Monday, May 7, 2012

A Reel Opinion: THE AVENGERS and Beyond

THE AVENGERS proved to be Earth’s mightiest amongst critics and in the Box Office. The superhero team-up, the first film of its kind, earned $200 million for the biggest three-day domestic weekend ever. Add in the foreign Box Office numbers and its total rises to an astounding $641 million.
Those astronomical numbers guarantee a sequel, and AVENGERS was smart enough to end in a way which opened up a lot of great opportunities; the door was left wide open for more AVENGERS flicks while clearing the way for the individual heroes to still have their own stories and movies, some of which are already into production. Here’s what’s on the way and what to look forward to:

Already in production and slated for a May 2013 release, the third entry into the IRON MAN series has a lot to make up for after the messy second film. IRON MAN 2 was not only derailed by too much AVENGERS set-up, but also by mishandling its villains. Fortunately, a useful aspect that AVENGERS has established is that not every bad-guy Tony Stark faces has to be thrown into a metal-suit to be a challenge (another ridiculous fault of IRON MAN 2).

Also scheduled for next year (a curious November release), the THOR franchise has (literally) a wide-open universe to explore. With that troublesome Loki somewhat still in the picture and the vast fantasy realms that Thor inhabits, there seems to be no limit to what this franchise can do. The first THOR, while entertaining, also suffered from too much AVENGERS set-up, which took away from the character’s own story and development. With all that set-up now out of the way, a THOR movie can actually belong to Thor.

THE AVENGERS thankfully didn’t make Ol’ Cap the comic relief by focusing on a tired, fish-out-of-water plotline for the time-misplaced hero. That sort of sub-plot could and would serve the character well in his next individual adventure. With Cap’s strong sense of loyalty and duty now firmly established, his future films would seem to focus on many missions for his new bosses. CAP 2 is scheduled for release April 2014.

HULK 2 (or 3?)
As successful as Marvel has been with their new, consistent universe, the big green guy has been their only fumble. Mark Ruffalo is the third actor in as many cinematic appearances to portray the troubled Bruce Banner, and Marvel doesn’t seem to know what to do with the character or the franchise. No real commitment seems to have been made for another standalone HULK film (yet), and this Blogger seems to feel that Hulk would be better off appearing as extended cameos in the other individual films. As long as Ruffalo stays on board, Hulk can have a lot of fun with his new buddies.

It’s also likely that other, minor characters such as Nick Fury, Black Widow, and Hawkeye will continue to pop up here and there across the individual films as supporting cast, as none them really seem strong enough to carry a movie all by themselves. Either way, Marvel has fifty-some years worth of stories and characters to add to its quickly expanding cinematic universe. There is a lot of mightiness to look forward to.
What say you?

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