WARNING: THE FOLLOWING REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS FOR THE FIRST EPISODE OF MARVEL STUDIOS’ THE FALCON AND THE WINTER SOLDIER
It’s easy to see why The Falcon and the Winter Soldier was originally intended to be the first of the Disney+ Marvel Studios series before WandaVision. And it is because, by comparison, it is a safer show and an easy toe dip for Marvel Studios into the world of serialized streaming shows. Many may see that as a bad thing, but, frankly, it’s not. The greatest joy in seeing the Marvel Cinematic Universe unfold the past 13 years is we can have a gritty political thriller like Captain America: The Winter Soldier AND a cosmic space opera like Guardians of the Galaxy, and have it all make sense together. And here we see that level of versatility on display again. The sheer fact that there’s room in our world for an insane, reality-bending sitcom/drama show about grief, and a realistic action drama about two people and their insecurities regarding living up to the mantle of their closest friend is nothing short of amazing.
Last night on a special all-Marvel edition of Jimmy Kimmel Live (corporate synergy, yay!), stars Chris Evans and Robert Downey Jr. were on to hype next summer’s Captain America: Civil War. Unsurprisingly, Disney and Marvel Studios used the opportunity to unveil the hotly anticipated first trailer, and predictably, the internet lost its shit. But in a good way!
[Disclaimer: I did not see Ant-Man in 3-D. Minor spoilers ahead. I know nothing about the Ant-Man character, aside from the Ultimates storyline and what I remember from the ’70s and ’80s.]
I went to see Ant-Man on a whim. My not being all-in with the Marvel Cinematic Universe is pretty well-known, so I wasn’t too sure if I was going to see it. I am glad I did. Most people will compare it to the other MCU films and find it lacking. It isn’t the universe/dimension/globe-spanning adventure of the other films, and this is precisely why I liked it.
Marvel Studios has just announced it is starting production on Captain America: Civil War, the first installment of “Phase 3” of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Filming is currently commencing in Atlanta, but the production will span the globe with filming to take place in Germany, Puerto Rico, and Iceland. Since it’s also the third film in the Captain America saga — with the Russo brothers returning to direct — you would think that the film would be following up on the events of The Winter Soldier. However, the official plot synopsis and cast list make it sound more like Avengers 2.5.
It’s been a few hours, but I’m still processing what I thought about the latest entry into the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Avengers: Age of Ultron. I know that my feelings and recommendations will have no bearing on whether you will go out to see this movie. It’s guaranteed to generate a couple billion dollars in box office — and that’s probably just for this weekend alone! And while I had a great time watching the thing, I couldn’t help but feel a little underwhelmed by the whole enterprise.
Sorry for the lack of posts lately. It is the holidays after all. Speaking of which, I Just happen to be abroad at the moment and just had to share some pics from a recent pilgrimage to the Hot Toys Secret Base in Hong Kong. Check out the photos after the break.
I’m about to stir it up. I’m about to talk some shit, ruffle some feathers, and remind those that know me, how I break it down. Some of you will get pissed off, and that’s okay. Righteous indignation is a wonderful American tradition. Run with it, my friends.
As many of you know, in the world of comics, Sam Wilson, better known as Falcon, has assumed the mantle of Captain America over at Marvel/Disney. This has been a much-hyped story, that I have weighed in on (read HERE and HERE), but couldn’t go into as deep as I wanted because of a secret that I needed to keep. That secret was made public last week, when Dynamite Entertainment announced that I was writing their upcoming Shaft comic book.
With San Diego Comic-Con fast approaching — and shows like HeroesCon and Anime Expo in the rear view — we are definitely in the thick of con season. One of the pillars of con-going is dressing up as your favorite character and hitting the floor in costume. So Hard N.O.C. Life returns with an episode dedicated to the art of cosplay!
Joining Keith on the panel is newest NOC contributor — and host of Comics and Cosplay on YouTube — Ian (@ComixNCosplay), NYC-based comics collector and enthusiast Jay Justice (@MsJayJustice), cosplayer and costuming tutor on Saturday Morning Cosplay Nel (@NelsRandomLife), and ComicsAlliance’s superhero sartorialist Betty Felon (@BettyFelon).
Once again, I find myself on the slippery slope of pop culture commentary, in a position that requires full disclosure. Recently, I wrote a piece about Marvel’s announcement that Sam Wilson, a black man better known as Falcon, will be taking over as the new Captain America. I also admitted that I know writer Rick Remender, who will be chronicling the adventures of Black Captain America. With that in mind, it is only fair that I admit to knowing Aaron McGruder, creator of The Boondocks, as well as a new television series that is about to debut, Black Jesus.
My relationship with McGruder is far more complex than my relationship with Remender, to the extent that I’d say at one point Aaron and I could’ve been considered friends. We haven’t spoken in a long time, and based on his work as of late, I’d say that we exist in differing ideological universes. If that’s not the case, he is more than welcome to get in touch with me, as I’m sure he still has my number, and we can talk about how his work often makes me want to vomit in the corner.
Let me start by saying a few things. First, I’m trying to write less about companies like Marvel (Disney) and DC (Warner Brothers), because I’m not paid to do publicity for them. Second, although we are not close friends, I have known Rick Remender for more than a decade, and where I’m about to go is not meant to be an attack on him personally. Finally, it is no secret that if Marvel (or DC for that matter) called me tomorrow, I’d jump at the opportunity to work for them — which might make some of you view me as a hypocrite, and that’s fine with me.
All of that said, my undying childhood desire to write comics, my acquaintance with anyone who works for Marvel or DC, and my belief that both of these corporate-owned companies don’t need another bit of free publicity, does not change what I need to get off my chest.
Unless you’ve been living under a rock the last few days, you’re probably aware that the folks at the House of Ideas have taken two huge steps in diversifying their roster of heroes. The publisher who famously put a black/Latino teen in the (Ultimate) Spider-Man tights and recast Ms. Marvel as a Pakistani American has taken to national TV to announce its latest foray in ensuring that superheroes actually look like the America they represent.
It’s no secret that we love Captain America: The Winter Soldier here at The Nerds of Color. Heck, we even dedicated a whole week’s worth of posts to it, remember?
On twitter last night, the Eisner-nominated writer Jeremy Whitley strung together an epic series of tweets explaining why Sam Wilson — as portrayed by Anthony Mackie — was the best part of the whole movie. Notice he says “Sam Wilson” and not “Falcon.” Because while most folks were dazzled by Falcon’s CGI-enhanced flying combat scenes, Whitley dives deep into the man inside the suit.
With Whitley’s permission, we’ve edited together the content of his tweets into the essay below. If you want to see the tweets in their original form, head over to this Storify or just follow him on twitter.
There was that moment in 2008’s Iron Man, when Rhodey (Terrence Howard) eyeballs one of Tony Stark’s suits and says, “Next time.” Hardcore comic fans went nuts, because we knew that meant Rhodey would most likely return in a sequel, armored up as War Machine. Of course, Howard was replaced by Don Cheadle — no complaints on my part — and he did, in fact, suit up as War Machine in Iron Man 2. Cheadle donned a different suit in Iron Man 3, much to the surprise of some comic fans, and became Iron Patriot. It is difficult to convey the level of excitement I had — first, when Howard hinted at the promise of becoming a costumed superhero, and then when Cheadle made good on that promise. The only problem — at least for me — was that Cheadle never really got to be a superhero. Instead, he got to be a sidekick.
You would think that I’d have tempered my excitement when it was announced that Anthony Mackie would appear in Captain America: The Winter Soldier as Sam Wilson/Falcon, and to be honest, I did. And then the first images of Mackie in his exo-skeleton flying rig emerged. Then came the trailers. And though I did my best not to, I went nuts. Not just because the second Captain America looked to be better than the first — which it was — but because we were getting a black superhero.
Saw Captain America: The Winter Soldier and really have nothing bad to say at all. There were a few issues with story logic but outside of minor nitpicks, I’d have to say this is as good as The Avengers and definitely the best “solo” Marvel Cinematic Universe movie to date.
The best way to describe this movie is “balanced.” It achieved an almost perfect balance between comic book-style action, humor, character development, and story sophistication. Taking a page from the Robert Ludlum/Tom Clancy school of 1970s-era Cold War espionage pop culture storytelling, The Winter Soldier (at the very least) establishes a formula for Marvel Studios that, if used repeatedly, should guarantee the cinematic dominance of Marvel IPs for the next generation.
In the last week, Marvel Studios released trailers for next year’s slate of superhero fare, and if these teasers are any indication, Warner Bros. is going to have some catching up to do — even if they did manage to shoehorn Batman into the Man of Steel sequel. Still, the only thing interesting about the Batman/Superman movie is that they filmed a football game between Metropolis and Gotham, this time withoutHines Ward. Meanwhile, the Marvel Cinematic Universe (via Disney) and the X-Universe (via Fox) are simultaneously laying down the gauntlet for dope movie trailers (we shall see if the actual movies live up to the promise of the previews).
But right now, all we have are the trailers, and they’re both pretty spectacular.