneto in the X-Men trilogy was probably the best comic book movie villain of all time. His character was multilayered, tormented and it was just as easy to sympathize with him, as it was to hate him. Now we’re getting to chance to see his origin on screen, the rest of X-Men: First Class is just filler. Calling Magneto the best comic book movie villain of all time is no disrespect to Heath Ledger as the Joker in The Dark Knight, I just thought McKellen’s Magneto was much more relevant to the comic book source material.

I’m going to skip over Green Lantern because I don’t know enough about the main villain Hector Hammond (played by Peter Sarsgaard). I’m also not too keen on what they’ve done to the intergalactic fear entity Parallax. It looks like a giant cloud of special effects. Why can’t Hollywood do justice to their galactic monsters? It’s like when Marvel’s world consumer Galactus was turned into a giant cloud in Fantastic 4: Rise of the Silver Surfer. It’s insulting to the source material.

Sinestro, leader of the Green lantern Corps is where it gets interesting. Hopefully the film will set up the fall of Sinestro so we get a classic hero turned villain story in the Green lantern sequel.

Next up is Hugo Weaving as the Red Skull. Originally created as a Nazi leader, and Adolf Hitler’s right man for obvious reasons the Nazism is likely to be toned down in Captain America: The First Avenger. Instead we will probably see Weaving in charge of a villainous terrorist organization known as Hydra. Whilst I completely understand why the Nazi theme has been toned down, I hope it is not removed completely as it’s an essential part of the Red Skull character. Much like the Joker, Red Skull is the hero’s equal/opposite. Captain America represents democracy and freedom where as the Red Skull represents communism and dictatorship. If the Captain America film establishes this then we should be in for a great battle. The Red Skull is obsessed with world domination, and the film needs to touch on Skull’s origin to make it believable. He can’t just be a supremacist who’s obsessed with Nazi domination, as there needs to be a convincing reason behind his madness.

And if there is, then we may have a villain to rival Hiddleston’s Loki.

Fetch me a Norse! My Thor review

Chris Hemsworth as Thor as depicted in the upc...

Image via Wikipedia

Released: Out now

Certificate: 12A

Director: Kenneth Branagh

Cast: Chris Hemsworth, Natalie Portman, Tom Hiddleston, Anthony Hopkins, Stellan Skarsgars, Idris Elba

Running Time: 114 minutes

Plot (Possible spoilers): Arrogant Norse god Thor (Hemsworth) is cast out of Asgard by his father Odin (Hopkins), whilst his evil brother (Hidleston) plots to steal his fathers throne. Thor must rediscover himself on Earth in order to return to him homeland and save the day.

If you like your superhero movies fun and linear then Thor is right up your alley. If you’re searching for something a little more wholesome, than you might be disappointed with Marvel’s latest studio flick. What the film is however, is proof Marvel have learned from their mistakes. After Iron Man 2 was nothing more than a complete disappointment, often trying to cram in too many story lines just to set up The Avengers, Thor is the complete opposite. The movie moves through at an unbelievably quick pace and never fails to deliver. Thor is action packed and a tremendous amount of fun, showcasing how the master of Shakespeare Kenneth Branagh was the perfect man for the Norse god of Thunder.

Thor was considered to be Marvel’s most difficult task on the road to next year’s Avengers movie. Get him right and you have this awe inspiring powerful Norse god, with a rich and tremendous back-story. Get him wrong and you have nothing more than an embarrassing showcase of why B-list heroes should be left alone. Marvel has played it safe with Hamlet Kenneth Branagh, as he keeps Thor fresh and exciting all the way through.

Without spoiling too much of the plot, the story revolves around Thor and his relationship with his brother Loki and father Odin. After Loki convinces Thor to disobey his father’s orders, Thor is banished to Earth to learn to error of his ways and return to Asgard to stop his evil brother’s plans. It’s traditional Todorov narrative in its purest form and that’s what makes it so fun and compelling.

The movie begins with a bang in New Mexico showcasing Thor’s arrival on Earth followed by a scene illustrating the intense history between Asgard and Jotunheim (land of the frost giants). The Jotunheim scene leaps at you as if it were the great battle for Middle Earth at the beginning of The Fellowship of the Ring. Not very original I’m afraid. Plus the 3-D spoils it.

We then meet the key players in the film, Odin, (played by Antony Hopkins), Thor (played by the Chris Hemsworth) and his dark and mysterious brother Loki (Tom Hiddleston). The relationship between the characters themselves is handled perfectly. You can really tell Shakespearean director Branagh is onboard here. The relationship between Thor and his brother Loki is a complicated one. You can see the characters respect each other, but that is clouded by jealousy, rage and ultimately betrayal. This film is ultimately the platform for Hemsworth to imitate what Iron Man did for Robert Downey Jr. and become a major star. Hemsworth owns the role of Thor, and his transformation from arrogant warrior to selfless hero is handled perfectly. The linear narrative does wonders here. The fish out of water scenes also work perfectly as well, providing some fantastic comedic moments. (Especially one scene where Thor storms into a pet shop a demands a horse). Similar to the scenes involving Clark Kent in the Christopher Reeve Superman films, Hemsworth proves he is good with drama, action and comedy.

It’s Thor’s brother Loki who steals the show however. Hiddleston’s portrayal as the God of Mischief makes for one of the best comic book movie villains of all time. Branagh has done what so many comic book movies fail to do and spend equal time setting up the moves villain. Loki is a complex fellow. After discovering secrets about his origin, he has a fantastic showdown with his father Odin, with emotions of jealousy, rage, love and regret flying all over the place. This could of all gone wrong but Branagh keeps the tension thick, and the drama flowing. It’s so easy to sympathize for Loki, but Hiddleston keeps you hating him as well. His ability to keep the audience guessing is a skill that Hollywood seems to have neglected over the years.  Co-stars Hemsworth and Hiddleston have fantastic chemistry on screen, and make for one of the best hero/villain match ups we’ve seen in a long time.

The rest of the main cast all impress. Hopkins gives a powerful performance as the all father Odin, bringing with him an incredible sense of authority whenever he’s on screen. Unlike her role in Black Swan, Natalie Portman keeps it simple but effective as scientist Jane Foster. She oozes of innocence and woos Thor at an incredibly quick pace (which some critics have pointed out) but considering all she does for him while he’s on Earth, it’s pretty believable. Fresh off the controversy surrounding his casting, Idris Elba does a wonderful job as Heimdall, protector of the Bifrost Bridge (a bridge which links all the realms together). Heimdall’s incredible physique puts even Thor to shame

It’s the supporting cast that let the film down a bit however. Ray Stevenson, Tadanobu Asano and Josh Dallas rarely get given any sort of character development as Thor’s friends, the Warriors Three. The relationship between Thor and Asgard’s female warrior Sif (Jaimie Alaxendar) is never really explored and her character is left in the ambiguous wilderness. The same can be said for Kat Dennings as her character Darcy Lewis, a friend and colleague of Jane Foster (Portman), fails to deliver the sort of comedy we predicted from the film’s trailer. I can’t help but think this film would have been at least half a star better if all of the characters were handled perfectly.

The 3-D effect has been criticised (with the exception of Avatar) for not really taking off in cinemas yet and sadly the same applies to Thor. The opening scenes were left blurry and I didn’t really see what the 3-D effect gave to the film. If anything, it was a minor inconvenience.  The special effects were passable but let the film down in some scenes, especially the scene involving Thor and The Destroyer. I could forgive this however as they didn’t distract from the incredible action (and yes there is a lot of action) and drama nevertheless. There’s also one really pointless cameo from Jeremy Renner as the archer avenger Hawkeye where he shows up for almost no reason.

Verdict: Kenneth Branagh has done an incredible job with Thor, creating a standalone film that oozes with charisma. Hemsworth and Hiddleston emerge from this as true stars, and I can only hope we see more of their relationship in next year’s Avengers movie. Move over Iron Man, there’s a new hero in town, at least until Captain America: The First Avenger hits in July.

No pressure for Chris Evans..