Tag Archive: the avengers


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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Back in 1975 Jaws became the highest grossing film to date. It’s arguably one of the most famous films ever that has been parodied and referenced in countless numbers of films and has a theme tune that everyone can hum and recognise. The release and the popularity of Jaws marked the arrival of the summer blockbuster, which would become a staple in the cinema calendar; the summer blockbuster spots are reserved for the biggest studios to bring out the big guns and rake in the profits over summer. The whole idea of a ‘blockbuster film’ has gone through celebration and survived criticism but you can not deny that they are still apparent and, as we have seen this year, are the most bankable films of the year. But the originality has gone, and with that so has some of the fun.

Among the top ten highest grossing films of the year so far there are eight films that have been released in the summer. Only one of those is an original concept: Pacific Rim. When Jaws was released it marked a trend of ‘event’ films that major studios released to compete with Jaws and its sequels. Taking this into account Pacific Rim seems like a typical summer blockbuster remade for a modern audience. It seems like everything a summer audience want: mindless action, giant robots fighting gigantic aliens and what’s more the film had major clout behind it as it was directed by Guillermo Del Toro. Pacific Rim only just managed to double its budget worldwide despite all the hype surrounding it and Idris Elba booming “today we are cancelling the apocalypse” before every other summer film that you would go and see. Of course, one reason why Pacific Rim could have fallen short of expectations is because Michael Bay did such an awful job with the Transformers film that any film with robots in will now be tossed aside without thought.

 

But then a film with fighting robots also became the fifth highest grossing film of all time: Iron Man 3. So this seems to suggest that that was not the only reason for Pacific Rim‘s failure to make a huge impression on the audience. In a world with so many sequels it is becoming more important to see those sequels when they come out, especially with what Marvel are doing with each film becoming a huge stable of cinema in itself and an unmissable event. People want to see what they already know because the first films are so good and successful that it gives a sequel credibility before it is even released. The likes of Star Trek Into Darkness, Fast and Furious 6, Monsters University and even Despicable Me 2 cracked the top ten highest grossing films – all coming off the back of successful franchises or original films. World War Z and Man of Steel also join the list but they’re coming from hugely successful books and comic books. With World War Z it also seems to suggest that star power is also important for a summer blockbuster with Brad Pitt no doubt being responsible for some of the surprisingly huge audience the zombie action film found.

So what of Will Smith, Tom Cruise and Johnny Depp? Three of the biggest movie stars on the planet absolutely tanked at the box office in 2013. Smith’s After Earth and Cruise’s Oblivion both seemed pretty similar in their basic premise: Earth has been abandoned and now Will Smith/Tom Cruise come back to Earth and find out that it’s not as bare as they might have thought. It was assumed that one film would take the spoils because they were too similar but as it turned out, neither film did and both failed. Johnny Depp looked to bring a new franchise to the big screen and should have been more successful being as though The Lone Ranger is integrated in popular culture – everyone has heard “Hi-Yo, Silver!” at least once in their lives. But a difficult time in production seemed to put an end to any plans Disney had of making a sequel. And the less said about R.I.P.D the better.

 

Another one of the most anticipated films of the year was Neill Blomkamp’s Elysium. After Blomkamp’s debut feature District 9 was an Oscar nominated film people were expecting something exceptional from Elysium, starring Matt Damon and Jodie Foster. However, as of now it has only just managed to make back its budget and not set the world alight as people expected. Of course, a late summer release won’t have helped being as though it seems everyone had already spent their money on previously mentioned films. So why is it so hard to find a spot for originality in the summer months?

For me, I think it comes down to the cost of going to the cinema. Over summer the children are off school and people go to the cinema as a family. This means that you’re going to be spending around £25-£35 on tickets and then another £20ish on drinks and popcorn which makes it seem pretty expensive just to go and sit down for a couple of hours. Nobody wants to go and see a bad film at the cinema anyway but when it’s costing that much you want to know that you’re going to enjoy what you watch. Therefore, I believe people are more likely to go and see Iron Man 3 when Marvel have a spotless record and you’re guaranteed a great performance from Robert Downey Jr. rather than take a chance that something like R.I.P.D or Pacific Rim which you don’t know much about.

 

In the next couple of years we are going to see more Marvel films – Guardians of the Galaxy in 2014, The Avengers: Age of Ultron in 2015. The Man of Steel sequel featuring Batman is coming out too, the same as the seventh chapter of Star Wars and presumably a third in the new Star Trek trilogy: add to that another Fast & Furious film, a sequel to World War Z and X-Men: Days of Future Past. It seems like so many huge franchises are begging for people’s money that it seems impossible for anything new to turn heads. For the sake of cinema that has to change sooner rather than later.

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.

I’m back from my Christmas hiatus and in the past couple of weeks critics and fans alike have been compiling their lists of the ten best films of 2012 or twenty best or whatever you like, but I have decided to take a different approach to compiling my list and I will be looking at, month by month, what were the best releases. I’ll be using the UK release dates for films and, in doing it month by month there will be some big omissions and some surprise inclusions.

Will any of these films feature on the list?

 

January – The Grey

To be honest, if you look at what was released in January it doesn’t really fill you with enthusiasm for the rest of the year as there weren’t really many films worth noting released this month. I think that people were still more bothered about seeing the previous year’s Christmas releases (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows, Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol) however there were a few films that stood out. You might think that We Need to Talk About Kevin, Shame or War Horse might win this month but I decided to go for Liam Neeson’s The Grey. Neeson continued his rebirth as an action hero in 2012 and it was largely down to his enounter with wolves in the partially surprising hit: The Grey.

 

February – Chronicle

February brought a lot of very disappointing ventures to the cinema. Safe House was a blockbuster than lacked a punch, Man on a Ledge was a very boring ‘thriller’ and One For the Money is one of the most boring films I have ever seen! However, saying that I was really impressed by Woman in Black which seemed to reinstate Hammer Films at the forefront of the horror scene but for the best film of the month it fell short and I went for Chronicle. Chronicle was seen by many to be very refreshing to an overcrowded superhero genre. The characters that appear in this found footage film are not from the pages of comic books and, like The Grey, Chronicle was another surprise hit but worth of all it’s critical acclaim.

March – 21 Jump Street

If you think that 21 Jump Street is a strange and ridiculous choice to be on this list then I really do encourage you to look at films that were released in the UK in March this year. March saw releases from some very highly anticipated films that were subsequently big disappointments, none bigger than John Carter. Of course, March also brought us the beginning of a huge new franchise with the Jennifer Lawrence led The Hunger Games, however I enjoyed 21 Jump Street a lot more. I can’t remember the last time I laughed so much in the cinema, 21 Jump Street was a welcome injection of humour to an otherwise dull month.

 

April – Avengers Assemble

There was a clear winner for this month. Marvel’s Avengers Assemble became the third highest grossing film of all time, breaking no end of records on its way to this achievement. This was the event that film fans had been waiting for for 4 years and it did not disappoint, The Avengers (as it was known sensibly in other countries) provided big entertainment, big action, big characters and big laughs. The only real competition in this month came from another film with Joss Whedon’s name attached: Cabin in the Woods, which was seen to redefine the horror genre but really, nothing could top Avengers Assemble.

 

May – The Raid: Redemption

May saw a lack of big releases as the prospect of going up against Marvel’s box office Goliath seemed a little bit daunting for many studios. And of course there is a bit of a lull in the cinema calender before the big summer smashes get released. The Raid was something that we don’t see nearly enough on this side of the Atlantic, a foreign release… and a successful one at that! The Raid is a brilliant, action packed, adrenaline fueled Indonesian martial arts film and it should come as no surprise that there are plans in America to do an English language remake.

 

June – Killer Joe

Now, June saw the second big release of the year: Prometheus. And don’t get me started on how over rated that was and what a bore fest it unfortunately turned out to be. Rock of Ages was a very very dull adaptation of the successful stage musical and The Five Year Engagement was about five years too long. Killer Joe proved that Matthew McConaughey could really act and it turned out to be a very gritty, gothic crime drama that also featured Emile Hirsch who is quietly going about proving what a good actor he is too.

 

July – The Dark Knight Rises

At the beginning of July The Amazing Spider-Man was released and was a very good attempt at reshaping Spider-Man’s origins; then on the 20th of July Christopher Nolan turned up to show everyone how it was done. Nolan’s Batman trilogy ended with one of the greatest films of the year. Full stop. He brought an all star cast here and cranked up the tension, cranked up the stakes and people flocked to the cinema to see how the greatest superhero trilogy ever made would end. And it did not disappoint. Sure, it never quite reached the heights of The Dark Knight which preceded it but I thought that the ending of The Dark Knight Rises was one of the greatest and most satisfying endings I have ever seen.

 

August – Ted

Fans of controversial humour, outrageous humour and toilet humour were delivered an early Christmas present back in August when Seth MacFarlane made his feature film directorial debut in this story of a child’s teddy bear coming to life to become a sex-craved, pot smoking best friend (voiced by MacFarlane himself). I think Ted may suffer from a lack of rewatchability but all in all it was a very funny film with some great cameos and hilarious scenes. The “white trash girls names” scene is one of the best scenes of the year in itself!

 

September – Looper

There were some very popular films released in September: Anna Karenina, Dredd, The Sweeney and House at the End of the Street to name a few. Lawless, featuring wonderful performances from Tom Hardy, Shia LaBeouf and Guy Pearce among others was an incredible film and gives Looper a run for its money but when I saw Looper I knew I was watching something special. Looper is one of the best films that I have ever seen and has fast become one of my favourites. The time travel plot device that has long been a staple in the science fiction genre and Looper gave an alternate look while skirting around the edges of Rian Johnson’s own laws of time travel. Looper was incredible! My best film of the year.

 

October – Skyfall

2012 saw the return of James Bond to the big screen in Skyfall, directed by Sam Mendes. After a disappointing Quantum of Solace Bond returned in a flood of critical acclaim and commercial success worldwide in the critically lauded Skyfall. Skyfall delivered a more personal look at the characters in Bond’s world, including a small trip into Bond’s background, a more in-depth look at M and revealed a few dark secrets of MI6. Skyfall also brought back some famous characters in a new style, Q and Moneypenny. Skyfall was simply fantastic and should be an outside bet for a couple of Oscar nominations.

 

November – Argo

My heart longs to say that Rise of the Guardians was the best film released in November but my head says otherwise. November saw End of Watch and Silver Linings Playbook released as well but I think that Argo was a really really incredible achievement for Ben Affleck. Argo was crammed full of suspense and tension and had audiences chewing on their nails whilst sitting on the edge of their seats. A true story of a rescue attempt using the undercover story of being a film crew for a science fiction film seems almost unbelievable but Argo brings it to the screen with such perfect realism.

 

December – Life of Pi

Life of Pi was very hotly anticipated as soon as it was announced. Being a best-selling book Life of Pi already had a huge audience waiting to see how the adaptation would turn out. The story is of 16 year old Pi who suffers a ship wreck which kills his family and leaves Pi stranded with just a Bengal tiger named Richard Parker. It is a truly touching and emotional story and is already reaping the rewards of their hard work with Golden Globe nominations for Best Score, Best Drama and Best Director.

Pacific Rim is the upcoming film being directed by Guillermo del Toro and pays homage to the Japanese giant monster films, known around the world as Kaiju. Pacific Rim tells the story of giant creatures rising from somewhere in the depths of the ocean and waging war on mankind; in order to combat the legions of monsters humankind builds robots (Jaegers) just as big to be piloted by humans in an attempt to “stop the apocalypse”. On the verge of defeat mankind must turn to two unlikely heroes – a washed up former pilot and an untrained rookie – to pilot a legendary but seemingly obsolete Jaeger from the past.

The trailer debuted today, here it is:

Now you can’t deny the grand scale of epic-ness contained within those two minutes?!

I first heard about Pacific Rim a couple of months ago and at first I did think that it sounds just like your typical disaster-turned-action-movie but then my mind was soon put to ease. Guillermo del Toro is a director that doesn’t do things by half; he is one hell of a credible name in the world of movies and has previously brought us the critically acclaimed Hellboy and Hellboy 2: The Golden Army as well as the incredible Pan’s Labyrinth. All of these three films really show that del Toro can do special effects like no other director out there and that when he uses them he makes sure that everything looks perfect and that they do not distract from the film. The brief glimpses in the trailer of the giant see monsters (which look magnificent) and the Jaegers (equally so) have a real sense of brilliance about them: everything just looks so epic, so huge that watching the trailer on my laptop screen just does not do it justice, it really looks like something made specifically for the big screen!

Now you can tell Pacific Rim is going to be requiring a huge budget so who are the two leads on whom the pressure lies? Well, that would be Charlie Hunnam and Rinko Kikuchi… you don’t recognise them names? Both of these have been successful in their careers so far yet stayed away from big blockbusters like this. Hunnam has appeared in Green Street, Children of Men and more recently the critically acclaimed television series Sons of Anarchy whilst Kikuchi is wonderful in Babel. They are supported by Ron Perlman (Hellboy obviously), Burn Gorman (my favourite character from Torchwood so nice to see him here), Charlie Day (Horrible Bosses) and arguably the biggest name among the cast these days, but still not a huge name, Idris Elba. These actors may not all be well known but from what I’ve seen of them I do really like them and Idris Elba is fast becoming one of my favourite actors to watch, I have a lot of faith in this cast. The script comes from Travis Beacham who’s last film was Clash of the Titans and yeah, it wasn’t that good but I don’t think the writing was much to blame for that.

Pacific Rim, quite clearly, is going to eclipse any other blockbuster you have seen recently and that is very clear just from the trailer. The vast scale that it is operating on is so huge it completely puts to shame other blockbusters like The Avengers and The Dark Knight Rises who have their fight scenes battling to save New York or Gotham City whereas here you’ve got real threat, real awe, real horror and just sheer amazement at what Pacific Rim has achieved. I can’t wait to see an all out battle between the Jaegers and the sea monsters and I do believe this could be one of the greatest blockbusters ever made!

Pacific Rim is set to be released in the UK on the 12th July 2013.

This week’s news comes from three of the biggest franchises in the geek world right now. Let’s start with Star Trek Into Darkness. Ever since LOST JJ Abrams has been known for keeping his projects very low key in terms of information that fans know and this has been true of the upcoming sequel to his Star Trek reboot. We’ve seen photos from set and we know Benedict Cumberbatch is playing the villain. This week an official synopsis has finally been released for the sequel:

When the crew of the Enterprise is called back home, they find an unstoppable force of terror from within their own organization has detonated the fleet and everything it stands for, leaving our world in a state of crisis.

With a personal score to settle, Captain Kirk leads a manhunt to a war-zone world to capture a one man weapon of mass destruction.

As our heroes are propelled into an epic chess game of life and death, love will be challenged, friendships will be torn apart, and sacrifices must be made for the only family Kirk has left: his crew.

This obviously still doesn’t give away any identity to Cumberbatch’s villain but it seems, from the synopsis, that Cumberbatch could be playing an old rival of Kirk’s from within the organisation of Starfleet that has become this ‘one man weapon of mass destruction’. Either way, it still sounds fantastic.

 

Next up. There has been a lot of talk about characters returning to the X-Men franchise for Days of Future Past. With the return of Bryan Singer as director of the franchise it seemed every more likely. Already James McAvoy, Jennifer Lawrence, Nicholas Hoult and Michael Fassbender are set to reprise their roles but now we also know that Patrick Stewart AND Ian McKellen are both returning! Bryan Singer has also said that there are “more announcements to be made” which could hint at several other returning characters from the original trilogy. It has long been a source of speculation but these announcements have absolutely made it clear that this will tie together all of the strands of the film series so far (hopefully). And it will be great to see two Xaviers and Magnetos on screen (especially since Stewart and McKellen do it so well).

They’re two of the most lovable old fellows in the acting world.

 

And finally.. this is just a rumour for now but as we all know there is a Justice League film in the works at Warner Bros. and this week Zack Snyder hinted that his Superman reboot Man of Steel could be tied in to it all. However, that’s not the news I’m bothered about. The rumour doing the rounds this week comes from an insider that has said that Joseph Gordon-Levitt is in line to take up the Batman cowl for the superhero team up that won’t be as good as The Avengers. Obviously, if he did this would be a natural progression as JGL’s character (Christopher Nolan’s Robin) in The Dark Knight Rises, it is hinted, takes on the mantle of Batman after Bruce Wayne hangs up his job. However, it is still unknown whether Justice League will respect what happened in The Dark Knight trilogy (probably not) so JGL could still play Bruce Wayne if this was to be done, but like I said… for now this is just a rumour.

Warner Bros. have this week announced their intentions to push The Dark Knight Rises forward in hope of getting a few Oscar nominations. The Dark Knight won two Oscars and received another six nominations although none of these were in any of the ‘big five’ categories. Disney have decided that they are not going to push The Avengers for Oscar nominations and instead will concentrate on their animated features: Brave, Frankenweenie and Wreck-It Ralph. On the surface of it this seems a strange choice as The Avengers became one of the highest grossing movies of all time and is one of the most well loved films of this year! Have Disney made the right choice?

Acting

There are four categories at the Oscars for acting: Best Leading Actor, Best Leading Actress, Best Supporting Actor and Best Supporting Actress. After you decide who in The Avengers is adjudged to be the Lead Role and who is Supporting then you have to think does anybody really deserve a nomination? Mark Ruffalo came out of The Avengers really well, as did Clark Gregg but none of these really did anything to warrant an Oscar. Before it’s release I was touting Robert Downey Jr as a potential Oscar candidate but I wasn’t blown away with his portrayal like I was in Iron Man. As for the female characters Scarlett Johansson put in a good performance but nothing Oscar worthy. Tom Hiddleston is considered by many to be the best actor among the cast but I think there have been better performances than his in other Oscar-worthy films.

Ruffalo and Hiddleston get along much better off screen!

Direction

Joss Whedon made himself a God among geeks with The Avengers but how good was his direction? He told a fantastic story and put together some incredible set pieces including the unforgettable continuous shot during the final battle. However, his technique came under fire from cinematographer and long time Christopher Nolan collaborator Wally Pfister as his camera angles apparently didn’t make much sense in terms of telling a story. Unfortunately, there won’t be any recognition for Whedon’s direction here.

Best Picture

As I mentioned earlier The Avengers became the third highest grossing film of all time and nobody could avoid the huge superhero mash-up this year. I gave it a 10 out of 10 in my review because it is everything that I could have hoped for, it was easily among the best films of the year! However, it seems to be that more often than not, Oscar winners for Best Picture are usually more serious film and you can see that The Avengers was made to be fun and enjoyable. You could say that, much to its credit, The Avengers was made for comic book fans rather than the critics and that could damage it’s hope of a nomination here, especially seeing as how The Dark Knight didn’t even get recognition in this category.

Best Adapted Screenplay

For me, this is the most likely category that The Avengers will feature in. Joss Whedon is a fantastic writer for television and now he has shown that he can tell wonderful stories on the big screen too. Whedon’s writing was what made The Avengers what it is and his dialogue, character development and interaction was fantastic. I think it is a much more well written film than a lot of what we have seen this year (including The Dark Knight Rises) and I do hope that it does receive a nomination here.

So they’re the biggest categories discussed and my opinions on The Avengers‘ chances. Of the rest I don’t think a nomination is out of the question in categories such as Best Film Editing, Best Costume Design or Best Visual Effects but at the end of the day, who remembers the winners of those awards? I think Disney made the right call not to make a serious push for The Avengers‘ Oscars chances.

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.