It’s well known that after the fourth Avengers movie, things in the Marvel Cinematic Universe will be different. Not just in universe but also in real life. Many of the stars of the movies will no longer be contractually obligated to appear in the franchise. Who knows what story will affect these characters we have come to know for almost a decade now. Just the one thing for certain is this: change. Change is coming whether we like it or not. President of Marvel Studios, Kevin Feige has said that he is not even sure if the Marvel Studios films will even be categorized in phases anymore.
Back to Basics
I love the MCU but even I’ll admit that things have become overblown. Almost every movie involves the world at stake. Now with the culmination of the Thanos/Infinity Gauntlet storyline, it would be the perfect time to scale things back. With the recent successes of Logan and Deadpool, it would be foolish for Marvel Studios not to take notice. Those films were done on relatively smaller budgets and told more intimate stories that yielded both critical and financial success. Showing that not all of these movies need to have climaxes with large explosions and full of computer graphics.
More Standalone Films
The nature of interconnected movies is the biggest draw of the MCU. But you can also see how it can be a double edged sword. This basically makes it that every film more or less to service the films that came before it and after. Just like the comic books that inspired them, not every story is connected with one another. Sometimes these heroes just get into their own adventures without it having to effect a future story and especially another hero’s films.
The biggest out of place moment in Ant-Man was the scene where he had to steal a certain object. Who did the object belong to? Howard Stark who is currently deceased so it now belongs to Tony Stark. Where did Tony happen to have it stored? In the Avengers’ headquarters. Who just happens to find him and fight him? The Falcon. The scene was fun but it really served no real purpose other than to set up Ant-Man’s appearance in Captain America: Civil War. It has no real effect on the plot.
New Faces Take The Lead
Robert Downey Jr. has been the face of the MCU since the first Iron Man movie in 2008. His appearances in the franchise make him one of the highest grossing actors in Hollywood. His cohorts such as Chris Evans are not that far behind him. They have effectively become too expensive especially Downey. Actors also want to do other things with their careers other than appear in these superhero movies. So now the with contracts running out after the fourth Avengers movie, it is time to phase out these older heroes in favor of new ones.
It’s no real shock that Marvel Studios started introducing new heroes such as Ant-Man at the end of Phase Two and new heroes such as Black Panther, Spider-Man and Doctor Strange at the beginning of Phase Three. There are still those upcoming such as Captain Marvel played by Brie Larson on the way. So as major and supporting heroes continually get introduced, you can see a cycle forming. Older heroes will be phased out in favor of the new ones who will eventually become the old heroes and so new ones will be introduced. This way giving the audiences something new and not exhausting them of the heroes who came before and building up anticipation.
One thing for certain about the future of the Marvel Cinematic Universe is change. The change is coming in one way or another. Who knows what shape or form it will take? The MCU is much different now than when it sarted. Imagine how it will be in another five years. That may be scary for some but change is also necessary. I personally cannot wait to see how this film franchise/universe changes.
I make no secret that I am not the biggest fan of the Guardians of the Galaxy. Liked the first one but really didn’t get the hype and not really excited about the upcoming Vol. 2. I love Spider-Man but with Spider-Man: Homecoming, this will be the sixth Spider-Man film and the trailers are cool but nothing really too exciting for me. Before Marvel Studios struck a deal with Sony to integrate Spider-Man into the MCU, Black Panther was scheduled to be released in 2017 and thus my most anticipated MCU film. But with that being delayed due to Spider-Man, my most anticipated MCU has become Thor: Ragnarok.
Thor was originally my favorite superhero in the MCU until Captain America slowly but surely supplanted that spot. As the movies continued, Thor continued to slide down the list of my favorites as they seemingly did not know what to do with the character. Since Thor is probably the most powerful Avenger, you have to take him out of most of the action scenes in those movies as he could seemingly end the conflict before it begins. The second Thor movie is just a case of mediocrity. So when Thor 3 became Thor: Ragnarok, my interest was piqued once again.
Thor’s Got His Helmet (Finally)
Other than a quick shot in the first Thor, Thor has never worn his iconic helmet. I knew it was because of the studio wanting to show off Chris Hemsworth and his face but it makes no logical sense. They even had old Anthony Hopkins wearing Odin’s helmet more than Thor himself. If Thor is a warrior with long flowing hair, it would be best to keep his hair in check as it can be used against him. I don’t know how much Thor will be wearing his helmet but the fact that it’s featured in a lot of the promo imagery, hopefully a good chunk.
You don’t get an actress like Cate Blanchett and just have her do nothing. This has been the biggest problems when it comes to the villains in the MCU. Great talent that is ultimately squandered. This does not seem to be the case with Hela in this movie as we frequently see her in the midst of doing something interesting. Whether it’s her destroying Mjolnir and taking on the armies of Asgard, it looks like she will be a villain who leads from the front. She will also be the first main big bad who is a woman which is a welcome change for the MCU. There are rumors she might stick around for future movies but she has already left an impression from the trailers…plus she wears Hela’s iconic and bizarre helmet.
Hey you know Idris Elba has been in three MCU films? No? Can’t blame you if you didn’t because he’s something of an afterthought. That looks to be changing with this one as we see more of Idris Elba as Heimdall doing more than guarding something. He is also sporting some fancy new hair and look. This does lead me to believe that there might be some sort of time jump within the movie.
All the major returning characters also seemingly have new looks.
There is also someone who has a new look but we’ll get to him next.
We all knew it was coming and we finally got it. The Incredible Hulk in gladiator attire. The movie somewhat adapts elements from the popular Planet Hulk storyline. The biggest question is how in the world did Hulk get there? The last we saw of him, he was in a quinjet going who knows where. A line in Captain America: Civil War seemed to indicate that he was still on Earth. So a big question the movie will have to answer is how Dr. Bruce Banner got there and how long has he been there?
Thor and Hulk Going Buckwild
The biggest thing about Thor and Hulk is that they are two most powerful Avengers. So usually the fight scenes between the two of them have had to be limited. Either no one is really strong enough to take them on or the destruction they would cause would be too great. So what’s the best solution? Take both of them off world to face opponents equally as strong as they are. Also there looks to be a rematch between Thor and Hulk from The Avengers, a fight that was a bit underwhelming. So it looks like this movie will be taking full advantage of their new locales and new technologies available to them.
Are you excited for Thor: Ragnarok? You can already tell that I am.
Thor is one of my favorite characters in all comics. His movie counterpart is not. While I highly enjoyed the first Thor movie, it has been scattered since then. He appears late into The Avengers and despite his brother being the main antagonist, he is not really a focal point. Thor: The Dark World is not a bad movie but it suffers from an identity crisis. Age of Ultron, Thor has to be taken out of many of the battles because he is so powerful he could probably ended the movie thirty minutes in. Plus his character probably got hurt the most by executive meddling as his scenes were devoted to setting up the larger MCU picture. So Thor is in need of a kick in the pants.
Taika Waititi is a filmmaker that I’m familiar but not one that I can say I’m a fan of. So it was interesting to see that he would be directing the latest Thor movie. But after the Russo Brothers took on the Captain America franchise and took it to new levels, I am open to anything. One of his mission statements going into the movie is to make Thor the most interesting character. In his own movies, Thor tends to get overshadowed by Loki. Though Loki is in Ragnarok, it is unkown just as how much.
Then there’s the added caveat of The Incredible Hulk. The Hulk due to some legal quagmires cannot have a solo movie. So the next best thing? Team him up in the Thor movie while adapting elements from the popular Planet Hulk storyline. Thor and Hulk trapped on a gladiator planet where even the two most powerful Avengers will have to fight for their lives and one another. The movie was described as something of a buddy road trip movie as Thor is left stranded on the other side of the galaxy. It won’t come as a surprise to see Thor drag Hulk with him as he will need all the help he can get to prevent Ragnarok.
The newcomers to the franchise are also exciting. Cate Blanchett will also be playing the first female big bad in the MCU, Hela. Academy Award winning actor winning certainly brings in a gravitas to whatever she is in. Tessa Thompson is one of the biggest up and coming actors is playing Valkyrie. Karl Urban will be playing Skurge the Executioner, someone who can take Thor on in a one on one fight. Jeff Goldblum is playing The Grandmaster who has ties to other MCU characters like The Collector and Thanos. These are all in addition to the already stellar cast from previous movies such as Anthony Hopkins, Idris Elba and Tom Hiddleston.
There’s still much we do not know about the movie. Just how does Hulk get involved? Will there be an Infinity Stone? How well can Waititi juggle all these different elements? Will this be the end f the Asgardians? These answers will certainly be answered November 3, 2017.
Plus: we get to see the return of Doctor Strange. The post credits scene between Strange and Thor was filmed for Ragnarok.
Thanos, The Mad Titan, is the current big bad of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. We know that he is gathering the Infinity Stones. Their comics counterpart can be placed into ths Infinity Gauntlet and be used for complete domination of reality. It can be assumed that this is the goal of the movie version of Thanos as well. But that’s the thing…we know next to nothing about Thanos. I have already made my statements clear that I think Marvel Studios has tripped with their handling of the character. He has only made three appearances so far, his introduction in The Avengers, a small role in Guardians of the Galaxy where he was disrespected by an underling and the last in Avengers: Age of Ultron where he made a lackluster after credits appearance.
Avengers: Infinity War is due to drop in 2018 so in 2017 Marvel Studios should really build up his threat. James Gunn, the writer/director of Guardians of the Galaxy and its sequel has said that Thanos will not be appearing in Vol. 2. He also made the same statements about its predecessor but weeks before the movie was released, it was announced Josh Brolin would be appearing in the movie as Thanos. It’s an open secret that the Guardians will be in Infinity War so something has to bring them to the conflict. Gamora and Nebula are both the daughters (kidnapped children) of Thanos and Drax has a personal vendetta against him. The Guardians also know where one of the Infinity Stones is stored at.
Thor: Ragnarok is probably the most important movie linking to Infinity War. At the end of Age of Ultron, Thor set out to figure out who was behind the gathering of the Infinity Stones. It is also widely believed that the final Stone, the Soul Stone, will play a role in the movie. Loki, currently masquerading as Odin, also has access to the Tesseract aka the Space Stone. Loki was also loaned the Mind Stone (it is still up in the air if he knew that info) in The Avengers to find the Tesseract but failed. So he might have to return a favor to be back in Thanos’ good graces.
Thanos has not been announced for any of these movies. But as with his other appearances, they can be uncredited. Since Thanos is a motion capture character, it would not require a lot to get Josh Brolin in for a day or two to do the role. But it is time to see Thanos actually do something. The most action we have deen is him sitting in his chair and putting on a gauntlet. We have seen characters refer to him as the most powerful character in the universe but that has not been conveyed. Most of his underlings including both of his daughters have outright betrayed him. Ronan the Accuser outright dissed him and yet no retaliation.
One of the biggest criticisms towards the MCU is how the villains are one note. Marvel Studios can really build up the threat of Thanos before his big opening in Avengers: Infinity War. They don’t really have to be much. Just small cameos in Guardians Vol. 2 and Ragnarok to show he is coming for what he covets and is not messing around anymore. There would be something really unfortunate if the big bad for the MCU turned out to be a dud.
Warning there will be spoilers here for Doctor Strange:
The Infinity Stones
As has been speculated for some time, The Eye of Agamoto houses the Time Stone. That means there is one Infinity Stone left unaccounted for. This also means there are two Infinity Stones on Earth. We all know Thanos is finally deciding to get out of his chair and do it himself. So a visit to the Doctor Strange and his mystic comrades is expected.
In a post credits scene that is more than likely a shortened scene from Thor: Ragnar ok, we see Thor has gone to Strange for help in locating his father. How exactly Thor learns of him is unknown at this point. But we do see that Strange knows more about Thor and specifically that Loki is on Earth. Loki is a threat to Earth and Strange is having none of that. The condition is that Strange will help Thor locate Odin on the condition that the Asgardians stay away from Earth.
There seemed to be some tension between Strange and Thor. Probably due to the fact that Loki is on Earth. We all know Thor has a blindspot towards his brother. Plus most of the Earth’s biggest problems stem from the Asgardians in various ways. Probably shouldn’t expect Strange’s role in Thor: Ragnarok to be more than a significant cameo.
Avengers: Infinity War
Doctor Strange and Wong have been confirmed to appear in the movie and presumably the fourth Avengers movie that will be sshooting simultaneously. Strange plays the unconnected third party to the splintered Avengers. He may also bring knowledge about Thanos who is a compete unknown to Earth’s Mightiest Heroes. Will he be the one to unite the fractured heroes? As we saw in the movie, Strange was willing to risk an eternity of infinite deaths to save Earth whereas in the beginning he is only interested in taking medical cases that wouldn’t harm his reputation. He is probably the best example of someone getting out of their own way. The other heroes can learn something from him.
To commemorate the 14th feature film and the eighth year of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Here are my top 16 heroes:
1. Captain America
2. The Falcon
3. Bucky Barnes
4. The Incredible Hulk
5. Black Panther
7. Luke Cage
8. Jessica Jones
10. Doctor Strange
11. Ant-Man / Giant Man
12. Scarlet Witch
15. Ghost Rider