Tag Archive: phase 2


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?

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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.

 

After years and years in development the realisation that founding comic book Avenger Ant-Man will be starring in a solo film has got a bit more real today with the announcement, from Marvel, of a release date. However, it is bad news for anyone hoping to see Hank Pym pop up in The Avengers 2, or is it? Let’s look at Marvel’s Phase 2 calender and see just where Ant-Man fits in.

 

Iron Man 3 – 26th April 2013

As expected, the next instalment of the Iron Man series comes sooner than other sequels and will complete a trilogy set in motion back in 2008 by Robert Downey Jr and Jon Favreau. This time round Shane Black will be directing and the storyling will borrow heavily from the Extremis comic book arc. The Mandarin, Iron Man’s most famous villain, will also be featuring after being teased in the first movie, then forgotten in the second.

 

Thor: The Dark World – 8th November 2013

It’s quite surprising to me that Marvel have gone for this release date with Thor’s next outing. Obviously Marvel still want to keep to their plan of getting two films out per year and moving Thor to later in the year allows them to do this as well as make it seem like less time has passed before the next film. However, Thor went down very well and, along with Iron Man, is among most fans favourite Marvel films so a summer release, I think, would have been more beneficial. Thor: The Dark World will see the return of Natalie Portman as well as more exploration of the nine realms.

 

Captain America: The Winter Soldier – 4th April 2014

Almost a year after Iron Man 3 fans will see Chris Evans’ Steve Rogers back on the big screen in his ‘man out of time’ political drama. This is one of the films I am most looking forward to because it will be interesting to see how Cap comes to terms with the fact that he is now living in a completely different place and everybody that he knows/knew is dead. I don’t think Captain America came out of The Avengers all that well so hopefully The Winter Soldier will put him right back at the top!

 

Guardians of the Galaxy – 1st August 2014

You would think that after their success Marvel would want to build on that with more familiar-ish characters and try and play it safe a little bit. Instead, they have opted for their next addition into their multi-string franchise will be a cosmic super team that features a raccoon with a gun! As a stand alone film I think Guardians of the Galaxy has bags of potential and it will be very interesting to see how this new team fits into the multiverse alongside the Avengers.

 

The Avengers 2 – 1st May 2015

The Avengers are Earth’s Mightiest Heroes and they proved that this summer. Joss Whedon put together the third highest grossing movie of all time and arguably the best comic book movie ever! The huge amount of it’s success came as a surprise to everyone and it is great news that Marvel are not just pushing out the next one. The second team feature will be released in three years and hopefully will be bigger, bolder and just as good as the first!

 

Ant-Man – 6th November 2015

So today Edgar Wright’s Ant-Man finally got a release date, Hooray! But as you will notice, Ant-Man comes AFTER The Avengers 2, meaning this is where Phase 3 begins. However, by the time that The Avengers 2 will be filming Ant-Man will have been cast and so could easily fit into The Avengers 2 and then break out for a solo film afterwards, whether this will be the case or not remains to be seen but the announcement that Ant-Man has, at long last, got a release date can only reassure fans of the Marvel films juggernaut.

Not many directors ever get THAT famous among mainstream cinema fans. It really, I believe, takes someone special and a great storyteller, someone who is good enough to make sure that every single one of their films stands up on the big screen to both critics and fans alike; the likes of Quentin Tarantino, Christopher Nolan, Martin Scorsese and Danny Boyle have been able to do this and are a few of the most famous directors around but are there any new directors around who could one day join the ranks of the best directors EVER? For my choices I have limited the candidates to have directed, at most, 3 feature length films or have shown enough in two or just the one feature film that they have great potential as a director. In no particular order, let’s have a look.

 

Rian Johnson

Rian Johnson has to be the first person I mention because it was him that influenced me to write this blog. I recently saw Johnson’s latest film Looper and along with his previous two feature films (Brick and The Brothers Bloom) Looper was both written and directed Johnson and also starred Joseph Gordon-Levitt (although JGL’s appearance in The Brothers Bloom was a cameo). Looper has really announced Johnson on the scene as one of the best story tellers around. I won’t go into too much detail but if you read my review of the film here, you will get an idea of just how good Johnson is. He has managed to revolutionise the science fiction genre and the whole theories surrounding time travel. I think Looper will inspire a new generation of film makers and if Johnson continues to direct at this high standard he will be regarded as one of the best ever.

 

Joss Whedon

If you don’t know who Joss Whedon is by now where have you been all year? Whedon has a vast amount of experience in television and film working as a screenwriter for many years and having created hit shows such as Firefly, Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Dollhouse. Yet this year Whedon was welcomed with open arms to the masses as he directed this year’s highest grossing film Marvel’s The Avengers. Whedon’s only previous feature film was Serenity (a continuation of the Firefly universe) and, of course, flopped at the box office. However, I thought Serenity was great and there is no doubting Whedon’s talent for writing believable characters and dialogue. With him signed on to oversee Marvel’s phase 2 and direct The Avengers 2, the world is his oyster.

 

Marc Webb

Marc Webb is the only director on this list who I would not class as a science fiction director (despite the fact that The Amazing Spider-Man could be described as science fiction but I think that the superhero genre is now a genre in itself rather than a subsidiary of sci-fi but that’s a whole other argument). Webb arrived on the scene with the incredible, hilarious and touching story in (500) Days of Summer and then, like I mentioned, went on to have another summer hit this year with the reboot The Amazing Spider-Man which was more than capable of holding its own against The Avengers and The Dark Knight Rises. Webb seems to specialise in relationships and he has this amazing ability to capture moments in relationships and develop them over time that I haven’t seen in a long time. I hope he continues to work in other genres but keeps his focus on character.

 

Neill Blomkamp

These last two are a little more unknown than the previous candidates but that doesn’t mean they are not as good. Blomkamp has, at the time of writing, only directed one feature length film with Disctrict 9. However, the praise that District 9 gathered and all the rave reviews about it really reshaping the genre of science-fiction and the sequel to his debut smash is highly anticipated, despite his next film being something completely unrelated to that. His next film is another trip into sci-fi and stars Matt Damon and is entitled Elysium. If this does as well as District 9 then stardom really does beckon for this man.

 

Duncan Jones

And finally we have Duncan Jones. Jones’ first film Moon is one of the greatest directorial debuts I have ever seen. Moon is a true masterpiece and Sam Rockwell’s performance along with the directorial skill of Jones is enough to grab the audience without having a mass of characters. His follow up Source Code was purely his directing and this time he had no part in the writing of the film yet still managed to pull off a great action film and again, a magnificent piece of directing because seeing the same 15-20 minutes over and over again can become tiresome for the audience but Jones manages to sustain interest. His next project is a biopic of Ian Fleming and Duncan Jones could well have another hit on his hands.

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).