AGENT CARTER Reporting for Duty on ABC

agentcarterFar from abandoning Marvel’s AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D., ABC is practically doubling-down on the concept by committing to Marvel’s AGENT CARTER, a series that centers on Peggy Carter, Captain America’s love interest in Captain America: The First Avenger.

Hayley Atwell will reprise her role as Peggy in the 13-episode series that will debut at midseason, allowing AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D. to take a break and minimize reruns.
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Winter Soldier Sebastian Stan Will Be Back!

sebastiansYou can rest assured that whatever happens in Captain America: The Winter Soldier when it opens tomorrow, Sebastian Stan will be back — because he says he signed a nine-picture deal with Marvel Studios!

Winter Soldier is his second outing (following Captain America: The First Avenger), leaving seven more contracted appearances. Of course, not all of them have to be as the Winter Soldier — although Marvel does need more good baddies. One idea has Stan moving up to take over the Captain America identity whenever current star Chris Evans inevitably leaves — either from fulfilling his contract or aging out of the role. In the comics, Bucky did indeed take over for his mentor at one point, so it’s not an outrageous possibility.

But if you end up hating the Winter Soldier actor… well, these could be seven long movies…


Baron von Strucker Will Menace Cap and the Avengers… a Lot

tkretschmannMarvel Studios is about introduce another Big Bad in the tradition of Loki: one who can serve as the villain in any number of future superhero films.

German actor Thomas Kretschmann has signed a deal to play villainous former Nazi Baron Wolfgang von Strucker in several movies, including Avengers: Age of Ultron and possibly a cameo in Captain America: The Winter Soldier, according to websites and Dark Horizons.

Kretschmann, who has already played Nazi officers in films such as The Pianist and Valkyrie, will play the battle-scarred leader of HYDRA, whose agents were seen battling Captain America in the World War II period of Captain America: The First Avenger. In the comics, von Strucker is a nemesis of Cap, the Avengers and S.H.I.E.L.D., which makes him a particularly appropriate addition to the Marvel movie universe. Also, he can give Loki a break from multifilm villainy. After all, the Norse god of mischief cannot be in every Marvel film!
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Chris Evans Disses Captain America

I can’t tell you how disappointed I was in Chris Evans’ appearance on Late Night With Jimmy Fallon May 1. Chris was there to promote The Avengers, but instead he revealed that he does not understand his own character, Captain America at all. As fantastic as Chris was in Captain America: The First Avenger, it appears that he did it without grasping the magnitude of his character, and instead thinks of him as a punch line.

Granted, Chris was goofing with Jimmy, but in the course of their bantering about the superteam starring in this Friday’s guaranteed blockbuster, Chris questioned why Cap belongs on the same team as Thor, Hulk, Iron Man, Hawkeye and Black Widow.

“This guy has no business in this crew,” Chris opined. “You have the Hulk ripping jets in half, and Thor is calling down thunder, and Iron Man is shooting missiles. And I’m, like, ‘I’ll [Cap] take the stairs!’ ”
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Captain America Will Return (Again) in 2014

Cap (Chris Evans) as he will look in The Avengers!

Disney has announced that Captain America 2 (working title) will be released on April 4, 2014, the first Marvel movie slated for that year.

Cap 2’s opening date is only the latest announcement of the further adventures of the members of The Avengers, which opens May 4. Iron Man 3 will open on May 3, 2013, and Thor 2 is scheduled for a Nov. 15, 2013 release.

There is no news on villains, casting, a director or storyline for Captain America 2; just the briefest of teases:

The second installment will pick-up where the highly anticipated Marvel’s The Avengers (May 4, 2012) leaves off, as Steve Rogers continues his affiliation with Nick Fury and S.H.I.E.L.D and struggles to embrace his role in the modern world.

So, [Spoiler!] now we know Cap will survive the events of The Avengers! And considering that Captain America: The First Avenger was one of the best superhero movies ever, the sequel will definitely be something to look forward to!
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11 Thoughts About 11 Films From 2011

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows — Part 2

With just about two weeks of 2012 under our belts, I figure we now have a little perspective on 2011, so why not take a look back at some of the cinematic achievements — good and bad — of the year?

I limited this survey to 11 films because I don’t want to ramble on at length. Wherever relevant I linked to my full reviews of the movies mentioned. This is by no means an exhaustive list of the 2011 films I have opinions about; these are just the movies that leaped immediately to mind. There may be more where this came from. (I hope that sounds like a promise, not a threat!)

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows — Part 2 raked in $1.3 billion dollars at the box office last year, marking one of those rare times when a film’s financial success was commensurate with its artistic success. I really enjoyed this fun adventure flick, which seemed to contain all the action that was missing from the lugubrious Part 1. This movie reminded me of The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King as far as being a suitable wrap-up to an epic series. The characters reached a natural end point, and viewers felt satisfied that a complete story had been told.
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Captain America: The First Avenger (2011)

Captain America: The First Avenger outranks every other superhero film released this summer, joining Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 as the elite genre movies of 2011.  It is a rollicking adventure yarn; the kind they used to make all the time.

The film benefits immeasurably from its World War II-era, old-fashioned good guys vs. bad guys simplicity, which paints Cap as a hero for whom we can all cheer, up against villains everyone can hiss. Director Joe Johnston (The Rocketeer) takes the time to sketch in Steve Rogers’ character and establish him as a paragon long before he takes up that symbolic shield to defend the free world against the worst of the worst: the Red Skull and Hydra, a renegade branch of even more evil Nazis.

Captain America:The First Avenger tells the story of Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) a 4-F runt desperate to fight the Nazis in Europe. Impressed by the youngster’s pluck, German refugee Dr. Abraham Erskine (Stanley Tucci) enrolls Rogers in a secret scientific program to create a “super-soldier” to win the war. Erskine’s secret serum transforms the puny Rogers into the ultimate physical specimen, a strapping guy gifted with superhuman strength, endurance and healing powers. But no sooner is the experiment a success than an Axis agent murders Erskine, and the secret to creating more super-soldiers dies with him. Rogers is detailed to the PR circuit to sell war bonds, but when his best friend is captured by the Nazis, Rogers parachutes behind enemy lines to rescue him – and 400 other prisoners – and then takes his place as a true super-soldier.
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Captain America: The First…Poster

Well, here it is, the first real teaser poster for Captain America: The First Avenger. I have to admit I mostly like it. I could totally live without the word “Avenge” spread across Cap’s chest, but the rest of the image is great.

I like the way Cap is depicted as weary and battle-scarred, as if World War II has taken a lot out of him. The flying debris in the background makes this look like a candid shot of Cap in a moment of human vulnerability. I figure this is not the moment when he vows vengeance for the death of Bucky, because (according to comics lore) Cap doesn’t find out that Bucky died until after he was defrosted by the Avengers. This is probably meant to be a figurative moment: a battle-hardened Steve Rogers (Chris Evans), haunted by the traumatic memories of WWII.

I’m still not a fan of depicting the star-spangled Avenger’s shield as damaged. It’s supposed to be completely impervious. And word is the shield in the movie is made of vibranium, just like in the comics. But this one is pretty much beat to hell. Still, artistic license, and all that. And maybe this isn’t his vibranium shield at all; maybe it’s one of the other shields he used before the fancy one was presented to him by President Franklin D. Roosevelt.

First Look: Captain America

Credit for the first full look at Chris Evans in his WWII Captain America costume from Captain America: The First Avenger goes to Entertainment Weekly, which also got us access to the initial glimpses of the costume.

As before, I am totally thrilled with the look of this costume. Sure, it varies from Cap’s classic comic-book look, but it’s done in ways that make sense. And the look isn’t all that different from the Ultimate Universe version of Cap. It’s functional, but it is also fanciful enough to be a superhero costume.

Here’s the synopsis of the film:

In 1942, Steve Rogers is deemed too physically unfit to enlist in the U.S. Army and fight the Nazis in World War II. Volunteering instead for Project: Rebirth, a secret military operation, he is physically transformed into a super-soldier dubbed Captain America. With sidekick Bucky Barnes, he fights the Red Skull (Hugo Weaving), Hitler’s treacherous head of advanced weaponry, whose own plan for world domination involves a seemingly magical object known as the Tesseract

If you’re a fan of the Captain America comic books, you’re more familiar with the “Tesseract” as the Cosmic Cube. Why did they change the name? Perhaps they thought it sounded campy? Tesseract sounds technical, but it won’t stick in the mind of the average fan as easily as the colorful Cosmic Cube.

Captain America: The First Avenger opens July 22.

11 Films I’m Looking Forward to in 2011

Since it’s 2011, you’ll be seeing lots of “Top 11” lists, so let me get in on the action right away, with the movies I am most looking forward to seeing this year. I know not every one will live up to expectations (Honestly, is they any way that Sucker Punch can be even half as fantastic as it looks?), but it’s the ones that do excel that make movie-going worth it. So here are my top 11:

1. Sucker Punch
2. Cowboys & Aliens
3. Thor
4. Captain America: The First Avenger
5. The Hangover Part II
6. Pirates Of The Caribbean: On Stranger Tides
7. The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo
8. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part II
9. X-Men: First Class
10. Green Lantern
11. Super 8
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