Tag Archive: Marvel Cinematic Universe Phase 4


Black Widow clip b

Review by C.J. Bunce

It was without question Marvel’s biggest delay.  Not only was Black Widow originally expected to arrive in theaters May 1 last year, getting a delay and never a proper theatrical release, it simply was Kevin Feige’s big misfire by not thinking to make it earlier in the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s 23 movies.  Content-wise it could have arrived around 2013 as part of the Phase II of the series, and ultimately must be wedged somewhere between Captain America: Civil War and Avengers: Infinity War.  For those not yet ready to return to theaters, it’s been a long wait.  Finally Disney+ has dropped its $30 premium for its subscribers and Vudu and other streaming providers have it where it should have been, at a sell-through price of $19.99. 

So how does Black Widow stack up with respect to the previous Marvel movies, and did Marvel make the best superheroine movie of them all with Scarlett Johanson’s solo movie?  First of all, the big word to describe this movie is “surprising.”

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Zendaya Holland sp 3

With an MCU Phase IV release schedule in chaos, and nothing but peeks and false starts last year, Marvel fans are more than ready for the first trailer for Spider-Man: No Way Home, which officially arrived late yesterday after an apparent leak earlier in the day.  It was originally scheduled to premiere in theaters last month.  We won’t know until December if we’ll see the movie this year, but at least it confirms its set-up for the second Doctor Strange movie, Doctor Strange: In the Multiverse of Madness, and will lay the grounds for the possibility of a host of cameos, which could include characters from the animated hit Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse.  Spider-Man has been Marvel’s #1 superhero for nearly 60 years because he’s a great character teens and adults can relate to, and because Spidey fights some of the best villains in all of comics.  As expected Alfred Molina will reprise his character Doc Ock from Sony’s 2004 movie Spider-Man 2, as will Jamie Foxx as Electro, last seen in 2014’s The Amazing Spider-Man 2.  These leave open the likelihood of at least cameos from former Spidey actors Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield.  But the best addition may be the return of Willem Dafoe as one of Marvel Comics’ best villains, Green Goblin, last seen in Spider-Man 3.  Wouldn’t it be great to fit in a cameo of Nicolas Cage as Spider-Man Noir from Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, or even the first live-action Miles Morales?

Strange

What will be the sixth appearance Tom Holland as Spider-Man (since this takes place right after his fifth appearance in (Spider-Man: Far From Home) looks like it has the potential of being as fun as his past appearances, more Marisa Tomei as Aunt May, more Jon Favreau as Happy, Zendaya as MJ, and the rest of Peter’s school friends returning.  Plus Benedict Cumberbatch as Doctor Strange and Benedict Wong as Wong.  And music again by composer Michael Giacchino.

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Take a look at the first trailer for Spider-Man: No Way Home:

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Eternals clip b

Two movie trailers in and it still is difficult to understand what Eternals will be about.  It still looks like a cross between X-Men: Apocalypse, Jupiter’s Legacy and Inhumans.  The final trailer from Marvel Studios for the third movie of Phase IV of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (on the tail of both Black Widow and Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings) doesn’t look like any other Marvel movie.  Eternals has a cast of familiar names–the central character fan-favorite actress Gemma Chan, who wowed us in Humans and Shetland, and created a great villain in Raya and the Last Dragon.  She also played a friend turned enemy in Captain Marvel, as the alien Minn-Erva.  And it features actors most wouldn’t think to cast for an MCU movie, like Salma Hayek, Angelina Jolie, and Kumail Nanjiani.  But the strange takeaway from the first trailer (seen here) and second (and final) trailer is it doesn’t look like any other Marvel movie–there’s no hook, no exciting or funny element to reel in viewers after such a successful Phase III.

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marvel-what-if-trailer

What If…? is a range of comic book series featuring more than 200 stories that allowed creators to jump outside the usual and let their imagination take over.  What if Jane Foster (or Loki? or Rogue?) had found the hammer of Thor?  What if Doctor Strange was a disciple of Dormammu?  What if Phoenix had not died?  What if Vision had destroyed the Avengers?  What if Venom had possessed the Punisher?  What if Silver Surfer (or the Green Goblin) took the Infinity Gauntlet?  What if Legion had killed Magneto?  What if Jessica Jones joined the Avengers?  What if Hank Pym replaced Stark?  What if Disney hadn’t purchased Marvel?  Almost all of these questions have been answered in the pages of the comics.

Avengers what if  Guardians-Of-The-Galaxy-2-Stan-Lee-Cameo 2

Phase IV of the Marvel Cinematic Universe continues with an animated anthology series based on the classic comic.  Jeffrey Wright stars as The Watcher, your guide through all ten episodes, who MCU audiences saw at the end of Guardians of the Galaxy 2–in a Stan Lee cameo.  Chadwick Boseman’s last performances as T’Challa appear in four episodes.  Hayley Atwell returns as a different version of Peggy Carter.  Samuel L. Jackson is back as Fury.  Sebastian Stan is Bucky Barnes.  Dominic Cooper returns as Howard Stark.  Djimon Housou is back as Korath.  And Michael Rooker’s Yondu returns from the dead.  Plus lots of superheroes you know with other actors substituting voices for those you know from the MCU.  And it all begins tomorrow, August 11, on Disney+.  A few more trailers/features have been released in the past week, and we’ve bundled them with the previous trailers:

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Ten Rings

“Why are they advertising that Suicide Squad movie now?  Didn’t it come out 5 years ago?”

A major gap in the now enormous industry of producing nine-figure, blockbuster superhero movies is that the movie studios are missing an opportunity to retain audiences.  No doubt more than half of the audience for Avengers: Endgame, which earned nearly $2.8 billion at the box office, was from moviegoers that were merely passing fans of the MCU.  Maybe they accompanied a spouse or a kid to the movie.  Most probably had never read a comic book before or since.  Studios today assume audiences will just show up for the spectacle.  But are they right?  Take the trailers for competing superhero movie studio DC Entertainment’s The Suicide Squad.  Nothing in the movie trailers–the only glimpse most prospective moviegoers will see via their TVs–explains why there is another movie called The Suicide Squad.  Do they think most TV viewers catching the commercial notice the addition of the “The” in the title?  Do they assume everyone still reads a newspaper or online entertainment source and is going to make an effort to understand that this new movie is different than the universally panned Suicide Squad of 2016?  Do they really think most prospective movie ticket buyers know or care who the director is?

Which is why it’s refreshing, and a wise move, to see Kevin Feige, mastermind behind all the Marvel Cinematic Universe, discussing the background for the latest new Marvel superhero in a new short feature clip for Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings.  

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Watcher pic

Two from Netflix, two from Disney+.  Fans of 1980s cartoons will get their fix this summer with four animated shows from some of the biggest genre franchises Phase IV of the Marvel Cinematic Universe continues with the anthology series based on the classic comic What If…?  Star Wars expands into new animated territory with the anime Star Wars: Visions.  And both 1980s kid favorites Masters of the Universe and Transformers continue into their fourth decade with two Netflix series–Transformers: War for Cybertron already underway.

Check out trailers for each new show streaming this summer below.

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Shang Chi pics

We got our first peek at Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings here at borg this past April.  The new, full-length trailer reveals a plot that has the feel of Wu Assassins, and only a few days since the Snake Eyes trailers, with Raya and the Last Dragon in theaters and on video, and a new Kung Fu series airing on TV, audiences are getting new opportunities to watch AAPI actors shine.  While you’re in the vibe, don’t miss the live-action Mulan, the historical horror zombie series Kingdom, the action movie The Night Comes for Us, the fantasy wuxia series Legend of the Condor Heroes, the animated movie Over the Moon, the supernatural graphic novel Ghost Tree and Stan Sakai’s Usagi Yojimbo, the overview of martial arts in the movies in Iron Fists and King Fu Kicks, and the Bruce Lee documentary Be Water Long-time comics readers will know Shang-Chi as the Master of Kung Fu from the pages of 1970s Marvel Comics by Steve Englehart and Jim Starlin.  Originally the son of Fu Manchu, the character was an attempt by Marvel to create a monthly like the Kung Fu TV series after they failed in their bid to get the adaptation rights.

Check out the new trailer below for Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings:

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It was March 10, 2020, when Disney/Marvel released its “final” movie trailer for the final movie in the Infinity Saga–Black Widow.  Another “final” trailer is… finally… here.   It’s Scarlett Johansson as a younger Black Widow, and this trailer features the most we’ve seen of Florence Pugh’s Yelena Belova, expected to take on the Black Widow role for the coming phase of the Marvel universe–along with a new cast of characters.  We’ll all forever scratch our heads over why it didn’t enter anyone’s mind at Marvel Studios to get Marvel’s top superheroine her own movie before Infinity War and Endgame.  Let’s hope it’s worth the wait.

Check out the new, final, trailer for Black Widow:

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Eternals clip b

It looks like a cross between Jupiter’s Legacy and Inhumans.  The first trailer from Marvel Studios for the third movie of Phase IV of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (on the tail of both Black Widow and Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings) doesn’t look like any other Marvel movie.  Eternals has an A-list cast, the central character fan-favorite actress Gemma Chan, who wowed us in Humans and Shetland, and created a great villain in Raya and the Last Dragon.  She also played a friend turned enemy in Captain Marvel, as the alien Minn-Erva.  So Marvel must be taking a leap of faith that audiences don’t assume this is the same character in disguise–Captain Marvel did have its share of shapeshifters.  (Maybe this is an indicator Marvel would be willing to bring back Chris Evans as Johnny Storm?)  The movie features Academy Award winners Salma Hayek and Angelina Jolie and Oscar-nominated Kumail Nanjiani.  But the strange takeaway from the first trailer is it doesn’t look like any other Marvel movie–there’s no hook, no exciting or funny element to reel in viewers after such a successful Phase III.

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Shang-Chi trailer

Phase IV of the Marvel Cinematic Universe took center stage with some big reveals at a Disney investor event last year.  Since then it’s all been about shuffling release dates.  In the interim Disney+ has launched both WandaVision and The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, with Black Widow now scheduled for arrival July 9, 2021, which was when we’d initially expected to see the premiere of Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings.  Probably the most unexpected of the forthcoming movies from Marvel, this is another film where we expect to find, as with Guardians of the Galaxy, a new access point to the Marvel superheroes for a new generation of movie audiences.  Along with a new poster, now we have our first teaser trailer.

Shang-Chi poster

Long-time comics readers will know Shang-Chi as the Master of Kung Fu from the pages of 1970s Marvel Comics by Steve Englehart and Jim Starlin.  Originally the son of Fu Manchu, the character was an attempt by Marvel to create a monthly like the Kung Fu TV series after they failed in their bid to get the adaptation rights.  And everyone knew visually he was based on Bruce Lee.  In the new film Shang-Chi is played by Canadian actor Simu Liu (Orphan Black, Warehouse 13), comedian and comedic actor Awkwafina (Nora from Queens, Jumanji: The Next Level) plays his friend Katy, Tony Chiu-Wai Leung (Once Upon a Time in Hong Kong, Forced Vengeance) as The Mandarin, Michelle Yeoh (Star Trek Discovery, Guardians of the Galaxy 2) is Jiang Li, Florian Munteano (Creed 2) as a new cyborg, and Ronny Chieng (Godzilla vs Kong, Crazy Rich Asians) as Shang-Chi’s friend Jon-Jon.

Wait no longer!  Here’s the first look at Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings:

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