The Marvel Movement: Part 2

There is a lot of hype surrounding The Avengers at the moment, but Marvel fans have not forgotten about their other favourite crime-fighting team – the team of mutant heroes. I am talking of course about the X-Men. Whilst Marvel are currently focusing a lot of their time on The Avengers side of things, the ass-kicking ‘School for Gifted Youngsters’, currently owned by FOX, are still in the mix, with one of the biggest films in the franchise set for release in 2014 check.The_Uncanny_X_Men_Logo_by_Meganubis

When the first X-Men film was released in 2000, acclaimed director Bryan Singer (Valkyrie, The Usual Suspects, Superman Returns) had a big task on his hands – trying to get the super-group as a household name, and pleasing fans of the comic books. Thankfully he achieved both of these, and delivered a movie that, although wasn’t completely filled with action, introduced the characters (Wolverine, Storm, Cyclops, Jean Grey, Charles Xavier, Magneto, Rogue and Iceman) to the audience and focused more on the stories behind these mutants and their struggle to be included in everyday society. Leaving a space open for a film of incredible fight sequences and explosions, torn straight from a fanboys dream.xmen_ver1

Luckily that film came along in 2003 with X2 (also by Bryan Singer), which saw Colonel William Striker attack Xavier’s school and reveal some key background information about Wolverine, which would be later touched upon more in another film. X2 had so many great aspects to it: the team up of Magneto and Mystique with the X-Men to help take down Striker, the fight between Wolverine and Lady Deathstrike who proved to be quite a match for him – her skeleton also being made from Adamantium and the amazing dam-bursting ending which saw the loss of one of the main characters. Not to mention the introduction of mutants Colossus, Pyro and Night Crawler. The X-Men films were just getting better as they went along.xmen2dvd-300aHowever that all changed, with the Brett Ratner directed X-Men: The Last Stand. It wasn’t that the third instalment to the franchise was a bad film all round, it was mainly because it seemed like Ratner thought that the only way to keep the audience interested was to kill off two of the main characters, which really didn’t work. There was such potential for this to be a great part of the X-Men films, with more comic book mutants being added to the line-up – Angel and Beast. Plus the transformation of Jean Grey into the Phoenix, but it only touched on the background of the Phoenix, and before we knew it the film was over. Yes the mutant vs mutant battle in the conclusion was quite spectacular, but the end of this X-Men trilogy should have had a better climax.Last_stand_posterThere are so many mutants in the X-Men universe that the films could not end there, so once the trilogy was over FOX decided to look into the backgrounds of singular characters. The first to get this treatment was probably the most famous member of the group, Wolverine, with X-Men Origins: Wolverine. At first it seemed like this film couldn’t go wrong, director Gavin Hood took everyone’s favourite x-man and made a film about his life and his back story. The story line was great as it showed Wolverine from his childhood to the point when he received his Adamantium claws. It also showed the reason for his hatred for his brother Sabretooth and introduced yet more characters to an audience unfamiliar with the comics: Gambit, The Blob, Emma Frost and Deadpool. This is where it’s downfall was though, bringing in too many characters to the plot, half of which weren’t even needed. To make things worse the ending completely messed up the comic book time line, which saw Charles Xavier standing as an old man, when he was actually injured quite young. Looking back, I have to say that I think the best part was the opening sequence showing Wolverine and Sabretooth fighting through every battle since the civil war, and it gradually began going since hill since then, also no amount of new characters will make up for the terrible portrayal of Deadpool.2009-x_men_origins_wolverine-3Luckily there was a light at the end of the tunnel, and that light was director Matthew Vaughn (Kick-Ass, Layer Cake), who brought back the uncanny X-Men that everyone loved. ‘X-Men: First Class’ was another X-Men origins film, and this time took the audience back to before the super-group were formed, and when Charles Xavier and Erik Lensherr (Professor X and Magneto) were good friends. They both meet after chasing the same villain -Sebastian Shaw- and begin going around the country recruiting members to their team, such as: Banshee and Riptide. In the process of doing so they meet a pissed off Wolverine who just throws profanity their way. From start to finish the film was just spectacular, and one of the main reasons is because it made you feel the emotions of the characters. It showed you the bonds that were broken when Charles and Erik decided to go their separate ways: Charles and Erik’s friendship, the half brother and sister Charles and Raven (Mystique) and the romantic connection between Raven and Hank (Beast). All of the actors gave stellar performances – James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence, Kevin Bacon – which added more to the best X-Men film (apart from maybe X2) so far. After watching said film, it made me see the previous X-Men films in a different light, and wonder what the heroes and villains must be thinking when deciding on certain tasks against the very people that they used to call their friends.xmen_first_class_ver6Wolverine is once again getting the chance to show audiences why he is one of the most loved X-Men in 2013, especially after X-Men Origins: Wolverine failed to dazzle. Hugh Jackman returns to the role of the Adamantium clawed crusader for the sixth film, and this time his journey takes him to modern day Japan, as he is given the opportunity to get rid of his immortal capabilities and become human. However The Silver Samurai may stand in his way, and will force him to fight in a different way due to him now being so vulnerable.the-wolverine-2013-movie-poster-600x889Although ‘The Wolverine’ is going to be this summers big X-Men blockbuster, it is nothing compared to what we are to expect in 2014. ‘X-Men: Days Of Future Past’ is set to be the biggest and most adventures X-Men film yet. Taken straight from an ‘Uncanny X-Men’ comic book story from the 1980s, the film has a time-travel story line and jumps from a dystopian future where mutants are almost extinct, to the early 1970s – which is set 10 years after X-Men: First Class. The list of things which are hinting at this being the best X-Men film so far is ridiculous, first of all Bryan Singer (X-Men, X2) is back in the director’s spot to clean up the damage left by X-Men: The Last Stand, and Matthew Vaughn, the man responsible for X-Men: First Class, is scripting the film. Not to mention Patrick Stewart, Ian McKellen, Ellen Page, Hugh Jackman, Halle Berry and Daniel Cudmore are set to reprise their roles as Professor X, Magneto, Shadowcat, Wolverine, Storm and Colossus. Then there’s Jennifer Lawrence, Michael Fassbender, James McAvoy and Nicholas Hoult starring once again as Mystique, Magneto, Professor X and Beast – when the film skips to the past. The Sentinels, giant robots who hunt mutants, are also finally being introduced to the X-Men franchise. They were briefly seen in X-Men: The Last Stand when the team were training – Wolverine cut it’s head off. Being a big part of the comic book universe it is good to see them finally appearing in an X-Men film as they will make a worthy villain. The expectations for X-Men: Days Of Future Past are quite high, but with the people who are behind it, it is sure to be a mind-blowing experience, even though there will still be no leather suits…maybe next time.x-men-days-of-future-pastThe Wolverine – July 2013

X-Men: Days Of Future Past – July 2014

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