Tag Archive: iron man 2


Marvel’s Phase Two is now underway with Iron Man 3 becoming the first movie of the year to gross over one billion dollars. With Thor: The Dark World, Captain America: The First Avenger and Guardians of the Galaxy resulting in The Avengers 2 it looks to be another successful couple of years for Marvel. Then with Phase Three some new arrivals are set to touch down in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) with Ant-Man and Doctor Strange making it to the big screen, and rumours Black Panther will be there, Marvel are taking risks developing new properties. Runaways seems to be a comic book that would fit beautifully into the world that the MCU has taken on.

For anyone not familiar with Runaways, it is one of the most exciting and innovative Marvel comic books in recent years. A group of teenagers find out that their parents make up the super villain group known as The Pride. These teenagers decide to run away from home and set about making up for their parents’ wrongs by becoming superheroes in their own right. Along the way they make some startling discoveries (one of them is a mutant, another a witch, one an alien, one owns a pet dinosaur) but their group dynamic makes for some very interesting reading and would make a great story on the big screen.

Back when the MCU was first coming together Runaways was one of the films under consideration: a script was being written (Drew Pearce actually got the job of co-writing Iron Man 3 due to the strength of his Runaways script), casting calls were put out and actors and actresses were even being contacted about the film. However, Marvel decided (rightly judging by the huge amount of money they have made) to focus on bringing The Avengers to the big screen and as such the Runaways project was unfortunately shelved. Recently though, Marvel President of Production Kevin Feige stated that a Runaways film is being developed along with Ms. Marvel and Iron Fist among others.

So why is Runaways such a good choice? Well the comic book series is laden with references to the wider universe. The teenagers themselves are fans of superheroes like Spider-Man and Hulk, in fact it begins with them role playing as other Marvel superheroes. In a universe like the one Marvel has created with their films it is obvious that children will want to imitate these heroes and they will have an effect on ordinary people, which could be explored in Runaways.

Up to this point, the effect that these films has on the wider world has not been touched upon all that much. That may change with Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D television series but it can also be shown in Runaways. The way that Runaways could intertwine with other Marvel characters and franchises would be different to everything that has been done so far. With Thor, Iron Man, Captain America and Hulk the movies just focus on the primary characters with nothing else really being explored; Runaways opens up the door for a self referencing corner of their universe where other films can be discussed as well as allowing this new team to have their own stories.

More importantly, with the popularity of Runaways it would be guaranteed to be a financial hit (lets face it, anything with Marvel attached to it is going to make money right now) but it is not a safe choice. This would be their first film featuring adolescent protagonists and can discuss more social and personal issues than the science of Iron Man or magic of Thor allow for. It would take the MCU to a grittier corner where everything isn’t always fine and where fighting your parents or dealing with an ultimate betrayal is everyday life.
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While it seems pretty difficult to write about Iron Man Three without giving away some huge spoilers I will do my best.

Iron Man Three sees Shane Black take on directing and writing (along with Drew Pearce) duties for Robert Downey Jr’s third solo outing as Iron Man. We pick up with Tony suffering from post traumatic stress after the events of New York. He has retreated into himself, he can’t sleep, and as such has taken to working more and more on his machines, evidenced by the fact that the one he wears so much in this movie is Mark XLII. However, Stark is thrust back into the limelight and back into action when new threat The Mandarin becomes a serious terrorist threat along with the return of a few people from Stark’s past; Aldrich Killian and Maya Hansen who have some secrets of their own. Without his team of super-powered friends, how will Tony Stark fare?

So let’s start with the obvious. Robert Downey Jr is every bit as wonderful as you would expect in the hands on a Shane Black script. The man IS Tony Stark. But Iron Man Three takes stark to a new level, a more personal level. One that’s actually scared for the people he cares about most, one that is suffering internally and doesn’t know how to deal with it. I thought this aspect of Stark’s life made for very interesting viewing and it was good to see that The Avengers didn’t just stop and let Tony go back to normal. It’s great to see that the film makers at Marvel are really nurturing their characters. Stark’s relationships with Don Cheadle’s James Rhodes and Ty Simpkins’ Harley especially provide really great moments of comedy that Downey delivers perfectly.

Rhodey is re-branded as Iron Patriot – a name that Stark less than approves of

There are some incredible set pieces in the film as there have been in the previous two Iron Man films: the cave break-out in Iron Man and the race track fight in Iron Man 2, but Iron Man Three takes things to new heights. The action scenes are just as big, if not bigger, as those in The Avengers. The mansion being blown apart like we’ve seen in the trailers is just an extraordinary scene that really comes from nowhere. There’s a scene where Stark is being held captive and has to break out which provides more great action and the final battle, with so many suits fighting against The Mandarin’s henchmen is really great. It’s refreshing to see Stark take someone on who is not just another man in a suit but poses just as great a threat. This time Stark not only has to use the strength and the powers that his suit gives him but he has to use his intelligence and strategy which is something that has been pushed to the back burner in past films.

Iron Man Three brings lots of surprises to the forefront. There are a lot of moments that seem to just come out of nowhere which makes the effects more dramatic. Pepper Potts has a more vital role in this installment and wasn’t even as annoying or useless as she has been in the past. Guy Pearce excels himself in his role. Seriously, Pearce is absolutely incredible. Him and Ben Kingsley steal every scene in which they are in, it’s just a shame that the two don’t have more on screen time with one another.

It is great to see Iron Man Three tell a story about Tony Stark more than of Iron Man but still keep plenty of suits in sight to keep everyone happy. Marvel’s films are known for having great action as well as big laughs and that’s never been better placed than here in Iron Man Three. There was one tiny little bit I didn’t like but I can’t say because that would ruin a pretty big part of the film.

Tony Stark will be back. Will Robert Downey Jr? We’ve got to hope so!

My Rating: 9/10.

Last week saw the release of the latest (brilliant) trailer for Iron Man 3. It looks as though this is going to be Marvel’s best stand alone film to date and will no doubt be packed full of brilliant moments featuring Tony Stark. With that in mind I decided to look over Stark’s four previous film appearances and pick out his best parts.

10. Court Scene – Iron Man 2

I think that this is a scene that really plays to Tony Stark’s character. Despite being in a formal setting where he is pretty much being attacked by the American government, Stark fails to take the situation seriously and instead decides to crack a few one liners and plays up for an audience reaction.

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9. Tony ‘suits-up’ whilst falling – The Avengers

During the events of The Avengers, after an exchange that also features on this list, Tony is thrown from a window by Loki. It is during this fall that we find out Tony’s technology has come a long way since Iron Man Mark I as his suit flies out of the building and latches onto him moments before he hits a crowded area of pavement that would surely kill him.

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8. “What if I told you we were putting a team together?” – The Incredible Hulk

It’s the scene that first shows Marvel’s multi-strand franchise. A great entrance from Tony Stark and showing that he is willing to work as part of a team, despite his huge ego!

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7. Iron Man’s First Flight – Iron Man

Every superhero scene has that moment where the protagonist masters their ability. Here we have Stark testing out his new suit and pushing it to the extremes as well as getting the hang of flying. With additional comedy landing.

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6. “We have a Hulk” – The Avengers

This is one of the best moments of The Avengers in my opinion. You have the most cunning person in the universe (Loki) in an exchange of words with master wordsmith and one-liner expert, Tony Stark. Full of charm and wit as always.

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5. The Suit Case – Iron Man 2

Before Tony could call his suit to him while he was falling out of buildings he was able to carry it around in a suitcase. Easily one of the coolest gadgets to ever grace the big screen!

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4. Break-Out Cave – Iron Man

This is the Iron Man Mark I armour. Now we really see how smart Stark is at his ability to construct this incredible suit while trapped in a cave. The first time we see Stark using his new weapon and generally just busting out using nothing but brute force.

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3. “Genius, billionaire, playboy, philanthropist” – The Avengers

It’s the line that has become the most quoted line from a Marvel film ever (probably). It’s how Stark’s fans have come to affectionately know him by and you can’t help but smile at Stark’s overindulging ego.

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2. Saving the world – The Avengers

It doesn’t come much bigger than saving the world. Tony has come such a long way since the first Iron Man film and is now willing to sacrifice himself to save the rest of New York’s population. Stark genuinely believes that he is going to die and this just shows how developed a character he has become over the journey of his existence on screen.

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1. “I am Iron Man” – Iron Man

Not a lot really tops saving the world but I think that this does. In arguably the most satisfying scene of Iron Man Tony Stark admits his alter ego. This is not something that usually happens in superhero films but it completely fits in with Stark’s ego-fuelling attitude and is completely in character. It’s a beautiful ending to a fantastic film!

DC and Warner Bros. have really shot themselves in the foot by slating a 2015 release for their big superhero team up movie: Justice League. One of the main things that saw Marvel’s The Avengers pay off so well is that the process for creating that film began way back in 2008 when, at the end of Iron Man, Nick Fury turned up and told Tony Stark about the Avengers Initiative. What followed was the incorporation of big characters in other strands of the franchise: Tony Stark in The Incredible Hulk, Agent Coulson in Iron Man and Thor, Nick Fury in Iron Man, Thor, Captain America, Black Widow in Iron Man 2 and Hawkeye in Thor. It’s too late, or too soon depending on how you look at it, for Justice League to be able to do that. Christopher Nolan just wrapped up The Dark Knight trilogy for Batman, Man of Steel is just rebooting Superman, Aquaman has become a joke among mainstream audiences largely thanks to Family Guy and The Big Bang Theory while The Green Lantern bombed. So what should the line up for the Justice League look like and who should play the famous characters?

Justice League_Warner Bros

 

Batman

Batman would be the hardest character to bring to Justice League. After what Christopher Nolan did with the character it’s going to be incredibly hard for anyone to reboot Batman so soon after one of the greatest trilogies of all time. The world of The Dark Knight doesn’t really fit with the fantastical element of Justice League either. I think that, although he is one of the biggest and best characters that DC have to offer, Batman should be left out of the roster until at least the sequel. Controversial, I know.

Superman

Even with Man of Steel looking like it’s going to be a grittier take on the character that I absolutely despise more than anything, it will still fit in with the fantastical element because at the end of the day, Superman is an alien who can easily be defeated by ‘space rock’. It won’t be too hard, I imagine, to connect Man of Steel to Justice League. New information released in the past 24 hours seems to have leaked a possible line up for Justice League and according to that, it will be the same Superman from Man of Steel so Henry Cavill would reprise the role.

 

Wonder Woman

The original and the best female superhero. Wonder Woman was been the subject of a very recent unsuccessful attempt to transfer the character to the big screen and casting is vital in terms of this character. Apparently there is a script in the works for a Wonder Woman solo film that will take place before Justice League (whether it will be released before it or not remains to be seen though) but who should play her? Gina Carano would be the pick for me; getting her break out in Haywire and soon to be appearing in the sixth Fast and Furious film, the mixed martial arts fighter has proven she can act and would be perfect for the role.

 

Aquaman

According to the leaked line up Aquaman is going to be pivotal to the story in Justice League. If it is going to be a big part then a big name actor should be cast, in order to reclaim a positive reputation for the character. Let’s keep it short and sweet. Ryan Gosling.

 

Green Lantern

Unfortunately, the Green Lantern movie flopped and probably will not be getting a sequel (that’s not unfortunate though). The unfortunate bit is that the Green Lantern in Justice League is likely to be the same character but be re-written. However, will Ryan Reynolds return or will he be re-cast Hulk style? David Boreanaz voiced Green Lantern in Justice League: The New Frontier and is a very good actor who I would like to see in the role. However, I think the character would need a darker rewrite if that was to be the case.

 

Flash

The fastest man on Earth, Flash is a character who must be in the film. The casting of Flash largely depends on which incarnation of the character they go for, although it is likely they will go for Barry Allen. Every comic book fan wants to see Nathan Fillion in a comic book movie and he was largely tipped for Green Lantern and Marvel’s Ant-Man but I think he would make a great Flash.

 

Martian Manhunter

If Darkseid is the villain of the film then it is imperative that Martian Manhunter is involved. Martian Manhunter is an alien who has lived on Earth (just like *yawn* Superman) for over one hundred years who has knowledge of Darkseid and his reign. If a Black Panther movie isn’t going to be made anytime soon and if Djimon Hounsou isn’t cast in it then he should surely be Martian Manhunter.

With the shock announcement that Disney have bought Star Wars and plan to release a completely new trilogy beginning in 2015 it is no wonder that speculation has already begun about who would be the best choice for director. Let’s look at some of the contenders:

Christopher Nolan

Fresh from directing one of the most lauded trilogies of all time in The Dark Knight Christopher Nolan could pretty much get any gig that he wanted which, let’s be honest, makes complete sense. Every one of Nolan’s films so far has gone down a treat and with Inception he certainly showed that he is more than capable of making a truly magnificent science fiction piece and this is something that the next instalment of Star Wars needs to be!

 

Bryan Singer

In a world as big as the one that Star Wars has built for itself the ability to handle and direct an ensemble cast is a must. With X-men and X2 Singer took on a similar challenge and managed to make a couple of the best superhero films to date. Therefore, this shows that Singer has what it takes to work with a large cast and bring out specific characters. Although, with the recent announcement he is set to helm Days of Future Past then he may be out of the question.

 

Brad Bird

Bird made his name at Pixar where he was given the go ahead to direct The Incredibles and obviously because it is Pixar, as well as the fact that it is brilliant, he received a lot of praise for his work. Earlier this year Brad Bird was responsible for reviving the Mission: Impossible franchise with Ghost Protocol and made the Tom Cruise franchise a relevant and important one once more; could he do the same for Star Wars?

 

Guillermo Del Toro

The fan knows fantasy, he knows special effects and can create huge blockbusters. Del Toro is well known for his ability to draw up strange creations and to let him loose on the world of Star Wars would be, for want of a better word, pretty orgasmic. Most notable for Hellboy and Pan’s Labyrinth Del Toro is set to announce his return to the world of huge blockbusters with Pacific Rim next year.

 

Jon Favreau

It was Favreau’s work with Iron Man that convinced Marvel (and importantly Disney) that superhero films were worth backing and proceeding with, culminating in The Avengers. With Iron Man 2 perhaps Favreau did have too much to do and it may be a case of that happening again with Star Wars: it would be a risk but one that could be worth taking, especially as the name of Star Wars is going to bring in the audience anyway.

 

Joss Whedon

A God among geeks. Does much more need to be said about the man’s talents? It is practically impossible for Whedon to direct Star Wars unfortunately as he has a pretty tight schedule with Marvel’s Phase 2 in place at the minute but a future Episode of the huge science fiction franchise, why not?

 

Duncan Jones

The least well known of all of my choices but not at all less talented. With Moon and Source Code in his back catalogue Jones has shown that he is more than capable of telling some brilliant science fiction stories. I would love to see Jones achieve some success and get a chance to show mainstream audiences his talent although maybe this would be a step too far a little too early.

 

Obviously, most of these directors are very commercial and well known to audiences already with a proven record of directing hit films and creating believable and memorable characters whilst exploring the world that their films inhabit. This is an important trait when deciding who is going to continue the Star Wars franchise but there may be some hidden gems hiding in cracks and crevices somewhere… or even in plain sight. So let me know, who would you like to see direct the seventh instalment of Star Wars?

After a lacklustre (lacklustre, disappointing but not bad!) Iron Man 2 there wouldn’t normally be much hype around another sequel but since a little film called The Avengers came out excitement for Iron Man 3 spiked again. Today it has hit an all time high! Nick Fury in The Avengers said that he “still believed in heroes” and now with the first official trailer from Iron Man 3 having been released we have The Mandarin teaching us “lesson number one: heroes, there are no such thing”. Iron Man 3 looks set to be the biggest Iron Man film to date with huge set pieces and massive blockbuster moments, but it also is set to become the most personal and give an insight into how much Tony Stark has changed since we first met him back in 2008.

The official synopsis for Iron Man 3 is thus: “Marvel Studios’ Iron Man 3 pits brash-but-brilliant industrialist Tony Stark/Iron Man against an enemy whose reach knows no bounds. When Stark finds his personal world destroyed at his enemy’s hands, he embarks on a harrowing quest to find those responsible. This journey, at every turn, will test his mettle. With his back against the wall, Stark is left to survive by his own devices, relying on his ingenuity and instincts to protect those closest to him. As he fights his way back, Stark discovers the answer to the question that has secretly haunted him: does the man make the suit or does the suit make the man?

Here’s the trailer:

There are a lot of things to pick up on from the trailer, to question and to get excited about. There’s the first look at The Mandarin, there’s the return of Don Cheadle as James Rhodes/War Machine, Pepper Potts in great danger, the Iron Patriot armour, the new look golden Iron Man armour, Happy Hogan defeated on the floor, Stark’s clifftop home being destroyed, Tony Stark bruised and battered, Stark and Potts both seemingly attacked by Iron Man armour. It’s action packed!

The Mandarin, played by Ben Kingsley, is Iron Man’s greatest foe from the comic books. It will be a real pleasure for fans to see Iron Man taking on someone that is more than just a man in a machine (Iron Monger and Whiplash in the previous two instalments both had armour). The Mandarin has different qualities, he is the most powerful enemy that Iron Man will ever come up against and his appearance was previously hinted at in Iron Man with the Ten Rings terrorist group that Stark helped put an end to originally.

Anyone who knows anything about Iron Man and Tony Stark (a role made his own by the fantastic Robert Downey Jr) is that he does love to massage his ego so it should come as no surprise that the latest Iron Man suit comes with a splash more of gold than his recent suits. Everyone loves Tony Stark for his quick wit and his cool remarks and this is something that is set to come to precedence with Shane Black writing and directing (the man who previously gave Robert Downey Jr a second chance at fame in the brilliant Kiss Kiss Bang Bang). Black’s incredible dialogue and character arcs will see Tony Stark thrive as a character and will no doubt be a hit with audiences all over the globe.

As for the suits attacking Tony and Pepper in the trailer there are different theories on this one. Perhaps The Mandarin has somehow got control over the suits? However, the theory I am most drawn to at the minute is that which brings the Extremis technology into the story (Extremis is the comic book storyline this film has been inspired by). The Extremis technology allows Stark to control his suits with his mind, this is why we see him being able to bring his Iron Man glove towards him earlier on in the trailer. Anyway, with this Extremis technology it could be programmed so that whenever Tony sensed any danger or fear that the suit would spring into action and protect him and Pepper. Again, this is only a theory and nothing will be proven until we see the end product.

Even though the Iron Man films are known to be big blockbusters I don’t think I can remember any particularly large set pieces from either of the first two films (the break out in Iron Man just after building the first suit and the race track fight with Whiplash in Iron Man 2 being the ones that immediately come to mind) but Iron Man 3 looks set to change all that. With Stark’s home being blown to pieces and the President’s aeroplane coming under attack there are sure to be plenty of edge of your seat moments and this will show that Iron Man is the best Avenger.

Obviously, cameos from other Marvel characters have not been hinted at yet and the one you are most likely to see will be Mark Ruffalo (probably as Bruce Banner, not the Hulk) but I don’t think we’ll know that until the film is released. Iron Man 3 hits cinemas on April 26th 2013.

The countdown to Phase 2 starts now.

 

The Best Actresses Under 30

There seems to be a real buzz around a lot of young actresses in Hollywood at the minute and I think that this is a good thing because I think really talented actresses have been hard to come by over the last decade or so. Here are, in my opinion, the most talented actresses working today under the age of 30.

 

8. Dakota Fanning

At only 18 years old Dakota Fanning has been acting for as long as she has been alive pretty much and for years has been talked about as a great young prospect in Hollywood. Having appeared in films such as Man On Fire, War of the Worlds, Push, Coraline and the Twilight series it is easy to see why.

 

7. Scarlett Johansson

Scarlett Johansson is probably the biggest name on this list. Having really burst onto the scene in 2003 with Lost In Translation she has gone on to appear in a number of high profile films such as The Prestige, Vicky Cristina Barcelona, Iron Man 2 and the third highest grossing film of all time The Avengers.

 

6. Anna Kendrick

Kendrick’s schedule is pretty packed right now with a huge number of projects in the pipeline for this year and the next despite a slow start to her acting career. She has appeared alongside Joseph Gordon-Levitt in comedy drama 50/50 and alongside George Clooney in the 2009 Oscar nominated Up in the Air.

 

5. Emma Watson

Everyone on the planet can recognise Emma Watson although she is probably best known as Hermione Granger from the Harry Potter franchise. She is moving away from that image with something completely different later this year in The Perks of Being a Wallflower and next year’s The Bling Ring.

 

4. Chloe Moretz

At only 15 years old Chloe Moretz is sure to be a star of Hollywood for many years to come. She achieved unanimous praise for her role as Hit Girl in Kick-Ass and went on to appear in (500) Days of Summer, Let Me In and Hugo.

 

3. Emma Stone

Stone is currently appearing in The Amazing Spider-Man as Peter Parker’s love interest, Gwen Stacy. Since making her film debut in Superbad she has had starring roles in Crazy Stupid Love and Easy A as well as a supporting role in The Help and will soon be appearing in The Gangster Squad in which she looks fantastic.

 

2. Jennifer Lawrence

Soon to be one of the most bankable stars in Hollywood Lawrence is currently a star of the new X-men franchise as well as heading up The Hunger Games trilogy. She is one of the youngest women to ever be nominated for the Best Leading Actress Oscar for her performance in Winter’s Bone. She has proven in the short time since bursting on to the scene that she has a large range of skills and is a very versatile actress.

 

1. Carey Mulligan

Carey Mulligan is a 27 year old English actress who has been the subject of critical acclaim in every field of acting; film, television and broadway. Mulligan first appeared in Pride & Prejudice before going on to appear in a number of television programmes. She has appeared in films such as Never Let Me Go, Brothers, Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps and Public Enemies. I recently saw Mulligan in Drive where she put in a really great performance but it was in An Education where I first saw her and where many other film watchers really took notice of her. An Education is a wonderful British film and Mulligan puts in a golden performance and was rightly nominated for a Golden Globe and an Oscar for her performance as well as winning a BAFTA. Carey Mulligan definitely has a huge career ahead of her.

 

The Face of the Bourne Franchise: Past & Present

It was stated earlier this week by The Bourne Legacy producer Frank Marshal that it would be his dream to see Matt Damon and Jeremy Renner on the screen together in a future Bourne film as Jason Bourne and Aaron Cross respectively. This is something that fans of the series will no doubt be drooling at the prospect of if the Renner helmed The Bourne Legacy does as well as expected this summer. But it would not be the first time that several characters from a single franchise had appeared together.

Back in 2008 Marvel Studios began a four year adventure with what is quite possibly the best piece of foreshadowing in movie history; Nick Fury’s appearance post-credits Iron Man announcing something called the Avengers Initiative? Later, Marvel released Captain America, The Incredible Hulk, Thor and Iron Man 2 before bringing all strands of their universe together in a little movie you may have heard about this year: The Avengers. The Avengers became the third highest grossing film in movie history and one of the key reasons for this is no doubt because it is the culmination of a multi-strand franchise, bringing together the best characters from a series of film all together in one film sharing the screen time. This could be the start of something new for the movie universe.

Comic book readers’ dreams came true when The Avengers exceeded expectations this summer

Of course, movie fans with a specialist knowledge, shall we say, will point out that Marvel’s The Avengers is not the first film to bring together characters from a successful movie series. Although, by any stretch of the imagination, not on the same level commercially or critically as The Avengers, in 2011 the Fast & Furious franchise brought out Fast Five; not only did Fast Five feature the main characters of the franchise (Vin Diesel, Paul Walker) it also brought back characters from previous films such as Tyrese Gibson’s Roman Pearce from 2 Fast 2 Furious (of which Vin Diesel had no part), Sung Kang’s Han (Tokyo Drift) and Gal Gadot’s Gisele Harabo (Fast & Furious). This was not a ploy to pull in audiences (that was all thanks to Dwayne Johnson!) but more of a nod to fans of the franchise and I have to say that when I saw all the characters from the previous films coming together for Fast Five I was really surprised and pleased to see them all there! It’s just a real acknowledgement that these characters do know each other and I think that it adds another level to, not only, the friendship of the characters but also the film universe itself. Of course I was happier to see Iron Man fighting alongside Hulk and Thor but seeing everyone from the Fast & Furious franchise working together was almost just as pleasing; I imagine seeing Damon and Renner fighting together in a later Bourne film would have exactly the same effect.

The Fast Five crew is built of characters from the previous four films.

I think that audiences really like it when they see old characters from previous films returning to help out their friends in a later film or just appear at the same time. It is also a big money spinner as The Avengers proved and Fast Five is also the most successful film of that franchise, helping to retain some credibility for the Fast and the Furious brand.

Obviously, it is a huge commitment when doing something like this because plans have to be set in motion several years before the big event and that means taking huge risks. For example, if both Thor and Captain America solo films had failed then all the hard work heading towards The Avengers wouldn’t have paid off. This is a risk that DC comics and Warner Bros. do not seem to be taking with their comic book heroes despite fans crying out for the ‘Avengers model’ on Justice League.

My opinion is that these multi-strand franchises are a fantastic idea and they have an incredible effect on me as a member of the audience. Unfortunately though, people who make movies do not have foresight and can not tell whether a series of films will be just as successful in a few years so it may be time wasted that could have earned money somewhere else but when done properly they are like nothing else; the journey from Iron Man to The Avengers was fantastic to see on screen with all these solo films being connected in the slightest of ways (and not so slight in Iron Man 2) but it’s unlike anything that’s ever been done before and if more franchises could use this model I, for one, would be very very happy about that!

With the UK release of The Avengers, or Avengers Assemble, just one week away I have decided to look back over the films that Marvel studios have made in the lead up to this huge movie event. Ranking them from worst (which is a horrible word to use, especially in this case as none of the films are exactly bad) to best. Here we go:

 

5. Iron Man 2

It seems fairly obvious that this is the worst, sorry 5th best, of the lot. It had too much to do, trying to tie in The Avengers with another storyline meant that the inclusion of Nick Fury and Black Widow felt almost too forced and Jon Favreau really annoyed me with his desperate plea for attention by giving himself more screen time. Iron Man 2 just fell short of capturing the essence of wit, style and charm that had won over audiences with the first film.

 

4. The Incredible Hulk

This is incredibly harsh on the big green fella. It’s just a testament to the high standard Marvel have set themselves with their films. The Incredible Hulk places Ed Norton in the role of the scientist with huge anger management issues and Norton is superb in the role. The film also left itself open for a sequel, although that probably won’t be happening, with the hint at The Leader. Ending with an appearance of Tony Stark himself, it got fans drooling at the thought of a connected movieverse.

 

3. Captain America: The First Avenger

Captain America is the big one really. Eventually becoming leader of The Avengers in the comic books, he is a well loved hero across the world. The film brought us the morale compass that is Steve Rogers and introduced one of the best love stories in comic book movie history which eventually ended in heartbreak as Steve said goodbye to Peggy Carter just as he managed to save America from Red Skull. The final film before The Avengers, everything was tied up as Steve woke up in the modern day and was found by Nick Fury himself.

 

2. Thor

There were worries about how it was possible to make a Norse God into a  character that would fit in with the realism of the world established in Marvel movies that came before this. These such worries were put to rest as Chris Hemsworth took over the mantle and brought everything to the role. Over the course of the movie we saw this arrogant, war hungry young prince become a well rounded, real noble person as he fought to save his friends, both God and human, from his evil half-brother Loki.

 

1. Iron Man

It couldn’t be anything else. Iron Man was what started the whole franchise. If Iron Man was not a success then The Avengers sure as hell would not be happening this year or any time in the near future. Iron Man became one of the greatest comic book movies so far; the characters were great, the special effects on the Iron Man suit itself were outstanding. Where Marvel’s characters had appeared in films before (not mande by the studio itself) they had either gone too cheesy (Fantastic Four) or dark and gritty (X-men), but Iron Man managed to combine the two and instantly became a classic. We got Tony’s charm, his wit, his playboy lifestyle combined with the underlying story of terrorism and arms dealings. Iron Man is brilliant and we all have this to thank for The Avengers.

Arrested for making such a horrible sequel.

When audiences enjoy a film, sometimes they want more, they feel like the character’s journey is not complete. They want to see their favourite characters on the big screen more than once and fall in love with them all over again. Yet when they get their wishes there is always a section of the fans who lambast the producers and film makers for daring to make a sequel and, in some cases, for ruining the first movie as well. So why is it difficult to make a sequel work? Below are some of the reasons I have picked out.

Attempts to be too clever: Ocean’s Twelve is the epitome of awful sequels. The first, Ocean’s Eleven, was brilliant; it brought charm, wit, humour, style and smooth to the screen. It was everything Ocean’s Twelve wasn’t. Twelve tried to run a clever storyline with a twist at the end and it didn’t work at all. It just ended up being a horrible, boring film and the less said about it, the better.

Iron Man 2 tried to run too many storylines with too many new characters.

Trying to do too much: A lot of sequels fall into this category. The first film sets up the characters and completes a story and then, in order to make the sequel better, writers, producers and directors try to cram too much into the next film and it takes away the experience because the storyline runs too thin. This is the case with sequels such as Iron Man 2, in which a lot of work is needed to be done in order to tie in to The Avengers appropriately and so that storyline is thinned out as well as the other storyline involving Whiplash and audiences are left with a boring, lacklustre sequel to a film that promised so much.

No returning cast members: Sometimes, the big wigs at production companies decide that they can make a sequel work even without the stars of the first film. The classic case of this is Grease 2. Grease had charm, loveable characters and great humour and the two leads were perfect: John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John. But the two decided they would not return for a sequel and it was made without them. In a sequel audiences want to see their favourite characters return to the screen, not be introduced to more random people.

Cashing in: It doesn’t take a genius to realise that a lot of sequels, if not all of them, are made to cash in on the commercial success of the original film. This leads to film makers taking good parts of the original film and making it more important in the sequel. An example of this is Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End; everyone loves Captain Jack Sparrow in the first film, but he plays in support to the main story of Will Turner and Elizabeth Swann and his appearances make the film comical.  In At World’s End, we are given too much Jack Sparrow to the point of huge annoyance.

The best of Bourne was saved for the third instalment.

The above are just a selection of some of the various reasons sequels do not work and a few examples of bad sequels. This is not to say that all sequels are bad. When done right they can add character development, build up great storylines and become some of the best films ever made. The Bourne Ultimatum, Spider-man 2, The Dark Knight and X2: X-men United are all examples of sequels getting it right.