Iron Man marks Marvel’s first self-developed and self-financed film (in a ten-film deal with Paramount) and the way that this Jon Favreau-directed, Robert Downey-starred blockbuster translates the comic book so successfully onto the big screen augers well for the other Marvel films to come.
Considering how amazing and surprising the first Guardians of the Galaxy movie was, when it was released in 2014, it is perhaps shocking (or maybe not) that its sequel matches not only its sheer entertainment quality but builds on the characters and relationships introduced in the original.
Please note that this Captain America : Civil War analysis contains spoilers!
If the critics are to be believed, Captan America: Civil War is the best superhero movie ever made and Batman V Superman is the worst. But what is really at issue here? One is a Marvel movie and the other isn’t. It’s really as simple as that. Simply put, every criticism of BVS can also be validly levelled at Civil War but the latter gets a free pass, every single time. This bias is not unusual for Marvel fans – its comic fans were famously labelled as ‘Marvel Zombies’ back in the 80s for supporting Marvel no matter how awful the stories and characters were.
I suppose it’s something we somewhat take for granted but it’s hard to believe that Ant-Man is the 12th Marvel Studios superhero movie! The mere fact that I can write the words “superhero movie” is already a minor miracle considering that these were rare once upon a time. So I enjoy the superhero movie phenomenon as long as I can.
But seriously folks, compared to other action-adventure blockbusters franchises, superhero movies have generally been good entertainment, value for money and relatively well written to boot! Sure, there have been a couple of exceptions but overall, it has been a good run since the first Iron Man.
And that’s the movie that Ant-Man most feels like – it’s the origin story of a man in a suit which grants him super powers – and for most part, director Peyton Reed (who took over from Edgar Wright) has done a commendable job in keeping the movie well afloat despite its problems in pre-production.
The difference between Iron Man and Ant-Man is that with the latter, there is now a vast backstory to contextualise the tale. This applies especially to this Marvel Cinematic Universe version of Ant-Man, where we now discover that Hank Pym and Janet Van Dyne had been working with SHIELD (as Ant-Man & Wasp) in the 80s. Also, instead of Yellowjacket being one of the manifestations of Pym’s insanity, it is a separate (villainous character, altogether). All this serves to give greater depth to the MCU.
In addition, there is a marked lighter tone to Ant-Man that is similar to that encountered on Guardians of the Galaxy, which puts Paul Rudd (Scott Lang) right in his element. The means by which Pym (Michael Douglas) recruits Lang as the new Ant-Man is cleverly handled with the first sequence where Lang shrinks down, a wonder to behold! Evangeline Lilly provides Lang with an apt foil – as Hope Van Dyne (Pym’s estranged daughter) and the possibility of another female Marvel superhero (stay for the post-credits scene!).
There is an unevenness about how the film ends, which is not helped by the two post-credits scenes but perhaps that’s the idea – to make us geeks feel like the MCU is one ever continuing story. For what its worth, Ant-Man has earned its right to be part of the tale’s unfolding.
Ant-Man opens on 16th July and might be a good indicator of where Phase 3 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) is headed. This new international trailer (from Japan) highlights a little bit of our protagonist Scott Lang’s back story and also some history regarding Hank Pym and the Ant-Man suit.
By all accounts, it appears that Ant-Man is set up to take over from Iron Man in certain ways even as Robert Downey Jr winds down his MCU involvement. This movie is looking funny, exciting and a key MCU jumping point. Expecting the post-credits scenes to be epic!
According to Box Office Mojo, “Avengers: Age of Ultron ruled the box office this weekend with a huge $187.7 million, which is the second-biggest debut ever. Unfortunately, the top opening ever belongs to its predecessor, Marvel’s The Avengers ($207.4 million)” which is a great start, of course, and continues to augur well for the future of the MCU.
The site also noted that “the Avengers sequel also continues to do strong business overseas, where it’s earned $439 million before even debuting in China or Japan”. Which hopefully means that the movie will go on to outgross Transformers: Age of Extinction.
If you have read my spoiler-free review, you would be aware that I loved Avengers: Age of Ultron and consider it by far the best superhero movie ever so far. However, based on numerous online comments, it has become de rigueur to label the movie as a disappointing sequel to the first movie, with the common criticism being that the movie has too much going on. My first reaction to this is — have these people ever read an actual superhero comic book before? Probably not. In that regard, I believe that director Joss Whedon made Avengers: Age of Ultron for us geeks and for that I am certainly grateful!
So much hyped up expectation for this sequel to the billion dollar making Avengers movie but guess what? It makes good on every single expectation and more! Director Joss Whedon fills up its 2-hour plus duration with so much comic book goodness that this geek was gushing throughout.
And as good as the original Avengers was, Age of Ultron somehow trumps it in so many ways. For one thing, the group dynamic is handled so well. We can see little smaller groups forming up that suggest camaraderie, shared mistrust and even romance. This push and pull amongst the Avengers gives the story much depth and superhero realism.
The plot line of course, as has been revealed in all the trailers involves villainous robot Ultron cutting his puppet strings and threatening to destroy the world. But really folks, it is much more. This feels like a stronger movie than the original – and how often can we say that about sequels?
For the comic book fan, the movie is chock full of so many nods, winks and references that this geek was smiling like an idiot throughout its duration. For the casual movie goer, the action, the humour and the epic drama will have you coming back again and again. I sincerely hope that this movie will also break the billion dollar barrier so that more movies like this will be made!
A moment of satisfaction arrived during the main credits when Jack “The King” Kirby FINALLY gets his due as a co-creator of The Avengers. About fucking time. But those in the know would have felt the spirit of the late great Kirby running through the MCU from day one i.e. Iron Man. This time around, the battle sequence in the church was shot like the finest Kirbyesque fight scene – the power and the glory!!
Suffice to say, this movie is essential viewing and at least THREE times, at that!
Avengers: Age of Ultron is showing at the cinemas now.
With the heightened anticipation for Avengers: Age of Ultron, Ant-Man almost seems like an after-thought. After all, it does seem poorer in comparison and by all accounts appears to be a retread of the first Iron Man movie. But the first trailer does look very promising I must say, even if those accusations still hold true.
Also, Evangeline Lilly in her new short, pointy bob haircut looks appropriately like the Wasp, although I am pretty sure Hope Van Dyne never takes on that mantle in the movie. Effects look good and that entire sequence of Scott Lang running with the ants is awesome!
Not quite sure what to make of the high level of zany humour evident in the trailer (see above) but Marvel Studio’s track record demands that a level of trust be given to Ant-Man. The trailer does fill one with a bit more confidence that Ant-Man will not turn out to be Marvel Studio’s first dud.
10 films that have changed the face of the movie industry. 10 films that exist within an unprecedented shared universe. 10 films that have collectively grossed over US$7 billion worldwide. Yes, there’s no doubt that commercially, the MCU films have done fantastically well but what about creatively? Can the films stand up to critical scrutiny or is their popularity a product of marketing hype and nothing more? Let’s investigate.
IRON MAN (2008)
You know the story. Grossing over $500 million worldwide, Iron Man was an unexpected mega-hit for Marvel Studios’ first venture, marking the comeback of Robert Downey Jr and making the movie industry sit up and take notice. The post-credits scene was used for the first time, to introduce the concept of the MCU to movie audiences as Nick Fury said the words “Avengers Initiative” as a promise of things to come. Putting aside the milestones, it’s worthy to remember that this Jon Favreau-helmed film was very well made with strong performances from Jeff Bridges (Obadiah Stane), Gwyneth Paltrow (Pepper Potts) and Terence Howard (James Rhodes). The age of Marvel (films) had begun. (9/10)
For a scifi-superhero movie that is slated for release later this year (August), virtually no advance information of the new Fantastic Four movie is available online except a couple of interviews, a plot summary and this fuzzy photograph (above) of the cast when shooting wrapped last year!
Yes, this reboot of the comic book that launched the Marvel Universe itself is only seven months away and the silence over at Fox is deafening. And can anyone blame Fox? After all, the initial buzz of having Chronicle’s Josh Trank helm the movie dissipated quickly when the cast was announced (Miles Teller as Reed Richards, Kate Mara as Sue Storm, Michael B Jordan as Johnny Storm and Jamie Bell as Ben Grimm).
The last two choices were particularly controversial for obvious reasons as fans opined that physically, both Jordan and Bell did not resemble the characters whatsoever. The situation worsened when actors admitted that the movie would not be faithful to the source material – Mara confirmed that director Trank advised her NOT to read the comic book before shooting began!
Our first proper look at the Ant-Man movie is a teaser trailer that comes with a Hank Pym (Michael Douglas) voice-over, as Pym attempts to convince the convicted felon Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) to become the Ant-Man (or ‘Ent-Man’ as Douglas pronounces it!).
After the speech, Lang responds with typically Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) light humor and whilst the action montage does not seem that exciting (the special effects of Ant-Man and trademark flying ant was underwhelming), it’s too early to draw any conclusions.
Evangeline Lilly looks hot as Hope Van Dyne (Pym’s daughter with Janet Van Dyne) but everything else is a blur. No clue as yet how they are going to handle this idea of Pym being a elder gentleman and how the MCU history will handle the original Ant-Man and even Wasp. All to be revealed on 17th July.
Yes, my dear fellow superhero movie geeks, the next six years are going to crazy! In the last couple of weeks both DC and Marvel have announced their schedule of movies covering 2015 to 2020 and together with superhero movies from Fox and SONY promises to bring down upon our heads the great superhero movie glut of the 21st century.