Tags Posts tagged with "Marvel"

Marvel

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How did I end up with so much Iron Man stuff?


How is it that superheroes have overtaken our lives? Slowly but surely they’ve found their way into our hearts, our minds and our wallets too. It’s not unusual to see someone walking down the street wearing a recent film-inspired t-shirt or find out that someone has their favourite hero as a keyring. In this age of merchandise, superheroes and comics alike have become so much more than mere images on the page.

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Cross Tech 2 Marvel Pens
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Meeting Tony face to face

Take this cardboard cutout, for example. It’s not every day that you get to meet your sparkling hero in the flesh. Used as an advertising gimmick, these things are meant to grab your attention to what is on offer. In this case, Tech 2 pens from Cross. They rely on you to spot this guy from afar, instantly recognise him and use that bond you’ve created in order to make you buy their product. I know that these pens haven’t been designed or even endorsed by Tony Stark himself, I just know that it’s a pen with his face and colour on it. In receiving one of these pens, I then feel closer to the character, fuelling my obsession.

Superheroes

 

T-shirts are also a great example of this. Check your wardrobe and clothes drawers now. If you haven’t been living under a rock and have kept relatively up to date with either the MCU or the DCEU, then you’ll probably own a t-shirt with something from one of these things on. Even if it’s low-key, like a subtle Batman logo or a small S.H.I.E.L.D. logo, it’s still working as part of your enjoyment of the franchises. I have lost count of the amount of t-shirts I own with either Iron Man or the Avengers on. With each new and exciting edition to the big screen, it’s hard not to take away some of that enjoyment. Not only do you feel as though you’re a part of it all, but it works on your memories of a particular film or comic too.

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The Generalissimo himself

Pop figures are great, too. They practically do them all now, covering most TV and film franchises to date. Seeing as how they follow such a simplistic style, they’re so versatile. And who says you can only have one figure for each character? Your favourite guy has over ten wardrobe changes and they’ve all made it to the shelf. They work as great collectible items as well because they look so great together. Who’d have thought that Darth Vader and Timon could live together in perfect harmony? But, of course, they look a little lonely by themselves. Why not give them Lady Sif and Daenerys for company?

SuperheroesComic books themselves have also become quite the collectible. It’s not the same just seeing your heroes on the big screen anymore. You want to know about their background, you want to experience more of their adventures first-hand. How else are you going to find out about Karnak’s capabilities in shattering vibranium windows? They become tales you have to tell your friends, a form of knowledge with which you become superior. “Did you know that Tony Stark was the Crimson Dynamo at one point? I knoooowwww, right!”

SuperheroesSuperheroesIn reading the comics, you also start to appreciate the little nuances on-screen, like how similar Gwen Stacy’s outfits are in the comics compared to the film, especially in the scene where she dies. What? The people working on a film adaptation are actually paying attention to original content that closely? Why, yes, dear reader, they are. And they do it for you and me: they do it for the fans.

But what does it mean to be a fan nowadays? So you’ve seen a few films, got a few t-shirts and maybe a nice light to hang on your wall. Are you any less of a fan than someone who’s read all of the comics associated with that character? Just because you know their birthday and every little detail about their life, does it make you the ultimate fan?

The truth is, it doesn’t really matter so much. You can appreciate a film and become a fan without needing the bad associations attached to it. You might even be surprised to find that a particular adaptation has changed your original thoughts on someone you never even gave the time of day to. The point is, there are so many channels to hone your appreciation on that it doesn’t matter how die-hard you are.

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Thanos as made by Hot Toys

 

Comic books have had a massive impact on our lives, from influencing films and merchandise to generating fan clubs and societies. It’s been a fantastic time for them and for us too, with more and more ideas being generated every single day. Last week I saw some Avengers cushions being advertised on Facebook and I wanted to go check it out. It’s almost subliminal now.

 

 

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Comic-Con 2014

Comic-con is one of the greatest things to have derived from comics. What better excuse is there to show your appreciation than to dress up as one of your favourite characters with the possibility of meeting your on-screen heroes in person? Nothing makes you feel more immersed in this world than really going all out. I want to dress up as Black Panther next time I go, but that doesn’t necessarily mean I know every detail about the character. It’s all about being granted this platform to really enjoy yourself.

I’m not saying any of this is bad. It’s just amazing to really see how much our lives have been influenced by comics. So the next time you’re picking up a Superman flask to give as a present, take a moment to appreciate the history behind the whole process. Look around you and notice just how much richer and more enjoyable our lives have become because of it. Also, there’s probably some merchandise calling your name right about now.

"Sabotage alone will not satisfy me! I have vowed to destroy Iron Man!"

The Crimson Dynamo has been one of Iron Man’s villains for a very long time. Remember in Iron Man 2 when they were debating whether anyone else could replicate Tony Stark’s technology? This was the culmination of the Soviet’s attempt. Rather than having one singular pilot, though, the Crimson Dynamo has had quite a few indeed.

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The original Crimson Dynamo

 

1) Anton VankoA brilliant Armenian scientist was sent by the Soviets to build technology that could rival that of Iron Man. Working directly underneath him was Nevsky and Turgenov. While Vanko was sure one of them was spying on him for the government, he secretly diverted funds for preparations on a Mark II for the Crimson Dynamo, one with more advanced weapons and technology.

When Turgenov reported Vanko’s success, the Soviets sent Vanko to disrupt Stark Industries and to kill Iron Man. Before he left, Vanko hid the Mark II’s helmet and disguised the robot as a tractor in a remote location. In America, due to Stark’s superior technology, Vanko’s effort was fruitless and in the end he was persuaded to defect.

 

 

2) Boris Turgenov. When the Soviets found out about the loss of Vanko, they sent Turgenov and Black Widow to retrieve both Vanko and the Crimson Dynamo armour. While Turgenov was initially successful in fending off Iron Man, Vanko employed an experimental laser against the Crimson Dynamo suit, which exploded and killed both Turgenov and Vanko.

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The secret Crimson Dynamo Mark II
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Crimson Dynamo Mark III

 

3) Alex Nevsky. One of Anton Vanko’s protégés, Nevsky felt disheartened after Vanko’s defecting to the United States. He blamed Tony Stark and Iron Man for the capitalist system that benefited them both, discrediting Vanko in the same process. He donned the Crimson Dynamo suit to kill Iron Man and to discredit Tony Stark. After trying three times, even partnering up with Titanium Man, the KGB eventually ended up assassinating him and taking the Crimson Dynamo armour back into their possession.

 

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Crimson Dynamo Mark IV
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Airstrike

 

 

4) Yuri Petrovich. Under a pseudonym, the son of Ivan Bezukhov was sent as the Crimson Dynamo, along with Titanium Man, to retrieve a few defectors, including Black Widow. When he failed to complete this mission, and was the only one to return home, the Soviets banished him to a Siberian work camp for his failure, taking the Crimson Dynamo suit back once more.

 

 

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Crimson Dynamo Mark V

 

5) Dmitri Bukharin. Former KGB Agent, Bukharin was tasked to join and spy on the Soviet Super Soldiers for the government. He’s battled Iron Man, the Hulk and Jack of Hearts, and was eventually found out to be a spy so was forced to become the Crimson Dynamo by himself for a time. He later became a part of the Supreme Soviets, still loyal to the government, but eventually wished to retire. The Soviets rejected his resignation, keeping him on in his own capacity as Airstrike instead.

 

6) Valentin Shatalov. Wishing for Russia to return to its communist past and glory, Shatalov brought together a group of villains for this endeavour. Very early on, however, he realised the futility of such an attempt with all the politics involved and quickly disbanded the group. After a freak power surge forced Shatalov and Stark to switch bodies, Shatalov made the most of this time to download Iron Man secrets before Tony Stark forced them to switch back. 

 

7) Tony Stark. After tensions started rising in Russia, post-mind-transfer, Stark agreed with Shatalov that he would wear the Crimson Dynamo suit to make things appear normal. Having suffered a broken leg in the new Mark V suit, Shatalov was unable to fight the Titanium Man himself, which is why Stark agreed to stand in. Shatalov instead controlled the suit remotely.

 

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Gavrilov finding the original helmet

8) Gennady Gavrilov. Finding the hidden Mark II Crimson Dynamo helmet made by Anton Vanko, Gavrilov put it on, believing it to be an advanced gaming system. The dormant armour made its way back to the helmet, leaving destruction in its wake. Gavrilov briefly donned the armour to fend off the Russian military and kept the suit afterwards. Tony Stark also helped in this endeavour.

 

Crimson Dynamo
Crimson Dynamo Mark IV-X

 

9) An unidentified individual. With the help of the Tinkerer, Phineas Mason, an unidentified person to S.H.I.E.L.D. has been piloting a new resurfaced version of the Crimson Dynamo. This version has also tried to have been used as a human bomb against New York. Watch out, Avengers, there’s a new threat in town.

 

Considering the Crimson Dynamo has been going since 1963, I’d say nine aliases isn’t half bad. Were you surprised to see Tony Stark’s name on this list? Would you also like to see the Crimson Dynamo on the big screen? Share your thoughts below.

What roles could come from the recent casting decisions from Marvel?

Michael B. Jordan, Lupita Nyong'o and Chadwick Boseman


With the news that both Michael B. Jordan and Lupita Nyong’o have now joined Chawick Boseman on the cast for Black Panther, what can we expect from their undisclosed roles? And what role, credited as “Security Chief” in Civil War, could Florence Casumba have? Of course, she could have been one of Black Panther’s bodyguards, one of the Dora Milaje, in which case it would be nice to see her again in another film, even if she doesn’t turn out to be anyone of importance.

While Black Panther’s family and clan is varied, there are several positions that the other two actors could adopt. Ororo Munroe, for one, T’Challa’s wife, otherwise known as Storm. Bearing in mind that Marvel don’t outright own the film rights to mutants, there is a chance that they could still get away with it (like they have done with Scarlet Witch and Quicklsilver). Nyong’o could very easily fill in this gap, but there is also another role she could fit into.

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Shuri

Half-sister to T’Challa, Shuri is one powerful and intimidating character. Naturally, it is well within Nyong’o’s capabilities to fulfill such a role. She’s dependable, hot-headed and also takes on the mantle of Black Panther at one point. After T’Chaka’s death, their uncle, S’yan became the next Black Panther. When Shuri eventually wished to challenge him for the role, she found out that T’Challa had already done so and was now the new Black Panther. Although they could cast Storm as anyone, I’m hoping Nyong’o will turn out to be Shuri.

 

As for Jordan, it’s anyone’s guess. T’Challa has more cousins than Doctor Voodoo can shake his staff at. Perhaps Michael B. Jordan might not be playing a family member. There is the potential that he could be someone else. Someone much larger. M’Baku, one of Wakanda’s greatest warriors, tries to usurp the throne when T’Challa is away in New York. He becomes the villain Man-Ape, or White Gorilla. He’s quite big, though, and a very intimidating character. Somehow I doubt Jordan could be up for the role.

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Azari

Of course, if Marvel so wished, they could always employ the role of Azari, son of T’Challa and Ororo Munroe. He’s from an alternate dimension, but that shouldn’t be a problem, film-wise. Black Goliath could be another candidate – he’s someone who fights using a version of the Pym Particle. Although that has been introduced in the MCU already, it would have to be explained. Depending on which universe they settle on, Jordan could always be Coal Tiger, again, son of Black Panther.

If anything, I’d quite like Jordan to play a villainous character. It would be more interesting to have a younger character try to usurp power from an older figure, but that has already been done in the MCU when Loki tried to usurp the throne of Asgard. Perhaps not Man-Ape, but maybe someone working alongside Ulysses Klaue, rumoured to be reprising his role as Klaw in this film.

For now, we’ll stay posted until we hear some more news. What do you think? Which characters would you like to see in Black Panther? What roles could you see Lupita Nyong’o and Michael B. Jordan in?

Suits that can leave you with a quizzical look or simply shaking your head

Sentient Armour


Every once in a while, a genius can get carried away tinkering with technology that needs to be constantly updated. Here are ten armours that you may not have ever realised were in Tony Stark’s arsenal.

1) Sentient Armour

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Sentient Armour at its peak

In one of his more reckless advances, Stark actually created a suit that was so advanced, a stray bolt of lightning from Whiplash brought it to life. This had actually activated an Ultron programme within the suit from when he had downloaded Jocasta through the armour. In this Frankenstein’s monster scenario, the suit actually battled Tony for control. It possessed a sentience as well as a strong desire for independent life.

Having killed Whiplash, where Tony was only going to subdue him, Tony tried to teach him a lesson on humanity, to no avail. The armour eventually dumped Stark on a deserted island with an ultimatum to either join him and accept him for who he now was or to perish. After torturing him for several weeks, the sentient armour eventually killed itself when witnessing Tony having a heart attack.

 

2) Outer Atmospheric Armour

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Outer Atmospheric Armour

 

Initially, Stark made this suit to battle Justin Hammer on his satellite base. This armour is thinner than others, doesn’t contain thrusters, but can seal itself if there’s a breach in the armour and can also release a solar sail to prevent Stark becoming stranded.

The way Tony gets around instead is via these detachable solid fuel boosters, as depicted.

 

 

 

3) S.K.I.N. Armour

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S.K.I.N. Armour

 

 

The S.K.I.N. Armour used liquid metal technology to shape around Stark’s body into a nigh-unbreakable shell. S.K.I.N. is a flexible alloy that can almost be as hard as adamantium. While Tony was hesitant to make another suit that Ultron could possibly overtake, he abandoned the S.K.I.N. technology for a new suit.

Rather handily, you could summon it at will. It could also cloak itself and had a tractor beam capability.

 

 

 

4) Tin Man Armour

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Tin Man Armour

 

This armour was more basic compared to his advanced suits. It relied less on cutting edge technology, instead relying on stuff that worked. This suit also included his personal secretary, Friday. Pepper also had some control over the suit, just in case anything should go wrong. Tin Man was made after Ultron took control of his last suit. In the end, an alien nanoplasm took over this one, forcing him to blow it.

 

 

 

5) Stealth Armour MK. 3

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Stealth Armour MK. 3

 

 

 

This armour was made from advanced composite ceramics, an experimental bio-neural gel pack circuitry. Through a series of holograms projected onto the surface, the wearer could be made virtually invisible. As far as weapons technology went, it was only capable of firing three repulsor blasts, making it more suited to espionage. It was also immune to anti-metal claws and vibranium through a reactive plasma discharge.

 

 

 

 

6) Thor-Buster

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Thorbuster

 

Based on the Destroyer, this armour was imbued with Asgardian magic, courtesy of an Asgardian Gem, gifted by Thor to humanity. It is a similar enchantment magic that is used in Mjölnir. Thanks to the magic, the Thor-Buster can levitate, keep Tony alive against Thor’s power and redirect any energy attacks used by the God of Thunder. Stark developed this suit in case Thor’s good deeds got out of control and ended up using it when Thor sought to take over the world.

 

 

 

 

 

 

7) Ablative Armour

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Ablative Armour

 

 

This armour was developed to combat the alien nanoplasm that took control of the Tin Man Armour. It’s a self-healing armour in that it is composed of thousands of high-impact polymer tiles. Upon receiving damage, the suit would shed them and a kiln attached to his back would generate more of them, holding them in place with his force field.

 

 

 

 

8) Extremis Armour

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Extremis Armour

The Extremis Suit was designed in the wake of the Extremis virus. Having been infected with the virus in order to save his life, Tony used it to his advantage and rewrote his entire body’s functions. As such, he is able to link to satellites and computers merely with the power of thought, marking it as his most advanced suit to date. Where does the distinction lie between man and machine?

 

 

 

9) High-G Armour

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High-G Armour

 

With boots finally big enough for his personality, Tony created the High-G Armour for stability in space. Featuring magnetic and jet compensators, Tony was ensuring he could stay oriented when not on earth. It can protect the wearer to up to 50 Gs, as well as regulating blood flow and oxygen intake. It was built merely for hyperspace travel.

 

 

 

 

 

 

10) Galactus-Buster

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Galactus-Buster

This beauty was built after the defeat of Galactus. After analysing the battle, Tony realised he barely defeated the brute, knowing very little about him. He came up with this anti-measure just as a precaution. Talk about overkill!

So there you have it. Ten suits of armour that you may or may not have realised existed. Did I leave any out that you thought you’d see? Of course, there’s plenty more.

"I seem to do quite well for a stretch, and then at the end of the sentence I say the wrong cranberry."

Vision and Jarvis


A long time before J.A.R.V.I.S. was an A.I. for Tony Stark, he was actually a trustworthy non-member of the Avengers. Whether he was in Avengers’ Mansion or Avengers’ Tower, Jarvis’ duties extended beyond being a simple manservant for Mr. Stark, but he was always far more than a butler to them. It’s always nice to have someone to talk to about your troubles, and Jarvis was just that man, for new and old members alike.

After the death of Howard and Maria Stark, Jarvis became butler to Tony, and when the Stark home mansion became the base for the Avengers, Jarvis took them all under his wing. He has been an expert in handling all of their finances, as well as the upkeep of Avengers’ Mansion itself – someone has to clean up after all the glass shattered on the floor and various blood splatters every now and again. If you ever need a stain removed from anything, Jarvis would know how to do it.

Before Howard scooped him up, Edwin Jarvis was an R.A.F. pilot, a former boxing champion, and war hero.  Although he was born and raised in Brooklyn, Jarvis ran away during WWII to join the Canadian Royal Air Force, fighting as an underage pilot to protect and serve. It is believed that this was where Jarvis developed his accent and honed his mind into that of a true gentleman. Not only that, but he is incredibly resourceful and remains calm under pressure. He is, in effect, the perfect house guest and friend to have around.

Jarvis cooking
Jarvis offering a helping hand

Naturally, when you’re helping the Avengers without being a member, you can become a target. Jarvis has been replaced by a Skrull at one point (hasn’t everyone, at least once in their lives?) as well as having been brainwashed by Ultron. Back when Ultron was the original Crimson Cowl, he gave Jarvis money in return for blueprints for the Avengers’ Mansion (for his sick mother) and made the butler believe he was the Crimson Cowl, thus leading to him attacking the Avengers.

As well as being an object of torture (which almost led to him losing an eye) and rivalry (with cleaning duties) within the mansion, Jarvis has also developed romantic interests. Jarvis originally dated Glory Garsen, but has also developed feelings for Aunt May when Peter Parker moved his family into Avengers’ Mansion. At the time, Spider-Man had rejoined Iron Man’s reassembled Avengers.

In the MCU, it was decided that in order to bring Iron Man to the big screen, several changes should occur. This also included Jarvis, who was changed into an A.I., not only to bring the film into the modern day, but to also shake the comparison between Bruce Wayne and Alfred. According to Paul Bettany, he didn’t even know which film he was recording his lines for, merely doing it as a favour for Jon Favreau.

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J.A.R.V.I.S. running the workshop

Nevertheless, J.A.R.V.I.S., while paying homage to Edwin Jarvis, is Tony’s A.I., maintaining the security and upkeep of his house. Just A Rather Very Intelligent System has also helped Tony tinker with various mechanical devices, such as repairing and upgrading his cars. He’s able to empathise with situations that Tony has been through, while also offering help and advice – something that Edwin himself would have done.

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J.A.R.V.I.S. interface

In developing the character, J.A.R.V.I.S. has been uploaded to the Iron Man suit, which wasn’t a large step considering how much he used to manage in Tony’s home alone. This has allowed Tony to keep up with their relationship and personal preferences, too. Not only this, but J.A.R.V.I.S.’ interface was uploaded into the body Ultron was creating for himself. What my friends and I have collectively called JARVISION (purely because we love both characters a great deal and because we miss J.A.R.V.I.S.) it is great to see how far the A.I. has come. Not only does he now have a body, but he’s turned into one of the greatest Avengers the world has ever seen, both in the comic books and onscreen.  While J.A.R.V.I.S. is no longer with us, for Vision is his own being, it is a nice touch that Paul Bettany takes up the role.

So there you have it. Champion boxer, R.A.F. pilot and all-round friend to the Avengers. No one else can lay claim to have seen all of the Avengers since their inception and introduction to Avengers’ Mansion. Wouldn’t it be nice to have a Jarvis of our own?

Who's side are you on?


I’ve been waiting for this film to be released for quite some time now, hearing of its existence a few years ago. Having read a few comics around the Civil War arc, I was curious to see what the MCU would do with all of its heroes and if the film adaptation would be anything like the comics. Needless to say, I doesn’t matter because they’ve come up with a masterpiece.

Of course, we’ve all been flooded with the promos for the film, fuelling rivalries between fans with the big question, “Who’s side are you on?” Naturally, I didn’t particularly want to be on anyone’s side because they’re all such good guys and I adore them all. However, when the film bloomed and characters started to show their appreciation for the Sokovia Accords i.e. the Superhero Registration Act, I was more tempted to side with Tony. When various obstacles then stood before them, I was more inclined to give Cap my support. This film does such a good job of playing with your emotions, and I love it!

It’s harrowing, absolutely crushing to see all of the heroes fighting against one another. It drove me to tears every time they came to blows. The fight scenes were, of course, spectacular and the Russo brothers did so well in enlisting as many heroes as they did for the film. It makes you appreciate just how amazing Infinity Wars is really going to be. If they can juggle this many heroes with ease, they’ll have no problem later on.

This film brought us closer to so many new faces as well. It was strange to see Maria Stark, but it was pivotal to Stark’s involvement within the film. She was played well and it was a nice touch for us to actually see a bit more into Tony’s past. Naturally, the question of what had happened to them had been on most people’s lips unless you’ve been listening to a few decent theories online concerning the Winter Soldier.  The anger and vehemence that controlled Tony at the end of the film was almost heartbreaking. You couldn’t help but feel bad for both parties and the ensuing fight drove them both all to such desperation that we’ve never seen before. My heart was in my mouth at this point because I honestly thought someone was going to be killed. A truly marvellous display of cinema.

Spider-Man

Spider-Man was brilliant. I’ve never been a fan of Toby Maguire and as much as I loved Andrew Garfield, Tom Holland is the right actor for the web slinger. Seeing a much younger hero on the screen really starts to put the whole scenario into perspective but his school boy attitude and nerdy lines really drove the character home. He just feels so right in the MCU, he’s exactly where he belongs. Whit and humour and never a long break to initiate his origin story make this character great again.

Black Panther

One of the best things about Civil War has to be the addition of Chadwick Boseman as Black Panther. He is one sexy ass mother and boy does he look good in that costume! I think I’ve found my new favourite hero, because not only is T’Challa a man of diplomacy and peace, he rocks the superhero world with his acrobatics and fighting style too! I’m more excited than ever for his up-and-coming film now. He played an epic part in Civil War and if he’s only just getting started, I’m all too eager to find out what else he has in store for us.

Vision being overpowered by Scarlet Witch

As it’s seen in the comics that Vision and Scarlet Witch are a couple, it just goes to show that on-screen this is even more real. Since Vision saved Scarlet Witch from the shattering ruins of Sokovia in Age of Ultron, it was clear that they were going on a path that would eventually unite them. Every time Scarlet Witch is mentioned in a bad light, Vision is always there to stand in her defence. It is adorable seeing this dynamic and it pains me even more when they start fighting one another. It’s nice, too, that we hear about Vision’s thoughts on his existence as well as the Mind Stone. I’m also wondering what might happen considering Scarlet Witch is capable of turning the Mind Stone against Vision. Of course, she can do virtually anything she wants anyway, but against an Infinity Stone? That’s impressive!

It was weird as well seeing General Ross once more. Seeing as the Hulk film was so long ago now, it’s almost as if the majority of us had given up on any of his characters ever making a reprise. Seeing as he did, does it mean that a certain Red Hulk might be on his way any time soon? It would probably most likely complicate matters, and I’m happy with how things are going at the moment.

All in all, Civil War is a cinematic masterpiece. I’m glad Whedon didn’t have the reins on this one after misleading us with Age of Ultron because we’ve been given a film 100 times better. No one gets off lightly, so be prepared for hardship and grief. Yes, Martin Freeman was a seemingly pointless addition, but this doesn’t detract from a harrowing, emotional ride. Everyone’s stories are so rich and yet they always manage to find something new to say about them, getting you more attached to the characters and despairing as they painstakingly come to blows with one another.

Do not even think about skipping this addition to the MCU!

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Robert Downey Jr teases at a possible Iron Man 4.


Iron Man star Robert Downey Jr has teased at a possible fourth instalment of the Iron Man film franchise.

Downey Jr, who has been part of the Marvel Universe for eight years now, is signed up for another two Marvel films, but could there be another movie on the horizon?

The actor, who made his Iron Man debut in 2008, is set for parts in both Spiderman: Homecoming and Avengers: Infinity War. He has also just recently appeared in Captain America: Civil War.

But the much-loved actor won’t stop there. In a recent interview, Downey Jr said: “I feel like I could do one more (Iron Man).”

Could this be a hint into the future of Iron Man? Well, with Marvel Studios having three untitled films scheduled for 2020, it could quite possibly be- Let’ hope so! This is welcome news after many speculated that Downey Jr was looking to give up the role he has played for almost a decade,

Robert Downey Jr has reprised his role as Iron Man in Captain America: Civil War, which was released last weekend (April 29th) in the UK and May 6th in the US. Check out our review for that film.

Check out the trailer below:

Here’s hoping for the end of the origin.


There are a few things that every well-rounded superhero needs: a superhero codename to protect their secret identity, a well-designed costume, supervillains to fight, and an origin story. Usually, the more angst-inducing the better. Bruce Wayne’s parents were murdered, Kal-El’s planet was destroyed, Bruce Banner… wandered into Gamma radiation? Maybe that’s why we can’t get a decent Hulk movie. Not enough angst.

The point is, we’re all well aware of these tropes. Some heroes even eschew some of them. Luke Cage doesn’t bother with a costume, Jean Gray doesn’t really bother with her codename, and the cast of Heroes don’t bother with one either. So why on Earth are we so fixated on including an origin for everyone?

I’ve seen enough Spiderman, Fantastic Four, Hulk, Punisher, Batman and Superman movies to last me a lifetime, and as much as I enjoy seeing heroes’ loved ones kick the bucket, I’ve reached my limit. Especially with Batman and Spiderman.

I’d hoped that Batman vs Superman would be the game-changer. Batman has been around a while in the new shared universe, so an introduction seems counter-intuitive. And the confrontation between the two is far more important than seeing the Waynes die yet again. But no, they still felt the need to show it again.

The Amazing Spiderman franchise similarly gave me false hope.

Here’s the issue: origin stories really aren’t as interesting or important as we tend to think. To the characters, of course, they are integral. But to the audience, it’s an unnecessary embellishment. Too often it requires a scene set in the past, on a dying planet or in a dark alley, which never really feels like part of the film. It’s just backstory. Or, worse, it’s a flashback or a nightmare, and it’s a distraction from the real narrative.

At the end of the day, we know what superheroes are. Even if you’ve never read a comic or watched a saturday morning cartoon, we all understand the concept of a costumed crime-fighter. We don’t need the sob story to rationalize the events – to what little extent a man in a bat costume can be rationalized.

Even back in the 1930s, when superheroes were brand new, very few of them were given origin stories. When adapted to film for the first time, Superman leapt over the exposition in a single bound and skipped ahead to standing for truth, justice and the American way. So if they didn’t need the introduction then, why do we now?

Of course, I’m not entirely against superhero origin stories. For the lesser known characters who have never graced the silver screen before, or the complicated ones, or ones where their origin ties directly to the events of the film out of necessity, I’ll sit through it. The MCU has done well introducing heroes without boring us with details. Except for Hulk, that is. But Man of Steel’s lengthy exposition was beyond unnecessary and it looks like we’re in for more of the same as we get better acquainted with the rest of the JLA.

Shazam is probably the only one that needs an origin story. Anyone else could make do with a few lines of dialogue that reference their past, rather than whole scenes devoted to it. I definitely don’t want to sit through another oath sequence from Green Lantern. And I can’t bear to see another Peter Parker cry over Uncle Ben.

Even for the movies that need them, these introductions should be quick and painless. They just aren’t as satisfying to see as Hollywood seems to think. I would have thought Wolverine:Origins would have proven that. Or are we blaming that all on a bad Deadpool? Which is, incidentally, another movie that missed its potential because it was Wade down with origins. See what I did there?

With so many Spiderman movies, and the enduring popularity of the character, we really really don’t need another rendition of the spider bite and dead uncle. Hopefully, Homecoming will factor that in and skip towards a point where we can finally see the Sinister Six in action.

If not, at least with the new shared universes, it’s going to be a long time before we have to rehash the old beginnings and we’ll finally see the end of the origin…for now.

Time stops for no man, unless they possess the Time Gem


The Time Gem is the last component of the Infinity Gauntlet. Although it doesn’t have quite the reserve of abilities compared to the Soul Gem, it is still powerful enough in its own right. In the comics, it is orange in colour and was the only Soul Gem to not shatter when Captain America used it with the other Infinity Gems against an alternate Earth colliding with their own. It reappeared eventually but that’s a different story entirely.

The user of the Time Gem is granted free reign over the past, present and future. Like all three Ghosts of Christmas, but much broader in subject matter. While the user can also see futures that may or may not come to pass through various visions, they can also travel through time. With the help of the other Infinity Gems, the user can also exist in all points of time at once.

While these abilities have great scope, the Time Gem can also be used to control not only humanity but any age of beings. Seeing as the user has the ultimate time device in their disposal, it is within their power to trap entire worlds, anything within an endless time loop. It could simply be the ultimate weapon. What better way to defeat your foes than to trap them in time? Thanos even did this himself once to the Avengers, before it backfired.

When the Illuminati divided the Infinity Gems amongst themselves, it was Namor who received the Time Gem. As the ruler of Atlantis and all things below sea level, it was believed that he represented a separate part of civilisation that no one else could understand. Namor’s knowledge gave him an insight that he could share with the Illuminati in order to give aid and to prevent war and destruction.

Having shared the Infinity Gems between themselves, they hoped to prevent the Infinity Gauntlet from being used against Earth. When an alternate Earth was colliding with their own, the Illuminati formed the Gauntlet to push it away from themselves. The attempt failed, however, and all but the Time Gem shattered, disappearing into time.

In the MCU, the Time Gem has not yet revealed itself.  There are some theories that Doctor Strange will be in possession of the Time Gem, it is unclear as of yet. Looking at the lineup of Phase Three, I think it unlikely that either the Soul or the Time Gem will be found outside of Thor: Ragnarok, whichever Infinity Gem they decide to go with.

Thor: Ragnarok is set to appear in UK cinemas on 27th October 2017.

A little look into Black Widow's past


Whether you’ve been a fan of Marvel for a while, or if you’ve only heard of her through the MCU, Black Widow has been one of the most influential characters, if not most interesting. With a past holding plenty of surprises and certainly unexpected stories, it’s not hard to see why so many people want to see more of her.

Born and raised in the U.S.S.R., she was orphaned as a child when her parents were killed in a house fire. Picked up by the Soviet Intelligence, she was enrolled onto the Black Widow Programme, overseen by the Winter Soldier and many others, training elite female sleeper agents. This work also included ballet. Around this time, she married a champion test pilot and was happy for a time before his organisation faked his own death. Having graduated, and become the Black Widow, Natalia Ramanova was sent to the U.S. to spy.

Several assignments had her steal, assassinate and spy on various people. With orders to kill Tony Stark, she instead flirted with him in order to steal his anti-gravity ray, enabling her to have some serious fun of her own around New York. Iron Man found out and deactivated the ray, but this was when Black Widow charmed Hawkeye to work for her. She helped him with a full arsenal of technological arrows, including explosive ones and eventually turned him on Iron Man. It didn’t work, however, and Hawkeye gave up when Black Widow was injured. As she recovered, her superiors gave her new tech to try again but both Hawkeye and Black Widow failed once more.

This was when she broke her ties with the U.S.S.R., deciding instead to work freelance for S.H.I.E.L.D. and offer assistance to the Avengers. After a marriage proposal from Hawkeye, she declined and went solo for a while, before teaming up with Daredevil. Their romance bloomed as well, but then she got killed by the Hand and resurrected by the Chaste, and so did Elektra. After all this excitement, Ramanova spends most of her time flitting between jobs, trying to recruit new members and failing to reform them herself. At one point, she even thinks about having a relationship with Captain America, but decides against it considering how much hurt she’s received in the past.

More recently, she was attacked by the new Black Widow from the Red Room Programme and forced to return to Russia to take down the organisation that had succeeded it. Turns out, they wanted everyone associated with the Black Widow Programme killed.

Even after all that has happened between them, Black Widow sides with Iron Man over the civil war. Following the events that unfolded, she joined Iron Man’s Avengers but remained unable to completely trust her fellow comrades after hearing from the Winter Soldier that Captain America’s supposed assassination came courtesy of Iron Man.