Cameron is a mild mannered history teacher by day and aspiring writer by night. He has a feature length screenplay under his belt and is working on #2. Besides writing he enjoys being a husband, father and weekend warrior surfer when he finds the time.
UPDATE: The trailer hit early and is already online here! And it looks awesome! Ultron? Check! Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch? Check! Hulkbuster armor? Sold!
The long awaited first trailer for Marvel’s upcoming Avengers: Age of Ultron is set to debut next week on ABC’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.. A brief glimpse of footage was shown as the San Diego comic con but the majority of the public has yet to see anything more than concept art, posters and released stills of the next installment of the Marvel movie juggernaut. The announcement was made at the end of yesterday’s episode, followed quickly by an Avengers tweet making it official.
Hopefully more light will be shown on the film as a result of the trailer but we do know a good amount about the movie already. Retired from the superhero gig, Tony Stark creates a robotic peace keeping force in the form of a new artificial intelligence named Ultron. When Ultron goes beyond it’s programming and threatens the globe it’s up to the Avengers to stop it and save the world. New team members to help in the fight include the speedy Quicksilver, the reality warping Scarlet Witch and the android Vision.
The Avengers: Age of Ultron opens in theaters May 1, 2015.
That’s all I can say when news leaked yesterday from a report in Variety that Tony Stark, ahem, excuse me, Robert Downey Jr. was set to join the production of Captain America 3. If that wasn’t enough of a bombshell the rumored story-line is set to revolve around Marvel’s Civil War.
Only the greediest fanboys at the time of Iron Man’s 2008 release ever imagined we’d get an Avengers movie of the caliber delivered after they saw Nick Fury appear at the end of the film’s credits. A few kicked around the idea of how awesome it would be to see a story based on the then recent Civil War books. Now, 6 years later, that dream may be becoming a reality.
Just think. Iron Man vs. Capatain America on the big screen. The Hulk vs. Thor. Hawkeye vs. Black Widow. It’s in the works.
Marvel’s Civil War was a popular and impactful story that ran through 2006-2007. In the comic books citizens of the Marvel; Universe are used to planet wide destruction as a regular occurrence. But when a down on their luck team of inexperienced superheros tries to apprehend a dangerous criminal, live on a reality TV show no less, tragedy ensues on an unprecedented scale. Several blocks of Stamford Connecticut are obliterated, including in some eerie foreshadowing of Sandy Hook, an elementary school. Public outcry explodes. Why are there laws registering who can own a handgun but people who can shoot lasers out of their hands can walk around freely and anonymously? A superhero backlash quickly followed with the introduction and passage of the Superhuman Registration Act to put superhumans under government supervision.
The act’s biggest lobbyist becomes Tony Stark who sees the writing on the wall for his super friends after Stamford. It was only a matter of time before the government began to reign in super powered human beings and he figures it’d be better to get in front of the changing tide to soften the blow personally. On the opposing side, surprisingly at first, is Captain America, who stands against his government arguing the act is an attack on personal liberties and freedom. Lines are quickly drawn between allies as superheros such as Spider-Man come forward to the pro-registration side and reveal their secret identities or go underground and join Captain America’s anti-registration resistance group. Lots of hero vs. hero fighting ensues with the result being more destruction to the poor citizens of the Marvel U. The very thing the act had originally hoped to avert. With Iron Man moments from defeat in a New York battle royal, Captain America comes to his senses and surrenders. The cuffs are slapped on him as he’s arrested and the superhuman Civil War ends with Iron Man’s registration side prevailing.
So where does this leave the Marvel movies? Early talk from the directors of The Winter Soldier after it’s release was that Captain America 3 would pick up where 2 left off, with Steve Rogers, and the Falcon picking up the trail of his former best friend turned assassin Bucky Barnes. I don’t see how there would be any room to continue that story line now if CA3 is going to kick start the Civil War. We know that in Avengers 2 the team must defeat the runaway artificial intelligence named Ultron. It’s no coincidence that in the movie Ultron is another of Tony Stark’s attempt at bettering the world that backfires big time. I’m gonna go out on a limb here and predict the movie will end with destruction on a global scale and a deeply remorseful Tony Stark. (again). So far all the Marvel movies have been building towards Avengers 3 in which many suspect he team squares off against Thanos, the purple jawed alien baddie who’s been collecting every powerful artifact through the movies to create a reality warping weapon called the Infinity Gauntlet. I’ll crawl out on my shaky limb to once again predict more global destruction will follow along with more public outcry.
But after Avengers 3, then what? Rumors suggested the third Avengers movie might see a changing of the guard as more recent Marvel movie heroes might step in and join the team. One of the hallmarks of the Avengers in the comics is it’s constantly rotating roster. To have the same team members again and again in the movies would actually be very un-Avengersish. Add in expiring contracts from Chris Evans and Robert Downey Jr. shortly after Avengers 3 and and the future seemed plain to see. A changing of the guard was being laid out before our eyes. But a Civil War could change everything.
Imagine the public outcry after Avengers 3 when the world was almost laid to waste by Thanos and his minions. of course the Avengers may have saved humanity but they sure do leave a trail of destruction in their wake. The end of Avengers 1 even alludes to this as higher ups are uncomfortable with the destruction the team brought onto NY to stop Loki’s alien invasion. In Iron man 3 we see Tony has some major anxiety over what happened in NY and by the end has given up his suits. (turning them into expensive fireworks) Captain America: The Winter Soldier exposed the dark underbelly of too much government control as Cap goes rouge against authority to fight for what he thinks is right. At the end of the movie Cap is redeemed, but SHIELD is exposed as a front for the neo nazi HYDRA organization. Clearly the need for a new form of superhero control is being laid out in the films. Clearly there is a need for a Superhero Registration Act in these movies. Give Marvel credit for one thing. They think BIG and they have a superpower in patience.
Inbetween all the upcoming movies like Ant-Man and Doctor Strange Marvel also has multiple TV shows on air or in development through ABC and Netflix. One thing the Civil War calls for is a large roster of heroes with their complex relationships to break in two. Luckily for us Marvel has heros like Daredevil, Luke Cage, Dr. Strange, Captain Marvel, Black Panther, and even the Inhumans coming down the pike. That’s quite a lineup to all come together on the big screen and it’s all possible now with the rumors of adopting the Civil War story-line. One of the best parts of the first Avengers was watching the good guys fight and argue with each other. What could be better than a whole movie of that?
Hopefully we can expect to see a bunch of ads like these coming out around the release of Captain America 3. Who’s side are you on?
The new James Bond movie moves one step closer to production with the recent news from Latino Review that Dave Batista has signed on to play a villain in similar vein to iconic Bond henchmen of the past, Jaws and Odd Job. The script calls for an assassin named Hinx who is physically fit and fights with Bond multiple times. Fresh off his breakout performance as Drax the Destroyer in 2014’s top grossing movie, Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy, Batista fits the bill for a physically imposing actor able to not only go toe to toe with Daniel Craig but overwhelm him as well. When you think of classic Bond villains Odd Job and Jaws come to mind immediately, so it will be nice to see the new Bond movie give another henchman a memorable role. But if Hinx puts Bond in a Batista Bomb onscreen I’m out.
Previews: Gone Girl is a movie with a lot of hype lately. I knew it was based on a book written awhile back that I never read about a missing girl and it stars a pre Batman Ben Affleck. Also, it’s directed by David Fincher, so good or bad, the movie would have it’s share of creepiness.
Feature: The movie begins jarringly with Ben Affleck’s character Nick Dunne (nice last name) talking about cracking open his pretty wife’s head so he can scoop out her brains to see what she is thinking. In films you never get a second chance for your characters to give a first impression and Nick’s inner thoughts unnerve right away. What follows are some very welcome speedy credits that appear and disappear on screen like ghosts. Nick leaves his picturesque Midwestern house early in the morning for a morning drink at the local dive. He happens to own it with his a little too close twin sister/bartender Margo. There they play subtlety mundane game of Life on his 5 year anniversary when he is called back home to bring in the cat. This is the inciting incident where upon arriving home Nick finds the house empty and in immaculate shape except for a broken glass table. Oh yeah, and missing one wife. Strangely though, Nick takes her disappearance in stride and chooses to call not her, but the police first instead.
Since his wife is clearly gone from the get go we only initially see Amy, distantly played by Rosamund Pike, through flashbacks written in her journal. Through Amy’s journals we learn their marriage is not all that it seems and that Amy, and later on their marriage, has ample baggage. Amy is a highly educated trust fund baby and semi has been celebrity as her parents have written a whole series children’s books about her overly embellished life. However, “Amazing Amy is resentful of her parents profiting off her disappointing childhood while her literary alter ego gets the perfectly written happy ending. Until one boring house party later where she meets too cool for school Nick and the fireworks begin. It’s an effective way to layer in the troubled couple’s back story while providing us a way to peek inside Amy’s head to see what really goes on inside her brain. On top of that she is a writer like her parents so her choice of words in the diary are poetic and insightful. Sometimes too much,
Armed with her ever present cup of joe and a pack of sticky notes, the local detective arrives at Nick’s crime scene house looking for clues from the clueless Nick. Luckily, a missing person’s case is just what the police department needs to break up the small town monotony and Amy’s case is put on the fast track for investigation. And fast it is. Usually it takes 24 hours to file a missing person’s case but within 24 hours Nick is already holding a press conference, and the town has organized a search to find Amazing Amy. Through it all Nick seems dis-attached and unmoved by Amy’s disappearance which makes us want to crack open his skull and see what’s going on inside..
Thankfully Amy’s diary helps us see what Nick is unwilling to share, and her entries reveal a short honeymoon period for the newlywed couple as the 2008 recession hits Nick and Amy hard. Nick has lost his job at a men’s magazine and instead of finding work is content to spend his days gunning people down in Call of Duty. He convinces Amy to move to his hometown in Missouri to look after hos dying mother. Amy loves Nick’s mom and agrees but quickly resents small town life having grown up in New York. Nick however, hasn’t grown much beyond the college party scene and Amy views her husband as a leech sucking her life away and her money dry. To make matters worse Amy’s job is tenuous and to ratchet up the financial pressure her parents need to raid her million dollar trust fund to get by. Nobody cares about Amazing Amy anymore it seems, even Nick, as he uses Amy for sex then runs off for guy’s nights out. The cherry on top is an abusive fight with Nick after a baby saving marriage talk ends up with her in the stairs. This is a side of Nick she hasn’t seen before and she is terrified. She is afraid her husband will kill her, and so are we.
During the investigation evidence against Nick grows as it appears Amy has left a trail of seductive anniversary treasure hunt style clues about her disappearance. A mountain of mysterious credit card bills show up along with a multi-million dollar life insurance policy against Amy with Nick’s signature. And everything, the house, the car, Nick’s bar, appears to be in Amy’s name. Nick feels the investigation turn against him as he claims he never made the mysterious purchases and it was Amy’s idea to have him take out the insurance policy long ago. To make matters worse Nick is visited late one night by a young college hottie who he has been having an affair with. Oh, and it turns out Amy was pregnant at the time of her disappearance, bewildering Nick as it turns out neither of them really wanted a child. At this point, almost half way through the movie, all the evidence clearly paints Nick as just another Scott Peterson. It’s almost too perfect when Amy’s half burnt diary falls in the hands of the police damning Nick in his lost wife’s own words. But with no body or weapon there can be no arrest, so the mountain of evidence builds and builds to the point where there seems to be no question Nick is guilty of the heinous murder of his wife.
However at this point the film throws one of it’s first major curve balls. In a move straight out of Alfred Hitchcock’s masterpiece Vertigo, the film is flipped on it’s head when they mystery of Amy’s disappearance is solved halfway through the movie. We see Amy is indeed gone, but very much alive and loving her new life as a missing person. Her disappearance is no mystery but a carefully calculated plan but into motion months if not years ago to frame her husband. Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned and Amy must have a summer trust funded residence down below for the levels of depravity, and glee, she shows in setting up her aloof husband. Fueled by a need for revenge on her cheating husband and well informed on how to cover up a crime by watching hours of murder porn on Discovery ID, she made the credit card purchases, took out the life insurance policy, and faked the pregnancy all to make Nick look guilty and provide him with plenty of motive. She’s even not afraid to draw a bucket of her own blood to splatter behind as evidence. But not before she cleans it up in craptastic fashion, as her lazy husband would do. Even her deepest thoughts, locked away in the diary, have been a set up, purposely left behind and made up as evidence to frame poor Nick. Like her parents when she was younger, Amy learned how to turn fiction into non-fiction convincingly. So complete is her plan she has even mapped out her revenge on a calendar, complete with a day picked out to kill herself in a place where her body can be found. All to send Nick to the chair. They have the death penalty in Missouri after all.
Gone Girl is like a two and a half hour episode of Law and Order. The beginning is all about the crime investigation while the back end focuses on the pursuing legal battle. With Nick, and now us, knowing he is truly innocent he hires a hot shot $100,000 retainer lawyer played by scene stealing Tyler Perry, who helps to plan his legal and public defense with the help of his loyal sister. It turns out Amy has done this before by setting up an ex with charges of rape years before meeting Nick and now his only hope for redemption is to track her down to prove his innocence.
While Nick wages a PR campaign to clear his name, Amy goes from trailer park hiding to shacking up with her former millionaire college lover, the infatuated Doogie Houser. The Doog is all too happy to have won her back and sets Amy up in his cabin penthouse/fortress/prison complete with heated bathroom floors and a web of security cameras that would make Fort Knox jealous. Confident he’ll rekindle his romance with the one who got away the Doog leaves Amy to gather her thoughts after being hooked by her story of abuse at Nick’s hands. He promises her, there is no way he’ll ever let her out of his grasp ever again, trapping Amy again in a subservient relationship she wants no part of.
However, a desperate, impassioned, and nationally televised plea from Nick for Amy’s return leads to the second major curve ball the movie has to throw. Amy watches it, and sees in Nick the ambitious go getter she once knew and misses again. Unfortunately she has the world and her captor convinced she was the victim of a horrible crime and just can’t show up at Nick’s door step. Or can she? To plot her latest escape Amy uses the cabin’s ever present security cameras in place of her diary to set up Doogie for rape, and one of the most blood soaked throat slashes in movie history. In a movie so much about violence unseen it’s quite shocking when it happens. Before the Doog has finished bleeding out Amy is back home, soaked in blood and crying about escape from her torturous ex boyfriend’s clutches.
Knowing better, Nick doesn’t buy her story for a second but the public eats it up. The police buy her story and she is free to return home with her husband, There, still covered in blood she confesses everything to him in the shower as she washes it and her lies away. And poor Nick, caught between an utterly psycho wife and a suddenly lucrative, as if written for TV, story chooses to stay with her. Amy makes a convincing argument for her love in the fact that she really has killed for him. Or is it that she may really be pregnant again? Or maybe, just maybe, Nick wants her still. That beneath all their squabbles with alleged kidnappings, abuse, and that whole death penalty thing, Nick may be codependent when all is said and done and can’t live with his unpredictable wife as much as he can without her.
Roll Credits: Gone Girl goes a long way in setting back the gains made in male and female relations over the past few centuries. The film validates every husband’s concern that their wife is just as secretly unhinged and treacherous as they’ve always believed her to be. And every woman’s fear that their dopey and childish husbands are just a 20 year old away from having an affair. And the best way to deal with those long held issues isn’t through therapy or sacrifice, but a long planned revenge. David Fincher does a good job of making the whole film feel awkward and unnerving. For two and a half hours run time the film doesn’t drag but leaves you wanting a final resolution that never seems to come, until the end when it does abruptly. Because of that it’s hard not to leave Gone Girl without feeling uncomfortable. After all, as Amy tells Nick towards the end, this is how marriages are supposed to work. It’s a spouses job to make the other miserable.