All eyes are on Marvel this week with the debut of AGENT CARTER, and our first full look at The Marvel Universe post CAP and pre AVENGERS. Series star Hayley Atwell talks about her feelings on playing what has become a key part of the mythos. Then, we sit down with the cast of TNT’s THE LIBRARIANS who give a lot of solid reasons why if you aren’t watching, you might just be missing something good here.
Captain America returns! Here’s the official first trailer for Captain America: The Winter Soldier — in US theaters April 4, 2014. The sequel to Captain America: The First Avenger stars Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, Sebastian Stan, Anthony Mackie, Cobie Smulders, Frank Grillo, Emily VanCamp, Hayley Atwell with Robert Redford as Alexander Pierce and Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury.
After the cataclysmic events in New York with The Avengers, Captain America: The Winter Soldier finds Steve Rogers, aka Captain America, living quietly in Washington, D.C. and trying to adjust to the modern world. But when a S.H.I.E.L.D. colleague comes under attack, Steve becomes embroiled in a web of intrigue that threatens to put the world at risk. Joining forces with the Black Widow, Captain America struggles to expose the ever-widening conspiracy while fighting off professional assassins sent to silence him at every turn. When the full scope of the villainous plot is revealed, Captain America and the Black Widow enlist the help of a new ally, the Falcon. However, they soon find themselves up against an unexpected and formidable enemy—the Winter Soldier.
Based on the ever-popular Marvel comic book series, first published in 1941, Marvel’s Captain America: The Winter Soldier is produced by Kevin Feige, directed by Anthony and Joe Russo, from a screenplay by Christopher Markus & Stephen McFeely. The executive producers are Louis D’Esposito, Victoria Alonso, Michael Grillo, Alan Fine and Stan Lee. The film releases April 4, 2014, and is distributed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures.
Shout! Factory has released a Blu-ray edition of the 1990 Captain America movie, a year after a DVD of the much-maligned film was released as a part of MGM’s Limited Edition collection. They deserve kudos for a nice, clean transfer but clarity and high definition cannot help a really weak story hampered by a low budget production.
The film had actually been announced in the early 1980s from Cannon Films but in the intervening years, the studio folded and the right shifted a bit before Menahem Golan mounted it under his 21stCentury banner.
The movie languished in development until the rights were about to expire so director Albert Pyun urged Golan to let him take a crack at getting the film made for about $6 million. Marvel actually approved the script that was shot and Pyun loved its take on America’s fascination with heroism. If only some of that love found its way onto the screen.
The movie was shot in 1989 but wasn’t released theatrically and was finally dumped on video in 1992, where it was met with derisive laughter from comic book fans.
The horrific script from Stephen Tolkin (from a story by Tolkin and Lawrence J. Block) pays lip service to the source material and leaves you scratching your head at the shoddy story construction and utter lack of characterization. Significant changes were made, none of the better starting with giving Steve Rogers polio as an excuse to keep him from enlisting. Then there’s the Red Skull (Scott Paulin) now an Italian fascist, which never made sense. On the other hand, both this film and the current blockbuster made the unnecessary dramatic change in linking Cap and the Skull by having them both be products of the Super Solider formula.
There’s Matt Salinger as Cap/Rogers who is anything but the American ideal and fairly wooden in performance, perhaps because they give him nothing to work with. His first mission leads to the rocket that sent him to an icy sleep in Alaska. He’s found and inexplicably breaks free and rather than ask his rescuers anything, he runs all the way to Canada. There’s little time spent on his cultural isolation and his interactions with others is laughably minimal.
He makes his way back to Venice where he finds the love of life, Bernie Stewart (Kim Gillingham), an old woman, married and mother to Sharon (also Gillingham). He and Sharon then begin running around the world (without cash or passports or any hindrances) in search of the Skull, who apparently heads up an international cabal that directs the world’s affairs. Their current target is President Thomas Kimball (Ronny Cox), who as a boy actually saw Cap in action and has remained fixated on him ever since. He is targeted for his global environmental initiative which inexplicably would hurt the cabal’s interests.
The action is meager, the plotting a joke, the dialogue is flat, and at no time does the script allow the characters breath and expand, absorb the impact of what has been said and done. Fine character actors like Ned Beatty and Darren McGavin are utterly wasted here with nothing to do.
The film is supposedly about hero worship hence Kimball and Beatty’s boyhood fascination with Captain Midnight while the film also has references to the Human Torch and Superman which are oddities. Another missed opportunity is the relationship between the Skull (Scott Paulin) and his adult daughter, Valentina de Santis (Francesca Neri), who is dispatched as his assassin. She and her team of well-groomed killers are more joke than threat.
Much as the film looks better than it has since release, it also sounds pretty good, too. The lossless DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 mix makes you long for a proper soundtrack. Shout! deserves brownie points for getting Pyun and Salinger to review this project for a 20 minute bonus feature, new to the disc. Both are fairly honest in their assessment that the film didn’t work although Pyun felt it would have been better with a bigger budget but trust me, it all starts from the story which was weak to behind with.
BURBANK, Calif. (April 8, 2013) – Following in the footsteps of the record-breaking Marvel Studios’ release, Marvel’s The Avengers, production on the highly anticipated release, Marvel’s Captain America: The Winter Soldier has commenced in Los Angeles, Calif., with production also including locations in Cleveland, Ohio, and Washington D.C. Directing the film is the team of Anthony and Joe Russo (Welcome to Collinwood) from a screenplay written by Christopher Markus (Captain America: The First Avenger) & Stephen McFeely (Captain America: The First Avenger). Marvel’s Captain America: The Winter Soldier returns Chris Evans (Captain America: The First Avenger, Marvel’s The Avengers) as the iconic Super Hero character Steve Rogers/Captain America, along with Scarlett Johansson (Marvel’s The Avengers, Iron Man 2) as Black Widow and Samuel L. Jackson (Marvel’s The Avengers, Iron Man 2) as Nick Fury. In addition, film icon Robert Redford has joined the all-star cast as Agent Alexander Pierce, a senior leader within the S.H.I.E.L.D. organization. Captain America: The Winter Soldier is set for release in the U.S. on April 4, 2014.
Captain America: The Winter Soldier will pick-up where Marvel’s The Avengers left off, as Steve Rogers struggles to embrace his role in the modern world and teams up with Natasha Romanoff, aka Black Widow, to battle a powerful yet shadowy enemy in present-day Washington, D.C.
Based on the ever-popular Marvel comic book series, first published in 1941, Marvel’s Captain America: The Winter Soldier features an outstanding supporting cast that includes Sebastian Stan (Captain America: The First Avenger, Black Swan) as Bucky Barnes/Winter Soldier, Anthony Mackie (The Hurt Locker, Million Dollar Baby) as Sam Wilson/Falcon, Cobie Smulders (Marvel’s The Avengers, How I Met Your Mother) as Agent Maria Hill, Frank Grillo (Zero Dark Thirty) as Brock Rumlow and Georges St-Pierre (“Death Warrior”) as Georges Batroc. Rounding out the talented cast are Hayley Atwell (Captain America: The First Avenger) as Peggy Carter, Toby Jones (Captain America: The First Avenger, The Hunger Games) as Arnim Zola, Emily VanCamp (The Ring 2, Revenge) as Agent 13 and Maximiliano Hernández (Marvel’s The Avengers, Thor) as Agent Jasper Sitwell.
Marvel Studios’ President Kevin Feige is producing the film. Executive producers on the project include Alan Fine, Louis D’Esposito, Victoria Alonso, Michael Grillo and Stan Lee. The creative production team on the film includes director of photography Trent Opaloch (Elysium, District 9), production designer Peter Wenham (21 Jump Street, Fast Five), editors Jeffrey Ford, A.C.E. and Mary Jo Markey, A.C.E. (Star Wars: Episode 7, The Perks of Being a Wallflower) and three time Oscar-nominated costume designer Judianna Makovsky (The Hunger Games, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone).
Marvel Studios’ upcoming release schedule includes Iron Man 3 on May 3, 2013, and Thor: The Dark World on November 8, 2013. The studio most recently produced the critically acclaimed Marvel’s The Avengers, which set the all-time, domestic 3-day weekend box office record at $207.4 million. The film, which shattered both domestic and international box office records, is Disney’s highest-grossing global and domestic release of all time and marks the studio’s fifth film to gross more than $1 billion worldwide.
In the summer of 2011, Marvel successfully launched two new franchises with Thor, starring Chris Hemsworth, and Captain America: The First Avenger, starring Chris Evans. Both films opened #1 at the box office and have grossed over $800 million worldwide combined. In 2010 Iron Man 2, starring Robert Downey Jr., Gwyneth Paltrow, Don Cheadle, Scarlett Johansson, Sam Rockwell, Mickey Rourke and Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury took the #1 spot in its first weekend with a domestic box office gross of $128.1 million.
In the summer of 2008, Marvel produced the summer blockbuster movies Iron Man and The Incredible Hulk. Iron Man, in which Robert Downey Jr. originally dons the Super Hero’s powerful armor and stars alongside co-stars Terrence Howard, Jeff Bridges, Shaun Toub and Gwyneth Paltrow, was released May 2, 2008, and was an immediate box office success. Garnering the number one position for two weeks in a row, the film brought in over $100 million in its opening weekend. On June 13, 2008, Marvel released The Incredible Hulk, marking its second number one opener of that summer.
The Marvel Movie Universe has been an amazing success story and Disney is taking things to the next level with this fall’s release of Avengers on DVD. First, you can have the film in a variety of formats.
Or, you can buy the mega box set called Phase One containing:
Marvel’s The Avengers (Blu-ray 3D and Blu-ray)
Captain America: The First Avenger (Blu-ray 3D and Blu-ray)
Thor (Blu-ray 3D and Blu-ray)
Iron Man 2 (Blu-ray)
The Incredible Hulk (Blu-ray)
Iron Man (Blu-ray)
Bonus Disc – “The Phase One Archives” (Blu-ray)
Collectible packaging with exclusive memorabilia from the Marvel Cinematic Universe
I suspect most of us own some or all of these, but the memorabilia may make us think twice. It is certainly a nice collection for late-comers or for that special someone’s holiday list.
Marvel Studios sent out a formal press release today announcing the commencement of production on Iron Man 3, despite filming actually beginning May 23, 2012 at EUE/Screen Gems Studios in North Carolina. The film, written by Shane Black and Drew Pearce appears to have been heavily influenced by Warren Ellis Extremis storyline which ran in the Iron Man comic beginning in 2005. Elements of the story were also used in the Iron Man: Armored Adventures episode “Extremis”.
The release did say, “The production schedule will also include locations in Raleigh/Durham, North Carolina, Miami, Florida and China.
“Based on the ever-popular Marvel comic book series, first published in 1963, Iron Man 3 returns Robert Downey Jr. (Iron Man, Marvel’s The Avengers) as the iconic Super Hero character Tony Stark/Iron Man along with Gwyneth Paltrow (Iron Man, Iron Man 2) as Pepper Potts, Don Cheadle (Iron Man 2) as James “Rhodey” Rhodes and Jon Favreau (Iron Man, Iron Man 2) as Happy Hogan. Set for release in the U.S. on May 3, 2013, Marvel’s Iron Man 3 marks the second feature to be fully owned, marketed and distributed by Disney, which acquired Marvel in 2009.”
The press release did not mention the following cast members although they had been previously confirmed in other reports: Ben Kingsley as The Mandarin, Guy Pearce as Aldrich Killian, creator of The Extremis Virus, Andy Lau as “an old friend of Tony’s from China, Rebecca Hall as Dr. Maya Hansen, Ashley Hamilton as Jack Taggert, and James Badge Dale as Eric Savin /Iron Patriot. The latter, an armored figure worn by Norman Osborn in the Civil War comics saga, was a surprise addition.
At present neither Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) or Maria Hill (Cobie Smulders) have been confirmed for the film, although one or both are expected considering SHIELD has been the glue to hold the Marvel Movie Universe together.
“Iron Man 3 continues the epic, big-screen adventures of the world’s favorite billionaire inventor/Super Hero, Tony Stark aka Iron Man. Marvel Studios’ President Kevin Feige is producing the film. Executive producers on the project include Jon Favreau, Louis D’Esposito, Alan Fine, Stan Lee, Charles Newirth, Victoria Alonso, Stephen Broussard and Dan Mintz.
“The creative production team on the film includes two-time Oscar®-winning director of photography John Toll, ASC (Braveheart, Legends of the Fall), production designer Bill Brzeski (The Hangover, DueDate), editors Jeffrey Ford, A.C.E. (Marvel’s The Avengers, Captain America: The First Avenger) and Peter S. Elliot (Fantastic 4: Rise of the Silver Surfer), and costume designer Louise Frogley (Quantum of Solace, Contagion).
“Marvel Studios most recently produced the critically acclaimed Marvel’s The Avengers, which set the all-time, domestic 3-day weekend box office record at $207.4 million. The film, which is currently in release, continues to shatter box office records and is The Walt Disney Studios’ highest-grossing global and domestic release of all time and marks the studios’ fifth film to gross more than $1 billion worldwide.
“In the summer of 2011, Marvel successfully launched two new franchises with Thor, starring Chris Hemsworth, and Captain America: The First Avenger, starring Chris Evans. Both films opened #1 at the box office and have grossed over $800 million worldwide combined. In 2010 Iron Man 2, starring Robert Downey Jr., Gwyneth Paltrow, Don Cheadle, Scarlett Johansson and Mickey Rourke, took the #1 spot in its first weekend with a domestic box office gross of $128.1 million.
“In the summer of 2008, Marvel produced the summer blockbuster movies Iron Man and The Incredible Hulk. Iron Man, in which Robert Downey Jr. originally dons the Super Hero’s powerful armor and stars alongside co-stars Terrence Howard, Jeff Bridges and Gwyneth Paltrow, was released May 2, 2008, and was an immediate box office success. Garnering the number one position for two weeks in a row, the film brought in over $100 million in its opening weekend. On June 13, 2008, Marvel released The Incredible Hulk, marking its second number one opener of that summer.”
The 2011 Nebula Awards, presented by the Science Fiction Writers of America for excellence in the field, were presented last night in a ceremony at the Nebula Awards Weekend, held in Arlington, Virginia. Walter Jon Williams was Toastmaster, and Astronaut Michael Fincke was the keynote speaker. Connie Willis was honored with the 2011 Damon Knight Grand Master Award for her lifetime contributions and achievements in the field.
This past week on my podcast (which you’re not listening to, but totally should), a debate sparked that was left largely unresolved. Since I have this digital soapbox, might as well use it to bring said debate to you.
In a few weeks, the mega-multiplexes of America will be screening the culmination of years of work by the House funded by the Mouse. The Avengers will see the fruition of Iron Man, The Incredible Hulk, Iron Man 2, Thor, and Captain America: The First Avenger in one massively multiplayer action adventure flick. About a month or so later, Warner Bros. unleashes the end to Christopher Nolan’s bat-child, The Dark Knight Rises. There’s no doubt in my mind that both of these movies will be amazingly profitable. But the debate is this: which will bank more bucks? Which will be a better movie? Let’s look at the tail of the tape.
First up? Marvel’s Mightiest Heroes. Behind the scenes, we have the consummate king of the nerds… Joss Whedon as director. His writer team? Well… Whedon wrote with Zak Penn. Penn you’ll note wrote the successes such as The Incredible Hulk and X2, and the failures such as X-Men: The Last Stand and Electra. On the screen itself, the cast is of course a veritable galaxy of stars. Samuel L. Jackson, Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth, Scartlet Johansson, and Gwyneth Paltrow will all be in the film. Unlike any other franchise in history, The Avengers will coalesce four franchises into a single picture. From here? It’s all but a given that the there will be a sequel, as corresponding sub-sequels for all the individual characters. Can you hear that? It’s the sound of money growing on trees. Trees that became paper. Paper that became comic books.
The Dark Knight Rises, as previously mentioned, is helmed by Christopher Nolan. Nolan’s career has been nothing short of a meteoric ascent to directorial gold. Nolan also helped pen this end to his triptych with his brother Jonathan, and David S. Goyer – who, as you will recall, helped pen Batman Begins and Blade 2. And Ghost Rider: Spirit of Bad Acting. But you can’t win them all, can you?
Under the cape and cowl will once again be Christian Bale, joined by series stalwarts Michael Caine, and Morgan Freeman. The villain this go-around will be played by Tom Hardy. You’ll recognize Hardy as the mildly funny Brit in Inception. While not as big in scope as Marvel’s upcoming blockbuster, The Dark Knight Rises is the follow up to the single most profitable comic book inspired movie of all time. For those who don’t recall, The Dark Knight did so well in the movie theaters, comic retailers reported sales of The Watchmen had gone up in response (which is nothing short of amazing, if you ask any retailer these days). With TDKR, Nolan puts his series to an end. Speculation on the plot, and how things will resolve has most everyone around in a tizzy.
The question then to ask: Which movie will make more money? Needless to say, both will bank boku bucks. For the sake of this argument, I’ll remove revenue from merchandise. Why? Because face it: Nolan’s Bat-Flicks haven’t spawned successful lines of toys; Marvel’s has. Specifically speaking on ticket sales? This is quite the toss up, is it not? On one hand you have the obvious ultimate popcorn movie in The Avengers. From the trailers we can safely assume there’s going to be wall to wall action, explosions, the Hulk, fighting, one liners, and boobs. Opposing that mentality, Nolan will nab those looking for a bit more substance. Whereas Marvel’s flicks were squarely targeting tweens and teens (with a side of general comic nerds and action geeks to boot…), DC’s Bat-Franchise has been nothing if adult in its complexity.
Gun to my head… if you asked me to choose, I’d end up with the nod to the Avengers making more moolah at the end of the day. The Dark Knight had the death of Heath Ledger, on top of the oscar buzz for his performance, on top of previous audience gained from Batman Begins. But TDKR features a villain most people aren’t familiar with (Bane ain’t exactly a household name now, is he?), and a star whose potential is only just now being noticed. And if other comic book trilogies are to be looked at (Spider-Man, X-Men, and previous Bat-Incarnations), the end of an era does not always translate into positive earnings. With The Avengers, we simply have too many stars to not draw an amazing crowd. Fans of any of those feeder movies no doubt want to see a team up. It’s the whole reason books like The Avengers and Justice League always sell so well!
Now, I would give The Dark Knight Rises the edge ultimately in terms of potential film quality. Not a knock on The Avengers mind you… I think from what we’ve seen, Whedon will deliver the goods. But The Avengers has more chance to pratfall than ascend to nerdvana. With so many stars on screen, there’s a real chance too much time will be spent assembling, mocking, and joking. And we can tell much of the movie will be dealing with a Loki-lead invasion fight scene. And just how much CGI action can we effectively sit through? Given the spectacle (and disappointment) of the last Matrix movie, suffice to say I’m fretful.
With Batman, Nolan seems to have been methodically building a dramatic arc. Bruce Wayne by way of Batman Begins and The Dark Knight has been an evolving force of nature. But Nolan’s best job has been grounding that force in reality. He’s delivered where so many others have failed: comic book movies without heroic quips and a knowing wink to the camera. When that theme of the dissonant chords let us know the Joker was at work, it was truly chilling. To think that Nolan is ending this series, one must postulate he’s had an ending in mind since the start. On that knowledge, I give the edge over to DC. Simply put, I’m more excited for their flick because I genuinely do not know what will happen.
In The Avengers? I’m almost certain we’ll have the following: Loki attacks. Avengers assemble by way of initial in-fighting. Disaster. True assembling. Fighting. Explosions. Boobs. Victory. Open ending for more sequels. Not that it’s a bad formula… but it’s just that: a formula.
So, plenty of points to discuss. Flame me, Internet, for I have opinions. Will Bats take more money? Will Avengers be the Return of the King for Comic Book movies? Discuss!
In a landmark proceeding, the American Nazi Party has sued Marvel Comics and its owner, The Disney Company, over the latter’s use of the character Adolf Hitler as well as their use of the stylized “swastika.”
The American Nazi Party is claiming trademark violation, a claim attorney Frankie Abbott perceives as “vacuous.” The renowned First Amendment and Title 35 lawyer believes both Hitler and the swastika are in the public domain. Hitler was a historical figure who ran “The Third Reich,” an alternate name for the German Empire in the early 1940s. “The use of the so-called swastika dates back over a millennium,” Abbott notes, “and has been used in Asian and Native American culture ever since.”
Nonetheless, the American Nazi Party has filed in the United States District Court, Central District of California, seeking $45 million in damages and a permanent injunction ordering a cease-and-desist on the use of their alleged trademarks, including in reprints of previously published materials. Further, the American Nazi Party seeks an additional $250 million in damages from the motion picture Captain America: The First Avenger, produced by Marvel Studios, a division of Marvel Entertainment. The Party claims contractual representation for the estate of the German Führer und Reichskanzler, and is taking these actions on their behalf.
Neither Marvel nor Disney attorneys responded to ComicMix by deadline.