The Avengers

Marvel Studios

Hope you weren’t busy today, because Marvel has just busted out with a tremendous amount of information — really, this makes Comic-Con look like a warm-up — and it’s here to utterly alter the look of the already superhero-crowded box office. Not content to send out a press release (like DC; sorry, DC), the Marvel team just spent the afternoon putting on a jaw-dropping event that included the announcement of three all-new projects and confirmation of five (well, really six) long-rumored features. The treats didn’t stop there, because Marvel has also gone ahead and confirmed Chadwick Boseman as Black Panther (oh, and also, hey! we’re getting Black Panther!), though there’s no word on if Benedict Cumberbatch is indeed set to play Doctor Strange. So what have we got ahead of us? Well, there’s that Black Panther movie and then also a little something called Captain Marvel (if you’re into female-led superhero movies, which we are). Oh, and how about Inhumans? They’ve got that, too! What else…what else? Doctor Strange will officially arrive on November 4, 2016; Guardians of the Galaxy 2 is set for May 5, 2017; the third Thor film is titled Thor: Ragnarok, and that will arrive on July 28, 2017; and the third Captain America feature is now called Captain America: Civil War, with a release date of May 6, 2016. Oh, and one more thing. We’re not getting a third Avengers film. We’re getting a third and fourth Avengers film: Avengers: Infinity War, Part 1 will arrive on May 4, 2018, with Part 2 hitting on May 3, 2019. That’s a long war. After the break, check out our updated list (working from this little guy) of […]

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The Avengers

Question: do you like the current lineup of The Avengers? The actual Avengers that make up said cinematic Avengers films? The superheroic team that avenges? Considering the massive box office success of the films of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the answer is probably “yes.” Well, that’s going to change and– wait! It’s a good thing. It’s going to be okay. More than okay, actually. When the first Avengers film concluded way back in 2012, it signaled two things: the end of the first phase of the MCU and the beginning of the Avengers as a crime-fighting entity. Although it ended on an up note — well, as “up” as things can possibly be after the destruction of a major American city — subsequent films have started steadily dismantling the group in ways both large and small. Individually-focused films, like Iron Man 3 and Thor: The Dark World, expanded out the stories of single superheroes, while features like Guardians of the Galaxy reminded us that there is a big, wide world outside the reach of the Avengers. Then there are specially built outliers, like Captain America: The Winter Soldier and television’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., that fold into bigger stories that have direct consequences on the rest of the MCU. Considering how things ended in the last MCU film that will directly impact the upcoming Avengers: Age of Ultron (that would be The Winter Soldier, which arrived back in April, and doesn’t that seem so long ago?), we already know that stuff in Avengers world is going to be tough (something the trailers haven’t hid so far), but just how tough is it going to […]

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Jeremy Renner as Hawkeye in The Avengers

It’s been at least six hours since our last piece of Marvel movie news, so we have to find something to tide us over. In this case, a wink will do nicely. The wink (two winks, really) in question comes from the upper and lower eyelids of Jeremy Renner, who played Hawkeye in The Avengers, showed up for like half a second in Thor and has otherwise gone unused by the Marvel Universe gods. And according to Renner, that’s just fine; he’d much rather be the “utility guy,” called in whenever a Marvel venture needs another vaguely super dude to add a little interconnectivity. This comes by way of MTV News, who spoke with Renner about his future in the Marvel stable. Just before that line about being a “utility guy” comes this frank declaration: “I’m not scratching or clawing to do a solo movie by any means.” And just after comes two big fat winks, directly after the words “Cap” and “three” enter the conversation.

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Batmobile in Batman vs Superman

The movies of director Zack Snyder are about as polarizing as any studio filmmaker’s, so when he tweeted out a picture of the new Batmobile from Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, we can assume he was prepared for some criticism. Fans complained about a particular aspect of the vehicle that does not conform to the version seen in the comics: the guns. This new Batmobile is front-loaded with weapons that would not look out of place in an American military vehicle. It’s a concerning decision, especially since Batman’s code of ethics precludes him from intentionally killing people. But the real problem is that it shows how little Snyder has learned from the mistakes of Man of Steel. We all remember the outcry from fans when Snyder had Superman kill General Zod in that movie’s climax, and it appears that Snyder is doubling down on the violence, despite that criticism. But it is unfair to lay all this at Snyder’s feet. There has been an increasing militarization of our superheroes afoot for decades, and Snyder is only continuing that tradition. In the Marvel world, superheroes perpetually exist in a military milieu. Tony Stark is a reformed defense contractor, while The Avengers was essentially about a Special Forces unit that prevented another 9/11.

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Jeremy Renner

  Let’s take a journey back in time. The year? 2010. Hot off The Hurt Locker (and reasonably hot off The Town), Jeremy Renner looked poised to break out in a big way. He was going to be Hawkeye. He was going to be the new Jason Bourne. He was going to take over the Mission: Impossible franchise. It was going to be Jeremy Renner’s world, and we were all just going to live in it (and buy lots of movie tickets while living in it). It was going to be great. It didn’t happen. The literal promise of Renner’s breakout did come true – he is Hawkeye in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, he took over the Jason Bourne franchise, he was introduced as a new character in the last Mission: Impossible film – but he’s still not the star of any of those franchises. And, based on the latest round of Hollywood news, he’s not going to be.

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Iron Man Original Suit

Not only is Doctor Strange not going to tell us how Stephen Strange became the Sorcerer Supreme, but starting with that movie, Marvel Studios is done with origin stories altogether. That’s a scoop revealed by Badass Digest’s Devin Faraci while a guest on Meet the Movie Press last week. It’s an unconfirmed piece of information, particularly the broader point about the whole franchise, and of course it doesn’t apply to Ant-Man, which goes into production today, way ahead of the Dr. Strange vehicle. Still, whether true or not, there’s a certain excitement spreading around in fanboy and movie geek circles as a result of the possibility. Origin story movies are apparently a much-hated part of superhero cinema. But why? Because it’s the expected start of any series to set up the character, especially for audiences who aren’t as familiar ahead of time as the geeks are? Too bad, because Hollywood wants to cater to the moviegoers who aren’t also comic book readers, and those moviegoers want to see movies about superheroes, including ones they don’t know a lot about already. What I find odd about the hate thrown at origin story movies is how many of the best and most popular superhero movies are first installments focused on the beginnings of their respective characters. Look at Superman: The Movie, Iron Man, The Avengers (as a team) and I’ll throw in Unbreakable. Sure, there are a lot of number-twos favorited over their first films, including Spider-Man 2, The Dark Knight and Captain America: The Winter […]

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Guardians of the Galaxy

In a few hours, Guardians of the Galaxy will descend into theaters, and people will see it. Many people. Great hordes of people, in search of inventive sci-fi or just drawn to the scent of anything that appears Avengers-related. But Guardians is different. It’s not just a combo pack of the movie heroes you’ve already seen. It’s new and weird and complicated, involving words like “Sakaaran” and “Xandarian.” To know everything there is to know about Guardians before Friday would be a full time job, and let’s face it, you don’t have time for that. Life is calling, and life doesn’t let you to sit around and sift through piles of old comic books, trying to figure out what the hell a Xandarian is. So for convenience’s sake, here’s everything you need to know about the history of the Guardians of the Galaxy, condensed into one easily digestible format. You’re welcome.

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Avengers: Age of Ultron

The release of Avengers: Age of Ultron may be nearly a year away, but that doesn’t mean that excitement for the Joss Whedon-directed Marvel sequel isn’t already at something resembling a fever pitch. Wait, no, that’s just the sound of Marvel fans presumably already lining up for the studio’s Comic-Con presentation. Hope you brought your best air mattress, guys. In anticipation of both the film itself and the sure-to-be-massive Marvel presentation, Entertainment Weekly has spent the past few days teasing fans with details from its newest issue, one that’s covered (literally) with Age of Ultron and that contains a bevy of Comic-Con information for fans to enjoy. The new issue is crammed with a ton of information about the film — including some compelling insights into characters both new and old, some tantalizing little tidbits about its plot, and plenty of new pictures — but we’ve distilled down the basics, in case you’re just really busy or something? If you haven’t checked your mail yet, or the idea of getting over to a bookstore or newsstand seems too complicated to comprehend right now (it’s Friday, you’re tired), we’ve gathered every bit of Avengers goodness to hit the web this week, thanks to Entertainment Weekly’s massive Comic-Con issue (a double!). Feel like picking this one up now? Yeah, you probably should.

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Netflix Roulette Experiment

Last night, I let Netflix Roulette pick what movies I was going to watch. The program virtually digs through all the streaming options on the site notorious for not having quality streaming options and comes up with a link that only the bold should click on. It’s not really all that crazy. We let people suggest movies all the time. Friends, critics we consistently agree and disagree with, memes. I thought, “how bad could it really be?” The answer isn’t 0 stars, but it’s pretty close. Admittedly, that little red “Spin” button held a mystical kind of power to it when I committed to letting it decide my cinematic destiny. Probably because there’s something different about opening up a massive library and throwing a digital dart into the wind. Netflix Roulette is like a box of chocolates, and to be honest, I wasn’t exactly sure what my goal was beyond exploring Netflix in a different way (and maybe seeing it for what it really is). Half-baked as it all was, I pressed the red button and dove beyond the movie veil of ignorance. Here’s what I saw.

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Chris Evans and Scarlett Johansson in Captain America The Winter Soldier

The latest entry in the Marvel Cinematic Universe franchise, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, is a pretty solid comic book movie. But it is still a comic book movie, complete with a lot of ridiculous plot points that we should know to just let slide. Well, I can suspend disbelief for the sake of entertainment while I’m watching and enjoying the thing, but later I also enjoy pondering its logic and gaps regarding certain important details. I don’t necessarily like the movie any less for these faults (this movie’s true flaws are in the direction anyway), and in fact sometimes the more I ask these sorts of questions, the more I like greater discussions they take me to. Given that this is just a single puzzle piece in a large scheme of intertwining and forward-moving blockbusters, maybe all the questions I have left over are yet to be answered. Maybe the information I seek is in the pages of the comics — though this shouldn’t be since the MCU is separate from the universe found in Marvel’s pages, past and present, and has a ton of differences. Obviously, the following inquiry is full of spoilers, so beware if you haven’t seen the Captain America sequel and care to. 

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Captain America: The Winter Soldier

Captain America has had a tough life. Steve Rogers, created over 73 years ago by Joe Simon and Jack Kirby, has been put through the wringer time and time again. Sure, he made a hell of an introduction by punching Adolf Hitler in his first issue ever, but his luck soon ran out. He went to hell, fought communists for Joseph McCarthy, and, at his lowest and most desperate, worked as a History professor. As we all know, teaching history is far worse a gig than having to fight Nazi Werewolves. Now things are on the up for Captain America, at least for his public image. In 2011 he got his own movie — let’s just pretend the 1990 version never happened — and it was the top dog of Marvel’s Phase I. Now that the studio has successfully moved into Phase II, Director Joe Johnston‘s Captain America: The First Avenger has managed to remain the best of the bunch. Its sequel, Captain America: Winter Soldier, is a close second. Captain America (Chris Evans) faces his greatest threat yet: his best friend, Bucky Barnes (Sebastian Stan), a.k.a. The Winter Soldier. The world may have been threatened in The Avengers, but global annihilation doesn’t match the personal stakes that come from having to fight your BFF, who’s been turned into an unstoppable killing machine with a shiny metal arm. This isn’t just Captain America taking on some power hungry villain, but Steve Rogers having to confront a friend. The personal stakes aren’t all Captain America: The Winter […]

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Peggy Carter in Captain America: The First Avengers

If Superman is the boy scout of DC Comics, then his goody-two-shoes counterpart in the Marvel universe is Captain America. Fitting in nicely with the squeaky clean stereotype of the soldier who fights for truth, justice and the American way, Steve Rogers exemplifies all of the ideals of the classic American hero. He doesn’t drink. He doesn’t smoke. He doesn’t womanize. He fiercely believes in just one God, even though he happens to personally know two other gods from Norse mythology, and he has rippling abs and bulging biceps. However, this clean cut image is not all a conscious decision. In the film Captain America: The First Avenger, he explains that he doesn’t drink only because he is being a good guy. Instead, he doesn’t drink because his body metabolism is so efficient in processing toxins that alcohol basically has no effect on him. And that got me thinking… super soldier or not, this would suck for Steve Rogers at your average Fourth of July picnic. Could Captain America ever get drunk?

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To Do List from Captain America 2

When you wake up after 70 years encased in ice after plunging into the Arctic and get thrust back into modern day New York City, you’re bound to have a few questions. Such is the case with our pal Steve Rogers, who, from a one-off joke in Captain America: The Winter Soldier, has vowed to catch up on a few missed events and pop culture references during his time “asleep.” While Captain America set up our star-spangled defender as the super soldier boasting Dr. Erskine’s serum and a grand sense of duty without said serum, The Avengers served to give the character a different edge as comic relief in his time after unfreezing. After all, the world is a strange and startling place – even when you’ve lived through morphing into a handsome, all-powerful 1940s action star, fighting a terrifyingly faceless Nazi supervillain and crashing a plane into the Arctic Ocean. It’s not that the Steve Rogers depicted in The Avengers is easy to make fun of, but after 70 years removed from society, it’s as if your dear, somewhat clueless grandpa has come to join the superhero initiative you and your friends have worked so hard to put together because your mom (clearly Nick Fury in this scenario) said that you should all bond. While Captain America’s military expertise and combat strategy is unmatched among his fellow Avengers, it’s not enough sometimes to keep certain members from teasing their “elderly” comrade. Or at least not Tony Stark.

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Marvel Hulkbuster Iron man

Last night, ABC aired a special on Marvel Studios called Assembling a Universe, in which its past, present and known future were laid out. There weren’t any big revelations, but there were plenty of new images to gaze upon, including cool concept art from Avengers: Age of Ultron. Check out our gallery of all the necessary bits by clicking on the image above or clicking right here.

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The Avengers

The best movie culture writing from around the internet-o-sphere. Just leave a tab open for us, will ya?

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superman-the-movie-1978-marlon-brando-as-jor-el-sentences-general-zod-non-and-ursa

It’s only a coincidence that I’m writing this on the day Man of Steel hits home video, and it has nothing to do with the approaching 35th anniversary of Superman: The Movie. Rather, it’s something I’ve been wondering during the discussions of the latest Marvel movie post-credits “stingers.” Thor: The Dark World finishes with three separate teases. The first (not a stinger) comes before the credits and hints at something that will presumably be dealt with in Thor 3. The next comes midway into the credits and introduces a character and teases plot that is part of the larger Marvel/Avengers franchise storyline. And the third is just a funny post-credits scene that I expect to be the vaguely reported link between the film and an upcoming Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. episode. Personally, I have no problem with these or any stingers. The midway scene in Thor 2 is pretty goofy, though, and has been met with the usual confusion that, hopefully for Marvel’s sake, translates into curiosity instead of annoyance. And perhaps the way they’re done is a little tired, so maybe it is time to try something different. Like a prologue stinger. I don’t know if that phrase makes sense (I’m not totally sure of where the term stinger comes from), but here’s what I mean: set up the next film before the latest even begins. For the one and only example, as far as I know, look to the opening of the first Superman, which features the trial of […]

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The-Avengers-Thor-and-Agent-Coulson

In this day and age, it’s hard to tell if a movie/TV series crossover is more beneficial to theatrical attendance for the former or ratings for the latter. Perhaps it’s to work both ways in the Marvel Cinematic Universe announcement that Thor: The Dark World is going to connect pretty directly with events in NBC’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. This isn’t a surprise nor is it that new for the series to feature references to the Marvel movies. Agent Coulson’s story arc has been connected to what happened to him in The Avengers since the start and will continue until we’re given more details of how the character was resurrected following “The Battle of New York.” And a couple episodes have involved the Extremis serum first seen in Iron Man 3. I haven’t seen the new Thor sequel yet, so I have no speculation to offer regarding the plot connection, but I can’t imagine it being too significant. The movie won’t be ending with a “To be continued on television in Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.,” that’s for sure. We’re being given two weeks from the opening of The Dark World to the airing of the episode in question (“The Well”), but will the show actually depend on us seeing the movie in that time? That could potentially alienate some viewers who might want or need to wait for the movie to hit video to see it. And with ratings for the show continuing to decline in both the U.S. and UK, […]

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Vin Diesel Sub-Mariner

Just when we thought the dream casting stage was over, Vin Diesel‘s true Marvel Studios role is back up in the air. Yes, the Riddick star is set to voice Groot in next year’s Guardians of the Galaxy, but according to his statements in an interview with Extra host Maria Menounos this week, Diesel is also still on board for an actual physical part in the Avengers franchise universe. Specifically, he reiterates that his initial meeting with Marvel was for a Phase Three character that will debut in 2016. We’d heard that clarification previously but it was thought the Groot voice casting had replaced that other gig. Instead it seems Groot was just to appease Diesel’s fanbase while Marvel continues to work with the actor on the other 2016 thing. So, let the speculation ensue once again. What Marvel Studios Universe character could, should, would, will Diesel portray? The names on the table before are back on the table now, with good guy Vision and bad guy Thanos topping the predictions. Diesel hints that the role would involve a “merging of brands,” but that could be interpreted a number of different ways. He could be starring in a reboot of Blade for all that means, so long as they bring the vampire hunter into the Avengers world. He could be Namor, which would be another fine jab at DC’s weakness in getting their big properties onto the big screen (because Namor is Marvel’s Aquaman). Rights to a Namor film are […]

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James Spader

In news that makes perfect sense when you think about it, Marvel has announced that James Spader has been cast as the maniacal sentient robot Ultron in Avengers: Age of Ultron. This comes as a different sort of role for the actor, who generally plays maniacal human beings. Marvel did not reveal whether or not Spader would be performing motion-capture, as Mark Ruffalo does to play The Hulk or Vin Diesel will do for Groot in Guardians of the Galaxy, or just providing his voice to the character. Regardless, it’s sure to be unnerving. Slap a cardboard box robot costume on Spader and it would probably still be an effective villain. Spader seems well-suited for the role, which writer-director Joss Whedon modified just a bit (as our own Scott Beggs recently wrote about). Think of Ultron as artificial intelligence with a God complex. He’s a robot with feelings. Horrible, horrible feelings. But he’s also no longer magical: “He’s always trying to destroy the Avengers, goddamn it, he’s got a bee in his bonnet, Whedon said. “He’s not a happy guy, which means he’s an interesting guy. He’s got pain. And the way that manifests is not going to be standard robot stuff. So we’ll take away some of those powers because at some point everybody becomes magic, and I already have someone [a new character, Scarlet Witch] who’s a witch. As a character I love him because he’s so pissed off.”

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Avengers Animatics

A group of villagers trudging through the jungle, a convoy carrying some heavy weaponry and a mysterious quadriplegic, Iron Man causing vehicles to crash and guns to be drawn. This isn’t how The Avengers re-introduced Tony Stark to the world, but it could have been. Comic Book Movie has scored four fantastic animatics (which you can watch below) from Federico D’Alessandro who did the work of bringing the 2010 and 2011 script drafts to graphite life. There’s a thrilling tunnel chase, a devastating arrow from Hawkeye, an evil Jarvis, and an extended final battle sequence, but maybe the most bittersweet lost element is the brief glimpse we get at Joss Whedon‘s take on Wasp. She could have been a major part of the movie, but her inclusion was dropped as development progressed. She may be around for future Marvel adventures, but for now she survives in these scrapped sequences.

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published: 10.30.2014
B-
published: 10.29.2014
D+
published: 10.27.2014
C-
published: 10.24.2014
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