Mel Gibson And Violence In Comic Book Films

Mel Gibson And Violence In Comic Book Films

Do modern action movies have violence without a conscience? Are the latest Marvel flicks more violent and gruesome than a three-hour film depicting the horrors of The Second World War? Mel Gibson certainly thinks so.

The long-time actor and director of such grim movies as Braveheart, The Passion of the Christ, and, most recently, Hacksaw Ridge was quoted as saying he believes comic book movies are more violent than any of his films. Now, at first glance, Gibson’s remarks might seem ridiculous. After all, how can a film about Captain America and Iron Man punching each other in the face be more dire than watching Jesus being crucified? Marvel films, and arguably every other superhero movie, are meant to be enjoyable for the whole family. They’re the types of films you take your friends to see on opening weekend, expecting to thoroughly enjoy yourself watching Rocket Racoon crack jokes and beat up some baddies. But, on closer inspection, Gibson does have a point.

Mel Gibson And Violence In Comic Book Films 2Throughout the promotion of Hacksaw Ridge, Mel Gibson and the film’s cast were constantly questioned about some of the movie’s most violent scenes. A few critics even believe that, in its explicit violence, Hacksaw Ridge goes against the pacifism its main character stands for. The film follows the true story of a pacifist and medic named Desmond T. Doss, portrayed by Andrew Garfield, who refused to fire a single weapon during the Battle of Okinawa. Doss was eventually awarded the Medal of Honor for saving 75 lives.

Now, considering Doss’ achievements and his brave decision to renounce violence during one of the bloodiest battles in The Second World War, it does seem a little odd that Hacksaw Ridge goes out of its way to display some truly ghastly action sequences. The movie contains everything from decapitated limbs to men being set on fire. In defence of the movie’s embrace of gore, though, Gibson claims that the violence present in Hacksaw Ridge is meaningful. There is no action and violence just for the sake of it; instead, every scene is supposed to mean something. Gibson wants to display the true horrors of war without holding back, while also focusing on an individual who decided to live his life differently and peacefully, even amid such horrors.

In most comic book movies, in contrast, the bombastic action sequences and overall spectacle lack meaning. They’re mostly there to create a visually stunning and entertaining film, and there’s nothing wrong with that. The New York City attack in Avengers is a fun romp replete with incredible scenes of Hulk smashing aliens and the entire Avengers team working together. But, save for Iron Man’s mental breakdown in future films (which was poorly portrayed), this violence is there solely to titillate the audience.

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Think about how many enemies superheroes, from Spider-Man, to Superman, to Captain America, have destroyed. Now, ask yourself when any of these comic book flicks take time to reflect on the actions of either the heroes and villains? The generic thugs the heroes face never evolve from being nameless baddies that are there for someone like Superman to kill in the most visually stunning ways. And the head villains are usually implacably evil, rather than complex individuals with legitimate grievances that could be addressed non-violently.

Criticizing Mel Gibson for the violence of his work while mostly ignoring the lack of conscience in most superhero movies is interesting to say the least. What is wrong with Hacksaw Ridge containing scenes of both American and Japanese soldiers hacking each other limb from limb? Was The Second World War and the Battle of Okinawa vicious and unforgiving? Did it really happen this way? If yes, why should Gibson hold back? By contrasting the violence of men and war, and Doss’ refusal to be another cog in the war machine, the film expertly showcases just how brave and remarkable Doss’ actions were.

“Hail Hydra”: Captain America Writers Court Controversy

“Hail Hydra”: Captain America Writers Court Controversy

Spoilers for Captain America: Steven Rogers #1

It was the plot twist heard (with plenty of memes) ‘round the internet.

At the end of Marvel’s new Captain America: Steve Rogers series, the iconic hero threw one of his sidekicks out of a ship and swore allegiance to the evil Hydra organization. This issue revealed that, from childhood, Cap was trained and indoctrinated by his lifelong rivals after his adoption from a broken home.

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Much like killing Robin, splitting up Peter Parker and MJ, or giving Carol Danvers the title of Captain Marvel, this was a move that sent shockwaves through the comic community. At least, that was how it started. But this narrative decision quickly struck a nerve with the general populace, and for good reason. Captain America is an icon, not just among comic fans, but in other parts of society as well. He’s the straight-laced, freedom-loving good boy of the Marvel canon, and having him “turn heel,” to put it in professional wrestling terms, into is as much of a blow to the collective psyche as turning literary hero Atticus Finch into a bitter racist.

However, much of the criticism towards this narrative decision comes in the form of angry, self-righteous indignation, and hostility directed towards Marvel, the writers, and the comic industry as a whole. The plot twist in making Captain America into Captain Hydra is accused of cynically exploiting antisemitism to drive up the sales of a series and generate interest in a character.

It’s important to give credence to these claims. After all, Captain America is the product of two Jewish men protesting America’s inaction towards Adolf Hitler’s horrific campaign. Was that character used as propaganda? Yes. Is there a lot to unpack in terms of galvanizing kids in wartime? Definitely. But all the same, one can’t deny the character has its roots in protesting Nazism and defending American values. Heck, his working title was “Super American.”

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Which is why so many people feel hurt about the whole thing. Hydra is an organization founded by Baron von Strucker and Red Skull, two infamous Nazi villains in the Marvel canon. Yes, it’s true the Earth-616 incarnation of Hydra has very little to do with Nazism, but those roots are still there. For people familiar with comic history, and for a Jewish community who once found hope in Cap, this is a major blow.

At least, it could be a major blow. We don’t exactly know yet, and that’s where things get a bit dicey over making any big claim about the whole affair. As a lifelong comic diehard, I’ll admit these things have a history of big, dumb plot twists that become irrelevant in a matter of years, if not months. Remember Marvel’s “Battleworld” arc last year that was basically just an excuse to establish a bunch of separate canons?

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Just like Wolverine is probably not actually dead, Captain America is, in all likelihood, not a secret Nazi. We only have one issue of one series to go off of, and frankly, its ending feels more like it was added to generate buzz for yet another Cap series, rather than something that’ll actually have long-lasting consequences. And if it does, the story will likely go along the lines of “Cap is a double-double agent using Hydra to execute some secret plan,” or something like that. It would go hand-in-hand with the espionage focus of his more recent outings.

While it’s important to validate the hurt this plot twist caused the Jewish community, it is also important to not make a judgement call from the first issue. If we took every comic twist at face value, and didn’t let a narrative thread run its course, we’d be in a constant state of anger at the industry as a whole.

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If Cap was really an evil agent of Hydra this whole time, then I’ll call foul. But let’s allow the story arc to run its course before we spill any more ink on it, or attempt to unpack it. Because, as it stands, there’s a lot for us to learn before we have any real opinions on it.

All-New, All-Different Avengers Volume 1 (Trade) Review

All-New, All-Different Avengers Volume 1 (Trade) Review

When the Marvel Universe rebooted after the events of Secret Wars, I was worried about the quality of a majority of Marvel’s comics. Not only were the creative teams switched and moved to new titles, but fundamentally the characters we grew to love and cherish went through a number of considerable changes. I’m happy to report that the All-New, All-Different Avengers doesn’t suffer from these dramatic changes and actually creates a team I’m eager to follow as their stories continue.

The Magnificent Seven begins right after Tony Stark lost possession of Stark Industries, a majority of his fortune and even Avengers Tower. For once, the world is without a team of Avengers to help protect it, but that doesn’t last long. Kang the Conqueror returns as Mr. Gryphon, the new, proud owner of Avengers Tower and still evil mastermind. After a powerful Chitauri named Warbringer teleports inside the tower, Kang becomes his ally and sets the warrior on a quest to find three ancient relics belonging to the Chitauran race. Thankfully, a friendly neighborhood Spider-Man named Miles Morales, eavesdropped this master plot.

All-New, All-Different Avengers Volume 1 (Trade) Review 2All-New, All-Different Avengers Volume 1 (Trade) ReviewWhile the set up isn’t incredibly strong for an Avengers tale, this story is more than enough of a threat to warrant the creation of a new team. Comprised of legacy heroes, Iron Man, Sam Wilson’s Captain America, the thunder Goddess Thor and the emotionally absent Vision, the team acquires new recruits in Spider-Man, Ms. Marvel and Nova. The joy of any Avengers comic is the interactions between its members and the cast collected here has a great amount of charisma and character to play with. The stand out members are definitely the teams latest recruits, which start as bickering teens, but grow into a powerful force that relies on each other.

A lot of The Magnificent Seven is about developing the Avengers’ chemistry. The team may be comprised of familiarly named characters, but many of them are interacting for the first time and many of their secrets, particularly Thor’s, remain deeply personal. Unfortunately, by the end of the volume, the team feels very separated between rookies and veterans. I would’ve loved to see Ms. Marvel get taken under Thor’s wing or for Miles and Cap to have a heart-to-heart conversation, but these moments never occur. It’s clear that these relationships are developing, they just aren’t highlighted in the panels or within the story.

All-New, All-Different Avengers Volume 1 (Trade) Review 1Kang has never been close to being one of my favourite villains and after reading this, that feeling still remains. Kang is just too weird for my liking and he never resonated with me like other villains. I find that the creative teams always push him as something massive and threatening, but his plots never feel like they have any weight to them and his motivations are still one-note. This being said, I’m happy Kang was used as an early villain so the Avenger’s can keep the majority of the spotlight and hopefully in later volumes, we can see stronger, more compelling villains.

All-New, All-Different Avengers Volume 1 was never intended to be the greatest Avenger’s story ever-told, but it’s definitely an entertaining read with interesting places to explore in the future. Even though all of our favourite chracters have been rebooted, the people who have replaced them feel fresh and exciting. Everyone gets their own moment to shine as a hero as they try to win your heart for attention. Miles continues to prove his worth as Spider-Man, Ms. Marvel is still as addictive as ever, and I’m compelled to follow Thor as she continues her ever-ending battle. Avengers has done its job and made me feel invested in a team that I never thought I’d care about.

Ranking The Marvel Cinematic Universe Part 2

Ranking The Marvel Cinematic Universe Part 2

Hello True Believers. This isn’t Stan Lee, but this is someone who can make a Stan Lee Soapbox reference. That and a parents-embarrassing career in film criticism qualifies me to do things like rank all of the movies in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Read moreRanking The Marvel Cinematic Universe Part 2

Ranking the Best Marvel Cinematic Universe Films

Ranking the Best Marvel Cinematic Universe Films

This week, the folks at the Marvel movie factory are hoping that 13 is their lucky number with Captain America: Civil War. The massive blockbuster represents the culmination of 8 years and 13 movies worth of episodic storytelling that transformed summer movie season into a grand comic book movie experiment.

Read moreRanking the Best Marvel Cinematic Universe Films

LEGO Marvel’s Avengers (PS4) Review

LEGO Marvel’s Avengers (PS4) Review

I guess it’s time for a new LEGO game. Ever since Traveller’s Tales struck gold with their LEGO Star Wars formula, they’ve been cranking out new editions adapting new pop culture properties ever since. The reason why is simple: these games aren’t just tremendously successful, they’re also ridiculously fun. Combining basic platforming and puzzle-solving with good old fashioned smash em up brawling brings out the best in simple gaming. They feel like games from another era, yet also boast the horsepower of new-gen hardware with some of the most beloved pop culture icons shoved into the cutesy confines of the world’s most beloved toy building blocks. The LEGO games are just plain fun. The only problem is repetition. We get at least two of these suckers a year, causing Traveller’s Tales to crank out new titles faster than they can innovate. So, when you pop a game like LEGO Marvel Avengers into your system of choice, it’s hard not to feel a sense of déjà vu. The LEGO games might be fun, but they really are all the same, and that will be enough to annoy some folks.

LEGO Marvel’s Avengers insert 2It was only a few short years ago that Traveller’s Tales delivered LEGO Marvel Superheroes, possibly the all-time high of the series. Yet here we are with yet another LEGO Marvel game. The twist this time is that the game is based on the MCU movies, which helps conceal the Traveller’s Tales wheel-spinning at least for a while. The story recreates sequences from the movies rather well. It kicks off with the opening fight from Avengers: Age Of Ultron, introducing players to the game by letting them use each of the superstar Avengers (obviously starting with Black Widow and Hawkeye before moving on to…you know…the heroes with powers). The basic smash-bad-guys-and-solve-puzzles-with-LEGO formula remains; however, this time the cutscenes are all amusing recreations of action scenes from the Marvel blockbusters, complete with sound bites from the actors. It’s pretty cute; I can’t pretend I didn’t have fun.

Combat is slightly enhanced as well. Rather than merely smashing the attack button until all the baddies are dead, there’s an option to use an animated, hero-specific super attack (or if two heroes are close enough together for a team attack). It’s a pretty amusing addition that works well with the superhero routine. Sound bites from Robert Downey Jr. and co. add a little flair as well, though all the dialogue is taken from the movies, so the one-liners are repetitive and audio quality varies. The graphics might be the best Traveller’s Tales has delivered so far, with the glossy blockbuster settings from the MCU recreated with surprising depth and detail through LEGO and filled with gorgeous lighting and atmospheric effects. The game looks and feels like the movies, although the way it traverses through narrating them is wonky. The plots of Avengers 1 and 2 offer an overarching structure, but within that there are also flashbacks with playable levels in Captain America: The First Avenger, Iron Man 3, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, and Thor: The Dark World. It can be a little confusing to wrap your head around, but given that the game is designed for obsessive fans of the movies, I’m sure they’ll be fine.

In addition to the main story, which is pretty hefty given that it crams in 6 movies, there are also several hub cities to explore (including a hefty Manhattan). These include a variety of hidden side missions relating to other movies and more obscure nooks in Marvel lore. Characters from the Spider-man and the X-Men universes don’t appear to appease the Disney bosses, but the Netflix Marvel characters and a variety of comic book characters (yes, Squirrel Girl returns) fill out a massive roster of playable heroes. There’s definitely hours upon hours of exploring to be done after the main story with plenty of missions and characters to unlock. It’ll keep players going for ages and given that The Guardians Of The Galaxy characters are mysteriously absent despite their massive popularity, it’s probably safe to say that DLC is on the way to add even more playtime.

So, it’s another massive Marvel LEGO Game filled with fan service, even more content than the last LEGO Marvel outing, and some of the best visuals Traveller’s Tales has produced to date. Why the low score? More than anything else, the repetition. While I had oodles of fun ploughing through this game, I can’t pretend it didn’t all feel overly familiar. I still get a kick out of the LEGO formula and imagine much of the target audience for this title will be kids who haven’t sampled it before, so there will be plenty of people who enjoy LEGO Marvel’s Avengers. However, if you’ve gotten over the LEGO game style, there’s nothing for you here. It’s more of the same, just a little prettier than before and featuring Scarlett Johansson sound bites. There are also some irritating design glitches that suggest a rushed production and a few of the main action scenes really don’t suit couch co-op properly given that one player basically has to wait around for the main hero to complete an action sequence from the movie.

LEGO Marvel’s Avengers insert 5So, it’s not quite as polished as LEGO games of the past either, which makes sense given just how many of these things Traveller’s Tales keeps cranking out on a constant basis. There’s no denying that new LEGO game releases aren’t quite as exciting as they once were and Traveller’s Tales really needs to introduce some innovations beyond new pop culture facelifts if they want to retain gamers’ interests. However, for those who are merely excited by the concept of a LEGO game set in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, there’s no denying that this title scratches that itch in style and provides dozens of hours of playtime for trophy completionists. It’s a good game, just not quite the masterpiece it would have felt like even a few short years ago. Formula repetition will do that. It’s happened to LEGO games and let’s face it, it’ll happen to the Marvel movies themselves soon enough. So, perhaps this title is an appropriate benchmark of sorts for both franchises. Evolve or die, Marvel and Traveller’s Tales (says the impoverished freelance writer to a pair of massively successful entertainment companies making record profits)

Will Iron Man be a Jerk in Captain America: Civil War?

Will Iron Man be a Jerk in Captain America: Civil War?

I’ve been a fan of Iron Man since I started reading comics as a wee lad. He was always my dad’s favourite super-hero, and for the same reason many people enjoy Batman so much. Iron Man is human. He wasn’t born with the X-gene; he didn’t get caught in a nuclear blast or get bitten by a radioactive spider. Everything he’s accomplished was done because of his brains and hard work. He’s a regular, boring human being, just like the rest of us.

Well, growing up rich and inheriting a multinational company from his dad probably helped, but still, he manages to go toe-to-toe with gods, aliens, mutants, and anything else you can think about, purely because of his aptitude for designing weapons.

So, as an Iron Man fan, I’m a little curious to see how his character is handled in the upcoming Captain America: Civil War. My interest stems from the fact that, like many other characters, Tony Stark was written rather poorly in the comic story the movie will be based on. In the comic version of Civil War, Tony was, for all intents and purposes, a villain. He lied to, manipulated, and even imprisoned several of his former super pals during the course of the event. So much so that it permanently damaged the reputation of the character and gave more credence to those annoying fans of the Marvel’s most boring and increasingly dated golden boy, Steve Rogers, aka Captain America. Hell, by the end of it, even I was cheering for Cap’s side. Marvel kept touting the phrase “Whose side are you on?” like it was even a choice. The way it was written, no reader could possibly justify picking Tony.

But things have changed.

civilwarinsert3The explosion of the Marvel Cinematic Universe can be directly traced to the success of the first Iron Man movie and, more specifically, Robert Downey Jr.’s performance as Tony Stark. RDJ’s portrayal of the character immediately became a fan favourite and there’s an argument to be made that without that movie, we never would have had an Avengers, and almost certainly no Guardians of the Galaxy, Ant-Man, or any number of upcoming movies based on rather obscure and lesser-known characters like Dr. Strange or Black Panther.

Herein lies the issue. Comic Tony during Civil War was a dick, and a bad guy; so much so that it made long-time readers dislike the character. Movie Tony is Marvel’s cash cow and one of the biggest draws for viewers. Obviously, a story changes a lot when translated to the big screen, but Tony is still on the pro-registration side and will be battling Cap and company’s rebel forces. How much can they possibly change while sticking to the basic plotline of the original story? Will Tony still force Spidey to expose his secret identity? Will there still be a gulag for un-registered heroes?

Another worrying aspect is Fox retaining the rights (probably not for much longer, considering the flop that was the recent movie) to the Fantastic Four; the only character that was a bigger jerk in the whole event was Reed Richards. Without him to highlight what heroic qualities Tony was still barely exhibiting, he’s going to come off as an even worse person. (At least there won’t be a Thor clone running around.)

At least Marvel has built up his character in the movies in a way that his stance on registration will come off as more natural and believable, as we saw in Iron Man 3 and Avengers: Age of Ultron, but I can’t really see how they’re going to pull off keeping RDJ’s Tony as a fan favourite while keeping any semblance to the plot of the comics. Then again, if you ignore some of the questionable ethics of Tony’s decisions and look at the story from a more modern and realistic perspective, as the movies have been attempting to do, registration makes a lot of sense. There’s no way a group of costumed individuals could go around fighting aliens and mad robots in crowded cities without facing some form of accountability. The whole idea of a “secret identity” doesn’t really work as well in this age of ubiquitous cameras, outrage culture, and social media.

I’m sure they’ll all be pals again by the end of the movie; after all, they’re going to have to bury the hatchet eventually when the Mad Titan comes a knocking, but that takes away from any tension or conflict the story has. It’s known that RDJ has said he’s more or less done with the character; perhaps the old adage of “die a hero or live long enough to become a villain” is applicable here. Wouldn’t that be a fun twist!

Highly doubtful though, as there’s no way Infinity War won’t feature the big three battling it out side-by-side. I guess we’ll just have to wait and see.

And yeah, as much as it pains me to admit this, Cap was right.

Avengers: Age Of Ultron (Movie) Review

Avengers: Age Of Ultron (Movie) Review

The Avengers was an unprecedented bit of superhero derring-do. No one had ever done a superhero team up on the big screen before and the epic blockbuster represented the cathartic pay off for five movies of set up. That made for a wild ride of crowd-pleasing that Avengers: Age Of Ultron simply can’t hope to match despite being a very well made and accomplished superhero blockbuster. Not only have we been here before, but writer/director Joss Whedon has to provide character arcs for no less than six protagonists, introduce four major new characters, and provide cameos for a handful of others. Plus, his movie has to be fairly self-contained, since all of the dollops of universe building in Marvel’s Phase 2 have been setting up Civil War and Infinity Wars rather than this Avengers picture. The fact that he even made a watchable movie while juggling all of those elements is amazing and he did more than that. He made a damn fine bit of superhero blockbusting. Age Of Ultron just isn’t quite the event of The Avengers and that’ll be enough to make some fanboys call it a failure, which it isn’t.

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Things kick off with the Avengers back together again in the midst of a wild heist to steal back Loki’s pokey stick from the last movie. There are some big glorious action scenes and Scarlet Witch/Quicksilver are introduced. Then things slow down for a bit so that the Avengers can hang out and have a party. All sorts of wise-cracks are made and cameos pop up. Then the party is rudely interrupted when Tony Stark and Bruce Banner’s secret AI invention Ultron appears fully formed for a big speech about how he plans on destroying earth’s mightiest heroes to create a utopia. Ultron then blows a bunch of stuff up and jams a wedge in the middle of the Avengers. So now they’ll have to make friends again and find a way to join forces once more to stop a threat that just might end the whole gosh darned world. Plus Iron Man finally busts out his Hulk Buster armor for some Hulk-busting, Black Widow develops a crush on Bruce Banner, Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver learn to harness their powers for good, Nick Fury returns from hiding, War Machine finally makes a mark on the team, The Vision is introduced, and a bunch of other stuff happens.

More than anything else, Avengers: Age Of Ultron posed an insane writing challenge for Joss Whedon that he somehow managed to meet. With the easy n’ satisfying “get the team together” structure of the last movie no longer an option, he’s got to juggle a massive swab of characters and plots while also delivering big blockbuster action scenes every 15-20 minutes. The movie could have easily been gobbledygook (and indeed there are times when it’s hard to keep things straight, like Thor’s subplot that goes absolutely nowhere), yet for the most part Age Of Ultron feels effortless. The best sequences are the ones when The Avengers simply hang out and Whedon gives them all crackling dialogue that plays off their personalities and is an absolute pleasure to watch. These moments are asides, which there theoretically should be no room for in a film of this scale, but Whedon finds a way to sneak ‘em in constantly without losing his rushing sense of narrative momentum. The film touches on themes like the perils of AI, what it means to be a hero in this wacky modern world, and questions the need for their even to be an Avengers. So Whedon’s script has some thoughts on its mind, there just isn’t much room for those thoughts to be explored thanks to all of the colorful characters and pretty explosions competing for attentions.

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All of the returning cast members fit their roles like a glove. Whedon gives them all just enough to do to satisfy the fans and actors and thankfully they clearly still all enjoy each other. Robert Downey Jr. of course steals the show, but you know that already. Mark Ruffalo’s Hulk is charming enough to make you yearn for a solo picture that might never arrive, while Jeremy Renner and Scarlett Johansson’s characters continue to be expanded to the point that their solo movies would be welcome as well. The new characters are all fairly welcome additions. James Spader’s Ultron is an amusingly smarmy and sarcastic evil robot in a way that only Spader could muster and despite limited screentime he’s one of the best villains in a Marvel movie to date (though to be fair, there’s very little competition for that title). Aaron Taylor-Johnson and Elizabeth Olsen are endearing Russian accented and morally mysterious additions to the team, even though their characters are only really introduced here with plenty of room for expansion elsewhere. Ditto, Paul Bettany’s Vision, who looks and sounds right, but ultimately only shows up to be a ringer in the climax. There’s just not enough screentime to go around for the new characters to feel fully fleshed out while all the old stalwarts are getting showcased. Thankfully, Whedon’s good enough at pithy dialogue and quirky characterization that their brief appearances make enough of a mark for audiences to not really realize some characters have been short changed until the credits roll.

Now that Marvel Studios is an institution and it’s easy to take for granted that an Avengers movie can be as good as Age Of Ultron.

Once again, the MCU formula is starting to feel increasingly familiar. Whedon might come up with a clever twist on the “stuff falling onto a major city” cliché Marvel climax, but it’s ultimately not that different from what we’ve all seen so many times before. These movies are starting to become a little overstuffed and predictable, but that doesn’t by any means suggest they are bad. The trouble is that you can only be the new guy on the scene for so long. Now Marvel Studios is an institution and it’s easy to take for granted that an Avengers movie can be as good as Age Of Ultron after last summer delivered to unexpectedly brilliant additions to the universe with Captain America: The Winter Soldier and Guardians Of The Galaxy. Inevitably, these movies are going to get stale, but that doesn’t mean that there isn’t plenty to enjoy along the way.

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For one thing, it’s astounding how unashamedly nerdy this superhero epic is after years of Marvel and DC movies that have tried to curb off the fantasy edges of comic book mythology for mainstream acceptance. Capes are flaunted, laser beams are fired out of heads, magic is wielded through dancing hands, and gloriously silly dialogue about fate and the universe is dropped without irony. Age Of Ultron feels like a flat out geeky Marvel Comics romp in a manner that few of the Marvel movies have been willing to embrace thus far. Five to ten years ago, it would be unthinkable that such a movie would arrive on screens in such a grand scale. Now it’s an exciting reality, but one that will come with a cost. As the MCU becomes increasingly, nerdily fantasy based, the universal appeal of the franchise will slide a bit with it. That’s the risk the studio is taking by pushing this series into flat out cosmic adventure mode. It’ll be fun to see that happen, but we’ll all also have to start to accept that these things won’t be for everyone anymore. The nerds must take it all back and hopefully a few bros will be willing to come along for the ride.

Is Spider-Man coming to the MCU?

Is Spider-Man coming to the MCU?

Will Spider-Man make an appearance in the climactic finale of Marvel’s ever expanding movie universe? Are we finally going to see him trading quips on screen with Robert Downey Jr.?

Yes… And then no.

Let’s backtrack a little and explain what happened.

Yesterday, Dave over at Latino Review reported that our favourite webslinger, heretofore absent from the Marvel Cinematic Universe, will indeed be making an appearance in Avengers: Infinity War 2. According to the leak, Captain America: Civil War will see Steve Rogers killed and Iron Man sent off to space (potentially joining up with Chris Pratt and the Guardians of the Galaxy). The leak also hints that Thor and his Asgardian homies will be locked away in some kind of galactic prison, thus taking him out of the picture too.

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For those of you who are more DC oriented, this is essentially like making a Justice League movie with no Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman.  It appears that all of the new characters getting movies in Marvel’s phase three stage, Dr. Strange, Black Panther, and Ant-Man among others, are going to be the stars of Infinity War part 1, with the “big three” making an epic return for part 2. Including, allegedly, the resurrection of Captain America.

While all this is still conjecture, it makes a lot of sense when you think about it. What better way to introduce a whole new cast then giving them their own, gigantic movie? There’s no way any film with the word Avengers in the title will be anything less than a blockbuster, thus ensuring the further success of solo films for each of the featured heroes.

But by far Marvel’s biggest cash cow, indeed the comic industry’s number one franchise, is Spider-Man. Over the last several months there have been rumours aplenty surrounding Mr. Parker and the battle for movie rights between Sony and Disney. With lacklustre box office numbers and a not-so-great critical reception, the latest Spider-Man movies have really put Sony into a corner as to what should be done with the character. As Marvel prints money and laughs from their shiny new golden Disney castle, it’s only a matter of time before Sony cracks and sells the rights back to Marvel. What better way to re-introduce the character than feature him in what will easily be the biggest, boldest and most lucrative comic book movie on the horizon.

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Alas, the guys over at Comic Book Resources have reached out to Sony to confirm or

deny this rumour, and they responded with sad news for Marvel fans.

Will Spidey appear in Infinity War?

Not as of yet, with Sony reps telling CBR that this news is an “old rumor” with “no validity whatsoever.”

Oh well, it’s still years away, and after the infamous hack scandal, Sony Pictures is not in good shape, which means that they are more likely than ever to bite the bullet and get some cash out of the deal while they still can. Regardless of this official statement, I know that myself and many others will be staying in the theatre to watch the inevitable post-credits teaser in Captain America: Civil War with high hopes that a certain red and blue wall-crawler will be making his official MCU debut.