Tag Archives: Marvel

Movie Review – Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2 takes you on a Roller Coaster Ride


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If you’ve seen the first Guardians of the Galaxy, you’d know the kind of experience you will be getting. The old gang is back. They are more dysfunctional than ever and settling into their new titular positions. The film weaves a number of different subplots, with a number of familiar faces from the original film making a return – Yondu (Rooker), the scavenger who kidnapped and raised Peter; Nebula (Karen Gillian), Gamora’s sister, who is intent on continuing the violent sibling rivalry. But these subplots are skillfully weaved together, and never interfere in the main story.

There are a lot of obvious references for MCU’s future, from Gamora and Nebula’s conversations about Thanos to the closing text “The Guardians Will Return.” You know that there is a lot coming your way but GoTG vol 2 still stands as an independent film as much as it can. It builds its own universe without becoming another Iron Man 2. The producers must have had their chances to drop obvious clues but they didn’t and it proved to be a well thought decision.

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Every character has an arc of self enlightenment.  From Rocket learning to not push people away, to Gamora and Nebula learning to love each other as sisters, Guardians plays on the trope that these characters are together because they share a very deep bond and their care for each other goes beyond that of a normal team.  All of these stories play out with fun filled action sequences that always leave you wanting more. Rounding out the cast is Mantis, a character who is used mostly for comedic effect but is so quirky and charming I couldn’t help but fall for her.  In her first appearance I worried that she was a bit too much of an Asian stereotype, but as the film progressed, she fell into her own and her relationship with Drax who tells her just how ugly she is, became one of my favorites in the film.

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Chris Pratt once again proves that why is is one of the Hollywood’s best leading men working today. He takes the opportunity to bounce off of the legend that is Kurt Russell; the two charismatic actors share a memorable performance. From Peter’s daddy issues to Ego playing with his emotions, everything is written so carefully. You’ve also got the likes of Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista (with his dry sense of humor), Sean Gunn and Bradley Cooper as Rocket Raccoon who are all perfect in their individual roles.

One doesn’t need to talk about how Baby Groot takes away the spotlight. He is one of the most charming creations to have graced the cinema screens. This adorable little tree steals the show and your heart the moment he’s introduced. His big brown eyes and childlike qualities place him right at the top of the cuteness level. Audiences are going to love him, and he’s easily the most memorable thing about the whole film.

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The jukebox soundtrack is again a wonderful addition to the whole storyline. The movie is filled with an eclectic mix of hits, the vibrant visuals that pop off the screen, truly bringing the comic book art form to life in a way others have failed to do.  The story creates a real sense of consequence in the film’s final third act, taking viewers completely off guard. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is hilarious and has a surprising amount of heart at its core.

Being set in space, we, of course, the visual effects become an important addition of the movie. For the most part the VFX is amazing. Weta Digital and Animal Logic make the movie gorgeous to look at. Some of those wide shots of alien worlds are so stunning, the new space ships have interesting designs, the explosions have weight to them, and the effect even helps sell some of the more humorous scenes in the movie.

My one big issues with Vol. 2 is something that’s plagued Marvel since the beginning.  We get an underwhelming villain like the usual.  Although Kurt Russel plays his part in the a very effective way and his plan seems very convincing. But for a powerful player like Ego who is a celestial, his powers and ending doesn’t make sense.  I’m hopeful that Thanos in next year’s Avengers: Infinity War will live up to its billing.

Despite a few flaws, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 proves to be another great chapter in the saga of these outer space misfits.  I’m looking forward to revisiting these characters again in Vol. 3.  Although Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 doesn’t quite come together in the way the original did, it nevertheless delivers humor, action, and familial themes in spades.

Final movie score – 4 out of 5

TV Review – Marvel and Netflix’s Luke Cage


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Luke Cage broke the norms of television drama and all I could say was ‘SWEET CHRISTMAS!!’

Marvel has been killing it with his Netflix’s deal. The characters and the larger than life setting that they have created with their shows have been simply incredible. Marvel has stopped making just superhero shows; these are some great television shows.

While Luke Cage continues the trend of superb characterization, storytelling, villains, and developing a setting as part of the cast that breathes and lives like rest of the characters. It does an important job and introduces one of Marvel’s foremost Black heroes to the limelight. The idea is followed by a series of fascinating characters and a compelling story.

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Luke Cage delivers an incredibly strong season (no pun intended). Though we’ve met him earlier in Jessica Jones, this time, we get to know more of him and his backstory. Mike Colter as Luke Cage is perfect as he delivers a performance which has the perfect combination of strength, smarts and charisma.

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Wilson Fisk in Daredevil was a loveable bad guy. Luke Cage takes this to a new level with introducing just not one villain but a series of bad guys trying to make his life hell. All these characters are interconnected to each other and trying to make Luke Cage’s life hell. The first half of the show is ruled by Cottonmouth and his nefarious agenda that makes him believe is for a greater good for Harlem’s betterment. Played by Mahershala Ali, he fills the role with his energy and style making it look like he was born to play him. His posture, his voice, and everything about the character was so utterly villainous. There are times when you’ll find yourself sometimes cheering for Cottonmouth.

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Alfre Woodard is also great as Mariah Dillard as she portrays a councilwoman who wants to make the city a better place, however with ties to the city’s underbelly, struggles to do so legally.

Diamondback as a villain, disappoints at times. His role feels like a forcefully injected one in the show. Although his dialogues are brilliantly handled, Diamondback’s misguided understanding of the Bible and his twisted mindset made him especially volatile. I particularly loved Hernan “Shades” Cortes (played by Theo Rossi). He was such a smooth talker and his smile so disarming. He actually looks and feels like a menace and someone who’ll always be a step ahead of you, hero or villain.

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Another excellent aspect of the show is the music, Luke Cage is magnificently scored as it’s able to pull you back to the old 70s while being able to mix with new age reggae music. This balance is maintained very well and it actually compliments the show’s overall theme.

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The show is set deep in the streets of Harlem, a city with a rich music and artistic history, and a strong Black history. The show plays into that and brings out Black culture in beautiful ways. Harlem itself is portrayed as a character on the show. You can feel the locale’s aura, the vibe and how it breathes and feels as the show proceeds. Luke’s relationship with the people of Harlem is a big part of the series; one moment they blame him for Stokes’ men robbing them, the next, they praise his speech at the church during Pops’ funeral.

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Pop’s Barbershop plays a pivotal role on the show. Pop himself becomes a walking history of Harlem and a respectable figure among the youth while paving a path for Luke’s journey. I wonder if his barbershop will be used for the heroes for hire office in defenders or if it will be reshaped by Luke Cage and will be made operational again.

Misty Knight (played by Simone Missick) adds value to the show in terms of residents of Harlem. She represents the long list of Marvel’s strong female characters. Her character development is handled very well and her connection to Luke Cage fleshes out as the show proceeds.

While Luke Cage doesn’t come up close to the level that Daredevil season 1 set but it is somewhere close. I am totally excited for Defenders and the Netflix show paves path in a very subtle way.

Overall rating – 8 out of 10.

Blu Ray Review – Fan4stic (Fantastic Four)


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How would one dare to review a movie called Fan4stic after watching it in theaters? How could have one ever dared watch this movie in theater? It is simply beyond my comprehension.

It took me 30 minutes to finish one and a half hour movie. Fantastic Four Reboot is not bad if you watch it thinking that you are watching a documentary called ‘what not to do when making a superhero movie.’ This movie is a in your face parody of what could have been a billion dollar hit if the same was made in the 90s.

It really takes a man’s job to cast a team of actors who are best in the industry, Kate Mara who had just returned from her brilliant stint on House of Cards, Michael B. Jordan who went ahead and gave a brilliant performance in Creed and Miles Teller to name a few. I never had a problem with a black Human Torch. The problem was this is not the Human Torch I was looking forward to. Such cheap CGI!! The entire movie seems to have been shot in a studio and no matter what part you skip the story still remains the same.

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Every superhero movie these days is divided in three parts, the part where they get powers, the part where they learn to deal with and the part where they win the conflict within. Fantastic Four reboot is one streamlined movie with no such conflict or storyline. It just starts and ends. The actions scenes are very bland and the climatic fight scene is just The Thing pushing Victor Doomashev back in the particle reactor.

In short Fan4stic is a movie with bad script, bad storytelling and bad example on how to make a comic book movie. Only if Fox had not been so much egoistic and have let the franchise slip to Marvel we could have been the luckiest nerds in the history.

Review – Marvel & Netflix’s Jessica Jones: Season 1


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After massive success of Marvel’s Daredevil, Jessica Jones was their second collaboration with Netflix. Based on Brian Michael Bendis’ much acclaimed run Alias, Jessica Jones follows a story of an ex crime fighting vigilante running from her dark past.

The show had a very impressive starcast with Krysten Ritter as Jessica Jones, ex Doctor Who alumnus, David Tennant as villainous Killgrave and Mike Colter as Luke Cage.

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Jessica Jones arrived in times when TV was already cluttered with 8 TV shows based on comic books and superheroes. Most of these TV shows were made to target a specific genre of audience. Jessica Jones, although was not. The show aimed to showcase a more mature side of Marvel Universe did the same with brilliance and style and brought something unique to the table

Jessica Jones is very different than any superhero shows that have ever existed on TV. If Daredevil set a mythology for Hell’s Kitchen, then Jessica Jones was aimed more on a personal story. The strong noir flavour and an adult-orientated take on the comicbook genre was something that made it way mature than expected. There are raw sex scenes, brutal violence and lots of swearing. It also deals with adult themes such as murder, rape and child abuse. These issues are handled in a very compelling way and the storyline is powered by intelligent dark humour.

After a failed stint at superheroics led her to suffer from PTSD, she retired and became a private investigator, using her powers (super-strength, super-stamina and super-leaping) to solve mysteries.  She comes across liars, cheaters, addicts and murders on a daily basis and is now using her powers to enhance her detective skills.

Krysten Ritter has looks of an anime character, her brooding eyes, jet black hair makes her a look like a character who was born to play this role. Her compelling performance as an ex superhero suffering with PTSD and trauma and her being a whiskey-swilling, foul-mouthed and hot-tempered “mess of a woman” and Ritter plays the role in a very brilliant way. Like most of the Marvel characters Jessica Jones is an epitome of imperfection, she is a mess. Her life told in flashbacks. She’s one of those people saying that everybody that she cares about ends up hurt or dead. She is so broken that she doesn’t even care about fixing things for a long time, like the windows of her office.

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Every good comic book film/show is good because of that memorable villain who overshadows everything and gives the titular hero a run for their money. David Tennant plays the show’s big bad Kilgrave, who has the power to control the minds of other people. His persona is based in a way that before he appears on the screen you are already feeling his presence. As Kilgrave he brings a creepy charisma that compels you to hate him. His sick sense of humor makes you laugh. Tennant gives a truly sinister performance but adds enough subtle layers of humanity for you to have a shred of sympathy for him.

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As well as an outstanding heroine and villain combo, the show boasts great supporting characters. Carrie-Ann Moss’ (The Matrix) ruthless lawyer Jeri, Eka Darville’s (Empire) drug addict Malcom and Erin Moriarty’s(True Detective)  Kilgrave-victim Hope are all fascinating characters. So too is radio host Trish (Rachael Taylor), who shares a brilliant best-friend relationship with Jessica.

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And Mike Colter’s effortless portrayal of Luke Cage, who has red-hot chemistry with Jessica, will have you eagerly anticipating his own show in 2016. His presence adds a soul to what otherwise could have been a dark brooding war between hero and the antagonist. Luke’s presence humanizes Jessica and tells her that she is not alone in as a super powered in this world. There are moments between Luke and Jessica will take your breath away. Small doses of romance between them makes this show worth watching

Another brilliant addition to Marvel universe is Wil Traval’s cop Will Simpson, who has a very interesting arc. He plays officer Will Simpson who is actually Nuke in the comics. Jessica Jones goes through his origin story and how he changes from a charming ladykiller cop to a twisted supersoldier.

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At times and atleast in 3 episodes you feel like being forced to watch things that are just for the sake of adding extra episodes. But once it gains pace there is no stop. Daredevil and Jessica Jones have both been awesome, and hopefully Marvel’s other Netflix shows, Luke Cage and Iron Fist are equally just as good, before the team up Avengers-style in The Defenders.

Rating 9/10

 

Review: Marvel’s Daredevil


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When Daredevil was announced on Netflix it was said that it will take Marvel Cinematic Universe in a new direction. Slowly it became one of the most anticipated shows of 2015. The series is part of a deal between Marvel and Netflix that will proceed with 3 such shows like these and finally lead to Defenders series.

Daredevil takes place in a universe where an alien attack destroys New York and a group of superheroes team up to protect the world. New York is burning in chaos while Avengers are busy saving the world. In middle of chaos and destruction a man takes burden to clean his neighborhood.

Marvel’s Daredevil is unlike anything Marvel has ever done before. Also it’s nothing like any of the comic-book series that we usually watch on TV. While comparisons with Arrow are inevitable still Daredevil stands tell with more creative freedom enjoyed by the Marvel team. The violent story of a vigilante and his grim oppressive world is brilliantly explained.

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Daredevil is a character made for TV and the credit goes to Steven S. DeKnight who took over the series from Drew Goddard. The show leaves nothing behind when it comes to make it grounded in the source material. Gone is the red leather suit, unrealistic fight scenes on seesaws, and campy villains. In short: This is nothing like the Daredevil movie – which is a good thing.

The characters of the show are brilliant. The casting is wisely done. Charlie Cox as both Matt Murdock and the Devil of Hell’s Kitchen is an amazing find. He handles his role brilliantly. Applying his enhanced sense to sense a beautiful girl as Matt Murdock and fight crime as Daredevil adds a distinct style to his character.

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Vincent D’Onofrio’s portrayal of Wilson Fisk, the head Mafioso who runs the majority of the Hell’s Kitchen crime scene, is worthy of the highest praise. He stands tall as a sympathetic villain for whom audience will root for at times and even want him to win. He is exact opposite to Matt Murdock in terms of their versions of wanting to make Hell’s kitchen a better place. Where Daredevil sticks to idealist moralities in the pursuit of justice, its Fisk’s extreme ideas make his story all the more tragic. While he is never mentioned by character’s villain alias “Kingpin,” still his name drops as an Easter Egg for fans. When a reporter is putting together his pyramid of Mafioso’s and crime bosses by putting up playing cards on a tack board, there’s the guy at the top: the King (of Diamonds) pinned to the board.

While Daredevil is a result of greater actions taken in Marvel Cinematic universe yet the connections made on the show are far in between. Most of the cameos and Easter eggs in the series are taken from Daredevil comics, or other upcoming shows on Netflix.

I was surprised at the language that was no-where close to what one can imagine on a R Rated show. Still it stands large on the use of violence. Compared to MCU, Daredevil’s world is way grittier. Bones break and blood is spilt. Either way, Daredevil is Marvel’s greatest superhero show and if you haven’t watched it yet then a marathon awaits you.

Pros and Cons of Spider-Man in Marvel Cinematic Univese


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Every movie fan had their dream come true when Sony and Marvel announced that Spider-Man will be joining Marvel Cinematic Universe and that Marvel will produce next Spider-Man film. While this is the best thing to happen to Spider-Man after 3 mediocre movies. Spider-Man is way more famous and popular character than most of the MCU properties and yet Sony had no idea what to do with him while MCU grew. Now that Spidey is back home, can we be sure that everything is going to be all-right now?

Here are a few pros and cons about Spider-Man being in MCU.

PROS

1 Spider-Man is now an Avenger – A nerd’s dream comes true. For years we have wished for Spider-Man to fight along side Avengers. Nick Fury or Agent Coulson show up and tell Peter about the mystery of his missing Parents and Spider-Man team up with Daredevil. Think about the possibilities they are limitless and they all can come true.

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2 Civil War begins – Earlier Black Panther was filling in for Peter Parker stuck between Captain America and Iron Man but now we can see a Civil War movie as it was in the source material.

3 Kevin Feige as Producer – One of the consequences of the deal struck between Marvel and Sony was that Sony would still own the rights to the character of Spider Man, so long as they have a new movie in production at least every five years. Now that Feige is in charge we will finally get a good Spider-Man film.

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CONS

1. No Andrew Garfield – After this deal Andrew Garfield is probably no more the Masked Menace, the only thing good about last two sucky Spider-Man movie was his portrayal of Peter Parker and that makes me sad.

2. New release dates – All the Marvel properties are now pushed back because of Spider-Man. These are some of the new properties with a lot of potential and people were more excited to see these movies rather than just another Spider-Man movie.

3. Yet another origin story – With rumors of a teenage Spider-Man we might get to see the origin story of Spider-Man again and that is something no one wants to see. We all are bored of Uncle Ben dying again and again. We all know how a radio active spider bites Peter Parker and we all know about Oscorp so please not again.

I am really hopeful about Spider-Man coming to MCU. I hope he just kills it on the screen, I wish if Andrew could reprise his role but whoever does otherwise I guess I’ll have to wait and watch.

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Marvel Studios Phase 3 line up: Thoughts and Analysis


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Marvel has finally revealed its plans for Phase 3 that will start soon after Avengers: Age of Ultron comes out followed by Ant Man that will end Phase 2 and Phase 3 will start in 2016.  Before I move on here is the Phase 3 line up:

May 6, 2016 – Captain America: Serpent Society… SCRATCH THAT!  It will be titled Captain America: Civil War

November 4, 2016 – Doctor Strange

May 5, 2017 – Guardians of the Galaxy 2 (has been moved up from its previous July release date)

July 28, 2017 – Thor Ragnarok

November 3, 2017 – Black Panther

May 4, 2018 – Avengers: Infinity War Part 1

July 6, 2018 – Captain Marvel

November 2, 2018 – Inhumans

May 3, 2019 – Avengers: Infinity War Part 2

 

Phase 3 from the set of announcements and the little that we already know about these movies, the MCU isn’t just shifting, but the entire MCU suffering from it’s own growing pains in the roughest way. There are a new slew of characters that are being introduced in Phase 3. With all new characters and what seem to be very firm endings to a number of characters that previously anchored the MCU. Those changes will majorly effect the MCU through Phase 3 and then in the future with Phase 4.

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Captain America: Civil War May 6th, 2016: With Captain America 3: Civil War it seems that maybe Age of Ultron will not end on a high note.  For those who do not know the comics, Civil War is a story line that pits comic book heroes against each other after a bill to be passed by the government for heroes to give up their identities to the public.  Iron Man, Tony Stark, is for this while Captain America, Steve Rogers, is against.  It also is the beginning of the end for Rogers because shortly after Civil War, Fallen Son takes place with Rogers being killed.  I believe Part 2 of the Infinity Wars will be the repercussions of Rogers death in Part 1.  I can definitely believe Bucky or Falcon will be taking the mantle of Captain America.

Doctor Strange November 4th, 2016: We already knew Scott Derickson was attached to direct. However, for a long time we had no idea who would be portraying Stephen Strange on the big screen. Sure, nothing has been officially confirmed, but Benedict Cumberbatch will likely land the part as he is in final negotiations. Doctor Strange opens a very different door into the Marvel Universe. Until now, everything we saw had a very solid explanation, many of which were based in science fiction. Even everything cosmic about Asgard and it’s inhabitants felt ethereal, but also had a sense of science fiction to. The movies went as far to say that what we from Earth may see as magic was really just science we didn’t understand. Doctor Strange may eliminate that sentiment as he brings magic to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. There is also an interesting new dynamic that he brings to the Cinematic Universe.

Guardians of the Galaxy 2 May 5th, 2017

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Marvel made it clear that they had a lot of faith in Guardians of the Galaxy. They knew it was their biggest risk, but they took it anyway. Honestly, it’s worked out very well for them as Guardians of the Galaxy is the largest domestic release of 2014 ($328M) and 3rd largest internationally ($752M) (and honestly it’s only 5 million away from being number 2). Guardians was a massive hit and generally well loved. The movie did brilliantly and it makes sense that they would come back for more. Especially since Guardians has easy connections to Thanos and the upcoming Infinity War movies. Guardians of the Galaxy 2 will likely see the crew dropped into an even worse situation than before. We will likely also see the results of this film trickle into Thor: Ragnarok as space and the cosmos go together nicely.

Thor: Ragnarok July 28th, 2017
The title of this film took me back and made me shed a tear. Sure, Thor is not the most loved franchise in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. It’s most often cast to the side, but it has never been outright bad. Maybe I am just so enthralled by Asgard that I’ve connected to the place and the title Ragnarok scares me. In case you don’t know Ragnarok is almost like another word for apocalypse. It is the end of the world with many of the major heroes and figures in Norse mythology die. Dead as doornails, dead. The Marvel comics have had their own versions of Ragnarok in the past and guess what, many people died there too. With A blatant title like Ragnarok for the third Thor movie it screams bad news for those involved. When you line up the deaths in the traditional Norse mythology with the MCU characters we’ve been introduced to, you are looking at the deaths of Thor, Odin, Loki, and Heimdall.

 

blackpantherartBlack Panther November 3, 2017:

Marvel also took the jump and will have a black character head their own movie. I don’t think they could have chosen anyone better as T’Challa is a fascinating character in his own right. T’Challa is King of Wakanda. There are far fewer ways to assert a black character as important than letting the first one getting a solo film being a king. T’Challa’s politics will undoubtedly play a role in his story. He will also be introduced a few films earlier in Captain America: Civil War. How exactly T’Challa will play into Phase 3 on a grander scale as he doesn’t have much connection to other heroes or the cosmos is unclear, but I’m sure as always there is a very definite plan. Even if Black Panther is a bit less connected to the chaos, I won’t mind as his character will give us a very different movie than we’ve seen in the MCU and that is always a necessary requirement if these films are to retain their popularity.

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Avengers: Infinity War Part 1 May 4th, 2018
The Infinity War is clearly going to be a large part of Phase 3. A large enough part that it will need two movies to navigate through the intricacies of the plot. It will inevitably include the Infinity Stones which we have been seeing since Phase 1. I don’t have much to say other than I’m excited about what this can potentially become. We’ll have a new, or at least partially new team leading as the Avengers. We’ll also see a threat that affects the entire universe.

 

Captain Marvel July 6th, 2018: Marvel has finally jumped in and gone for the female led superhero film. And boy is she a great superhero. Carol Danvers is an interesting character that seems to scream that she is going to do things her way and no one is going to get in the way to stop her. She’s a strong female character and it’ll be nice to see her take center stage. Sure, it was long rumored that she would be the first Marvel female to get her own film, but it’s a good thing to see if finally happen. Considering her ties to Kree, it wouldn’t be surprising if that is center stage to how she is drawn in to the entire conflict and everything going on since the events of Avengers: Infinity War Part 1.

The Inhumans November 2nd, 2018: Everyone out there clamoring for an Inhumans movie can finally calm themselves. However, the Inhumans movie would not be happening if Guardians of the Galaxy had not been such a success. Because one risk paid off, they are now able to take yet another risk. Inhumans as a movie has a lot of potential and it’s inclusion between Part 1 and 2 of the Infinity War movies makes perfect sense. It also makes sense after the Captain Marvel movie. The Inhumans stands to be an interesting endeavor with the lead character forced to communicate telepathically because his voice is a weapon. There are already rumors that Vin Diesel may play Black Bolt, leader of the Inhumans, but it is still too early to know. I for one can not wait to see the hair effects on Medusa.

Avengers: Infinity War Part 2 May 3rd, 2019
I don’t have anything other to say other than I hope the end of this movie is epic and sound as we will get ready to movie into Phase