Candidates For Future Avengers Films

avengers comicsWe’re eagerly anticipating the next Avengers films coming out in 2018 and 2019, the two-part epic Avengers: Infinity War. The team’s roster will most likely include these popular heroes: Captain America, Iron Man, and the other veterans, plus newbies like Black Panther, Captain Marvel and Spider-Man. But what about beyond the third Avengers film? Will we have the same lineup or will new blood take the place of the old guard? Given how bloated Avengers: Age of Ultron felt with nine heroes, it’s unlikely future Avengers films will have large casts. So who would be interesting candidates to fill the ranks of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes as the veterans exit the stage? These are some suggestions:

Ares: The Greek god of war was a member of the Dark Avengers, so he comes with the anti-hero baggage. So, he can be a dark, more badass version of Thor as he uses traditional weapons like swords and axes with modern weapons like guns.

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Black Knight: Inspired by Arthurian legend, Dane Whitman wields a magic sword and shield and rides a winged horse. The catch is that the sword that can cut through anything has a blood curse. This all may be too magical for the science-based Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), but if there’s room for Doctor Strange then the MCU can make allowances for the Black Knight.

black knight

Giant-Man and the Wasp: He’s actually Hank Pym, the original Ant-Man, who decided to use his shrinking power in reverse. And of course, comic book fans know that the Wasp was his wife and at one point, supposed to have been in The Avengers, as seen by some storyboards. The characters will obviously be different people in the MCU given the character situation with Ant-Man.

giant man wasp storyboard

Hercules: Think of a more fun version of Thor and you got Hercules! Imagine his romps as he battles and brags his way across the silver screen. Plus, his fanciful boasts and love of revelry and fighting would provide light-hearted relief as if an Avengers film could use it. Another angle is to use him and Ares or Thor as foils against one another.

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Quasar: Marvel’s answer to Green Lantern would add a cosmic angle to the Avengers’ roster. Armed with Quantum Bands fused to his wrists, these objects allow Wendell Vaughn to tap and use energy to fight evildoers. Not only that but his cosmic-based background could conceivably link the Avengers to the larger galaxy without resorting to Thanos.

quasar

She-Hulk: Come on, we all want to see how Marvel Studios pulls this off! BTW, CG isn’t needed to bring the beautiful cousin of the Hulk to life on screen. She would make for some inspired eye candy and an excellent counterpoint to the brutish Hulk.

she hulk

Spectrum: At one time called Captain Marvel, Monica Rambeau has energy-based powers and was one of the most versatile and powerful members of the superhero team. She even led the team at one point and the spectacle of her turning into different kinds of energy would look fantastic on film.

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Spider-Woman: Hey Marvel and Sony made nice and are now sharing Spider-Man. That should embolden Marvel Studios enough to go ahead and give us Spider-Woman. Besides with her Hydra/S.H.I.E.L.D. backstory it should be cinch to throw her into the Avengers.

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Tigra: Originally Greer Grant was the superhero called The Cat but was later transformed through mystical means into Tigra with tiger-like powers. It’s easy to conceive of a sexy but tough leading lady playing this role. As with other candidates some tweaking is needed to change the mystical angle.

tigra

Wonder Man: One of the earliest and most powerful members of the Avengers deserves his shot at the big screen. Simon Williams’ tragic story of a pawn used to betray the Avengers and his eventual redemption is a great story that can be used in a future Avengers film.

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Avengers Come Of Age With Ultron

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Eye-popping. Action-drenched. Dazzling. LOUD. Explosive. Those are words that come to mind when thinking about Avengers: Age of Ultron. That is because this sequel to The Avengers is a true visual feast. That isn’t to say that Avengers: Age of Ultron tops the original, it doesn’t, but viewers will have an unforgettable time at the theaters watching it.

Joss Whedon returns to the director’s chair with this sequel that reunites most of the original cast including Robert Downey, Jr. as Tony Stark/Iron Man, Chris Evans as Steve Rogers/Captain America, Chris Hemsworth as Thor, Mark Ruffalo as Bruce Banner/The Hulk, Jeremy Renner as Clint Barton/Hawkeye and Scarlett Johansson as Natasha Romanov/Black Widow. Like any worthwhile sequel, Avengers: Age of Ultron introduces new, exciting characters like Vision (Paul Bettany), Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen), Quicksilver (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) and the malevolent android Ultron (James Spader).

Avengers in forest

After a kinetic opener where the Avengers take out an enemy base in Eastern Europe, they encounter two super-powered people who are antagonistic towards them. One of them, the Scarlet Witch, has mind-altering powers and influences Stark to retrieve Loki’s scepter from the base. In the last film, this weapon was wielded by Thor’s errant brother Loki and it’s powered by one of the immensely powerful Infinity Stones featured throughout the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU).

Back in New York, Stark and Banner QS capdecide to use the scepter’s power to help them create a genuine artificial intelligence. Their efforts fail, but once they leave the lab, the program becomes sentient and assumes the Ultron identity in a damaged Iron Man drone body. The problem is that Ultron’s programming of performing Stark’s directive of bringing about world peace has been corrupted. Now it wants to eliminate humanity. The AI goes viral and spans the world, perfecting its physical body and carrying out its planned extinction event as the Avengers struggle to catch up to Ultron and defeat it. As this plays out throughout the film, we see shifting alliances, inside looks of our heroes, and the emergence of new heroes.

ultronAvengers: Age of Ultron is a very busy film, sometimes too busy. There are so many plot points and character developments that things get lost in the shuffle at times. It rushes through plot developments that needed more nuance like the creation of Ultron. The moment it becomes self aware it is automatically evil. There are attempts to explain why Ultron wants to kill humanity but they’re hollow and don’t resonate. Another example are the development of Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch. Too much exposition explains their background and their evolution feels rushed. Then there are moments when the film is about to go off the rails with its nods to the larger MCU and in setting up other films. Sometimes it feels organic, like Stark and Rogers’ growing antagonism towards each other, which will culminate in next year’s Captain America: Civil War. Other times they feel tacked on and clumsily shoved in like Thor worrying about his own dilemmas that will be concluded in his next film. These diversions while interesting don’t allow this film to stand on its own because this film shines when it’s concentrating on its own merits.

With all this going on, things get lost in the shuffle and aren’t dwelled upon. The film struggles to juggle all these visionnew characters and servicing the old ones. It is too bad more time wasn’t spent on the Vision, the best new character thanks to Bettany’s sympathetic performance. However, some much needed time is devoted to Avengers who didn’t have much screen presence the last time around. This applies to Barton as we find out that he actually has a wife and family and this revelation makes him much more endearing to us as the point is driven home that he is the most vulnerable Avenger. Also, it was interesting to see that Captain America has by now emerged as the true leader of the team and has more of a screen presence than Iron Man.

As action-packed and fast moving as it is, Avengers: Age of Ultron lacks the original’s oomph and sense of wow. The novelty of seeing our favorite superheroes coming together isn’t there obviously, but it does its best to carry on. Usually it succeeds in dazzling the audience but it gets bogged down with its flaws.

hulk vs hulkbuster

Putting that aside, Avengers: Age of Ultron is very exciting and worth watching in theaters. Many of the special effects and action scenes are inspired and breathtaking like the part where Iron Man battles the Hulk in Africa or when Captain America and Black Widow confront Ultron and his drones in South Korea. It’s commendable that this isn’t just your typical empty summer film. It has heart and character thanks to topnotch acting. Joss Whedon knows how to raise the stakes for our characters in the final arc where Ultron finalizes his machinations and there’s a feeling of desperation and fatality among the Avengers. We care about these characters and by the end of the film the status quo has been upset and that’s a good thing. Like the comic book this film is based upon, things are always evolving with the Avengers, which will make things feel fresh in upcoming films.

avengers age of ultron cast

Despite its faults Avengers: Age of Ultron is a fitting and exuberant conclusion to Phase Two of the MCU and sets up the next chapter in the growing MCU.

José Soto

Avengers: Age Of Ultron Teaser Trailer!

Never mind watching next week’s episode of Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D.! Marvel has decided to release this teaser for next year’s Avengers: Age Of Ultron today. Whoa…this just looks super awesome!

Seriously, what’s not to like? We have the Hulk battling Iron Man in his Hulkbuster armor, lots of explosions and mayhem, and best of all Ultron! It seems like Joss Whedon made yet another brilliant casting decision by choosing James Spader to play the iconic Avengers villain. Ultron looks incredibly badass and intimidating in the same vein as the Terminator. Hopefully he’ll be on screen just as memorable as Loki or Magneto and become of the great Marvel movie villains. Obviously, there isn’t any way to say that this film will be better than its predecessor The Avengers, but it looks like another winner for Marvel Studios.

Our hats off to Marvel, after making the rest of us who didn’t attend this summer’s Comic Con sweat and agonize over the concealed footage shown at that convention, they’ve given all of us a nice treat. So enjoy this official Avengers: Age Of Ultron trailer!

 

Update: …And here’s the extended trailer featuring more footage, it’s still creepy with that Pinocchio music.

Reasons Why The Marvel Superheroes Are Still Successful

marvel 75

The 20th century needed a new group of heroes that reflected then-modern sensibilities. During the Golden Age of comic books, superheroes belonging to DC Comics (then named National Periodical Publications) such as Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman fulfilled this need with their wild superhuman exploits that captured the imagination. By the post-war era in America, DC’s superheroes were pretty much the standard: the Establishment.

By attempting to have the most likeable characters, DC’s superheroes had no character or emotional flaws, and the stories gravitated towards plot-driven, farcical adventures rather than character-driven stories.

In the wake of DC’s success, other comic book companies were founded and tried to emulate DC. Out of the many companies, only Timely Comics had staying power and here we are celebrating the 75th anniversary of that company that will later become Marvel Comics.

The Flawed, Science Heroes: Comics changed forever with the start of the so-called Marvel Age. The birth of the Marvel Universe took place in the early 1960s. This was a period that people were in awe with all of the wonders of science and space exploration. The Space Race and the Cold War were on the minds of the people. The Zeitgeist was the fear of the imminent Red Invasion and the Promise of Science- where will it take us?

perez marvelThe core of the first generation of Marvel superheroes were essentially Science Heroes. With the exception of Dr. Strange, the rest of the Marvel Universe was largely a world of weird science and science fiction. Spider-Man, Fantastic Four, Captain America, Giant-Man, the Wasp and the Hulk were Radioactive Heroes. Peter Parker was bitten by a radioactive spider. The astronauts from Reed Richard’s group were exposed to cosmic rays during their maiden voyage into outer space. In an unfortunate accident, Dr. Bruce Banner was hit with the full blast of Gamma Rays. Tony Stark built an electronic-laden armor with tons gadgets and abilities. Captain America was a patriotic hero that survived World War II by being frozen due to his exposure of Vita-Rays; part of the catalyst that transformed Steve Rogers from a skinny kid to an athletically proportioned hero. Giant Man and the Wasp benefitted from Hank Pym’s size magnification and reduction experiments, along with side studies in insect communication and gene splicing.

Great concepts- ahead of its time- but what made the Marvel Universe different, however, was not only the science aspect, but rather the fact that these Marvel heroes were emotionally flawed, imperfect, and fallible. Tragedy strikes as often as victories. Moral dilemmas were as large as the threat.

Spider-Man wins the battle with the big bad villain, but he can’t get enough money for his rent and he blew a date with either Gwen Stacy or Mary Jane Watson. Captain America is back in the modern world, but he feels lost like a fish out of water. marvel heroesThe X-Men have astounding abilities, but they are persecuted and feared by society, who view mutants as aberrations, and treat them as outcasts. The Fantastic Four’s Thing has great power, but he also has this great fear that his blind girlfriend Alicia won’t accept him if she ever regained her sight and found him ugly. But the Thing- AKA Ben Grimm, is very human despite his rough exterior, with a heart that endeared him to readers. Dr. Strange was a callous, money-loving jerk; a celebrity physician until a terrible traffic accident ended his career. This gave him pause to reflect and improve on his past behavior as he was now invested to learn the mystic arts to save the world from an ancient evil. And the list goes on and on with the great flaws that these characters have, but that is what made these characters appealing. That in particular was something that comic book readers became very attuned to, and why they identified with them. Continue reading

Comic – Con 2014 Highlights & Observations

max avengers ultron poster 

This year’s Comic-Con didn’t have any big, surprise revelations that brought down the convention halls, like last year’s announcement of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. Nonetheless, there were many scintillating news that came out of the convention that made many drool and envious that they weren’t there to witness the announcements…or see the exclusive trailers and footage.

Dawn Of The Justice League

It’s funny how pumped up people are for Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and it’s not coming out next year! Warner Bros. and DC Comics may want to reconsider their release schedule of May 2016 and put this film out sooner. While next summer and December are already covered by guaranteed blockbusters, there are plenty of other months where Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice will completely dominate the box office like Captain America: The Winter Soldier did this past April.

bat fight

What brings out this feeling with us here at Starloggers is that based on the fact that there is footage out about the movie, it seems as if it’s close to being complete. Those shots of Batman on the rainy rooftop decked out in full armor and a visibly angry Superman up in the sky facing him were just electrifying. Apparently, director Zack Snyder took the essence of Frank Miller’s classic The Dark Knight Returns and translated it to screen. As a bonus, the reveal of Gal Gadot in her Wonder Woman outfit was just a perfect bonus; an Amazonian warrior brought to life!

Avengers: Age Of Ultron & The Marvel Cinematic Universe

Unlike Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, there hasn’t been any photos or footage leaked over next summer’s eagerly awaited sequel to The Avengers. The same went for Ant-Man. Reportedly, the crowd predictably went bonkers over the exclusive footage shown for Avengers: Age of Ultron. In the clips shown, the attendees saw Iron Man’s Hulkbuster armor, footage of the heroes fighting Ultron and a haunting image of Captain America’s broken shield.

broke shield

What helped whet the appetites for fans around the Internet and at Comic-Con were the beautiful posters showcasing each individual Avenger fighting Ultron and his android army. The full poster that has all of them put together is sure to be a sought-after item.

The news that actor Patrick Wilson dropped out of Ant-Man may have reminded some of the behind-the-scenes production headaches plaguing this film. Still, the production is pushing on with their promotion and hopefully Marvel Studios will have another winner in their hands.

The film studio is so confident about Guardians of the Galaxy, that they announced that the film’s director James Gunn will return to direct the sequel, which has a firm release date in July 2017.

The Absentees

While Marvel Studios confidently showcased their upcoming films, it was noticeable that Twentieth Century Fox didn’t have anything to show for next summer’s Fantastic Four reboot. It’s obvious that the studio and the production team behind the much-maligned reboot is feeling sensitive and protective over the film in response to the negative feedback from many fans. No matter how you look at the situation, it doesn’t bode well for the film. But it may wind up winning over fans in the end.

There were other films being released next year that weren’t represented as well. The biggest one was Star Wars Episode VII, which if something was shown might’ve eclipsed the Marvel and DC presentations. Also MIA was Brad Bird’s highly anticipated and mysterious Tomorrowland . Not seeing anything from Star Wars wasn’t a surprise since the film is still early in production, but it’s a missed opportunity for Tomorrowland because there is a lot of curiosity over the film. But Star Wars fans didn’t walk away empty handed: the full-length trailer for the animated TV series Star Wars Rebels made its debut at Comic-Con and it looks terrific.

Other News

Despite the lack of big, headline-making announcements, there were some that had merit. Take for example the news that Legendary Pictures plans to release a prequel to King Kong that takes place on the mighty ape’s homeland, the dinosaur-packed Skull Island. Then there was the pleasant surprise for fans of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine when it was announced that Alexander Siddig (Doctor Bashir) is joining the cast of Game of Thrones. Also noteworthy were the news that the Batman villain Ra’s al Ghul will be a major nemesis for the next season of Arrow and Bobbi Morse a.k.a. Mockingbird will be part of the returning Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

Of the many trailers for movies and TV shows, one that caught everyone’s attention was that of next year’s Mad Max: Fury Road. From looking at the footage, it seems clear that director George Miller has returned to the high-octane roots of the Mad Max franchise. It’s a welcome thought since that futuristic anti-hero has been absent from the screens for too long.

That wraps up what we thought of Comic-Con 2014. We already cannot wait for next year’s convention. BTW, check our Background Noise and Facebook pages for any links (once we find them) to leaked footage or photos themselves of Avengers: Age of Ultron and any other highly anticipated film.