Marvel Cinematic Universe: What Makes A Good Villain?

Until recently, Marvel has had a serious villain problem in that they were essentially all the same and their goals rarely differed from some form of world destruction and mass death. Besides Loki, this is all they ever wanted which seems odd in such a successful universe where their heroes have been developed to a greater extent.

Loki’s reign of terror, occasional and brief as it’s been stems from knowing he was completely unwanted by his family and adopted, not because of love. But because one man thought it could bridge between two warring civilisations. He was wrong and Loki is soon revealed to be the villain. You can feel and share in his pain when he yells to Odin “TELL ME!” to Odin in Thor. These gut wrenching two words tells us all that we need to know about how he wants to be accepted but knows deep down never will be. Tom Hiddleston’s Shakespearean-esque performance gave Loki the depth required for someone who is a desperate as this and it’s something we’ve not seen much of in the MCU until recently.

So what exactly makes Loki so good at being bad? Why do we all almost side with Kilmmonger’s quest? Is Michael Keaton’s working class villain the perfect portrayal of what we would all do in his shoes? A villain is only as good as what he allows him or herself to be, this is what makes them who they are.

Evil Plot

As I mentioned, a lot of these plots include multiple deaths, destroying as much as possible and an end goal of taking over the world. After seeing this countless times, it has become a derivative plot device for multiple villains. Frankly, it’s boring! It’s where the MCU has suffered greatly, bad guys like Ronan the Accuser (Guardians of the Galaxy) and Malekith (Thor: The Dark World) want control for no real reason besides power plus they weren’t exactly fully fleshed out characters so it just added to he boredom. 

Recently with Killmonger (Black Panther) and Vulture (Michael Keaton) it seems as if the MCU is doing away with these old tropes. Killmonger wanted what was rightfully his in Wakanda and Vulture was a working class man providing for his family whose lively hood was taken away from him from the higher ups. The pair of them were developed in smart quick ways within one film which goes to show that it is possible to do this. You not only have an vested interest in their personal missions, you sympathise with what they are going through and you almost want them to succeed.

Human Characteristics

The reason people love Loki so much isn’t because he’s so terrific at what he does, it’s because he does it with a cheeky grin across his face. Whether he’s concocting a plan, in the middle of a plot he’s hatched or just quipping to irritate someone, he has a sense of fun about it. It’s a personality trait which people gravitate towards, if you’re laid back, relaxed, seemingly happy, then you create more admiration for yourself. This is exactly what Loki does, whilst wanting his plans and schemes to succeed there’s an element of fun. He clearly enjoys being a trickster and despite being a mass murderer, we all still love him. 

Others were comparatively one dimensional, looking at Obadiah Stane (Iron Man), he transcends the norm before going full-on typical villain. He’s been wanting to be in charge of Stark Industries for years and when Howard Stark dies, this should have been shot. But when Tony returns to take over the empire, it thwarts any plans he had. It’s understandable but he then becomes far too generic and whilst his plan isn’t quite world domination, he still wants to rule via death and destruction.

Layered Personality

Having an original plot and some human characteristics will only get you so far. But where do these things come from? What makes you develop that scheme and make you more interesting than most? Well it’s all to do with the bad guy’s personality, it’s what gives each villain something that makes us relate to them. A perfect example of this is Vulture whose main goal is to be the breadwinner for his family. He’s an everyday hard working guy and when it’s taken away from him, it’s hard not to sympathise. Loki being in pain (we mostly see this in Thor and Avengers) is a trait that makes up seem more human. This side of his personality coming from what he’s known about his true parentage all this time. 

These villains are pretty diverse with cathartic performances but the one who, unlike others is understated is Zemo (Captain America: Civil War). He plots to tear the Avengers apart from the inside after his family are killed in Sokovia during the event of Age of Ultron. No doubt that they are to blame, but the best thing about this is how meticulous Zemo is in his plan and the calm manner in which he conducts himself. The complexity of his plot comes to a head with Captain America, Iron Man and Bucky all ending up in one place. It’s smart, ruthless and intentionally cruel. Above all of that, he like the best bad guys is human. He has a relatable tale and Daniel Brühl’s nuanced performance captures what a man can do with patience and determination.

In that all important final battle with your adversary, you need to have some qualities which redeem your character. Aspects about yourself which make you a lot more rounded than your bog standard villain. Killmonger, Loki, Zemo and Vulture all succeed in creating well-rounded, ambitious villains which is what I’m hoping for in Infinity War. We’ll have to find out what Thanos is holding when he comes knocking.

Keep. It. Reel.

Avengers: Infinity War – Trailer Breakdown

It’s been 10 years in the making and when Marvel began with Iron Man in 2008, they had no idea where they were going. However, the consistent success and being able to go deeper with characters by developing their stories more, they have arrived at Infinity War. 

Classically, in the comic books, Civil War is bigger than Infinity War, however they’ve taken a different route when culminating these characters in one film. By the time it’s out, there will have been 18 films part of the MCU something that no one thought would happen. Here’s the trailer, I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

Beginning with a statement from a number of the Avengers, it’s what Nick Fury said to get his team together in Avengers Assemble, desperately clinging onto what was left of his mostly disbanded team by telling them about a plan to bring together a group of remarkable individuals. A plan known as the Avenger Initiative. Fury, Iron Man, Vision, Thor, Black Widow all share lines from statement, as we see each of them in separate shots. During this montage there’s a human Vision in the form of Paul Bettany with Scarlett Witch, perhaps this is real however it’s more likely that it’s a dream sequence. In the comics they develop a relationship which is heavily hinted at here.

There’s also a confused looking Bruce Banner who seems to have crashed into Sanctum Sanctorum with Doctor Strange and Wong. There’s even a reunion between Banner and Black Widow hinted at, something we all can’t wait for. We then see Wong, Strange, Banner and Tony Stark again in New York’s Sanctum Sanctorum, shortly after Stark leaves and then a brief shot of Peter Parker and his Spidey sense kicking in as he see a round contraption in the skyline. 

Showing war torn streets and then Loki handing over the Tesseract to Thanos who reveals himself just as Spider-Man shows off his new suit which we first saw in Homecoming. Thor shows up, as does Steve Rogers (I have NO idea if I am to call him Captain America any more, should I? Is he Nomad now?? Not a clue!) as he dodges and grabs a spear thrown at him by Proxima Midnight, one of Thanos’ Black Order. It’s a welcome return for Rogers who comes out of the shadows sporting a sexy beard as Black Panther demands that someone gets him a shield.

During the trailer, we see plenty of fights and battles which is what you expect from a film with the word War in the title. There’s a team up including Rogers (long hair flowing as he runs and punches. I think I have a new man crush), Falcon, Okoye, War Machine, Hulk, Black Widow, Bucky and Black Panther an army with them. 

The Hulkbuster armour makes an unexpected reappearance and both Tony and Peter get beaten badly by Thanos himself. It’s a brutal trailer which gets worse for the Avengers as we see Vision’s stone being almost ripped out of his head and Thanos loads his Infinity Gauntlet with just a few stones. No scenes with Stark and Rogers, however it’s assumed that they have kissed and made up by now, but who knows how??

Frankly we see everyone including a brief teaser at the end with Thor with one eye meeting the Guardians of the Galaxy, however a couple of notable absences include Hawkeye and Ant-Man who have been Luke Skywalkered! It’ll be curious to see why they aren’t in the trailer, especially Ant-Man who isn’t in the ComicCon poster either.

All in all it’s a very interesting trailer, showing most of the characters we have all come to love battling Thanos and co. who has a power that they be never come up against before. Deaths of the Avengers, especially in its original line up are to be expected, however whether that’ll happen in 2018’s Infinity War or in the as yet Untitled Avengers 4 out in 2019 remains to be seen. 

The Russo brothers have taken the helm with this being their third MCU film once again working with writers Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely. Avengers: Infinity War is set for an April 27th release in the UK and May 4th in the USA. 

Keep. It. Reel.

Prop Store Exhibition at BFI IMAX 2016

To have the chance to see some of your favourite memorabilia and props from some of your most beloved films, really is something quite special and unique. It’s a very rare opportunity so when you have the chance to see these random items and be up close and personal close to any of these objects, take it! I was lucky enough to have an exhibition in London so I went down to the BFI IMAX in Waterloo, London as Prop Store were holding a special event before their live auction, which took place on September 27.

Prop Store logo

What I saw made me have a huge geekgasm, it was very exciting and the perfect place for me! There were signed scripts and books, props from Die Hard, The Dark Knight, Terminator 2, Star Trek, The Martian, 24, Gladiator and too many more to name. The auction has gone live and people are currently bidding thousands on items such as the Bat Pod, costumes from Star Trek, original storyboards from Star Wars, FBI badges from The X Files, clapperboards from countless films and a signed copy of Harry Potter and the Philosophers Stone.

So if you’ve got a bottomless pit of cash, chances are you’ll be bidding on these items already! I know what I’d get first, the Batpod! Take a look and see what I saw the other day. What would you bid on?

Keep. It. Reel.

Captain America. Civil War. The best images from trailer 2

We’ve been given something absolutely incredible, I didn’t even know it was coming until I saw the announcement the day before. A new Captain America Civil War trailer was headed our way and the excitement was just too much to handle! I sat there with bated breath, waiting for it to drop but it didn’t. I waited all morning, as long as I possible could without being late for work, but still nothing. My patience wasn’t rewarded until much later in the day when I received a text from an equally geek friend of mine (I have lots of these!) who exclaimed “Civil War trailer just got me a lil excited!” I squealed, I ran, I ran as soon as I could find a quiet spot to watch this whilst I should have been working (people can take cigarette breaks, I can do this.)

Well, it was certainly worth the wait; extra footage, but not giving away too much, a few more words of dialogue thrown in, proof that Black Panther’s armour is extremely tough and of course the reveal of Underoos himself, Spiderman who looks fantastic! This is what happens when the right studio has him on board. Well done to both Marvel and Sony for getting that deal sorted.

I just wanted to share a bunch of images from the trailer, basically my favourite screenshots that got me very excited indeed! Take a look below

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Bucky in some sort of chamber at the start of the trailer, what the hell is he in??

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The Raft, as it is known in the comics, is seen during the trailer. This is a superhero prison for those who do not stick to the Sokovia Accords. This was supposed to extend into the negative zone, however this is part of the Fantastic Four, who are currently owned by Fox. Not much we can do about that! Bloody Fox!

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And this is inside the prison, with several cells.

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Bucky (or what looks like his stunt double) being chased down by Black Panther

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Tony Stark putting his wrist hand Iron Man gadget into use…

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…it starts comes to life…

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….and pretty much finishes looking like this.

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Just in time as Bucky fires a gun straight at his face. Yikes!

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Is Rhodes dead? (I doubt it!)

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Black Panther’s armour taking a bullet, which makes perfect sense as it’s made of vibranium, the same material as Captain America’s shield.

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Scarlett Witch attacking Vision

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Vision feeling the effect of Scarlett Witch’s powers.

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Hawkeye launching an arrow…

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…with Antman on board. Something which has been taken from the comic books, it’s great to see them sticking with the original story in places.

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Crossbones swinging at Captain America.

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“Stay down, final warning”

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“I could do this all day!”

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The two of them going toe to toe

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Team Captain America

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Team Iron Man

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The epic battle just about to take place, who will be victorious?

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Who’s that??

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“Hey everyone!” Finally, Spiderman in the MCU.

Keep. It. Reel.

Superbowl 50: TV spots and trailers

It’s that time of year again, where two teams have battled it out in America to become…something. I have no idea what the Superbowl is, why it’s watched by so many fans and how huge this bowl must be, I’m guessing you could have a pretty large amount of cereal for your morning breakfast with it. What I do know is that companies and studios spend millions of dollars on short adverts due to the volume of people watching around the globe. It’s reported that a 30 second advert or TV spot can cost around $4,000,000 to show during the breaks. It’s a massive money maker when this time of the year rolls around.

What I most look forward to are the TV spots and the trailers shown, normally with something new mixed with what we’ve already seen in a 2 minute trailer. Most of what has been released now is pretty standard stuff, a few new shots and scenes here and there. But the two big ones are the Jungle Book and Bourne. For The Jungle Book it’s the second trailer, but this time with talking animals and one thing I particularly love is that the child actor playing Mowgli’s real first name is Neel!

With the new Bourne movie, simply titled Jason Bourne, we haven’t seen any footage before and it’s come as a real shock to me! It’s gritty, brutal and it tells you nothing, just the it looks like Bourne is far from living a normal life. I’m very excited for Matt Damon’s return to the franchise which is truly one of the best and overlooked trilogies out there.

Have a look at the rest, all of which I’ve put below. Enjoy!

Keep. It. Reel.

News from Comic Con: The superheroes are still coming.

Comic Con news just in: new Marvel Comic films are on the way, including second installments of Captain America and Thor, both of which have foregone the usual numbers and opted for full titles. Captain America: The Winter Soldier will be with us on 4th April 2014, whilst Thor: The Dark World will be out on 8th November 2013. The rest include Ironman 3 which is out on 26th April 2013, Guardians of the Galaxy will be released on 1st August 2014 and Ant-Man does not currently have an official date as of yet.

So lots on the way for comic book fans, we’ll see if they can live up to the hype, especially Ant-Man which has had some footage shown at Comic Con. It starts with two agents at the end of a long white corridor, from which we pull back behind an air vent to reveal Ant-Man. Tiny, red and black suit, a mask. Simple. He jumps through the vent, runs along t he corridor and zaps into a normal size. The agents draw their guns. Ant-Man changes back into his small self and leaps into the mouth of one of the agents and knocks him out. He then grabs the tie of the other, flips him through the window and changes back to normal size. He enters an elevator and shrinks back down again.

We’ll see what this holds and how the others do against the magnitude of comic book films that are also in production right now, which includes two more Garfield Spidermans, Man of Steel with Christopher Nolan’s creative input as producer and more from The Avengers. It’s going to be a fun geek-filled few years.

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New Avengers artwork and DVD case.

The Avengers are Assembling, again. Now I I hope you aren’t quite sick of the super hero lovefest I’ve been having here on Neel’s Reel Deel because here is some great new artwork and a stunning collectors edition case for the release of Marvel’s The Avengers Assemble. Each piece of artwork is for the discs included for the solo films of all the characters plus the bonus “Phase One Archives”. So in this mammoth boxset, you will get Iron man, Iron Man 2, The Incredible Hulk, Captain America, The Avengers Assemble as well as the bonus disc of “Phase One Archives.” Very exciting, so much so that I wish I didn’t have any of the film so I could buy this box! Probably the most amazing looking case for any sort of DVD / Blu Ray release, just take a look, it’s beautiful. Well happy buying and watching!