The beauty of being the first guy cast as an iconic comic book character is that you’re always going to be associated with said creature and, thus, probably work for the rest of your life. Such is existence for Lou Ferrigno, the bodybuilder whose work on 82 episodes of the Incredible Hulk television series that aired in the late 70s and early 80s still earns him a booth at numerous fan conventions and cameo appearances in Marvel movies (remember him as the security guard at Banner’s lab in Hulk? You should because it’s great!). The bit parts continues to roll in for Ferrigno, as he’s been cast to reprise his role as the Big Green Meanie’s voice in Joss Whedon’s The Avengers: Age of Ultron. Hopefully this time he gets to say a little more than “puny god”.
*** Warning: Spoilers For Films in the Marvel Cinematic Universe Follow ***
I need to get this out of the way up front: I’m not a “comic book guy”.
That’s probably weird for you to read, as this site is called “Nerd Bastards” after all; complete with a smattering of classic funny books comprising the logo alongside what appears to be a homeless man who mugged Darth Vader for his Camel Lights (doesn’t that dude have asthma?). The truth is: I’m pretty much a strict “cinephile”, my education (formal and otherwise) rooted in both classic and contemporary film history. That’s not to say I’m a complete ignoramus when it comes to comics. I collected when I was a kid, frequenting my local shop at least once a week, hooked on the books whose stories fascinated me. It’s just that this main vein habit didn’t follow me into adulthood like cinema did — a hobby that I chose to turn into a career of sorts.
I don’t bring this fact up to distance myself from the NB audience; more to illustrate that I probably view the films adapted from the stories they so love through a different prism. Where they’re looking for consistency of character and adherence to the established mythologies, I’m motly hoping to sit down with a (hopefully more than) competently constructed work of filmic language that not only brings our diligent defenders to life, but does so with a focus on pleasing more than just the established fan base. In no way is one method of evaluation better than the other — it’s just a different value system with which to rate a specific subsection of the form. To be honest, the best critics of “comic book cinema” are those who can do both, dropping knowledge about the “mis-en-scène” as easily as they can break down why this particular iteration of Captain America is the most faithful to its four-color creators. I strive to do both, but my limitations with the source material keep me from going full-blown FilmCritHulk most of the time.
To wit, I introduce to you my very own take on the Marvel Cinematic Universe. At this point in the sprawling franchise’s history, everybody seems to have their own personal rankings of the films leading up to and beyond Joss Whedon’s Avengers. As much as the snobbier cinema goers would like “comic book filmmaking” to evaporate completely into the ether, it’s time to start recognizing that the genre is far too profitable to disappear anytime soon. These movies need to be treated like bona fide works of art and evaluated as such, so I present my own personal, cinephilic take on the MCU, from worst to best…
The best thing about Captain America is that he’s a human being, protected by nothing more than a thin layer of spandex. Where Bruce Banner turns into the impenetrable beast that is the Incredible Hulk, Tony Stark is shielded by his iron suit and Thor is an otherworldly god here on Earth, Steve Rogers is just a man, driven by a relentless need to serve and protect his country. This simple fact is what ultimately helps The Winter Soldier work so well, both as a part of The Avengers series and as a stand-alone piece of cinema. Joe & Anthony Russo’s first foray into the Marvel Universe never loses sight of the fact that beneath the red, white and blue exterior is bona fide flesh and blood, with a pulsing heart that can be wounded. In many ways, The Winter Soldier is a catalogue of the lacerations that Rogers has endured, both as a solider and as a man completely out of his own time.
His name is Steve Rogers. But you probably know him best as Captain America.
This might come as a surprise (or not, as you’re currently reading a site called “Nerd Bastards”), but Captain America wasn’t simply the “First Avenger”, he was also the initial Avenger to ever appear on the big screen. 2014 is a big year for the ultimate All-American, as it marks a major anniversary for the star-spangled superhero. To celebrate this momentous occasion, we here at NB thought it might be a good idea to trace Steve Rogers’ cinematic lineage all the way back to the beginning, while also taking a look at the few pit stops he made on TV during his silver screen journey. It was a bumpy road, for sure (with some jolts damn near knocking the axle off of his red, white and blue motorcycle-housing van), yet arguably ends with some of the best cinematic output of Marvel’s entire existence. So fire up the Francis Scott Key and let’s take a trip back in time to somewhat simpler days…
Just a week ago, we saw the concept art for the newest additions to The Avengers, Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch, in Marvel’s Assembling a Universe documentary. Between then and now, we got a live-action glimpse of Scarlet Witch, but that may not have been enough to quell the curiosity of some. Hopefully, these will help tide you over. (more…)
Good God, I cannot wait to see this.
Joe and Anthony Russo’s Captain America: The Winter Solider is undoubtedly many film and comic book fans’ most anticipated spring movie. Now, with less than two weeks before it’s set to hit theaters, Trailer Addict has premiered sixteen minutes of b-roll, BTS footage that is sure to send those who are already salivating for their favorite Star Spangled Superhero into full on frenzy.
While a look back at what got us to where we are now is always nice, us fans know the story. From RDJ being cast as Tony Stark in an unlikely hero in Iron Man, all the way to the assembling of The Avengers, it’s been quite a trip, but we’re more interested in what’s ahead. After recapping Marvel’s Phase One, we take a look at the rest of Phase Two, and what lies ahead. (more…)
Glamour, glitz, and a whole lot of filler await those of you with balls big enough to click play this week!
On the show: (more…)
It was announced earlier today that ABC would be airing a documentary detailing the Marvel Cinematic Universe, titled Marvel Presents: Assembling a Universe. While we’re going to be getting a first time look at a lot of behind-the-scenes content and interviews, could we also get our first look at some footage from the upcoming The Avengers: Age of Ultron? (more…)