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Shazam-Not-Wow

We’ve finally–via Entertainment Weekly–got an officially-sanctioned image of Zachary Levi in his Shazam costume.

And while the costume itself looks fine–as much of the Internet noticed from not-so-officially sanctioned set photos–Levi doesn’t look so good in it.

The greatest problems is the (fake) muscularity of his chest and biceps and questions or proportionality. What we’ve ended up with is not at all proportional to Levi himself so it comes off as if he’s got some weird physical deformities (did I mention how wonky his thighs look compared to his ankles).

With actors like Chris Evans, Henry Cavil and Ben Affleck their suits seemed to better accent their actual builds, as opposed to just adding bulk.

It won’t by any means kill the movie, it’s not exactly the best of omens that something so relatively simple goes so blatantly wrong.

And to think, all they needed to do is hire Dwayne Johnson to play the character and is wouldn’t even be an issue.

A ‘Strange’ Case of Nonsense

A few days ago Kevin Feige confirmed that there would be a Doctor Strange sequel, which must have been a comfort to the people too clueless to not know better. The original movie earned almost $678 million–on a budget of $165 million–so if there weren’t a sequel it certainly wouldn’t be because it wasn’t profitable.Then let’s not forget that Scott Derrickson and C. Robert Cargill (director and co-writer) have both said numerous times on Twitter that they not only did they think that there’d be a sequel, but that they were looking to have Nightmare as the villain. And that’s on top of Strange’s great showing in Thor: Ragnarok and Avengers: Infinity War, making the character more popular than ever. And if that weren’t evidence enough consider that some of the actors that portray the foundation of the Marvel Cinematic Universe–Robert Downey Jr and Chris Evans in particular–will likely sacrifice themselves to stop Thanos in Avengers 4, which means they’ll need more heavy-hitters like Benedict Cumberbatch to replace them.As I implied earlier, fairly obvious.

Thor: Ragnarok And The New Kit

While Marvel Studios has probably one of the most enviable hit-to-miss ratios in Hollywood–14 and 0, including the upcoming Doctor Strange–that’s not to imply that some of their features weren’t weaker than others. 

The first movie based on Thorpatterned loosely on a character from Norse mythology–was surprisingly effective, taking a fairly outlandish character and imbuing him with depth and humor. 

The followup, 2013’s Alan Taylor-directed Thor: The Dark World, while no means bad, didn’t particularly move Thor (Chris Hemsworth) forward as a character, either. This would be less of an issue if it weren’t for the fact that other Marvel Studios characters, like Captain America (Chris Evans) and Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.) seemed to possess a momentum that Thor seemed to lack. 

What’s also interesting is I felt–at least initially–that Thor was a much more interesting superhero than Captain America, who felt a bit one-note to me.

That is, till Captain America: The Winter Soldier.

The sequel to Thor: The Dark World, Thor: Ragnarok will be directed by the idiocyncratic Taika Watiti(on Hemsworth’s left), who in the image shows his allegiance to the Native Poeple who are protesting an oil pipeline through their sacred lands. 

Though what’s also interesting about this photo is that it shows a new look for Thor that’s less ornamental than previous costumes, and more in line with a warrior esthetic. 

Six Reasons I Am Jazzed About The Captain America: Civil War Trailer

A lot of people are jazzed about Star Wars: The Force Awakens (illustrated by millions in advance ticket sales), Suicide Squad or maybe Superman v. Batman: Dawn of Justice and I understand the enthusiasm.

I really do, but for me, the trailer for the must see movie for 2016 dropped late yesterday, and that’s Captain America: Civil War.

Captain America: The First Avenger was for me a bit meh.  Captain America was always sort of bland, truth be told, and while I was glad to see such an earnest portrayal of the character on screen, he didn’t exactly stoke the flames of geekiness in me.

That is, till I saw Captain America: The Winter Solder, and realized that Marvel Studios was able to do the seemingly impossible, which was to not only make Captain America relevant and dynamic, but most importantly without altering what made him so interesting in the first place; which was the almost simplistic, black and white way that he sees the world.

It’s part of what makes the Captain so fascinating.  It’s also a  world view that’s in some respects shared by DC Entertainment’s Superman, which is one of the many reasons why Man of Steel disappointed me so much: the producers apparently had so little faith in the essentially goodness and child-like naïveté at the heart of the Superman character that they–apparently in an effort to make him darker and more palatable to what they thought modern audience were looking for–essentially destroyed everything that made Superman, Superman.

So, without further ado, the six reasons why I am so jazzed about the Captain America: Civil War trailer.

  1. Someone (Finally) Decks Tony Stark!

Which he deserved after the creation of homicidal robot/doppelganger Ultron in Avengers: Age of Ultron.

Robert Downey, Jr’s Tony Stark is the lynch pin that holds the Marvel Cinematic Universe together.  But the thing is, Stark is also a bit of dick.  The only thing that matches his brilliance is his arrogance, so it’s nice that first time we see Stark he has a shiner, which implies that for once when he pushed, someone pushed back.

And I’m willing to be that that ‘someone’ is Steve Rogers (Chris Evans)

Screenshot 2015-11-25 09.33.50

2.  The Falcon Can Actually Fight

When we’re introduced to The Falcon (Anthony Mackie) in Captain America: The Winter Soldier he’s pretty awesome, though you’ll probably notice that the only things he brought to the party were a set of wings and a ready quip.

Which, coming from someone who can’t fly, is pretty awesome, but this time around he displays more martial prowess, which is in line with the idea that the Falcon is more than just the ability to fly and a sense of humor.

And did I mention he’s going to have a version of Redwing in this movie?

Screenshot 2015-11-25 09.34.31.png

3. The Black Panther

Based on all the pre-production artwork, I thought that the Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman) would be sporting some sort of leather-like costume.

Looking at the screen shot from the trailer, he’s apparently wearing some sort of armor.

And he looks badass.

Screenshot 2015-11-25 09.35.18

4. Can We Once And For All Accept That Captain America Will Clean Batman’s Clock?

The Internet loves the Batman (much of that due to Christopher Nolan’s reboot), but can we just accept that Captain America will clean his clock?

In Avengers: Age of Ultron he tossed a motorcycle (he used momentum, but still) at Hydra’s advancing troops, and apparently in Captain America: Civil War he prevents a helicopter from taking off by grasping the landing gear in one hand, and the side of a building in another.

Sorry, but Batman just isn’t in his league.

Screenshot 2015-11-25 09.36.00.png

5. Who Has The Strength To Do This To War Machine?

War Machine (Don Cheadle) is essentially Iron Man with heavier weaponry and someone who’s actually combat-trained at the helm.  By way of clarification, facing him is like facing Iron Man, but with a greater grasp of fighting and battle strategy.

Yet, someone clearly beat the stuffing out of him, and I wonder who.

Screenshot 2015-11-25 09.36.25.png

6.  So This Is How Captain America and The Winter Soldier Face Iron Man!

I have to admit that I was scratching my head over this one.  As strong and capable as Captain America is, he’s no match for Iron Man.  Stark’s genius, combined with a virtually invincible battle suit is a huge hurdle to overcome.

I was imagining that the producers of the movie would cheat to make Captain America somehow win (which is honestly the only way that he would be able to do so one-on-one) but it appears that they teamed him with the Winter Soldier (Sebastian Stan).

Two battle-hardened warriors against Iron Man?  One a superhuman fighter/tactician, the other a lethal (former) assassin with a bionic arm?

This makes sense.  They definitely cracked the code.Screenshot 2015-11-25 09.36.46.png

Spider-Man Returns To The Marvel Cinematic Universe: The Morning After

Spider-Man, climbing

A few hours ago I wrote a piece for MoviePilot about Spider-Man’s return to the MCU (Marvel Cinematic Universe), and overall I am pretty happy about the way things have turned out.  Technically speaking, it’s not quite Spider-Man returning to where he belongs, but under the circumstances it’s probably as good as it’s going to get.

That being said, there are caveats.  The most significant in my eyes being that Avi Arad is still going to be involved with the franchise, though in an Executive Producer capacity–prior he was a producer.  The problem is that Arad supposedly forced Sam Raimi to shoehorn in another villain to Spider-Man 3 (a move that pissed off Sam Raimi so much that he hired Topher Grace to play Eddie Brock/Venom for no other reason than Arad DIDN’T want him in the role) resulting in the the weakest of Raimi’s three Spider-Man movies, critically speaking–though in Arad’s defense, it was the highest grossing Spider-Man movie.

Another is that Kevin Feige is producing with Amy Pascal, the former Chairperson of Sony Pictures Entertainment (SPE), who also produced Marc Webb’s tone deaf The Amazing Spider-Man and The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (Despite TASM2 Webb is a pretty talented director, though perhaps not the right person for the franchise) and let Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman and their mediocre magic-blood filled writing virtually ruin the franchise.

Though hopefully Feige will be able to keep things under control, after all he has done exceedingly well guiding the course of the MCU (that being said, part of the deal is for the next Spider-Man to be produced by Sony–Feige and Pascal remaining as producers–with Spidey meeting with his compatriots from the Marvel’s end of the street, which begs the question:  With the contracts for many of the heavy-hitters in the MCU expiring (such as Robert Downey, Jr./Iron Man and Chris Evans/Captain America) then who is Sony expecting to turn up in their movie?

Though the best news of all is that this pretty much puts the kibosh on any Aunt May spy dramas that were under consideration by Sony.

The Avengers: Age Of Ultron Trailer – Marvel’s Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D. Edition

Kevin Feige, you cheeky bastard.  It appears that you pulled a fast one.  When the trailer for The Avengers: Age Of Ultron was leaked prior to it appearing on Marvel’s Agent’s Of S.H.I.E.L.D. I assumed that that was the end of this story.  Sure, Marvel Studios handed things pretty gracefully, but I thought it was time to move on.

How wrong I was.

The trailer that was released during S.H.I.E.L.D. is quite similar to the leaked trailer, but not the same, and as anyone knows, the Devil is in the details.  The fist, and most noticeable difference is that there’s an extended party scene (which the first trailer only touches upon), where Tony Stark (Robert Downey, Jr) and Jim Rhodes (Don Cheadle) attempt to lift Thor’s hammer.Tony and Rhody Attempt to lift Thor's hammer

Natasha Romanoff (Scarlett Johansson) doesn’t bother, because she knows that boys will be boys.

Though things get interesting with Steve Rogers (Chris Evans), otherwise known as Captain America, tries.

Thor's expression

Thor (Chris Hemsworth) appears mildly concerned, especially since he knows that one has to be deemed worthy by the magics that permeate the hammer to lift it, and who’s worthier than Captain America?

From that point on, the trailer mostly follows similar beats as the first one, though there are small differences.

Such as the image below of Black Widow staring at something…

Black Widow staring

Which was followed by this image of the Chituari scepter from 2013’s The Avengers (and what we learn give the Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver their abilities from Captain America: The Winter Soldier.

Ctharia weaponCombined with earlier scenes of Captian America breaking into a castle, I believe that they show his his search for the origins of Winter Soldier, and that he finds the hideout of Baron von Strucker (Thomas Kretschmann).

Though there’s an image that appears in both versions that I am very curious about, which is of an attractively-lit room that’s serving as a ballet studio, though why is it in the trailer?  Did Joss Whedon (who may not have cut it) want to add a scene of beauty to contrast all the larger-than-life heroics that proceeded it?

Ballet Dancers

Maybe, but I doubt it because it’s too obvious.  I suspect that the dancers may have something to do with the Scarlet Witch, if only because it’s not exactly the style of Black Widow or Maria Hill (Cobie Smulders).

Captain America Uniform From ‘The Avenger: Age Of Ultron’

Captain America (Age of UltronHere’s a picture from “The Avengers: Age of Ultron” of Captain America (Chris Evans) in his new costume.  It looks like a combination of the suit he wore in “Captain America: The First Avenger,” combined with the one he wore in his most recent adventure, “Captain America: The Winter Soldier.”

I think it looks great, particularly the way the wings are integrated into the design of his helmet (which looks a lot like the leather helmets pilots wore in World War II).WWII Pilot's Helmet

You can find some more shots here, which is perhaps a better use of your time than following the legal travails of Bryan Singer, who like Icarus flying too close to the sun, may lose it all if the allegations of Michael F. Egan III are proven true.

And even if they’re not, they may have cost him the next film in the X-Men franchise because people may have a problem going to see a multi-million dollar production helmed by a alleged pedophile.

 

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