Tag Archives: Marvel Cinematic Universe

‘Captain America: The Winter Soldier’ Is The Best Marvel Film Since ‘The Avengers’

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Since Marvel’s The Avengers came out in May 2012, I’ve been left wondering if any Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) film could live up to that epic.  Iron Man 3 and Thor: The Dark World were disappointing with their less than exciting villains and storylines that didn’t really dig deep into what was the fallout of the alien attack on New York. Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D has been erratic – sometimes reminding me what I love about the MCU and other times tempting me to abandon it, but I stay because Coulson Lives.  Finally though with The Winter Soldier do we have an enemy worth getting excited because as Loki has proven, sometimes the most thrilling villains are the people you know.

Captain America: The Winter Soldier begins with Captain Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) living in present day Washington, D.C., still learning about the decades he missed while frozen and still not quite seeing eye to eye with S.H.I.E.L.D. Director Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson).  When things become amiss at S.H.I.E.L.D., Steve finds himself on the run with The Black Widow, Natasha Romanoff (Scarlett Johansson) as they attempt to discover what’s the dangerous secret that S.H.I.E.L.D. has been harboring.

As I left the theater I realized this is one of those films where you can’t say much about it without giving something away and that’s part of what makes Captain America: The Winter Soldier the best Marvel film since The Avengers.  With twists and turns that kept me on the edge of my seat for more than two hours, it was refreshing to be thrilled by a superhero movie again!

Chris Evans continues to be perfect as Captain America.  He has the good looks, the body, the charm, the loyalty, and often the innocence of this character down perfectly.  Steve Rogers is a soldier and a fighter, but he also a really good guy and there’s never a moment when you aren’t wanting “good” to triumph.  Scarlett Johansson’s return to The Black Widow with the same vivaciousness and allure that makes you wonder what is real and what isn’t with her.  She’s a great partner for the Captain and I wouldn’t mind seeing them teamed up again in the future.

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Also returning are the previously mentioned Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury and Cobie Smulders as Marie Hill.  Maximiliano Hernandez, who has played a minor role as Agent Jasper Sitwell going back to Thor, has recently appeared on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.including this past Tuesday’s episode.  When we last saw him he left Agent Coulson (Clark Gregg) for an assignment noting that he “had a boat to catch.”  You’ll see what boat he ended up on within the first ten minutes of the film.

There are several new characters, including Anthony Mackie as former paratrooper turned counselor Sam Wilson, a.k.a. The Falcon,  Robert Redford as S.H.I.E.L.D. official Alexander Pierce,  Revenge’s Emily VanCamp as Agent 13, and The Winter Soldier.  All feel perfect for their roles and are great additions to the MCU.

Agent Sitwell has recently appeared on episodes of "Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D."

After Man of Steel destroyed New York again Metropolis and then Thor: The Dark World wreaked havoc on a section of London, I was beginning to think super hero films were stuck on recycling the same idea.  Yes, there are some things about The Winter Soldierthat are comic movie formulaic, like monologuing, but the action sequences felt fresh and the story kept surprising me, with The Winter Soldier’s identity being the least of the surprises.

Thanks to The Winter Soldier  my love for the MCU is reinvigorated and just as I couldn’t wait for the next films after The Avengersto see the fallout from New York, I now can’t wait to see next week’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. to see what happens after The Winter Soldier. If you watch the show or not, you don’t want to miss the film.

Captain America: The Winter Soldier opens nationwide today, April 4, kicking off the summer movie season rather early.  As with all Marvel films, stay all the way to the end of the credits.

‘Daredevil’ Netflix Series Takes Place in the Marvel Cinematic Universe

Back in November, Marvel confirmed that they are teaming up with Netflix for new TV shows based on comic book characters DaredevilIron FistJessica Jones and Luke Cage, which will lead into The Defenders mini-series. Marvel Entertainment’s Chief Creative Officer Joe Quesada revealed on Kevin Smith‘s Fatman on Batman podcast that these shows will all exist in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, while teasing the release plans and the production status of these programs.

It was assumed by many that Daredevil and the other shows will be set within the MCU, but it has never been confirmed until now.

“There will be some interconnectivity, much like the movies. They will exist within the cinematic universe again, so this is all the same world as (Marvel’s Agents of ) S.H.I.E.L.D. and The Avengers.”



The initial anouncement revealed that the shows will debut sometime in 2015, but it wasn’t known if Netflix planned on staggering the release of each show. Joe Quesadaconfirmed that all four shows will be available at the same time, although a specific release date has not been given.

“You’re going to get all these episodes, and you can binge watch them however you want, and then binge watch them again.”



He also confirmed a report from February that these programs will all be shot in New York City.

“We’re shooting in New York. That’s the fantastic thing about it is that we’re shooting at home. We’re shooting where these characters belong. These stories take place in Hell’s Kitchen. It thrills me to no end to have these things happening in New York. That alone is going to give it an incredible vibe. It’s just once again…it’s like Marvel taking ownership of New York, saying this is where we’re from, this is our universe, this is where it started.”



The executive also revealed that the show would be shooting in Brooklyn and areas of Long Island that still look like the old Hell’s Kitchen. When asked about Daredevil‘s setting, he had this to say.

“It smells of dark alley, vomit, and piss.”



While the shows will be set in the MCU, he said they will show a “street level noir” side to these characters fans haven’t seen before.

“Although these are superhero stories, this is different now. This is the street level…this is the street level noir side of the Marvel Universe. Something that you haven’t really, really seen in any of our Marvel movies. And probably more ground level, than I think you’ve seen. This is not like us doing Batman, Dark Knight or any of that stuff. This is very Marvel doing street level superheroes.”



He also spoke briefly about the production status of Daredevil, revealing that the scriptsby writer-director Drew Goddard and his team are starting to come in.

“The scripts are coming in. They are pretty fantastic. They’re really emotional. They’re very, very original. But at the same time, it is Daredevil. It is Matt Murdock. We will eventually, hopefully start casting really, really soon, but I’m very, very excited about it.”



Earlier this month, we reported that Marvel has the rights to iconic Daredevil characters Kingpin and Elektra. When asked who the villain of this show will be, Joe Quesadawould not say.

“I’m not going to say who the villain is in our story.”



DaredevilIron FistJessica Jones and Luke Cage will debut on Netflix sometime in 2015. Are you more excited for these shows now? Chime in with your thoughts below.

‘Thor: The Dark World’ Easter Eggs, Trivia & References

November Movie Preview - Thor The Dark WorldFans of Marvel films have come to expect a wealth of easter eggs, hidden references and comic book secrets packed into just about every story – and while Thor: The Dark World may have laid the foundation for the future of the movie universe more clearly than any before it, that doesn’t mean there weren’t subtle inclusions as well. They may be fewer than fans had seen in prior Phase Two film Iron Man 3, but those who loved the comic book source material of Thor – and have high hopes for Marvel’s future – will want to take note. Needless to say, there will be plenty of spoilers in our list ofThor: The Dark World Easter Eggs & Trivia, so read at your own risk.

 

The Kronan

Thor 2 Dark World Trailer Stone Man SaturnThe showdown between Thor and the unnamed rock monster that finally brings the Marauders to surrender was teased in one of the film’s first trailers, and was immediately one of the funnier end scenes to a Marvel trailer we can recall. But the enemy wasn’t just some random brute. That would be one of the ‘Stone Men from Saturn,’ the strange rock monsters that Thor fought in his very first appearance in print, “Journey into Mystery” #83. In the comic book fiction, the Stone Men – or Kronan– had come to Earth (not Vanaheim) from another realm, but holed up on Saturn in preparation of an attack.

 

Odin’s Raven

Thor 2 Dark World Odin Raven Easter EggOne element of The Dark World that director Alan Taylor was keen on emphasizing was its connection to Viking heritage, meaning viewers got the chance to actually see Odin (Anthony Hopkins) overseeing his training armies, not confined to a throne room. It is in Odin’s first appearance that we see him taking an aside with one of his ravens, but fans will quickly tell you that they are not merely birds. Known as Huginn and Muninn, the pair of ravens flew throughout the Nine Realms to gather information for their king and reported back. They were relegated to mere perches on Odin’s throne in the firstThor, and present during the fight between Thor and Loki in The Avengers, so fans were treated to an even more prominent cameo in the sequel.

 

Stan Lee Cameo

Thor 2 Easter Egg Stan Lee CameoAs is customary for most films based on Marvel heroes (with some notable exceptions), legendary comic book creator Stan Lee is given a brief cameo. When Dr. Erik Selvig (Stellan Skarsgård) is through giving his brilliant lecture in the confines of a psychiatric facility, it is Lee dressed as a patient who requests his shoe be returned. Unlike many before it, this cameo might actually slip by the average moviegoer, since – for a change – the joke he delivers actually lands perfectly in the scene, drawing more attention to the laugh than his inclusion. That shift toward subtlety might be sign of the times, since Lee’s original cameo in The Avengers was meant to be a similar throwaway one-liner directed at Steve Rogers (Chris Evans).

 

Earth-616

Thor 2 Dark World Earth 616 Easter EggsLee’s cameo aside, viewers who were actually trying to keep up with Dr. Selvig’s ramblings (or simply looking at the chalkboard behind him) were treated to not just one, but several easter eggs that could have serious ramifications for the future of the Marvel movie universe. For starters, the brief phrase written over Selvig’s right shoulder: 616 Universe. For those unfamiliar with the comic book source material, Marvel Comics, like DC, has accepted that the majority of their superheroes exist in just one of several parallel universes. The name given to the one that Earthly audiences are used to seeing? Earth-616. Although the term is disliked by several Marvel executives – since Marvel has never explored more than a handful of ‘other Earths’ – its appearance here implies that Dr. Selvig is aware of Earth’s parallel incarnations.

 

Craig Kyle & Chris Yost

Thor 2 Dark World Kyle Yost Easter EggThe names Craig Kyle and Christopher Yost are well-known to the most die-hard fans; as the creators of the teenage female clone of Wolverine – dubbed ‘X-23’ – the creative team used that success to prove instrumental in major X-Men storylines like “Messiah Complex” and later, a new take on the X-Force team (which may be coming to theaters soon). Since then, the pair have ventured into other forms of medium – most notably Kyle acting as executive producer of The Dark World, and Yost providing the screenplay. Even so, the set-dressers haven’t overlooked the pair’s best work. Simply look to the upper-right corner of Dr. Selvig’s chalkboard for the simple equation ‘Kyle + Yost = X’.

 

Strange & Inhuman

Thor 2 Dark World Fault Crossroads Easter EggIt may be another case of Marvel simply trying to elate their fans with comic book references, but Dr. Selvig’s chalkboard also holds two potentially massive bombshells for the future of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Let’s begin with ‘The Fault.’ There may be some movie fans who have yet to hear of ‘The Inhumans,’ but that is certainly about to change. With Guardians of the Galaxy taking the MCU cosmic, there is a very real chance of seeing ‘The Fault’ – a tear in the universe with which Nova, Quasar, and the Guardians have tangled – before long. As for ‘The Crossroads,’ the concept features heavily in a Dr. Strange story in which the good doctor isolates the Hulk during a particularly fierce rampage. Whether these name drops are planting seeds for the future, or simply reassuring fans that the movies are still priorities for Marvel, only true fans will understand their significance.

 

Kurse’s Helmet

Thor 2 Dark World Kurse Helmet Easter EggOne of the undisputed scene-stealers of The Dark World (as fans likely predicted) was Malekith’s most trusted lieutenant, Algrim the Strong (Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje) – or perhaps more accurately, the monstrosity known as ‘Kurse’ that he tranforms into. The filmmakers take serious liberties with the core source material of Kurse, making him just the last incarnation of ‘the Kursed’: a group of Dark Elves selected to absorb magical energy and become enormous beasts. But there was one shred of the character’s backstory alluded to on screen: his signature yellow and red horned helmet. Once the transformation takes hold the helmet is transformed into a much darker hide, but for a few short scenes the connection to the comics is visible.

 

I’ll See You In Hel

Thor 2 Dark World Hel Easter EggMany moviegoers might have simply overlooked Loki’s parting words when telling a defeated enemy that he would “see him in Hell,” since the phrase has been used in countless action films. But some might wonder if the sentiment holds the same meaning when applied to Asgardians. As a matter of fact, it means something a little different. For starters, the Asgardian ‘Hel’ (or ‘Helheim’), located in the lowest realm of Niflheim is where Asgardians go once dead, but it isn’t saddled with the fire and brimstone of many religions. In Marvel Comics, Hel is ruled over by Hela, Loki’s daughter. So much like the use of the term ‘Death’ in The Avengers‘ mid-credits scene, the film’s writers found a way to at least pay tribute to the comic mythology, even if it won’t make it to the big screen.

 

Glimpse of Muspelheim

Thor 2 Dark World Muspelheim Fire Realm Easter EggAs the Nine Realms begin to converge in the film’s final act, a number of portals are all visible at once. The presence of a world bathed in fire seem to make sense – surrounded by one of lush greenery, one of ice, and one of rock – but comic fans know that what’s being glimpsed is far more important than just a balance of elements. The fiery realm seen for just a few seconds is in fact Muspelheim, the home of Surtur and his army of Fire Demons. Standing over 1,000 feet tall, and capable of unleashing unstoppable attacks with his Sword of Doom, Surtur is as close to a walking apocalypse as you can get. With power even Thor can’t challenge, this tiny window into his world posed more of a risk than most will realize. Several Marvel executives and crew members have implied that Surtur and Muspelheim will play a role in the future, so if that’s the case, this simple nod foreshadows Thor’s greatest enemy.

 

Infinity Stones

Thor 2 Dark World Infinity Gauntlet Easter EggWe’ll forgive casual audiences for being somewhat confused by the mid-credits scene of The Dark World, paving the way for the cosmic storyline of Guardians of the Galaxywith little context. We’ve already provided a lengthy explanation of exactly what should be taken away from the brief scenes, but Marvel fans saw the foundation for the future being laid throughout the movie’s story. Beginning with Odin claiming that the mysterious Aether – the universe-altering substance wielded by Malekith – was a liquid, as opposed to a solid stone. The line is a clear sign that not only should the Aether be taken as one of Marvel’s ‘Infinity Gems,’ later referred to as ‘Infinity Stones,’ but that the movies are on a crash course with Thanos’ Infinity Gauntlet. It’s still hard to tell how many more changes Marvel will make for their cinematic universe, but expect to see more talk of gems, stones, and orbs coming throughout Phase Two.

 

Cocoon Collected?

Thor 2 Dark World Warlock Cocoon Easter EggThe entire contents of the various racks and tanks belonging to The Collector (Benicio Del Toro) will take some serious time (and likely a home video release) to fully examine, since most objects are only seen for split seconds – with some early rumored collectibles debunked by other viewers. What does stand out among the various objects is the rather sizable tank containing what looks to be a large object of both organic and mechanical design. It’s been suggested that the item is in fact Adam Warlock’s famous cocoon, from which the troubled man was reborn with a new purpose, and an irrevocable link to the Soul Gem – set to play a major part in Marvel’s Cinematic Universe. So far, it’s hard to confirm whether the cocoon is in fact Warlock’s, since it isn’t visible in its entirety. But given Joss Whedon’s affection for the character, we wouldn’t be surprised to see Warlock emerge in the near future.

 

Conclusion

November Movie Preview - Thor The Dark WorldThose are all the odd bits of trivia and easter eggs we’ve spotted, and invite every Thor fan to add their own to the discussion. Given just how much time was put into building the set and numerous characters visible only in passing, we’re positive more will be discovered soon. If you haven’t already, be sure to check out: