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Marvel Studios Releases New Details on Hawkeye, Shang-Chi, Captain Marvel 2, Armor Wars, Ironheart, Secret Invasion… and Fantastic Four!

During the Disney investor presentation, numerous announcements were made as to what to expect from Marvel Studios over the next years. Numerous first looks were released and updates to movies, television shows, and a whole lot of reveals.

Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings has wrapped its production. The film is in theaters July 9, 2021.

Brie Larson will return as Carol Danvers/Captain Marvel in Captain Marvel 2. Nia DaCosta will direct the film and Larson will be joined by Iman Vellani, the new Ms. Marvel, and Teyonah Parris who will play Monica Rambeau. Parris will debut as the character in WandaVision.

Captain Marvel 2 will fly into theaters November 11, 2022.

Hawkeye is currently filming. Jeremy Renner returns as the character and will be joined by Hailee Steinfeld as Kate Bishop.

Additional cast include Vera Farmiga, Fra Fee, and newcomer Alaqua Cox as Maya Lopez, with episodes directed by Rhys Thomas and directing duo Bert and Bertie.

Tatiana Maslany is now confirmed as Jennifer Walters/She-Hulk… and Tim Roth is joining her!? Roth returns as the Abomination. Mark Ruffalo will also appear on the Disney+ series. It will be directed by Kat Coiro and Anu Valia.

Moon Knight is confirmed though no more details have been released.

Samuel L. Jackson is back as Nick Fury in the Disney+ series, Secret Invasion. Ben Mendelsohn will return as well as the Skrull Talos.

Dominique Thorne will step into the armor as Riri Williams in Ironheart! The character is coming to a series soon on Disney+.

Ironheart and… Armor Wars!? Don Cheadle suits up again as James Rhodes, aka War Machine. The classic story comes to the small screen of Disney+ as Tony Stark’s fear of his tech falling into the wrong hands comes true.

Hopefully it’ll be as much of a trainwreck as the Star Wars special, but in 2022 we’re getting The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special directed and written by James Gunn. You’ll be able to watch it on Disney+.

I am Groot! Baby Groot will get a series of shorts on Disney+.

Christian Bale has officially joined the cast of Thor: Love and Thunder as the villain Gorr the God Butcher. This will have a major impact on the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Thor: Love and Thunder comes to theaters on May 6, 2022.

Peyton Reed will return to direct the third Ant-Man film, Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania. Paul Rudd, Evangeline Lilly, Michael Douglas, and Michelle Pfeiffer all return. Kathryn Newton joins the cast as Cassie Lang and Jonathan Majors as Kang the Conqueror.

And… the Fantastic Four are coming to the Marvel Cinematic Universe directed by Jon Watts!

Hawkeye Adds Six Cast Members including Vera Farmiga and Tony Dalton

The upcoming Disney+ series Hawkeye has added six people for key roles. The series stars Jeremy Renner and Hailee Steinfeld who will be joined by Vera Farmiga, Florence Pugh, Fra Fee, Tony Dalton, Alaqua Cox, and Zahn McClarnon.

Farmiga will play Eleanor Bishop, the mother of Steinfeld’s character Kate Bishop.

Fee will play a character named Kazi who is believed to be Kazimierz Kazimierczak, the Marvel mercenary villain Clown.

Dalton will play Jack Duquesne who is believed to be the show’s version of Jacques Duquesne, aka Swordsman. The character was an early mentor of Hawkeye.

Pugh will reprise the role of spy and assassin Yelena Belova, the sister of Black Widow. She will debut in the upcoming Black Widow film which is currently scheduled to be released in May 2021.

Cox will reportedly play Maya Lopez, the marvel hero Echo. Echo is a deaf Native American who can copy the movements of anyone she sees making her a hell of a fighter.

McClarnon is expected to play William Lopez, the show’s version of Maya’s father from the comics.

Hawkeye is one of Marvel Studio’s numerous shows coming to Disney+ which includes WandaVision which will be released on January 15. Also coming is The Falcon and WInter Soldier and Loki. Also in the works is She-Hulk, Ms. Marvel, Moon Knight, and a Nick Fury series.

Jeremy Renner Joins Spawn as Twitch

Jeremy Renner is going from bows and arrows to guns and supernatural joining the new Spawn reboot.

Renner will be playing Detective “Twitch” Williams, a part of a duo of detectives who are drawn into the world. Based on the characters created by Todd McFarlane, Twitch actually will be the person on screen the most according to the announcement. Renner was at the top of the list for McFarlane as far as casting for the role.

The film will star Jamie Foxx as the title character and will have a budget between $10-$12 million with an R rating. McFarlane, who will direct, says the next step is locking a distributor and financing.

The character of Twitch was also to be a part of a television show, Sam & Twitch, following the detective and his partner. Kevin Smith was attached to the show which was to air on BBC. It is currently in limbo.

The character debuted in Spawn #1 in 1992 and went on to star in his own series which lasted 26 issues after a four year run that was hampered by delays.

Movie Review: Tag

tag posterIt’s rare for a movie with so simple a premise to be not only uproariously funny but also heartfelt. The based-on-a-true-story of childhood friends who have been playing the same game of tag for 30 years is one of the funniest comedies of the year and pushes the boundaries of good taste in numerous ways.

One key theme here is these middle aged dudes all play a child’s game to try to stay young. This captures that fun and sense of play. It also captures that perfect sense of what it was to be young and have absolutely no filter– an 11-13 year old boy has probably the foulest mouth and mind on the planet, and most of these guys never completely grew up from that. It also features a great throwback soundtrack featuring hip hop and hard rock tracks from the 80’s and 90’s, giving the film a specific sense of nostalgia. Also, stick around during the credits to see/hear the cast sing a rendition of the Crash Test Dummies “Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm.” See? Specific. We’re ready to party like it’s 1994, around which time our team of dummies ostensibly would have graduated from high school.

On our team of tag players are successful veterinarian “Hoagie” (Ed Helms) and his overly competitive wife Anna (Isla Fisher). They first recruit health insurance CEO Bob Callahan (Jon Hamm) when they crash an interview he’s doing with a reporter from the Wall St. Journal (Annabelle Wallis) who joins their game as she smells a story. (This is based on the true story that was published here) They track down stoner burnout “Chili” (Jake Johnson) and crash Kevin’s (Hannibal Burress) therapy session. The goal of all of this to to finally tag their one friend Jerry (Jeremy Renner) who has never been tagged –and they have the perfect opportunity to do so at his upcoming wedding.

And hijinks ensue.

The film, while definitely a comedy which tries to pack as many jokes into every minute as possible, plays out almost more like an action movie. This is in itself incredibly funny, as we see these middle-aged men play tag with all the style and staging of The Expendables or the most recent Fast and Furious movie. Every time they think they have Renner’s character cornered, time slows down and we see inside his mind as he anticipates every move, a la Guy Ritchie’s Sherlock Holmes films with Robert Downey, Jr. It’s a fun device which never gets overused thanks to the comedy always focusing on the characters and these mens’ relationships with each other.

Case in point, in an attempt to sew discord among the group, Jerry invites Cheryl (Rashida Jones) a former flame of both Bob and Chili’s to the wedding. It, of course, works to distract them because “lol these idiot man children playing a game are so predictable.”

What isn’t predictable are exactly the lengths Jerry has gone to in order to plan quick escapes from various situations and the theatricality with which he pulls them off. This includes a showdown in the woods where he literally pulls out a boombox and starts playing Ozzy’s “Crazy Train” to play with their minds.

What also is not predictable was just how sweet this movie is at its heart. Amidst reports like this article from The Boston Globe saying “The Biggest Threat to Middle-Aged Men Isn’t Smoking or Obesity – It’s Loneliness” it is truly great to find an inspiring story of how friends have managed to stay together. And watching the actual friends who the story is based on and their antics in the credits makes this even more worthwhile. While the end of the film gets a little bit tropey and sappy and you realize what’s actually going on, you might feel a little manipulated and tricked, but it’s mostly forgivable due to how fun the rest of the film is.

The cast really makes this film work. Hannibal Buress once again proves he is one of the funniest people on the planet, and his understated delivery and perfect timing are elegantly used here. Whether in a comedy special taking center stage, as the co-host of The Eric Andre Show, or as Peter Parker’s gym teacher, he is comedy’s secret weapon. Oh, and speaking of Spider-Man, it’s worth noting that Jake Johnson, who you may have only recognized from New Girl or Jurassic World is playing Peter Parker in this fall’s animated Spider-Man: Into the Spider-VerseIsla Fisher is also hilarious and pitch perfect– mirroring in a lot of ways her breakout performance in Wedding Crashers. She also plays up the angle that, as a girl, she’s not allowed to play– and that the rest of the group are completely terrified of her because of how competitive she is. It begs the question why Buress and Fisher aren’t in more films.

This sounds silly, but this movie will make you want to play tag with your friends. In this day and age, that is not such a bad thing. It’s simple, wacky, filthy, irreverent, and utterly fun — just like playing with your friends in elementary and middle school.

3.5 out of 5 stars

Jeremy Renner Presents The Rift – In Stores January 2017

In 2013 Academy Award nominee Jeremy Renner and writer/producer Don Handfield created The Combine, a production company focused on high quality, dynamic and emotional storytelling. The company is currently producing The Founder starring Michael Keaton and the new scripted series Knightfall premiering on The History Channel in 2017. Now they’ve set their sights on the comics industry with a plan to bring the same high-quality dramatic storytelling to the graphic novel format. Partnering with Red 5 Comics, The Combine will present its first comic series in January 2017.

Presented by Renner and written by Handfield and Richard Rayner, The Rift tells the story of a single mother, Mary Ann, and her son, Elijah, whose lives change forever after witnessing a WWII fighter pilot from 1941 crash-land in present-day Kansas. They find themselves drawn into the work of Section 47, a secret government organization responsible for responding to Rifts that open in space and time. Section 47 – so named because they have only 47 hours before these Rifts close – must safely send all matter from the past back through these portals before time runs out or else the Rifts go nuclear.

Past disasters have been covered up by well-known incidents like Roswell, Chernobyl and Three Mile Island.  The scientists believe it’s a matter of physics, but Mary Ann suspects something more spiritual in nature.  She believes people arriving from the past have unresolved problems that must be settled before the rifts can close without harm.

The Rift will be four issues running from January to April 2017 with an additional story in the Red 5 2017 FCBD issue.


‘Avengers’ Star Jeremy Renner To Attend Wizard World Comic Con Chicago August 23

Jeremy RennerTwo-time Academy Award nominee Jeremy Renner will make his Wizard World Comic Con debut in Chicago on Sunday, August 23. The star of blockbusters The Avengers, Avengers: Age of Ultron, The Hurt Locker, The Bourne Legacy and others, Renner will greet fans, sign autographs, pose for photo ops and conduct an interactive fan Q&A panel in Wizard World’s largest and longest-running show.

In July, Renner will reprise his role as William Brandt in Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation. He is currently filming Captain America: Civil War, after playing Clint Barton/Hawkeye in last month’s release of second installment of The Avengers: Age of Ultron.

His Academy Award nominations have come as Best Actor for The Hurt Locker in 2008 and Best Supporting Actor for his role in The Town two years later.

Renner joins an all-star celebrity lineup at Wizard World’s largest and longest-running show, August 20-23, which also includes Norman Reedus, Nathan Fillion, Stephen Amell, Billie Piper, Burt Reynolds, David Morrissey, Ben McKenzie, Bruce Campbell, and WWE Superstar Undertaker, Randy Orton, Sting, Daniel Bryan and Diva Paige™and dozens of others.

Wizard World Chicago show hours are Thursday, August 20, 3-8 p.m.; Friday, August 21, 12-7 p.m.; Saturday, August 22, 10 a.m.-7 p.m.; Sunday, August 22, 11 a.m.-5 p.m.

Chris Evans Apologizes for Calling Black Widow a “Slut” and “Whore,” Renner Not so Much

In an interview to promote Avengers: Age of Ultron with Digital Spy, Jeremy Renner and Chris Evans were asked about fans wanting Black Widow to be with Hawkeye or Captain America, but turns out she’s really with Bruce Banner/the Hulk. In what was intended to be a joke, but still not exactly appropriate, Renner responded deadpan before laughing:

She’s a slut.

Evans who burst out laughing responded:

Something along that line. She’s a complete whore.

There’s then some jokes about her having a prosthetic leg and leading everyone on.

As I’d expect, those answers haven’t gone over all that well with the public, no matter how much of a joke they were intended to be. In a statement through his agent, Evans said:

Yesterday we were asked about the rumors that Black Widow wanted to be in a relationship with both Hawkeye and Captain America. We answered in a very juvenile and offensive way that rightfully angered some fans. I regret it and sincerely apologize.

Renner’s statement that was released wasn’t quite accepting of the blame as Evans’.

I am sorry that this tasteless joke about a fictional character offended anyone. It was not meant to be serious in any way. Just poking fun during an exhausting and tedious press tour.

It’s not too hard to say that one tried to make a joke that fell flat and it was juvenile and inappropriate.

The character of Black Widow is particularly sensitive to fans right now. Though she’s quite popular, she’s not receiving the merchandising focus as other characters are, or her own movie. She’s being relegated to the sidekick, there for eye candy only apparently.

You can watch the video of their interview below.

Movie Review – The Avengers

I’ve actually been sitting and delaying my writing a review for The Avengers for almost a day, having seen it in 3D at midnight on opening night.  It’s because I was torn.  So much of the movie I really enjoyed, then what I didn’t…. I really didn’t.  And it took me a while to figure out why.  I went to the show with someone who knows comics, but doesn’t know the ins and outs of the Avengers universe.  She knows the characters, but not specific details, so being able to discuss it with her has been interesting and helped me figure out my issues with the film.

The movie is uneven to me.  Some great action parts are followed with slow scenes that drag on.  There’s awkward pauses and lines that sound like horrible B movie material.  Special effects at times have the same result.  The parts of the movie that work, work really well, and the rest, feel like a Joss Whedon television show.  And there’s the rub and what my issue is… I’m not a Whedon fan.  I didn’t enjoy Buffy, Angel, Firefly or Serenity.  And his rather small scale of the past at times shows in a big budget film like this.

The first quarter of the movie, up until they’re all on the S.H.I.E.L.D. Helicarier is rubbish.  The acting is bad, the lines laughable, and pacing completely off.  Scenes make no sense and things aren’t explained (we’ll get back to that).  It’s not until Thor’s arrival the movie takes off and then everyone’s “A” game begins to show.  It takes Loki (a brilliant scene chewing Tom Hiddleston) and Thor (Chris Hemsworth) to get everyone else to step up a bit.

But, I come back to the plot which have holes that giant mechanical space worms could fit through and questions that aren’t addressed at all.  Here’s a few:

What happened to Loki at the end of Thor?

How did Thor arrive since the Bifrost bridge was destroyed?

Who the hell are Loki’s army and why do they give a shit about Earth?

What is the way too many numerous plans that Nick Fury references as if we’re supposed to know them?

Who is the Council and why do they have a say in anything?  And why is a “world council” all white?

The highlights of the movie are Tom Hiddleston as Loki and the Hulk (not Ruffalo, but the CGI beast).  Both steal the show.  This is really the definition of a summer popcorn movie.  Go in without notions, turn your brain off and watch things blow up and ignore the plot holes and lack of explanation of anything.  But, even attempting to do that, I still wondered at times “What would Michael Bay do?”  And the fact I did that got me to pause.  Whedon is talented, but his lack of experience on this scale shows.

Direction:  As explained above, this was the Joss Whedon show.  There’s a pop culture zing at times and some great interaction, but it all seemed a bit too cutesy.  This was The Avengers done Buffy.  The tone was much more “comic booky” than the previous films.  There were some great moments, even in the quieter times.  Lines zinged along and punchy dialogue that’d make Kevin Smith’s head spin.  Whedon though falls in the action part.  The end battle uses shaky cam way too much, when a steadier shot would do.  Special effects look like a Roger Corman Fantastic Four movie.  This wasn’t the quality we’ve seen from those previously at the helm.  Grade: 6

Acting: Hiddleston steals the show chewing every scene but not coming off as a goof.  He’s excellent as Loki, much as he was in his previous appearance in the role.  Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark/Iron Man is at his arrogant best.  Chris Evans does quite well as Steve Rogers/Captain America and Chris Hemsworth as Thor continues the quality he showed off in his own movie.  It was a CGI Hulk though that got the crowd going and I expect to see his own movie again in a few year’s time.  The rest of the cast did their job not adding anything, but also not taking away from the enjoyment.  Grade: 7

Plot: Holes the size of that giant thing at the end.  So much not addressed, so many questions not answered.  There’s just issues and issues here.  Turn your brain off for this one.  Grade: 5

Overall:  The movie really sums up the issues many perceive of comics.  It’s popcorn entertainment for kids that doesn’t challenge the mind.  There’s also another issue that’s a problem for comics.  This was one part of a multi-part story started in Iron Man, Hulk, Captain America and Thor.  Much is left unanswered and not explained expecting you to have seen those movies.  I get asked by my friends where to start to read comics, and often I’m left not sure of the answer.  To me, this movie has a similar problem.  Can you see it by itself?  Sure.  Is it coherent if you do?  Not really.  Marvel attempted to do something impressive with this movie by having a shared movie universe.  But, in this execution, they fell a bit short.  The movie is fun and enjoyable and definitely for the big screen where the giant explosions will get you to stop thinking for just a tiny bit.  Overall Grade: 7

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