Two New Spider-Man: Homecoming Trailers Released – Takeaway

 

These two new trailers give a lot about the movie and maybe in fact too much. If you take the footage from all the trailers you get a sense of the major beats of how the movie will go excluding the non costumed parts. These two new ones are enjoyable though so here’s my take:

  • We will definitely see as to what Spider-Man was doing in the time right before the big airport battle in Captain America: Civil War, during and the immediate after.
  • Though he isn’t in the trailer a lot, we do get a sense of what Adrian Toomes (Michael Keaton) and what his goal is. It’s still a little generic but that is kind of Spider-Man’s villains thing.
  • Quick shot of Bookem Woodbine attacking Spider-Man
  • Toomes and his pals are in The Tinkerer’s lab
  • More interactions between Peter and Michelle (Zendaya)
  • Donald Glover’s still unnamed character gets a few lines.
  • Peter is an “intern” for Tony Stark. Seemingly give progress reports. Something tells me that Stark doesn’t actually care and is purposely not answering calls.
  • The high tech suit that Stark gave Peter has a lot of limitations put in to be unlocked by Stark at his choosing. We see that his new suit has a parachute equipped in it. (Funny how he couldn’t give Rhodey a parachute in his suit) Will this suit turn into the Iron Spider suit?
  • Happy Hogan looks to play a bigger role in this movie than originally envisioned. I guess if you couldn’t get Downey for a lot of it, find a good middle man to be a mouth piece for him.
  • This trailer did tone down the Tony Stark/Iron Man element. Does make you wonder just how much he is in the movie?

I’ve mentioned that I’m not too excited about the movie but it does keep me intrigued enough. I’m just glad to see more of Spidey’s classic villains being used. I hope they aren’t killed off and avoiding that superhero movie trope. I just wonder how this movie is going to go. I can’t really place my disconnect but maybe it will dissipate by the time the movie is released.

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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. 

What Marvel Studios Can Learn From Lucasfilm Pt. 2

Disney owns two of the biggest franchise makers in Hollywood currently: Lucasfilm and Marvel Studios. I’ve already discussed what Marvel Studios can learn from Lucasfilm in integrating their various projects across mediums. It’s an open secret that there is a divide between the television and movie sides of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Now with the release of Rogue One, it has become even more apparent that Marvel Studios is really not living up to its full potential of making a more cohesive universe.

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If you watched Rogue One, Forest Whitaker played Saw Gerrera who first appeared in The Clone Wars animated series and later Whitaker reprised the role in a guest spot on Star Wars Rebels. there was a cameo from Chopper, the resident droid from Star Wars Rebels. Along with that the Ghost, the ship used by the cast of the show was shown entering The Battle of Scarif. Finally, over the intercom, there was a mention of a General Syndulla who was later revealed to be Hera, one of the main characters on the show. Though these were all easter eggs, they did subtly confirm that the Star Wars universe was more than the movies.

When watching recent Marvel Cinematic Universe specifically Captain America: Civil War, you can see that there are many missed opportunities. During the briefing to the Avengers by Thunderbolt Ross, he specifically mentions the rise of vigilantism in the world. Though only showing the events of the Avengers and their actions. This was a missed opportunity as the filmmakers could have referenced events in Daredevil such as the main character being blamed for blowing up a few city blocks and Jessica Jones where she publicly executed someone with mind control abilities. You don’t even really need to show these characters but having characters acknowledge the events.
The one advantage that Lucasfilm seems to have over Marvel Studios to help keep things focused and integrated is the Star Wars Story Group led by Pablo Hidalgo. This group is supposed to help keep things tight and neat within the new canon established after Disney bought Lucasfilm. So that way there are no contradictions within its own canon as well as the added benefit of helping integrate all the various medias with one another. Marvel does not have this benefit and it is apparent from interviews from the showrunners and directors on the film, they hardly communicate with one another. It was frequently mentioned that Rebels showrunner Dave Filoni and Rogue One director Gareth Edward met with one another a number of times.

At this point, I doubt that the divide within the Marvel Cinematic Universe will ever close or at the very least become smaller. So while we may never get to see characters such as Daredevil and Captain America meeting one another, the movie and TV side are full of rich characters and storylines. But if the MCU ever gets a reboot, it would be the perfect opportunity to make things more cohesive. But until then, it is nice to see the people at Lucasfilm expand their universe with every possible tool available to them.

Top 10 Best Movies of 2016

10. La La Land – not what I was expecting 

9. Fences – a film carried by strong performances with two powerhouse actors in the lead 

8. The Nice Guys – a welcome throwback

7. Rogue One – putting the war in Star Wars

6. Hell or High Water – an exploration of the middle America

5. 13th – an exploration of how far America has come and how far it hasn’t 

4. Captain America: Civil War – it’s either Captain America 3 or Iron Man 4 or Avengers 2.5 but what a great film

3. Zootopia – an animated film with some deep pathos

2. Arrival – the alien invasion movie much more than about an invasion

1. Moonlight – the exploration about the black man in America

I Think I Figured Out The Doctor Strange Timeline

  • First we see The Avengers Tower in the opening of the movie so it’s clearly post Avengers so after 2012
  • Pre-accident/rehab Stephen Strange takes place in 2013/2014
  • Training of Strange in the mystic arts takes place in 2014 through 2016
  • The second and third acts of Doctor Strange are post Civil War
  • The stinger with Thor (which is presumably taken from Thor: Ragnarok) takes place about a year after the main events of the movie. Strange’s look is completely different from how he looked in the main movie and he’s wearing his trademark orange/yellow gloves
  • The second stinger with Mordo takes place in between the main movie and the stinger with Thor

Why I Prefer Stephen Strange Over Tony Stark In The MCU

The release of Doctor Strange has drawn many comparisons to the very first Iron Man film that kicked off the Marvel Cinematic Universe in 2008. Both are about brilliant yet arrogant men who after surviving a tragic event, eventually become superheroes. It’s a bit hard to judge where the Doctor Strange is going to go as he has only had one appearance so far. Tony Stark has had many appearances and frankly I think he is probably one of the least likable characters in the MCU. So while there are many parallels between the two, I can already say that I prefer Strange over Stark.

When we first met Tony Stark, he was arrogant and a philanderer and something of a war monger. But after the events that led him being injured, captured, and losing his mentor, he seemed to mellow out by the end of the first film. The second film ultimately changed my view on the guy as he arguably became worse. He became much more of a motor mouth and would cause many of the incidents that he would have to save. This is pointed out in The Avengers by Captain America where his more negative traits from Iron Man 2 carried over. Iron Man 3 we do see a younger Stark who once again eventually caused the problems that he had in the film. Age of Ultron was really the straw the broke the camel’s back for me as he once again caused the incident that the heroes had to clean up and was frankly more condescending about it. Captain America: Civil War more or less rectified the two extremes of Stark as he was more mellow and less of a know it all but still had his huge ego.

The ego and arrogance are two of the biggest drawbacks for me to the character. How he is regarded as such a great hero in universe has always been something I’ve wondered about. Other than The Avengers, all of his conflicts have been ones that he either caused or aggravated. His treatment of Scarlet Witch in Civil War was a real point of contention for me. Telling Cap that “Wanda didn’t want to leave” her forced house arrest yet when Wanda calls him out on it he only responds, “It’s not what it seems”. There is also his general hypocrisy about registering yet he willingly drags an unregistered teenager into his pissing contest with Captain America. I think his attitude being all over the place is something intentional on the creative teams behind the films but doesn’t mean I have to like the character.

Doctor Strange from the get go we do see that he can be nice. Sure he only takes cases that interest him or won’t risk his perfect record but when called for help, he doesn’t hesitate. By the end of the film, he willingly put himself into a time loop to endlessly be killed by a more powerful enemy. It’s left unclear as to how many times that this loop happened but it was surely enough. This was a far contrast from the man we saw at the beginning of the film where everything was about him. Halfway through the film, it was implied that he had all forgotten as to why he even sought mystical training (to fix his hands) and just enjoyed his new life. But when faced with the responsibility of being a Master, he shirked at first but by the end he somberly accepted the new role in his life.
Then there is the post credits scene with Thor. Clearly taking place during Thor: Ragnarok, which will presumably be set about a year after Doctor Strange, we see the meeting between the two. It’s cordial but there is seemingly some tension there and presumably has to do with Loki being on Earth. Strange has accepted his role as a protector of the realm and thus wants Loki gone and also Thor and Odin. So we do see the snark of Strange in the scene, he is much more focused on his role. It’s not hard to see why he wants the Asgardians gone as they have caused plenty of problems for Earth.

It’s easier for me to buy a hero who takes his job seriously. I never really got that with Stark with the constant quips and snark. Though Strange does not seemingly lose his sense of humor by his next appearance, we do see he has eased more into the role. It will be interesting to see Strange and Stark meet when Thanos comes knocking on Earth’s door. You can imagine that Strange will not be in the mood for any of Stark’s shenanigans. He jokes when he needs to but during all combat situations, he is utterly focused on what he needs to do to survive and win. So that’s why I prefer Strange over Stark.


 

Exploring The Relationship Between Sam and Bucky

To say that Sam Wilson and Bucky Barnes didn’t start off on the best foot is an understatement. The two first met when the latter was trying to kill the former in Captain America: The Winter Soldier. By the end of that movie, Bucky had gone into hiding. Sam decided to stand by his new friend, Steve Rogers/Captain America’s side and track down his best friend. After two years, the three were finally reunited and the two best friends of Steve Rogers were now in his life.

We saw in Captain America: The First Avenger, that Steve Rogers and Bucky Barnes were best friends and more like brothers. Both growing up poor in Brooklyn and Bucky being there for Steve whenever he got into it with bullies. Eventually World War 2 tore them apart from one another with Steve unable to go due to his physical limitations. The war brought them back together with Steve being transformed into Captain America and their bond continued with some power shifts but still strong. Eventually Bucky fell to his “death” and Steve was frozen only to awaken decades later.
After the events of The Avengers, Steve Rogers was a man out of time and without a purpose. He was willing to die for his mission in World War 2 and immediately being thrust into being a superhero and also a government enforcer. Needless to say, other than combat he had nothing else going for him. Enter: Sam Wilson. A counselor at the local VA who helped soldiers with PTSD and other psychological ailments. is clear that Steve suffers from issues. This is outright said in Avengers: Age of Ultron by Ultron and Steve’s “nightmare” where he struggles with being a soldier without something to fight.So when Steve Rogers has no one to turn to in The Winter Soldier, he turns to a complete stranger and their bond is immediate. How often can you say that you would jump from a flying aircraft with no parachute with only a slight chance that your new friend will catch you.

The big issue here is when the two encounter Bucky Barnes who is the eponymous Winter Soldier. Bucky was captured by HYDRA and experimented on. Now with a bionic arm and mind wiped, Bucky is no longer the same man. Just an efficient killing machine who is frozen when he is not needed. That all changes when he meets Steve again and his memories slowly start to come back to him. Culminating in him saving his old friend’s life before disappearing once again to sort of his memories.

Sam Wilson briefly appears in Avengers: Age of Ultron where it’s established that they have been looking for Bucky for over a year. Also that he is aware how Steve continues to duck and doge having a normal life. By the end of that movie, the two are part of the new Avengers team and that continues in Ant-Man. Finally culminating in Captain America: Civil War where the three lives are connected once again.

It’s never given too much attention to but it’s clear that Sam Wilson as The Falcon is Cap’s guy. They have their own set of team up moves together. When Peggy Carter finally dies, Sam is there with Steve at the funeral. When Steve is about to go on the run, Sam wants to know why because he is going to go on the run with him. The bond between the two is established and one of the most natural feeling of the MCU. So when they finally do corner Bucky, it is Sam and Steve. Steve always there to be more cautious around Bucky because he knows what he can do and Steve has a certain blindspot for his old friend.

They aren’t given much screen time together but the two best friends of Steve Rogers quickly have their own bond. Bucky is mostly quiet and aloof with the members of “Team Cap” but not with Sam. They bicker in the car with one another about the seating arrangement. They both silently tease/cheer Sam on after he kisses Sharon Carter. In the airport battle, they are the two paired up with one another. In fact they are the first heroes to encounter new superhero Spider-Man and while both would probably lose against the web slinger one on one, they are able to hold their own against him for longer than you would think. In fact, Bucky takes a hit from Spider-Man to protect Sam.

By the end of that movie, both men are fugitives. Bucky is in fact frozen once again until he can get the last traces of the Winter Soldier programming out of his system. Smart guess would say that there next appearance will be Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers 4 (working title). Since both those movies will be directed by The Russo Brothers, it’s fiar to say we have not seen the last of Cap’s two best friends working together. Hopefully their bond will continue and they will lose the “vitriolic” part of “vitriolic best buds”.

Top 10 Thursday: Favorite Superhero Movies


10. X-Men: First Class

9. Captain America: The First Avenger

8. Avengers: Age of Ultron


7. Man of Steel


6. The Avengers


5. Batman Begins


4. X-Men: Days of Future Past

3. Captain America: Civil War

2. Captain America: The Winter Soldier

1. The Dark Knight 

Spider-Man: Homecoming Is Getting Me Excited for Spider-Man Again

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Spider-Man was one of the best parts in Captain America: Civil War. Despite his character having a relatively small but pivotal role in the movie, he did manage to be a bright star whenever he appeared. During the post credits of that scene, the tagline “SPIDER-MAN WILL RETURN” one couldn’t help but say, “Duh” as that was pretty much a given. Since Marvel Studios and Sony Pictures are now sharing the cinematic rights to the character, you knew they were not going to waste any time getting a movie made about Spider-Man in the billion dollar franchise that is the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Castings were announced and the film soon began filming. Though the movie was filming, no one knew exactly what the movie was about. The only thing known is that this would be about Peter Parker/Spider-Man as a high school sophomore and balancing his personal life and his newfound superhero life. Only one other movie out of the previous five Spider-Man movies really featured the superhero in high school but it seemed more of an afterthought. You probably could have made him a rocket scientists and nothing really would have changed. This film seems to want to return Spider-Man to his roots.

The plot of the film is still under wraps. When the film was brought out at San Diego Comic Con 2016, it was finally confirmed that The Vulture would be the villain of the movie. It is rumored that there might be more than one villain but The Vulture is definitely one of them. Michael Keaton, the former Batman, is in the cast and is rumored to be playing The Vulture but that is still unconfirmed. If the rumors are true, it is a good choice as Keaton is on a career resurgence and nothing wrong with adding talent to the movie.

Another important element is Peter’s high school life. Peter Parker lives in Queens, one of the more diverse parts of probably the most diverse city in the world. The comics were created in the 1960’s and thus reflected the times. Now Queens is a much different place. There are no longer just white Americans but people of a variety of ethnicities. This is reflected in Peter’s classmates. Probably the biggest divergence is Flash Thompson who has traditionally been a blonde haired, blue eyed football player. Now he is played by Tony Revolori, an Indian actor.

Last there is the connection to the larger Marvel Cinematic Universe. What was revealed during SDCC, Spider-Man is now a more household name due to his actions in Civil War. Robert Downey Jr. will reprise his role as Tony Stark and the relationship between he and Parker will continue. Who knows how it will develop after the events of that movie. There wasn’t much attention paid to it but the filmmakers even admitted that Stark manipulated the young boy to carry out his agenda. Will it sour? Also look close close to the wings of The Vulture. Those wings look very similar to the wings of the Helicarriers in Captain America: The Winter Soldier.
I had soured on Spider-Man in movies for a while now. That spark that had me excited or his movies had been missing since Spider-Man 3. What the creators did in his limited role in Civil War, has reinvigorated my excitement for the character. Now that Spider-Man is firmly integrated in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, he will no doubt be a major player going forward. He is Marvel’s most popular character and since Robert Downey Jr. is on his way out as Tony Stark/Iron Man, the franchise needs a new marquee character.