Posts Tagged ‘ Marvel Cinematic Universe ’

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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What More Can We Expect From Marvel Studios? Part 1

Variant cover art for New Avengers #1, by Joe ...

Image via Wikipedia

Next year is make or break for Marvel Studios. The success of the heavily anticipated Avengers film will determine whether or not Marvel open up their character catalogue even further on screen. If the movie flops, we’ll have to get used to seeing Iron Man and Thor sequels for the time being. If the movie succeeds, surely Marvel will fast track some of their other B and C list heroes into movie stardom. With so many characters to chose from, Marvel have a great opportunity to expand their fan base even further.

1) The Winter Soldier

I’ve said this before, but I’ll say it again. A movie based on the Winter Soldier could do wonders for Marvel. We haven’t had a dark film from Marvel Studios since the first Iron Man, and a solo outing for Bucky Barnes could be Marvel’s answer to the Bourne films.  Ever since Ed Brubaker brought Bucky back from the dead and turned him into an ex-Soviet killing machine, the Winter Solider has become one of Marvel’s most compelling characters. Plus, with a new solo series set to hit stands next year; the Winter Soldier’s popularity is at an all time high.

2) The New Avengers

The reason for me choosing the New Avengers as a future movie is because I do not think solo films based on characters such as Luke Cage, Spider-Woman and Ms Marvel would be financially successful. Put them in an ensemble feature, and it’s a whole different ball game. The reason for the New Avengers existence in the Marvel cinematic universe could be that Nick Fury requires a team to handle the more down to earth threats of the universe. Due to Sony and Fox holding the cinematic rights to Spider-Man and Wolverine, we wouldn’t see them, however they could surely be replaced with characters such Iron Fist and Doctor Strange.

3) Ant-Man

We know a film based on Hank Pym is in development, currently scheduled for 2014 with Edgar Wright in the director’s chair. Little is known about the film so far, except from that it will be light in tone, which is a shame considering the enormous potential there is to explore Hank’s dark side. If the film is going to maintain a light-hearted tone throughout, it creates a big opportunity to introduce Janet van Dyne aka The Wasp into Marvel’s cinematic universe. With enough character development, we could easily see Ant-Man and Wasp slot into the Avengers 2.

 

So there are my first three picks for future movies from Marvel Studios. There are other characters that could also benefit from a trip to Hollywood, however I would love to see Winter Solider, New Avengers and Ant-Man films first. What characters would you like to see get the big screen treatment? The Falcon, The Vision? As always leave your comments below.

 

Are There Too Many Supporting Characters in the Marvel Cinematic Universe?

Avengers Poster V.2.1 Unofficial

Next summer The Avengers will unite for the first time on screen. Yes that’s right, next year we will see Iron Man, The Incredible Hulk, Thor and Captain America assemble attempt to pull the world back from the brink of disaster. To get this far, it has taken five films that each intertwine with each other in order to set up this huge superhero team up. Whilst films in the Marvel cinematic universe are all connected, they are also their own franchises that contain other important supporting characters. With the Avengers fast approaching, are major supporting characters such as War Machine, Bucky and Odin likely to get bumped for the superhero team-up film?

Recent reports suggest a host of supporting characters such as James Rhodes/ War Machine from Iron Man and Bucky Barnes from Captain America: The First Avenger will not be appearing in the Avengers flick. This is understandable from Marvel’s point of view, as it would save them money and prevents the film from overcrowding, but from a narrative point of view, are there too many loose ties to deal with that require these supporting characters in some capacity?

My first point is with Thor. When we last saw the Odinson, he was stranded in Asgard after destroying the Bifrost Bridge. (The bridge that connects the nine realms) Whilst his return to Earth is likely to be caused by the ‘secret paths’ Loki hinted at, how is the Avengers film really going to deal with this without using the likes of Heimdall, Odin and Jane Foster. Using Idris Elba in the film wouldn’t seem too excessive as his appearance could be kept to a bare cameo, but stars such as Anthony Hopkins and Natalie Portman, who haven’t yet confirmed if they’re on board, would be extremely expensive to have for bare cameos, and would likely need to have some involvement in the story, considering the main villain is likely to be Loki (Tom Hiddleston).

The same goes for the supporting characters in the Iron Man franchise. Don Cheadle recently confirmed that unless he’s recast, he definitely would not be in the Avengers as War Machine. This is understandable considering the team will already have Iron Man, but if the crisis in the film that brings the group together is truly Earth threatening, wouldn’t Nick Fury want another armoured battle suit at his disposal? This is something I hope Josh Whedon acknowledges in the film and that he makes a reasonable excuse for Rhode’s absence. Gwyneth Paltrow’s Pepper Potts is fortunately unnecessary in the film, so at least her absence is taken care of.

The absence of Captain America’s supporting characters in the Avengers is easier to explain due to The First Avenger being a period movie. Some key characters such as Bucky Barnes (Sebastian Stan) will at least need referencing in the film, perhaps in flashback sequences in order to emphasize how Steve Rogers has become a man out of time. If the Avengers film were to set up storylines for future solo character adventures, Bucky Barnes could be featured as The Winter Soldier.

Lastly is The Incredible Hulk. Personally this is the hardest film to incorporate into the Avengers movie due to it being released back in 2008 with no further sequels and a recast in lead actor from Ed Norton to Mark Ruffalo. When we last saw Bruce Banner he was hiding out in British Columbia where we saw hints that either he had become able to control the monster within, or it was controlling him. Whilst this will surely be dealt with in the Avengers, the after credit scene with Tony Stark and General Ross hinted that Ross was somehow involved in the set up of the Avengers team. Will this be addressed in the film? I doubt it as I’m beginning to feel Marvel is slowly removing The Incredible Hulk from their continuity.

Hopefully the absence of any important supporting characters will be addressed intelligently, as this is where Marvel’s connected universe will really begin to pay off. For instant I don’t want to see Thor return to Earth with no mention of Jane Foster, nor do I want Tony Stark in combat without acknowledging War Machine’s absence. Hopefully Josh Whedon will pay attention to detail and Marvel will surely pull of something phenomenal that sets new standards for comic book movies.

The Avengers is officially one year away!

Cast of The Avengers at the 2010 San Deigo Com...

Image via Wikipedia

We’re now less than one year away from perhaps the most ambitious superhero movie ever made. On May 4th 2012 The Avengers will finally assemble together on screen. It’s been a long road since the original Iron Man film had a post credit scene with Nick Fury confirming the Avengers initiative was in motion, but now it’s finally coming to together thanks to Marvel Studios and director Joss Whedon. I found this so amazing because I originally had such strong doubts that The Avengers movie would even happen.

After all, the X-Men franchise has shown us that superhero teams can’t be done properly as they focused on one team member in particular (Wolverine) all 3 movies leaving some crucial X-Men with almost no significance at all. X-Men leader Cyclops was barely given any screen time, whilst Halle Berry‘s mutant goddess Storm did little more than sit behind the controls of a plane. Could this happen to The Avengers? Robert Downey Jr is certainly the most prolific actor in the franchise, so does this mean the focus will be mainly on Iron Man what’s supposed to be a superhero team up flick? Actors such as Chris Evans and Jeremy Renner could be forced with only playing supporting roles as avengers Cap and Hawkeye? I’ve been against the casting of Evans since the beginning anyway as he doesn’t seem to be as imposing as I thought Cap should be, yet this could work in Marvel’s favour as it puts the big ego of the group RDj in charge. Scarlett Johansson’s Black Widow came off flat in Iron Man 2, is she the new Storm of The Avengers franchise? A stolen script snuggest not, as it confirms Widow has some sort of storyline going with Mark Ruffalo’s Hulk.

They’ve had some bumps along the way (Terrence Howard, Ed Norton) but Marvel have kept the hype going for The Avengers perfectly. Viewers of the previous four Marvel movies have had the chance to spot references to other characters and items in the cinematic universe and it works perfectly. Fan boy scenes such as in Iron Man 2 where Agent Coulson lifts Captain America’s prototype shield from a crate have kept Marvel’s continuity nicely weaved together. My favourite was in The Incredible Hulk where Russian soldier Emily Blonsky is given a dose of the super soldier serum that turned skinny Steve Rogers into the sentinel of liberty himself. When done right and now forced done our throats these scenes have been great Avengers teasers and have kept audiences excited over the past three years.

Iron Man has flown and gone, Hulk has had a less than smashing flick, and Thor has just has a hammering fantastic debut. If Captain America: The First Avenger can keep the momentum Thor has created, than the hype for The Avengers will be extremely huge! So much pressure is now on the Cap movie to keep the excitement going because it if flops The Avengers face an early struggle

Either way come this time next year I’ll be shouting as I come out of the cinema

AVENGERS ASSEMBLE!