Posts Tagged ‘ Marvel Studios ’

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!

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

 

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.

Could Spider-Man Be In The Avengers After All?

Spider-Man: Big Time

Image via Wikipedia

It’s safe to say my anticipation for The Avengers film has reached an all time high. With just three months to go until the movie hits, my mind is full of questions. Who are the villains? Where is the new trailer? Will Hawkeye be more than just a supporting character, and most importantly, will any other Avengers cameo?

Rumours have recently been circulating online regarding Spider-Man potentially having a cameo in The Avengers movie. Normally, it’s easy to ignore these types of rumours, as the Avengers are owned by Marvel, and Sony owns the rights to Spider-Man. What fuels these rumours this time though is that Disney will be involved in the merchandising rights for The Amazing Spider-Man, meaning Disney have some weight in the Marvel character’s film rights. Could it be that Disney made a deal with Sony for Spider-Man to show up in The Avengers, if it meant Disney would aid Sony by undertaking a strong merchandising effort for The Amazing Spider-Man?

It would be great to see Peter Parker show up in The Avengers. Among all Easter eggs, seeing a top character like Spider-Man appear would be a crowning achievement for Marvel Studios. For Sony, I can only imagine that an Avengers cameo for Spidey would perhaps create some momentum for the character, considering his own film would still be some three months away. Plus, Spider-Man’s return to cinema comes at a time when a certain Dark Knight returns for a second sequel. Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone aside, it’s safe to say The Dark Knight Rises will easily out perform The Amazing Spider-Man at the box office. Sony will need all the help they can get if they want to compete with the likes of The Avengers and The Dark Knight Rises.

Honestly though, I can’t see Spider-Man appearing in The Avengers. Neither studio would gain enough from it. Marvel are riding off the success of Iron Man, Thor and Captain America, while Sony are likely to bring in strong enough numbers based on the Spidey name alone. It would certainly be good if it did happen, as it would signal the end of movie studios clinging to individual characters, and if Marvel Studios could eventually win back Spider-Man, who says they couldn’t one day reclaim the X-Men? Regardless, Sony have always stood strong with the Spidey franchise (Spider-Man 3 story aside) so I don’t think they would be in any rush to sell one of the world’s most popular superheroes too soon.

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.

 

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.