SPIDER-MANDATE: The Lowe-down on "Secret Wars," Tie-Ins and Stacey Lee
Let’s get this out of the way first: so many spoilers ahead, you guys. So very many spoilers.
I saw Captain America: The Winter Soldier last night, and I haven’t stopped thinking about it since. So please bear with the incredible amount of spoilers ahead in this week’s Fifth Color, not to mention the rampant speculation about what’s ahead of us yet. This one is big, perhaps the biggest Marvel movie since the first Iron Man.
The short and spoiler-free version is this: Go see the movie. It’s brilliant, very well thought out, and if you’re a fan of the Ed Brubaker years on Captain America, you’ll not only enjoy the tone of the film, but you’ll be pleasantly surprised by the twists they throw in. #itsallconnected is the simplest way to put it.
This isn’t traditional cinema any more, not with Marvel Studios. Each of its films have been both sequential and separate, with a slowly rising degree of success. By all rights, you should be able to watch The Avengers without watching all of the solo movies that came before it, but you get a grander enjoyment if you’ve seen more. Iron Man was a fun movie, but now it’s even more fun in the context of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Trilogies come close to this kind of storytelling, but even then there’s a commitment to seeing at least the first one to get the idea of what’s ahead. With Marvel, audiences already knows the theory behind superheroes to enable them to jump in when one catches their eye. The Marvel Cinematic Universe, at its best, should be able to be viewed as separate movies and as parts of a whole. However, after Captain America: The Winter Solider, there’s not much of that whole left.
WARNING: Not joking on the spoiler thing. If you are spoiler-fearless, already saw Captain America: The Winter Soldier or just want to jump into the speculation pit with me and float around in a very well constructed cinematic universe, read on!
Ahead of the arrival of Iron Man 3 on Blu-ray and DVD, concept artist Phil Saunders (Iron Man, The Avengers) has unveiled some of his stunning designs for the Marvel Studios film. Along with some armors audiences never saw on screen, Saunders revealed an early take on one of the Extremis soldiers — and a behind-the-scenes tidbit:
In early versions of the script Extremis was based on Nanotechnology like in the comic book, and would have constructed some sort of internal armor structure to grant the enhanced soldiers super-strength and near-invulnerability. thematically they would have been a reflection of Tony Stark, wearing their “suits” internally rather than externally. Makeup would have subtly suggested that structure by deforming their skin in a mechanical way.
Check out some of the images below, and plenty more here.
Disney has a lot riding on Disney Infinity, the upcoming video game that will allow players to mix and match characters from different properties — for instance, Captain Jack Sparrow and Mr. Incredible — using collectible figures and a special scanner. The media giant’s fledgling Disney Interactive Studios has reportedly spent more than $100 million on development, even as the division laid off more than 500 employees and suffered $1.41 billion in losses from other ventures.
To free up resources for Disney Infinity, which seems like an all-or-nothing situation, The Wall Street Journal contends Disney also stopped production on an Iron Man video game that was planned to be released this year, and passed on chance to produce Star Wars video games following its $4.05 billion purchase of Lucasfilm.
I’ve still not seen Iron Man 3 (or Iron Man and Iron Man 2, for that matter), so I can only presume Movieclips’ homage to the film and to 16-bit video games is a 100-percent accurate recreation of the blockbuster, and that — spoilers? — Mandarin appears for all of five seconds, Tony Stark has some kind of giant stuffed animal in his home, and Pepper Potts crushes a fire-breathing Killian. It all seems about right.
The folks at How It Should Have Ended this week turn their repulsor rays on Marvel’s Iron Man 3, to typically funny — and spoiler-filled — results that pick at some of the frayed threads of the hit film’s plot. Oh, and there’s also a comparison between one of the movie’s story elements and that of Pixar’s The Incredibles that you may not have thought of but now probably won’t be able to forget.
And if that’s not enough, there are a handful of cameos, as you can see from the image above.
Less than a year after a masked gunman killed 12 people and wounded 58 others at a midnight screening of The Dark Knight Rises, the management of a Missouri theater paid an actor — or, rather, actors — dressed in tactical gear and carrying fake guns to walk into the multiplex last weekend to promote the opening of Iron Man 3. Needless to say, it wasn’t well-received by everyone, including the police.
Columbia, Missouri’s ABC 17 News reports Jefferson City police responded to a series of 911 calls from moviegoers stating “that a man dressed in all black and body armor and a rifle was walking into Capital 8 Theaters.” However, instead of confronting the active shooter that they expected, Capt. Doug Shoemaker said police arrived to find a publicity stunt orchestrated by the theater.
“Everything was in place, it’s the opening night of a superhero movie, it’s somebody walking in all-dark clothes, everything pointed to bad things about to happen,” he told the news station. “There’s really no good that can come of this.”
Not too long ago, Comic Book Resources talked to director Shane Black about Marvel’s Iron Man 3, which arrives in theaters today. When asked about David Michelinie and Bob Layton’s infamous “Demon in a Bottle” storyline, considered the darkest and deepest Tony Stark of them all, and its potential adaptation to the big screen, Black said, “No, because if we go there — it’s part of Tony’s character, but I think the ‘Demon in a Bottle; aspect, if you go there, you really have to go there. The film then becomes about that, because the journey that involves recovering from alcoholism is an entire movie. I mean, I want to keep it dark and interesting and edgy and spicy and all those things, but I don’t think we want to go as far as to deal with Tony’s descent into alcoholic madness. That’s maybe not where we want to be.”
This turned some heads, triggering accusations that Disney demanded sobriety, that Black forswore any alcohol in Iron Man 3 and insistence that it was a big deal that this issue wasn’t going to be addressed at all. I can see where the director is coming from on this: Iron Man has a lot on his plate already with four films’ worth of continuity and troubles following him, and to stop in the middle of all of that to take that turn down a dark and lonely path isn’t where we want to be in our Marvel movie medley.
Believe it or not, Iron Man 3 deals with a lot with demons, just not the particular demon of alcoholism. There are demons that are spawned from poor decision-making and from being a bit of a bastard in one’s younger years. There are demons that terrify us but, at heart, are completely manufactured from insecurity and doubt. And there are even more personal demons than that, ones that drive us into the night and can slowly crush you from the inside.
Seeing Iron Man 3 last night taught me something very important about myself and heroism, and those great, grand concepts I love to take from comics about dudes punching each other. Because, while the spectacle is fantastic, the effects and details are dead on, the acting is challenging and sly, it’s those message moments done just right that make viewers realize they just might have seen a different movie than everyone else.
WARNING: Iron Man 3 will be discussed below! I’m keeping out as many details as possible, but if you’re remaining spoiler-free, you might want to bookmark this one for later. To the brave, read on!
Ever the guardian of American values, Stephen Colbert has cast his scornful gaze on the latest threats to everything wholesome: Man of Steel and Iron Man 3.
On last night’s episode of The Colbert Report, the talk-show host took on the Warner Bros. franchise reboot first for casting English actor Henry Cavill as the embodiment of truth, justice and the American way, and then for its liberal agenda. Showing a clip in which Superman explains to Lois (Amy Adams) that on his world, his “S” symbol means “hope,” Colbert rages, “They’re saying Superman is Obama! Think about it: They both rise from Midwestern obscurity, become the most powerful man in the world, and, if I’m not mistaken, Krypton is the capital of Kenya!”
His “big problem” with Iron Man 3 is that Marvel turned to China for financing, resulting in a special cut of the film, featuring scenes with Chinese actors, product placement and an alteration of the villain’s name from the Mandarin to “Man Daren.”
“Why is Iron Man fighting the husband from Bewitched?” Colbert asks.
To mark the U.S. premiere of Iron Man 3 on Friday, Mondo will offers three limited-edition posters created by Phantom City Creative and Martin Ansin. As usual, they’ll go on sale at random times, so you’ll have to follow the boutique on Twitter.
The Toronto-based Phantom City Creative previously produced a Captain America poster for Marvel’s The Avengers. Their Iron Man 3 print, which appears to feature all of Tony Stark’s armors, can be purchased for $45.
A veteran of Mondo’s film-poster offerings, Martin Ansin last year created a Thor print for The Avengers. His Iron Man 3 poster comes in two flavors: a 450-copy gold version ($50), and a 200-copy silver version ($75).
“Extremely limited edition” in this case means “you can’t have one.”
Artist Paolo Rivera has more reason than most to take pride in the box office success of Iron Man 3: He has blogged before about how thrilled he was that an early poster for the movie was based on his cover for Iron Man #63, and now he’s written about his emotional investment in seeing the film for the first time.
This would be noteworthy enough in its own right, but the piece is accompanied by a spectacular print that he’s painted exclusively for the cast and crew of the production. Rivera had previously produced a suitably 1940s-looking poster for those working on Captain America: The First Avenger, and the Iron Man 3 print is designed to resemble a battered old pulp novel (suitably enough, given the styling of the end credits animation and the origins of Robert Downey Jr. and Shane Black’s previous collaboration). This is an extremely cool piece of art, and as exclusive as any limited edition poster you’re likely to see — do not expect to see copies of this one ever turning up on eBay (unlike, say, the gougers flogging his “Precious Cargo” at a helluva mark-up).
Are you getting excited? New teasers and trailers are being released almost every day now. The countdown to Summer Movie Season is officially on, and the big blockbusters adapting comics are looking promising. Iron Man 3 has an armada of armors flying around; can’t really go wrong there. The Wolverine has ninjas as far as the eye can see. And the bearded and brooding Man of Steel might even end up being good. Throw in a little Kick-Ass 2 and RED 2, sprinkle with R.I.P.D. and 300: Rise of an Empire, and top it off with 2 Guns, and you’ve got yourself one fun summer.
While we still get clunkers, the ratio of good to suck has definitely improved. It used to be that the old chestnut response to a movie adapted from a novel could be more often than not applied to movies adapted from comics: The book was better. And it’s often still true. But there are times when the movies do it better than comics, and while that’s great for the filmmakers and audiences, in a way it’s an indictment on the comics-makers.
Comics offer more boundless creativity than almost any medium. With comics, there’s no studio executive, no creation-by-committee made up of shareholders and board members with less experience creating and telling stories than their companies’ interns. It’s why Tony Stark being an alcoholic doesn’t fly with Disney and was removed from Iron Man 3. Comics can still include collaboration and compromise but they can just as easily be the result of a single voice. Even with the most heavy-handed editorially mandated comics, they’re still created by a fraction of people needed to make a Hollywood movie. Comics are generally more spontaneous, imaginative and clever than most major studio movies. But sometimes, Hollywood gets the jump on comics.
Marvel Studios has unveiled a beautiful IMAX poster created by Jock for director Shane Black’s Iron Man 3, which arrives in theaters May 3, just ahead of Free Comic Book Day. It’s the last of the exclusive “12:01″ series, given to attendees of midnight showings of the studio’s films.
Retailers ordered more than 4.6 million comic books for the May 4 Free Comic Book Day, a 34-percent increase from last year — and a staggering 70-percent jump from 2011. Needless to say, that’s a record high for the 11-year-old event.
According to Diamond Comic Distributors, this year also will see nearly 2,000 retail accounts participating, still another record. The event coincides with the North America premiere of Marvel Studios’ Iron Man 3.
Gold-level comics include Marvel’s Infinity, by Jonathan Hickman and Jim Cheung, described as “the opening shots of the war that will be heard around the galaxy” — likely to appeal to those Iron Man 3 audiences — and DC’s Superman Special Edition, which boasts a preview of Scott Snyder and Jim Lee’s Superman Unchained.
Other offerings range from The Walking Dead (a new Tyreese story, paired with reprints of Michonne, The Governor and Morgan stories) and Ape Entertainment’s Sesame Street & Strawberry Shortcake to Archaia’s Mouse Guard/Rust flip book and Dark Horse’s Star Wars/Captain Midnight/Avatar sampler.See the complete list on the Free Comic Book Day website.
Marvel Studios has launched an investigation into a leak that resulted in its major Comic-Con International announcement, the development of a Guardians of the Galaxy movie, being revealed two weeks before the convention began.
Latino Review, the movie website that broke the story on June 28, has posted an email from an unnamed “security consultant” requesting information about “the dissemination of confidential, non-public information concerning Iron Man 3 and Guardians of the Galaxy.” Although the website has since redacted his name, The Hollywood Reporter identifies the “consultant” as Robert Grosser, vice president of loss prevention for Marvel Enterprises.
“I do not want to see you or anyone else get into trouble nor do I want to see anyone’s career be tarnished because of this,” the email states. “However, I am very confident that through your efforts and mine, we will be able to work through this together. I personally feel that you did not have any malicious intent when you posted your spoilers on the fanboy website. Like many fans out there, you just wanted to be the first one to post something on the internet. I get it, however the Iron Man 3 and Guardians of the Galaxy information was confidential and you did not have Marvel’s consent to post it. That was illegal!