Tag Archive: thor


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).

Rumours are flooding the internet today surrounding the topic of the Snow White and the Huntsman sequel and whether Kristen Stewart or director Rupert Sanders will return for a second film. With the recent news coming out that Stewart and Sanders were having an affair it is clear this would cause more problems than its worth if these two worked again together, therefore it seems as though the sequel will not be happening with Kristen Stewart playing Snow White because Sanders looks set to return to direct. The attention instead will shift towards Chris Hemsworth’s Huntsman and create a sort of spin off from the first Snow White fantasy film. This was always the plan to do so in the third film but have two films about Snow White precede this. They could always hire Lily Collins to replace Stewart in the lead role, she made a fantastic Snow White in Mirror, Mirror and really looks the part, but if they’ve decided to tell a story based around the Huntsman then so be it; but it better be of a much higher quality than X-Men spin off, X-Men Origins: Wolverine.

There seems to not be a week go by at the minute when Marvel and its film properties aren’t in the news: be it Avengers, Iron Man, Thor, Guardians of the Galaxy or this week Daredevil. Work had apparently been moving forward on a reboot to the Daredevil film franchise at FOX and a director was even pretty much set to go for it; Joe Carnahan (director of The A-Team and The Grey) was tweeting about his excitement to adapt Daredevil in the world created by Frank Miller’s successful run on the comic books back in the late seventies/early eighties which had a darker film noir feel about them. Now it seems as though those ideas have gone up in smoke as FOX are clearly in no rush to get the project off the ground and are apparently willing to let the rights go back to Marvel come October. As soon as Marvel gets the rights back (even before probably) work will be done to get a film reboot going and it would be my guess that he would be set in the same universe as Marvel’s Avengers series probably. I hope that Ben Affleck comes in to direct the reboot, he loves the character and even though his starring role as Matt Murdock wasn’t very good he should be considered to direct, I think his Daredevil would be great and have a similar feel and tone to Gone Baby Gone.

And now here’s the latest casting news that has caught my eye this week: first of all, Aaron Paul of Breaking Bad fame has landed himself a lead role in Nick Hornby adaptation ‘Long Way Down‘ which follows four people who plan to commit suicide by jumping off a building on New Year’s Eve, but become friends with each other before the jump. Keira Knightley has gone and landed herself a part in her first franchise since Pirates of the Caribbean in Kenneth Branagh’s new Jack Ryan film in which Branagh also plays the villain to Chris Pine’s hero. It will be great to see Knightley swap her corsets and what not for a more modern attire in this film. And finally Scrubs‘ Donald Faison or ‘Turk’ has signed on to appear in comic book sequel Kick-Ass 2:Balls to the Wall as Dr. Gravity, a hero who is inspired by Kick-Ass and becomes an ally of his in his new team ‘Justice Forever’. This looks like a fun piece of casting and it is fantastic to finally see some real signs that the sequel is moving ahead!

Rise of the Guardians is the latest animated offering from DreamWorks Animation that will be released later on this year and is already the subject of much hype. I think that this film will be a huge success and, take away The Avengers and The Dark Knight Rises, this is probably the film that I have been most looking forward to this year. But why?

The Avengers smashed records left, right and centre upon its release earlier this year and brought together characters like Iron Man, Captain America, Thor and Hulk to the big screen to all work together. Well, Rise of the Guardians is The Avengers of childhood; everyone has different lives obviously but there are some things that are the same in everyone’s childhood as they grow up and this is their belief in Santa Claus, Easter Bunny, Tooth Fairy, the Sandman and Jack Frost. Rise of the Guardians brings together these heroes of childhood in the same way that The Avengers were brought together, and who is the Loki to Rise of the Guardians team? Someone that every child has nightmares about; the Boogeyman. It’s a brilliant concept for a film to have these famous characters working together and being aware of each and every one of their existences.

Rise of the Guardians is based on William Joyce’s The Guardians of Childhood book series and the books, whilst only released last year were instant hits and are surely going to become classic stories that children will be reading for years. Joyce is also already a big name in the world of animated films; he worked on the art design for Pixar’s Toy Story and A Bug’s Life, produced Robots and wrote Meet the Robinsons. Joyce, as well as writing Rise of the Guardians, is producing and co-directing. The fact that he is writing and co-directing the film is great news because it will mean that he will be able to tell the story exactly as he wants meaning the audience will see the film how it is meant to be seen which always makes a film better!

DreamWorks Animation obviously is in a very difficult position because it has to play second place in the animation world to Pixar, although this is nothing to be ashamed of. I think DreamWorks are pretty up and down: the Shrek series was pretty inconsistent despite a great start, I’m not too keen on the Madagascar series and Shark Tale was worse than average. But when DreamWorks get it right they really do get it right! Flushed Away is brilliant, Kung Fu Panda is great and How to Train Your Dragon is up there with anything Pixar have ever done and even better than some of their films. Rise of the Guardians does look as though it will be one of DreamWorks’ best films to date and that means it will be fantastic! The animation from the trailer itself looks amazing and it will be a treat for all the senses.

Who could have ever imagined that Hugh Jackman, the man who plays the berserker rage suffering Wolverine, would play the Easter Bunny, or Bunnymund as he will be called in Rise of the Guardians. It seems strange casting but just from the trailer it looks spot on! Plus, any film that has Hugh Jackman saying the line “I’m a bunny” just has to be good! Rise of the Guardians’ cast also boasts Chris Pine as Jack Frost, Isla Fisher as Tooth (the Tooth Fairy), Alec Baldwin as North/Santa Claus (brilliant casting!) and Jude Law as Pitch, the Boogeyman. It’s a cast of big names and great voices which will no doubt add to the enjoyment of the film.

When I first saw the trailer I said that it was the best trailer I had seen for a very long time and I still stand by that statement; it tells the story, introduces the characters and packs in lots of laughs in a short space of time. Every little bit of advertising I see for Rise of the Guardians just makes me want to see it even more and the release date cannot come quick enough!

30th November 2012… Legends Unite.

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.

Snow White and the Huntsman is the second incarnation of the classic fairy tale to hit the big screen this year after Mirror Mirror earlier in 2012. In this fantasy action adventure take on the world renown classic the Huntsman ordered to kill Snow White ends up becoming a friend, protector and mentor in her quest to vanquish the evil Queen.

The film opens with a narration and a series of flashbacks in order to provide the audience with some of the back story. It feels as though the film makers tried to just feed us information that we didn’t really need and it sets a very slow pace for what is to follow. The narration also wasn’t filled with any kind of emotion and played quite tediously through the speakers. What follows is a lot of the Queen and Snow White doing pretty much nothing at all which forces the first act of the film to trudge along slowly.

Charlize Theron plays the evil Queen and a lot of the attention in the run up to release was focussed on her and her portrayal of the character, however I was left pretty disappointed by her performance; it wasn’t exactly bad but it wasn’t anything to shout about either. There were points of the film where we hadn’t seen the Queen for so long that I had genuinely forgotten she was a part of the film and as an actor that is not something you want the audience to forget. Kristen Stewart becomes the famous princess and does a sturdy job, again though there is something lacking from her performance, she doesn’t exactly ooze charisma on the screen and I’m not sure she does enough to justify the title role in a film expected to be as huge as this.

This take on the fairy tale bases as much emphasis on Snow White as it does the Huntsman and when the Huntsman arrives it is as if the movie shifts up a gear; played by Chris Hemsworth the Huntsman injects some much needed pace and emotion into the film. It seems as though the Huntsman is the only character the writers decided to take their time on, giving him a very emotive back story and motives, something which other characters (particularly the evil Queen) are lacking. You get a real connection with the Huntsman because of Hemsworth’s performance as he continues to make a name for himself following up three great movies: Thor, Cabin in the Woods and The Avengers.

The majority of scenes without the Huntsman aren’t really worth watching but one in particular is worthy of any fantasy film ever. The first time we meet the adult William is when he ambushes a royal carriage and the fight scene that follows is fantastic; the fight scenes throughout the entire movie are actually a joy to behold. William is played by Englishman Sam Claflin who is relatively new to the acting world but previously appeared in Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides. Based on this performance though, is Claflin doesn’t get more high profile acting work then a terrible injustice has been done in the acting world.

Snow White and the Huntsman is a real treat for the eyes. Everything about it just looks fantastic: the landscape, the costumes, the special effects. It all just looks so perfect and Rupert Sanders, the director, creates this incredible fantasy world so well. You never want to take your eyes off the screen.

In my opinion, this is a much better film than the earlier Snow White retelling Mirror Mirror. Whilst some of the characters aren’t as well developed as others the visuals and the Huntsman and William themselves are worth watching this film for alone. As the film goes along it gets stronger and stronger and climaxes very well. It’s definitely worth a watch.

My Rating: 7/10.

Marvel’s The Avengers is out right now and breaking records left, right and centre; it has smashed the record for highest grossing opening weekend and is on course to break into the billion dollar club, who knows whether it will become the highest grossing film of all time. The highest grossing comic book movie to date is Batman flick The Dark Knight, the sequel to which, The Dark Knight Rises, comes out later this year and along with The Avengers looks to make this summer one for the comic book fans to really enjoy, but will The Dark Knight Rises be able to outdo The Avengers in terms of profit?

Batman Begins, the first of Christopher Nolan and Christian Bale’s Batman franchise, took in over $370 million at the box office which was pretty standard for a superhero movie at the time, putting it on a par with the very below average Superman Returns and the lacklustre Men in Black 2. However, The Dark Knight rose to critical acclaim worldwide and managed to rake in over $1 billion worldwide, becoming not only the highest grossing comic book movie of all time but also the eleventh highest grossing film of all time.

So The Dark Knight Rises has a tough act to follow and will it be able to follow that? Batman is a popular character and the huge scope of the audience that The Dark Knight managed to reach went beyond everyone’s expectations and now everybody knows about Batman and everyone knows what kind of film they will be getting going to see Nolan do another Batman movie. This is a good thing as you would expect a sequel to one of the highest grossing, and arguably best, films of all time would be able to make just as much money if not more, especially with the cast and crew all returning and the public hype the film is receiving.

However, something that could play against The Dark Knight Rises is that The Dark Knight created such high expectations in the minds of the audience that The Dark Knight Rises may not be able to reach. You have to assume that a lot of the money made from The Dark Knight was also made by a lot of people going to see the film on more than one occasion and if The Dark Knight Rises fails to live up to its predecessor then will fans really want to go and see it again? Probably not.

The reason for The Avengers making so much money so quickly, in my opinion, is because this is what a lot of comic book fans have been waiting for since the birth of the superhero movie; it is all of Marvel’s big hitters on screen at the same time: Captain America, Iron Man, Thor and The Hulk all sharing screen time. These characters were already introduced via their own movies in Marvel’s very clever and special approach to film making which meant that even if some fans didn’t like Thor or The Hulk, they would still see The Avengers for Iron Man or Cap. The Dark Knight Rises isn’t in that position; if you don’t like Batman you more than likely won’t want to watch a film about him.

Also, with The Avengers doing so well, the tide may turn for comic book movies and fans may want to see the colour of comic book pages brought to the big screen once again, they want the fun element of the comic books back on the screen and The Dark Knight Rises may be seen as TOO dark by some fans. However, Batman fans will be used to the darkness as his story has always been a dark one (minus the camping up by Adam West and Joel Schumacher over time) so that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

Personally, I don’t think that The Dark Knight Rises will make more than The Avengers; The Avengers is still going strong and will still be earning top dollars at international box offices for the coming weeks, then we shall have to see how The Dark Knight Rises does. But the originality that made The Avengers so popular is not there in Nolan’s ‘threequel’ but if achieves the same acclaim throughout its previews as The Dark Knight did then it would come as no surprise to see it break The Avengers‘ new opening weekend record.

What Next For The Avengers?

With The Avengers now released in the UK and several other countries, and around a week away from the release in the US I decided to speculate on what would happen after this amazing event; where will the Avengers go next?

 

Iron Man 3 is set for a 2013 release.

Iron Man

There is a lot of casting news and fan buzz around Iron Man 3 at the minute and this is the project that we, as fans, know the most about at the minute. It will be loosely adapted from the comic book storyline of Extremis and will be directed and written by Shane Black. It will be interesting to see how Tony goes back to his own life after working as part of a team, to see if he has learnt anything new in his time with The Avengers but according to Kevin Feige Iron Man 3 will isolate Tony Stark.

 

 Thor

Thor 2 slated for 2013 release but this seems unlikely.

With Thor being back on Earth for The Avengers it is clearly possible for Thor to return to Earth, despite going back to Asgard at the end of the team up event. It’s unlikely that Loki will be the villain in Thor 2 after being the main villain in Thor and The Avengers; the villain that I would like to see would be Enchantress and possibly Executioner. The only thing is, Thor clearly still cares about Jane and asks about her in The Avengers but will Thor 2 be set on Earth or in one of the other nine realms. I would like to see more of the fantasy world and another realm but I would like the love story of Thor and Jane to relight as well.

 

Captain America

Captain America 2 has a realistic release date of 2014.

With Captain America now in the modern day it seems likely that Captain America 2 will be about getting Steve Rogers back into the world, which I think would be a great road to go down. I think that Cap’s story should be a character building story in the next instalment and how he copes with the changes to everything he once knew and believed. I would like to see a scene with Peggy Carter (which was cut from The Avengers) and it would be interesting to see if Nick Fury helps get Cap back into the world as well.

 

Hulk

The Hulk is the real star of The Avengers.

After Ang Lee’s version of the Hulk and Ed Norton’s version (which was largely outshone by every other Marvel feature to date really) it seems unlikely that The Hulk will receive another solo film, which is a shame because Mark Ruffalo’s interpretation of the character is really enjoyable in The Avengers. I would love to see Bruce Banner, not necessarily the Hulk, in the next Iron Man film with Banner and Stark striking up quite a nice friendship, although it is just as likely that Banner will continue to work with SHIELD.

 

Black Widow & Hawkeye

A backstory is hinted at and would be interesting to explore.

There have been rumours that both of these characters are in line for their own solo films following The Avengers but I find this highly unlikely. Hawkeye is not really given enough screen time to become an important character in the eyes of the movie audience (which is a shame because he is one of my favourite characters in the comics) and Black Widow, in my opinion, does not warrant a film for herself either, and with the drastic failures of female led super hero movies so far it would be quite the risk. Putting them both in a movie together and exploring their backstory and relationship would be interesting but I can’t see it happening. I expect we shall just be seeing them in terms of SHIELD agents from here on out.

 

Nick Fury & SHIELD

A Nick Fury film is on the cards.

A script is in the works for a Nick Fury solo film and there are plans for a SHIELD film as well. Personally I think that making the two would be a waste of time and money for Marvel. I think if a Nick Fury film is to be made with Samuel L Jackson it needs to combine the SHIELD movie as well. The film could still focus on Nick Fury but it would also be backed up by Hawkeye, Black Widow, Maria Hill and maybe even Bruce Banner if he works for them. This would be the best way to promote all of the ‘secondary characters’ of The Avengers.

 

But before all this, I urge everyone to go and see The Avengers! What a film!

So The Avengers is finally upon us (in Britain anyway, over in the States you still have another week to wait. God knows where the logic in that is, but anyway) and fanboys can rejoice as their favourite superheroes are brought to the big screen together. Since the release of Iron Man in 2008, the excitement has just been building and today what I imagined throughout my childhood was put before me in the cinema.

The Avengers, if you don’t know the story by now, is the tale of these superheroes: Iron Man, Captain America, Hulk, Thor, Hawkeye and Black Widow. Together they are brought together by Nick Fury and SHIELD to defeat the enemy that one single hero could never defeat alone. There is an army from another world waging war on Earth, led by Thor’s evil half brother, Loki. Family ties and egos get in the way but can these great people overcome their difficulties to save millions of lives?

The cast and director of the biggest superhero film to date.

The cast is incredible. Robery Downey Jr is, as we have come to expect as Tony Stark, fantastic. Joss Whedon’s snappy dialogue really lends itself to Downey’s portrayal of Stark excellently and he really continues to make the character so, just, amazing. Chris Hemworth is the Avenger stuck in the middle, on one side planet Earth and on the other his family, and he pulls off the torn God of Asgard well and the character continues to develop from his own film. Chris Evans as the ever warm hearted and honourable soldier Steve Rogers, or Captain America, is great. Jeremy Renner doesn’t have as much screen time as I would have liked or enough time to showcase his acting abilities but he does what he needs to, along with Cobie Smulders, Scarlett Johansson, Samuel L. Jackson and Clark Gregg. Tom Hiddleston once more continues to play the delightfully evil Loki but it is really Mark Ruffalo who impresses, especially as I was a big fan of Ed Norton as Bruce Banner but Ruffalo puts any doubts to bed almost immediately.

The Avengers is in a very lucky position in which all the characters are all already known to film audiences thanks to their own films. So here, we dive straight into the action and waste no time with character introductions which makes the first act one of the most compelling I have seen in recent times. How the heroes are brought together is very well done, it’s something I had my doubts about before watching and it could have been done very cliched so well done to Whedon for that. Thor’s arrival in the film in particular is well handled.

Hemsworth and Evans have expressed an interest in appearing in each other's sequels.

Most things that fans may question are put to bed almost immediately in The Avengers which leaves ties open to all of the other individual films that will surely follow once more. Things such as where Jane Foster is, why the Avengers are not after the Hulk (something alluded to during The Incredible Hulk‘s final scene) and how Thor returns to Earth are answered very quickly and very sensibly. The only thing is there is no mention of Peggy Carter which I think could have been hinted at (I know a scene that featured Steve and Peggy was cut but it would have been nice to have her name mentioned at least).

The Hulk is unlikely to get another film to himself.

The final war is incredible. These are some huge action scenes, whole sets are blown up and the special effects are phenomenal, especially in the case of the alien ships. Seeing Thor, Hulk, Cap and Iron Man all working together is something that is sure to get the fanboys worked up into a sweat and it will leave them grinning after leaving theatres for weeks afterwards. Watch out for the ‘continuous shot’ in the war scene which is one of the best scenes I have ever seen; in one shot we follow all the action and get to see each individual showcasing their skills. It looks as though one hero becomes the leader (although I shall leave out who so you can find out for yourself) and watching The Avengers one hero really steals the show: The Hulk. Ruffalo’s performance, as I said earlier, is really good! But when he turns into the Hulk you know that sh*t is about to go down. Every time the Hulk is on the screen he is destroying things and he becomes the best possible weapon for SHIELD and the Avengers to be in possession of. Words just can not describe how good it is to see these heroes fighting side by side.

The Avengers is everything that a comic book movie should be. We have heroes with a lot of heart, not always getting along (and the insults and little ego battles are really entertaining), we have a villain with motivation and a real sense of evil. There are huge explosions, great action scenes and the dialogue is full of wit. The direction is top class and everything just comes together superbly. The only phrase to describe this movie is with these two words: absolutely orgasmic.

My Rating (a little biased): 10/10

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

 

5. Iron Man 2

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

 

4. The Incredible Hulk

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

 

3. Captain America: The First Avenger

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

 

2. Thor

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

 

1. Iron Man

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