Sunday, November 23, 2014

Nerd Rage #17: Beta vs. Marvel Studios


They've come a long way from being a bankrupt joke
A blog in November? What madness is this? As I suggested a while back I have decided not to participate in National Novel Writing Month this year, partly because of all my work with my book earlier this year but main due to having recently started a new job that would not allow the time to writing 50,000 words in a month and still have anything resembling a life (actually my new job doesn’t leave much time for any writing at all, to my great chagrin).

Anyway Marvel Studios formally announced their movie schedule through the year 2019 (and for some reason this is considered a fine move) and apparently it made everyone I know go insane with anticipation. Some of the films sound pretty cool and others one sound kind of “meh”. I thought it would be fun to briefly at all of Marvel’s upcoming flicks and judge mercilessly despite knowing almost nothing about any of them. And hey, maybe you don’t know much about the characters in the film and this may be a nice learning experience.

Of course supposedly a list of Marvel movies was leaked earlier this year and I distinctive recall many people on my Facebook feed losing their shit over it; taking it completely at face value. I recall being very skeptical about it, especially with World Word Hulk, Captain America: The Fallen Son, and Avengers: Civil War as none of them really made any thematic sense to me based on what had already been established. (Though, let’s face it, Marvel could have easily changed key details of their films after the word got out but we either way it’s hard to know of sure) In any case I didn’t even want to talk about those rumors until things were verified. Now that the official list of films have come out I thought I’d go through them (and since I had a few friends who asked my thoughts about it I get it all out of my system at once).

Congratulations, suckers; you f**king fell for it!
So today we’ll look at all of Marvel Studios’ upcoming films. This does not include the upcoming X-Men, Spider-Man or Fantastic Four flicks as they are produced by different studios (Fox and Sony respectively) nor will be looking at DC Comics' line-up partly because they probably deserve their own topic and partly because I don’t want to angrily ramble right now. I mean, I may still do that today but at least this way I’m not starting out already being annoyed and pissed off at the source material. (Doctor Doom is an angry hacker? Really?)

Marvel Studios’ future after the jump.

[WARNING: While most of my ramblings are just conjecture I may be spoiling plot points for future films simply by taking about the comics they're based on. Read at your own risk.]



Avengers: Age of Ultron
No joke here; just good old fashion genuine excitement
Release Date: 5/1/15

What’s Up: The eagerly anticipated sequel to the first Avengers movie (and semi-official sequel to Iron Man 3, Thor: The Dark World, and Captain America: The Winter Soldier). The genocidal robot Ultron make his film debut, as do several long time Avengers…and also Quicksilver will be there and probably not as cool as he was in X-Men: Days of Future Past.

Beta Says: I don’t want to get my hopes up like a na├»ve fool but as you may well recall I loved the first one and have a lot of faith in Joss Whedon. The movie may not be as good but I will give it the benefit of the doubt. What I’ve seen of it so far makes it look like the Empire Strikes Back of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Someone you like might get killed and I’m fairly certain they won’t get a TV show of the deal.


Ant-Man
Because who would want to watch a "Giant-Man" movie?
Release Date: 7/17/15

What’s Up: This is one of the least likely superheroes to get their own movie while also being one of Marvel's longest developing films. Of course it’s not starring Incompetent Scientist Supreme Hank Pym but rather Scott Lang presumably because everyone at Marvel Studios is silly. The film seems to be comedic in tone and Paul Rudd will be playing the title hero.

Beta Says: First of all this film ruins my chance of seeing Giant-Man and the Wasp as members of the Avengers, something I’d wanted to see far more than Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver. Plus the film seems to be taking a lot of liberties with the source material, even more so than Marvel Studios' other flicks. But I would have been okay with all of this because Edgar Wright was the guy directing the film, having been tagged to do so for years (delaying production to film Scott Pilgrim vs. The World and The World’s End). However once he left the project so did my excitement over it. It still may be a fine film but now we have Peyton Reed directing it and let’s face it: we swapped out the director of the brilliant Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz with the guy who directed Bring it On and Yes Man. Not an equivalent exchange.


The future of superhero movies is here!
At this point we’re getting into films that are still in pre-production and anything I say will be mostly speculation. Luckily this is the internet and that sort of thing is okay.


Captain America: Civil War
Oooh, a new Cap flick-OH GODDAMN IT!
Release Date: 5/6/16

What’s Up: No, this is in fact not “Fallen Son” and it’s likely not simply going to be “The Death of Captain America” (but then again who knows what will happen?). Chris Pine returns as Captain America and Robert Downey, Jr. will co-star as Iron Man. That, combined with the title, makes it very likely that the film will be based on the comic of the same name and Cap and Iron Man will be at odds.

Beta Says: I think that Chris Pine as Captain America is the best thing about the Marvel Studios’ movies and even if every movie between now and this one’s release is shit terrible I will still eagerly wait in line in theaters for another Cap adventure. That said you may recall that I really, really did not enjoy the original Civil War comic as not only was it one of the worst books of the 2000s it set a very terrible standard for Marvel Comics, both in production and storyline terms, for years following its release. Hell, every shitty aspect of Marvel since then could probably be traced back to that one story. Also seeing Iron Man show up doesn’t do anything for me (it almost seems like Marvel’s answer to Batman v. The Board of Education Superman: Justice Something Something) except maybe the idea of seeing Cap beating the hell out of old Shellhead. Also Black Panther will show up. F**king sweet.


Doctor Strange
As I was born after the 1970s I don't care about Doctor Strange
Release Date: 11/4/16

What’s Up: A movie several key folk at Marvel have wanted to do for a long time the film follows Doctor Stephen Strange, a former surgeon turned master of the mystic arts. As he’s not really a proper superhero a film starring Strange seems like an ill-fit for the current trends but as Guardians of the Galaxy turned out to be a big hit there’s pretty much no reason to be skeptical at this point.

Beta Says: You won’t find too many superhero fans as big as me who know less about Strange than I do. I have never really cared about the guy and a movie starring him at this point isn’t doing much for me. It may come down to who they get to play him. The big rumor as of this writing is that Benedict Cumberbumber Benedict Cumberbatch, which would be interesting if that worked out.


Guardians of the Galaxy 2
Welcome to the A-List, Guardians...
HOPE YOU SURVIVE THE EXPERIENCE!!!
Release Date: 5/5/17

What’s Up: The sequel to the extremely well received GoG film this movie will likely reunite the cast of the original as well as introduce a few new characters (I’m hoping for Adam Warlock and some more goddamn females). It may also tie into Avengers 3 (and 4) but we’re getting ahead of ourselves.

Beta Says: At this point we know little about the film other than it appears that James Gunn will be back to direct and the stars all signed multi-film contracts. One thing I know is that the first one was great and was a game changer for the genre so I have to say I’m looking forward to this one.


Thor: Ragnarok
Calling it "Thor: Shirtless for Half the Movie" would likely sell more tickets
Release Date: 7/28/17

What’s Up: The third Thor film, which is named after the end of the world legend from Norse mythology where Odin leads a battle against various enemies that leaves everyone dead. In the comic it’s depicted as one step in an everlasting cycle of death and rebirth for Asgard; one that Thor has endeavored to break. What exactly this film will be about we’ll just have to wait to find out.

Beta Says: It’s still some years away and we have no details to work with. I have to assume this film will wrap up the Thor series (where do you go from the end of everything?) and pick up where the last film left off: with Loki on the throne. Speaking of whom am I the only one a bit sad that of all the movies announced there was no Loki solo film among them? It wouldn’t be traditional, sure, but with how popular Tom Hiddleston became during this franchises’ production Marvel could have made some money.

No Loki movie? But he's burdened with glorious purpose!

Black Panther
Pictured: Black Panther negotiating with a producer about finally making his movie

Release Date: 11/3/17

What’s Up: A long, long overdue movie starring comics’ greatest black superhero Black Panther. No director has been announced but Chadwick Boseman is set to portray the king of Wakanda. T’Challa will appear in Captain America: Civil War so expect that film to set up this one in some regard.

Beta Says: F**k yes, Black Panther! This is a flick we’ve needed for years and now that that it’s coming for sure I barely know how to react. This will be the first major superhero film starring a black lead since Blade: Trinity (so, you know, the bar is set real low) as it will beat DC’s Cyborg solo film by a few years. I don’t know if Boseman is the man for the job; time will tell. But I know one thing for sure: better him than Wesley Snipes, who was tagged for the role for years and years and in the past was extremely vocal against anyone else sniffing around playing the character.


Avengers: Infinity War Parts 1 and 2
"To challenge them is to court death..."
Release Date: 5/4/18 and 5/3/19

What’s Up: The third and fourth Avengers movie, split into two films separated by a year. The film’s title comes from the comic of the same name which was a sequel to the The Infinity Gauntlet, a major storyline from the early 90s in which the death obsessed Thanos uses the immense, reality warping powers of the titular gauntlet to murder half of the universe. As Thanos is clearly, yet slowly, being set up as a major antagonist in the MCU and the Infinity Gems Stones that power the gauntlet have been showing up in various films I think it’s safe to say that these are the movies that the entire franchise is building up to.

Beta Says: I greatly dislike the fact that Marvel announced these movies in such a high profile fashion despite still being months away from Age of Ultron being released. It seems really arrogant to me. That said it seems extremely likely that we’ll finally see the Avengers battle Thanos which is something I’ve been dreaming of ever since the mid-credits of the first Avengers flick. But we still don’t know what the film will be about, nor should we as we have a shit ton of movies between now and then. My big hope is that by then we’ll still have a good cast of Avengers in the film (She-Hulk, please). Perhaps we’ll even see our first glimpse of Captain Marvel in Part 1. Speaking of whom…


Captain Marvel
About damn time!
Release Date: 7/6/18

What’s Up: For those of you not in the know Captain Marvel is Carol Danvers, a major in the Air Force turned superhero and adventurer. Hers is a very long story and I have been itching to do an entire blog about it. Long story short: Carol was originally a supporting character of Marvel Comic’s version of Captain Marvel (Not the guy who shouts “Shazam”. But that is itself another long story that I won’t get into here.) who eventually gained similar powers and became known as Ms. Marvel. Carol soon became more popular and iconic than her counterpart. Recently Marvel Comics made the long overdue decision to have Carol become the new Captain Marvel and have tried to depict her as their premiere female hero. Nothing more has been announced for this film; not a star, not a director. The only thing we know is that Marvel has promised to make us a superhero flick with a female lead and, by god, they are not pulling punches.

Beta Says: Carol Danvers is an awesome character, partly because she has a well-rounded and flawed character that makes her interesting and partly because she represents the concept of the distaff counterpart of a male superhero organically taking center stage. No one outside the older comic book fans give a shit about Marvel Comics’ first attempt at ripping off making their own Captain Marvel but most fans young and old know who Ms. Marvel is. I am actually far more excited about this film than I am for the Wonder Woman  movie (though to be fair DC and Warner Bros. have done a piss poor job at making any of their upcoming films look like anything other than hot messes). My only problem is that I have to wait so long to see it. On the other hand if this film does well, and there’s no guarantee that it will, it will solidify Carol Danvers as one of Marvel’s heavy hitters; someone standing side by side with Captain America and Iron Man in terms of iconic status. That’s the world I want to live in.


Carol Danvers: Great Captain Marvel or Greatest Captain Marvel?


Inhumans
134% more dangerous than Great Britain's royal family
Release Date: 11/2/18

What’s Up: Probably the weirdest property Marvel is trying to film; don’t feel too bad if you’ve never heard of the Inhumans. To sum it up as best I can the Inhumans, who first appeared in the Fantastic Four comics, are a race of super powered beings created by the Kree (the same alien race of Ronan the Accuser) that live in a secluded society on Earth away from normal humans. The stories involving them usually focus on the royal family; Crystal, Gorgon, Triton, Karnak, Medusa, Lockjaw (who’s a giant, teleporting dog) and Black Bolt, the king of the Inhumans. Key people at Marvel LOVE the Inhumans but every attempt to bring more focus to the group hasn’t really panned out and there’s a trail of cancelled titles in their wake. That fascination of the Inhumans is why this film is being made and presumably the logic is that if the Guardians of the Galaxy was a big hit there’s no reason why the Inhumans can’t be one too.

Also a lot of people have been suggesting that Marvel Studios may use the Inhumans as their version of “mutants” since Fox owns the movie rights to the group as part of their deal with owning the X-Men on film. That statement is vague, however, and I don’t know what the f**k that means.

I'd say the chances of this being better than the new FF film are pretty damn good
Beta Says: Look, I don’t really care about the Inhumans and have never had any real interest in the brand. I can kind of understand the obsession some people have with them though; they’re a unique bunch of characters from the mind of Jack Kirby in his Silver Age heyday. Still I think it’s fair to say that they don’t resonate with fans the way Marvel may have wanted. But that’s the comic and as far as the movie goes there’s no reason why movie goers won’t flock to theaters to see it. It’s so far away that I don’t think there’s much we can say on the matter that’s not pure speculation. I’m not excited but I’m not worried or upset either. I’ll happily wait and see. (Actually I’m more excited for Inhumans than Ant-Man right now, but then again I’m still bummed that Edgar Wright is off the project).

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