Iron Man 3 Plot Theory

IronMan3After watching the fantastic full trailer for Iron Man 3 I was left doing what most mega nerds like myself always do. We examine, look for clues, and try to figure out little nuggets of information. Well after close examination, I think I found a pretty good one. Take a journey with me between comic book movies and comics themselves for the answers.We need to head all the way back to the beginning of Matt Fraction’s run of Invincible Iron Man; starting in 2008. I recently re-read this series so this was fresh in my mind. Fraction’s run begins with a story arc called The Five Nightmares. Tony Stark finds himself being put through the ringer when he is being hunted by an unknown character. He narrates throughout the story about what his top five nightmares are as Iron Man. One of the earliest moments in “The Five Nightmares” is a group of people in Tanzania who act as suicide bombers in the middle of a crowded area. Its a visceral scene that really gets the book into full swing. Before we get further into my theory, take a look at this scene from the recently released trailer.

Notice the silhouettes that are burned into the walls from some sort of explosion; pretty odd. Well back in The Five Nightmares these suicide bombers have makeshift arc reactors embedded in them that cause them to explode. “I can’t sleep and when I do, I have nightmares...” is what Tony says at the exact same moment a kid touches one of the explosion silhouettes; pretty curious. At this point that might not seem like much, but its about to get clearer. Take a look at the below screen grab.

That man laying on the ground is sadly Happy Hogan and he isn’t looking too good. If you look closely at his chest he seems to have a blue light on it. I believe this is an arc reaction, and I think Hogan is being used as a bomb. Below are images from Invincible Iron Man #1 that shows what the suicide bombers look like. (Click to enlarge)

In the comics, The Mandarin is not responsible for the suicide bombers but there is nothing to say that this couldn’t change for the movie. The Mandarin refers to himself as a teacher, so maybe this is a part of his lesson; the world isn’t safe. So there you have it, my theory of one of the plot points in the movie. What do you think? Did you notice something in the trailer that leads you to another conclusion? Let me know in the comment section. Also just watch the trailer again...its glorious:

Strange Things Are Afoot: 6 Actors Who Could Play Dr. Strange

The Sorcerer Supreme I've always loved Doctor Strange. So, when Marvel Studios began repackaging their Marvel Universe as the Marvel Cinematic Universe, my Doctor Strange 'want meter' flew into the red. Now that we are past the very successful Phase 1 and are gearing up for Phase 2, the rumor mill has been working overtime. One of the most exciting rumors (to me, at least) is that the good Doctor will make his MCU debut in Thor: The Dark World. With the rest of the cast basically nailed down, and Viggo Mortensen seemingly out of the running, the only remaining question is: Who will play Dr. Stephen Strange? To that end, I've put together a list of six actors I think could pull off the task. All of the actors can look the part, have the acting chops necessary, and would fit in the current MCU. In ascending order, here are the six actors I'd love to see play The Sorcerer Supreme, Dr. Strange.


6: Patrick Dempsey (Grey's Anatomy, Transformers: Dark of the Moon)

Patrick Dempsey

I'm going to be honest. I'm jealous of Patrick Dempsey. Not because he's a rich actor who can out-handsome me without trying, but because he doesn't not do anything. The man just does everything. He's an actor, a juggler, a race-car driver, a skier, and he's opened a medical center for cancer. Who wouldn't be jealous?

His role in Transformers: Dark of the Moon notwithstanding, the man can act. The fact that he's played a doctor on TV for so long actually makes me wonder whether or not he'd accept the role if it were offered to him. I, for one, would love to see him take on the role. As previously stated, he's played a doctor before, he almost has the look already, and he doesn't mind taking on genre roles. Maybe he'd be willing to take a break from not doing nothing to do this.

5: Aiden Gillen (Game of Thrones, Queer as Folk)

Aiden Gillen

If there was ever someone who just looked like Doctor Strange, it would be Aiden Gillen. Every time I watched Game of Thrones, I'd try to peg why Littlefinger looked like a magician. That is why. Aiden Gillen has the look of The Sorcerer Supreme in the bag.

He is, in my opinion, an actor to watch. His popularity is gradually increasing and I don't see an end to it. The fact that he popped up in the high-profile The Dark Knight Rises serves as an indicator of that. He has a smarmy exterior that would sell Pre-accident Stephen Strange and an intensity that would sell Post-accident Strange. Think of Robert Downey Jr.'s glibness at the beginning of Iron Man and how that helped transform him into a wise-cracking hero. Aiden Gillen has that.

4: Zachary Quinto (Star Trek, Heroes)

Zachary Quinto

Zachary Quinto should be on everyone's shortlist to portray Doctor Strange. He is one of the most apt actors on this list and he's made a name for himself in genre roles. I'd bet what's in my bank account that the first time you saw Zachary Quinto was in Heroes or in Star Trek (joke is on you; I'm broke). He's played a Vulcan, a supervillain, and a CTU analyst. But guess what? He's also played a magic user. Before any of those roles, he had a small part in the TV show Charmed as a warlock. Ask me how I know that and I will fiercely deny secretly liking Charmed.

An actor as versatile as Zachary Quinto would fit right in with the other actors involved in the MCU. Just watching him interact with Chris Hemsworth and Robert Downey Jr. would make it worth the price of admission.

3: Paul Blackthorne (The Dresden Files, Justice League: Doom)


Now we're getting to my favorites. Paul Blackthorne is one of those 'forgotten gems.' Like Mr. Quinto, he has also played a magic user in the past, headlining the SciFi Channel's series based on the Jim Butcher novels, The Dresden Files. He has also dabbled in the comic book genre, voicing Metallo in Justice League: Doom earlier this year. But what would make him perfect for this role is his dedication to his characters. For example, he spent six months learning Hindi for his role in the 2001 film, Lagaan: Once Upon A Time In India. You know who else dedicates himself to roles like that? Oscar winner Daniel Day-Lewis. Just sayin'.

2: Jason Isaacs (Harry Potter, Peter Pan)

Jason Isaacs

One of the things I look for in an actor when putting together a list like this is their experience with similar roles or genres. If an actor has already appeared in a movie based on a book, video game, or comic, that equals a foot in the door. Jason Isaacs has that in spades. You may remember him as Lucius Malfoy in the Harry Potter films, but it doesn't stop there. He was also in Resident Evil, Elektra, and Peter Pan, as well as voicing Ra's al Ghul in Batman: Under the Red Hood.

It goes without saying that he can look the part and can act. His portrayal of Captain Hook/George Darling in Peter Pan was amazing. Especially considering that I didn't know the two characters were played by the same actor until the credits rolled. He gave them both their own separate personalities, quirks, and mannerisms. Someone who can do that would be able to give Doctor Strange his own, much deserved, space in the MCU.

1: Jeffrey Donovan – Yes, that Jeffrey Donovan (Burn Notice, J. Edgar)

Jeffrey Donovan

Remember when I said experience with similar roles and genres mattered? Well, exceptions can be made. Jeffrey Donovan is one of those exceptions. While he has appeared in a TV show based on a comic book, I don't think anyone really counts Witchblade. However, his acting skills, his dry delivery style, and his ability to perform as a leading man or as part of an ensemble really make this a wash for me. Also, like Aiden Gillen, he is moving up in popularity and I think now would be a perfect time to give him a high-profile leading man role on the silver screen. He could sell it, and I'd be first in line to buy.

So there you have it. Six actors who could pull off the big screen, MCU debut of Doctor Strange. What are your thoughts? Do you agree? Disagree? Have suggestions? Let us know in the comments!

Daredevil is heading back to Marvel Studios

In 2003 the world was given the abysmal comic book movie, Daredevil. Mark Steven Johnson poorly directed Ben Affleck, Jennifer Garner, Colin Farrell, and Michael Clarke Duncan in what was supposed to be a gritty film based on the popular Marvel comic book property. Unfortunately the movie rights to the characters were owned by Fox Studios, who haven’t had the best track record in the genre. 2003’s Daredevil suffered from all the classic issues: poor writing, acting, and special effects. Back then, comic book movies weren’t the money making powerhouses that they are today so very little care was taken in bringing them to the silver screen. Take a look at the original trailer below and compare that to the likes of Iron Man, The Dark Knight, or the wildly successful blockbuster, The Avengers.

Fast forward to 2008, talk of a sequel was circulating in Hollywood based on the now famous Born Again comic story arc. Talks fell through and once again “old Hornhead” went back on the shelf. At this point Marvel Studios was well on its way with successful build up films for The Avengers. Marvel had now established itself as THE de facto standard for properly executed comic book movies. In 2012 we finally got some movement on the Daredevil property and a reboot seemed imminent. Fox brought in David Slade (30 Days of Night) to helm the reboot and it looked as if Fox might have actually made a proper decision for this property. Unfortunately, Slade had to leave the project due to scheduling conflicts and it left Fox Studios in a bit of a bind. October 10, 2012 is the ticking time bomb for the movie rights reverting back to Marvel Studios so Fox needed to get someone in and fast. Enter, Joe Carnahan who has directed Smokin’ Aces and The Grey. This choice in my opinion might actually be better than originally going with Slade. While Carnahan’s movies aren’t the deepest, neither were Slade’s for that matter, The Grey was certainly gritty and visceral, which might work perfectly for Daredevil.

Once again the property was moving in the right direction. Unfortunately, Carnahan had an original idea, and in Hollywood that’s not really celebrated. Talking on the Radio Dan Show here is what he had to say:

"I was brought in pretty late in the game, and my take probably didn’t help matters since they had an existing script. But I just thought that if you were going to do it, this was the way to go. This is the way that intrigued me...It was initially something I passed on because Christopher Nolan had done such a lovely job with Batman and unless you’re going to go after that trilogy, then that’s how you have to think. You can’t out-hurdle that, then what’s the point of trying? So it set the bar extraordinarily high, and I thought ‘Well, if we’re going to do this, let’s have a discussion about Hell’s Kitchen, and how it was really Hell’s Kitchen in the 70s,” so that got me really excited. But as I mentioned, the clock ticking and this kind of October drop-dead date, it wasn’t tenable. And having gone down this road in the past when you’re trying to write something and shoot it at the same time is disastrous, and I think you’d need an adequate amount of time to put that script together in the right way. My brother [Matthew Michael Carnahan (The Kingdom)] was interested in writing it with me, so we’ll see."

I can’t see how Carnahan thought that Fox would go for a 70s version of Daredevil, but honestly it’s such a great idea. Hell’s Kitchen of the 1970s in much grittier than it is now, a newly gentrified part of New York City. However, I think Fox could have just made Hell’s Kitchen a rough area in the movie and brought it into modern times. However, Carnahan was pushing for not just the 70s decade, but the very unique qualities of that time:

"As I’m finishing my kind of re-imagining of Death Wish, I think the 70s is figuring into my conscious and subconscious mind right now. I think it was the last time music and movies were just tremendous. We just cranked out some great stuff. I think that’s why the sizzle reel is able to be kind of abstract because people have such great fondness in their hearts for that decade, particularly the early part of that decade. I’m excited; you know the idea of having Daredevil on top of a building somewhere with the Serpico marquee in the background was enough, that image was enough, for me to want to make the movie."

The two things that stick out for me about Carnahan’s quote is Death Wish and Serpico. Those two films give you a real insight into what he had in mind. A Serpico-esque comic book movie would be very much in line with what Christopher Nolan did in The Dark Knight; a real crime drama. So at the end of the day, Fox was not able to get all its ducks in a row and make the Daredevil reboot happen. Come October 10th Marvel Studios will once again own the movie rights. However, this makes one thing certain, we won’t be seeing Daredevil on the big screen for quite a while. With Marvel’s dance card full I’m not so sure Daredevil is a top priority for them. That being said, Daredevil is a gritty version of Spider-Man in a lot of ways, so maybe Marvel will bump him up so they can get a popular street level hero sub-universe (still apart of the regular Marvel Cinematic Universe) going. Imagine a street level hero sub-universe with Daredevil, the Punisher, Blade, and should the rights revert, Ghost Rider. The movie rights going back to Marvel might just be the start of something great. A carved out space in the MCU under the tag of Marvel Knights that is all R-rated would be a fresh take. While movies like The Avengers would be the flagship, a nice niche of violent, profane, and visceral action flicks based on anti-heroes fighting crime bosses would be sublime if done right. Bring on the Marvel Knights.

image via

An Idea: How Marvel could pull off a Guardians of the Galaxy movie

Now that Marvel has formally announced a Guardians of the Galaxy movie for 2014 we get our first glimpse at new characters in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). With every other formally announced phase 2 movie being sequels (I’m excluding Ant-Man, as he doesn’t have specified date yet) it's time we get to see something new. The below image was officially released concept art during the Marvel Panel at San Diego Comic Con.

If you don’t know who the Guardians of the Galaxy are, go here for a character overview. With the inclusion of Thanos at the end of The Avengers it’s clear Marvel wants to pursue the Infinity Gauntlet story arc. In order to get even closer to the magnitude and urgency of that story arc you need more than just The Avengers to take on the mad titan. Since Marvel doesn’t own all its characters (i.e. - Spider-man, X-Men, Fantastic Four, etc.) it needs to place as many characters up against Thanos as possible. Having the mad titan take on six Avengers and lose is rather insulting to the original character, in my opinion. Having at least two teams working together makes more sense. I still think that we need to wait until The Avengers 3 before having an all out war with Thanos. With each passing movie there is a matter of escalation and once you battle Thanos for the Infinity Gauntlet there isn’t many arcs bigger, so you better save him. So how do you introduce another team of heroes without spending time giving Groot or Drax the Destroyer their own movies?

So we will need to tweak some details when it comes to why the team joined together. In the comics, after stopping an invasion by a group of aliens called the Phalanx, Star-Lord decides that he should put together a team to be proactive in preventing this sort of thing in the future. While Marvel could go with that storyline they would be making too much work for themselves. They would need to explain who the Phalanx are and also the Kree. That is way too much to try and get through while still developing the characters of the core team, and somehow tying them to Thanos for a future conflict. A better way is to have the team join up because of Thanos himself.

Starting off with giving a few minutes to each team member is the best way to pull this off. I would start with Star-Lord, and introduce him in the middle of some fight. This doesn’t need to be some intergalactic mega-war, but rather something small that shows off his skill set and teases the audience about how much of a badass he is. Frankly, Star-Lord is the leader so he will need to be given some real time to shine. Any good light comic book movie needs a comedic element, and Rocket Raccoon and Groot are it. Star-Lord and Rocket Raccoon are very close friends so building that relationship should be simple. A straight laced gun-toting badass and a wisecracking anthropomorphized raccoon, who loves giant guns, should be an easy sell. Put Star-Lord in a predicament that he can’t get out of easily by himself and bring in Rocket Raccoon and Groot to save the day. That’s three down, two to go. Gamora is up next, she is the only female on the team and she has even been called “the deadliest woman in the universe.” Her involvement helps to squash the issues with a sausage party scenario. In order to get her to join the team in the comics, Gamora gets captured and basically becomes a part of a hive mind. Once she is saved from that existence she still desires to be apart of something and joins the Guardians. While I think that could actually work here, it leaves a lot of her history out. If we gave her some more grounded moments about being incomplete (think 7 of 9 from Star Trek Voyager) then she could be a great addition as far as personalities dynamics. Last but certainly not least, there is Drax the Destroyer. He only has one purpose and that is to kill Thanos. He even has the ability to track the mad titan across massive distances. Drax doesn’t really have much of a personality just anger when it comes to Thanos’s existence. He can basically play the big silent type. Just give him something to punch, stab, and/or shoot. You can have him battle with Star-Lord when he gets in his way to getting to Thanos. Just a minor intergalactic misunderstanding.

After the team is formed for the most part in the first 45 minutes, we can then get to the large action moments. If Thanos is the reason the team gets together than he is going to need a middleman (or middle men) to take on the team. He will be to busy working on getting the Infinity Gauntlet to deal with these guys. Since we want to save Thanos for the third Avengers movie we can have the Guardians take on the Phalanx which could help to illustrate Gamora’s story better and give homage to their comic book origins. A new cybernetic alien race would help to open up the cosmic side of the universe even more and would make for a great villain for the Guardians. You could have an all out war with the Phalanx. Space wars plus a ragtag team of badasses...yes please. If you are going to do cosmic than you need to show a real epic scope in this space opera like setting. I think a multi-ship space battle would be cool to see. It could feel very Star Trek or Serenity-esque. Frankly, Serenity might be the best type of format to use in this movie.

So there is my idea for getting this complicated team together. This will undoubtedly be Marvel Studios hardest job. While Avengers was an insane task, Guardians of the Galaxy takes the audience out of its comfort zone and really pushes the envelope. Its got a talking tree for goodness sake! I think the guys over at Marvel have earned enough trust from audiences to go to the limit on this and it might just be the next big thing.

Knight of the Living Death Threats: TDKR Reviews

TDKR reviews

Nerds are always arguing over the quality of comic book films. The Amazing Spider-man earlier this month elicited just such a debate. On the podcast we have taken part in many of these debates. However, rarely do you see them resort to death threats. This was not the case with the rating of The Dark Knight Rises on Rotten Tomatoes. Nerds, such as myself, are not use to anything less than an A. Well, The Dark Rises rating was a punch to the gut of oh so many over-achievers. Rotten Tomatoes reported a rating of 87 percent fresh for The Dark Knight Rises. Apparently a B+ is unacceptable in the eyes of Nolanites.

The film's fervent followers began bombarding the site with comments. The extent to which this escalated would lead one to believe that several reviewers had lambasted the film. However, at the time that this took place there were only two reviewers that had made given less than stellar reviews, Marshall Fine and Christy Lemire. Beyond the death threats, that were pointed at both Fine and Lemire, there were other nasty remarks. We discussed the misogyny that often rears its ugly head on the Internet on the podcast Episode 41. These comments on the site were of course directed towards Ms. Lemire. Look Internets stop being DICKS! Just because you have one doesn't mean you have to act like one!

Beyond the legitimate reviews were those posted by trollers in order to stir the pot. Good job troll-y, pour gasoline on the fire. The comments became so bad that the comment section for Rotten Tomatoes had to close. All in all this is just dumb! Stop being whiney ass bitches and relying on external validation. Wait until you see the movie on Friday and decide for yourself. Or are you just too afraid to rely on your own judgement?