Guardians Of The Galaxy – Volume 2

Spoiler-Free Review

First, let’s start with some general spoiler-free thoughts. I absolutely loved the original Guardians Of The Galaxy movie, so although I was looking forward to the sequel, I was slightly apprehensive because I wasn’t sure how they would develop the characters and plot established while also fitting it into the current Marvel Cinematic Universe. Infinity War is on the horizon and I wasn’t sure how much that would affect this film.

I wasn’t sure what to expect from the plot – I follow a few comic book sources so I knew the basic background to the new characters, but I was pleasantly surprised by how the film tied itself together.

The opening credits sequence is my favourite opening sequences of all time.

Don’t forget – there are five (yes, 5) post-credit scenes, so keep watching through the credits in order to watch them all. This means you’ll also get to watch several of the credits change from ‘I Am Groot’ to various phrases as well as revealing names in different sections throughout – this was a nice touch, picking up a pop culture reference and running with it.

Overall, I’m giving the film a 5/5 for its exploration of family, the relationships of existing characters and the seamless introduction of new characters. Similar to Rogue One I have a never-ending obsession for this latest addition to the MCU and I’m honestly not complaining.

 

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This is my review of Guardians Of The Galaxy: Volume 2. I’ve split it into spoiler and spoiler-free sections.

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Michael Keaton Confirmed as Vulture

The relatively new working relationship between Sony and Marvel has appeared to start without any major problems. The third big screen Spider-Man debuted in Captain America: Civil War earlier this year and only further increased interest in seeing more of the character. Thankfully, Spider-Man: Homecoming is less than a year away from now, giving Tom Holland a chance to show what he can do as the lead of this franchise.

Early reports for the villain of the film named Michael Keaton as the top choice, and he eventually nabbed the role after initially falling out of talks. His confirmation has now come with any official word regarding his character.

Kevin Feige recently confirmed in an interview with Toronto Sun that Keaton is in fact playing Vulture in Homecoming. This is the first time that anyone directly involved with the film has confirmed the role, despite the fact that it had been heavily speculated, assumed, and reported.

We’ve had a wish list and most of them in the near-term are coming together. Cate Blanchett is playing Hela in Thor: Ragnarok. Michael Keaton’s Vulture in Spider-Man is something. And of course, finally, we’re showcasing Josh Brolin’s Thanos (in Avengers: Infinity War). We’re looking forward to that very much.

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S.J. Clarkson Set As ‘The Defenders’ Director

Per Marvel, S.J. Clarkson will be helming the first two episodes of The Defenders and will serve as an executive producer on the first installment of the eight-episode miniseries. The filmmaker is no stranger to Marvel series, as she did a terrific job directing the first two episodes of Jessica Jones, which still stands as the best show Marvel has released thus far. Clarkson has also helmed episodes of Vinyl, Orange Is the New Black, and Dexter.

Marco Ramirez and Doug Petrie, the showrunners of Daredevil Season 2, are serving as the showrunners of The Defenders and are executive producing alongside Drew Goddard and Marvel TV head Jeph Loeb. The Defenders will bring together the stars of the individual Netflix shows—Daredevil (Charlie Cox), Jessica Jones (Krysten Ritter), Luke Cage (Mike Colter), and Iron Fist (Finn Jones)—as they team up to defeat a looming threat.

It’ll be interesting to see how these characters mesh together in The Defenders, and even more interesting to see just how long it’ll take to get them to team up. The Avengers only had two hours to have the group meet, break up, and become a team, but The Defenders has eight hours’ worth of storytelling.

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‘Deadpool’ – Tim Miller Leaves As Director

The pre-production of 20th Century Fox’s Deadpool sequel works great, but it turns out that some creative differences between director Tim Miller and star/producer Ryan Reynolds have led to the former exiting the picture. As Deadline reports, the split was amicable, but it’s an unfortunate turn of events for the team that brought audiences one of the wildest and most-successful adaptations in the superhero genre to date.

There are few details at this time as to what exactly those differences were, but considering that Reynolds is not only the (scarred) face of the franchise and that he’s also a producer on the project, he clearly wields a lot of power behind the scenes. There’s also no mention of a replacement at the moment, so we’ll keep an ear out for potential candidates.

Meanwhile, it’s not all bad for Miller. The VFX wiz who kept Deadpool‘s budget way down thanks to some clever filmmaking moves made his directorial debut with the Marvel antihero movie, but he’s now shifted to another project at Fox. He’ll now head up the in-development title Influx, an adaptation of author Daniel Suarez‘s best-selling cyber-thriller novel of the same name; Mark Bomback (War for the Planet of the Apes) penned the adaptation.

‘Doctor Strange’ Runtime Revealed

When it comes to superhero movies, 2016 has seen no shortage of long films. Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice was 2 hours and 31 minutes. Captain America: Civil War was 2 hours and 27 minutes.

JoBlo now has uncovered the runtime for the year’s final superhero movie, Doctor Strange, and discovered that it comes in at 1 hour, 54 minutes, and 49 seconds according to the British Board of Film Classification.

Most Marvel movies run over two hours, and while there’s nothing inherently wrong with that (Iron Man and Guardians of the Galaxy don’t feel like they’re over two hours), it’s a bit of a relief that we can still get a big superhero film that doesn’t feel like it needs an epic runtime to tell an epic story. In fact, Doctor Strange is the second-shortest Marvel film to date, running just a couple minutes ahead of Thor: The Dark World.

Doctor Strange opens November 4th and stars Benedict Cumberbatch, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Rachel McAdams, Michael Stuhlbarg, Mads Mikkelsen, Benedict Wong, and Tilda Swinton.

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‘Thor: Ragarok’: Sam Neill Joines the Cast

Sam Neill was recently interviewed by Shortlist about his role in Thor: Ragnarok, to which he replied,

“I’m not really allowed to say this and I can’t tell you what it is… I did a couple of days on Thor just before I came over here. If I say anything else, Marvel’s secret agents — and they are lethal — will come and get me and probably my children, as well.”

Still, that’s more than we’ve heard elsewhere! Now let the speculation begin … Neill had some fun with the fervor on Twitter, teasing:

Not sure I’m IN #ThorRagnarok exactly. Was ON SET 4 or 5 days. Making tea for @TaikaWaititi mostly.

Neill recently worked with Ragnarok director Taika Waititi on Hunt for the Wilderpeople, and of course famously co-starred with Jeff Goldblum in Jurassic Park. As for who he’ll be playing in Ragnarok, it sounds like if he was only on set for a handful of days it will be a special cameo role.

There are of course a lot of questions about Ragnarok, including what kind of tone it might take, and whether it will (hopefully, please) be better than The Dark World. Still, the original Thor is one of my favorite in the Marvel franchise, setting up my very favorite MCU movie The Avengers, and the core struggle between brothers (sort of) Tom Hiddleston’s Loki and Chris Hemsworth’s Thor.

Thor: Ragnarok hits theaters on November 3, 2017. 

‘Captain America: Civil War’ Directors Give Their Original Ending Idea

Captain America 3 wasn’t always going to be “Civil War”. It was contingent on getting Robert Downey Jr. to sign on to a Marvel film that wasn’t an Iron Man or an Avengers picture. Since Marvel was going to make a third Captain America regardless of whether or not Downey came on, the Russos were left with ideas for what Cap should face in his next solo picture, and they came up with a zombie film.

Speaking to EW, the Russos explained the “Madbomb” from the comics and how they wanted to use it for the climax of the film:

“There was a period where we did discuss a third act that revolved around the Madbomb from Cap mythology. It didn’t have anything to do with ‘Civil War,’ and if we couldn’t get Downey — in the very, very early conversations before we nailed him — somebody pitched the idea of a third-act that revolved around the Madbomb, which makes people crazy. It almost like zombifies them — but not literally.”

If that sounds familiar, that’s because of Agent Carter, the Marvel series that used the idea in its first season (coincidentally, that’s also the villain’s plan in Kingsman).


The Russos liked the idea of the Madbomb because it would force Captain America the people he had sworn to protect.

“The notion of the Madbomb would have been Cap having to fight civilians and how he would he handle that,” Joe Russo said. “We were always trying to put him into these interesting moral conundrums because of his nature. That would have made a compelling third act because if civilians are the antagonists, how could he stop them without killing them?”

 

“Somebody you know has turned into a zombie and now you have to fight them. And there would have been the emotional component of that,” Anthony Russo added.

Nonetheless, when Cap fights Iron Man in Civil War, it’s because Tony Stark, although filled with rage and anger, is still making a conscious decision, and that’s far more rewarding for the audience.

Captain America: Civil War hits Digital HD, Digital 3D and Disney Movies Anywhere on September 2nd and Blu-ray 3D, Blu-ray, DVD and On-Demand on September 13th.

Daredevil Season 2 Overlapping with Luke Cage Season 1

The Netflix corner of the Marvel Cinematic Universe expands beyond Hell’s Kitchen this fall with the release of Luke Cage season 1. Mike Colter’s solo Marvel superhero TV series follows Luke as he uses his super-strength and bullet-proof skin to battle the criminal empire of Cornell “Cottonmouth” Stokes (Mahershala Ali), on the streets of Harlem. Colter has confirmed that Luke Cage‘s first season picks up a fews months after the events of Jessica Jones season 1.

So far, the shows have lined up with the chronological order of each new season. Daredevil’s street war against Kingpin thus takes place before Jessica’s (Krysten Ritter) more personal battle with Kilgrave (David Tennant), with Matt Murdock’s (Charlie Cox) subsequent encounters with Frank Castle (Jon Bernthal) taking place sometime thereafter. However, it turns out the timelines of Daredevil season 2 and Luke Cage season 1 directly overlap with one another.

Cox, when he spoke at Wizard World Chicago, shared the following his season 2 and Rosario Dawson’s MCU character, Claire Temple (via CBR):

“One thing that I thought was really cool is that in the second season [of ‘Daredevil’], we had a scene together and in the storyline we hadn’t seen each other for a long time and it takes place at the hospital. Roasario had — Claire Temple has a cut in her eyebrow. So I was like, ‘What is that?’ Apparently it had nothing to do with our world but it’s part of ‘Luke Cage.’ The timeline had been thought through and worked out so that whatever’s going on in ‘Luke Cage,’ which we don’t know, I don’t know, somehow at some point during that show, the next day she’s in the hospital talking to me.”

Dawson, who was also at the WWC event, spoke about the unusual nature of her time working in the MCU and how Claire is used as a connective tissue between the different Marvel/Netflix series:

“I’ve been signing on every year just on its own… I’ve had a different sort of experience where I really don’t know. And then when I do sign up, I sign up for episodes, but they don’t tell me which shows. So I have no idea — I’m just sort of working and have this question mark for the entire year, which is when are they gonna call me? And for what and how is it going to show up? What I do, I come in pretty late, so I won’t get those first couple episodes. That happened with the second season [of ‘Daredevil’]. When I came on, they didn’t send me any of the previous episodes so I suddenly just came in in the middle of all this insanity and they’re like, ‘You’ll watch it at the premiere with the rest of us.’ My character’s a little standalone in that sense.”

Claire should continue serving as a connective link between the street-level heroes of Hell’s Kitchen (and Harlem) in the upcoming Marvel/Netflix crossover mini-series event, The Defenders. Nevertheless, it will be interesting to see where Claire is at (and what she’s up to) during the first season of Iron Fist in particular, before the Defenders unite in 2017.

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 4 Will Have ‘More Edge’

Following the success of The Avengers, Marvel and ABC looked to bring a corner of the Marvel Cinematic Universe onto the small screen. They decided to move forward with Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., with Clark Gregg as Phil Coulson. Since then, Daisy Johnson (Chloe Bennet) has moved into the lead role after the rise of the Inhumans on the series. The show is gearing up for its season 4 premiere.

Head of Marvel Television Jeph Loeb recently talked to CBR about the upcoming season, and the new time slot was a topic that was discussed. Now for season 4, the time change will give the show even more “edge,” which Loeb thinks viewers will enjoy:

“By going to 10 o’clock, we’re going to be taking on just a little bit more edge, a little bit more grit. The show is pretty violent for something at 9 o’clock, but when we get to 10 o’clock, we’re going to be just a little hair of something that I think people are going to really enjoy.”

One of the beneficiaries to a an edgier tone should be the newest addition to the cast, Robbie Reyes aka Ghost Rider, played by Gabriel Luna. The creators have already teased changing up Robbie’s origin to work with the story and be a surprise to fans.

Robbie is not the only new character coming to the show this season, with other additions being Jason O’Mara as the new director. It will be interesting to see how the show is able to work all of these varying storylines together throughout the season; fortunately, we will start to get answers in just a few weeks.

‘Spider-Man: Homecoming’: Zendaya Might Be Playing Mary Jane Watson

A while ago, Spider-Man: Homecoming cast Disney Channel star Zendaya in a “key role”, but there were few details given about what that role could be.

But now The Wrap is claiming that Zendaya is not playing “Michelle”, a character based on a minor comic character, but instead is set to play a role that is sure to create controversy because the filmmakers are veering from the holy writ of the comics. According to The Wrap, Zendaya is playing Peter Parker’s long-time love interest, Mary Jane Watson.


For those who aren’t familiar with the character or the comics, Watson has always been a Caucasian redhead who informs people when they hit the jackpot. Her history is about as long as Peter’s at this point, and although she wasn’t his first serious girlfriend in the comics (that honor goes to the doomed Gwen Stacy), she has been his longtime partner.

While I’m sure there are those who will reject Zendaya playing Mary Jane because of her mixed-race heritage (I’m sure there are those who will go even further and reject her because she’s not sporting red hair for the movie). Rather than make a judgment call on her looks, let’s judge the performance.

Spider-Man: Homecoming opens July 7, 2017 and also stars Tom Holland, Robert Downey Jr., Marisa Tomei, Michael Keaton, Bokeem Woodbine, Donald Glover,Hannibal Buress, Abraham Attah, Martin Starr, Tony Revolori, Michael Barbieri, and Angourie Rice.

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‘The Defenders’: Foggy Nelson Will Appear in Netflix’s Anticipated Marvel Series

We’re a long way from getting our eyes on the ‘Defenders‘, with production set to begin later this year, but there’s been plenty of buzz about the series going around, both because of the teaser trailer and the new trailer for Luke Cage.

Of course, there hasn’t been much news beyond the central quartet being cast and involved, but the bits we’ve been getting have certainly caught our attention. It was announced recently that Eka Darville‘s Malcolm, the heroin-addict neighbor and increasingly reliable colleague to Krysten Ritter‘s titular heroine in Jessica Jones, will be included in The Defenders, and today brings news of another sidekick entering the Defenders fray. According to MCU Exchange, Elden Henson confirmed at a recent convention stop that he will be involved with The Defenders and that he will play a sizable role in the story arc, not just a fly-by-night cameo to connect the series to Daredevil.


There’s nothing to suggest what Foggy could be doing outside of being involved with Matt Murdoch (Charlie Cox) and Carrie-Ann Moss‘s Jeri Hogarth, who offers him a job toward the end of Daredevil Season 2 but plays a much bigger role in Jessica Jones. Regardless, as I happen to be a fan of Henson’s performance in Daredevil, this is good news and suggests that The Defenders will be more than just an action-packed blowout, though I would be equally interested in that.

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Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Casts Jason O’Mara as New S.H.I.E.L.D. Director

The end of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. season 3 gave us a sneak peek at upcoming changes, with S.H.I.E.L.D. director Phil Coulson demoted to being a regular S.H.I.E.L.D. agent, and the mention of a new Director in charge of the division.

There are some major new characters expected to join Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. in season 4, not the least of which is Gabriel Luna as iconic Marvel character Ghost Rider. Another important new cast member is someone who will surely play a huge role in the future of the series.

Deadline reports that Jason O’Mara (Complications) will be playing the new Director of S.H.I.E.L.D. Marvel’s Head of Television, Jeph Loeb, had this to say about the casting choice, and about O’Mara’s role in the upcoming season.

“Bringing Jason into the mix as the New Director of S.H.I.E.L.D. forces everyone, particularly Coulson, to reevaluate their role in the Agency… Jason has both the physical presence and acting dynamics that will connect with and challenge even the most loyal agent.”

O’Mara’s filmography includes some work on the other side of the comic book fence, as the voice of Batman in animated films like Batman vs. Robin and Justice League: Throne of Atlantis. He also played time-travelling police officer Sam Tyler in the U.S. version of Life on Mars, and has appeared in various other TV series, including The Good Wife and Terra Nova.

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