RSS

Tag Archives: The Hulk

Why are Netflix’s Defenders called ‘The Defenders’?

When it comes to the Marvel Cinematic Universe (and to a lesser extent, super-hero movies in general), I make it my mission to watch as much as possible. In the MCU, the only thing I’ve started and not finished so far is Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (I think I’m near the end of season two, but I don’t care enough to figure it out).

Marvel’s films and television (with S.H.I.E.L.D. being the exception), have high production values and for the most part, some quality storytelling. Of course, some of the films can feel a bit same old, same old at times, but they’re definitely, as a whole, progressing. Marvel is doing the best they can with the IP’s they have left, and as such, it’s (almost) always something I want to see.

The Netflix shows, if you haven’t been watching them, are especially good. The most recently, Luke Cage, premiered on the 30th. I spent my day watching it, and by 2am on the 1st, I had my review written up. You can read it here, if you’re so inclined.

Anyway, the next Netflix series due to be released is Iron Fist, which, as of today, we know will premiere on the 17th March next year.

After that, at some point we’ll be getting the Avengers-style team-up, The Defenders, along with another series of Daredevil, Jessica Jones, The Punisher and probably Luke Cage.

As I said, I’m very much looking forward to all of this. Not only am I a MCU fan, my favourite television recently has been the Netflix productions (not just Marvel, but House of Cards, The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, etc.).

But there is something that bothers me, being the fussy nerd that I am, and that’s the title.

Now, this isn’t just because traditionally in the comic books, these characters aren’t the Defenders* (if anything, they’re the New Avengers, minus a couple of members, but whatever). In the comic books, the original Defenders line-up looked something like this:

The Defenders.gif

Doctor Strange, the Hulk, the Silver Surfer and the Sub-Mariner. They would often be joined by various other assorted characters across the years.

It was a powerful and pretty bad-ass line-up, who, when they stopped fighting among themselves were perhaps one of the most powerful teams in the Marvel Universe (if not THE most powerful).

Of course, the problem here is that the Silver Surfer and (probably) Namor the Submariner were part of the many film distribution rights deals that Marvel made in the nineties to get some dollar. The Silver Surfer and Namor (again, probably; I can’t think off the top of my head but it may be Universeal) are, in movie-form, owned by Fox, and thus are untouchable for Marvel unless they buy back The Fantastic Four property.

So the name’s available. Why not use it? Right?

Because there is a much better name for Netflix’s ‘Defenders’ already on the table, and it actually makes sense in the context of the shows.

Heroes For Hire.jpg

In the comics, Luke Cage and Iron Fist have long been best friends. Mike Colter (who plays Luke Cage) even acknowledged the fact in a recent interview on BBC Radio 2. They have also long operated the business ‘Heroes for Hire’. The name is fairly self-explanatory. As heroes, they would hire themselves out to people who needed their help.

This isn’t really a spoiler, but in the Luke Cage series, the character even has references to his comic-book businesses. It’s even in Method Man’s rap towards the end of the series.

Now the reason it frustrates me that they’re using The Defenders rather than The Heroes For Hire, is that even if Daredevil and Jessica Jones were never members of the Heroes for Hire in the comic books, BOTH OF THEM ARE LITERALLY HEROES FOR HIRE!

So far, out of the three Netflix shows, Luke Cage is the only lead character who hasn’t undergone heroics after being hired for his services! The original hero for hire, thus far, is the only hero who hasn’t been up for hire. What’s that about?

Across the series, Luke is continually told that if he were to start a business, people would definitely pay for his services. Now, were we to assume that at the start of the crossover series he and Iron Fist were to meet and start up that business, you’ve got your show right there, with a name that actually fits the characters.

The Defenders2.jpg

But what about Jessica Jones and Daredevil?

Well, as I said, those two are the only characters who, so far, have actually been heroes for hire in the MCU/Netflix universe. Jessica Jones is a private investigator with super-powers. Tying her into Cage and Iron Fist’s business would be a piece of cake. They get hired for a case; either they need a P.I. and Luke calls on Jessica, or she’s ALSO been hired and they cross paths. It’s so simple to play this hero for hire angle that it’s annoying that it’s not what’s going down (I mean it might be, but I am of course speculating from the title).

Daredevil could come on in much the same way. Much of his own show see’s him donning his crimson costume AFTER he’s been hired to represent someone in court. Whatever it is that draws these heroes together could at some point hire Matt Murdock, and boom, you’ve hired another hero, Daredevil.

Four heroes, who have come together, after being hired. Heroes For Hire.

The only real reason they could be called the Defenders at this point is some weak-ass promotional material Marvel put out saying these guys and gal are the ‘Defenders of New York’. If people haven’t seen that; they might wonder why these characters are called The Defenders.

Call them Heroes For Hire, and people will get it. Know why? Because being ‘Heroes for Hire’ is what all these character fucking do.


I’ll leave you with that to mull over, and then just drop this trailer for a REAL Defender, Doctor Strange, right here, because how awesome is that jazzy Tron-esque soundtrack:

* Before anyone rants at me, I do acknowledge that some of these characters have been Defenders in the comics as well, but not as a team, all four of them together, and not in a way that makes as much sense as them being ‘Heroes for Hire’.

Advertisements
 
2 Comments

Posted by on October 4, 2016 in Comic Books, Film & TV

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Film Review – Avengers: Age of Ultron

A Marvel Studios Film, Directed by Joss Whedon.

Released: 1st May 2015

Starring: Robert Downey, Jr., Chris Hemsworth, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy Renner, Don Cheadle, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Elizabeth Olsen, Paul Bettany, Samuel L. Jackson and James Spader

Some Notes on my viewing experience: I was never going to enjoy Avengers: Age of Ultron as much as I wanted to for a number of reasons.

The first and foremost was the insane amount of commercials and marketing surrounding the film. On one hand, I can appreciate companies need to reiterate that they are not just flogging the same sort of film that we’ve seen countless times before. But on the other hand, this is The Avengers. As several commercials have said; the summer’s greatest heroes are back. This didn’t need to be sold. It was a sure success even if it turned out to be terrible. But this film may have finally been what I needed to encourage me to stop watching trailers; I’m a man with little self-control; I’m not very good with money, I drink, I smoke; I’m just generally a bit useless. So when a company offers me a glimpse at something I’m excited about, I’m going to watch the hell out of it. And that really backfired on this film. Apart from three rather insignificant plot points, I knew exactly what was going to happen every step of the way throughout the film. Not that it was predictable by any means; there are loads of twists and turns and surprises, but having seen various things online, I anticipated them all. If you’ve got to this stage without looking at any promotional material, I commend you, and if you’ve already started and are tempted to watch more, then I warn you now: don’t.

Another warning I would offer is to not see the film in 3D. Age of Ultron is a beauty to behold, but frankly, from the get go, there’s a lot going on. The film dives right into the action, as the Avengers set out of squash Hydra once and for all, and finish cleaning up the various messes they have made. There are some beautifully choreographed fight scenes, and every character gets a chance in the spotlight. But when you’ve got Captain America somersaulting around, Hawkeye and Black Widow gunning down villains, Iron Man blasting lasers, Thor zapping people with lightning and the Hulk lumbering about tearing things to pieces, trying to keep up really starts to hurt your eyes (and I have perfect vision, for the record).

But that’s enough complaining, frankly, because truth-be-told, those are both things that could have been avoided.

avengers assembled.jpg

Review [MINOR SPOILERS TO FOLLOW]: Joss Whedon expertly ties together the various strands from all the Marvel franchises into an interesting interwoven plot as the Avengers finally begin to finish clearing up the various messes they have made since the first film. Defeating Hydra, the Avengers are faced with the new evil of artificial intelligence, as Chitauri tech infects Tony Stark and Bruce Banner’s work to create the titular Ultron; a peacekeeping initiative who decrees the only way to peace is through humanity’s extinction. In their quest to defeat Ultron, the Avengers come to blows with one another and outside forces like Quicksilver and the Scarlet Witch, all the while, a new hero, the Vision, ascends to the battlefield.

black widow.jpg

What’s great about this entry is that although Captain America, Thor and Iron Man do spend a lot of time in the spotlight, it is the other Avengers that really shine. Black Widow continues her gradual evolution to a place where the audience is really touched by her tragic back-story, whilst Hawkeye is shown to have a sense of humor and a heart that is more important to the team than just his bow and arrows. Meanwhile, Quicksilver and the Scarlet Witch manage to undergo interesting characters arcs that, whilst cementing them as some of my favorite characters in the film, didn’t take up too much time, avoiding putting off any potential naysayers. Even the Hulk, who can’t even speak, showed true depth of character, especially at the climax of the film.

The only characters who could have perhaps of done with more screen-time were War Machine, the Vision and the Falcon (the last of whom I really would have loved to see more of), but in a film so packed with characters, that was understandable, especially as it becomes clear at the end that we will be seeing a lot more of them, as all three characters join the new Avengers roster. But the problem with the Vision is although he was visually spectacular, to non-comic-fans (like my housemate) his whole story could seem rather bizarre. His powers aren’t explained at all; he just shows up, starts phasing through things and shooting lasers out of his head. Although I understood perfectly, having read far more comics in my lifetime than necessary, I could see how things like this left the otherwise great story with some plot-holes to pick at. For instance:

Why can a ‘mind gem’ shoot rays of light? What’s the point in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. if Nick Fury still has people loyal to him and his own mother-freakin’ Helicarrier? Why would Ultron Prime make his drones look cooler (and closer to the source material) than he is? And perhaps most important of all, why is Tony Stark’s armor now Irish? (Not that there’s anything wrong with that last one; but we agreed it seemed a tad out of place)

ageofultron.jpg

Yes, those were some of the stupider ones I picked, but to these and more questions, the answers seemed to vary between ‘there isn’t any point’ and ‘because why not?’, which isn’t exactly what we as an audience were looking for.

But at this stage, in such a rapidly expanding universe, there are going to be a lot of plot holes and plot leaks to come, so just sit back and enjoy the ride, because Age of Ultron is both visually stimulating and awesomely exciting.

Plus Iron Man vs. the Hulk? Amazing.

 

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on April 24, 2015 in Comic Books, Film & TV

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Avengers: Age of Over-saturation

I’m allowing myself a break from my screenplay assignment for two reasons: the first being I’ve already written four drafts, and I need to move onto other things, and the second being I have Avengers: Age of Ultron constantly on my mind.

You all know the story, but here it is anyway, as narrated my Mr. Samuel L. Jackson:

All those (three) years ago, it was necessary to hype up such a thing as the Avengers. Sure, it was always going to do pretty well, but then nothing like this had ever really been done before. There were the X-Men and the Fantastic Four, but they built all their characters up in their own films, it wasn’t an ensemble piece like Avengers Assemble.

Now here we are, three years on, and the Avengers are reassembling to fight Ultron, a villain of their own making. But just like the market is getting slowly over-saturated with super-hero movies and television shows, our screens are way past saturation point with commercials and advertisements. The first Avengers film guaranteed that people would go see the second even if there was pretty much no marketing done for it, beyond a little info-drop about when it would be released.

But despite this, we’ve already had countless previews thrown at us, to the extent that, by the end of this post, I believe I can pretty accurately lay down the plot of the film. Fortunately for me, I live in Britain, so I only have to wait nine days or so, unlike all you unlucky Americans who have to wait until May.

So, obviously, if you’re adverse to trailers, look away, and if you’re worried I may be right (which at this stage shouldn’t be hard, considering we’ve all probably seen a good half of the film in two-minute snippets) then again, look away, because here goes nothing!

So first, we’ve got the main trailers:

In those alone, you get a pretty hefty look at the film. And then you’ve got the TV spots, which are packed with details:

Already, that’s a lot of info. Although it has neglected a lot of details about Paul Bettany’s Vision character. But as if all those weren’t enough, there are clips as well:

I’ll admit I hadn’t seen all of that second one before. I can’t say Im a fan of the way Ultron’s lips move; looks too cartoon-y. I always thought that was the worst part of the Transformers franchise as well (y’know, apart from the abominable plot), but I digress.

After all that, then there’s still all the promotional material like the Audi adverts. But frankly, I can’t be bothered with all those. I’d say this bulk is more than enough.

So, what have we got so far?

Going off those videos and any promotional interviews, we know the following:

  • The film starts with The Avengers as a unit; they’ve been together some amount of time since the end of The Winter Soldier, acting as a fill-in for S.H.I.E.L.D. and funded by Iron Man.
  • Together they stage an attack on a Hydra cell in Europe, and in the process come into conflict with Quicksilver and the Scarlet Witch, who have been empowered by Baron Strucker.
  • The Avengers take down most of the cell, and reclaim Loki’s staff from the first film. Black Widow reveals a deeper relationship with Bruce Banner as she calms the Hulk. Meanwhile, the twins escape.
  • The team regroup at the Avengers tower, after struggling with what they have just faced. However, they are one step closer to ending all the problems they have collectively caused over the years and going their separate ways.
  • Inviting War Machine and some other friends to the tower, Tony holds a party. As things begin to die down, Ultron (the combined brainchild of Tony and Bruce, now empowered by the scepter) reveals himself, and exclaims that the only way to achieve the peace they have all dreamed of is to wipe-out mankind.
  • After taking down his original form, Ultron’s A.I. escapes, but not before wiping out J.A.R.V.I.S. Rebuilding himself, he crosses the Atlantic and seeks out the twins, who are hateful of the Avengers due to their standing as a representation of American power.

Another potential death here could be that of Rhodey, seeing as he doesn’t appear in anymore promotional material.

  • The team come to blows, as they now realize they cannot trust Tony, despite the fact he funds the whole operation. Eventually, they set aside their differences and reunite to go find Ultron.
  • The Avengers track Ultron and the twins down to somewhere around Africa, where Ultron has come to collect a metal known as Vibranium from a man named Ulysses Klaue (played by Andy Serkis). They engage them once again, as the Scarlet Witch reveals the true extent of her powers, altering the minds of several of the team.
  • Whilst Captain America and Black Widow see their pasts, Tony see’s the destruction of the Avengers, and the Hulk is driven into a mad rage. Activating a fail-safe, Tony summons his Hulk-buster armor to the scene, and engages the Hulk in Johannesburg.
  • Now scattered and in disarray, the Avengers retreat to a cabin (possibly owned by Hawkeye‘s family) where they must once more put aside their differences. Cap and Tony enter a heated argument, seeding Steve’s next film, Civil War.
  • Whilst the other Avengers are at Hawkeye’s cabin, Thor has returned to Asgard, to seek out his own solutions, and perhaps confront Loki/Odin.
  • The team are brought together once again by Nick Fury, who insists they are humanity’s only chance of surviving Ultron.
  • Meanwhile, the twins come to blows with Ultron, when they realise the true extent of his plans.

This next part is pure speculation, but I’m not sure where else it would fit in.

  • Reuniting at Stark tower, the team reassembles, as J.A.R.V.I.S. manifests himself in a physical body, code-named: The Vision.
  • Thor returns, and engages the Vision, whom he sees only as an agent of Ultron, and drives him off.
  • Now mostly reunited, the Avengers team-up with the twins, as Ultron plans to raise a city into the sky, and hurl it back at Earth as a weapon. Boarding the floating city, the Avengers engage Ultron’s army of… Ultrons.
  • Eventually, they win, obviously, as the Vision returns and kills his father/mentor/brother/whatever that is Ultron.

Another potential death? Quicksilver, as a means of cementing Scarlet Witch’s allegiance to the Avengers.

  • The Avengers have saved the day, but realise they can no longer trust each other. Iron Man leaves the team, as does Thor, who must return to Asgard to halt the upcoming Ragnarok. Oh, and the Hulk’s probably lost in space when Ultron raises the city.
  • Without their main players, Captain America forms a new team of Avengers, consisting of Hawkeye, Quicksilver, Scarlet Witch, with Black Widow and the Vision as possibilities. Black Panther is also a possibility, although I doubt it.

So yeah. That happened. Or will happened. I’ll tell you in a week and a half. I’m kind of curious to see how I did, but also kind of annoyed that there’s this much out there.

I’m sure Joss Whedon will have found a way to stick a whole load of extra material in there, but as a person with no self-control, it is rather annoying that I’ve watched all this stuff. It’s probably why I drink and smoke so much. In my future I see gambling problems, getting in with the mob, and dying young. But at least before that happens, I’ll be able to tell my killers that I accurately predicted a film, and perhaps they’ll let me hang around as an informant.

I’ll tell you how that goes too. Assuming I survive the experience.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on April 14, 2015 in Comic Books, Film & TV

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

The Goyer Scandal: It’s Not Easy Being Green

Image

What Happened…

On the latest scriptnotes podcast, the presenters were joined by several screenwriters, including David S. Goyer (writer of Man of Steel), Christopher Markus & Stephen McFeely (writers of Captain America: The Winter Soldier) and Andrea Berloff (writer of the upcoming Legend of Conan). In said podcast, the team chose to play a game wherein each writer would take a card on which the name of a fictional character was written. From here, they would each have to describe how they would reboot the character in their own upcoming film franchise.

In the back-and-forth that ensued, such ideas came up as a mentally deficient Hulk and a Seth Roger spider-hybrid.

However, what most seem to have taken away from it were Goyer’s comments about She-Hulk being the equivalent of a porn-star and the Martian Manhunter being a ‘goofy’ character.

The Problem…

Admittedly, Goyer was out of line in what he said; insulting two long-standing characters; accusing one of being obscure and suggesting anyone who know about him is a loser, and just being downright sexist about the other. But such a large reaction such a small little thing is getting seems a tad unnecessary. The whole podcast is the group joking around with one another, and none of it is meant to be taken so seriously, and the way I got from it, Goyer was being more demeaning to himself than anything, revealing his true misplaced thoughts on the matter.

But I don’t really want to get into the whole debate, seeing as you can find people’s opinion of it covering Google, if you just type either characters name (for instance, there’s a rather interesting article written by Alyssa Rosenberg on the Washington Post). Instead, what this really made me think about just how careful people have to be in the modern age, where someone in charge of a property like Superman can say something that to him, seems highly insignificant, but gets a highly emotionally charged outcry from fans.

As someone who wouldn’t mind becoming some sort of screenwriter myself (although I realise a lot more practice would have to come before I ever reach that goal) I find it daunting that everything you say in public can (obviously) be held against you. Of course, a lot of reporting now is done to get a bad story on whoever their article features, but it also feels disheartening to know that the career paths I want to follow could put me in a position where the public is calling for my head.

I like to think that won’t be the case however, as Goyer doesn’t seem to have the best streak in being popular with the fans, and I could never see myself throwing out unnecessary sexist comments, or purposefully belittling a fan-base.

What Does it Mean..?

(Apart from People Continuing to Think Goyer’s a Douche)

First of all, if the casting of Cyborg didn’t make it clear enough, I think this highlights that the Manhunter isn’t going to pop up in the 2017 Justice League. Kind of a shame; when I used to watch the JL cartoon (as did pretty much everyone), the Martian was probably one of my favourite characters. Apart from Batman. Because Batman.

And on the topic of Batman, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. What’s with that title? Bit of a mouthful. Another strike to an already wavering film franchise.

All-in-all, it looks like DCs quest for a cinematic universe is going to continue to go downhill in public opinion until they can prove it’s worth watching. The struggles of comic book fans, eh?

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on May 22, 2014 in Comic Books, Film & TV

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,