Marvel Comics

Captain America

Captain America is everywhere right now. He’s in TV ads and action figures, comics and video games (also something else I seem to be forgetting). But how many of those who’ve seen Steve Rogers battle evil across diverse forms of media actually know the ifs, ands and buts of where he came from? Well, now you too can be a Cap expert, without having to read the 7000+ comic books (seriously) Captain America has appeared in. Just consult the history below; a history portioned out by the eras of comic bookery. Traditionally, the Golden Age lasts from the late 30s – late 40s, Silver Age is mid 50s – 70, Bronze Age is 70 – 85, and Modern Age is 85 – today. Sometimes there’s a Copper Age and a Tin Age, but for ease of organization let’s not get into all that. Instead, let’s begin with the first of many Ages.

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Though reactions to Marc Webb’s reboot of Sony’s Spider-Man franchise, The Amazing Spider-Man, were mixed, the one thing that nearly everyone was in agreement on was that Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone made for an upgrade in principal actors over Sam Raimi’s choice of Tobey Maguire and Kirsten Dunst for his trilogy. Stone especially seemed like a breath of fresh air, as Dunst’s version of Mary Jane Watson wasn’t written to be like the character comic fans loved from the very beginning, and getting the chance to restart the story using Peter Parker’s real first girlfriend, Gwen Stacy…well, it just felt right. That leaves the question of Spider-Man’s second girlfriend hanging over Webb’s new franchise, however. Everyone knows that the love triangle he gets thrust into with Gwen Stacy and Mary Jane is a big part of Spider-Man’s early stories, so do Webb and crew have plans to introduce the confident and vivacious Mary Jane of the comic books into their future films, even if it could mess up the goldmine of chemistry they’ve discovered between Garfield and Stone? If a new report from Variety is to be believed, the answer is yes, and if things end up playing out like they’re looking to, that might be a good thing. According to the trade, Webb and company are currently in negotiations with The Descendants star Shailene Woodley to board the Amazing Spider-Man sequel as the aforementioned Mary Jane Watson. As anyone who saw The Descendants can tell you, despite the […]

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Despite the fact that it opened to mixed reviews and didn’t bring in as much coin as the movies in Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man trilogy, director Marc Webb’s The Amazing Spider-Man was profitable enough that it was sure to spawn at least one sequel. Given the fact that the reboot wasn’t successful enough to be crowed about as a home run, and Webb was reportedly looking for a raise to work on a second film, however, it was always in doubt who would actually end up helming a second go-around with the Andrew Garfield Spider-Man. We can all stop speculating now though, because Columbia Pictures has announced [via THR] that Webb has been signed for the sequel and will reunite with stars Andrew Garfield and (most likely) Emma Stone to begin shooting sometime in early 2013. At this point the film has been slotted in for a May 2, 2014 release.

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Mark Millar

Fox hasn’t always been the most successful studio, as far as adapting Marvel comic books is concerned. Though their 2000 film version of X-Men is largely responsible for launching the current comic book movie boom, their more recent mutant movies haven’t been all that hot, and their takes on the Marvel-created Daredevil and Fantastic Four franchises haven’t been able to produce anything remotely up to snuff. Their treatment of their superhero movies has gone so far off the rails that they’re even set to lose the rights to the Daredevil property, as their attempts to get a new film together haven’t kept pace with the end of their contract. That doesn’t mean that Fox’s days of making Marvel movies are over, though. They’ve still got two more X-Men movies in the works in James Mangold’s The Wolverine and Matthew Vaughn’s  X-Men: Days of Future Past, and they’ve made a new commitment to taking another crack at the Fantastic Four franchise by bringing Chronicle director Josh Trank on for a reboot. That’s some powerhouse talent paired with some potentially lucrative material. And today Fox announced their next step toward getting their Marvel properties back under control: they’ve hired veteran comic book creator Mark Millar to come on as a creative consultant for all of the House of Ideas characters that are still under their control.

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Ever since Marvel Comics created its own movie studio and started making its own movies, much ado has been made about the other studios holding rights to some of their characters. How long does Sony have the rights to Spider-Man? Will Marvel ever get to make an X-Men movie, seeing as they’re already tied up elsewhere? While those properties seem to be staying in their current homes, at least for the foreseeable future, there’s one character out there who actually is close to making a jump back home to the House of Ideas: Daredevil. Recently, Fox was trying to get together a reboot of the character’s adventures on film under the watch of director David Slade, but a few weeks ago he dropped out of the project. That’s bad news for Fox, because if they don’t manage to find a new director and get a Daredevil movie in front of cameras before October 10, then film rights for the character will revert back to Marvel, and all of their efforts to reboot the property with a more gritty, Frank Miller-inspired take on the material will be in vain. In the same report that announced Slade’s departure from the new Daredevil film also came the news that Fox had lined up a director for another of its Marvel-born properties, The Fantastic Four. Chronicle helmer Josh Trank is now in control of rebooting that franchise. But a report that came out of Variety today could have consequences for both his upcoming Fantastic […]

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Over at /Film, they’ve posted an excellent (and very detailed) map of Batman’s own Gotham City, thanks to Brandon T. Snider‘s all-new “The Dark Knight Manual.” Laid out in a traditional style, the officially approved map is one heck of a tool when it comes to contextualizing Christopher Nolan‘s The Dark Knight trilogy and just where the action of his beloved blockbusters plays out, and it’s a true must-examine for all Batman fans. But it’s not the only richly imagined comic book city out there – DC Comics in particular has crafted some notable fictional cities over the years, and seeing them rendered in such a manner is the stuff geeking out is made of. A little bit of digging around the Internet turned up a number of comic book city maps worth a look (though none of them as official as Snider’s look at Gotham), including takes on Metropolis, Smallville, Central City, the locations of the Mega Cities, and even a map of Manhattan that includes “real” locations for a number of important Marvel Comics structures and sites. Take a look after the break.

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Those with comic book reading experience can tell you that Marvel’s recent announcement that Captain America 2 will be released under the title Captain America: The Winter Soldier points to the fact that the bulk of the film will be concerning a Russian secret agent who has ties to Cap’s World War II past. And yet, a new report coming out of THR seems to prove that secret Cold War projects aren’t the only ground this sequel is going to be covering. According to the trade,  the prolific and under-appreciated Anthony Mackie (The Hurt Locker, Gangster Squad) is currently in negotiations to join directors Joe and Anthony Russo’s film as the character of Sam “Snap” Wilson, A.K.A. The Falcon. This is noteworthy news because – holy crap – the Falcon is going to be in a movie! For those that need a little background, the Falcon – who debuted in Marvel Comics in 1969 as their first African-American superhero – is best known as being an associate of Captain America, but he’s also an accomplished hero and a card-carrying Avenger in his own right. Growing up in a tough part of Harlem, Sam Wilson watched both of his parents’ lives get claimed by street crime as he was growing up. He tried to fight back against said violence by being a community volunteer early in his life, but eventually his anger over his upbringing allowed the all consuming criminal culture to corrupt his soul, and he briefly took a job […]

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UPDATE: Collider now reports that “talks have broken down” between Biel’s people and the studio, so Biel is no longer in the running for the role. After a handful of announcements came out a few days ago filling the roles of Hugh Jackman’s new love, father-in-law, partner, and arch-enemy for his upcoming Japan-based adventure The Wolverine, it looked like all of the big parts in this film were probably close to being taken. But some new casting news that hit today might be the biggest yet. Twitch reported earlier in the day that director James Mangold and company had offered Jessica Biel the role of the villainous Viper, and Deadline Madripoor has since taken things a step further and reported that she’s officially been cast. So, who is the Viper? She’s a Marvel villain with a long history and complex relationships with several of the other characters who appear in this story. Part terrorist, part secret agent, Viper was an operative trained by the evil organization Hydra, who you might remember as appearing in last year’s Captain America: The First Avenger. She has no real superpowers, but she’s ridiculously good at all things deadly, with poisons being something of a specialty. Think of her as a more evil, less Russian version of Scarlett Johansson’s Black Widow.

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What is Movie News After Dark? It’s something that happens nightly, provides you with good feelings, is easy to clean up and doesn’t require anyone else to be in the room. What else in your life is like that? We begin tonight with a completely badass image from Brave in which Princess Merida jumps from the clutches of what seems to be an evil bear into the grasp of a nice bear. The difference is in the claws. Also, The Art of Brave book is available for pre-order. Get it.

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What is Movie News After Dark? If you don’t know already, then it might not be for you. Wait.. wait… wait… Don’t leave. Trust us, it’s for you. We begin tonight with a shot of Mark Wahlberg in Michael Bay’s Pain and Gain, the small movie that Bayhem will direct in between the last and the next Transformers movies. It’s being called a sort of “Pulp Fiction meets Fargo” story about a bodybuilder turned kidnapper. Wahlberg is beefy. There’s a 712% forecast of explosions, despite the promised sense of reality. Say hello to your mother for me, and carry on for more news…

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Javier Bardem in Skyfall

What is Movie News After Dark? It’s a nightly movie news column that usually has more to say. But it’s a little hung over from SXSW and a little out of practice, as it took most of last week off. That said, it’s keepin’ it weird. We begin this evening with a first look at Javier Bardem as a Bond villain. He’s looking pretty skeevy. Also sinister, very sinister.

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People have been talking about making a Doctor Strange film for years now. But seeing as how the Sorcerer Supreme isn’t as well known a name as, and is a whole lot weirder than other super heroes, the project has never emerged as a priority over at Marvel Films. That might be ready to change though. Marvel’s real heavyweight franchises are Spider-Man and The X-Men, but Sony and Fox are still controlling their film rights respectively. They had a series of second tier characters that they are in direct control of, but at this point they’ve already brought most of them to the big screen and have them poised to team up in next year’s The Avengers. With all of their biggest names out of their hands or already starring in movies, the only option they have to create new movies at this point is to start moving forward with more obscure heroes. It comes as no surprise, then, that Twitch is reporting the long rumored Doctor Strange project is beginning its first stages of moving forward in a real way. The last news on the subject of a Marvel made mystical movie was that Thomas Donnelly and Joshua Oppenheimer had been tasked with the job of coming up with a script. Reportedly, that script has now been turned in and Marvel is shopping it around to potential directors to “oversee continued development.”

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So pleased they were with the performance of the first, they’ve decided to make another. Disney and Marvel Studios have set a release date for Thor 2, a sequel to this summer’s Kenneth Branagh directed, Chris Hemsworth starring superhero film. Usually when a sequel to a comic book movie gets announced, it’s immediately time to start speculating on what’s going to happen in the next one. With Thor 2, however, things are a little bit more complicated. Before this movie ever happens, the Thor and Loki characters are already set to appear in Joss Whedon’s upcoming Avengers, so the people in charge of writing Thor 2 are going to have to make sure that what they do jives with the characters’ appearances there. And we’re going to have to wait to see it before really going wild with theories on what’s next for the Odinson.

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What is Movie News After Dark? It’s waiting to watch the latest episode of Community because it promised its girlfriend it would. And that’s really hard to do, because that show’s really good. Also, Josh Holloway from Lost guest stars in the two-part season finale. How can that be resisted by the world’s most interesting nightly movie news linkdump? Must… hold… on… Must… do… the news… Quentin Tarantino went big when he cast Brad Pitt as his lead in Inglorious Basterds. So to see him considering Will Smith as the titular character, a freed slave trained by a German bounty hunter that sets out on a quest to save his wife from a head slave, is an act of pure bravado — he’ll just go get anyone he effing pleases to star in his movies, won’t he? And if that wasn’t enough to blow your mind, consider this: Christoph Waltz is said to be circling the role of the German trainer, with Samuel L. Jackson in consideration as the bad guy. That’s potentially a perfect storm of awesome, so we’ll see.

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Combing through movie news and trivium all day is enough to make someone jaded. Thus, it’s important to remember when a piece of fluff marketing like this comes out, to keep a level head about what it really means. Does it say anything about the movie itself? Not really. Does it say something about the photoshop skills of whoever made it. Certainly. With that in mind, here’s the first official cast picture from X-Men: First Class, showing off a little midriff on January Jones, a little stone cold stare from everyone else, and a whole lot of cheese.

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Excuse me if this seems like old news, but I like it so it’s happening. As you may have noticed, Disney’s winter hopes hang on the success of Joseph Kosinski’s big budget, CGI spectaculathon Tron Legacy. And they are marketing it appropriately so, with countless posters, banners and boutique shops in Las Angeles where you can buy yourself one of those fancy Daft Punk suits. They’ve even bled the digital revolution into other areas of pop culture, including the comics of Disney’s newly purchased venture, Marvel Enterprises. And while we’d usually scoff at such blatant cross-marketing, we can’t help but admit that the Tron universe version of Iron Man is a total badass, as are several other characters. See for yourself after the jump.

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Junkfood Cinema

Welcome back to Junkfood Cinema; we can’t apologize enough. This is the internet column which thankfully you only have to bear once a week. I am an indiscriminate consumer of film and gorge myself on terrible b-movies as often as the AFI Top 100 fodder. Therefore each week I will showcase a bad film near and dear to my heart. I will list its sundry faults while simultaneously lavishing adoration upon it. When you are done duly vomiting, that’s the exact moment where I swoop in and present you with an appropriate junkfood item in an effort to inappropriately ease your cinematic indigestion. This week’s film may be a bit obscure, and difficult to find, but well worth the diligent hunt. It is a Chinese film called Dragon Tiger Gate. It is the story of two half-brothers, not-so-ironically named Dragon and Tiger, who are separated as children but not before being given a two-part pendant. Their shared father is the master of the Dragon Tiger Gate; a martial art academy that, like a Transformer, is more than meets the eye. Dragon ends up being raised by a ruthless Triad and Tiger remains loyal to the academy. But when the leader of an evil cult, who secretly controls the Triads, sets his sights on the academy, the brothers must band together for the greater good.

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SXSW Film 2010

I am a comic book geek. I won’t fight it. Call me a nerd, and what have you. Those of you who know and love comic books though, probably realize how big of a deal that Mark Millar is. What you may not know though, is that he is one of the nicest and most passionate people I have ever met.

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moviewatchers-wolverine

If you don’t know who Wolverine is by now, stop enjoying the outdoors and read a comic book – or at least this article. If you know Wolverine and want to laugh at his expense (while he’s not looking) you should also read this article.

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Stephen Colbert Appears in Spiderman

Stephen Colbert, also occasionally known as his cartoon superhero alter ego Tek Jansen (of Alpha Squad 7), will be appearing with Marvel’s web-slinging hero.

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