Real quick mission statement: this column is for discussion of superhero movie news and superhero movies. Titular allegiance aside, this sphere includes non-Marvel properties.
This week: It’s been a quiet week in superhero news, which means another grab bag of various stories and crazy, crazy theories abound. Let’s rock.
WHAT WE CAN LEARN FROM STAN
Stan Lee talked to online outlet TooFab and had a few things to say about the future of Marvel movies. Some things line up with what we know, some things line up with what to expect and some things are just Stan Lee Lee-ness.
QUOTE: Right now, the people at Marvel are looking through our whole list of candidates and wondering which ones are we going to use now,
SPIDEY SENSE: Certainly True.
DETAILS: There probably isn’t just a list. If I were Marvel, I’d be culling tons of pitches, outlines and scripts because once the full-on announcement is made, the movie needs to start it’s wheels turning. We also haven’t heard much from the rumored non-Phase movies if Disney and Marvel want to make a bigger run at teenage boys (like DC seems to be planning with it’s loosely unified but plentiful offerings through the WB).
QUOTE: They are going to do the Black Panther. They are going to use Doctor Strange. They are going to do Ant-Man. They are going to do the Guardians of the Galaxy. And they’ll probably do the Inhumans.
SPIDEY SENSE: Mostly True.
DETAILS: Black Panther and Doctor Strange both exist in script form as reported by us, so I’m fairly sure those are on the table and the clamoring for an honest attempt at a black hero will probably lead to Black Panther or Luke Cage. Panther has more to do with the Marvel Universe, but Cage has been re-introduced to younger audiences in Disney’s Ultimate Spider-Man cartoon. There’s a Black Panther character in that series too, but not T’Challa, the most recognized Black Panther. We’ve already broken down a draft of Dr Strange and there’s still the possibility that with a Robert Downey Jr-level of casting, Strange could take the lead Iron Man spot in the Phase movies come Phase 4. An Inhumans movie is a long way off. Like Avengers 3 or beyond long way off. I’m guessing Stan is guessing based on what we all know: that the aftermath of Marvel Comics’ current “Infinity” event will put the Comics Universe focus on Black Bolt and his kingdom of Inhumans. But, I’m guessing that’s mostly the comics now. Even if the comics occasionally give us a peek into what Marvel is thinking, they’ve been unreliable as foreshadowing for the direction the Phase movies have taken.
QUOTE: Well probably at one time they'll make a movie of the Black Widow. The thing is woman like these movies as much as the guys, so we don't have to knock ourselves out to find a female.
SPIDEY-SENSE: Even Odds.
DETAILS: It’s been a long time since anyone has brought up a Black Widow movie with any degree of seriousness. And if she does get her own movie, it might be out of the Phase series because of how integrated she is into the main plots of the films leading into the Avengers series. However, I’d imagine a Captain Marvel stand-alone would have more steam in terms of fandom expectation. Black Widow would get her own movie first to lure Scarlett Johansson into a new contract or to make good on the contract she’s currently in. Otherwise, without a Marvel stand alone plan, I’m not sure Black Widow will be our first female hero solo film of the Heroic Age (Elektra being the female-centric Marvel property that already exists on regrettable film).
JOSS TO THE RESCUE
Nothing like an extended look at Thor: The Dark World to assuage my fears that we didn’t know enough of what was actually going to happen in the movie. The extended look basically stitches together the three plotlines we knew we’d be dealing with: Thor and Jane visit Asgard, Dark Elves attack and Thor needs Loki.
Thanks to the extended trailer, we see Frigga actually fighting with a Dark Elf, which is something I’ve been hinting at in this column for awhile. We still have more to see of that sequence, but at least now I know what I’ve heard isn’t entirely off base.
We also get a few lines that attach these plots to each other.
It’s heavily implied that Loki is the only person who has had interactions with Malekith and might be the only person who knows what he looks like and (maybe) what he wants. That’s reason enough to jail-break him and have him join the fight against the Dark Elves. The question of what Loki is getting out of all this still remains.
Jane has a bit more to say in a short clip where her, Darcy and someone else are examining...um...something...and Jane says that the fate of the entire universe is bound to this conflict. Which is great, because I’m so used to the whole world being in jeopardy at this point, I was waiting for Thor to go there. Maybe it just goes there through Jane so we know the Universe/World is at stake but really only concern ourselves with the plight of the Asgardians. Small story: big conflit, I can only hope.
Finally, we get another look at Jane slapping Loki for New York, this time as part of a team-introduction montage that includes each of our Asgardian Warriors threatening Loki. Then Jane piles on for good measure. And I’m for it, because now that I’ve seen an extended look, I want Jane to be more involved. I’m feeling a little Crocodile Dundee II here and that’s not what we’re going for.
There’s also a moment at the end of the extended look where Thor demolishes some giant rock warrior. I humbly submit the hypothesis that this is actually a Joss Whedon scene.
Thor: The Dark World director Alan Taylor told SFX Magazine:
"Joss came in to save our lives a couple of times...We had a major scene that was not working on the page at all in London, and he basically got airlifted in, like a SWAT team or something. He came down, rewrote the scene, and before he got back to his plans I sort of grabbed him and said, 'And this scene and this scene?' And he rewrote two other scenes that I thought had problems. Then finally we let go of him, he took off again, and we shot the scenes; and they were just much better and much lighter on their feet. Much more fun, much more surprising than what we had been trying to do."
That means there are three Whedon scenes in Thor: The Dark World. There’s something about the dispatching of a rock monster using God powers that feels like the unexpected sprinkles of Marvel magic that Whedon added to The Avengers (most moments were given to The Hulk or Tony Stark). I’d guess - if I have to guess, and I am guessing - that Kat Dennings’ Darcy will get a Whedon-scene. She’s the one that seems like a Whedon character already and we know Dennings was on hand for re-shoots.
We won’t know, probably, until Whedon is forced to do endless Age of Ultron press, but Thor: The Dark World’s one scene of levity feels like Whedon. Or it at least doesn’t feel like Alan Taylor.
FAVORITE IMAGE OF THE WEEK
After Bieber made a splash with an Instagram photo, the one true cinematic Robin (Eat it, Gordon- Levitt), Chris O’Donnell saved the day:
It’s just a photo. Don’t Bielieb it.