Given that The Avengers is the highest-grossing movie of 2012 and the third highest-grossing film of all time (not to mention the third highest-ranked of 2012 on Flickchart), it’s little wonder that Marvel wants to keep the interest (and the money machine) churning while Joss Whedon preps The Avengers 2. This year will see Iron Man 3, Thor: The Dark World, Whedon’s S.H.I.E.L.D. television series (starring Clark Gregg as beloved Agent Coulson), and Captain America leading the charge for 2014.
Given that Captain America: The First Avenger saw Chris Evans‘ titular character displaced from his World War II timeframe to the modern-day, it’s unlikely that Hayley Atwell – who played his love interest, Peggy Carter – will return in any of Marvel’s movies. A shame, since she was one of the more enjoyable elements of Joe Johnston‘s film. But it seems that Marvel has found a new leading lady to take her place in Captain America: The Winter Soldier, in the person of Emily VanCamp.
At 22, VanCamp is already a veteran presence on television, with roles in popular series Revenge, Everwood and Brothers and Sisters. Her role in the Marvel sequel is not yet specified, but she is in talks to star alongside Evans.
Captain America: The Winter Soldier will see Samuel L. Jackson, Cobie Smulders, Sebastian Stan and Toby Jones reprising their roles from The Avengers and Captain America: The First Avenger. Scarlett Johansson is also expected to return as Black Widow. The Winter Soldier will also star Anthony Mackie as superhero The Falcon and Frank Grillo as villain Crossbones.
Though there is no firm date yet for the start of production, Captain America: The Winter Soldier will be directed by Anthony Russo and Joe Russo (also veterans of television, with Community and Arrested Development). A release date has been set for April 4, 2014.
“This is my world, you gotta get dirty.”
These lines are uttered by Leonardo DiCaprio’s Calvin Candie in Django Unchained, but could easily have been uttered by writer-director Quentin Tarantino about the worlds he has created. Whether he tackles samurai films (Kill Bill), gangsters (Reservoir Dogs) or World War II (Inglourious Basterds), Tarantino takes well-tread ground and makes it his own, a universe where the blood flows freely and spouting off thoughtful monologues is commonplace. It is always fascinating to inhabit a new Tarantino world every few years, even when the experience isn’t as thrilling as you hoped it would be, as is such the case with Django Unchained.
There hasn’t been a movie that has been built up the same way The Avengers has. It all started in 2008, when Samuel L. Jackson – as Nick Fury – showed up in Iron Man after the credits had rolled to tell Robert Downey Jr. that he was not the only superhero in the world and S.H.I.E.L.D. had a little something called “The Avengers Initiative” in the works. Speculation ran wild on the internet with people wondering which members of the team would be involved and who the villain might be. As the years went on the details started to mete themselves out. Films like The Incredible Hulk, Captain America: The First Avenger, Thor, and Iron Man 2 gave us our heroes, villain, and a lead in to what the plot was going to be based around. Finally on May 4, 2012, four years and two days after Iron Man opened in theaters, The Avengers was released to an audience that had been dying to see it.
This is important to mention because it was almost impossible for a fan of superhero movies to not get excited and to not have high expectations. Interestingly, this makes the movie liable to be judged in an extreme way. If the movie was very good, people’s excitement would propel it to be viewed as great. If the movie was a disappointment, people would rightfully be angry about it after placing more money and hours into it than most other franchises. As it happens, Marvel succeeded and The Avengers does in fact tiptoe the line between very good and great. Currently it appears most people think it’s great (already sitting in the global Top 20), but I found it to be closer to the latter. A solid action blockbuster that exceeded the majority of the movies that came before it in the series. As more time goes by and the honeymoon period starts to fade, I think more people will tend to agree with me. Read the rest of this entry »
Film critic Anthony O. Scott recently incurred the wrath of actor Samuel L. Jackson over his weary review of The Avengers. The following remark is a solid microcosm of Scott’s feelings about the film:
The secret of “The Avengers” is that it is a snappy little dialogue comedy dressed up as something else, that something else being a giant A.T.M. for Marvel and its new studio overlords, the Walt Disney Company.
It’s a backhanded compliment, certainly, but Scott’s thesis is that The Avengers is not a work of art (even commercial art) so much as it is the horse to which Marvel and Disney have both hitched a lot of merchandising carts. Some films just feel that way, like when Elvis made movies that weren’t there to touch our souls but because Col. Parker knew The King’s career would benefit from the publicity. Read the rest of this entry »