Tag Archive | "Captain America: The First Avenger"

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2011 In Review: What The Top Ten Grossers Say About The State of Cinema

Posted on 24 December 2011 by William Gatevackes

If we had to guess what the highest grossing films of 2011 would be back in January, I’d think we’d be able to get the list about 80% right. We might have substituted Green Lantern for Fast Five, maybe Kung Fu Panda 2 for Rise of the Planet of the Apes, but we could probably guess the rest.
Which isn’t to say that the list isn’t surprising. This year’s list of top grossing films tells us something surprising about the state of the cinema today and where it will go in the future. All we have to do is look at the connections.

Numbers accurate as of 10:30 pm, December 15th.

  1. The entire list tells us that foreign grosses are very important these days: Overseas grosses were once icing on the cake. A nice addition, but not quite as important as domestic grosses. Not anymore. Each of the Top Ten films have grossed more internationally than they did domestically (sometimes two or three times more). Each and every film had their production budget covered by their foreign grosses (Transformers: Dark of the Moonmade it’s $195 million budget back from Foreign grosses in its first weekend–and then some!). The foreign market can now make or break a film. This is why most producers of blockbusters create these films with an eye on how they would do overseas.
  2. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 and The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 1 show that the literary blockbuster is going out with a bang–maybe: The Harry Potter and Twilight franchises are on opposite poles when it comes to quality, both in book form and on the screen. But both have rabid fanbases that guaranteed that every film in the line would sell gangbusters. But, unfortunately for Warner Brothers and Summitt Entertainment, this year marks the end of the Harry Potter franchise and the penultimate installment of the Twilight one. It is unlikely that any literary adaptations, even the eagerly awaited The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and Hunger Games adaptations in the pipeline, will match the success of these two. It’s an end of an era.
  3. The Hangover Part II shows that originality might officially be dead: Some of you might say that the whole list tells you this. After all, the two movies that aren’t sequels are comic book adaptations and the highest grossing “original” film, Bridesmaids, could only reach as high as #12. But  The Hangover Part II takes lack of originality to a new level. It was essentially the same film as The Hangover. It had the same premise, the same plot points, and the same ending. Well, not exactly the same. Ed Helms has a facial tattoo instead of a missing tooth and they have to take a Buddhist monk back to his home instead of a baby, but the films were essentially the same. I have nothing against sequels that continue a story. But to simply rehash the same formula, note for note, shows how far the sequel has fallen. And the fact that it was such a success means that we might see more of these carbon copy sequels in the future.
  4. Thor and Captain America: The First Avenger prove that the comic book film, at least ones from Marvel, isn’t dead…yet: Granted, both films grossed less than Iron Man did in his first go around, but each film–with foreign grosses added–were able to make a sizable profit, enough to warrant sequels for both. Both were fairly well reviewed. We might have to hold off a final judgement until we see how The Avengers, The Dark Knight Rises and The Man of Steel do before we can definitively prove the genre healthy, but it certainly ain’t dead yet.
  5. Transformers: Dark of the Moon, The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn, The Hangover Part II, Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, and Cars 2 prove that a film doesn’t have to be good to be successful: The above five films have an average Fresh rating of 34% over at Rotten Tomatoes.com, the review aggragate site. The site considers 60% or above to be a good film, just to put in perspective how poorly reviewed these films really are. So if you’re the type of person who hates that Hollywood keeps putting out crap year in and year out, well, don’t hate Hollywood. Hate your friends and neighbors who see sparkly vampires and robots beating the grease out of one another again and again.
  6. Rise of the Planet of the Apes is a sign that reboots can work, so expect to see more of them: 2001′s Planet of the Apes was supposed to be the film to reboot the franchise. And while it did make a profit, the was critically panned. The reboot was deemed a failure. However, the trend in Hollywood today is that if at first a reboot does not succeed, reboot again. This time around, reviews were better and the money was still there, so it appears that the second time was a charm. Don’t think Hollywood didn’t notice, and be on the look out for more reboots and reboots of reboots in the future.
  7. Fast Five says that there is an alternative to reboots–going back to basics: 2006′s The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift was supposed to be a new direction for the franchise, if not a complete reboot. It grossed the least amount of an F&F film, and the franchise appeared to be dead. 2009′s Fast & Furious reunited the principals from the first film and revitalized the franchise, and this fifth installment was the highest grossing yet. There are plans for a Fast Six and a Fast Seven to be shot back to back. So, in some cases, the best reboot is no reboot at all.
  8. Cars 2 shows a chink in the Pixar armor: The film was the lowest domestic grossing Pixar film since 1998′s A Bug’s Life. And it was the poorest reviewed Pixar film of all time. For other studios and genres, this would not be that much of a problem. However, Pixar has set the standard in CGI animation in both quality and popularity. It has come out with dead solid perfect films each and every time until now. So the performance of this film, more from a reviews standpoint than an earnings one, IS a cause for concern. This makes next year’s Brave, with its rather pedestrian sword and sorcery plot that wouldn’t normally be a question of how Pixar would execute it, a more dicey proposition, one that could decided where this year was a blip on the radar or the start of a decline.

Chart courtesy of BoxOfficeMojo.com

 

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The Five Most Important Button Scenes In Cinema

Posted on 14 November 2011 by Rich Drees

The bumper or tag scene. It’s that short scene that comes after the end credits have finished, a little extra for those in the audience who have sat through the scroll list of names of the films grips, sound crew, special effects technicians and caterers. It usually doesn’t have much bearing on the preceding film, but is just a nice little Easter egg for those who stuck around.

Although cinema is over a century old, the tag scene has only come about I the last couple of decades. Up until the late-1960s, most films had their credits in the beginning, just a quick on-screen card or two to note the main crew members behind the film. Sometimes, the main cast list was reprised at the end of a film, but that was all. But as film loaders, grips, focus pullers, stand by painters, transportation captains, boom mic operators and more were added, the credits were shifted to the end of films, where they could play out while the audience left. It wouldn’t be long until someone decided that just because the credits were rolling it didn’t mean that the film was over.

Let’s take a look at the five most influential of these mid- and post-credit scenes.

Airplane!

When David Zucker, Jim Abrahams, and Jerry Zucker released Airplane! in the summer of 1980, they wound up rewriting many of the rules for film comedy. And one of those rules was that the laughs didn’t have to stop just because the films credits had started. Those Airplane! audience members who didn’t jump up and head for the exists the moment when Otto and his inflatable stewardess flew the TransAmerican jetliner off into a hail of fireworks were treated to a couple of gags buried with the film’s end credits crawl. (Generally In Charge Of A Lot Of Things – Mike Finnell, Author of A Tale Of Two Cities – Charles Dickens)

The topper came at the end of the credits, though with a quick little scene featuring the man in the cab who Ted Stryker (Robert Hayes) abandoned on the curbside of LAX at the beginning of the film. Although the film cuts back to him twice during its first 50 minutes, he isn’t seen for the rest of the picture. But Zucker, Abrams and Zucker hadn’t forgotten the poor soul and cut back to let us know that he was still waiting for Stryker to return to take him on his trip. But after waiting nearly the entire run-time of the film for his cabbie to come back, the now slightly frustrated man vows, “I’ll give him another twenty minutes! But that’s it!” A funny moment and one that is noteworthy as it appears to be the first time that a button scene appeared in a film.

“When In Hollywood, Visit Universal Studios. Ask for Babs.”

While not technically a tag scene, there is a joke that comes at the end of National Lampoon’s Animal House’s credits that calls back to something from the main part of the film. Specifically, the film’s closing moments revealing the futures facing members of the Delta and Omega fraternities. Martha Smith’s character of Babs is revealed to have become a tour guide at Universal Studios. At the time it was standard for Universal Studios films to have an end title card promoting their studio tour in Hollywood and Landis decided to give a last wink to any of the audience still in the theater by changing the card to read “When In Hollywood, Visit Universal Studios. Ask for Babs.”

The gag soon became one of Landis’s many signature touches; perhaps only second to his use of the phrase “See you next Wednesday.” He would use it for all of his subsequent movies made for Universal including The Blues Brothers (1980), An American Werewolf In London (1981), Coming Soon (1982), Into The Night (1985), Amazon Women On The Moon (1987) and Blues Brothers 2000. It also appears on the Animal House DVD supplement/mockumentary Where Are They Now?: A Delta Alumni Update.

Ferris Bueller’s Day Off

One of the refreshing aspects of Ferris Bueller’s Day Off was the amount of times that Matthew Broderick’s titular character broke the fourth wall to speak directly to the audience. It was something that hadn’t really been done in cinematic comedy since the days of the Marx Brothers, Bob Hope and Ollie and Johnson’s Hellzapoppin’. It is a conceit that carries right through to after the credits when Ferris pops back on screen and tells everyone to go home. Probably not a gag that really works in this day and age of home video, but it is still a nice last moment to end the film on.

While I can find no documentation to back it up, I have to wonder if this button scene started as an improvised joke on the set. Hughes was open to improvisation on the set and the moment where Ferris is singing “Danke Shone” in the shower grew out of Broderick practicing the song for the parade sequence while the crew was setting up the shower scene.

Wild Things

While not technically button scenes, there are several short scenes in the 1998 thriller Wild Things that were embedded into the closing credits crawl that revealed that what audiences thought they saw in the bulk of the film might not have been what actually happened. Which is saying something as the movie has several twists and turns.

By this time, it wasn’t completely unusual for a film to have additional material in the credits. Through the late 70s and early 80s, Burt Reynolds would customarily put shooting outtakes into the credits of his films to show how much fun the cast and crew had while making the film. It was a practice that Jackie Chan copied for his Hong Kong action films after he appeared in The Cannonball Run, but he used it to show that how dangerous many of the stunts he and his team performed really were. But Wild Things was one of the first to include material which could legitimately be called vital narrative material. (Yes, I know Ferris Bueller has the credit sequence scene with Rooney’s car getting towed and him having to hitch a ride on the bus, but it is a scene that isn’t really necessary to the story.) And in just a couple of years, the idea of narrative material at the end of the credit roll would be placed into ply by the next film on our list.

Iron Man

On May 2, 2008, comic book movie fans were buzzing about how Marvel Studios’ Iron Man may or may not end. Rumors had been circulating that Samuel L. Jackson had filmed a cameo for the film but early reviews didn’t mention it. It wasn’t until the first midnight screenings ended on the East Coast and folks took to the internet confirmed the existence of such a scene after the credits. Of course, the scene also opened up a flurry of new questions, most specifically, what did Jackson’s character Nick Fury mean when he referred to “The Avengers Initiative”?

The following Monday, during a quarterly earnings conference call Marvel formerly announced their plans to build an interconnected series of superhero franchise films that would culminate in one giant crossover/team-up film, The Avengers, confirming what fans were wildly speculating about over the previous 72 hours. And with only one scheduling change – Thor was originally marked to come out last summer and The Avengers was slotted for this summer – the studio has managed to keep on track for what could be considered the most ambitious bit of franchise management seen yet. And Marvel has continued to use button scenes at the end of all their films to help build that shared universe and tease the next film on their schedule. The result is the high-level of anticipation for next summer’s The Avengers even among non-comics fans.

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Review: Captain America: The First Avenger

Posted on 22 July 2011 by William Gatevackes

If you were one of the people who were underwhelmed by this year’s comic book film offerings and were wondering when the really great comic book film would arrive, well, you can stop waiting. It’s finally here and its name is Captain America: The First Avenger. To comic book fans, it is a pitch perfect adaptation of one of Marvel’s oldest heroes with plenty of fan service easter eggs thrown in to keep them happy. To the non-comic literate, it is a rousing action film with humor, heart and characters you want to root for.

The film tells the story of Steve Rogers (Chris Evans), a man who weighs 98-lbs soaking wet, with a list of medical maladies a page long, who undergoes a special treatment to become a super soldier. He’s meant to be the first in a line of said soldiers, only the scientist responsible, Dr. Abraham Erksine (Stanley Tucci) is assassinated by a minion of one of his former test subjects, the Red Skull (Hugo Weaving). This sets off a cavalcade of mayhem as Cap and Red Skull move towards their inevitable conflict.

The best comic book films make the necessary sacrifices to years of comic book continuity in order to get a cohesive narrative, yet never lose sight of the spirit of the piece of the work they are adapting. That’s exactly what Captain America: The First Avenger does. There are several major changes from the comic book, especially in the relationship between Cap and Bucky, but the changes improve the film. But they capture what makes Captain America to a T, know what even some comic book writers don’t that Cap doesn’t represent America, he represents the American ideal–never giving up, never backing away from a fight for right even if the odds are insurmmounatable, and putting others above himself. All of this is in the character and present perfectly.

The film, for those of you who have never read a comic in your life, has a plot, and one that doesn’t just exist to move the story from one CGI effect to another. That recap I gave you two paragraphs back? That is only the barest minimum of a descriptions. The plot is far more complex that that, with many twists and turns.

You probably reminded of other films while watching this one, especially Star Wars (the Red Skull’s Stormtroopers look a lot like George Lucas’ Stormtroopers, and there is a motocycle chase through the woods that call to mind the speeder bike chase in Return of the Jedi), but this is less ripping off Star Wars than paying homage to the movie serials that inspired it. There are several “cliffhanger” moments in the film that would be right at home in an offering from Repubilc or Columbia in the 1940s.

Joe Johnson does a great job directing. There are so many little touches, so much attention to detail, that you can’t help to be immersed in the flick. We get the feel of the period, even though the bad guys are firing lasers at us. We willingly suspend disbelief because the creators of the film worked so hard to makes us do that.

The acting is first rate. Chris Evans, usually the cocky and sarcastic rogue in any number of films, plays well against type. He plays Rogers as a kind and earnest man, self-effacing and humble. You believe the weaker Rogers, which is Evans’ head CGIed on another man’s body, because that person never leaves Rogers’ personality. This is definitely some of Evans’ finest work.

Weaving gives an effortless performance as the evil Red Skull and Tommy Lee Jones is suitably errasable as Colonel Chester Phillips, Cap’s commanding officer. And Hayley Atwell plays the character of Peggy Carter with skill and brio. You’ll believe that she is as strong as she appears to be on the screen, and her chemistry with Evans make their tragic romance work.

There are a number of Easter Eggs for the loyal Cap fans in the audience. One “cameo” that takes place early in the film made me shout the character’s name out in the movie theater. And the introduction of Arnim Zola is an artistic reference to his comic book persona. And even though I have seen reviews that state there isn’t an extra scene after the credits, there is.

Captain America: The First Avenger ranks up there with some of the best comic book adaptions ever made. It is a fun time at the theater and offers a lot that other comic book films do not. It is well worth seeing.

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New Releases: July 22

Posted on 21 July 2011 by William Gatevackes

1. Captain America: The First Avenger (Paramount, 3,500 Screens, 125 Minutes, Rated PG-13): So, it took 21 years, but Captain America has finally made it to the big screen. The aborted 1990 Captain America starring Matt Salinger in the lead role only received a limited international release before going straight to home video. This one seems a little better.

A scrawny Brooklyn kid during WWII wants to sign up for the army to fight Nazis but is deemed too sickly to be accepted. His dedication catches eye of the powers that be behind a special project to create a legion of genetically altered super-soldiers. The process works and makes him the peak of human potential.

Red Skull is still the villain and he is German but not a Nazi. Apparently, he’s even too “extreme” for Hitler and he starts his own fascist group in Hydra.

The Rocketeer was one of my most favorite comic book films, so I trust Joe Johnson with this. Cap is one of my favorite characters and I can’t wait to see what they do with him this time around.

2. Friends With Benefits (Sony/Screen Gems, 2,926 Theaters, 109 Minutes, Rated R): See New Releases: January 21

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International Poster for CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE FIRST AVENGER Revealed

Posted on 30 June 2011 by William Gatevackes

In a year when successful comic book movies get more than half of their money from overseas ticket sales, how a comic book film gets promoted internationally becomes very important. It becomes even more important when the lead character is a biologically enhanced superhuman soldier who wears an American flag as a costume. Therefore, the international poster for Captain America: The First Avenger becomes worth a look.

There is a lot of telltale signs of how Marvel is altering their marketing slightly for the international market. The “From the Makers of Iron Man and Thor” at the top tells potential patrons “Hey, this guy might be wearing the colors of a country you’re not that big a fan of, the film is done by the same company as those other two you liked.”

Having the larger cast feature also allows British actress Hayley Atwell, who plays Peggy Carter, and JJ Feild, who plays Mongomery Farnsworth–the comic book alter ego of Britain’s answer to Cap, Union Jack–to get some face time with an audience that they might appeal to.

And while there is no way to completely do away with all the America in Cap’s costume, taking of his mask and giving the people a straight on look at Chris Evans’ handsomeness could take many a person’s mind off the costume.

Captain America: The First Avenger, according to IMDB.com,  opens on July 22 in the U.S., Poland, Italy and Canada, July 22 in the U.K., Brazil, and Mexico, August 5 in Spain, August 17 in France, August 18 in Germany, and October 15 in Japan. It opens in the rest of the world between July 21 and October 15.

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New CAPTAIN AMERICA Trailer features “Just A Kid From Brooklyn”

Posted on 24 June 2011 by Rich Drees

We’re four weeks away from the second part of Marvel Studio’s one-two super hero double punch, Captain America: The Firs Avenger, and the studio has just released what will probably be the last trailer for the film. This new trailer spends a good portion of its two-and-a-half minute runtime on Steve Rogers’ (Chris Evans) transformation into the titular superhero and is probably aimed more at the general public who will be buying tickets a month from now than it is to whip comics fans into an anticipatory frenzy months out from the release date. The latter part of the trailer focuses on the action in such a way that I think it is trying to distinguish itself from the recently lacklusterly received Green Lantern.

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Updated: A Marvel Cinematic Universe Timeline

Posted on 02 May 2011 by Rich Drees

Update: We now have a completely revamped timeline to include Iron Man 1 & 2, Incredible Hulk, Thor, Captain America and The Avengers. Click here for Timeline 2.0.

Update: We’ve now added Thor into the timeline.

We’ve known for some time that Marvel Studios’ films are all set in an interconnected universe. Much bandwidth has been burned discussing the puzzle pieces, both obvious and hidden, that help to make up the bigger picture. But no one, up until now, has pieced those pieces together in quite this way. After spending hours and hours of watching and rewatching Iron Man, Iron Man 2 and Incredible Hulk, here is the result – a possible chronology for all the events mentioned and depicted in three films and providing a possible framework for how they overlap.

While many historical dates have been derived from various documents and newspapers glimpsed in the films, the dates for the modern section all spread outward from the May 1-2, 2010 running of the Historic Grand Prix Of Monaco and are extrapolated from internal evidence and dialogue. For further information on canonicity of sources and a key to sources used see the notes at the end. Where exact dating for sequences have proven to be impossible, I’ve gone with my best guess.

The Time Line

965 AD – The frost giants of Jotunheim attempt to conquer Midgard/Earth. Their invasion point in Norway becomes the site of an epic battle as Asgard’s ruler Odin leads an army to repeal the invasion and protect the planet. Odin and his force push the frost giants back to Jotunheim where the AllFather discovers an abandoned frost giant infant whom he adopts, names Loki and raises as his own alongside his own son Thor. A truce is negotiated between Odin and the frost giant king Laufey.

1939 – 1945 – World War Two

Young, budding industrialist Howard Stark launches Stark Industries producing planes for war effort following attack on Pearl Harbor. His innovations later earn him a spot working on the Manhattan Project. (IMN, IM2) Stark was also involved with Super Soldier Program. Was his working on Manhattan Project a cover story for his work on Super Soldier Program? (IM, IM2P, CAP)

Dr. Abraham Erskine, working under the code name of “Dr. Reinstein” develops Super Soldier Serum as part of the Weapons Plus program. (IH 0:44:33. Although the Super Soldier Serum seen in Incredible Hulk is credited to a Dr. Reinstein, Stanley Tucci has been cast as Erskine in Captain America. The codename retcon is a solution similar to one found in the comics to reconcile two different names that have been given to the Super Soldier Serum developer over the decades.)

Steve Rogers is recruited into the Weapons Plus program. Injected with the Super Soldier Serum, he becomes Captain America and helps fight the Nazis alongside members of the Howling Commandos.

At some point Howard Stark helps to found SHIELD. (IM2) Would this have stemmed from his work on Manhattan Project/ Super Soldier program? Is SHIELD an outgrowth of Super Soldier Program or a separate entity?

1954 – Stark World Exposition

1963 – Anton Vanko defects to the US and begins work with Howard Stark in developing ARC Reactor technology.

1964 – Stark Expo held in conjunction with the World’s Fair at Flushing Meadows, Queens, NY

1967 – Stark has Anton Vanko deported as a spy. Vanko returns to Soviet Union but is sent to exile in Siberia for two decades. Presumably he is able to return to Moscow following Premier Gorbachev’s call for democratization in January 1987.

1969

December 18 – Bruce Banner born  (IH 0:02:02)

1971

May 10 – Tony Stark born (The Iron Man novelization states that Tony Stark was born in 1973, but in order for young Tony to be the age we briefly see him in Iron Man 2 and to still not be old enough to assume of Stark Industries when Howard Stark dies in 1991, I have moved his birth year to here.)

1974 – Last Stark Expo until 2010. Howard Stark hides secret to perfecting ARC reactor in layout of the Expo for Tony to find.  (IM2)

1975 – Tony Stark Builds his first circuit board.

1977 – Tony Stark builds his first engine.

1988 – Tony Stark graduates MIT at age 17 at top of class (IM)

1988 – 1991 -Bruce Banner meets Betty Ross while undergrads at Harvard. They begin dating and at one point volunteer for an experiment involving hallucinogenics.

1991

December 16 – Howard and Maria Stark die in car accident on Long Island. (IM)

Speculation – Was Howard Stark’s death orchestrated/ordered by Obadiah Stane in order to gain control of Stark Industries?

1992 – Tony Stark inherits Stark Industries becoming, at age 21, the youngest CEO of a Fortune 500 company. (IM) In addition to the company’s numerous military contracts, Stark Industries also does pioneering work in medical technology and in combating world hunger with their Intelli-Crops program. In the process he becomes somewhat of a media celebrity.

2002 – 2006 – In the wake of 9/11 attacks (Speculation), General Thaddeus “Thunderbolt” Ross convinces military to revive the BioForce Enhancement Project, aka the “Super Soldier” program, as a subprogram of the Infantry Weapons Development Program. (IH 0:32:15, 0:32:36)

Dr. Bruce Banner joins the group at Culver University in Willowdale, VA in southwestern Virginia working on way to strengthen cellular resistance to radiation, possibly at insistence of girlfriend Dr. Elizabeth “Betty” Ross, daughter of General Ross.

Ross lies to the scientists on the project, informing them that their work will help protect soldiers from depleted uranium. (IHD)

2006

Unspecified Thursday in January – Under the threat of funding cuts, Banner volunteers to test process on himself resulting in the accident that turns him into Hulk. (IH, 0:02:04, partially obscured Washington Times newspaper dateline reading “Friday  (Obstructed) 2006”; see also below February 7)

Gamma pulse combined with serum that Betty was developing triggers mutation. Later, gamma pulses somehow stored in Banner’s brain’s amigdala and released during high stress moments will trigger mutation.

Betty is injured and hospitalized. Ross admits to Banner that project is being developed as weapon, not just defense. Banner goes on the run. In the wake of the accident, the military closes the entire lab building for a year and shuts down the entire Bio Tech Force Enhancement project. General Ross secretly holds onto some material, Dr. Betty Ross also secretly holds onto project data, remaining at Culver University as a professor of cellular biology. Betty also ceases speaking with her father (IH 0:44:00), angry at his treatment of Banner.

February 7 – Banner tries to contact Betty one last time, but the email is intercepted by the military. She never receives it. (IH 0:02:41)

At some point during his run from the military, Banner travels through the Dakotas (IH 0:02:06), possibly on his way towards the arctic.

May 27-28 – Banner spotted via satellite recon photo in Canada (IH 0:02:10) and Hulk sighted by locals who mistake him for a “green Sasquatch.” (IH 0:02:27)

The military looses Banner, who eventually arrives in the Arctic Circle to commit suicide in a place where his body would not be found. The attempt fails and Banner/Hulk dislodges frozen body of Steve Rogers/Captain America in suspended animation (IHD)

October 21 – Last sighting of Banner for at least five months (IH 0:02:54, I’m placing Banner’s suicide attempt before this date, or even possibly at this date, as I’m sure that the Hulk’s rampage in the Arctic would have been detected by satellite.)

2007 – 2010

At some point, the Strategic Homeland Intervention, Enforcement and Logistic Division (SHIELD) is brought in to help Ross and his task force recover Banner. Ross requisitions some high tech weaponry he knows will be required to bring Banner/Hulk down. (IH 0:02:35) Stark Industries sells them Jeep-mounted sonic cannons. (IH 0:02:36) (Is the sonic cannon an off-shoot of the same technology behind the sonic weapon used by Stane to paralyze his Ten Rings collaborators?)

Banner wanders the world avoiding population centers, eventually heading to South America.

2009

May – Following the successful demonstration of the new Jericho missile weapons system outside of Kabul, Afghanistan, the military convoy escorting Stark is attacked by the Ten Rings terrorist group under the leadership of Raza, who were working at least in part on the part of Obadiah Stane. Stark is wounded by Stark Industries-manufactured weapons and is captured.

During his three months of capture, Stark is forced to build version of Jericho for the Ten Rings terrorist group. He instead builds an armored, exo-skeleton battle suit (Iron Man armor, MK I) and uses it to escape. Following his being found by the US military, Stark is taken to Germany where he is checked out by Army doctors and then subjected to debriefings from the CIA, NSA and others.

Late August – Upon his return to the US, Stark buys cheeseburgers and then pulls Stark International out of the weapons business, terminating all contracts with the military. SI stock prices tumble nearly 60 percent. Hammer Industries maneuvers itself to pick up many new contracts.

September – Stark continues to develop a more refined version of the armor he used to escape from the Ten Rings. Stane uses Stark’s change of heart concerning what business he is in as leverage for a takeover attempt. Besides boardroom maneuvering, Stane develops his own high tech battle armor using the remains of the MK I armor recovered by his Ten Rings confederates.

October 21 – Stark tests his Mk III armor by driving Raza’s Ten Rings group out of the Afghan village of Gulmira.

October 23 – Under Stark’s direction, Pepper Potts uncovers proof of Stane’s collaboration with the Ten Rings. Stane and Stark eventually come to blows in their respective armors. Stane is killed. The conflict is seen by the public and the press name the mysterious hero “Iron Man.”

At a press conference the day following his showdown with Stane, Stark rejects SHIELD’s constructed alibi for the events of the previous evening and admits to the world that he is Iron Man. That evening, SHIELD director Nick Fury approaches Stark about a project called the “Avengers Initiative.” Stark declines, Fury calls in Black Widow (IM, IMC2).

Anton Vanko dies in poverty in Moscow. His son Ivan vows revenge on Stark. He begins building his own portable ARC reactor to power an energized whip/body harness.

October 24 – Unspecified Hulk incident. (See April 1, 2010) Soon after, Banner heads into the Rio De Janeiro favela known as Rocinha, to find a way to clandestinely contact Dr. Samuel Sterns, professor in Cellular Biology Department at NYC’s Grayburn College (IH 1:09:11) on the Upper East Side, for help in developing a cure. They communicate using codenames of “Mr. Blue” and “Mr. Green.” Sterns is noted for his work with trimethadiones, used in the treatment of epileptic conditions. (IHD)

Acting on a suggestion from Mr. Blue/Sterns, Banner starts to research Amazonia Tracheophytes (plants that have lignified tissues for conducting water, minerals, and photosynthetic products through the plant) for a lead on a cure. – (IH 0:02:16, IHD )

Banner also studies calming techniques at a nearby temple, gets a job at a soda bottling plant as a handyman and begins teaching himself Portuguese.

December 16– Iron Man named Time magazine’s Person Of The Year, narrowly beating out Ben Bernanke, chairman of the Federal Reserve. (IM2, In real life, Bernanke was named PotY in Time’s December 16th issue.)

2010

As Tony Stark continues to operate as Iron Man, he manages to bring about a period of relative peace and is credited by some press as having stabilized East-West relations. Stark realizes that the Paladium core of Stark’s ARC reactor is slowly poisoning him. He begins searching for a cure but keeps his condition a secret.  (IM2)

April 1 – 158 Days since last “incident” – Banner has accident that leaves drop of blood in soda.  (IH 0:32:12) Also, he  sends sample of blood to Sterns who will conduct further experiments with it outside of the analysis that Banner needs.

April 25 – Stark Expo 2010 opens with plans to run for one year. (IM2, “Six Months Later”)

April 26 – Stark appears before the Senate Armed Services Committee’s Weaponized Suit Defense Program Hearings chaired by Pennsylvania Senator Stern. Stern pushes Stark to turn the Iron Man suit and technology over to the military but Stark refuses. Stern calls Justin Hammer, CEO of Hammer Industries and Lt. Rhodes to testify against Stark. Stark testifies that although other countries, including North Korea and Iran are working to replicate the technology, they are years away from being able to do so. He also reveals that Hammer Industries have also had their share of lack-of-success, leading to the cancellation of Hammer Industries’ contacts with the Department of Defense. (IM2)

April 27 – Stark appoints Potts Chairman and CEO of Stark Industries. (IM2 0:20:44, Stark Expo website displaying “362 Days Left” to attend Expo) An agent of the Ten Rings supplies Vanko assistance in infiltrating the Monaco Grand Prix.

April 29 – Stark signs paperwork to transfer power to Potts, meets “Natalie Rushman” unaware that she is SHIELD agent Natasha Romanoff. Stark hires her as his new personal assistant.

May 2 – Stark arrives at the Historic Grand Prix of Monaco and in a moment of spontaneity quips “What’s the point of having a car if you don’t drive it,” and replaces Team Stark’s regular driver DiFilipo in Race G. Ivan Vanko attacks Stark along the section of the Circuit de Monaco between turns 16 and 17 along the harbor. Switching into a portable, lightweight Iron Man armor (Mark V), Stark defeats Vanko.

Later that evening, Stark visits Vanko in prison before flying back to US with Potts.

Meanwhile, General Ross’s task force raids Rochina favela is search of Banner under the field command of Emil Blonski. Banner transforms into Hulk, defeats the raiding party and escapes. (IH 0:29:02 Days with out incidence counter moves from 190 days backwards.)

May 3 – Senator Stern appears on several news channels to spin support for the military seizing the Iron Man armor technology.

May 4 –Banner wakes up in Guatemala. Over the next 17 days, he will make his way through Chiapas, Mexico to Willowdale, VA and Culver University to see if any data still remains from his original experiment.

May 5 – Hammer orchestrates Vanko’s escape from prison to have him work on Hammer Industries own weapons suit program.

May 6 – Media speculation continues about Stark’s fitness to continue as Iron Man. Rhodes tries to convince Stark to hand over the Iron Man technology to the US military, but Stark continues to refuse.

May 7 – Hammer and Vanko arrive at the Hammer Industries facility in Queens, NY. Vanko begins revamping Hammer’s own battle suit prototypes into unmanned, remote-controlled drones.

May 10 – Tony Stark’s Birthday. Depressed over his inability to solve his palladium poisoning dilemma, he gets drunk which leads to a confrontation with Rhodes, who dons the Mark II Iron Man armor. The ensuing fight wrecks a portion of Stark’s Malibu home. Rhodes leaves with the Mk II suit. (IM2N pg 136 places the night of Stark’s party three days after Vanko’s arrival at Hammer’s Queens facility.)

May 11 – Rhodes delivers the Mk II suit to the military at Andrews Air Force Base. Stark goes for donuts and has a conversation with SHIELD director Nick Fury. Fury mentions a situation in the southwest but confines Stark to house arrest.

At Hammer Industries, Vanko continues revamping the battle suits in to unmanned, remote-controlled drones.

May 13 – The Mk II suit is turned over to Justin Hammer for weapons upgrading on the order of General Meade, though not before Rhodes secretly removes the suit’s ARC reactor.

May 14 – Evening. Physicist Jane Foster, working in the small town of Punete Antiguo, New Mexico, detects a possible Einstein-Rosen Bridge (wormhole) in the nearby desert. Racing to the site with her mentor Dr. Selvig and her assistant Darcy, they discover Thor, having been stripped of his powers and cast out of Asgard by his father Odin for nearly provoking a war with the frost giants of Jotunheim. Thor is tasered by Darcy and taken to a local hospital.

May 15 – Tony visits Potts at Stark Industries, makes intuitive breakthrough on how to fix his palladium/ARC reactor problem through the creation of a new element theorized by his father and hidden in the layout of Stark Expo. Stark builds a small cyclotron to create the element.

A Punete Antiguo, New Mexico local discovers Thor’s hammer, Mjolnir, in a crater about 50 miles east of town. Unable to lift it, he calls several other people to give it a try.

The arrival of the Mjolnir is also noticed by SHIELD. Nick Fury reassigns Agent Coulson from his detail with Tony Stark to investigate. Coulson leaves that afternoon from California for New Mexico.

May 16 – Hammer’s Stark Expo presentation is hijacked by Vanko, who uses drones to attack crowd and Stark. After receiving a call from Vanko, Stark skips over tests on new ARC reactor element in order to race across country and stop Vanko. Stark/Iron Man defeat Vanko’s drones with help from Rhodes in modified Mk II armor, SHIELD Agent Romanoff and Stark’s driver Happy Hogan. Vanko apparently killed in explosion that destroys the Oracle Pavilion. Hammer is arrested for his part in engineering Vanko’s escape.

Coulson arrives in New Mexico and discovers the site of Thor’s fallen hammer, Mjolnir. SHIELD quickly quarantines the area and erects a portable laboratory over the site to study the hammer. Agent Clint Barton is one of the agents assigned to the operation.

May 17 – Jane helps Thor escape from the hospital where he is being held. That evening they head towards the site of the SHIELD installation erected around Mjolnir. Thor is captured trying to sneak in.

May 18 – Loki appears before Thor being held at the SHIELD installation and lies to him that Odin is dead. In the evening, Dr. Selvig goes to the installation and manages to get Coulson to release Thor into his custody. Later in the evening, Thor explains the concept of the Nine Worlds to Jane.

May 19 –The Warriors Three and Sif head to Midgard to find Thor. Loki sends the Destroyer after them. Thor and his fellow Asgardians fight the Destroyer. During the battle, Thor proves himself worthy of his godly heritage and his powers are restored, allowing him to turn back the Destroyer. Thor, Sif and the Warriors Three head back to Asgard where Thor reveals Loki’s plan to seize the throne of Asgard. Unfortunately, in the ensuing battle between the two, Thor is forced to destroy the Bifrost to prevent Loki from destroying Jotunheim and committing genocide against the frost giants. This action strands him in Asgard, unable to return to Midgard/Earth.

Banner arrives at Culver University and spies Betty. He goes to old friend and pizzeria owner Stanley to hide out. He offers him the Pizza Shop’s upstairs spare bedroom. (IH 0:34:25)

May 20 –Banner poses as a pizza delivery man to get access to Culver University’s computer labs and research database. He decides to leave that evening but as he prepares to leave Stanley’s he is accidentally seen by Betty. She has him stay the night at the home she shares with new lover Dr. Leonard Sampson. Sampson informs the military of Banner’s whereabouts. Meanwhile, Blonski receives an unauthorized “low dose” injection of Super Soldier Serum from General Ross.

May 21 – At Culver University, Betty walks Banner to bus station in the early morning. As they are crossing the campus, they are attacked by the military and Betty becomes aware of the true extent of Banner’s condition. Blonski seems to adapt well to Super Soldier upgrade, but still gets beaten by transformed Banner, getting nearly every bone in his body pulverized. Banner/Hulk escapes the military with an unconscious Betty to a cave deep in the Smokey Mountains.

News of the battle can not be contained and quickly spreads across cable news channels and the internet. Culver U. journalism student and campus newspaper reporter Jack McGee, who witnessed and captured the fight on cell phone video, names the transformed Banner “the Hulk” in an interview with WHIH news. His remarks will be played repeatedly over the next several days. (IH 1:04:42, IM2 1:53:10)

Meanwhile, Stark has a debrief with SHIELD Director Fury. Stark is offered an advisory position with the Avengers Initiative.

SHIELD continues to monitor the Hulk incident, the situation that Agent Coulson is investigating in New Mexico as well as several other hot spots in Europe, Africa (Wakanda?) and the Atlantic Ocean.

May 22 – Banner and Betty hide out in a small town motel, as news of the previous day’s battle continues to spread. Within 36 to 40 hours of his injuries, Blonski has recovered. (IH 1:07:30)

May 23-25 – Ross has meeting with taskforce staff. (IH 1:08:51, Ross states that Banner has been on the run “for five years” but I’m assuming that Ross is rounding up.)

SHIELD helps with search by adding the recently discovered “Mr. Blue” and “Mr. Green” code names to their email searches and quickly detect communication between Banner and Sterns.

Banner continues to rest and recoup. He and Betty plan their trip to New York and Sterns. Betty pawns her mother’s necklace to finance purchase of beat-up pickup truck. They drive to NYC.

May 26 – A Wednesday. Banner and Betty arrive in NYC, bypassing roadblocks at the Holland Tunnel by bribing a boat owner to take them across the Hudson River, leaving them in lower Manhattan. They head uptown to meet with Sterns.

Sterns and Banner try an experimental process to cure him, though it only succeeds in reversing the transformation, not ridding Banner of it completely.  Supposition – Does this give Banner more of a control over Hulk? (This is based on the fact that this is the first time that Hulk speaks and the more disciplined way he fights. Also, Banner’s seeming control of transformation on July 8.)

The military captures Banner, but Blonsky forces Sterns to inject him with blood products Sterns had developed from Banner’s blood sample. Blonsky is driven insane and mutates into the Abomination. Sterns is infected with Banner’s blood through an open wound, possibly gaining his own mutation.

Banner convinces Ross to let him try and stop Blonsky. The two fight in Harlem, with the Hulk finally defeating Blonski before being allowed by Ross to flee.

Following the NYC Hulk incident, Tony Stark arrives in NYC with a quickly designed containment system to hold Blonski (IHN) and approaches Ross about “putting a team together.”

May 28 – Impressed with his work on Einstein-Rosen bridges and other cutting edge theoretical physics, Nick Fury approaches Dr. Selvig to join SHIELD in an advisory capacity to study a powerful cube-like object in their possession. Fury is unaware that Selvig is under the control of Loki. (This is a rather arbitrary date. I’m allowing a few days for Fury to hear about Selvig’s work with Jane Foster and for him to be verted for a security clearance.)

July 8 – Banner has settled in a cabin deep in the woods of Bella Coola, British Columbia. He apparently is gaining control over the Hulk.

???

Key:

CP – CAPTAIN AMERICA Promotional

IM – IRON MAN movie
IMD – IRON MAN deleted scene
IMN – IRON MAN novelization by Peter David
IMC1 – IRON MAN comic adaptation issue 1
IMC2 – IRON MAN comic adaptation issue 2

IM2 – IRON MAN 2 movie
IM2N – IRON MAN 2 novelization
IM2P- promotional/viral
IM2F- IRON MAN 2 filmmaker comment

IH- INCREDIBLE HULK movie
IHD – INCREDIBLE HULK deleted/extended scene
IHN – INCREDIBLE HULK novelization by Peter David

A Note On The Canonicity of Sources: As this is a chronology of the united Marvel Movie universe*, the films themselves are the final authority as to what is “official” in this unofficial timeline. Of secondary authority are comments from the filmmakers clarifying things presented in the films. Finally, other sources such as deleted scenes, novelizations, viral promotions and comic adaptations are considered tertiary and can be revised or completely discarded if later contradicted by a primary or secondary source. Example – While the events of the deleted opening sequence of INCREDIBLE HULK are currently included in the timeline, events in either the upcoming CAPTAIN AMERICA and/or AVENGERS films may call for some revision.

* This is only for the properties that Marvel Studios owns film rights to and intend on including in their shared universe. Unfortunately, this means no X-Men, Fantastic Four, Daredevil, Spider-Man, Ghost Rider, Blade, Punisher or Howard The Duck.

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CAPTAIN AMERICA Reshoot In Times Square Yesterday (Spoilers!)

Posted on 24 April 2011 by Rich Drees

Even some of the basic facts of this story are a bit spoilerish, so if you don’t want to know, read no further.

Yesterday, Captain America: The First Avenger had some pick-up shooting, filming a scene in the heart of New York City’s Times Square. Hopefully, Marvel Studios didn’t think that filming a scene in one of the most heavily traveled couple of blocks of real estate would go unnoticed in the midst of a holiday weekend because lots of photos and video have sprung up over night.

As you can see, the shoot was for a scene featuring actor Chris Evans as Steve Rogers, AKA Captain America, having a discussion with Samuel L. Jackson’s Nick Fury.

Since Captain America is supposed to be set in World War Two and this version of Nick Fury apparently only exists in the modern day*, it may be safe to assume that Cap’s trip to the present via suspended animation happens in this film and not in next summer’s The Avengers, as some have speculated. (In the comics, Captain America’s first modern day appearance was in an early issue of The Avengers, when his frozen body was discovered, thawed out and revived by the superhero team.) The scene isn’t much, just the two actors standing and talking, but it does end with a handshake, which leads me to conclude that this will probably be the film’s post-credits scene and Fury is offering Cap membership in the Avengers.

You’ll notice someone pop in around the 1:11 mark and hand Fury a folder. I’m pretty sure that’s Clark Gregg as Agent Coulson, who’ve already seen in the two Iron Man films and who will be in the upcoming Thor next month.

We’ll find out if I’m right on July 22, when Captain America opens in theaters.

* In one version of Fury in the comics, he fought in World War Two but has lived and remained active through the century and up until today thanks to something called the “Infinity Formula” which has slowed his body’s aging.

Via Coming Soon.

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Trailer: CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE FIRST AVENGER

Posted on 23 March 2011 by Rich Drees

The first full length trailer for Marvel Studio’s Captain America: The First Avenger has hit online, a day early apparently. If you’ve been waiting to see if the movie version of Cap will be doing some his trademark shield throwing, this won’t disappoint.

Captain America: The First Avenger hits theaters on July 22.

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Derek Luke’s Role In CAPTAIN AMERICA Revealed

Posted on 14 March 2011 by Rich Drees

While we’ve known for a while that Derek Luke is part of the cast of Marvel Studio’s Captain America: The First Avenger, there has been no word until today as to what his actual role is. Well, in what should be no real surprise to those who are familiar with the stories of Captain America’s World War Two adventures that Luke will be playing the part of Gabriel Jones, a member of the elite Army unit known as the Howling Commandos.

This won’t be the first time that Luke has cinematically fought in World War Two. He appeared in Spike Lee’s Miracle At St. Anna in 2008.

Joining him in the commandos are Neal McDonough as Dum-Dum Dugan. In the comics, Jones was the confidant of the Commandos commander Nick Fury. It has already been confirmed that Samuel L Jackson, who has played Fury in Marvel Studio’s two Iron Man films, will not be in Captain America, so it remains to be seen what Jones’s role in the group will be.

While it is fairly anachronistic for an African-American soldier to be part of an integrated combat unit during World War Two, you have to keep in mind that the Howling Commandos were created by Stan lee in the 1960s, and he wasn’t above sliding a little bit of social message into his comics from time to time.

Via BlackFilm.

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