Avengers: Age of Ultron trailer reaction

Thoughts on the first, second and third viewings of the new Marvel Studios film trailer, coming May 2015.

You’ve watched the trailer already. Of course you have. I’ve watched it three times now (but to be fair I was taking notes for this article the last two times.)

So what did we make of the Age of Ultron trailer?

avengers age of ultron poster

Well first off, it looks brilliant; of course it does, it’s a) a Marvel Studios movie, and b) a film directed by Joss “Is Boss” Whedon. Naturally, May 2015 can’t come soon enough for a lot of us.

Because while it looks as outstanding as ever, it’s also laying down some very intriguing hints about the future of the MCU. Here are a few things that got me thinking.

 

“I’ve got no strings”

It’s a simple enough phrase popularised by a puppet some 70-odd years ago (in a nod to new parent company Disney) but the performance of the song heard throughout the trailer – eerie as all hell – might apply not only to Ultron’s becoming sentient but also to his serving no master. The Avengers are sworn to protect Earth at all costs, but Ultron has no such bounds.

Quick note here: I’m not a big James Spader fan – the most I’ve seen of him is his run as Bobby in The Office ­– but somewhere along his career he took an extremely sinister edge that’s made him perfect for the role of a very dangerous Marvel villain. I’m really looking forward to seeing what sort of “batshit crazy” he’ll bring to the table.

Civil War

It’s annoying, but even before we’ve seen AoU in its full-length format, we’re getting tasty morsels of information about more upcoming instalments of the MCU; namely that Captain America 3 could be the start of the Marvel Civil War which saw Tony Stark and Steve Rogers on opposing sides in the comics.

To get from Age of Ultron into a Civil War we’ll need definitive proof that what The Avengers have going for them isn’t working. The team barely survived the Battle of New York, and what with HYDRA making its presence known in The Winter Soldier and the first season of Agents of SHIELD, there could be further disruption ahead.

In the trailer, Stark appears to tell Fury and Black Widow that “it’s the end of the path I started us on”. And what with us also seeing Cap’s shield laying broken in half, perhaps it literally is the end for someone.

And then there’s Bucky, another Cap in the comics, who did a post-credits pop-up in The Winter Soldier…

Two new recruits

In the mid-credits scene of The Winter Soldier (it’s a scientific fact that cinema cleaners are now 10% less productive because people stay until the end), we saw Quicksilver and The Scarlet Witch being held by a higher-up at HYDRA. Assuming even that they’re not keen on being caged up like that, we still don’t know where these new characters’ loyalties lie. While we assume they won’t be quick to join The Avengers, perhaps they play a big part in Ultron’s plans.

(We can also assume that their father Magneto won’t be joining in the fun.)

 

What did you make of the trailer? Give me a score of 1 to PSYCHED.

 

Punisher & Daredevil films planned?

Head of Marvel Studios Kevin Feige mentions Marvel heroes in consecutive sentences.

Marvel Comics' Daredevil

Don’t you just hate it when those so-called journalists get the jump on a piece of news that’s so cool and exciting that…they make you wait for it?

Okay, so maybe it’s not really news, but for a hardcore group of Marvel fans who have gathered around the snowballing Marvel Cinematic Universe, the upcoming wait for an interview with Marvel Studios chief Kevin Feige can’t come soon enough over at bleedingcool.com, as one of their writer monkeys dropped this little tidbit, straight from Feige’s mouth:

“We’re trying to figure out what to do with Daredevil now. Punisher could show up at one point. You know, once we get characters back into the Marvel fold we don’t want to do something right away, we want to do the smart thing at the smart time.”

That bugger. Those buggers. Obviously, with the varied amounts of success which the darker seam of Marvel characters such as Daredevil, The Punisher and Blade have struggled for over the past few years, it can’t be said that Marvel geeks are clamouring for all guns blazing action right this very second; as the rest of the Cinematic Universe is unfolding so brilliantly that we’re probably a little more content to wait and see.

Well, I say that, as I’m trying to book my Age Of Ultron cinema tickets right now, but personally I’m happy for the moment. As mentioned before on this little corner of the ‘net, now that the film rights to these films are going back to Marvel, we could see any number of them popping up in the near future.

While for me, the Blade films suffered from some casting problems and Daredevil suffered from some not-being-any-good-at-all problems, these films are ripe for re-imagining in the near future. After all, if Spider-Man can reboot itself every six months then why shouldn’t they have another go at the less-frequently trotted out comic book heroes?

I reckon Punisher and Daredevil could easily set out another chapter of the Universe between them; one which is a little more grounded in reality (well, compared to the one with all the gods knocking about anyway). Tough on crime, tough on the causes of crime; tough on John Travolta and Colin Farrell. Okay, maybe not those two again. For me, “the smart thing at the smart time” which Feige refers to would be a straight-up team-up film between the two; double your pleasure for a box office take which would be, let’s say, 1.75 times what they could expect from a solo mission. Cast a couple of relative unknowns in the role so that we’re not trying to comprehend the smug grin of one of America’s most handsome men (who has since gone on to inherit a wee bit of cash as the CEO of Wayne Enterprises) and take a gamble on a 15 or an 18 rating.

What do you reckon? Will we be seeing Frank Castle and Matt Murdoch’s alter egos onscreen any time soon?

Daredevil movie rights revert to Marvel

The Man Without Fear is once again property of the Marvel film studio.

With a looming deadline for production to begin on a new Daredevil film having passed last autumn, it seems that production rights have reverted from 20th Century Fox back to the proper owners, Marvel.

Daredevil_65

Before Marvel Studios produced its own films, it made a great chunk of money from licensing properties to other production companies. In some contracts those characters and rights remain property of those studios as long as they produced regular content; while the Fantastic Four looks set to be rebooted once again, other properties fall off the radar and eventually lay dormant until their window expires.

It’s already happened in a couple of interesting cases; Lions Gate produced a Blade trilogy with varying degrees of success, while The Punisher has also had a couple of false starts over the past few years (although I must admit I really enjoyed Thomas Jane’s 2004 turn as Frank Castle). And now after a last-ditch attempt to get Matt Murdock’s alter ego on the big screen again has failed, the rights reversion was confirmed by Marvel Studios’ head Kevin Feige during promotion for Iron Man 3.

Let’s just lay it down for a moment here, people. The last time a Daredevil movie was made…you hated it, didn’t you? I know I did. And though I must admit I’m not a big fan of the character to begin with, I had many problems with the film’s story, the characters…okay, basically Affleck. Matt Murdock is a man who triumphs over adversity every day, both in the bad guys he beats up, and the blindness he deals with. At no point was I rooting for Murdock in that film because Affleck was the most smug man in a film ever.

Daredevil got slated by the critics, although it made the fuckton of money expected of it, and the plot-holes and bad parts were somewhat smoothed over in the Extended Edition which only the truly hardcore fans will have bothered picking up. And let’s not even get into that Elektra spin-off, for your sake as much as mine.

So with the rights heading back to Marvel, one idea worth a go would be to set up a separate universe to the one currently smashing all box-office records – one with a bit more of an edge. Blade, Daredevil and The Punisher? I’m in. Which would you like to see get made first?