Marvel Studios: What’s Next


Being a film critic is sometimes like being Edward Norton in Fight Club. Not the fist fighting and being tearfully cradled in an ex-bodybuilder’s man-boobs, though that is an important part of it. No, I mean the part where he examines the remains of a horrible car wreck.

So much of this gig is about looking back. Surveying the damage, the twisted shards of metal, the charred remains, trying to determine what went wrong. Or occasionally what went right.

Well this week I think it’s time for something a little different. Instead of looking back on what already happened, let’s look ahead and see what’s in store for the future. And given that the DVD/Blu-Ray release of Marvel Studios’ The Avengers is just a week away, let’s take a look at what Marvel is working on next in a summary of what we know so far of Marvel’s “Phase 2” films

Iron Man 3 (May 2, 2013)

The Iron Man flicks are basically Marvel’s flagship property, having kicked off their cinematic universe, so it only makes sense to start with their best, and most well-known, foot forward.

This time Tony will be squaring off against The Mandarin, played by Sir Ben Kingsley. Ok, so is Kingsley going for some kind of record here? He played an Indian, a Persian, and now a Chinese guy? You got range, Ben, but quit showing off

So far the plot is being described as more akin to a high-tech thriller than a conventional superhero movie, and is said to be heavily influenced by Warren Ellis’s 2005 storyline Extremis. The tale saw Stark use a prototype genetic enhancement drug to integrate many of Iron Man’s crucial operating systems into his own body, giving him a plethora of new tricks as well as increased speed and reaction time. The footage shown at comic-con definitely backs this up, and those familiar with the storyline saw some familiar tricks in Tony’s new bag.

Directing duties will be taken up by Shane Black, who previous worked alongside Robert Downey Jr in the excellent caper comedy Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang.


Thor: The Dark World (September 8, 2013)

Details about the sequel to last year’s superhero film/introduction of Chris Hemsworth’s jawline to squealing teenage girls everywhere have been kept more scant.

Unfortunately Sir Kenneth Brannagh won’t be filling the director’s chair this time, but will be replaced by Alan Taylor. Taylor is largely known for TV work, most recently on nerd culture’s latest incursion into mainstream attention, HBO’s Game of Thrones. Does this mean Thor’s next adventure will be full of sex, nudity, cussing and evil blonde kids? Well….prolly not. But we can hope. So far we know Thor will be squaring off against the Dark Elves, led by Christopher Eccelston’s Malekith. Initial rumors suggested very little of the film would take place on earth, though the confirmation that Natalie Portman and Kat Dennings will be returning indicate otherwise. At least this means Jamie Alexander won’t have to fill the movie’s “hot brunette chick quota” all on her lonesome as Sif.


Captain America: The Winter Soldier (April 4, 2014)

Given that 2014 is a long way off, buzz around this one has been pretty light. But comic fans can probably hazard a guess at the plot from the title. Now we just need to find one…..oh, right.

So remember Bucky, Cap’s sidekick from the first flick? Well, just like in the film, he supposedly died during WW2 in the comics. However it was revealed in 2005 that he bad been brought back to life by scheming Russians as a cyborg assassin, kept in cryogenic sleep unless someone pops up that they really wanna see dead, in which case ol’ Bucky, now suffering amnesia and called “The Winter Soldier” is thawed out to put him down before going back in the freezer.

And yes, I do know that all this is fucking ridiculous, you’ll get no argument from me.

The film will reportedly still be set in present day, with Cap working closely with S.H.I.E.L.D, as well as Avengers team-mates Hawkeye and Black Widow, and a new ally, The Falcon, one of Cap’s closest friends in the comics and played by Marvel necomer Anthony Mackie

So who will be directing this tale of espionage and betrayal? Maybe someone known for spy thrillers, like Paul Greengrass? Nope! Anthony and Joe Russo, most known for working on comedy tv, like Arrested Development and the best sitcom on the air today, Community.

No, I am not making this up, I swear to God.


Guardians of the Galaxy (October 1, 2014)

The mid-credits scene in The Avengers (not the schwarma one, the one with the purple dude) teased fans that more elements from Marvel’s wide roster of space-faring characters would be appearing in the cinematic universe, and this was confirmed when Guardians of the Galaxy was announced not long ago,

For those unfamiliar (you blissfully ignorant normies, you) The Guardians are basically the Space Avengers, a team of misfits from various alien races who have come together to do….something. Very little of the plot has been divulged, apart from one report that the team would begin their adventure as convicts being transported to a space prison.

The team consists of:

Groot, a walking talking tree

Rocket Raccoon, an anthropomorphic raccoon with a penchant for heavy ordinance (you heard me)

Gomora, a green chick with a big sword who looks like she should be painted on a headbanger’s van

Drax, basically Riddick in all but name

And finally Star Lord: a cyborg/alien-human hybrid.

If you’re wondering what kind of director could possibly make such an insane sounding film work, Marvel is reportedly courting Super director James Gunn, which should say just about everything, including the fact that I’m looking forward to this one the most.

So when people ask what upcoming movie you’re looking forward to the most, look them in the eye and say “The one where Treebeard from Two Towers and RJ from Over The Hedge team up in space.”

I guarantee you’ll make an impression.

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