By Nathan Peterson
Just to recap, in part one I looked at the films set for release in 2013, namely Iron Man 3 and Thor: The Dark World. As you can imagine, it doesn’t stop there, and in this part I am going to be looking at the films due out in 2014 and 2015. Not alot of details have yet been released on this slate of films, however I will be briefly looking at Guardians of the Galaxy and Avengers 2, but let’s start with………
Captain America: The Winter Soldier – Release date April 4th, 2014
I may be somewhat in the minority, but the first Captain America didn’t really do much for me. Whilst I was pleasantly surprised by how well Chris Evans took the role of the All American hero, the whole film felt like it was setting up the Captain, with the standalone story being a little weak. Red Skull is probably one of the more striking villains to be used in the Marvel movie universe to date, but his story seemed to be too much on the periphery. That being said, I am looking forward to the second instalment with great expectations.
Set mostly in the present with flashback scenes, The Winter Soldier is likely to document Steve Rogers attempts to find his place and identity in a world that has moved on from the one he knew and loved. He will also have to cope with knowing that the people he cared most about, are now gone and his struggle to form new relationships with people he can’t identify with.
But are they all gone? In the comics, The Winter Soldier refers to Bucky Barnes, Captain America’s old friend and sidekick, whose frozen body is discovered by the Russian military, brainwashed and trained to be a Soviet “wetworks” agent, eventually coming up against Steve Rogers. We also know that Sebastian Stan, who played Bucky in the first film is returning and I think we can all see what direction this film will take, although not officially confirmed as yet.
Chris Evans will obviously be returning as the dashing hero, so will Samuel L Jackson as S.H.I.EL.D Director Nick Fury. Anthony Mackie (The Hurt Locker) is joining the crew to play Falcon, a superhero able to communicate with birds, and often affiliated with the Captain. There are no official details yet as to whether Hayley Atwell (Peggy Carter), Hugo Weaving (Red Skull), Dominic Cooper (Howard Stark) or any other members of the original cast will reprise their roles, but I expect more details to filter through in the next few months.
This time around, the action will be directed by Anthony and Joseph Russo, who are best known for their work on hit TV show Community, whilst their last movie was You, Me and Dupree. Given their comedic background, will this have a lighter tone than Joe Johnston’s original? My preference would be to see a Steve Rogers character closer to the one in The Avengers, who had a slightly less pompous and confident view of himself, which would also fit in with the uncertainty he is likely to show in the sequel.
Guardians of the Galaxy – Release date August 14th, 2014
“Who?” you ask. “Exactly” I respond. “Shortest conversation ever” someone else interjects.
A few months before this year’s Comic-Con the rumour mills started turning and churned out the news that Guardians of the Galaxy would be the film to fill the then open 2014 slot for Marvel’s movie slate.
Whilst the fact that Marvel will be using a relatively unknown group of heroes as the (probably) final film before The Avengers 2 is released is somewhat surprising, when you consider their story, it perhaps makes perfect sense.
As I have already discussed, Thanos will almost certainly be the “big-bad” in Avengers 2*, and as they did with Loki, Marvel will want to try to introduce him to the audience before he takes on Earth’s Mightiest Heroes. What better way to do that, then to have a film based around his biggest advisories.
So, for the uninitiated, who are they? In basic terms they are similar to DC’s Green Lantern core: a group of intergalactic superheroes charged with keeping peace in the galaxy. As with The Avengers, their ranks have consisted of a number of different members over the years, but this film will be concerned with the current roster, namely Drax the Destroyer, Groot, Star-Lord, Rocket Raccoon and Gamora. A neat little piece of concept art has been released by Marvel showing these characters, which I have shown below. Sadly I am not too familiar with the comics, let alone this team of Guardians, however word is that Rocket Raccoon could be a show stopper.
In terms of the story, yet again no details have been released, although as I have mentioned in my preview of Thor 2, it would seem logical for it to revolve around Thanos and the Infinity Gauntlet, an item which can give the bearer God-like powers and so highly sought after.
James Gunn (Super, Slither) is set to direct, although there have not been any decisions released on casting just yet. As you will see from the picture, this film is likely to be VERY heavily CGI based, and so it is possible that Marvel could opt for a less high-profile cast to save on production costs.
To date, the Marvel movies have been very successful, both financially and critically. In the last few years they have been able to establish a strong foothold on the superhero market, rivalled only by Nolan’s Batman series. That being said, one bad film could undo a lot of the good work generated to date.
Guardians of the Galaxy has the potential to be an outstanding film, if the blend of sci-fi and superheroes is done well enough. However, we all saw how badly The Green Lantern did, and Guardians could be an even tougher property to sell to an audience unfamiliar with the source material. Guardians is a very brave, very risky move by Marvel and I hope to hell it is not the beginning of the end.
Avengers 2 – Release date May 1st, 2015
Other than the release date being confirmed for May 2015, the only other real news to talk about is that Joss “King of the Nerds” Whedon has signed on to helm the second instalment. And I couldn’t be happier with that.
Without seeing any of the films building up to Avengers 2, it is hard to tell what direction it will take, however Whedon has recently been quoted as saying that it will be more personal and more intense. What does that mean though? Given the villain, Thanos, is from another galaxy, shouldn’t we be looking for a more epic approach to the sequel?
Other than that, unfortunately details are a little slim at the moment, and almost everything is currently just guesswork, including the possibility of Clark Gregg’s heroic Agent Coulson returning from the grave. Yikes!
One would hope also hope that Marvel would continue to expand their universe and include even more heroes in the mix, although the question of who and how to introduce them will obviously need to be handled with care.
So there you have it. You are now pretty much up to speed on the comings and goings at Marvel Studios HQ, although I hope in the coming months details will become alot more comprehensive. Coming up in my third and final article, I will be looking at the other rumours doing the rounds which may or may not have an effect on The Avengers franchise! See ya later!
* Update – Marvel have now officially confirmed that Thanos will feature in Guardians of the Galaxy and The Avengers 2