Tag Archives: Marvel

“Iron Man 3” gets Chinese connection

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As movies get bigger and more spectacular, it makes sense to cover some of the financial risk by attracting deep-pocketed investors to share the finances and eventual rewards.

Cue Marvel, whose next Iron Man 3 will be a Chinese co-production.  On the face of it, this makes a lot of sense as China is the very definition of an emerging film market, with a potentially massive audience primed and ready to enjoy the visual kinetics of this superhero sequel and shell out on the acres of spin-off merchandising which usually accompanies such a prominent franchise entry.

Sure, there’s that whole piracy thing to take account of, but the fact that China is allowing more Western films to be distributed and made there would indicate that all concerned realise that there’s a lot of cash on the table and what better than a film featuring the world’s most risk-averse fictional capitalist to be at the vanguard of this cultural expansion?

Just don’t mention Foxconn or anything…

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“Avengers” premiere – early buzz leaking out…

Yep, not enough awesome in that pic.

So, there’s this small superhero flick opening in a few weeks – you may have read the odd post about it on this blog?

“The Avengers”  (or “Avengers Assemble“, if you live in a small and confused island in Northern Europe) had a glitzy premiere in Los Angeles last night and has prompted very positive early reactions from the jammy sods press types who were lucky enough to see it.

My personal highlight of the Tweet-fest,  from noted contrarian and geek critic Devin Faraci of BadAssDigest

“AVENGERS is good enough to make me forgive IRON MAN 2“.

Yoink!  Not that “Iron Man 2” was that bad – that Monte Carlo fight scene kicks all kinds of booty – but it’s probably the biggest misstep in Marvel movies to date.  Another movie in a young series which ends with an extended action sequence which plays like a rejected pitch for a Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em Robots movie is not my idea of moving the franchise forward – I’m guessing that the team dynamic of the Avengers squad may have something to do with Faraci’s reaction.

Joss Whedon, nerd-father rising. Haters to the left, if you please...

Your actual, proper reviews are still embargoed but I don’t see that state of affairs continuing much longer if this early buzz is any indicator…

 

 

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Super Bits & Bobs…

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Oh hi there, new Superman movie logo.  As the text above suggests, this is the first look at the new logo for Krypton’s finest son and will be seen in his next on-screen adventure, Zack Snyder‘s “Man of Steel”, which is due for release in June 2013.

As somebody who dug the ever-living kibbles out of Bryan Singer‘s “Superman Returns”, creepy Emo-stalker Superman and all, I’m more than keen to see what Snyder does with it, just so long as it isn’t having the action take place in Amy Adams‘ head and require that everybody dress up like a fetish model.

Elsewhere in the realm of the computer-coloured and splash-panelled, enterprising YouTubist TheIrishAvengerCBM has posted the ‘Head Count’ tv spot for “The Avengers”, which gives us at least a second of face time with the mysterious alien pawns of Loki.  And SPOILERS…

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This would be the Badoon, apparently.  Charming fellows, just given to planetary/dimensional jumps, weird gender schisms and first appearing in “Silver Surfer” Vol 1, number 2 if my interweb searches are to be believed.

Meanwhile, back in the realm of DC, it would appear that the possibility of an Avengers-like “Justice League” movie might still happen if the publisher and Warner Brothers can figure out how to make their – let’s face it – gloriously cinematic creations into movies which work on screen.

There’s a wee interview with “Wrath of the Titans” writer Dan Mazeau over at SuperHeroHype which alludes to his work on a “Flash” movie – ‘(He) can’t just be a guy who runs fast’.  So, a guy who runs fast and runs a street dance school, maybe?  The kids are into that, amirite?

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I suspect that much of the issue may be tone – are DC going to set these films in the near-realistic Nolan universe of the “Batman” movies, which makes the likes of The Flash, Wonder Woman and J’on J’onzz that bit more difficult to incorporate or might they take a leaf out of the book of Marvel and find the science fiction in the premise to make DC’s roll-call of titans, aliens, gods and goddesses fly on screen.

Because, you know, one slightly-botched “Green Lantern” doesn’t mean that we have to give up on the idea of the DC universe in movies.

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“Avengers” Assemble Soundtrack…

Music to be Tony Stark by...

So, you were expecting Selena Gomez, perhaps?

In a move which boldly pitches their soundtrack album firmly at middle-aged rockers, the clever folk at Marvel have decided that this summer’s “Avengers” movie will benefit strongly from a soundtrack composed largely of the musical genre known as ‘Butt Rock’.

Is this really Joss Whedon’s taste in music?  Because, if it is, I’ve just extended my man-crush on him to an absurd degree.

The big news in the soundtrack listing is the first new material from the reunited Soundgarden , “Live to Rise”, which you can hear a brief sample of here.   Riff which might take your face off? Check.  Bass for your face?  Check.  Popular kind of flannel shirt? Check.

Elsewhere on the soundtrack, you’ve got your new (Black Veil Brides), your  grunge and nu-metal survivors (Bush, Papa Roach, Buckcherry), your ‘active rock’ power-players (Shinedown, Theory of a Deadman, Five Finger Death Punch) and your inexplicable (drum and bass godhead Photek remixing Evanescence.  Huh?)

Nu-Metal divas assemble! (Just don't kick me with your cyber-goth boots, Amy)

Mild snark notwithstanding, I am all over this soundtrack like a slavering fanboy who just realised that there’s less than a month to go before he gets to go and see “Avengers Assemble” with Mrs Rolling Eyeballs.  It’s quite possible that this track listing is not your kettle of salmon, but I’m almost predestined on a genetic level to like this stuff – crunchy loudness makes Fluffrick happy!

Excelsior!  Ahem…

 

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Parvel? Mixar? Coolness…

Marvel? Pixar? Start making this movie and never make another "Cars" sequel. That is all.

Pixar Marvel – via Reddit & Imgur.

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Emily Blunt won’t be your girlfriend…

Emily Blunt - would rather kick ass than simper prettily. And who can blame her?

Though she was originally pencilled in to appear in “Iron Man 2” in the ‘Black Widow’ role which went to Scarlett Johansson, British thesp Emily Blunt is none too keen about showing up in a nascent superhero flick and playing ‘the girlfriend’.  You know, I think she has a point there.

Marvel's espionage bad girl, Black Widow.

In an interview to promote her next, non-genre flick, Blunt’s comments on turning down the Peggy Carter role in “Captain America: The First Avenger”, and on the paucity of good roles for actresses in blockbuster flicks in general, have been somewhat misinterpreted as a slam on genre fare as a whole.  And I don’t think that’s quite what she’s getting at.

Her point would appear to be that most of these movies function as wish-fulfilment, power fantasies for adolescent boys of all ages and there’s very little arguing with that assessment – women who enter the orbit of Marvel and DC heroes tend to get to look decorative, be placed in danger and then saved by the titular hero.  Self-determination and pro-active action for women in the summer blockbuster is in short supply and always has been.  What Blunt appears to be saying is that its time that heroines got a slice of the action which is the birthright of male characters.

You’ll note that Marvel Studios don’t appear to be in any hurry to green light a movie which features a strong heroine in the lead and DC similarly seem to be focussing more on getting a “Green Lantern” sequel sorted out than in having anybody make a “Wonder Woman” flick – those tantalising rumours of Nicholas Winding Refn directing Christina Hendricks don’t seem to have been borne out by actual trade paper announcements, which is a shame.

Will sort out evil and not be as much of a diva as most bloke heroes - that's Wonder Woman for you.

I’d love to see Wonder Woman get the kind of mythological action epic treatment which Marvel gave to “Thor” last year – the character deserves it and there’s at least as much potential for a multi-film and multi-media franchise there as there is in any other character in the DC pantheon.  I know that it’s tough to launch these projects but it does seem somewhat weird that it’s usually the super heroines whose script-to-screen travails seem inordinately protracted in comparison to those of their comic book brothers.

So, Hollywood – is it just young dudes who get to explode things and kick bad guy arses or can the ladies have a shot at it, too?  What, exactly, are they so afraid of?

 

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Make Mine Marvel Movie Mayhem!

Steve Rogers, extraordinary everyman

A few weeks late to the party, I’m afraid, but here are my thoughts on the second Marvel Studios release of the summer, Joe Johnson’s “Captain America – The First Avenger”.

Marvel have had a lot of success with their superhero adaptations – “Iron Man” and it’s sequel, “The Incredible Hulk”, the “Spider-Man” series, the “X-Men” series, the two “Fantastic Four” movies and this summer’s “Thor” – and that winning streak continues with “Captain America – The First Avenger”. In many ways, this is the best Marvel film yet.

A real American hero - and none too annoying with it...

Chris Evans stars as the titular character, an archetypal 90 pound weakling whose attempts to join the US Army during the latter part of the second world war are thwarted until he meets Dr Abraham Erskine (Stanley Tucci), whose experimental growth serum is being tested by the military to create a war-winning strain of super soldier.

So far, so Marvel. Sensibly, Marvel have resisted the urge to update the character and pitch him straight into the same contemporary landscape occupied by Tony Stark and Dr Bruce Banner – this is, for the most part, a period-set tale of derring do, irredeemable Nazi bad guys and a world torn asunder by conflict on a massive scale.

As with his previous comic book adaptation, “The Rocketeer”, Joe Johnson displays a deft grasp of historical setting, stages large-scale action set-pieces which don’t dissolve into a morass of fast cuts and is seemingly as interested in his actors as he is in getting the cool alternate technology and gadgets right. He’s aided by a tight, funny and – whisper it – smart script by Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely, which mixes up mythology, history, comic book canon, pacy plotting and laughs in a hard-to-resist package.

Much less so than, say, “Iron Man 2”, this is a summer adventure which isn’t hamstrung by having to set up aspects of next summer’s “The Avengers”. The inter-universe continuity in recent Marvel flicks is here – the Cosmic Cube from “Thor” shows up and a certain, eye-patched gentleman appears towards the end of the film but the heavy lifting has already been done. We all know that there’s an Avengers movie coming, so it’s refreshing to not have to navigate a primer in Marvel Mythology when we could be having a superhero knock-down, drag-out action sequence to justify the increasingly hilariously over-inflated price of cinema tickets.

For the record, I saw a 2D print of “Captain America” and firmly avoided the post-converted 3D effort also doing the rounds – I couldn’t see many examples of cinematography, setting or action which would benefit from the process, honestly.

Chris Evans is excellent in the lead – he’s far from being a cocky, know-it-all, take charge douche and surprisingly easy to relate to. His Steve Rogers doesn’t give up in the face of insurmountable odds and leads from the front – an entertaining section of the film sees Rogers sidelined by bond-selling, USO show-appearing, conflict-avoiding duties on the home front as his friends are pitched head-first into the horrors of the European theatre.

Equally reliable are Hugo Weaving, as villain The Red Skull, whose horrific, red-skinned countenance probably accounts for much of the film’s 12-A rating. He’s got the standard villain’s modus operandi – world enslavement, troubling obsession with occult arcana and weapons of mass destruction are all accounted for – but there’s a fun parallel to be drawn between the Skull’s search for occult objects to fuel the weapons used in his diabolical schemes and the ostensible good guys that we’re rooting for who…use occult objects the fuel weapons to assist their somewhat more benevolent schemes.

Tommy Lee Jones pops up, doing a masterclass in gruff paterfamilias leadership as Colonel Phillips and he’s as economic, laconic and splendid as you might hope. My favourite character, though, is Peggy Carter, Cap’s UK contact, love interest and awesome 40’s dame. She single-handedly erases the bad taste left by “Iron Man 2”, which saw fit to turn Gwyneth Paltrow’s previously competent, business-like Pepper Potts into a screeching ninny – there’s never any sense that Peggy can’t handle herself and essentially kicks more Hydra (the Red Skull’s deep science, Nazi off-shoot army) ass than the Cap does.

Summing up – well worth seeing, possibly just a bit more fun than “Thor” (though make no mistake, I fricking loved Kenneth Branagh’s superhero adventure) and it brilliantly does the job of making you pine for what nerd godhead Joss Whedon will come up with for 2012’s “The Avengers”.

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