Avengers: Age of Ultron Trailer

The much-anticipated trailer for the second Avengers film – Age of Ultron – has officially been released, after it was leaked one week shy of its intended date. However instead of complaining about the trailer being leaked, Marvel did the adult thing and released their own Official HD version…and blamed the leak on villainous world organisation HYDRA.

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Fans of the Marvel franchise probably know by now that the main antagonist for the film is the artificially intelligent android Ultron, but it is only in this trailer that we really see how terrifying the character is. Along with the soothing-yet-merciless iconic voice of James Spader, fans worldwide will now know that Age of Ultron is going to be a step up from the previous film. Avengers Assemble saw the villain Loki drawn into war mostly by bitterness, but he was a character that had the chance to change his actions along the way. Ultron on the other hand has one goal: world domination, and nothing less.

With Marvel releasing Ant-Man next year it appears that Hank Pym will not be Ultron’s creator as he was in the comics, but rather Tony Stark instead. It is hard to take much from this short teaser trailer, as it seems to mainly introduce the villain and his helpers; Quicksilver and Scarlett Witch. What we do know is that the Avengers – being Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, The Hulk, Black Widow and Hawkeye – are all back to save the world from any possible threat.

However a lot has changed since the first film; most of the characters have evolved through their other films, such as Tony Stark in Iron Man 3, and S.H.I.E.L.D has also been disbanded, as we saw in The Winter Soldier. Director Joss Whedon has said that it is going to be a lot like the The Godfather Part 2, in that a lot has happened since the previous film and throughout Age of Ultron we will find out what that is.

By the end of the trailer we are greeted to a fully functional Ultron who is explaining through a quote from the Pinnochio song ‘I’ve Got No Strings’ that he is not bound by anything and is free to do as he wishes.

We should all be very afraid.

Captain America: The Winter Soldier

The first avenger returns in his second solo film; which sees the red, white and blue covered crusader take on much more than the Nazi Regime.

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Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) has never really had a moment to think after he was unfrozen and then straight away thrust into battling for the fate of the Earth in The Avengers. So now Captain America is trying to adjust to the lifestyle of 21st century society. Once again working for Nick Fury and Alexander Pierce (portrayed by the talented Robert Redford),and teaming up with Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson); the pair continue to complete missions for S.H.I.E.L.D in the hope that they can bring freedom to the planet. However, now that S.H.I.E.L.D have the technology to determine crime before it happens, Captain America begins to question the very organisation he works for. His trust in his superiors are the least of his problems though, as an undercover plan emerges that is much greater than anything he could have imagined. On top of that the introduction of a super-human assassin known only as The Winter Soldier, proves to be quite the competition for ‘Cap’; and makes his task of completing his mission even tougher.

What has been continuously noticeable about Marvel heroes who receive their own film, is that in their first movie their story will be introduced to the audience. But in their second outing the viewers get to see a more in-depth look at the characters themselves. As with Thor’s second film ‘Thor: The Dark World’, where we got a better picture of his history and actually how close he was to his brother Loki. In the Captain’s sequel the audience once again receives this treatment in the form of an old friend from his past making a return; without giving too much away this revival forces a few tear-jerking moments.

Captain America: The Winter Soldier is on a completely different level than any other Marvel film that has come before it, simply because it has a much more mature and grown-up underlining plot behind it. By adding a villainous character such as The Winter Soldier – a killer who has helped shape all chaos of the past century – it makes the film touch on terrorist themes; hence making it more realistic and close to home. Unlike in previous films such as Captain America (2011) with the magic of the Tesseract, Avengers Assemble (2012) with the alien Chitauri army and Thor (2011) which basically had an all round space theme, this movie is made more realistic by using everyday threats that we face in the real world. Sure the technology is a little far-fetched at times, but it is much more real-life than what we have seen in previous Marvel films; and that is what makes it stand out from the rest.

As the phases of the Avengers films carry on, we are, with every film, introduced to more and more of the caped crusaders; and this film gave us one of my favourites, ‘Falcon’ (Anthony Mackie). It is great that the directors – Anthony and Joe Russo – decided to include Falcon (also known as Sam Wilson) into this instalment as him and the Captain constantly team up in the comic books. One of the great aspects of these new Marvel films is how the writers are adapting the heroes for a more up-to-date audience; and Falcon is an example of that. Instead of him wearing his classic brown-winged spandex and him having telepathic bird powers, he has been toned down to having robotic metal wings which attach like a jet-pack, that he used when he was fighting in Iraq. In the next pictures of the phases we can hope to see – apart from Ant-Man who is getting his own film – Black Panther (the African-fighting vigilante), Doctor Strange (the Earth’s most powerful sorcerer) and The Vision (an android who is created by the robotic menace Ultron.

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Other than the introduced characters and gripping storyline, what makes this one stand out as well, is that the effects and picture quality are just amazing. All Marvel films have had an incredible picture to accompany a great plot – apart from maybe The Incredible Hulk – however The Russo Brothers explained that they wanted to use more practical effects, rather than just load the whole film up with masses of CGI; and it is obvious when watching what an improvement it makes.

As with the conclusion of Shane Black’s Iron Man 3, it is hard to assume where Marvel are going to go next with future Avengers themed films, after viewing this ninth installment to the franchise. As something occurs in the movie that drastically alters what Avengers: Age of Ultron will contain. But the stories have been in good hands so far, and with Joss Whedon and Kevin Feige once again helming the Avengers director and producer chairs, it will surely play out well.

All in all Captain America: The Winter Soldier is a definite step forward in the Marvel Cinematic Universe; with its mature themes and practical effects. Let’s just hope that they continue on this path, and carry on bringing films to the screen that are enjoyed by both comic book fanatics and film lovers alike.

The Marvel Movement: Part 1

The past 12 years have seen dozens of comic book fans heroes grace the big screen, some films being action-packed thrill rides which did the comics proud, whereas others crashed and burned like a vehicle in the Incredible Hulk’s path.marvel-comic-logo

What everybody is wondering now is what’s next for the Marvel Cinematic Universe in this so called ‘Phase 2’, post-The Avengers. Well a lot has been planned after the huge success of Avengers Assemble – and the films leading up to it: Iron Man, The Incredible Hulk, Iron Man 2, Thor and Captain America. It was obvious that the fans were on board and wanted more – hence Phase 2 of Marvel’s plan to take over the world of cinema.

Although the post-credits sequence of The Avengers showed us that the lovely purple-faced villain, Thanos was behind the Chitauri attack on New York, it appears that we won’t see much more of him until the end of Phase 2. No at the moment Marvel are trying to get the audience intertwined with the characters, and the best way to do this is by giving the heroes a sequel, to explain their story and who they are better. We have already seen this in Shane Black’s Iron Man 3, the first film in phase 2. The film took us deep into Tony Stark’s back story, showed the effects which the battle in Avengers Assemble was having on him and, due to a lack of suits, forced him to use the only power that he has…his mind.iron-man-3-official-hd

The same theme will be seen in Thor: The Dark World and Captain America: The Winter Soldier, as the god of thunder and America’s super soldier will be developing more as characters for the audience. With Thor having his love interest, Jane Foster, thrown right into the mix this time thanks to the dark world Svartalfheim, and being forced to ask his brother, the god of mischief, Loki for help. Then Captain America faces his old best friend Bucky, after he has been turned into the villain known as the winter soldier. Its too bad that Marvel have not planned any solo films for the other two heroes from Avenger Assemble, Black Widow and Hawkeye, both being vital to the Avengers storyline, however they both will be weaved in to the upcoming films in some way.

With the Strategic Homeland Intervention, Enforcement and Logistics Division, or S.H.I.E.L.D, being such a huge part of the Marvel universe, and appearing in every pre-Avengers film. It only seems right that the organisation which gathered the team together should not be forgotten in Phase 2, and thankfully they haven’t. With Avengers Assemble director Joss Whedon helming a S.H.I.E.L.D TV show, which shows a team of agents led by the somehow resurrected Agent Coulson (Clark Gregg) investigate into various Marvel related occurrences around the globe.sheildThe second half of Phase 2 introduces a film, Guardians of the Galaxy, and a band of characters which could take fans of the films by surprise, with it going over towards the science-fiction side of things. All of the movies so far have been set on Earth, minus Thor’s home world and the ending to Avengers Assemble which could have been hinting at the space theme. Guardians Of The Galaxy is set for release after the Captain America sequel, and will feature a whole new set of characters for audiences to sink their teeth into, if you thought that some of the Marvel heroes were odd, you haven’t seen anything yet. As you can guess, the guardians job is to protect the galaxy, and apparently we should be rooting for them much more than we think because if the guardians fail, then the Earth is affected. Star-Lord, Drax the Destroyer, Groot (a mobile-talking tree), Gamora and Rocket Raccoon (who is a talking Raccoon) are the heroes of this film, and with names like that, it is sure to be a magic Marvel carpet ride. Whether or not they will be referenced in any of the post-Avengers films is yet to be known.Guardians_of_the_galaxy-CopyThe final part of Phase 2 is, you guessed it, The Avengers 2. Although director Joss Whedon will not give much information out about the film, it has been rumoured that there will be plenty of deaths, and that the mutant brother and sister team Pietro and Wanda Maximoff (Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch) will be appearing in the film – using them could lead to their father Magneto possibly making an appearance. As for the villain and what other characters will be introduced, well we’ve still got 2 years until it’s release so anything could happen.quick

Not much is known about Phase 3 as of yet, however one thing which is certain is that Ant-Man, one of the founding and long overdue for a film Avengers, will finally be hitting the big screen in 2015. The film will be directed by Edgar Wright (Shaun of the Dead/Hot Fuzz/Scott Pilgrim vs the World), and will follow scientist Henry ‘Hank’ Pym as he discovers how to shrink things down to a much smaller size. After wondering whether it will work on a live test subject, he tries it out on himself and shrinks down the size of an Ant, however still regaining his normal strength. He resizes himself and creates a helmet which, through using vibrations, he can control the Ants, and creates a suit that can deflect other insect stings. Whether his wife Janet van Dyne A.K.A The Wasp – another founding member of The Avengers – and Pym’s other aliases Giant-Man and Yellow Jacket will feature in the film is yet to be seen.ant-man-movie-logo

I’m sure I am not the only one who has sat around staring at my Dr. Steven Strange figure and wondered when his turn will come to dazzle audiences, well wonder no more because it is confirmed that the Doctor will appear in Phase 3. However it is not yet known if the sorcerer will be given his own film or be put together with a team, most likely The Avengers. Which, if so, could also feature Black Panther the African based Avenger whose whereabouts were hinted at during Iron Man 2, and possibly, with his appearance in the Captain America sequel, Falcon, the high-flying, crime-fighting crusader.

Whatever the future holds for Marvel and The Avengers, Phase 3 is sure to go out with a bang.

PHASE 2:

Iron Man 3 – Out Now

Thor: The Dark World – October 2013

Captain America: The Winter Soldier – April 2014

Guardians Of The Galaxy – August 2014

The Avengers 2 – May 2015

PHASE 3:

Ant-Man – November 2015

Graphic Novel: Marvel Zombies

Taken straight from the pages of Ultimate Fantastic Four, comes a spin-off depicting a universe similar to our own, with one major difference…it is inhabited by flesh eating ghouls.mz1

It started after Reed Richards’ (Mr. Fantastic) counterpart attempted to lure him into another dimension, however Magneto, who is still alive in this other dimension, succeeds in smashing the machine and closes the gateway. Protecting our world, but leaving himself stranded and at the mercy of the re-animated bodies of the Marvel heroes.

An infection has spread throughout this world turning people into the undead, no one was safe from the virus, not even the Marvel super-heroes, who, after turning into zombies themselves, proceed to scour the earth in search of survivors which they can sink their teeth in to.

As soon as I heard about this comic book series I knew that I would enjoy it, being a lover of Marvel Comics and anything zombie related, and it does not disappoint. The novel sort of turns the super-hero theme on it’s head, with the protagonists being turned in to the antagonists, however the personalities and emotions of the characters are still the same, it is just the hunger which has changed them. We still get the comical quips from Spider-Man, the leadership position from Captain America, the intelligence from Ant-Man and the bitchy arrogance from Iron Man. All your lovable heroes…with a slight twist.

It was obvious that this was going to be an enjoyable and exciting series when I heard who was behind the ideas for it: Mark Miller (Kick-Ass, Ultimate Fantastic Four, Wanted), Robert Kirkman (The Walking Dead) and Ralph Macchio (who everyone should know as The Karate Kid). Beginning with a call from Macchio who knew that Kirkman was basically the go to zombie guy, after the great success of his Walking Dead series. Macchio explained that whilst Miller was writing his Ultimate Fantastic Four comics, he wanted to tell the story of this other universe, and have it be the best it could be. After much deliberation of how gory the series could be, due to it being a Marvel comic, the Marvel Zombies series was born. You can see the huge influence which Kirkman had on this project, the comics still had to have that element of being Marvel, but somehow be different. They are, in the way that the story is told through a view which Kirkman is known for, he wrote his Walking Dead series because, although he loved zombie films, he always wanted to know what happened afterwards. A film is limited to an ending, but a comic book series can carry on the story of survival, and Marvel Zombies shows this, everyone on this earth has been eaten, so the question is ‘what do the zombies do now?’marvel-zombies-2

Every part if this graphic novel was just perfect – zombie heroes fighting regular heroes, an all out brawl between undead heroes and villains, the attention to detail and humour of the gore used and the arrival of the Silver Surfer and a certain 28ft destroyer of worlds who attempt to rid the planet of this evil. Not to mention the artwork which was used for the five comic book instalments, original artwork from older comics such as Amazing Fantasy #15 (first appearance of Spider-Man) and Fantastic Four #1 (first appearance of Fantastic Four), and changed them to the zombie versions of the heroes and villains.

Anyone who is a fan of Marvel Comics will definitely enjoy this series, which continues with Marvel Zombies 2, 3, 4, 5 and one of the best cross-overs that could possibly happen…Marvel Zombies vs Army of Darkness.

Publication: MARVEL