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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!
Coinciding with the opening of Marvel Studios’ Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Mondo has unveiled a new limited-edition print by Rich Kelly that will go on sale today. Naturally, the poster casts the spotlight on the film’s two title characters, but it also makes room for Black Widow and Falcon.
As usual, these Mondo prints are very limited — 435 copies of the $45 regular edition and 225 of the $75 variant — so they’ll disappear quickly You have to follow MondoNews on Twitter to find out what time today they go on sale.
Bloomberg Businessweek‘s profile of Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige, timed to coincide with the release this week of Captain America: The Winter Soldier, naturally focuses on the film division, but it also drops some fascinating nuggets about the company’s corporate culture and the 2009 purchase by Disney.
• “In March, Feige gave me a tour of Marvel Studios at Disney headquarters in Burbank, Calif.,” writes Devin Leonard. “The offices are furnished like a college dormitory, with threadbare couches. The hallways are decorated with cardboard superheroes hawking Pizza Hut and Burger King. There’s barely enough room in Feige’s office for a replica of Thor’s hammer.” While that description may come as a surprise to some, Marvel CEO Isaac Perlmutter has a well-established reputation as a penny-pincher, reusing paper, limiting the number of coffee pots and even fishing paperclips out of trashcans.
Yep, this year’s Marvel kickoff film is Captain America: The Winter Soldier, due out April 4 (which is a little weird considering the studio historically releases its films the first week of May, giving Free Comic Book Day a boost), so we’re starting to get that media blitz a-rollin’ with teaser trailers, Super Bowl spots and the like. However, nothing will be seen as consistently or as widespread as the movie posters.
Keep in mind, posters are a little boring these days, especially for action films. There’s a certain color palette used, that gray-blue shine and airbrushed effect that has become shorthand for “cold and hard.” You know, like an action hero. But I digress. The movie posters released for Captain America: The Winter Soldier have the traditional “‘people walking at you from a horizon line,” two different profiles of Cap with headgear on or off, Nick Fury looking like Samuel L. Jackson looking mean and, the one a lot of people are talking about: Black Widow.
There’s just something about Natasha. Everyone has an opinion about Black Widow as a character, about Scarlett Johansson’s body shape and about what the retouching of photos does to our perception of beauty and realistic expectations of women. A single image has caused so much of a stir, I can only imagine what people will do when she actually shows up in the film. Because we can’t talk about Johansson’s performance and Natasha’s place in the storyline, let’s focus on the poster.
WARNING: No spoilers, but if you’re sensitive to body issues, I understand if you’d want to skip this one today. Everyone is beautiful, Photoshopped or not, voluptuous or rail thin! Now let’s go complain about a celebrity.
Captain America, who made his Disneyland debut in August for the D23 Expo, will return to the Anaheim, California, theme park in April as part of the marketing push for Marvel Studios’ Captain America: The Winter Soldier.
No further details accompanied the announcement. Visitors to Disneyland can already experience the Thor: Treasures of Asgard and Iron Man Tech Presented by Star Industries exhibits, both launched in conjunction with the characters’ respective films.
The Sentinel of Liberty has the distinction of being the first Marvel character to appear at a Disney event (D23) since the media giant purchased Marvel in 2009. He can also be seen on Disney Cruise Line’s Disney Magic as part of the Avengers Academy kids’ area.
Captain America: The Winter Soldier opens April 4.
“I’m just jumping on this one because I find it ludicrous. First of all, that’s what we should be doing. In order to help the print business we need to get as many people as possible excited about the content we’re delivering them, and the less confusing it is for them to engage in our product, the more success we’re going to have. That’s one part. We should be communicating with each other. […] At the same, we allowed Ed Brubaker to kill Captain America and have another guy run around in that costume for over 18 months to two years when we were making a Captain America movie. We stopped making Thor the comic book for over a year and then we re-launched it with JMS and Oliver Coipel telling his story. Does Marvel give editorial direction on what you can and cannot do with our characters? Yes. We did that before we made movies and before we went to Disney. That’s what the editorial group does here for a living.”
— Marvel Publisher Dan Buckley, responding to the suggestion that companies like his “with a big media operation” are “controlling the print content to a greater degree in order to make it align more successfully with the other media”
Today, Carla and Tom continue to muse through all the news the Big Two have brought us in 2013. See can read the first installment here.
Tom Bondurant: The Marvel Cinematic Universe (Avengers division) is now five and a half years old, and consists currently of eight movies, a handful of shorts, and a half-season of TV.
Carla Hoffman: Holy cats, we work fast!
Tom: However, it’s about to get a lot bigger, adding two movies next year, plus the four Netflix series (and the Defenders movie coming out of those). Clearly this looks like a long-term commitment — but how long can it go?
Carla: Ask me after Ant-Man. That’s going to be the hardest movie to sell to non-comic fans. If that turns out to be a surprise hit enough for Ant-Man (whichever alias he may be) to turn up in an Avengers movie, then I can’t think of a property that wouldn’t work on the silver screen as long as the right creative team is at work.
TB: See, I think Ant-Man just got a lot easier to sell, because now it’s “Paul Rudd joins the Avengers.”
Thor: The Dark World actress Jaimie Alexander donned her Sif garments again recently on a trip to Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, spending an afternoon visiting with young patients. Marvel.com has posted a massive photo gallery of Alexander as Sif with many patients and staff, who were able to pose with the Asgardian warrior and in some cases, even hold her weapons. The actress also gave out signed Thor DVDs and posters.
Check out the highlights of Alexander’s trip to Children’s Hospital Los Angeles below.
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!
eFX Inc. will offer a replica of Agent Phil Coulson’s S.H.I.E.L.D. badge as a New York Comic Con 2013 exclusive. However, fans can deputize themselves into S.H.I.E.L.D. by preordering the badge on Sept. 17 at 9 a.m. Pacific/noon Eastern from efxcollectibles.com. Those that preorder can provide a photo, name and birth date to add an extra layer of personalization to the included ID card, as opposed to just getting Phil Coulson’s. Badges must be picked up on site at New York Comic Con (Oct. 10-13).
According to eFX, S.H.I.E.L.D. badges are made from the “original master molds of the screen-used badge,” while the ID card is made from the original digital files. The personalized ID cards are only available through pre-order. Each badge is $50 and part of a 1,500-unit run.
Beyond inducting yourself into S.H.I.E.L.D., personalized ID cards also present an ample opportunity for cosplayers to put their favorite obscure character into the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s peacekeeping force. Personally, I can’t wait to see an ID badge with Amadeus Cho’s name and photo on it.
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.
Actor Simon Pegg ignited a firestorm last week when he posted photos of a recent visit to Marvel’s New York City offices, including one shot of himself posing in front of a mural and pointing to an image of Ant-Man. Could it mean he’ll re-team with frequent collaborator and good friend Edgar Wright for the long-brewing Marvel Studios film? No, Pegg was just having a little fun with fans.
So what was he doing in the Marvel offices? Apparently, he was just taking a tour, and recording a video to promote his new film The World’s End (opening Friday). Unless … the above image is Pegg’s way of telling us he’ll be replacing Chris Hemsworth in Avengers: Age of Ultron …
See more photos from his visit at Marvel.com.
In a rather vague announcement, Disney revealed today that it will bring more of the Marvel Universe to its theme parks this fall, when Disneyland guests will have a chance to visit Asgard and “come face-to-face” with Thor himself.
It’s obvious the attraction is designed to coincide with the Nov. 8 release of Marvel Studios’ Thor: The Dark World, but beyond that, no details have been made public. More information is promised next month on the Disney Parks Blog.
Among the announcements that came out of the D23 Expo was the casting of Tom Hiddleston alongside Christina Hendricks in DisneyToon Studios The Pirate Fairy, in which the Thor: The Dark World actor voices Cabin Boy James, who’ll later be legendary as Captain Hook. Unless you have “Hiddleston” as a Google alert, or have children who religiously watch the Tinker Bell direct-to-DVD animated movies, that relatively minor news likely escaped your attention.
But what you can’t miss is video of a giddy Hiddleston, an avowed fan of Disney’s The Jungle Book, singing a little bit of “Bare Necessities” at the event. If that’s not somehow worked into Thor 3, somebody at Marvel Studios isn’t doing his job.
The doors open in just an hour on the D23 Expo, the official Disney fan gathering held through Sunday in Anaheim, California. Tickets for Saturday are sold out.
While much of the event, of course, caters to Disney devotees — theme-park fans, serious collectors and cinephiles alike — we should expect a decent amount of news that reaches beyond the Magic Kingdom. For instance, today there’s a presentation featuring many of the voice actors from Marvel’s animated television series, and a signing with the producer and director of Big Hero 6, Walt Disney Animation’s first adaptation of a Marvel comic. That movie, based on the characters created by Steven T. Seagle and Duncan Rouleau, is getting a promotional push at the event, which features a Big Hero 6 display (above, courtesy of ComingSoon).