Avengers: Infinity War Concept Art

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Celebrating Black Superheroes – Black Panther 

King T’Challa of Wakanda is also known as Black Panther. This is a man who wears many different hats. He is one of the smartest men in the world. Superhero. King. I first became familiar with the character sometime in the 90’s when he appeared on the Fantastic Four cartoon (voiced by Keith David). I then really became familiar with him during the early 2000’s and Christopher Priest’s seminal writing stint on the character. Priest chose an interesting route with the character as even though he was the main character, the book was told through another character’s perspective. Black Panther was reimagined as a calculating figure that not even the reader was supposed to know what he was thinking. This carried over into Geoff Johns’ stint writing The Avengers. Black Panther was treated with some unease from other Avengers particularly Iron Man due to the revelation that Panther only joined The Avengers to spy on them. However an attack on American soil from The Red Skull, a super Nazi, Black Panther is one of the few to oppose him. 
These stints showed the many sides of T’Challa. His science skills came to the forefront as he isnine to help develop a vaccine for Red Skull’s attack. How he is one of the greatest fighters in Marvel as the only way to develop a vaccine which was derived from Red Skull’s blood. His somewhat aloof and calculating demeanor proved useful when enemies would attack but it wasn’t appreciated by some of his comrades. But thay gave way to also show an honorable and loyal side to the people he has fought side by side for years. This no doubt stemmed from his Wakandan heritage. The kingdom known for its xenophobia which kept it safe for generations but led to mistrust within the world communities and finally came to a head with the dead of T’Challa’s father, T’Chaka. 

T’Challa is one of the most interesting characters in comics as he is a man pulled in a myriad of directions. Many people have compared him to Batman and while there are similarities, keen intellect and paranoia, that is a disservice to The King of Wakanda. There are few characters where you can say they are the King of one of the most advanced civilizations while also being one of the world’s greatest superheroes. That one moment can be making power plays with world leaders and then the next facing down Galactus. 

The popularity of the character has grown exponentially since the 2000’s. One of the main members of the Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes cartoon and making his live action debut in Captain America: Civil War. His solo movie is set to debut in February 2018 and the character is expected to play a major part in Avengers: Infinity War and its sequel. The character also has his own solo series in the comics while being part of ensembles such as The Ultimates. 

It is a good time for The King of Wakanda. 

Thoughts About Avengers: Infinity War

As of the events of Captain America: Civil War, The Avengers are no more. At least not in the way that we’ve gotten to know them in three movies. Captain America and the heroes who stood by him are now fugitives. Iron Man is in charge of The Avengers now with only The Vision by his side. War Machine is crippled, though there is a strong possibility that he can probably still function a suit. Spider-Man is something of a question mark as even though Iron Man was very pro registering, he still enlisted a teenage hero who clearly did not register. Black Widow is in the wind. The Hulk and Thor are dealing with more important things in outer space. So where does that leave the heroes when Thanos inevitably comes? How do the Guardians of the Galaxy and the upcoming Captain Marvel fit into this?

There is no doubt that the heroes will reunite by the time of the sequel of Infinity War. But what about the events in Infinity War? We know that Thanos has finally gotten off of his chair and is about to get the Infintiy Stones. There are many more movies by the time Infinity War comes around so even though Thanos is not announced as appearing in any movies until Infinity War, there is no doubt in my mind that Thanos will appear before then. I mean it’s not too hard to get Josh Brolin, the actor who plays Thanos, to come in for a day or two to do motion capture for the character and just plug Thanos into a movie. But that’s something I’ve talked about lately. 

Avengers: Infinity War and its untitled sequel are going to be a masterclass in filmmaking. There are a lot of balls in the air and one mistake could mess up the whole thing. It not only has to acknowledge everything that has come before. It also has to set up the movies that come out after and in between its sequel. The Russo Brothers only had about a dozen characters to deal with in Captain America: Civil War. They have said they will be dealing with about four or five times more than that with these two films. One cannot envy their position. Maybe you do because this is something that is unprecedented and are breaking new ground. We will all know in May 2018.

Here’s a picture of Sean Gunn who does the motion capture for Rocket Racoon on the set. Check out the new logo

The Third Avengers Movie Has A Title and It’s A Familiar One 

Avenger: Infinity War is the title. You may be thinking how that was always the title. Well it was originally going to be a two part movie with this one coming out in 2018 and the second part coming out in 2019. While the fourth film will still be a continuation they are still being treated as two separate movies. So the second title is still a mystery at this point. 

Avengers: Age of Ultron Review

“Avengers: Age of Ultron” is the follow up to the smash sensation “The Avengers” from 2012. Writer/Director Joss Whedon returns to helm the feature and the six principle cast members from the first movie return as well. The biggest question going into the movie was, “Can the sequel top the first movie?” and the answer is, sort of.

The biggest step up in the sequel from its predecessor is the action. The action is miles ahead from the first movie. While the first movie took a while to really get going, this movie starts with its foot firmly on the gas. There are about four major action set pieces in the movie but in between that, there are some mild skirmishes as well. This movie never stops running which is to it credit and detriment as well. By the final set piece while exhilarating, there can be some action fatigue settling in. Not to say that it is uninteresting but it can be too much.

In the two hours and twenty minutes, the character moments can be lost in the shuffle. Captain America, Thor and Iron Man are characters who don’t really need that much time developed to them as they are the ones who have their own movies outside of The Avengers. That is not to say Captain America and Iron Man do have subtle moments hinting at future movies more specifically “Captain America: Civil War” as the foundation is laid for that movie. Thor gets the short stick here as he does get his own side plot, it is obvious that it has been chopped and thus leaves the viewer somewhat confused as to what they just witnessed. The only thing one can take away is that it is there to set up “Thor: Ragnarok”. Hawkeye, Black Widow and The Hulk are the three without their own movies and their interactions provide much of the emotional beats within the film especially Hawkeye as he provides much of the human element. Nick Fury returns but he is basically an exposition tool and appears just enough to not be considered a cameo. His role probably could have been cut entirely and given to the characters to figure out themselves.

In terms of new characters, Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch, are characters with an arc but barely at that. We do learn their origins and motivations but it is given the bare minimum. If one says that they could not connect with them, it would be hard to disagree. However a character with even less screentime but makes the most is The Vision. A late minute addition, The Vision is a character who makes the most out of his limited time and certainly leaves an impression. This may be due to the fact that since he was such a late addition, he was given a lot more moments to stand out in order to compensate.

When it comes to Ultron himself, he is a completely different character from his comic book version. While the comic version is emotionless, the movie version is emotional. This is definitely an interesting choice to take the character. While he certainly leaves an impression, it is really hard to get a grip on what his motivations are. Upon second viewing they make a bit more sense but they could have devoted some more screentime into this aspect.

Joss Whedon had an incredible task here. The cast of the movie is huge and there are many set pieces to juggle. This all should ultimately be a victory for him. However one can tell that there was certainly room for more. It seems that more time was used to set up future movies instead of focusing on the movie at hand. There is also his trademark humor while at times works, sometimes it can be a detriment. It can turn drift into the territory of the “Avengers Comedy Hour” as everyone always has a wisecrack to make even when it feels that either the character wouldn’t say it, during that situation or sometimes a mix of the two. However other than a new quibbles here and there, this sequel stands on par with the first one. Truly an excellent film that deserves to be watched multiple times.