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AVENGING APRIL: Avengers Movie Marathon Part 2

By @hmsbeefnuts

So last time we met I had just watched Ironman, The Incredible Hulk and Ironman2, three films that lead up to the now so close I can taste it The Avengers. Our next two films were to prove tricky prospects for Marvel, as they were a little bit different to the technology based heroes we had seen so far. Magic and history were to be prominent in both Thor and Captain America, and if these films didn’t work, then Marvel had a big problem with The Avengers. Thankfully, these films turned out more than just OK, but more on that later. The feat that Marvel seemed to have pulled off here is really quite staggering. A five film build up to a film that could be one of the most ambitious films ever undertaken. I think that all the heroes have worked very well on their own, but how are they going to work together? It’s a question that I will have to leave hanging for now, but it shall be answered very soon. So without further delay, lets crack on with the God of Thunder, The Mighty Thor…

THOR

A bit of a change this, not only in tone, but for the Marvel Universe as a whole. Thor widens the scope of The Marvel Universe, and introduces a less technological, more mystical force. I love Thor, I think Brannagh hit the nail directly on the head, and knocked it right out of the park. On paper, and outside of comic books, Thor is not an easy character to realise. How would a Norse God fit in with genetic monsters and super advanced weapon suits? Quite well as it happens. Brannagh treats the subject seriously, but with a healthy dose of humour, and everything works out great. Chris Hemmesworth is immense as Thor, that guy put in some serious gym time, but he is able to portray Thor’s early arrogance, and also his later more humble nature. The supporting cast are also excellent, Loki in particular is a worthy villain, and played excellently by Tom Hiddleston. Natalie Portman looks like she is very much in awe of Hemmesworth, that’s either some awesome acting, or she was genuinely knocked out by Hemmesworth’s abs.

 

The story goes a little like this. Thor is about to be crowned Lord of Asguard, so his Father, Odin, played by the awesome Anthony Hopkins, can complete his Odinsleep. The ceremony however is interrupted by Frost Giants, trying to steal back a relic Odin took from their leader ages ago. Easily defeated by the guardian of the relic room the Destroyer. Odin is satisfied that nothing more should be done. Thor is of a different opinion. Gathering his brother Loki, the warriors three and Lady Sif, Thor travels to Jordenheim to face the Frost Giants. Things don’t go too well, and Odin has to save them, but afterwards, banishes Thor to Earth powerless, in order to teach his son a lesson.

 

Thor manages to crash land into Natalie Portman’s science team, and then the adventure continues on Earth and Asgaurd, with Loki taking the throne, and Thor trying to find some humility in order to regain his powers, by lifting up his mighty hammer Mjolnir. A smackdown with Loki at the end is suitably epic, and sets up The Avengers pretty directly. Stan Lee cameo this time features the great man trying to drag Mjolnir with his truck, less than successfully. He isn’t the only cameo however, as we also are introduced to Jeremy Renner’s Hawkeye, one of our Avenger team. Coulson is also present and an after credits scene involving Loki, Nic Fury and a Cosmic Cube is a nice little tease for both The Avengers, and our next movie. I wonder where that Cosmic Cube came from? Hmm.

Thor is an excellent film. Probably my Third favourite Marvel movie, but that just speaks to the quality of the films thus far. My favourite Marvel Film just happens to be next, so lets jump to it, these films aren’t watching themselves…

CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE FIRST AVENGER

Love, love, love, this film. If it wasn’t for a certain Dark Knight who frequents the nastier parts of Gotham City, this would be my favourite superhero film. I love the period setting, love Chris Evans in the role. The costume, and how it is slowly put together is a thing of beauty. I love that we have the USO Show bits, and most of all, I love the character of Steve Rogers. Peerless in honour, and as a man, what makes Cap so interesting is that, in a team with a Norse God, a Hulk and an arrogant playboy Billionaire, he is very much the right choice to lead them. But we are getting ahead of ourselves. Lets start at the beginning.

 

Steve Rogers is a tiny guy, with health problems, who wants nothing more than to join the fight against the Nazis. His health prevents him from enlisting numerous times, until a chance meeting with a scientist, now working for the American Government, after escaping the Nazi regime, changes Steve Rogers life forever. It turns out this scientist, Dr. Abraham Erskine, has developed a super soldier serum, and although it has been used before, for the wrong reasons, resulting in Hugo Weaving’s Red Skull, Steve Rogers is chosen as the test subject after a few months of training. Tommy Lee Jones is his commander, sexily aided by the lovely Hayley Atwell as a love interest. Rogers is given the serum, transforming him into Captain America, but a spy of HYDRA, kills out scientist, and it is decided that Steve is too important to risk his life in war, and is best used as a Promotional device. USO Shows beckon, until one day, Steve has had enough. He wants action, and when he learns that his best friend has been captured, along with a whole regiment, he, along with ………. and Howard Star, (that name sounds familiar), mounts a rescue operation.

 

Captain America becomes a great hero of the war, winning many battles, before a final showdown with Red Skull himself on a HYDRA bomber headed to America. A  defeated Red Skull is sucked into another dimension, which looks a lot like some scenes from Thor, and Cap is left to down the plane in the Arctic, saying goodbye to his love Peggy Carter. How sad. Of course, this isn’t the end of the tale. Howard Stark manages to find the source of HYDRAS power, a Cosmic Cube, but cannot find the downed plane. However, 70 years later, a metal structure is found in the Arctic, along with a mysterious red, white and blue shield. Cap wakes up in modern day New York, confused, dazed, and more than a little heartbroken that he never got to make the date with Hayley Atwell, more than understandable, I think you will agree. Nic Fury enlists Cap for a new project he is working on, and the rest, well we shall see. Oh Stan Lee cameo? He appears as a general at a ceremony, and our after credits treat is a teaser for The Avengers.

 

Captain America is a fantastic film. I think Joe Johnston is one of the most under appreciated directors working in Hollywood today. His films are always worth watching. I initially thought that casting The Human Torch as Captain America was a mistake, but Chris Evans is excellent in this. He really brings the heart and soul of Cap to life. I literally can’t wait until I get to see The Avengers, in the next few days. Early word has been positive, and after such a line of quality films, Marvel surely can not drop the ball now? I will be watching The Avengers on 28th April, a Saturday, that’s like tomorrow. I can’t wait, I am so excited. Avenging April now comes to a close, it’s been fun people, I hope you have had as good a time reading these articles, as I have writing them. I hope you all enjoy The Avengers when you go and watch it. I hope I will too. Let me know what you have thought about these Avenging April Articles, and how you found The Avengers. See you in May, Hmsbeefnuts out.

Avenging April: My favourite Mutants

By @hmsbeefnuts

Geeky Gem, in a previous article, picked her favourite mutant superheroes, and bloody well picked most of my favourites too. I was left with a bit of a problem, do I just go ahead, pick Wolverine, Gambit and Beast for my top 5? Or do I try and think of an alternative top 5 of mutant characters that I think are really cool. I chose the former, I loved Wolverine too much, but then half way through I had a change of heart, deleted what I had typed and racked my brains trying to think of some lesser known mutants, or at least, mutants Gem had not chosen. I didn’t take that long, thanks largely to the rich Marvel characters that inhabit their universe, I soon had 5 characters that were different and, perhaps just as good as Geeky Gems choices? So don’t go expecting Wolverine and Gambit, and certainly not Cyclops, but here, may I present to you, my alternative 5 favourite Mutants…

Deadpool

 

Deadpool is just fucking cool, everyone knows this. Not only does his long list of powers include, a regenerative healing factor, superhuman stamina, agility, reflexes,longevity, an immunity to telepathy, a master swordsman, marksman and martial artist, he can also teleport, thanks to a teleportation device. Oh, he also has the ability to break the fourth wall, almost as if he knows he is a comic character. Deadpool is often thought to be insane, but that is his greatest attribute in fights. For instance, he is so unpredictable that the Taskmaster could not defeat him, and even the mighty Ghost Riders Penance Stare could not stop him. Deadpool’s insanity is thought to stem from the cancer that he had, his healing factor advancing and making it worse, but also making him better at the same time. He has horrible scars all over his body, thus the full body suit. A master assassin, and mercenary Deadpool works as an effective hero, anti-hero or villain.

Sebastian Shaw

 

Casual fans may know him from the recent X-Men First Class film, Shaw has one of the cooler mutant powers. A self made man, Shaw was a billionaire by the time he was 40. He joined the villainous Hellfire Club, and eventually, in a coup took the organisation over, and tried to take over the world. This obviously brought him into contact with the X-Men. Shaw’s powers change any energy that he touches into a power that he can use. This includes bullets. He retains the energy and can use it against his enemies, giving him greater physical advantages. I particularly liked Kevin Bacon’s portrayal of Shaw in the last X-Men film.

Longshot

 

OK, Longshot isn’t exactly a mutant, but he was once part of the X-Men and so counts in my book, plus he has an awesome power, one that I would very much like to have myself. Hailing from the Mojo controlled ‘Mojoverse’, Longshot rebelled against his slaver masters, and although losing, flees to Earth. Eventually returning to the Mojoverse to help free his former slave allies, he later joins the X-Men. Longshot’s powers include, a healing factor, superhuman agility, psychometry, and most importantly Probability manipulation. I think Longshot luck powers are one of the greatest powers one could posses, however, they only work in his favour if he does heroic acts, they reverse if he becomes selfish etc. Imagine just being able to pull off anything, it would be awesome.

Magneto

 

Born a German Jew, Max Eisenhardt was captured after fleeing to Poland escaping the Nazi regime. His Mother, Father and sister were executed, but he survived thanks to his yet unknown powers. After meeting his young love in Auschwitz, Max managed to escape with her, but an unfortunate incident, where an angry mob burned their home down, and Max, in a rage killed them with his now enormous powers. The couple split and Max eventually took on the name Erik Lehnsherr. Meeting Charles Xavier in Israel, a battle with HYDRA  caused a rift between the burgeoning friends when Erik realised his ideal and Xavier’s didn’t match up. Taking the name Magneto, Erik vowed never to let mutants be treated as he had been during the War. Magneto is one of the most powerful mutants, able to manipulate magnetism. He is able to fly, manipulate metal objects, and create force fields. Being a genius also helps quite a bit. I wasn’t a massive fan of Magneto, until I saw X-Men First Class. Hunting down the hidden Nazi’s was an amazing sequence, and I saw Magneto in a new light. The guy is awesome, and there are parts of me that support Magneto’s ideals over Xavier’s.

Mystique

Ah Mystique. An ageless shape shifter, with superhuman agility, a healing factor, and a skilled warrior and strategist, my kind of woman. Yes, in her normal form she is blue skinned, but she is undoubtedly beautiful, and I’ve always been a sucker for a red head. I’ll be completely honest, although I do think Mystique’s back story is extremely cool, she appears in this list because she is a stone cold fox, who could turn into an infinite number of stone cold foxes. Yes it’s perverted, yes she is an imaginary character but she was pretty sexy in all the movies. If I was Wolverine, I’d have dropped Jean Grey quick smart to get with Mystique, but then I’ve always had a soft spot for bad girl too.

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