Monday, March 31, 2014

The Future of Marvel Movies part 2

About ten minutes after posting my Captain America review and look at Marvel's Cinematic Universe I was struck by a thought as I saw the leaked image of Hawkeye's new coat (comic fans will really get excited about anything). That thought was, are Marvel going to start putting out more Avenger films post Age of Ultron?

Obviously there's going to be more. But I mean Disney cutting down the time between each instalment, and cash-in on the one of the biggest names in Box Office. Step away from the core team of Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, Widow, Hawkeye and Hulk. Not in a cranking them out just for the money way. But in a not using all the actors and raising the lesser members to more prominent roles.

Avengers Assemble (the UK name for the first film, a name I hated right up to when Age of Ultron was announced) was a masterclass in multiple film making. Most of that movie was just a series of payoffs for everything that had been built up in the four films previous. Even the bad guy was returning from Thor, using the super-weapon from Captain America. Whedon didn't need to worry about splitting screen-time between their characters and the plot because the plot had already been taken care of and he could do what he does best and spotlight the characters.

Age of Ultron doesn't look like it's going to benefit from that quite as much. There's a little bit of set-up in The Winter Soldier, but not a great deal. The bad guys all look new, and we've got two extra Avengers to worry about. Maybe three. Now if anyone can pull it off, it's Joss Whedon. But what about the future?

There's just too many Avengers now. Especially when you think about the ones who don't star in their own solo films and get a lot of their groundwork done in a space that has room to showcase them properly. Outside of the six that starred in the first film we already have War Machine, Falcon, and Winter Soldier out in the world. Not to mention a super powered Pepper Potts, though I doubt that one will go anywhere. Quicksilver, Scarlet Witch and Vision are set to join them in Age of Ultron. Rumours abound that Carol Danvers receives some set up in that film too. Dr Strange was hinted at in The Winter Soldier. Things are getting busy before you even look at Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and the Netflix series.

The obvious answer is smaller Avenger teams. The comic universes currently have an absolute massive Avengers, but the comics focus on individual squads going on missions. That's exactly what the films could end up doing. It'd be quite easy to have Cap's kooky quartet film starring Captain America, Hawkeye, Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver. Or a Secret Avengers with a Nick Fury led team featuring the more clandestine bunch like Black Widow and Hawkeye. The fact both my suggestions star Hawkeye is a fluke. Honest. I like the character and do want to see more of him, but I'm not a big fan of Jeremy Renner.

The trick is to keep two or three of the big names already established in a movie, and bring some extra names in. Further down the line you can rely more on the newer names. Hell, you could even do a big tentpole movie of Avengers Prime which is just your three biggest stars with Captain America, Iron Man and Thor.

Captain America: The Winter Soldier was almost a test case for this type of film. It wasn't just Cap's film, but Widow's too. Falcon got a fairly decent showing, and Bucky got a little set up. Obviously I'm not saying they'll stop with the solo movies. Bucky in particular needs another Cap film to get him into place for the Avengers. If not him stepping into the Cap role temporarily just like the comics. Widow absolutely deserves her own film now. But I can imagine Disney are wondering how they can use their big tentpole name that made them a few billion more often, and this, to me, is the perfect solution.

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