Tag Archive: jeremy renner


There have been rumblings through the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) that there may be a female superhero leading their on film in the near future. Just a couple of weeks ago Katee Sackhoff of Battlestar Galactica fame claimed that her representatives had been meeting with Marvel sparking rumours of a Ms/Captain Marvel casting; now Natalie Portman has come out and claimed that she has heard there is a superheroine film ‘on the way’ (although how much we can trust Natalie Portman with Marvel information seems questionable being as though she made it known she wasn’t too keen on returning for Thor: The Dark World). Also, there seems to be a Peggy Carter television series in the pipeline after the success of short film Agent Carter, while Gamora (played by Zoe Saldana in Guardians of the Galaxy) will be getting a large role in the cinematic universe if they follow her comic book story. Marvel are clearly doing work to balance out the numbers between the male and females on The Avengers team so it seems likely that one of the untitled Marvel films (scheduled for a 2016 and 2017 release) could be lead a female. So who is most likely to fill that spot?

Katee Sackhoff seems like a good choice for the Ms Marvel role.

 

Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow

Marvel are taking a huge risk if they go for a female led superhero film after the likes of Elektra and Catwoman went down like a lead balloon with critics and fans alike. And a Wonder Woman pilot as recent as last years got turned down by the studios. What seems like less of a risk is spinning off from the only female member of The Avengers, Black Widow. Scarlett Johansson is a star and has the ability to pull in a male and female audience. Joss Whedon has said that he loves the character of Black Widow and he is known for writing strong female characters. If Black Widow was to receive a solo film then it seems plausible that Jeremy Renner’s Hawkeye could also be involved which he would seem to be up for after complaining about the tiny part he played in the first team-up film. A Black Widow film seems like it could work as a sort of female James Bond film which I don’t think anyone would complain about.

 

Carol Danvers/Ms Marvel

This is the big one. Ms Marvel seems to be the only real competition Marvel has to rival DC with Wonder Woman (although it is probably a fair comment that in terms of revolution and iconic standing nobody can rival Wonder Woman) but she is without a doubt one of my favourite characters from the Marvel comics. She would probably need to have her skill set trimmed down a little so she doesn’t seem like she’s all over the place but with super strength, durability and the ability to fly she could more than hold her own among the likes of Captain America and Iron Man. Ms Marvel’s original creation saw her on a quest to find out her identity and a sort of sole-searching hero is always popular with film audiences so it could work a treat if handled correctly.

 

Tandy Bowen and Ty Johnson/Cloak and Dagger

Now this is a bit of a long shot, but if Marvel are worried about a box office bomb with a female led film then why not make her part of a duo. Bringing Cloak and Dagger to the big screen would give Marvel a new female character and a new black character, although if this was the only reason to make this film then they should leave it alone; there is a lot more to these characters that makes their story a compelling one. Tandy and Ty are runaways from two completely different worlds (metaphorical, not literal) but gradually built up one of the best friendships in Marvel’s comic books. They gained their powers from drug trials (later retconned so they were born as mutants but Fox’s X-men rights prevents the word ‘mutant’ being used in the MCU). Cloak and Dagger are, believe it or not, more grounded and ‘realistic’ heroes and it seems like Marvel are going in a different angle with their cosmic phase three.

 

The other competitors…

Marvel have a large affinity of characters, male and female. Spider-Woman has long been a favourite of mine and although there is no connection between her and Peter Parker it seems unlikely that she would get a film while Sony were still making The Amazing Spider-Man. She-Hulk seems a logical choice because of the popularity of Mark Ruffalo’s Hulk and an introduction to her in a solo Hulk film would make more sense than giving her a solo film. Making Pepper Potts into Rescue (as seen briefly in Iron Man 3) would be an interesting gamble on keeping the Iron Man franchise continuing, although Don Cheadle’s War Machine would probably get to take on the mantle if that was the case.

All the signs point to Ms Marvel being the best and most obvious choice but since when have Marvel been obvious? The Guardians of the Galaxy announcement certainly came as a shock to everyone.

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Everyone knows the traditional story of Hansel and Gretal: two children who get lost in a forest manage to find their way to a house made out of candy. There, they encounter a witch who intends to fatten them up and cook them for herself, but eventually the children manage to defeat the witch and escape with their lives in tact. It’s a common fairy tale that children are told all over the world. But nobody quite knows what happens to little Hansel and Gretal after their encounter with the witch.

Witch Hunters imagines what does happen to them after the story ends. We catch up with Hansel and Gretal in the town of Augsburg where they prevent a woman from being killed as a witch. Here, we find out that since their first encounter with a witch they have become bounty hunters and are leaving no witch alive in their journeys across the country. But with a series of kidnappings taking place in town they realise that the fabled Blood Moon is approaching and Hansel and Gretal must do all they can to stop it.

It’s a pretty good idea for a film, you have to give it that. And with it being rated at a 15 here in the UK, it opens up the idea of this being a film for adults; blood and gore aplenty. Therefore, there is potential for a dark and gritty story to be told, just the way the Grimm brothers originally envisioned their work. Unfortunately, this is not the case.

Hansel and Gretal: Witch Hunters decides not to take itself seriously and aims at becoming just a generic action/fantasy film. And this is not necessarily a bad thing. Compared to other action/fantasy films of recent years this is a contender for the best, but it is not a genre that generally does well in cinemas unless it’s related to Lord of the Rings or Harry Potter. But when Hansel & Gretal gets it right, it gets it right. There is a lot of blood, there are some big laughs too (and a few little ones).

Jeremy Renner and Gemma Arterton do their best in the title roles and these are two actors that I really do like. But it seems odd to me why Renner in particular would have chosen to make this film. I’m not really sure I buy into the brother/sister relationship which is supposed to be conveyed by the two actors despite good solo performances.

The special effects work was probably the best thing about the movie. Edward the troll (who names a troll Edward?) looks like a fantastic piece of CGI work and the witches do look genuinely creepy and a little bit frightening. It does feel, however, that despite being an enjoyable film there are a few too many flaws, leaving Renner, Arterton and Famke Jansen wandering around in hope of finding a better script somewhere.

My Rating: A generous 6/10, purely for entertainment value.

Disney now owns three of the biggest companies in the world of movie making: Pixar, Marvel and LucasFilm, in particular the Star Wars franchise. So with these three huge franchises all working under the same roof it is inevitable that comparisons will be made, but just which is the biggest and best franchise? I will be ranking Pixar, Marvel and Star Wars out of 10 in categories such as Oscar recognition, box office takings, quality of the films and star quality.

 

Box Office

The box office takings are vital to companies and film franchises such as these three as it indicates whether there is any demand for their films any longer and obviously, at the minute, there is. The Star Wars franchise (the original trilogy and prequel trilogy) have taken $3,793,650,642 at the box office, making an average of around $632million per film. Marvel Entertainment have so far released six films of their own, from Iron Man to The Avengers and have made $3,772,055,196 (with The Avengers making up the most of that) averaging $628million per film. None of this quite matches Pixar who, since releasing Toy Story have amassed an incredible $7,794,770,758 at the global box office, however on average this only amounts to just under $600million per film.

Marks out of 10 for Box Office takings:

Pixar: 6

Marvel: 7

Star Wars: 8

 

“Son?”

Oscars

Each year the Oscars acknowledge the best films and the best efforts in making films. Marvel are really lagging behind in this area with just three nominations, two for Iron Man and one for Iron Man 2. Star Wars have so far managed to win seven Oscars with another fifteen nominations! But still this is far far behind Pixar who have been storming the Oscars with almost all of their films and have won ten Oscars for their feature films with another 30 (yes 30!) nominations!

Pixar: 10

Marvel: 1

Star Wars: 6

 

Film Quality

There is no doubt about who makes the best films out of Pixar, Marvel and Star Wars. Ever since their first release Pixar have continually churned out near perfect, enjoyable family films almost every year. With their recent releases it looks as though they have started to lag but their discography cannot be ignored. Marvel, aside from Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy, have dominated the superhero genre and continue to bring out fun, light hearted but still very very good films and all of this culminated in one of the best films of 2012: The Avengers. I have never really liked Star Wars but I can appreciate that the original trilogy was good (yet nothing to really shout about) however the prequel trilogy is universally disliked.

Pixar: 10

Marvel: 8

Star Wars: 6

Star Talent

Star Wars made stars out of Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher and Harrison Ford primarily, although they were virtual unknowns at the time. However, they did attract Peter Cushing and Alec Guinness to the franchise. In the prequels they managed to cast some good British talent with Liam Neeson and Ewan McGregor along with the huge Samuel L. Jackson. Marvel also signed Samuel L. Jackson up along with huge stars Robert Downey Jr, Ed Norton, Scarlett Johansson, Gwyneth Paltrow, Jeremy Renner, Hugo Weaving, Tim Roth, Jeff Bridges and Sam Rockwell (and that’s not even all of them!). Tom Hanks, John Ratzenberger, Michael Keaton, Kevin Spacey, John Goodman and Steve Buscemi have all provided voices for Pixar characters but a lot of the time the actors are unknown to audiences.

Pixar: 6

Marvel: 9

Star Wars: 4

 

Overall Ratings:

Pixar: 32/40.

Marvel: 25/40.

Star Wars: 24/40.

So overall Pixar comes out on top which is unsurprising to say the least! Although with their two most recent films (Cars 2 and Brave) not going down as well as previous efforts are they on the decline? Marvel have just released the third highest grossing movie of all time this year and their universe of films is only going to continue to grow and get more and more exciting. Star Wars has continued to live on in television shows since the end of the film franchise and everyone is expecting big things from the new instalment. In the next few years it will be interesting to see who Disney is getting the most from.

Let’s get straight into it. American Bullshit. That was the original name of the film that Christian Bale has recently signed on for. The now untitled movie originally had Bale set to lead the ensemble cast but he dropped out, and now he has jumped back into the movie. When Bale dropped out he was replaced with the frankly quite obvious replacement Jeremy Renner. It has been announced that Renner and Bale will now both be in the project so everyone’s a winner! The film also stars Amy Adams and Bradley Cooper and will be directed by David O. Russell who previously worked with Bale on The Fighter.

Paul Dano, fresh from Ruby Sparks and Looper this past month has now signed on to what should be another film that will see positive press and Dano is fast becoming into a very recognisable and reliable face in the world of movies. The latest project he has signed on for is a revenge thriller entitled Prisoners. Prisoners is about a Boston man who kidnaps the person he suspects is behind the disappearance of his young daughter and her best friend. Hugh Jackman will be playing the lead role with Jake Gyllenhaal and Oscar winner Melissa Leo in support, so not half bad casting really.

A movie currently in production that is causing quite a stir is Lars Von Trier’s Nymphomaniac. The reason for all of the attention on this project is because it revolves around a woman beaten up and found in an alley, then cleaned up by a bachelor who finds her and along the way she recounts all the details of her sex life from when it began up until her 50s (why?). And it has been announced that Lars Von Trier wants the sex scenes to be completely real – he wants his cast to ACTUALLY have sex on film. Anyway, this week has seen Uma Thurman sign up to a cast that already includes Stellan Skarsgard, Charlotte Gainsbourg and Shia LaBeouf.

And finally, after all of that casting news there is some absolutely ridiculous news coming out this week that after the unsuccessful Battleships film, Hollwood execs are now planning to turn several other games into big blockbusters. Along with a Monopoly film, which has been in the works for some time now, an Action Man movie is being planned (which should lend itself to the medium more easily than others, perhaps). But the weirdest news is that a Hungry Hippos movie is being planned. It’ll be interesting to see how that one turns out.

As we know, there is a trend of bringing fairy tales to the big screen at the minute. So far there have been Little Red Riding Hood, Mirror Mirror and Snow White & The Huntsman. There is a Beauty & the Beast film in the pipeline but here we have Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters, which is not by the same people as Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, although it sounds as though it could well be. When this update of the classic fairy tale was first announced it did worry me a little as the title sounded a little corny and the set photos didn’t inspire much confidence. However, now that the trailer has been released I have changed my mind completely.

The casting for Hansel & Gretel does look very good, despite the big age difference between the actors playing the title characters even though they are both shown to be around the same age but we can overlook that. Jeremy Renner is the ‘it’ man around Hollywood right now and has recently given a restart to both the Mission: Impossible franchise and the Bourne franchise (I think he was a great replacement for Matt Damon) and he also played fan favourite Hawkeye in Marvel’s The Avengers. Alongside Renner as Hansel there is one of my favourite British actresses Gemma Arterton playing Gretel. Arterton has shown over the years how incredibly versatile she is and just how wonderful an actress she can be. Now we finally get a chance to see her kicking ass and in real fight scenes which is good news.

Unlike the previous adaptations of fairy tales what we have in Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters is not a retelling of the original story. This is why I think it could be better than all other fairy tale films that have been recently. Whereas both Mirror Mirror and Snow White & the Huntsman both told the origin story of Snow White so people knew what was coming, however Hansel & Gretel takes place 15 years after the fairy tale, fifteen years on from when Hansel & Gretel were almost killed by an evil witch. This means that there is a lot of space to play with as there is no specific end in mind as there are with other fairy tale stories.

The trailer has filled me with excitement about this film. There is a voice over from Jeremy Renner which isn’t your ordinary emotionless narration that you often get in trailers. The whole film looks like it really has got it’s genre nailed on, the scenery looks fantastic and it visually is a treat for the eyes. The trailer is action packed and you can clearly tell how the event fifteen years prior to the film affected Hansel and Gretel and it is fantastic to get a taste of the fight scenes that will appear in Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters.

 

 

How well Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters will do when it is released in January is difficult to estimate. I think that it could go either way but if marketed correctly it could go well, especially with Renner and Arterton in the main roles. Hopefully it will pick up the teenage audience which it appears to be aiming for but I know that I will be looking forward to it. I just hope it is as good as I want it to be!

With Joss Whedon now appointed for definite to helm Marvel’s Avengers 2 and have a hand in writing the sequels, a release date announced for possibly the most anticipated film of all time (May 1st 2015) and a whole host of ‘Phase 2’ films in the pipeline including Iron Man 3, Thor: The Dark World, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Guardians of the Galaxy and ill-fated Ant-Man Marvel is really pushing through with their billion dollar making movie projects. After such a huge success with The Avengersthough, how can Marvel move forward and improve?

I suggest that Joss Whedon and Marvel kill off one of the main Avengers characters. Yes, they killed off Agent Coulson in the first film but I think everyone expects him to turn up again in some form or capacity. I am talking about completely killing off one of the main heroes, never seeing them again, cutting a limb from the Marvel cinematic universe for one character. It would be a bold, brave and maybe a little bit crazy but surely worth the risk? I think that killing off a central character would surely add to character development and team development as we saw the Avengers become a team and, whether they liked it or not, friends and one of them dying could have huge repercussions. With so many new characters going to be added to the Marvel cinematic universe they can’t all stay as one team forever so maybe they will have to consider killing characters off in order to move forward… but who would they kill?
Let’s look at the nominees:

IRON MAN – Robert Downey Jr. is Iron Man. Iron Man is the money maker for Marvel. He was the one that started it all off and the character that is probably most popular with fans due to his quick wit that the other characters lack. However since he was the first character to kick off The Avengers maybe he will be the first to be kicked out as well. This is probably the least likely to happen I would say though because Stark Industries is such a huge player in the world and with his technological advancements he is the only one of the core heroes who can’t call upon his power at any time he needs which also gives him something different to Thor or Captain America. Iron Man is my favourite character so I’m definitely hoping he won’t be killed off.

THOR – Killing off Thor means severing all ties to other universes as Thor is the Avengers’ connection to the fantasy genre of other universes and dimensions being available to travel to. Losing Thor also means losing Loki who has become one of the greatest villains of all time and losing him as well would be a huge shame. However, with Guardians of the Galaxy also being introduced, if they come into the Marvel cinematic universe, they offer another route to the cosmic worlds that exist beyond Earth which means we could lose Thor without losing Asgard or any other realms. Chris Hemsworth also seems to have been the breakout star of Marvel’s films so far and he has quite a busy schedule to continue on. Killing Thor off would free up Hemsworth to take advantage of the praise and attention he has been getting.

THE HULK – On paper it seems as though killing of Bruce Banner/Hulk would be the most likely option. Although a very successful character of the comic books The Incredible Hulk was the worst performer of Marvel’s films at the box office and there are no plans for another sole film for the big green monster so it wouldn’t be that much of a loss. However, after Mark Ruffalo’s incarnation of the Hulk it was proven that this conflicted character could be brought to life brilliantly on the big screen and it was Hulk who many people believe to have been the best character in The Avengers. It would upset a huge fan base if Hulk was killed but it makes smart business sense and would also offer a new dimension to Tony Stark after their new found friendship was formed in the ultimate team up movie.

CAPTAIN AMERICA – Captain America is the leader of the Avengers in the comics and this came to fruition towards the end of The Avengers also so it seems highly unlikely that the leader of the team would be killed off. This did happen in X-Men: The Last Stand though with both Professor X and Cyclops ‘dying’ and we all know how that film turned out so maybe killing off the leader isn’t the right way to go. I think that Captain America has fewer stories to tell though than the others and he doesn’t really bring anything to the table with his character because, yes, he is a very moral and very good guy and he probably keeps The Avengers on the right side of the line but I’m not sure how far they can explore his character in the modern day. Once he has adjusted to his new life, what can they do? Although in the comics they seem to have done a good job of keeping him fresh and ultimately popular so I could be wrong.

SHIELD AGENTS – This includes Nick Fury, Black Widow and Hawkeye. Nick Fury should be safe, he is the glue that brought the characters together and he is the head of SHIELD therefore making him necessary to the film franchise but if he only has cameos here and there then nobody will miss him really, although his loss of life would drastically affect the films. Black Widow is the only female character on the team and it seems as though there are no plans whatsoever to change that with ‘Phase 2’ unless Wasp is introduced in Ant-Man previous to Avengers 2. This makes Black Widow pretty much immortal for a fear of backlash from female fans. Couple this with the fact that Joss Whedon is famous for his strong female characters and Black Widow is pretty much the only safe character. Hawkeye was criminally underused and treated poorly in the original film and as a fan favourite character this was pretty hard on him. I hope that his part will grow in future films but he could just as easily be removed from the universe as, at the end of the day, he is just a man with a bow and arrow. Hawkeye is one of my favourite characters and it would be a shame to see him killed off. However, the point of killing a character off would be to develop more story and I’m not really sure how killing Hawkeye would have any impact on any characters other than Black Widow.

Of course, this is purely speculation and there have been no official statements of rumours saying that one of the central characters in The Avengers will be killed off. This is just one way they could go and the way that I would do it, but I didn’t just write and direct the third highest grossing film of all time so I doubt Joss Whedon will listen to me (even though he should).

But if it was up to me I would kill off Hulk or Captain America (cue uproar).

Benjamin Geza Affleck-Boldt is a name that you may not be familiar with, although when shortened to Ben Affleck it is very difficult to avoid. Ben Affleck is arguably one of the biggest celebrities in the world and has been for some years, both for his work in the film industry and his relationships with a string of big name Hollywood ladies including Gwyneth Paltrow, Jennifer Lopez and his current wife Jennifer Garner. But what I know him for is his acting, writing, producing and directing of some brilliant and some not-so-brilliant, slightly below average films.

One of the most famous friendships in Hollywood: Affleck and Damon.

After appearing in small extra roles in a number of films including Field of Dreams and Buffy the Vampire Slayer Affleck really became known for his turns in Kevin Smith films Mallrats and Chasing Amy, however it was Good Will Hunting in 1997 that made him a household name. Good Will Hunting was nominated for nine Oscars including a Best Original Screenplay win for Ben Affleck and Matt Damon who shared the writing credit and both starred in the film too. This success then allowed Affleck to move into bigger roles and he pretty much became a huge success with all of his films becoming massive hits at the box office; Armageddon, Pearl Harbor and The Sum of All Fears. Affleck was acting among some big names and becoming one of them too whilst still doing smaller films including Shakespeare In Love, Dogma and Boiler Room.

A year after The Sum of All Fearswas released something bad happened to Ben Affleck’s acting career that he has never really recovered from. Ben Affleck states that his favourite comic book when he was growing up was Daredevil so when the chance arose to play the Marvel hero naturally Affleck jumped at the chance. Unfortunately, despite being praised for his casting and his role in the film it is not a very good film at all to be honest (although the director’s cut is actually meant to be a huge increase in quality) and since appearing in Daredevil Affleck has not really tastes any of the huge success he once had as an actor. Instead, he has appeared in a number of critical and commercial flops including Gigli, Surviving Christmas and Smokin’ Aces. He has however had smaller success with Hollywoodland in which Affleck received huge praise for his role as George Reeves in the biographical docudrama.

In order to get his career back on track Affleck decided to get behind the camera and begin directing films. His first feature was an adaptation of the Dennis LeHane novel Gone Baby Gone in which he cast his brother Casey Affleck  (a better actor than himself) in the lead role. The end product worked out brilliantly, the film was praised and Affleck directed it very very well; it is one of my favourite films. Whilst he does still act it is in the directors chair where Affleck is getting a lot of praise, more praise than he ever got as an actor. In 2010, Affleck directed The Town and starred in the lead role as well (ego?) but nonetheless the direction received huge praise again and Jeremy Renner got a surprise nod for the Best Supporting Actor Oscar for his performance under Affleck’s direction.

Affleck’s latest feature film as director is Argo and is due out later this year and there is a lot of expectation of the film as it is based on real life events and incorporates a lot of different themes so it will be interesting to see how Affleck brings them all together and whether he is successful or not. Also, and this is just a rumour for now, everyone knows that DC comics and Warner Bros. are trying to put out a Justice League movie after the success of Marvel’s team up in The Avengers but it is being reported that Ben Affleck is being lined up to direct. This would be a master stroke.

There is no doubt that Ben Affleck is a film star, but he should definitely star behind the camera from now on and continue his success in the director’s chair.

Stars: Kathryn Bigelow (director), Jessica Chastain, Joel Edgerton, Scott Adkins, Mark Strong, Chris Pratt, Harold Perrineau.

Plot: The Navy SEAL Team 6 tracks down wanted terrorist Osama bin Laden.

Two years after becoming the first woman in history to win the Oscar for Best Director ( for The Hurt Locker, which also won Best Film) Kathryn Bigelow teams up again with writer Mark Boal to bring this dramatisation about the monumental day in history when arguably one of the most infamous international criminals and terrorists was killed in what the trailer describes as ‘the greatest manhunt of all time’.

There are a few recognisable faces among the cast but not many names people will be familiar with; the most notable probably being Jessica Chastain (who will be appearing later this year in the highly anticipated western Lawless). Mark Strong seems to be Hollywood’s go to guy for a villain so it will be interesting to see who he plays. I was surprised to see Harold Perrineau among the cast as he is just one of the many men who has to live his life always being known as “that guy from LOST“. However, with The Hurt Locker relatively unknown actors were used and Jeremy Renner is now a wanted name in the movie industry so it will be good to see if there is a break out star from Zero Dark Thirty too.

The story is one that people want to know of course. The world rejoiced when Bin Laden was killed and no sooner had his death been reported had Hollywood began plans to turn it into a film, to direct I think Bigelow is a very good choice. However, I am very sceptical about how true to life the film will be as it is very unlikely that the general public will ever really know what happened and it seems very unlikely that they would show the American government in a bad light.

As for the trailer itself I think it is very promising; it is only a teaser but it has made me very interested. Not a lot of footage is shown but you can tell there will be a thriller element to it and I would expect it to be as good, if not better, than The Hurt Locker which I very much enjoyed!

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!

Some weeks go by when there is not a single thing happening in the movie world that I am bothered about and then all of a sudden three things come along at once:

 

First up, there is a new Van Helsing film in development! Before you question why this is good news, you first have to know that this will not be a sequel to the awful Hugh Jackman interpretation of the character back in 2004, this will be a complete reboot. The reboot is to be written by Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci, a writing pair that can boast hits such as Star Trek, Fringe, Alias, The Legend of Zorro, Mission: Impossible III, Transformers and, to a lesser extent, Cowboys and Aliens. Kurtzman has said that the reboot will be ‘grounded in reality’ and has high aims as he wants to ‘do for Van Helsing what [Christopher] Nolan has done for Batman’. The other piece of exciting news surrounding this project is who is attached to star as the title character: Tom Cruise. His career seems to have had its own little reboot in the last couple of years and he is being lined up to appear in everything, not that I’m complaining, I think he is a great person to watch and has a fantastic on screen persona. Van Helsing has no set release date yet with Cruise’s hectic schedule but a release of 2014/15 may be realistic.

 

Next up, Bourne! The Bourne trilogy is one of my favourites of all time, I think Matt Damon’s portrayal of super spy Jason Bourne is a character to rival any other and the storyline, the directing and the supporting cast are all fantastic. So when I heard that Damon and director Paul Greengrass would not be returning for fourth film The Bourne Legacy I was understandably disappointed. Then my disappointment faded with the announcement of Jeremy Renner becoming the lead role and playing Aaron Cross in what has been dubbed a ‘paraquel’ (the events take place simultaneously with the original Bourne trilogy). Frank Marshall, the producer of The Bourne Legacy has now said that it is his ‘dream’ to see Matt and Jeremy team up in the fifth installment. Of course, this is just a dream at the minute and Damon has fierce loyalty to director Greengrass and recently had a falling out with writer and new director Tony Gilroy but money talks and a huge payday for Damon could be in line if he was to return to the franchise which would be incredible!

Here is the incredible trailer for Renner’s The Bourne Legacy

And finally…

 

Marvel are riding high on the waves of success at the minute and a few months ago announced the line up for their next few films. among the regulars of Iron Man 3, Thor 2, Captain America 2 there were a couple of surprises with Marvel announcing two secret films. Immediately there was speculation that the 2014 secret movie would be a Black Panther origin story. Black Panther is one of my favourite characters in the Marvel universe and really does deserve a film and in the past week or so there has been no shortage of actors saying that they would love to be a part of the film. Anthony Mackie (The Hurt Locker, Abraham Lincoln:Vampire Hunter) said that he hoped to be a part of The Incredible Hulk but wasn’t and would sign on to Black Panther today; Brian J. White (Cabin in the Woods, Brick) has also said he would love to work with Marvel when he was linked with the role but I don’t think that he looks the part so I would count him out straight away; Aldis Hodge (Leverage) seems to be the current fan favourite out of people who have confirmed their interest in the role and just by looking at him you have to say that he does seem to be the perfect fit. I would still hope that Djimon Hounsou got the part but maybe Marvel will go for a lesser known and cheaper actor for the part.

(left to right) Fan favourite Aldis Hodge; Marvel superhero Black Panther; my pick Djimon Hounsou.