Tag Archives: Avengers 2

New Cap, new Thor and ‘Avengers: Ultron!’

avengers ultron EW cover

Again, which of us, as little geeks, thought this would happen? All this superhero movie madness?

And who could have imagined it would be so much fun?

Entertainment Weekly – which I haven’t seen yet – has a big preview of next May’s “Avengers: Age of Ultron.”

new female thor

Marvel announces that, in the comics, Thor will soon be a female who takes the Thunder God’s mighty hammer when the original Odinson is sidelined.

new captain america falcon sam wilson

Marvel announces a new Captain America – most likely Sam Wilson, Cap’s longtime partner as the Falcon – will take over for Steve Rogers, also in the comics.

You know, this isn’t entirely new. Thor has been replaced before – once, notably, by a giant frog – and so has Cap (so many times I couldn’t begin to count, but most notably by Bucky Barnes/The Winter Soldier).

But it’s all fun and fair and will juice up publicity leading up to the “Ultron” movie next May.

So to reiterate: Hell to the yes.



‘Agents of SHIELD,’ ‘Winter Soldier’ building to … ?

blue-alien-agents-of-shieldIt shouldn’t be surprising that Disney/ABC/Marvel is practicing synergy in how it’s handling ABC’s Tuesday-night series “Agents of SHIELD” and the April 4 release of “Captain America: The Winter Soldier,” the second Marvel movie – after “Thor: The Dark World” – released since “SHIELD” debuted last fall.

There was a “SHIELD” episode earlier in the season that tied in, in a minimal way, to the “Thor” sequel. And Jaimie Alexander guest-starred this week as Sif on “SHIELD,” tracking down fellow Asgardian Lorelei.

But it’s increasingly obvious, as I noted in an earlier piece, that both “SHIELD” and “Winter Soldier” seem to be building to something.

On “SHIELD,” Agent Phil Coulson (Clark Gregg) has had a season-long arc of discovery as he tries to determine how and why he was brought back from the dead after Loki inflicted a fatal goring in “The Avengers.” So far, we’ve learned that Coulson – and SHIELD team member Skye – were saved by a mysterious liquid that appears to be generated from the half-missing corpse of a blue alien bottled up in a remote SHIELD facility. In last week’s episode, Coulson asks Sif about “blue aliens” and she mentions several, from frost giants (obviously not the answer in this case) to the Kree, the longtime Marvel alien race that spawned not only the original Captain Marvel but also is the mortal enemy of the Skrulls (or the Chitauri, as they were depicted in “The Avengers.”)

By episode’s end, Coulson – frustrated that alien biologics were used in his resurrection and to save Skye – is seeking answers and demanding to speak to Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson, who’s already appeared on the series).

Promos for the series – using the subtitle (“Uprising”) – would lead us to believe that Coulson’s quest for knowledge may shake up the prevailing image of SHIELD.

As I’ve stated before, SHIELD’s been the subject of sinister undertones in the big-screen Marvel movies, most notably “The Avengers,” when our heroes discovered that SHIELD was experimenting with Hydra weaponry.

I have a feeling this will tie in, more or less, to “Winter Soldier” when it comes out on April 4. The promos for the movie indicate Cap, Black Widow and new partner Sam (aka The Falcon) Wilson might find themselves pitted against SHIELD itself or at least leader figures like the one Robert Redford plays. I’ve previously speculated the role Robert Redford’s character plays in all this (spoilers here if you look).

So what can we infer from this?

Marvel is trying to pull off something that’s extremely tricky. It’s making some pretty big changes to SHIELD, the organization that has been, more or less, the glue that’s held its cinematic universe together from the start.

And it’s doing some while it’s producing a weekly TV series about that organization.

Is the series going to turn its “good guy” into a “bad guy,” with the rank-and-file agents on the outside? Or even on the run?

‘The Avengers: Age of Ultron” – our first look

ultron from avengers sequel trailer

You lucky people who went to Comic-Con in San Diego got to see this teaser trailer for “The Avengers: Age of Ultron.” The rest of us have been looking forward to it ever since.

Then it was posted online this week … then it disappeared. Then it was back … then it disappeared.

So I guess we’ll see if this posting of it sticks.

The trailer is short and, as described, shows Tony Stark’s Iron Man helmet being hammered, forged into the macabre, grinning image of Ultron.

In the comics, of course, Ultron was a creation of Hank Pym, also known as Ant-Man. It makes sense that the movie version would grow, somehow, out of Stark.

If that’s what really happens, of course.

We’ll know more soon about the movie version of a favorite comic book villain, including how James Spader is to play the android. Motion capture? Voice over? Something else?

As for hints of the plot, there’s not much. Other than the sites and sounds of hammering Tony’s helmet into Ultron’s visage, there are a few lines of dialogue from previous previous Marvel movies. Most seem to be from “The Avengers.”

“I don’t play well with others,” Tony says. “Here with a mission, sir?” Cap asks. “We’re not a team. We’re a time bomb,” Bruce Banner says.

And we’ll know all in 2015, when the movie hits the big screen.

Cooper = Rocket. Spader = Ultron.

rocket raccoon sdcc shot

So this is happening:


And so is this:


Bradley Cooper giving voice to Rocket Raccoon in “Guardians of the Galaxy.”

James Spader playing (voice? motion capture and CGI? costume with Willem DaFoe style headgear?) Ultron in “Avengers: Age of Ultron.”

Marvel, you crazy geniuses.

Marvel Phase 2: What we want to see

cap and winter soldier

It’s pretty easy to talk about what movies and characters we want to see in Marvel’s cinematic Phase Two, leading up to the “Avengers” sequel in 2015.

We’re already know we’re getting “Iron Man 3” in just a few days, the “Thor” sequel this fall, “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” and “Guardians of the Galaxy” after that. “Ant-Man” fits in there somewhere.

marvel-phase-2 lineup

But what’s the spirit of what we want to see in the next set of movies?

The “this is new and exciting” feel of the original “Iron Man.” We’d seen a lot of superhero movies before 2008, but “Iron Man” was the first to create such a believable universe – the Marvel universe – of characters. You knew even before Nick Fury’s walk-on at the end that we were going to see this universe explored.

marvel-phase-2 ant man

The surprise of “The Incredible Hulk.” Yes, the Hulk was better in “The Avengers.” Yes, Joss Whedon got the characters of Bruce Banner and “The Other Guy” just right. But 2008’s “The Incredible Hulk” had some great moments, including even non-Greenskin moments, especially the scene where Bruce Banner leads a pack of Thunderbolt Ross’ soldiers on a chase through the slums of a South American city. It was a very “Bourne” sequence and had little in the way of typical superhero effects. But it sure was cool. “Ant-Man” has the potential to surprise us like that.

The heart of “Captain America.” We will be lucky indeed if the “Cap” sequel or any of the other Phase Two movies have the old-fashioned heart of Joe Johnston’s original. Cap’s story could have been corny. But this “kid from Brooklyn” was heart-warming and endearing and exciting at the same time.

marvel-phase- falcon

The spectacle of “The Avengers.” It had never been done, but Joss Whedon did it. He made a movie about a bunch of super-powered heroes that didn’t feel crowded or outlandish but had more than its share of large-scale scenes and epic battles. We need that in Phase 2. Imagine how wowed we could feel when we see The Falcon take flight in the “Cap” sequel.

The feel of “there’s a greater universe out there” of all the Phase One movies. It’s not just about loading the movies with guest stars and recurring characters. It’s implying – with greater or lesser degrees of subtlety – that there’s a bigger story lurking just around the corner from what’s happening on screen. Remember wondering how SHIELD played into all these stories? Who the heck that guy Thanos was at the end of “Avengers?” If we’re lucky, Phase Two will leave us wondering and wanting more.

Joss Whedon, Galactus and ‘Avengers 2’

As some online sites are breaking news that Disney has announced that Joss Whedon will be back to direct “The Avengers 2” – and that’s probably not a total surprise – others are pulling back from recent reports that Marvel/Disney is agreeing to a trade with 20th Century Fox that would allow some “cosmic” characters like Galactus and Silver Surfer – currently part of Fox’s “Fantastic Four” film franchise, and thus outside Marvel’s movie sandbox – to appear in Marvel films.

First, some explanation: Before Marvel was making its own films, the company farmed out the rights to its (at the time) biggest characters to other studios. Fantastic Four and X-Men went to Fox, with very mixed results. So did Daredevil, who turned up in a movie starring Ben Affleck that wasn’t bad. Meanwhile, Spider-Man and his supporting characters went to Columbia/Sony.

The separation of characters has been frustrating in small ways. The reporter character in the “Daredevil” movie worked – in the comics at least – for The Daily Bugle, Peter Parker’s employer. But they didn’t use that paper’s name in the movie because all that Spidey stuff was elsewhere.

There’s been some speculation that the movie rights to some of these characters would eventually revert to Marvel and we might see – as was rumored months ago – Spider-Man in an “Avengers” movie. But that’ll happen only if the competing studios stop making new films.

So Fox has ordered up a new “Fantastic Four” movie and hired “Chronicle” director Josh Trank to make it. Similarly, Sony/Columbia rebooted “The Amazing Spider-Man” this summer in part to keep that character from reverting to Marvel’s control.

But when Thanos, Marvel’s death-loving cosmic villain, showed up at the end of “The Avengers” this summer, it was obvious that Marvel had some cosmic-sized plans for its movies. The announcement that Marvel will make a “Guardians of the Galaxy” movie – whose characters are prime foes for Thanos – for 2014 only confirms the space-bound plans for Marvel’s movies.

While I doubt that more than a handful of people know the real truth, reports are now circulating that although Fox might have wanted more time to get its “Daredevil” reboot going, that doesn’t mean that Galactus, the Silver Surfer or other characters overseen by Fox will show up in a future “Avengers” or “Guardians” movie.

Much as we might hope that’s the case.

If anybody knows who’s coming over to whose playhouse, it’s likely to be Joss Whedon. After “The Avengers” made $1.5 billion worldwide, I’m guessing Marvel offered Whedon whatever he wanted for the sequel. And while there’s no doubt a big paycheck in the deal, Whedon – a lifelong geek who has written X-Men comics – would no doubt like to have some of those cosmic characters to play with.

Maybe he’s even expecting it. He ended “The Avengers” with one of those star-spanning baddies, after all.