Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Marvel Cinematic Universe: Part 2

Aloha! Happy Finals Week, BYU.... Thankfully my finals are over now and only one class took until I'm officially done my bachelors degree (even though I'm walking this week). To celebrate I've got a post for you about the Marvel Cinematic Universe. This week is about three big movies for SHIELD: The Incredible Hulk, Iron Man 2, and Thor.

The Incredible Hulk
Hulk/Banner saves New York from the Abomination
This Hulk movie (starring Edward Norton instead of Mark Ruffalo) starts with Bruce Banner already having become the Hulk and on the run from the military. While he's hiding out in Brazil, the military, led by General Ross and helped by Emil Blonsky, finds him. So he goes on the run again, all while trying to get help from Mr. Blue to take care of his little green problem. Once Bruce gets back to the United States, he reunites with his ex-girlfriend, Betty Ross, who is General Ross's daughter.

During a fight at Culver University, Bruce turns into the Hulk and ends up having to protect Betty, who had ended up in the line of fire of her father's men. Bruce and Betty go on the run, making their way to NYC to meet Mr. Blue who tries to get rid of Bruce's Hulk problem. Seemingly cured, Bruce and Betty end up in custody and Blonsky persuades Mr. Blue to use Bruce's blood to give him more power. Bad move, Mr. Blue. Blonsky, now the "Abomination", is rampaging in NYC, which persuades General Ross to let Bruce fight him. With some help, Bruce wins and then goes on the run. Finally in isolation, he tries to learn to control the Hulk experience. Meanwhile, Tony Stark comes to talk to General Ross about a "team" that's being put together.

Random Trivia/Connections:
   The serum that Bruce was originally trying to replicate was the same Super Soldier Serum that turned Steve Rogers into Captain America in "The First Avenger".
   General Ross, Bruce's initial nemesis in this movie, will reappear in "Captain America: Civil War", coming out next month.
   In the post-credits scene, Tony alludes to the Avengers team, which concept was introduced to him during the events of "Iron Man 2", which occur concurrently with this movie.
   In "The Avengers", Black Widow mentions that SHIELD has been keeping the army away from Bruce since the events of this movie.

While definitely different from the Mark Ruffalo Hulk, I actually enjoyed this movie, despite hearing that it wasn't very good. One critique I have, which is actually more of a critique of "Age of Ultron" is that we haven't seen Betty Ross since this movie. Why is Bruce even considering anything with Black Widow when Betty is out there? Did something happen with her to push them apart or has it just been the passage of time since 2008 when this movie happened? Seven years is a long time, but I just wish they would address it. Maybe they will in "Civil War" when General Ross appears? I doubt it, but who knows. When it all comes down to it, this movie is worth watching. Even though the actor for Bruce Banner changes between this one and "The Avengers" it still fits as part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (it's not like he's the only one who's been recast; just look at War Machine).

Fury gives Stark a good talking to.
Iron Man 2
Right on the heels of "Iron Man", Tony has announced that he's Iron Man. Meanwhile, Anton Vanko is plotting against Tony Stark. Six months after outing himself, Tony has helped establish peace in some powerful countries and he's opened the Stark Expo. However, he also has the government after him, questioning if the Iron Man suit is safe in the hands of Stark. They want him to hand it over, but of course that's not Tony's style. He ends up leaving the trial humiliating his rival, Justin Hammer.

However.... Tony also is dying. His arc reactor is slowly poisoning his blood. Accepting his impending death, he appoints Pepper Potts to succeed him as CEO and a Natalie Rushman replaces Pepper. Later, while Tony has a mid-life crisis (or end-of life crisis?) on a race track, Vanko attacks him. Long story short, Iron Man beats Vanko, Tony learns that Vanko's father works for his father, and Hammer hires Vanko to create suits for him. As the mid-life crisis continues, Rhodey shuts down Tony's birthday party, resulting in a drunken super suit battle (drunken on Tony's end). Humbled for once, Tony is able to save himself, with the help of Nick Fury.

Meanwhile at the Stark Expo, Hammer unveils Rhodey as War Machine, which turns out is controlled by Hammer. So while Tony rushes off to save Rhodey, his body guard Happy Hogan and Natalie Rushman (who is actually Agent Romanoff aka Black Widow of SHIELD) rush off to help stop Hammer. War Machine and Iron Man fight off Vanko and Tony rushes off to save Pepper from an explosion. And finally two share a kiss. Yay! As the movie ends, Fury says that they want Iron Man as a consultant for the Avengers Initiative. Finally, in the post-credit scene, Agent Coulsen arrives in New Mexico and finds a strange hammer that leads us into the next movie...

Random Trivia/Connections:
   When Tony and Fury talk near the end of the movie, there's a news report about an incident at Culver University, the same incident involving the Hulk in the previous movie.
   A prototype of Captain America's shield is seen in Tony's lab.
   When Fury talks about Coulsen's absence, he mentions an incident in the southwestern part of the country, which we find out in e next movie is a small town in New Mexico.
   Wakanda, Black Panther's home country, is seen on a map.

I've heard lots of critiques on this movie (most of which come from my friend Justin). Honestly, it was a decent movie. Not my favorite, but I just think they were doing too much. We had the action with Vanko, Tony's blood poisoning, the Stark Expo, the stuff with SHIELD, and all the stuff between Tony and the US government. Just felt like there was a lot going on. In total though, a few important key points still affect other movies: Black Widow was introduced, War Machine was created, and the Avengers Initiative is introduced.

All those muscles put to waste.
Flashback to the 10th century AD, we see the beginnings of Norse mythology and we see Odin and his Asgardians defeat Laufey and his Frost Giants. In the present, Odin's son Thor is getting ready to become king. However, the Frost Giants attack. In anger, Thor goes to the home of the Frost Giants with his brother Loki and four friends, but instead of fixing things he makes things worse and he basically gets grounded... To earth... In New Mexico. Where he gets hit by a car. So around the same time that  Jane, Darcy, and Erik (who hit him with the car) get him conscious again, Agent Coulsen finds Thor's hammer. He proceeds to take all of Jane's research on wormholes. It's about at this point that Thor sneaks into the facility that SHIELD built up around the hammer, beating every SHIELD agent until he gets to the hammer, only to find that he can't lift it. He's permitted to leave the premise with the help of Dr Erik Selvig, but manages to nab one of Jane's notebooks on his way out.

Meanwhile on Asgard, Loki discovers that he's really a Frost Giant (kind of a runt of a giant) so when Odin basically goes comatose he takes the reins of the kingdom. He strikes a deal with Laufey and the Frost Giants in order to secure his reign. Meanwhile, Thor's friends travel to Earth to try to get him out of exile, only to have the Destroyer attack. Being willing to sacrifice himself for Jane's safety, Thor's power is restored and he's able to defeat the Destroyer before returning to Asgard to take care of Loki. Loki ends up double crossing and killing Laufey to try to prove himself to Odin. A fight ensues between the brothers with Loki trying to destroy the Frost Giants with the power of the bifrost, but Thor destroys it. With both brothers hanging over the abyss, Odin wakes up and saves them in the nick of time, except that Loki decides to drop to his apparent death. Meanwhile, not knowing that the bifrost was destroyed, Jane is left waiting for Thor to return, so she continues with her research. Some time later, Selvig gets taken to a SHIELD facility where he is shown a mysterious blue cube that he is to study. Unbeknownst to Fury, Selvig is being manipulated by Loki.

Random Trivia/Connections:
   The prologue takes place in Tonsberg, Norway, so it's likely that this is when the Tesseract ended up on Earth, since that's where Red Skull found it.
   Though a minor character in this movie, Clint Barton/Hawkeye makes his first appearance here at the SHIELD facility that was built around Thor's hammer.
   Coulsen's activities in this movie occur just after his departure from Iron Man 2, explaining where he went.

Not one of my favorites but I do have some highlights. Darcy, Jane's intern, is my favorite. "You hit him with your car." "You tased him." "Yeah, I did." She's just so funny and quirky. Highlight of the movie (and its sequel). Although the development of Thor from prideful jerk to humble hero was a bit fast, I did enjoy it. It sets the tone for all of Thor's heroic, selfless acts in the movies that follow. I'm also a fan of Thor's Asgardian companions. Nice round group of people and they kick major butt.

Alright, that's all for now. Next week I'm planning something Disney related. Something nice to celebrate graduating (even though I still have that one class).

No comments:

Post a Comment