Captain America: The Winter Soldier was perhaps my biggest surprise of the Marvel Cinematic Universe thus far. While Guardians of the Galaxy came out of nowhere with its unconventional style and Ant-Man managed to impress despite its troubled production, The Winter Soldier blew away all of my expectations. I enjoyed Captain America’s first outing, particularly because of its strong cast, but overall I was underwhelmed by its uninteresting plot. I loved what Joss Whedon did with the character in The Avengers, but I never imagined that The Winter Soldier would be so thrilling. The Russo Brothers brought a very specific cinematic flavor to Captain America, which combined with a witty screenplay, the best action sequences in the MCU, and a willingness to overthrow the establishment to give us a movie that works on many different levels. Following that success, the question of Captain America: Civil War became not “Is it any good?” (because with Marvel’s track record at this point, they have the benefit of the doubt) but “Just how good can it be?” What could the team that brought us The Winter Soldier do with a larger roster of heroes in what could just as easily have been titled Avengers: Civil War? The result is another excellent entry in the Marvel series that, while perhaps not reaching the top tier of what Marvel has to offer, shows that there is still plenty of fuel in Marvel’s tank. Civil War is an exciting, emotional ride with interesting things to say, that is willing to take our heroes in new directions, reshuffling the cards for the next hand that Marvel will deal over the next few years.
Last night Marvel unveiled the first trailer for Doctor Strange as a part of the publicity train for Captain America: Civil War. Due out in November, Doctor Strange will be the newest addition to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and possibly its strangest yet. The trailer gives just a brief look at the “Sorcerer Supreme”, a former surgeon who lost the ability to do his job after his hands were injured in a car crash. We get some glimpses of the crash and its aftermath as the trailer juxtaposes the pre-crash Strange, a man at the height of his life, with the scruffy shell of a man he became afterwards. But Doctor Strange is really all about that man’s journey to find a new way to help people through the use of magic. Honestly, while I’m very excited for Doctor Strange, I feel like this film is going to be a hard sell as far as the general public is concerned. It’s just so different, far more than Guardians of the Galaxy, and the idea of magic mixing with the world of Iron Man is going to require some convincing. It already looks like it’ll be a trippy film, with visuals that recall the world-bending effects of Inception, a film which I thought was interesting to look at but emotionally hollow (like most of Christopher Nolan’s work). Hopefully Marvel can find a way to make Strange’s story as compelling as those of its other heroes. For now, I’m just happy to see Tilda Swinton get so much screen time and can’t wait to learn more about Chiwetel Ejiofor’s character. But what do you think? Take a look at the trailer below and then tell me your thoughts in the comments!
This post is part of the Movie Scientist Blogathon, hosted by Christina Wehner and Silver Screenings. Day 1 is all about good scientists, day 2 is for mad scientists, and day 3 covers lonely scientists.
The idea of “mad scientists” is probably as old as science, and it’s certainly been around since the beginning of cinema. There are countless iterations, from Victor Frankenstein to Dr. Jekyll, and it’s easy to see why the concept makes for such compelling storytelling. They’re often tragic heroes in the classic sense, full of noble intentions but undone by their own ambition or shortsightedness. The mad scientist is of course distinct from the “evil genius”. Where an evil genius is typically the villain of a story, using their knowledge and ability for nefarious purposes, the mad scientist is typically a character with noble intentions who is subject to the tragic flaw of being unable to see the consequences of their actions until they’re too late. (Then there are good scientists who are just kind of crazy or reclusive, whom I wouldn’t typically classify as “mad.) To me, there’s no better use of the mad scientist trope than in last year’s Avengers: Age of Ultron.
I have to say that I wasn’t particularly thrilled by Captain America: The First Avenger. As the last film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe to be released before The Avengers, it felt like just one more piece in the puzzle rather than a compelling story in its own right. That’s not to say that I disliked the film, or that it was particularly bad (still a big step ahead of Iron Man 2), it just wasn’t as interesting to me as Thor or Iron Man. It was another solid origin story, with a strong cast and a fun setting, but the end result of the film seemed to just serve as setup for The Avengers. (In a recent rewatch of that film, I’ve realized that I might have judged it a little too harshly upon my first viewing.) Three years and four movies later we now have Captain America: The Winter Soldier, which might be the most complex and interesting film Marvel has made to date, not to mention one of the most entertaining, and it’s a game-changer for the universe its predecessor helped to create. Continue reading
Welcome to “Trailer Tuesday” where I talk about trailers for upcoming movies, since I’ve always found them to be fascinating.
To be honest, I was really worried about Guardians of the Galaxy. Marvel has been batting a thousand in Phase 2 so far, with Iron Man 3 and Thor: The Dark World huge hits, as well as the success of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., and with the interesting and dark-looking Captain America: The Winter Soldier still to come. But Guardians of the Galaxy was destined to be the hardest sell for the company, given it’s out-there premise and the general lack of familiarity among the public with the comics. But then they go and give us this new trailer for the film, and as far as I’m concerned they knocked it out of the park. Take a look below and read on for my thoughts: