Axel-In-Charge: Extending "Secret Wars," Excitement for a "Totally Awesome Hulk"
In what very well could be a precursor to Captain America: Civil War, Earth’s Mightiest Heroes squared off against each other last night in a no-holds-barred game of “Avengers Family Feud,” with the host Jimmy Kimmel caught in the middle.
On one side, Captain America (Chris Evans), Bruce Banner (Mark Ruffalo) and Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner); on the other, Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.), Thor (Chris Hemsworth) and Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson). It was a fierce battle marked by cheating, widespread confusion, malfunctioning name tags and some pretty bad answers.
Beating Spider-Man and Captain America to the punch, Wolverine and Thor staged their own epic crossover last night in a brewing Civil War over … musical beers and dueling mullets.
Donning wigs, actors Hugh Jackman and Chris Hemsworth joined Tonight Show host Jimmy Fallon, bandleader Questlove and Saturday Night Live cast members Kate McKinnon, Colin Jost and Bobby Moynihan for a game that’s exactly what it sounds like: musical chairs, only using cups of beer.
Sophie Caldecott is a hero and what she accomplished this past week is more inspiring than saving the world or defeating Ultron. I love a feel good story as much as the next person, and this one is a doozy.
In October 2011, her father Stratford Caldecott was diagnosed with advanced prostate cancer. He and his family have persevered through every treatment and now, three years later, the cancer has advanced to the final stages of the disease. Her father is a huge comic fan and often joked that he’d hang on just to see the next Marvel movie release; sadly, he wasn’t well enough to make it to the theaters to catch Captain America: The Winter Soldier. So starting last Monday, Sophie launched a simple campaign to get a copy of the movie to her father in his convalescence at home and to bring him some cheer in a difficult time.
Looking back, the first Thor movie was a marvel, no pun intended. It was the first of the Marvel Studios films not to have Iron Man in it at all, plus it was the first major step toward what we would come to know as the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The Incredible Hulk was really its own little world, with a little Stark tacked on at the end to hint at the idea that was still forming. By the time Thor came out, the path toward a full fledged Avengers movie was on the horizon and Thor was our introduction to the next Earth’s Mightiest Hero.
Although the character is difficult to translate, Thor showed modern movie audiences a near-perfect tale of a god humbled, heroic triumph and the kick-ass design of a Jack Kirby-inspired Asgard. There was a flexibility of tone and style that showed us the fantastic was possible too in the Marvel world of science and technology; Thor even explains to Jane Foster and the audience very clearly that science and fantasy aren’t that far apart, sort of justifying the god’s association with more science-based characters. The movie had an amazing balance between so many different themes, it’s still my favorite Marvel movie yet.
Sequels to such great films can be incredibly difficult. On one hand, they can often flesh out the elements we liked from the original while trimming a bit of the fat (see Star Trek II vs. Star Trek: The Motion Picture). The second film can strike directly to the heart of the matter, rather than spend time telling audiences where they are and why they should care about the people on screen. On the other hand, reference can equal preference, and when the second movie is nothing like the first, it can fall flat if it’s not what we were expecting. Not everyone can return for the second movie, be they actors, directors or designers, so cracks can form if there’s not a consistency from one installment to the next. Others can complain if the next movie relies too heavily on the first, “continuity porn” showing up on angry Internet forums or from more casual movie-going folk. It’s a lot of concern to carry with you into a sequel.
The good news is that the god of thunder bears this weight heroically in Thor: the Dark Work. I can’t say he juggles it all effortlessly, I can’t say it doesn’t seem a little awkward and uneven at times, but all the troubles are carried in an impressive spectacle. Want to know more? Read on!
WARNING: No spoilers. If you’ve seen the trailer, you’ve seen any plot details that I might discuss, so click with confidence!