Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Reel Facts & Opinions: Marvel Studios' Comings and Goings

In just a few weeks, Marvel and Disney studios will be rolling out their highly anticipated THE AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON. The sequel to 2012’s mega-hit THE AVENGERS once again brings together classic characters from the Marvel Comics catalog together for another adventure. As a bit of a prelude to the event, some news has landed on this planet which is worth taking a look at.
First off, it is a sure thing that AVENGERS director and Marvel cinematic godfather Joss Whedon will be stepping down as director after AGE OF ULTRON, and will not be helming the third entry (which will be split into two parts beginning in 2018), called INFINITY WAR.

This comes as a blow to Whedon’s loyal fanbase and to the Marvel fans. After all, Whedon’s razor-sharp writing and ability to make the movie that he wants to see without alienating the audience, made THE AVENGERS not only a box office monster, ($1.5 billion worldwide, good for third-highest all time), but an elemental part of geek and pop culture.
But all is not lost. The announcement was made today that directors Joe and Anthony Russo will helm both parts of INFINITY WAR. The Russo brothers, who directed Marvel’s CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE WINTER SOLDIER, are also slated to direct the third CAPTAIN AMERICA film, subtitled CIVIL WAR, set for release in May of 2016.

This is great news for the ongoing universe-building series of films that Marvel is unleashing. The Russo’s did a tremendous job with WINTER SOLDIER; fusing a comic-book hero with cold-war espionage storytelling and real-world politics…while putting together some of the best action scenes seen in the genre. Having them on board gives all of Marvel’s connected films another level of consistency that the world likes to embrace. And there is always hope that Whedon will stay on with Marvel as a producer; just to oversee the integrity of the house that he built.
In other Marvel-centric news, today it was learned that AGE OF ULTRON will not have a post-credits scene.

Ever since Samuel L. Jackson had his surprise appearance in  IRON MAN (2008) in a scene after the credits ended, fans of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) have known to stick around until the very end of a Marvel film. But this time, writer-director Joss Whedon says there won’t be one for ULTRON because there was no way to top the gut-busting shawarma scene from his first AVENGERS. The scene, which had the team quietly eating shawarma after the battle, has become one of the favorited post-credit scenes from Marvel, in addition to introducing the word shawarma to most of the United States.
But fear-not. Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige has clarified that there will be a short scene which will appear shortly after the credits start (two scenes after the movie ends has become another Marvel tradition). So feel free to stick around for at least a little while.

THE AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON, opens on May 1st. Written and directed by Joss Whedon, it stars Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth, Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy Renner, Mark Ruffalo, Samuel L. Jackson, Paul Bettany, Don Cheadle, Andy Serkis, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, and James Spader.

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