Tag Archives: Marvel

Being Geeky and Gifted

I want to talk about scifif/fantasy and disability.  Unlike Jake, who wrote a great article on this topic, I want to focus specifically on the disabilities that aren’t usually seen on the outside–mental illness and social/emotional disorders.  And also, unlike Jake, I’m coming from the perspective of someone who has it.

When I was in eighth grade, I was diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome.  And when I was a college sophomore, I went through a period of severe depression and found out that I also had OCD.  I have always been labeled as a creative, intelligent person, and I am an unabashed geek.  A lot of the friends that I had in high school and college (mostly college) fall into the same category.  In my own struggles with depression and OCD, I’ve found out that some of those same friends have struggled with some form of mental illness, mostly depression but also ADD. And maybe there’s stuff we don’t talk about.

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Team Lineups for ‘Captain America: Civil War’

This is Part 1 of the three-part Road to Civil War series. 

WARNING: SPOILERS FOR AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON, ANT-MAN, AND CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR INCLUDED BELOW.  READ AT YOUR OWN RISK.

I would have been perfectly happy if Marvel hadn’t announced anything and we had no idea who was on who’s side until next May.  But now that we have the names, it’s only fair to speculate.  I don’t know much about the comics so this is entirely based on the movies, the discussions of other online fans, and what we know so far. 

Team Iron Man

War Machine

Colonel James “Rhodey” Rhodes is Tony Stark’s best friend and sidekick.  I did ask a fan website what else would motivate him to take Tony’s side in this controversy.  The response was that Rhodey works for the U.S. government, so he will support whatever the government decides.  This didn’t make sense to me, but then I remembered the scene in Iron Man 2 where Rhodey took the stolen armor to the Air Force Base.  If that doesn’t speak volumes about Rhodey’s priorities, little else will.

Marvel via Marvel Cinematic Universe Wiki

Marvel via Marvel Cinematic Universe Wiki

Spider-Man

I have never liked Spider-Man, but when they announced that Marvel had bought the rights from Sony to include him in Civil War and reboot him within the existing universe, I decided to deal with it.  In the comics,  Spider-Man plays an important part in the Civil War story.  The film version, however, will differ since we are seeing Peter Parker at the outset of his career.  Tom Holland was cast as the teenage webslinger based on how he performed with Robert Downey Jr. and Chris Evans, so Parker’s relationship with the heads of these two factions, specifically with Iron Man, might be crucial.  There was also a mock news interview with Scott Lang released as a promo for Ant-Man, and someone on Tumblr mentioned that in the crawl on the bottom of the screen said Tony Stark had established a scholarship for inner-city students.  Peter Parker probably looks to Stark as a patron. Given Tony’s relationship with Harley in Iron Man 3, Tony Stark looking for a protege makes sense.

Via haxword.com

Via haxword.com

Vision

Vision used to be JARVIS, but I have to scratch my head because Age of Ultron did little to establish how much of JARVIS is left inside of the android.  As Vision, however, he might have good personal reasons for siding with Iron Man.   Vision states in Age of Ultron, “I am on the side of life.”  Perhaps Captain America is doing something he finds morally reprehensible.  

In the comics, Vision is in a relationship with the Scarlet Witch, but since they are on different sides I wonder if that relationship is ever going to occur, if it hasn’t already.

Via picnations.com

Via picnations.com

Black Widow

Natasha Romanoff making Team Iron Man was certainly a shock. The fandom is disappointed because after everything that she and Steve went through together in Captain America: The Winter Soldier, they seemed to have earned their mutual trust.  I for one would have expected her to at least fight on the same team as Hawkeye.  We may have to wait and see what Natasha’s motivations are more than for the other characters.

Marvel via slashfilm.com

Marvel via slashfilm.com

Team Captain America

Scarlet Witch

Scarlet Witch was not involved in Civil War in the comics, and her presence alone indicates that the film is going to be very different, Wanda Maximoff was my new favorite character in Age of Ultron, so I am really happy that she is on Steve’s side.  It’s not surprising, though, because if you remember in Age of Ultron she and Pietro volunteered for Hydra’s experiments in the first place because of their grudge against Tony Stark.  A part of me says that Wanda hasn’t gotten over that.  And the twins, if you remember, were close to Clint Barton, it’s no surprise that Wanda is sticking with him.

Marvel via thewrap.com

Marvel via thewrap.com

Falcon

Sam Wilson, of course, is extremely loyal to Steve Rogers.  Considering his role in Ant-Man, Sam will be the one recruiting Scott Lang and he may be the one pulling other people to Cap’s side. He might even be considered a co-leader of the team.  I am interested to see how he will interact with Hawkeye/Clint Barton.  They both have superhero names based on birds of prey and so naturally the fandom thinks they belong together.  In-between all of the other shenanigans there is a chance we might get to see the “bird bros” bonding onscreen.

Marvel via sciencefiction.com

Marvel via sciencefiction.com

Ant-Man

If you haven’t seen Ant-Man yet, go see it!  Those of you who have, you know he’ll be called in to do Steve the ultimate favor.  Scott Lang is a huge Avengers fan to start with.  But what’s interesting is that in Ant-Man, Hank Pym mentioned to Scott that he could never trust Howard Stark with his technology and he doesn’t want Tony anywhere near it either.  That impression probably stuck with Scott.  I think Scott Lang will be Steve’s new go-to man for equipment, since he is burning bridges with Tony, and heaven knows Steve and his teammates are going to need some tech to compete with Stark.

Marvel via moviepilot.com

Marvel via moviepilot.com

 

Hawkeye

This was the surprise for Cap’s team.  I mean, he is a really loyal friend to Natasha so I am surprised and disappointed they weren’t on the same side, but that’s what’s going to raise the stakes, right?  At the end of Age of Ultron, Clint went back to his family at least for a little while, so I wonder what might get him to go back into the field.  The registration act from the comics storyline is not going to work out, but in Age of Ultron the other Avengers except Natasha did not know about his family, so he still had at least some degree of privacy.  Something may be threatening his family and he is siding with Steve in order to protect them.

Marvel via screenrant.com

Marvel via screenrant.com

The Winter Soldier

All signs indicate that Bucky will be getting at least some of his memory and personality back, but his external circumstances will remain less than ideal.  Other people aren’t going to care that he’s no longer Hydra’s brainwashed assassin, and in fact if you saw the Ant-Man post-credit scene you KNOW that he’s vulnerable for it.  The more I hear, the more I think that the resolution of the Winter Soldier’s storyline will be the pin on which everyone hinges.  Steve might take his stance based on how people respond to Bucky, and Steve may or may not trust certain people based on who agrees with him.

Marvel via stitchkingdom.com

Marvel via stitchkingdom.com

The Double Agent

When the team lineups were announced, it was also rumored that one of the superheroes was going to be a double agent.  Everyone thinks (and wants) it to be Natasha, but I think we need to give the other character a look.  To be brutally honest, Bucky fighting at Steve’s side is almost too good to be true.  Spider Man is a new character and his motivations are unknown, but if he’s a young teenager who looks up to Tony Stark I doubt he would do anything that gutsy. Scott Lang/Ant-Man might become disillusioned with his superhero idols after watching them fight each other.  Maybe Tony does something that Vision disagrees with, but once Vision makes a decision I doubt he would go back on it: he is too much pure goodness. 

a safer world

Fan art by Lizy Cole

I would say that Team Iron Man has the advantage as far as technology, but for powers I think they might be even. As for the characters I like I think Captain America’s team took the vast majority of the cool people.  However, much remains to be seen about what the actual conflict is and what will really motivate these characters we know and love to take sides.

Read More:

The Casting of Tom Holland as Spider-Man

Sebastian Stan on the Ant-Man post-credit scene

Scott Lang Interviewed by WHIH

 

David became Goliath: Will Marvel ever fail?

The year was 2008, and there wasn’t much good going on in the world of Marvel movies. Spider-Man 3 had soured the franchise, the Fantastic Four movies were definitely not fantastic, and Hulk was lousy at best. It seemed that Marvel was doomed to have lackluster movies produced by third parties.

Then came Iron Man.

HereComesIronMan

Just look at all that majesty. Via imageevent.com/

Everything felt right with this movie. The costume was spot-on, Robert Downey Jr.’s performance was spectacular, and the post-credits scene revealed that a larger, connected universe was on its way. Marvel was a David in the world of movie producing, and it showed that it could compete with all the Goliaths in the industry.

Even with some of their most popular characters, such as Spider-Man and the X-Men, in the hands of other companies, Marvel began building an incredible, connected universe in the movies that followed Iron Man. There could be little that was more exciting than the idea of seeing individual heroes coming together and Phase One culminated in The Avengers. Marvel continued strong during Phase Two, with Winter Soldier and Guardians of the Galaxy being huge hits. While not every movie has been a shining example of greatness and fantastic storytelling, all of them have been financially successful. Even the movie that people seem to complain about most, Thor: The Dark World, did financially well at a little over 200 million.

Marvel has bulked up and is no longer a heroic David, but rather a hulking Goliath, (pun intended), and I think people are getting tired of it.

Come on, he just wants a hug. Via http://marvel-movies.wikia.com/

Come on, he just wants a hug.
Via http://marvel-movies.wikia.com/

When Age of Ultron came out, I read dozens of articles that pointed out every flaw and shortcoming. It seemed like everyone was wanting to bring Marvel down from their now legendary status. This only increased when Ant-Man was getting close to release. With the Edgar Wright problems and Ant-Man considered a B-list hero people were anticipating an Evel Knievel style crash and burn. But Ant-Man did well both financially and critically, and Age of Ultron was still well received even with all the nitpicking people have done.

At some point Marvel will have a flop, since no franchise or company can have success infinitely. But until that flop happens people are going to be looking and waiting for it. Watching a Goliath win again and again gets tiring, and so many people hope to see it fail. And maybe a single fail would be beneficial, since right now people are so anxious to find flaws that they’ll tear apart good movies and magnify any flaws disproportionately. Despite the financial and overall critical success of Age of Ultron, there have been a huge number of complaints about things ranging from stereotypical storylines to nitpicking whether or not Black Widow’s portrayal is anti-feminist.

I recognize that Marvel’s movies aren’t perfect. There are a number of different ways that the movies can be improved, but that’s true for almost any movie out there. The difference is that with Marvel being so incredibly successful with their movies, people love to cry out “See! They’re not so great! Look at all of their flaws!” All because people hate to see a Goliath go so long without losing at least once.

I don’t know when Marvel will finally have a failure. Their lineup for the next few years seems pretty strong, so I can’t pick anything out in particular as the next target. But I honestly think that a flop can only help them, because instead of saying “look at the strained relationship between Banner and Black Widow”, we can finally say “that movie may have had some rough spots, but at least it wasn’t another Howard the Duck.”

Except Marvel would probably ruin this plan and actually make it awesome. Image via cinemablend.com

Except Marvel would probably ruin this plan and actually make it awesome.
Via cinemablend.com

Strong Female Heroines and Why They’re Awesome

I’m the new blogger for the Geeky Mormon.  My name is Elizabeth but you may call me Lizy. I will answer to Liz.  Some people are picky about being classified as either a geek or a nerd, but I will answer to either.

Female characters, especially strong ones, are definitely a reason that I enjoy sci-fi and fantasy.  I don’t mind identifying myself with the girl who needs to get rescued, but I have always been interested in heroines who take care of themselves, fight their own battles alongside the boys, and sometimes even get to do a bit of the rescuing.  The heroines who really catch my attention are a little of both. Below are just some of my observations and thoughts on what makes a strong female heroine, based on about a year’s worth of writing, research, and observation.

The point of fantasy is that you can identify with the character in some way and because of that experience what the character is going through.The first Marvel movie I ever saw and enjoyed was Captain America: The First Avenger.  While I primarily liked the film because I could relate to the underdog Steve Rogers, I was in awe of Agent Peggy Carter.  She was smart, beautiful and absolutely fearless. She took absolutely no nonsense from any of the other guys, but she not only liked Steve but she believed in him.  (As a side note, I have not been able to watch the Agent Carter TV show yet but I want to very badly). That is the kind of person I felt like I could emulate.

Is it too much to say that I think Agent Carter is the reason I'm a Marvel fan?  Via boingboing.net

Is it too much to say that I think Agent Carter is the reason I’m a Marvel fan?
Via boingboing.net

Sometimes I am less interested in the female leads and more in the fantasy elements or the story.  But that being said I am still excited for Captain Marvel, because we will get all of that and a female lead too.

One of the first Star Wars characters I loved was Queen Amidala.  As a little girl I loved her wardrobe in The Phantom Menace and I spent many happy hours pouring over the pictures of her dresses in the visual dictionary.  And in addition to that, she fought for the freedom of her people. When I got older, I discovered the original trilogy.  I liked Princess Leia a lot, and I still like her a lot.  She didn’t have the visual glitter of the Queen, but she spoke her mind and carried a blaster. I wanted to be tough like that when I was a kid.  It was when I was older that I came to appreciate her tender side as well.

This is one of my first real heroines Via digitalspy.co.uk

This is one of my first real heroines
Via digitalspy.co.uk

Years later, I found out that a lot of people didn’t like Padme Amidala because it was clearly a bad idea for her to pursue a relationship with Anakin Skywalker, and then it didn’t make sense for her to die in Revenge of the Sith. I liked Padme too much as a character to let these things get in the way of liking her.  But I have thought about these issues a lot.  People don’t like having to identify with female characters who make decisions differently from the way they would, especially when it comes to love.  But Padme’s failure, to me, makes her all the more human and relatable.  As far as Anakin is concerned, she had a fatal blind spot, but his decisions were not her fault.  And when a heroine fails, sometimes something good comes out of it.  Usually this means she is able to get up again and confront the problem, but in Padme’s case it meant that her love for Anakin lived on through Luke.

And then there are the people who think falling in love is absolutely demeaning for a female character to experience.  I could not disagree with this more. If the love story is relevant to the plot and it strengthens both characters, then it can be a good thing. It is natural and human to fall in love. In all honesty, I was not thrilled that Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow tried to pursue a romance with Bruce Banner/the Hulk in The Avengers: Age of Ultron. But the online backlash against the love plot was ridiculous. I do not think that having Natasha fall in love was completely demeaning. I make missteps in my love life too sometimes. And it made sense in context of the larger theme that Joss Whedon was trying to get across.

The fact that Natasha was sterilized in the Red Room is a symptom of her much bigger problem: she was created to be an assassin in both mind and body, to the exclusion of all else. She has her worst fears, and she has a dark side I can scarcely begin to imagine. What makes her more interesting is the way she copes with her darkness, by being the auntie to Clint Barton’s kids, by being compassionate to people in need, by protecting those who are weaker than herself, and by relying on her quiet, inner strength.  I like Natasha a lot more now than I did three years ago. And while I’m upset about her pursuing Bruce I can at least forgive her for that.  What matters is that he is a well-rounded character.

Via theworkprint.com

I like Natasha because she has a very human side. Via theworkprint.com

The matter of the strong female heroine is only an issue of gender to a point: it is about the development of character and how that influences how gender is represented.  This is important because the media has a huge influence on individuals as well as cultures.  But all heroines are not alike and should not be expected to conform to some invisible standard. We can allow our heroines to be human just as much as the men.  Isn’t that what makes these stories great, by seeing the characters we sympathize with have human experiences?

Read More:

A Fandom of Her Own: Women of Today’s Sci-fi/Fantasy Franchises (Capstone paper)

Women of Science Fiction and Fantasy : Salt Lake Comic Con 2014 Panel

The Strong Feminism behind Black Widow, and why the critiques don’t stand up by Alyssa Rosenburg for the Washington Post

 

With Chris Evans, Salt Lake Comic Con is Legit

To be fair, the title of this post is a bit misleading. Salt Lake Comic Con (no dash) has always been legit. From their very first show, up through their most recent FanX, SLCC has done an incredible job listening to fans and bringing them the experiences they want. As of yesterday, though, Salt Lake Comic Con is more legit, maybe even 2 Legit, 2 Legit 2 Quit (I’m sorry, I know that was lame). I’ll be honest, the guest lineup this year was pretty good for some folks, but I wasn’t really feeling it as much as previous years. There were a few guests I was excited about, but it just didn’t seem like there were as many as for me as previous cons. Of course, part of that may be that anything short of a David Tennant or Peter Capaldi feels like a let down after Matt Smith came in January.

Then this happened:

11695780_493338194162221_8686003961386369436_n

 

Yesterday, Salt Lake Comic Con announced that Chris Evans would be attending the convention on the Saturday of the event. This is huge. You know where Chris Evans wasn’t? San Diego Comic-Con (with a dash). You know what he has never done at other conventions, that he’s doing at SLCC? Photo ops and autographs. Do you know how awesome that is? Epic. Oh, and to add to the awesomeness, there was this little bit of information, leaked from Hayley Atwell’s twitter account:

Hayley was asked if she might be joining Chris for the con in Salt Lake, and she said yes. Which would be pretty cool. These are two huge names who are currently in the MCU. I think the fans in Salt Lake would love to see these two together. I know I would.

What is even cooler about Chris Evans coming is the story about how the booking went down. According to an article written by a local reporter for USA Today, Dan Farr made contact with Chris Evans agent in Houston at Comicpalooza (apparently the agent was there with Hayley Atwell, so that might explain why she is also coming to SLCC). He was talking to them about coming to Salt Lake, when Marina Sirtis (aka Deanna Troi), a SLCC alum, came up and told the age that they had to come to Salt Lake Comic Con. She said it was the best event around, and that the fans were the best. That’s pretty high praise. Now, the result is that we are getting these two mega stars here in Salt Lake.

I am so excited about this and how it all went down. We are building a reputation for being a premier spot for celebrities to come and meet their fans. We are building a reputation for being an awesome geeky fan base, and that is pretty cool. The fact that our fans played a role in why this happened seems to just fit. SLCC has always been about the fans and what we want.

I think the other thing that makes me so excited about Chris Evans coming here is that this will open the door for other huge, epic names to come here. Assuming Chris will have a great experience here (how could he not?), he’ll go back and tell his friends that this is the place to come, and then when they get contacted, they’ll want to come because they will have heard how awesome we all are. This is huge, Chris Evans coming, but I have a feeling that this is only the beginning. I can’t wait to see where we go from here. Salt Lake Comic Con is legit.

What did you think of the big announcement yesterday? Was it as epic as advertised, or are you still holding your breath, maybe a little, for someone else? (David Tennant) Let me know in the comments below. Or on my Facebook page or Google +, or send it to my email directly at thegeekymormon@yahoo.com.

 

Is Marvel Losing Steam?

ant-man_trailer_screengrab_2_h_2015

 

I am trying, true believers. I am really trying. I really want to be excited about Ant-Man opening this weekend, but no matter how hard I try, I just can’t get there. I don’t know why. This isn’t like when Guardians of the Galaxy came out, where I initially thought I would have zero interest in the film, and then I saw the trailers, and my whole mindset changed, and I loved the movie. Somehow, Ant-Man just doesn’t excite, no matter how many times I watch the multiple trailers. I never cared much about the character in the comics, in any of the incarnations. That, at least is similar to Guardians. The big difference is that I saw something in the hype leading up to GOTG that made me want to see it. So far, all I’ve seen from Ant-Man is a toy train crash scene. I am just not sold. I don’t think I am the only one, either. For the first time, I am hearing mixed feelings about a Marvel film. For the first time, I am hearing from casual fans that they really don’t want to see this film. I may have even heard it from some not so casual fans. I have always thought Ant-Man the character does better as part of a team, than as the main character in a solo series or film. Plus, this isn’t even the real, original Ant-Man. To be brutally honest, though, I think my lack of excitement for the Ant-Man film may be a symptom of a bigger issue. I know this might sound crazy, and may even lead to some mean comments or letters, and that’s ok. Just know, that right now I am phrasing this as a question, not as a fact. I am simply wondering: Is Marvel losing steam?

The_Avengers_Age_of_Ultron_71274

 

Before you get all upset, let’s just take a look at what’s happening with Marvel right now. Let’s start with Avengers: Age of Ultron. Now, I know that someone out there is going to shut me out at this point because they feel like AOU was the greatest movie ever made. I get it. I was pretty pumped about the film after I saw it when it first came out. Looking back, after having some time to think about it, it may not have been as good as I originally thought. I think I may have fell victim to all the hype that came before the film, and I wanted it to be good. The point, though, isn’t whether the film was awesome or not. The point is what happened at the box office. When Avengers came out in 2012, it was a huge success, almost like an unstoppable juggernaut, destroying all sorts of box office records. Plus, it was good. Really good. The Disney/Marvel machine immediately went into action promoting the sequel. It seemed like 2015 would never get here. There were so many promotions leading up to the film release. I mean, go to any local grocery store and you can find Avengers fruit snacks, cereal and even Dr. Pepper. There was no way the public was going to forget about this film. It looked poised to crush all the records the original film set. And then it didn’t. To date, it has pulled in $455 million at the box office. That is not a bad number, until you compare it to Jurassic World, which is sitting at $590 million, and it was the film that broke Avengers’ opening weekend box office record. Or compare it to the original Avengers, which brought in $623 million. By all accounts, I think it is fair to say that it was at the very least a small disappointment.

Why? I don’t know exactly, but I am beginning to wonder if audiences are starting to want more than the formulaic films that marvel has produced up to this point. Avengers was special because it had never been done before, and it was really good. AOU wasn’t. It had been done before. Even the story felt stale, looking back on it. Wasn’t it really just the same story as Avengers, repackaged with a new villain and updated costumes? What was really new and innovative and different about AOU? “But, Jake,” you might be saying,”Ant-Man is new and different.” My response would be: “Is it? Is it really different?” Guy with a not so great past gets super powers through new tech, and then through the course of the story decides to turn his life completely around and become a hero. Like Tony Stark. The only difference is that Hank Pym is the inventor of the tech, while Scott Lang is the titular character. Tony Stark was both. That’s a small detail, but the bones of the story seem to be the same. I mean, it seems like the turning point for Ant-Man is facing Yellow Jacket who has stolen Pym’s technology to use it to do bad stuff. What was Tony Stark’s turning point? Are you beginning to see? This is basically a not as good version of Iron Man. We have seen it before. I would not be surprised if this film does not do well. I think Marvel is banking on it. I think after Edgar Wright left, they just pushed this one through and just want to walk away with marginal profits and begin focusing on Cap 3, hoping the Civil War storyline and Spider-Man will right the ship. They didn’t even show up at SDCC to promote Ant-Man, a week before the film hits theaters.

Maybe this isn’t the beginning of a permanent disinterest in Marvel. Maybe Civil War will get it all back on track. All I know is that marvel was not at SDCC, more and more people are less and less interested in Ant-Man and the extended Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice looked pretty awesome. Maybe this little slow down from Marvel is exactly what DC needed to get back in the game. Honestly, did you see the new Dawn of Justice trailer? It looked amazing. Here, check it out:

I don’t know what will happen. I have a feeling that Marvel still has quite a few monster hits coming, but I think we are going to begin to see a mix between their massive hits and some mediocre box office returns. Ant-Man could just be the beginning. Of course, I could be sitting here after this weekend and be eating my words.

What do you think? Is the big Marvel machine finally slowing down? Or is this just a hiccup and they’ll continue to dominate indefinitely? Let me know in the comments. Or you can email me directly at thegeekymormon@yahoo.com. I love hearing from you.

 

Captain America in 8-Bit Glory

Have a couple of minutes today? Take that time to lay your eyes on this 8 bit masterpiece from Cinefix. It is Captain America The Winter Soldier in 8bit. So much awesome in one video should be illegal, but it’s not. Enjoy!

This Week in Geek: Civil War

Civil-War-670-665x385

 

It’s old news by now that Captain America 3 will be loosely based on the Civil War Story line from Marvel Comics. It has become one of the more highly anticipated non-Avengers movie in the MCU lineup. It is a story line that should see Captain America and his supporters facing off against Iron Man and his supporters. For those that are unfamiliar with the comics story line let me summarize it for you. It starts out with a young superhero group known as The New Warriors. They are superheroes and reality TV stars. On one particular adventure near Stamford, Connecticut, one of the bad guys-Nitro- goes off causing an explosion that destroys miles of the area they are in, killing a bunch of people. Included in that area was a school and 60 kids die. This leads to congress passing the Super Human Registration act, requiring all super humans to register so the government can more closely monitor/control their actions. This also means that their secret identities would become public. At this time, Tony Stark is running SHIELD, and he ends up supporting the act. He believes that someone should be regulating all the super beings and their powers and what they do with them. He is obviously not concerned with his own secret identity (secret identities, with a few exceptions, are not as big a deal in Marvel as they are in DC). Cap opposes the act. He feels like it is taking away the rights of the super powered beings, and even though he has no secret identity, he understands how that is a protection to some of the other heroes. Cap and Iron Man become the de facto leaders of each side and the whole Marvel Universe is split on the issue of super human registration.

Those familiar with this story line in the comics had some idea of how the Civil War movie was going to play out. Obviously, the film was not going to follow the story line exactly, but the broader story could work out. This last week Marvel announced that Captain America: Civil War was beginning principal photography in preparation for its May 2016 release. Along with its announcement that the shooting was beginning, Marvel also announced who was going to be in the film and how the basic story line would play out. You can find all those details here.

If you look at the list, at first glance, it looks like the whole MCU will be in this movie, but there are a few notable names left off the list. Nick Fury, Maria Hill, The Hulk, and Thor are all missing from the list of cast members. Some have called this film “Avengers 2.5,” but it will be a very different Avengers team if these characters will in fact be missing from the film. It looks like Daredevil will also not be making his debut on the big screen with Civil War. Also missing is Spider-Man. The final decision on who will be the MCU’s Spider-Man has not been made, so just because he is not listed here does not mean he won’t be in the film. They are probably waiting to make that announcement separately.

There were also some interesting names on the list. Most intriguing is General Ross. We haven’t seen him since he was hunting after Edward Norton as the Hulk. It’s been a while. What makes his inclusion even more interesting is that Hulk is not on the list. So why is ol’ Thunderbolt going to show up? Maybe we will be seeing a Hulk in the film, he just won’t be green. Martin Freeman is also listed, but not who he is playing. I honestly have no idea who he will be playing in the film. I don’t even know where to begin to guess, but I do wonder if it will be similar to Robert Redford’s character- someone we have never heard of before. Black Panther and Ant-Man are both listed in the film, so it will be interesting to see where they fit in. The other really interesting character is the Winter Soldier. What will his role be in the movie? In any case, it is a very impressive list of characters.

We also get an idea of how the actual story will play out. Instead of the New Warriors being involved in the incident that leads to the Super Human Registration act, it will be the new Avengers team. This makes sense, since we have never seen the New Warriors in the MCU. Plus, from a lot of the rumors we are hearing, the new Avengers will be the primary team in the Infinity War Part 1, so it makes sense to have them working together before that, and this movie is a perfect opportunity to play that out. It will also be interesting to see which of the characters will end up on which side.  It will be interesting to see how it all plays out leading into Phase 3, how it will set the phase up and what the after effects will be.

What do you think of the cast and story announced for Civil War? Are you excited to see how it all comes together, or are you afraid it may be too many characters to cram into one movie? Let me know in the comments.

Avengers: Age of Ultron Spoiler Free Review

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Last night I had the opportunity to go see Avengers: Age of Ultron, an event that I have been leading up to on the blog over the last two months by reviewing each of the previous 10 Marvel films. Age of Ultron has been incredibly hyped and promoted, to the point that one would think there is now way it could live up to all of it. Well, after being it, I can say it did live up to the hype, at least in my opinion, for the most part. Today, I am going to attempt to review the movie without spoiling it for anyone who hasn’t seen it. To do this I am going to break this review into my 5 categories and talk about how it fared in each category without going into detail. Hopefully this works out okay for everyone.

Plot

If I had anything to nitpick about this movie, it would be the plot. Not because the story wasn’t entertaining, but because it seems like it followed a lot of the same plot lines as the first Avengers. In the film we see the same stages of team formation that we saw in the first film. We see some forming, then storming, norming and performing. Without going into detail, it seems like at one point in the film, the team is right back where they started in the first Avengers film, despite the fact that they have been working together for a couple of years now. That being said, I don’t know how else you could make a great super hero team movie without finding a way to tell this kind of story. That’s what makes sequels like this so hard. Like I said at the beginning of this section, that’s nitpicking. My brother and i noticed the similarities, but we were also thoroughly entertained. Obviously, while the overall plot may be similar deep down, on the surface it also feels very different because we have a different villain, so in the end it works just fine. Overall, for the plot, I would give this a 4 out 5 stars.

Dialogue

This is one area where the Avengers’ time together shines through. This cast obviously has some great chemistry, and you can tell on screen. There are some great one liners, and while tempting to share a few of them here, I am going to refrain. This has become a trademark of the MCU films, the witty back and forth and snappy dialogue. Age of Ultron is no exception. The main cast is great in their delivery and it is everything you would expect. Throwing in a master of wit, like James Spader, as the main antagonist, and it only helps your cause. He was incredible as Ulton. The way he delivered his lines was classic James Spader. His performance is a highlight of this film. Only die-hard fangirls will be sad that Loki is not involved in this film at all. No one else will miss the god of mischief because of James Spader’s performance. Overall, for the whole film, for dialogue, I would rank this 4.5 stars.

Character Development

I was assuming we would see a little bit of the conflict between Cap and Iron Man begin to emerge in this film, leading into Civil War.  There is a little bit of it there, and you begin to see how the two of them view the world differently and how they view their roles differently. The most interesting thing is that as you begin to see those differences that could lead to that conflict, you also see their friendship develop more as well. I think Civil War  is going to be a great film, and I can’t wait to see how they get to that point. As far as the other characters in this film, there is some great development throughout the team, but none of the characters grow as much as Hawkeye does. We see his character in a whole new light after this film. And that is all I am going to say about that. Overall character development gets 4.5 stars.

Acting

There was nothing that blew me away about the acting in this film. It was exactly what you expect from an MCU movie. It didn’t disappoint at all, but no one is going to win any awards for their performance. That’s fine. No one expects that from an action film. At the very least, like all MCU films, the acting is not so horrible that it ruins what could have been a decent film. Instead, it is a strong performance from everyone involved. RDJ and Chris Evans turn in some great work, and continue to establish themselves as the leading men of the MCU. Mark Ruffalo is a highlight as always, and I think James Spader was wonderful. Overall, the acting is a 4 out of 5 stars.

Entertainment Value

This one is easily a 5 out of 5 stars. When I went to the film, was I entertained? Absolutely! Whedon packs this film with almost nonstop action from start to finish. There is hardly a moment to catch your breath, and that’s what i want from a big, blockbuster picture like this one. The action does not disappoint, but the story never gets lost in the action either. The battles in this movie are some of the best ever put in a superhero movie. They take what we saw in Avengers  to the next level, and set a new standard. A lot of times these movies will have one or two smaller battles and then the really big one at the end. This one has way more, and each one makes sense and looks incredible. That mixed with the dialogue and humor and everything makes this category a 5 out of 5.

Overall

This is a great addition to the MCU family. It will make a ton of money, and it earns every penny. Go see this film, although I’ll bet most of you already have. It is incredible and fun. I can’t wait to find a babysitter and take my wife, and then maybe take my oldest some time, because he’ll want to watch it, and then maybe I’ll have to find an excuse to see it a couple more times before it leaves theaters. Great film.

As a side note, we saw it in IMX- do that if you can- and one of the previews at the beginning was Dawn of Justice. It looked much better on the big screen, so it restored my hope that the movie is going to be ok.

Loved this movie. Those of you who have seen it, what did you think? Please try to avoid posting any spoilers on this review, to keep it spoiler free.

 

Revisiting the MCU: Guardians of the Galaxy

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Well, here we are. The final movie in the MCU before Avengers: Age of Ultron. This is our last stop in our trip through Marvel’s world, and just in time as Age of Ultron is opening in the U.S. on Friday. It has been a lot of fun to go back and re-watch each of the Marvel films, but few of them have been as much fun as this one. Guardians of the Galaxy was a real good time at the movies. I was surprised by how much I enjoyed it the first time I saw it, and I continue to enjoy each time I see it again.

When I heard that Marvel was making a GOTG movie, I thought that they would finally have a flop on their hands. These characters are not like Captain America or Iron Man or Thor. They are not as well-known to the mainstream public, so I figured most people would not be interested in seeing a film about a bunch of characters they didn’t know anything about. Especially when one of those characters is a walking tree and another one is a talking raccoon. Then, when they announced Chris Pratt as the lead, I was sure this was going to be a disaster. This is the guy who played dorky Andy on Parks and Rec. No way could we take him seriously as an action star. Then they added Dave Bautista as Drax, and I figured that was the nail in the coffin. Other than Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, most professional wrestlers who make the jump to acting fail miserably. Marvel had a good run, but this was the end. Not the end, the end, I mean, for sure they would bounce back, but this film was just going to be awful.

Then I saw the trailers for the movie, and I was almost ready to eat my words. Almost. I had also seen the trailer to Green Lantern and thought it looked pretty amazing. It wasn’t. There was still a chance that Guardians of the Galaxy  was going to be really bad. Then I saw the film, and it wasn’t really bad. It was pretty amazing. Marvel seemed to do everything right with this movie, and knocked another one out of the park. It was just surprisingly good in almost every way.

I think one of the most refreshing things about this movie was that I didn’t know the characters that well, so it was all really new to me. It felt fresh and different. I know Captain America, I know Spider-Man and I know Superman, so when those films come out, and it’s another origin story, or a well-known storyline, it’s still good, and fun to see it on the big screen, but it’s also predictable. GOTG was not as predictable. It was really outside of everything that Marvel had done up to this point, and opened up a much broader universe. Now we are getting some of the cosmic Marvel stuff. We have met Thanos before, but now we get to see more of the world he lives in. We meet the Guardians of the Galaxy, but we also meet the Kree and the Nova Corps, staples in the Marvel Cosmos. Hopefully, the success of this film will lead to a Nova stand alone film or maybe Adam Warlock. It would be cool to see some of these other cosmic characters start appearing.

Chris Pratt is absolutely an action star. When it was first announced that he would be playing Star Lord, I really didn’t get it. I really only knew him from Parks and Rec. He was incredible as Peter Quill. He was a modern-day Han Solo. I’m not saying he was as cool as Han Solo, but he came a lot closer than anyone else has lately. (Would Firefly be considered lately?) In fact, he was so successful as Quill, that it was rumored a few months back that he was being considered for the lead in a new Indiana Jones movie, i thought to myself, “Duh! Who else would they get?” What a difference one film can make.

The rest of the cast was great as well. I don’t know that Dave Bautista will have a long career in acting, but he was a great Drax. He was my wife’s favorite character. She really appreciated his grasp of concepts like metaphors and humor. His one liners were some of her favorites throughout the film. Bradley Cooper does some amazing voice work as Rocket. Women everywhere were probably confused that they would put Bradley in a role that kept him off camera, but it worked really well. Vin Diesel had one line. They gave him one line, three words to repeat over and over throughout the film. And he nailed it. Hey Disney and Marvel, any time you want to pay me millions to repeat three words over and over again, let me know. I am available.

This was such a classic example of catching lightning in a bottle. Everything just seemed to fall into place. Plus, Marvel was smart they had already well established their brand before this movie came out, so it didn’t matter that most people had never heard of it before. They went just because it was Marvel. This was the film that showed that Marvel could make a hit out of any of its properties. Marvel can really do no wrong.

Now that I have made it through all 10 MCU films leading up to Age of Ultron, there is nothing left for me to do but wait until Friday, when I will be seeing the new Avengers flick. It is going to be a long couple of days. Guardians of the Galaxy was a great way to end my trip back through the MCU. I really enjoyed this film quite a bit. What were your thoughts on this movie? Let me know in the comments.