Where Does the MCU Go From Here?

SPOILER WARNING!

SERIOUSLY… SPOILER WARNING

With the closing of Endgame the MCU finds itself without two of it’s founding members, Iron Man. Thor has gone full Big Lebowski and has also joined the Guardians of the Galaxy, Hemsworth signed on for Phase 4; Cap has gotten old and retired with the love of his life Peggy while also passing the Captain America mantle onto Sam/Falcon. Nat is gone, Vision is gone, Clint has retired (again), and Banner is healing from his use of the gauntlet. The Avengers have all but disbanded with each hero going their separate ways leaving the MCU in a “State of Uncertainty”. I put that in quotations because while the studio wants us to feel it’s uncertain, it’s all but uncertain. Doctor Strange, Black Panther, Spider-Man, Captain Marvel and the Guardians of the Galaxy all have another film confirmed along with a new Avengers film set to come out in 2022 (most likely), that will leave some time for them to establish a new big bad for the team to fight.

This week I want to take some time and highlight who the most prominent villain options are for the next phase of the MCU and what they could do. I will also give a very brief overview of each villain.

Here we go!

KANG THE CONQUEROR

Kang the Conqueror

With the introduction of time travel into the MCU, Kang is one of the fan favourites to become the next big bad that the Avengers must defeat. He was created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby in 1963 in The Fantastic Four.

Kang comes from the 31st century where time travel has been perfected and a council oversees all aspects of the timeline to prevent meddling by an outside force. Here’s where it gets confusing… Kang’s real name is Nathaniel Richards, a long possible descendant of Reed Richards/Mr. Fantastic. He time jumps a lot between his time and ancient Egypt on Earth before he misses his mark when returning home and arrives on a worn torn planet he doesn’t recognize. He reinvents himself as Kang the Conqueror and resolves to take control of the Earth at an earlier point in the time stream to stop that future from happening. This puts him on a direct collision course with the Avengers and their heroics.

Kang represents the epitome of the MCU embracing the whole time travel concept. While some people didn’t enjoy or even understand the rules the MCU establishes in regards to time travel, Kang could help provide clarification. He could arrive and tell the Avengers that by their meddling with the stones and the time stream they’ve set something on a path that he needs to stop. Have him first become a begrudging ally and then have him turn villain when his machinations and actual plan of conquering is discovered. Like I said, this guy will only work if the MCU wants to fully embrace the upside aspect that time travel creates.

THE BEYONDER

The Beyonder

The Beyonder is a villain that could work within the context of the MCU but would take it on a very different path from the one they’re currently on. The Beyonder was originally created by Jim Shooter and Mike Zeck in 1984.

The Beyonder is an individual of massive cosmic power that can warp and shape reality to whatever he wants. He is classified as Agender, meaning he doesn’t have a singular gender but he has been drawn as a male and one of his aliases is Frank (no, not Frank Castle). His origin is complicated but here’s the cliff notes… Owen Reece accidentally accessed a pocket dimension called the “Beyond-Realm”, which is where he got his molecular manipulation powers; Owen Reece is Molecule Man in Marvel comics. While some of the energy escaped and gave Reece his powers, the rest gained sentience and became the Beyonder. The Beyonder is responsible for the Secret Wars story line from the 80’s where he created Battleworld and brought various villains and heroes there to fight to the death to determine who was the best.

He is a being of near unlimited power that can make whatever he can dream of. This would represent a significant threat for the Avengers to fight as he can make/remake anything he chooses. This would definitely lean into the cosmic side of the MCU but it would move it away from the track it’s currently on. While I would love to see Secret Wars played out on the big screen, there are not enough well established villains and heroes to really do it justice.

GALACTUS

Galactus

The Devourer of Worlds… ’nuff said.

But seriously, Galactus is the top choice for many now that Disney owns Fox and all of the characters previously owned by Fox (Fantastic Four, X-Men, Galactus, etc) have come home.

Galactus was created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby in 1966 and has been one of the big bad entities in the Marvel comic universe ever since. Possessing the Power Cosmic and an insatiable appetite for consuming planets, this guy is one not to be messed with. He is a cosmic entity of massive proportions that must feed on energy to survive. He was there at the birth of the Marvel comic universe and he will be there long after the heroes of the earth are gone. He is one of the constant forces meant to keep balance on a universal scale. He consumes energy rich planets to maintain the balance of life, something Thanos was trying to accomplish. Thanos once said that he “…is nothing compared to Galactus”.

Galactus would definitely open up the MCU on a massive cosmic scale as this guy is something that all the galaxies in the Marvel comics universe fear and know. The only drawback to this guy is how incredibly powerful he is. There is no way that the Avengers would be able to beat him without introducing some new uber powerful members to the team.

ANNIHILUS

Annihilus

This guy is my personal choice for where Phase 4 should go. He was created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby in 1968 and has been a main villain of the Fantastic 4 and the Avengers since his first printing.

Annihilus is an Arthrosian, which is a race of insectoid-like beings from the planet Arthros in the Negative Zone. They grow tough chitinous exo-skeletons that are capable of withstanding bullets and most physical attacks. Some of these beings are able to fly and while some are also able to breathe fire. Annihilus was one of the first Arthrosians to be created, but he is also the only one to discover their creators’ ( Tyannans) crashed ship and learn their secrets. He used this knowledge to become leader of the Arthrosians and eventual ruler of the entire Negative Zone (a universe parallel to the main Marvel universe composed entirely of Anti-matter). Annihilus has millions of insectoid soldiers which are referred to as an “Annihilation Wave”, which he has used to attack the main Marvel universe on more than one occasion, most notably the Annihilation event. Annihilus has many powers that make him a formidable enemy: Super strength, Super speed, Super reflexes and agility, his exoskeleton in nearly impervious to almost all physical damage, he can fly up to 150 mph and he can survive in the vacuum of space.

Annihilus would be a great villain to have the new team go up against because it would also open up a whole new aspect of the multiverse for the Avengers to explore. The only downside is that he is an uber powerful tyrant with a nameless/faceless army that is nearly endless (sound familiar?). I just really think that he would be unbelievably awesome to see on screen and for as strong and as ruthless as he is, he doesn’t get a lot of recognition.

ULTRON

Ultron

If Annihilus is my first choice, Ultron is definitely my VERY close second choice. I know what you’re going to say “But Tristan, we already got Ultron in Age of Ultron and he wasn’t that good”. True, we did get him in Age of Ultron, but in my mind that wasn’t a good representation. James Spader killed it as the voice of Ultron, but they made him look too human and act too human. He is supposed to be an emotionless robot that is smarter than anyone else and who believes humanity had it’s time and needs to be gone.

“The savage monkeys are rage-filled and claustrophobic. Climbing over one another to nowhere. Confused by logic, they dismiss it. Choosing instead to bend their knees to the convenient fantasy of custom-built gods. 99.9% of these primate dullards are propped up by the accomplishments of the .1% of cerebral mutations who give them everything. And what do the fleas do with these advancements? They brutalize one another over imaginary deities. They slaughter their neighbors for resources, for conveniences. They are hopeless. Vicious. Filthy. Selfish. Fearful. A fungoso infection for which there is only one cure–The rage of Ultron” – Ultron

When Roy Thomas and John Buscema created him in 1968, I don’t think they realized the villain they were making. Every time that Ultron shows up he has upgraded himself somehow to make sure that he can’t be beaten the same way again. Each body that Ultron upgrades himself to has various different abilities and powers and it’s almost impossible to list them all. He stands as one of the greatest achievements of Hank Pym (yes Hank made him in the comics, not Tony) but also as one of the greatest threats to the universe as a whole. BRING HIM BACK!

DR. DOOM

Dr. Doom

Doctor Victor Von Doom is my third top choice for the new villain that vexes the Avengers, he was created in 1962 by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby. He is primarily a villain of the Fantastic 4 but has gone against the Avengers on more than one occasion.

Victor was born in the small country of Latveria to his father Werner Von Doom and his mother Cynthia. Doom’s mother was killed by the demon Mephistocles (the one who made Johnny Blaze the Ghost Rider) when a deal they bartered went wrong. His father died when he fled with young Victor into the wilderness to escape their country. Victor resolved to learn all he could about magic and technology so that he could one day make Mephisto pay for what he did to his mother. He attended school in the USA where he met Reed Richards and Ben Grimm. Reed and Victor never really saw eye to eye and their intense rivalry began there at the university. He developed a machine that could project an astral form on oneself into another dimension, he was hoping to use it to free his mother from Mephisto. Reed went over his math and pointed out a flaw in some of his calculations, but Doom ignored him thinking Reed was trying to upstage him. The machine exploded scarring Doom’s body and his face and he was expelled from the school for unethical experimentations. He blamed Reed for his scarring and expulsion. He traveled the world and eventually found a Tibetan village that helped him to construct a suit of armour to protect himself. He returned to his homeland of Latveria and overthrew the government declaring himself king. He has used the resources of Latveria to help his experimentations and further his power.

Doom would make an amazing character to bring in to the mix, but the problem here is that in order for his story to be told properly, the Fantastic 4 need to be there. Kevin Feige has said that while there are plans to bring them and the X-Men into the MCU, it won’t happen for quite a few years yet (ball parking a 2024-2025 inclusion). Doom has made some great storylines, at the culmination of the MarvelNow! run on Avengers, Doom became God Doom. He had the power of the universe and Celestials at his disposal not to mention Molecule Man, that’s how he made the new Secret Wars. I think it would provide a really different dynamic, especially if they leaned into Doom being the Diplomatic leader of Latveria giving him diplomatic immunity from prosecution. Like I said, it’s a very cool idea, but it would need the Fantastic 4 to properly do it and that’s something that’s not likely to happen for a few years.

NORMAN OSBORN

Norman Osborn

Norman Virgil Osborn was born in Hartford Connecticut to his mother and failed inventor of a father. Norman’s father was abusive and took out his frustrations on him. His father claims he was swindled out of money and inventions by business partners and that’s why he was a failure. Norman resolved to never be like his father and became obsessed with power and wealth. He was first created by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko in 1964 where he appeared as the Green Goblin in The Amazing Spider-Man.

Norman studied at Empire State University where he became good friends with Professor Mendel Stromm. They decided to go into business together following Norman’s graduation; and since Norman was fronting most of the money for the start up, they called the company Oscorp Chemical. Norman married his college sweetheart Emily Lyman and they had a son, Harold “Harry” Osborn. Emily grew very ill following Harry’s birth and died not soon after. Norman, unable to process his grief, threw himself into his work and left little time for Harry. Stromm was caught embezzling from Oscorp and was arrested making Norman the CEO of the whole company. When he was going through Stromm’s notes he found a serum that Stromm had developed that would make him superhumanly powerful. Before he could take it though, Harry found out what his father was doing and switched some of the chemicals because he was tired of being ignored. When the serum exploded in his face and Norman inhaled the fumes he was hospitalized. He woke from his coma thinking “more clearly than he ever had before”; but, the insanity was not far behind. He developed the persona of Green Goblin to kill Spider-Man to prove himself as someone who could unite all the gangs of New York under one ruler. Norman has been battling with his insanity ever since and has managed to beat it on a couple of occasions.

Norman like Doom would make for an interesting person for the Avengers to go against because he’s human. He doesn’t have an alien armada that can wipe out the Earth, all he has are his wits and a whole lot of influence, think Kingpin on steroids. Not only is he a super powerful business magnate, but he is also a supervillain in his off time. He has become the Director of SHIELD which he renamed to HAMMER, he has led the Thunderbolts and he has even led the Avengers (really a bunch of villains posing as the Avengers, actually called the Dark Avengers). The most recent story I read with him actually took place at the end of the Superior Spider-Man run where he became the Goblin King and nearly took over all of New York. The main issue for Osborn, is that he needs to be established as a Spider-Man villain first off, like Doom needs to be established by the Fantastic 4. Once they do that, then they can have him mucking stuff about for the Avengers, but since the new Spider-Man villain is Mysterio (from a parallel Earth apparently), that won’t happen for at least a few years.

There you have it, those are the most popular options for the big bad of the MCU for Phase 4. My top three are Annihilus, Ultron and Dr. Doom but Osborn is a close fourth. I just hope that whatever Kevin Feige has planned, it’s something that’s a worthy successor to the Infinity Saga. See you next week!

Endgame – It Took A Lot

11 years, 22 movies, 1 epic saga.

I am fresh off my first viewing of Endgame ( Yes, I plan on seeing it multiple times) and am honestly blown away at the work the Russos did with this film and their previous entries in the MCU. These two guys went from having their biggest directorial accolades being the paintball episodes of the TV show Community to directing Captain America: Winter Soldier, Captain America: Civil War, Avengers: Infinity War & Avengers: Endgame!

This is going to be a lengthy post where I discuss many of the amazing points of Endgame and the things they did well to help set up the future of the MCU.

SPOILER ALERT!

Seriously… SPOILERS that will ruin Endgame if you haven’t seen it yet!

FINAL WARNING, SPOILERS AHEAD!

TIME TRAVEL

I would just like to say that I, like many others, called it right form the get go that the entire problem would be solved with the use of Quantum Time Travel! Now that that’s out of the way, time travel?!? I mean it had to come into play at some point, but they never mentioned it until Ant-Man and the Wasp, and even then it was a blink and you’ll miss it moment from Michelle Pfeiffer. Despite all the pop culture references that both Rhodey (Don Cheadle) and Scott (Paul Rudd) make to previous time travel films, Endgame makes it’s own rules in regards to that. Vulture Magazine does a great job of explaining the school of thought that went into to Endgame’s time travel, their article is here:

https://www.vulture.com/2019/04/how-does-time-work-in-avengers-endgame.html

For those that don’t want to read it all I’m going to give an abridged version…

Linear time. That is the method of time continuity utilized in the MCU.

This goes against every single previous film where various characters established that by influencing something in the past, that drastic changes could happen in the future, think the Butterfly Effect. This also brings into the effect of the “grandfather paradox” wherein you travel back in time and meet a girl (or guy or person or sock puppet… I don’t judge) and end up having an offspring. This child grows up to become your parent who then goes on to have you, who grows up to go back in time and complete the loop. Or you go back in time and accidentally kill yourself by some freak accident or on purpose, this erases you from the timeline and your future self ceases to exist because you died earlier in the timeline, Looper is a prime example of this.

Banner quashes this notion right away as they begin meddling with their time travel experiments. “If you travel back into your own past, that destination becomes your future, and your former present becomes the past, which can’t now be changed by your new future“; this is the explanation he offers when Rhodey suggests going back and killing baby Thanos. Basically, even if they went back and killed Thanos as a baby it wouldn’t change their future because the ‘snappening’ already occurred. By killing Thanos it would create an alternate timeline where the snap didn’t occur. This explanation helps to establish early on that this won’t be an easy fight for the Avengers. Time travel tends to be an easy out for a lot of difficult situations and while yes, it can very well be, the fact that they can’t just go back to a previous time and beat Thanos means that they need to find a different way to win, and they do, kind of. They still use time travel to go back and get the stones, but they take them from points in time where they were not actively being used, also resolving to return them to the exact moment when they were taken so as not to upset the flow of time and create an alternate timeline.

The Ancient One (Tilda Swinton) explains this to Banner when he goes to the Sanctum Sanctorum to get the Time Stone from Strange. She explains that when a stone is taken out of “its reality” this creates a diverging path on the time stream which makes an alternate timeline. Banner reasons with her that Strange had to know this would happen which was why he gave up the time stone to Thanos in Infinity War. The Ancient One finally agrees stating that since Strange is destined to become the greatest Sorcerer Supreme, he must’ve know what he is doing.

Stone Retrieval

This portion of the movie made me extremely happy when I saw it. Obviously, because of each of the stones being at different points in time and locations in the universe, small teams had to be made to grab each stone. I’m going to break them down into their locations:

New York, 2012: Iron Man, Captain America, Ant-Man and Hulk

This squad had to travel back to the Battle of New York and try and abscond with two separate stones following their victory. Cap ended up having to fight his past self and beat him to obtain the scepter/mind stone. Tony and Scott nearly had the Tesseract/Space Stone but an untimely entrance from an angry Hulk let Loki use it to disappear. This led to Tony and Steve going further back into the past to get the Tesseract and more Pym particles to make the trip home. Having the future crew slinking around the post battle New York trying to steal the stones made for a great “Time Heist” as Ant-Man so aptly put it. We were also given a nice little nugget when Cap gets into the elevator and takes the scepter from the Strike team. I was preparing for another epic elevator fight but Cap just leans in and whispers in Sitwell’s ear “Hail Hydra” letting him walk away with the scepter no questions asked.

Asgard, 2013: Rocket and Thor

Arriving on the day of Malekith’s attack on the fabled city, “fat Thor”, as he has come to be coined by the fans, and Rocket need to sneak up on Jane Foster and steal the Aether/ Reality Stone out of her using a menacing looking needle. Thor has a panic attack and runs away because of his failure in stopping Thanos previously. He meets up with his mother and she instantly recognizes him as her son from the future, because and I quote “I was raised by witches boy”. She helps Thor to realize that it wasn’t his fault and that he did everything he could while Rocket plays a very weird game of secret agent following Jane around trying to poke her. When they finally get the Aether and are ready to leave, Thor calls Mjolnir to him proving he is still worthy of his Godhood and the power he wields.

Morag & Vormir, 2014: War Machine, Nebula, Widow and Hawkeye

The Morag crew lie in wait for Star Lord to do his entrance from the first Guardians film to the tune of “Come and Get Your Love” playing on his walkman. They ambush him and knock him out stealing the Orb/Power stone before he or Korath and his necro soldiers could get it. As they leave, Nebula malfunctions and is then abducted and has her place switched with her past angry and relentless self.

The Vormir crew were doomed from the start. We as fans knew what the cost of obtaining the Soul stone was, but Clint and Nat didn’t. Watching them bond and take comfort in each other’s company on the way there and act like nothing has changed was saddening. They met with Skull and were told the same thing Thanos was in Infinity War, in order to obtain the stone they must lose what they hold most dear… a soul for a soul. Natasha ended up making the sacrifice play so the team could get the soul stone.

Avengers Assemble

They get the stones, they put them on the gauntlet and Hulk puts it on and snaps his fingers. Nothing happens. Then, 2014 Thanos and his invasion Army show up and attack the Avengers compound, decimating it. Thor, Cap and Iron Man decide to take the fight to Thanos and hopefully kill him so they can reset the timeline. The battle gets intense with Cap picking up Mjolnir showing, that like many have suspected since Age of Ultron, he is worthy of the power of Thor. Even two hammer wielders are not enough and the trinity is beaten with Thanos shattering Cap’s shield. As Cap stands, bloody, exhausted and beaten facing down Thanos, his Children (Corvus, Ebony, Proxima, Cull) and his invasion army, he gets a call over his comm from Sam (Falcon) saying the cavalry is coming. Dozens of sling ring portals open and the people of Earth, sorcerers, Wakandans and heroes newly revitalized emerge onto the battlefield and stand with Cap. He stares Thanos down and gives a rousing “Avengers Assemble!”The heroes charge forward and the battle starts.

Throughout the battle each hero is given their own little bit of the spotlight while the good guys and their allies are playing a game of keep away from Thanos. Several of the heroes have heartfelt reunions like Tony and Peter showing the stakes they were all fighting for. The game of keep away intensifies as Thanos grows enraged at the heroes tactics. Peter takes the gauntlet, activates his instant kill mode and runs through the battle. Panther and the Wakandans deal blow after blow but somehow Thanos gets closer to the gauntlet. Wanda stares Thanos down for what he did to Vision and begins beating him and crushing him with her powers, the ship fires on his position further decimating both sides of the battle. Captain Marvel shows up in a new suit with a new haircut and takes the gauntlet from Peter. She teams up with every female hero and they blitz through the battlefield to get the gauntlet to Scott to hide in the Quantum realm. Thanos destroys the Quantum tunnel leaving the heroes with only two options, kill him or use the gauntlet. Despite their efforts, Thanos gets the gauntlet and Tony tackles him. As Thanos throws Tony off and snaps his fingers he says ” I am inevitable” (*cough* Agent Smith *cough*). When nothing happens he looks at the gauntlet to see all the stones gone. Tony pulled them all off and set them into his armour. He looks at Thanos and replies with ” and I… am Iron Man” as he snaps his fingers. Thanos and all his troops and children turn to dust with Tony bringing back everyone that had previously been snapped out of existence. Tony dies of the toll using the stones took on his body, but he died a hero for the entire universe.

Passing the Torch

This is it, this is the end of the path he started us on. It began in 2008 with Tony and Iron Man, it ended in 2019 with Tony and Endgame. During the funeral service for Tony where we see all the heroes and their families who are alive because of him and his actions, we are also shown a (now teenage) Harley Keener, the kid who helped Tony in Iron Man 3, attending the memorial service solo. Happy is having a tough time with Tony’s death and talks with Tony and Pepper’s daughter Morgan, who asks him for cheeseburgers. Happy smiles and tells her that her dad loved cheeseburgers as well vowing to get her all the cheeseburgers she could ever want.

Steve and Bruce use a now rebuilt and smaller Quantum platform to send Steve back in time to return all the stones to their original points where they were taken, thereby setting the timeline on its correct path. Steve however never returns. When Sam and Bruce freak out trying to find a way to bring him back, Bucky spies and old man sitting on a bench overlooking the lake. He tells Sam to go talk to him and as Sam approaches it’s shown to be an old Steve Rogers. He tells Sam that after he sent the stones back he decided that the future wasn’t for him and returned to the love of his life Peggy. They got married and grew old together. He then bequeaths the Captain America shield (now fixed because it was taken from an alternate timeline) and gives it to Falcon naming him the next Captain America.

I spoke with my oldest friend, Malcolm Cottle, about his thoughts on the movie and we both felt that it would’ve meant more to Steve’s arc to give the shield to Bucky. He went through so much trouble to get Bucky back and then he just gives his mantle and prized possession to some guy he met a little over 2 years ago? Doesn’t make sense. I know Falcon is the current Captain America (in the Marvel Comics) but I think it should’ve gone to Bucky so he could help to redeem his past deeds as Winter Soldier.

CONCLUSION

I honestly can say that I loved this movie. I thought it was a great ending to the story that began all those years ago and helped to set up the new crew as the Avengers. Obviously I am sad to see the original 6 go, but their story has been told and they need to make room for different characters. I would rate the movie a solid 9.9/10. I take off 0.1 points because they killed Widow and Bucky didn’t get the shield, but other than that I really don’t have anything to complain about at this time. I’m sure that through some subsequent viewings and some deliberation something may come up but at this point as long as you can wrap your head around their time travel rules, this movies is perfect!

“Whatever It Takes” – Avengers Endgame

I spent a large portion of the week waffling over two separate ideas for this week’s post and then my oldest friend Malcolm sent me a golden nugget that I could use… the new Avengers Trailer! Now for those who haven’t seen it, this isn’t a regular teaser like the last one they published, with all the heroes looking defeated, this is a full blown trailer! Check it out below:

Oh boy! So many goodies! Let’s dive in!

THE TRAILER

This one like the previous teaser starts with an exposition by Tony as he drifts through space following the defeat of the Avengers on Titan. He reminisces about how everything started with him 10 years ago (which we now know is false, thanks Captain Marvel) and how it’s going to end with him alone in space. He expands on how he has let Pepper down and hoped he would be able to pull one last amazing surprise out of the bag for her (implying his evading certain death on multiple occasions), but this time he sadly won’t.

While this exposition is going on we are shown black and white shots of Tony after he crashed during his initial escape from the Ten Rings in Iron Man from 2008. The interesting thing is that despite the rest of the shot being black and white, every instance of red is vibrant to show a great contrast.

Black Widow and Ronin/Hawkeye

We switch perspectives to see Steve’s beginnings with Peggy Carter voicing over saying ” The World has changed… none of us can go back. All we can do is our best… and sometimes the best we can do is to start over”. We are then shown shots of Steve in a support group for survivors of the snappening and a nice wholesome shot of Clint Barton (Hawkeye/Ronin) teaching his daughter how to shoot an arrow like him. This is a great shot that further highlights Clint as a family man and a nice Easter Egg to female Hawkeye (Kate Bishop) in the current Marvel comics. The final shot of Steve’s sequence comes from Peggy’s funeral where he was a pallbearer. Again, with keeping in the theme of Tony’s exposition, it’s in all black and white except for the colour red on the flag draped over Peggy’s casket.

Hawkeye training his daughter

Thor’s exposition comes accompanying black and white shots of Asgard, his father and him, and him watching as the other heroes disintegrate following the snappening. The colour red is again amplified in the bleak black and white frames.

We shift back to Steve saying that he has been telling everyone they should move on, but then he finishes with saying “…some do, but not us”. The colour returns to the trailer to show him sitting at a table in Avengers HQ with Black Widow and Bruce Banner. We see Scott Lang standing in front of his ex wife’s/ daughter’s home which looks like it hasn’t been touched in a while and staring at some missing flyers posted to the telephone pole.

Widow delivers a great line saying ” Even if there’s a small chance, we owe this to everyone who is not in this room, to try.” We are shown some various scenes of the heroes looking angered and resolved that they are going to try to set things right.

Steve responds by saying “We will. Whatever it takes”; which is echoed by Widow, Hawkeye, and Tony voicing over shots of them each individually. The Avengers theme blares through the trailer as we finally see the Avengers walking through the hangar at the Avengers HQ wearing their white Quantum suits. Cue the title card! The purple Avengers symbol is now being put together as the title ‘Endgame’ appears in a flash of purple light.

The final shot of the trailer shows Thor walking up behind Captain Marvel, her turning around and standing her ground as he calls Stormbreaker to him. When she smirks at him as he stands there resting on his hammer he looks up to the others in the room and says “I like this one”.

MY THOUGHTS AND PREDICTIONS

Oh boy. This trailer gets me super excited to see this movie! Although, for the first time in a LONG time, I will not be able to see it opening night. I’m going to have to wait a full 4 days before I’ll be able to see it! I digress…

First thing that’s very evident from this and the previous teaser is that despite having lost everything the Avengers are not going to let this slide. That should be evident, because they’re the Avengers, but this shows that while they may accept that they finally lost a fight, the war is far from over.

Captain America in his Quantum suit with Nebula in background

It’s sad to think that this is going to be the last time we see the original Avengers on screen together. We know all of their contracts have officially run out. There may have been some back room extensions on certain contracts (Scar Jo and her Widow solo film), but Chris Evans has stated that he is officially done as Captain America. RDJ is amazing as Tony Stark but let’s be honest, Marvel can’t afford to keep him around much longer. We have Captain Marvel and Black Panther set to take over as the leaders of the team following the departure of the founding members. They will be joined by newcomers: Dr. Strange, Spider-Man, Scarlett Witch, Ant-Man, Vision and maybe Hulk will stick around.

One theme that is running throughout the Marvel comics is the belief that the Avengers are invincible. This belief is held by the population of Earth and even some of the Avengers themselves, that no matter what happened they will pull through because of who they are. The MCU has taken this concept and incorporated it into their version of the team.

Infinity War showed us that while they may be Gods among humankind, they are far from infallible. Thor’s hubris led to Loki’s invasion of Earth, Tony’s narcissism created Ultron and despite their best efforts, they could not stop Thanos from getting all the stones and causing the snappening. As I’ve said before, they may be down, but they are far from out.

Tony said it best in Avengers from 2012, ” You’re missing the point. There is no throne. There is no version of this where you come out on top. Maybe your army comes and maybe it’s too much for us, but it’s all on you. Because if we can’t protect the Earth, you can be damn well sure we’ll avenge it.

BONUS

Rocket and War Machine

My new favourite power couple from this trailer is Rocket and War Machine! I don’t know what they’re looking at in this scene, but if Rocket is smiling it’s either really really good or really really bad, there is no in between…

Avengers:Endgame is released on April 26, 2019. See you next week!

Avengers: Endgame – Trailer Breakdown & Plot Prediction

Earlier this morning we were gifted with an early Christmas present, the new Avengers trailer! Originally it was supposed to be released on Wednesday earlier this week; however, due to the untimely death of past President George H. W. Bush, it was pushed to today to accommodate his televised funeral service in Washington. I was not familiar with his policies and and acts as president of the United States  but from what I understand he did a lot of good for the country and he will be sorely missed.

Onto the trailer!

Ever since the ‘snappening’ at the end of Infinity War, fans have been speculating as to what will happen to the defeated team. With Ant-Man and the Wasp, we were shown a probable solution to the Avengers’ problem of dealing with a fully powered Thanos with all the Infinity stones, Quantum Time Wells. In the post-credit sequence of Ant-Man and the Wasp, original Wasp (Janet Van Dyne) was coaching Scott on what to look for in the Quantum Realm. One of the anomalies that she cautions against is Quantum Time Wells, which (I think) is how the Avengers are more than likely going to beat Thanos. 

Let’s breakdown the trailer…

We start with a lonely Tony recording a voice message in hopes that Pepper will one day see it and know that in his last moments he will be thinking about her. He states that his oxygen will run out by the next day and power a few days after that, but he wants her to know that in his final days she was all he could think about. Which shows a lot of personal growth for Tony, ever since we were first introduced to him in 2008’s Iron Man he has been a fairly narcissistic person. Pepper was the one person that he could care about and who he wanted above all to protect. 

Tony recording the message for Pepper

The title card for Marvel Studios got a bit of a redo since the ‘snappening’ and now shows the title discarding into dust much like some of the heroes did after the snap.

We are shown Thanos’ armour arranged on a stand to represent a scarecrow as Thanos walks through a field of alien plants still wearing the damaged gauntlet. Apparently after Thanos murders half of the life in the universe he decided to become a farmer?

Thanos scarecrow

We are shown some exterior shots of the Avengers compound while Widow is summarizing what Thanos did to a startled Bruce Banner. We see a shot of a now beardless and groomed Cap shedding a tear for either Bucky or his friends and allies. Banner is amazed at everything that happened and see all the people they lost as their faces begin rotating through a wheel on the holo-screen in front of him.

Cap sheds a tear for the fallen

We get a shot of the empty Avengers compound and then more shots of the survivors from the ‘snappening’ as they mourn their friends and loved ones. We get a nice voice over from Captain America as he states that they all lost someone either friends or family and that they all lost part of themselves when it happened. 

Ronin

We cut to a shot of a hooded figure cleaning a bloody sword on their sleeve while Widow watches in a town somewhere in Asia. The figure removes their hood and mask to reveal Clint Barton who has adopted his Ronin alias. Cap’s voice over then says “This is the fight of our lives” as we see him looking at the picture of Peggy Carter he keeps in his compass. Inside of a Quinjet, Widow turns to him and says that their plan will work while Steve says ” I know it will, because I don’t know what I’m going to do if it doesn’t”.

Cap in Quinjet

We then get the title card for the movie where the avengers “A” is being put back together from broken stone on a purple background. The Avengers title appears on the screen with the subtitle “Endgame” appearing out of a purple flash. The final shot of the trailer shows us Scott Lang arriving at the Avengers compound and talking to the security camera asking to be let in. He introduces himself as Ant-Man and that they would remember him from the airport in Germany. Cap stands up with a determined look in his eyes asking if it’s an old message with Widow stating “No, this is at the front gate”. We then get a purple title card stating April 2019 with the ‘A’ in April as the Avengers ‘A’. 

April 2019

My prediction of the plot is as follows:
Scott Lang arrives along with Clint who has assumed the Ronin persona to the Avengers compound where Captain America and Black Widow are thinking up a counterattack. He explains how everyone (Hank, Hope & Janet) were wiped out and he needs to get them back. Cap and Widow will then explain what happened with Thanos and they will take some time coming up with a plan.
Tony is floating in space in the Milano (Peter’s ship from Guardians of the Galaxy) but without any fuel or knowledge of how the hip works/to fix it, he is set to drift in the void between Titan and Earth. He will be found by Captain Marvel who is answering Fury’s call from the post-credit scene in Infinity War. They return to Earth where the remaining Avengers and those that survived the ‘snappening’ are formulating their plan. 
Thanos is a farmer? and he is happy at what he has down knowing the universe will spin on. Though he knows something isn’t quite right.
The remaining Avengers decide to use Quantum Time Vortexes to go back in time to the battle of New York from the first Avengers film. Tony poses as a SHIELD security agent in order to help break Loki out so he can tell them where Thanos is. The original avengers and the new squad ally together during the battle of New York. The new squad are responsible for protecting the city while the original crew head through the wormhole to confront Thanos on the Chitauri station when he doesn’t have any of the stones.
In the climactic battle the portal will need to be closed . The original crew will still be fighting Thanos and they’ll make the sacrifice to hold the line while the new squad closes the portal to Earth, stranding them in Chitauri space. Cap and Tony will make a final stand against Thanos with both dying in the fight. With Thanos being defeated and not lasting to get both the power and space stones, the other stones are then returned to their rightful places and the timeline is reset. 

There you have it! My breakdown of the trailer and my prediction of the plot. I am super excited for this film and hope that it’s going to be even better than Infinity War was! See you next time!

Modern Villains & The Complexity They Represent

2018 has been an amazing year for movies. No contest. One of the greatest things that came around this year in particular is that the villains being chosen for movies are not the classic villain. While some do have a “Take over the world because I want to” vibe to them, most of them are compelling and interesting characters. They represent an alternative way of thinking and while they might choose the wrong path they aren’t necessarily wrong. Let’s look at some of the great villains from movies this year. 

THANOS

The biggest movie event of the year, and probably the last 20, was Avengers: Infinity War that premiered on April 27, 2018. The last 10 years of Marvel films have been building up to this event and it paid off (for the most part) extremely well. The big bad in this movie was the Mad Titan Thanos, but this Thanos was MUCH different from his comic book counter part. In Marvel Comics, Thanos is evil for the sake of it. He doesn’t have any real ulterior motivations other than wanting to be reunited with Lady Death, whom he has fallen in love with. Thanos thought that if he could prove to her that he deserved her love she would admit that she belonged with him and they would finally be united in love. Yes, comic Thanos wants to bang a busty skeleton and that is why he kills half the universe. While this does work to make a great villain to have the Avengers go up against, the maniacal overlord trope has been used and abused so many times in film that something else needed to be done, enter the Russo brothers.  

Until they directed Captain America: The Winter Soldier, the Russo’s main directing credit came from the paintball episodes of Community. With their success at crafting (arguably) the best Marvel movie to date, Kevin Feige gave them the reigns to bring Thanos to the big screen. The Russos dove into their work and brought us a mad titan that you could sympathize with. In the MCU, Thanos begins his quest to get power sure, but having the power wasn’t his goal it was a means to an end, he wants to bring the universe back into balance. His main argument is that he is the only one who can see that eventually life will cease to exist if left to prosper unchecked. We find out that this is what led to the downfall and extinction of his home planet. He states that the universe only has a finite number of resources and that those resources are being used at an alarming rate. So, to ensure the longevity of life, a culling must take place. 50% of the entire universe, chosen indiscriminately to ensure fairness, needs to die to ensure life continues.  This draws an interesting parallel to our own planet where we are using resources at an increasingly fast pace and Global Warming will become inevitable in less than 50 years unless we do something about it. The redeeming quality of Thanos, is that he knows he is also part of the problem and he is willing to sacrifice himself if it means the universe spins on. 

KILLMONGER

On February 16, 2018, we were introduced to the nation of Wakanda through Ryan Coogler’s epic film Black Panther. Having been introduced to T’Challa in Captain America: Civil War, his solo film was where Black Panther was really allowed to shine. Part of what made the movie so great was its compelling villain, Eric “Killmonger” Stevens also known as N’Jadaka. Now Killmonger spent the first good portion of the movie manipulating his way into Wakanda proper before executing his plan. He attempted and succeeded in a coup of the throne by exploiting his right to challenge the king to one on one combat for the throne. While he missed the official day where all the tribes were permitted to present a challenger, his cousin T’Challa accepted his challenge. Killmonger was a vicious fighter and had been trained by the CIA to work as a black ops member to destabilize foreign governments. He racked up over 2,200 confirmed kills and decorated his body with ceremonial “crocodile” markings for each life he took. When Killmonger defeated his cousin and assumed the throne his first act after ingesting the heart shaped herb for himself was to burn the garden where it was grown. His second order was to arm the “Dogs of War” Wakanda had stationed around the globe so they could arm the disenfranchised descendants of the African people to take control. Having grown up in the slums of Oakland California after his father, prince N’Jobu was killed by the king T’Chaka for betraying the people of Wakanda, Killmonger knew the conditions his people’s descendants were living in. Wanting to end the subjugation of his people he believed that the only way to accomplish this task was to create a series of coups around the globe and arm the revolutionaries with Wakandan tech, which is way more advanced than the rest of the world.

His belief in the ability and requirement of the Wakandan nation to end their ruse of appearing as a third world country and assume their rightful place as rulers of the world, caused a shift in the people of Wakanda. While some like the Border Tribe allied with Killmonger, most didn’t agree with his way of thinking. When T’Challa returned and took his throne back, he agreed that it was time for Wakanda to step out of the shadows and take a more active role in the affairs of the world. In the end, Killmonger was right even if he went about it the wrong way, and his people took their place as major players in the affairs of the world. 

GRINDELWALD

Say what you will about the second installment of the Fantastic Beasts franchise, Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald, but the villain Gellert Grindelwald, played by the great Johnny Depp, stands as one villain you can’t help but sympathize with.

SPOILERS AHEAD!!!

The movie starts nearly immediately after the first one ended, I believe there has been a few months of time that passed but nothing has really changed. We start with the American Ministry of Magic holding Grindelwald in a cell before the British ministry representatives arrive to transport him to Europe for his crimes. They never specify what his crimes are but it appears he is like most of the mafia bosses in history, linked to many crimes without direct evidence to place him there. While his followers do utilize the unforgivable curses to their full extent and with wanton disregard for the muggle population, Grindelwald doesn’t use any of the curses himself. It also appears in the film that in certain circumstances, the 1920’s Ministry of Magic condoned Aurors utilizing the killing curse to stop large threats to the Wizarding World.  Now none of this really has anything to do with Grindelwald but it is important to know because of how the movie plays out. The reason that you sympathize with Grindelwald comes at the climax of the film. Grindelwald is hosting a massive congregation of witches and wizards from across Europe in order to recruit them to his side. While most people think Grindelwald is just a Voldemort analogue, they could not be more wrong. While Voldemort wanted to extinguish muggles and all muggleborns because he viewed them as dirty or unclean, Grindelwald wants to control them.  He understands that in the beginning there will be death and that is the price they must pay for their ultimate goal which is harmony through wizard rule. Now while this definitely sounds “Take over the world villainy”, give me a moment to explain…

The movie takes place in the 1920’s which comes on the tail of the ending of the First World War. Now we learn that the wizarding world didn’t take part in the war in any capacity but countless witches and wizards were killed because of it through collateral damage. Grindelwald provides a vision to his congregation at the end of the film that predicts WWII and the dropping of the atomic bomb. He goes on to say, that if left to their own devices, muggles could destroy the planet within the next 20 years and calls for witches and wizards from all countries to ally with him to bring the muggle world to order to stop unnecessary death.  This causes a lot of the congregation to ally with him and chant his name in unison, which is something he relishes in. It’s obvious Grindelwald is an egomaniac, but being an egomaniac doesn’t mean he was wrong in his beliefs. 

There you go, three fine examples of how modern films are moving away from traditional villainy and giving us more complex villains. As I’ve said before, while some of them went about it the wrong way, none of them were wrong in what they thought.  See you next time!

The Road to Infinity War

With the biggest comic movie event in History just two weeks away. I thought it would be good to give a rundown of the road to Infinity and where we find each of our heroes as this event begins to take shape. Black Panther was the final piece of the puzzle prior to release of Infinity War and helped to bring the major battleground of Infinity War into the spotlight. From most of the trailers we can see that a large battle takes place on Wakandan soil. Several of the Secret Avengers and the regular Avengers fight together backed by the Wakandan army against Thanos and his Outrider army. I have already provided a run down of the Infinity Stone locations which can be found here:

https://comicfan9812.wordpress.com/2017/10/05/infinity-stone-rundown-locations-and-powers/

With the stone locations and powers out of the way, let’s dive into the actual characters…

*WARNING! This post will contain spoilers for Black Panther and all other MCU movies*

CAPTAIN AMERICA/NOMAD

Avengers-3-Poster-Nomad-Blonde-Widow-Infinity-War

The biggest change for a character from the OG lineup is that Cap, has dropped the Star Spangled hero name. At the conclusion of Civil War he chose to side with Bucky and the truth over Tony and his quest for revenge. As he limped off after incapacitating Tony, he dropped his shield. This was a huge moment for Cap, as through his entire arc with his own trilogy and the Avengers films, he has become more and more disenfranchised with the way the governments of the world are handling things. He finally sheds that last bit of identity that has anchored him to his legacy for the last 80 years and is now embracing his own path. At least at the beginning of the film he has taken the identity of Nomad, which is a nod to several comics where Cap lost faith in the government he swore to defend. I’m betting that by the end of the film he will once again be the Captain America the world looks up to. Also at the conclusion of Civil War we also saw Cap/Nomad/Steve Rogers, breaking his team out of the Raft prison to then become the Secret Avengers. I am really hoping they incorporate Cap’s final stand from the Infinity War comic against Thanos, I just think it will have such a huge impact on the rest of the Avengers fighting and spur them on.

IRON MAN

Tony is in a difficult place. At the end of Civil War, we saw him trying to help a now paralyzed Rhodey to walk again while heading a broken team of Avengers. After his rampage in the Siberian bunker, he was defeated by Captain America, who up until that moment had been one of his closest friends. The betrayal he felt when Cap sided with the man who had murdered his parents overwhelmed his reasoning, and in turn, he lost his greatest ally. While Captain America still has faith that he and Tony can work together in the future (as evidenced by the burner phone he sent Tony), he knows that until something happens that requires them all together, their relationship will never be the same. In Spider-Man: Homecoming we find out that he and Pepper are actually back together after being on a break during Civil War, not only are they together, they’re engaged! In the trailers we see that Tony has perfected his bleeding Edge armour and has lost an arm? or a hand at least. I think that while Tony tries to bring the team back together he knows that the only one who can do that is Cap, and he is okay with that (deep down). I’m also guessing that if it doesn’t happen in this film it will definitely happen in the next, Rhodey is going to get killed by Thanos, a la Civil War II.

SPIDER-MAN

avengers-infinity-war-image-spider-man

Spider-Man is one of the newest additions to the team dynamic, much like Doctor Strange. Peter partook in the events of Civil War as the “secret weapon” of the pro-registration forces. While he did fight for the registration forces he did not officially sign the Accords. In Spider-Man: Homecoming, he nearly joined the Avengers as a full time member before declining at the last minute. This was also when we saw the Iron Spider suit for the first time. In the trailer Peter appears to be on a field trip or some sort of excursion with his school when Thanos’ scout ship appears in New York. We don’t know how exactly but we do know that he will be given the Iron Spider Suit at some point in the film and that he will have some memorable dialogue with Dr. Strange.  At his core, Peter just wants to impress. Knowing that he is the youngest human member of the Avengers by at least a decade, he desperately wants to prove that he can roll with the big league and will do whatever he can to make that happen.

BLACK PANTHER

T’Challa was the most recent hero to be given his own film on the road to the Infinity War. At the end of the movie we see T’Challa finally bringing the nation of Wakanda with all their technology into the international spotlight. At the end of Civil War, he realized that his quest for vengeance had led him down the dark path that was now consuming Tony, and he refused to be a party to it any longer. Following the final battle, he took Cap and Bucky into Wakanda; with the latter agreeing to be put on ice, until Wakandan science could figure out a way to scrub all the Hydra influence from Bucky’s brain. He fought his cousin, a usurper during his solo movie, and after a brief time of near death he reclaimed his throne.  T’Challa has been a conflicted character from his first introduction and continues to be so. While he is resolute in his decisions, he is unsure of the type of king he should be. In the post credit scene for Black Panther, we see a newly awakened Bucky being called “White Wolf” by Shuri before being led off screen. With his nation being one of the battlegrounds in the upcoming Infinity War, T’Challa is going to have to make some hard choice between doing what is best for his people and what is best for the world as a whole.

BLACK WIDOW

Natasha has constantly been a side player in the MCU, which is a crime. As one of the best fighters in the MCU having trained with the likes of Wolverine and the Winter Soldier, she is criminally underused. That being said, she brings her A game every time she is on screen and Infinity War will be no different. At the end of Civil War she went into hiding with Tony offering her a chance to run because of what she did at the airport (stopped Black Panther from stopping Bucky and Cap). It’s not very clear what she has been doing during her seclusion but we do know that she dyed her hair blonde. She is seen in the battle for Wakanda making it seem that she and Cap have kept in contact with each other since they both went underground. Having fought for both the Soviets and SHIELD Widow is conflicted between her duty to the government she questions and what she knows is right. Originally having sided with Iron Man and the pro-registration faction in Civil War, she was very much the voice of reason concerning some of their tactics. Whether she will continue to be this voice of reason or resort to the brutality she was trained for, is something only Infinity War can show.

SCARLET WITCH

Scarlet Witch

Wanda Maximoff quickly went from being the villain in Age of Ultron to reluctant hero, to full on badass in the span of a few scenes. When Hawkeye delivers his speech of choosing who she is, she takes it to heart and emerges as the hero the people of Sokovia needed. During Civil War she originally sided with the registration forces until it was revealed they were keeping her locked at the compound as a safety precaution. Hawkeye breaks her out and gets her to tap into her real power and take Vision down a peg. She fought with Captain America at the airport battle but was captured in order to allow Cap and Bucky time to escape. The last time we saw her she was being broken out of the Raft by Steve Rogers at the end of Civil War. Wanda is unsure of herself and the powers she possesses. She knows that she could become a destructive force if she wanted to, but has taken steps to stay on the side of good to honour her brother and the hero she knows she can be. It’s revealed through the trailers that she is having a relationship with Vision, though with the mind stone firmly ensconced in his forehead; one has to ask, how she will handle his eventual death.

DR. STRANGE

Dr. Stephen Strange is the only person on earth who knows what the infinity stones are, and is in possession of one. When he finished his solo adventure he had used the Eye of Agamotto to trap Dormammu in and endless time loop until he agreed to end his assault on earth. Since then, Dr. Strange has been named the Sorcerer Supreme of Earth and has even helped Thor on his quest to find Odin at the beginning of Thor: Ragnarok. In the trailer it shows what can be assumed as the first battle in New York outside of the Sanctum Sanctorum, and Banner crash landing in the Sanctum. Strange is going to team up with a bunch of heroes he’s never seen before, to battle and enemy he doesn’t know, to save a world that doesn’t know magic exists… while using magic. While he is familiar with extra dimensional beings that could pose a threat to earth (as he stated in Thor: Ragnarok) Even he isn’t ready for this. Strange is an arrogant perfectionist, nobody can dispute that. While he was a surgeon he didn’t trust anyone else to do anything right, but now that he must rely on other forces to do his work, he has become more accepting of other people. This is movie going to test his resolve, he is used to using magic to fight magical beings, but even all his training and mystic arts are not going to prepare him for an unending alien horde led by a fanatical madman.

THOR

Thor is now King of Asgard. His father is dead, his mother is dead… his hammer destroyed. His home is dead, and he is missing his eye; but, he has his people and a few strong allies with him to help bring Asgard back from extinction. He battled Hela in Ragnarok and  would’ve lost everything if it wasn’t for the quick action by himself and Loki. He is now leading the entire population of Asgard through the cosmos on a ship stolen from Sakaar, with no destination in mind. In the first post-credit scene from Ragnarok, their little ship is seen being confronted by Thanos’ warship, the Sanctuary. In the trailers were are shown bits and pieces of Loki stepping over dozens of dead bodies and handing the Tesseract (which he stole from the Asgardian vault before the end of Ragnarok) to presumably Thanos. We are also then shown a clip of him with the other “children” of Thanos (his generals) as he watches on while Thanos presumably tortures Thor. Thor is then picked up by the Guardians of the Galaxy before he leaves on a quest to forge his new hammer, Stormbreaker. With his people either dead or captured, the new king of Asgard is going to do everything in his power to bring down the tyrant who attacked them.

HULK

Hulk is with Thor and will presumably be beaten and cast out of the ship to crash to the earth in the Sanctum Sanctorm. He has been battling on Sakaar for several months and then helped Thor to bring down his evil sister Hela and her giant wolf Fenris. During Ragnarok, Banner was concerned that if he changed back into Hulk that he could never change back to Banner. The trailer shows a bewildered Banner at the bottom of a Hulk sized hole in the Sanctum Sanctorum, so that would appear to be a false assumption on Banner’s part. We aren’t shown much of the Hulk in either trailer except for the epic charge of the heroes in Wakanda being led by Nomad with Hulk close behind. While Banner may be the analytical mind in reconstructing the Hulk buster armour and reconciling with Widow, Hulk is out for revenge. He got beat by someone stronger than him and that makes him angry.

GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY

Guardians-of-the-Galaxy-Infinity-War-700x300

The Guardians of the Galaxy are fresh off their second foray into galaxy wide heroics. They’ve done the schtick twice and are looking for something else. At the culmination of GotG vol. 2, Star Lord killed his father, Yondu died, Groot is growing into adolescence, and Rocket has realized that he can’t push his friends away. Gamora and Nebula have somewhat reconciled, while Drax is still burning for a confrontation with Thanos to avenge his wife and daughter. The Guardians stumble onto the wreckage of the Asgardian transport ship in the trailer and literally crash into a floating Thor. They have Mantis revive him and presumably assist him in defending the Earth and forging Stormbreaker. The trailer shows us that Rocket and Groot assist Thor to forge the new hammer while the rest of them head to earth to help the Avengers. The stakes have never been higher in this film. The Guardians are going to learn very soon that Thanos is not one to be underestimated, but they’ve gone up against literal Gods and come out okay, so they should be fine, right?

WAR MACHINE

Col. James “Rhodey” Rhodes, is the one person who has remained a friend of Tony since he was first introduced way back in 2008 during the first Iron Man film. He has gone from consultant/PR manager, to hero, to symbol of Freedom, to member of the pro-registration forces to a paraplegic. At the end of Civil War, he was hit by a blast of friendly fire from Vision. This knocked out his armour and cause him to plummet several thousand feet to the ground below. Vision had become distracted by Scarlet Witch and while Tony and Sam tried to save him, they were unable to stop Rhodey’s fall. Col. James Rhodes lost the use of his legs. At the end of the film we are shown Tony having constructed some miniaturized exo-skeletal legs to assist Rhodey in walking. Tony asks Rhodey if he regrets it, to which Rhodey replies he doesn’t. Despite the fact that he may never walk unassisted ever again, Rhodes believes that what they were doing was right and he is okay with the consequences.  In the trailer we see him walking behind a group of heroes as they arrive in Wakanda so clearly, Tony has MacGyvered something together to allow him to walk normally and fight in his armour. Rhodey belives that the things the Avengers do, needs to be done. He doesn’t always agree with how they do it, but that’s why he signed the Accords to be kept in check.

VISION

Vision is one of the most complex and frankly OP members of the Avengers. Not only that, but he is the youngest by about a decade. That being said, at the conclusion of Civil War we saw his romance with Scarlet Witch beginning to blossom to the point that they will both act on it in the upcoming film. In the trailer we are shown a non Scarlet and green Paul Bettany leaning us to believe that Wanda has begun to master her powers. We are also shown a shot of Vision screaming on the ground while Corvus Glaive stabs into his forehead in an attempt to remove the Mind stone ensconced there. Curiously, we are also not shown any footage of Vision in the final battle or the charge scene with the other heroes. This leads me to believe that Vision may be the first casualty the Avengers suffer in Infinity War. Vision was one of the driving forces behind the accords with his famous line “…our very existence incites challenge”. Now with the other heroes on the run and his feelings for Wanda finally being reciprocated, he may not want to risk everything he has in a fight they might not be able to win.

Still-of-Vision-from-Avengers-Infinity-War-trailer

WINTER SOLDIER/BUCKY BARNES

Bucky is a curious case for the Avengers. He was never a member but his status as one of the original Howling Commandos can’t be ignored. Steve will vouch for his lifelong friend until the day he dies and this can cause issues for other members of the team… Exhibit A… Civil War! Bucky wants to forget the things he’s done and focus on his new life and build a new reputation for himself. The only issue is, his old life doesn’t seem to want to stay buried. At the end of Civil War, he voluntarily enters into cryo sleep again, in order to give the Wakandan scientists time to try and scrub all traces of Hydra indoctrination from his brain. As previously stated, the last time we saw him was in the post-credit scene from Black Panther where Shuri has awoken him. It’s not clear if this happens prior to the commencement of Infinity War or during the opening moments of the film. He is shown to be minus an arm which he will obviously get back and he has a new code name ” White Wolf”.

FALCON

Sam Wilson has been a stalwart compatriot to Captain America ever since his introduction in the MCU during Captain America: Winter Soldier. He was absent from Age of Ultron due to him running down leads on the location of Bucky for Steve, which finally pays off at the start of Civil War. He sides with Cap during the conflict and is one of the heroes that allows himself to be captured to give Bucky and Cap time to escape. Last we see of him he along with the other “fugitive heroes” are being liberated from the Raft by Steve Rogers. Sam is a soldier. He is more comfortable on the battlefield than he is in his own home, he says as much in Winter Soldier. While he has acclimated to civilian life he still longs for the thrill of the fight. He will follow Cap to the ends of the earth because he likes having someone to look to in times of trouble, and who better than Captain America? Sam can be seen in the trailers during the fight in Wakanda so we know that he will make several appearances in the film. With Anthony Mackie and Sebastian Stan only halfway through their Marvel contracts, the main question is who will don the red, white and blue when Steve Rogers bites the dust?

ANT-MAN

Scott Lang is probably the most outrageous member of the anti-registration forces. At the end of his solo film he was given everything he wanted, access to his daughter, but he threw that all away because Hawkeye told him to? The argument could be made that Cap asked him and as put by Lang himself ” When Captain America calls, you answer”. Ant-Man’s probably biggest contribution (see what I did there?) was when he surprised everyone by going big and becoming Giant-Man. This only lasted briefly but it served as a big enough distraction (I did it again!) to give Cap and Bucky the time to escape. He was last seen being broken out of the Raft to begin his life as a fugitive once again. We know that Ant-Man and the Wasp is due out this summer after Infinity War makes its run through the theatres, but we aren’t exactly sure how big (heh) of a role he will play in the conflict. Ant-Man is concerned with being able to see his daughter, after spending so much time away from her. He wants nothing more than to resume his old life, but with receiving the Ant-Man suit and being called to help Cap, one has to wonder if he will ever get to it.

 

There you have it, those are all the major players in Infinity War and what drives them. I am super excited for the film and have already pre-ordered my VIP tickets for opening day. If you have any input on the upcoming film please feel free to drop a comment. See you next week!

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Infinity Stone Rundown – Locations and Powers

In wake of the recent tragedy in Las Vegas, I have decided to postpone the article I had written as it would be in poor taste to publish it currently. Instead I have moved up a post planned for later this month to fill the spot. My deepest sympathies go out to those affected by this event, and I hope some change can finally happen to stop something like this from happening again.

This week’s blog post I have decided that prior to receiving the highly anticipated Infinity War trailer I would do a complete rundown of each Infinity Stone, their locations and the powers granted by each one. We know that Thanos will have at least 2 stones when the movie reaches it’s climax, but hopefully by the end he will have all of them and we can finally see the Infinity War in full swing. I’m going to put this list in production order so that it’s easier for those who might not be as versed with the MCU and it’s inner working to follow when each stone showed up.

#1 – The Tesseract – The Space Stone

Tesseract

The Tesseract first showed up in Captain America: The First Avenger and has been a recurring theme in the MCU ever since. Originally found by the Red Skull in a German occupied town in Norway, the Red Skull and Zola used the Tesseract as a power source to help give the Nazis and Hydra an edge in WWII. It wasn’t until the culmination of the movie and the beginning of the Avengers when we realized that the Tesseract was in fact the Space Stone.

The Space stone allows the user to teleport themselves and others anywhere regardless of distance or protections such as walls or spells, change the relative distance of 2 objects regardless of physics, warp and rearrange space, and increases the speed of the user. When it is used in conjunction with the rest of the stones and the gauntlet it allows the user to exist in all locations simultaneously.

The last time we saw this stone it was being used by Thor to return himself and Loki to Asgard following the failed invasion of New York by the Chitauri.

#2 – The Scepter – The Mind Stone

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The second stone which we were introduced to was a bit of a curve ball since it wasn’t revealed until Avengers: Age of Ultron that it was in fact the mind stone. Throughout the first Avengers movie eagle eye fans assumed it was the mind stone while many other just assumed ti was an extension of Loki’s magical powers. In Age of Ultron we were gifted with the inclusion of the mind stone and it’s subsequent creation of Vision.

The Mind Stone allows for the user to: telepathically control other beings, control the dreams of other beings, psionic powers, and some telekinetic abilities. When used with the other stones and the gauntlet it allows the user all of the listed above powers as well as being psychically linked with every being in the universe simultaneously.

The last time we saw this stone it was firmly ensconced in Vision’s forehead at the end of Captain America: Civil War. The saddening part is that since the power stone is what gave Vision his life and abilities, when it is removed he will most likely die making him the first probable casualty of the Infinity War.

#3 – The Aether – The Reality Stone

Aether

The Third stone that was included in the MCU was the Aether, otherwise known as the Reality Stone. The Aether was the main plot line of Thor: The Dark World when Jane Foster accidentally stumbled across it investigating ways to find Asgard. The villain of the movie Malekith the Dark Elf, was attempting to use the Aether to cast the universe into and eternal darkness so his people could flourish and rule over the universe.

The Reality stone permits the user to: see each person’s darkest wishes and make them a reality, create dreamlike sequences that trap individuals in their own dream worlds, and create alternate realities to the user’s liking. When paired with the other stones and the gauntlet it allows the user to influence reality on a universal scale meaning anything the user wants can happen regardless of the laws of physics and magic.

The Aether was last seen being delivered to the Collector by Lady Sif and the Warriors Three for safe keeping.

Interesting Side note: While it was stated in the MCU that the Scepter (Mind stone) was used to give the Maximoff’s (Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver) their powers; Scarlet Witch’s powers appear to be an extension of the Reality stone and not the Mind stone.

#4 – The Orb – The Power Stone

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The fourth stone that was brought into the MCU was the Orb from Guardians of the Galaxy aka the Power Stone. The Stone was the main focal point of the plot for the entire movie being sought after by both Ronan the Accuser and Thanos. This is also the first time that we as the audience witness a Celestial (the race of Ego from GotG 2 and Peter’s half lineage) use the Power Stone to destroy and entire planet. This is also the first time that a non-celestial has held an Infinity Stone without dying immediately.

The Power Stone allows the user: to enhance their physical strength, energy manipulation, ability to duplicate any physical or superhuman attack, control any form of energy that has or will ever exist, and boosts the effect of all other stones. When used in conjunction with the other stones and the gauntlet it grants the user the above mentioned abilities and Omnipotence.

The last time we saw this tone is was being held in the Nova Corps Vault on Xandar. Due to the spoiler from SDCC and the Infinity War trailer being shown, Thanos somehow is in possession of this stone at the beginning of the film, though it is unclear how.

#5 – The Eye of Agamotto – The Time Stone

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The final stone that we have been introduced to in the MCU comes from the Dr. Strange movie and that would be the Time Stone. The time stone was located in the center of the necklace that Dr. Strange uses for most of the second half of the film. The reason we know it’s an Infinity Stone is because Wong tell us at the end of the movie. I thought this was really just a cop-out to spoon feed people the fact that it was a stone and not just a powerful magical artifact, but that’s just me.

The Time Stone grants the user: control over all points in the timestream, stop, speed up, slow down, and reverse the flow of time, time travel, age and de-age anything the user wants, change the past and future, and trap beings or whole universes in time loops. When used together with the other Infinity Stones it grants the user the above listed abilities as well as the ability to exist at all points in time simultaneously and grants Omniscience.

The last time we saw this stone is was being held in the Sanctum Sanctorum protected by Dr. strange himself, now the Sorcerer Supreme of Earth.

#6 – The Soul Stone – MIA

The final stone which we have yet to be introduced to is the Soul Stone. There are many interesting theories as to where this stone is going to be located in the MCU. Personally I think that it is somehow either incorporated in Heimdall’s armour or his person. During the first Thor movie he says a line that for me confirms he has it, Heimdall states that he “…can see every soul in the nine realms” . I don’t think they would’ve used the word soul if it wasn’t significant. They could have easily said “being” or “person” but instead opted for the word “soul”. That’s just my theory though.

The Soul Stone grants the user the ability to: Steal, control and manipulate souls both living and dead, is a gateway to a pocket idyllic universe much similar to Heaven, and steal the powers and abilities of others. When used together with the other stones and the gauntlet it grants the user the ability to control all life in the universe.

We have no last known location for this stone as of yet, but during the comics it was firmly placed on Adam Warlock’s head. Since Adam isn’t due to show up until GotG 3… my money is on Heimdall.

That concludes the location and abilities of all the Infinity Stones in the MCU! If you have any comments or questions don’t be afraid to ask!

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