Walt Disney Pictures/Marvel
To a large extent, blockbuster movie soundtracks are all the same. There's probably some Kanye, a few dubstep tracks to keep things upbeat, maybe a classic rock song or two, and then some kind of instrumental score meant to add some tension or sentiment at the appropriate moments. And it makes sense — you're not paying for perfectly-scored moments of emotion, you're paying to watch people punch each other and blow things up. So when a blockbuster film manages to match the perfect song to the perfect scene, something special happens. Suddenly, it's not just about the effects. It's about the experience. And even though we've yet to see Guardians of the Galaxy, we can tell that it's going to be that kind of film, thanks to the cheesy classic rock featured in the trailer and the presence of the founding member of Mouserat. In honor of its August 1 release, we've rounded up some of the most iconic blockbuster movie moments in cinema history. After all, what's the point in saving the world if Kenny Loggins isn't singing about it?
“Trouble Man” by Marvin Gaye, Captain America: The Winter Soldier At the start of the film, Sam Wilson makes a tentative attempt at friendship with ol' Steve Rogers by recommending he check out Marvin Gaye’s classic 1972 album; at the end of the film, Steve wakes up in a hospital bed with Sam by his side and the title track playing over the speakers. Because even if you’re unconscious, Sam Wilson is going to ensure that your musical education is complete.
"Non Je ne Rigrette Rien” by Edith Piaf, Inception Primarily used as a way to signal to the people in-dream that the kick is coming, “Non Je ne Rigreete Rien” also warned of a much more dangerous shock headed towards the team: Mal. Sure, it’s a bit on the nose for the recurring dream-ghost of Leonardo DiCaprio’s dead French ex-wife, but finding the perfect movie music moment isn’t necessarily about being clever – it’s about creating a mood. And besides, Christopher Nolan’s not the subtle type.
“Eye of the Tiger” by Survivor, Rocky III It doesn’t matter that Rocky didn’t start training to the sweet, sweet sounds of ‘80s rock until the third installment of the franchise. When you think Rocky, “Eye of the Tiger” automatically starts playing in your head. It might not have been the original music moment of the series, but it’s the most enduring; even the Broadway production couldn’t resist working it into the score. You should hear it in five-part harmony.
“Danger Zone” by Kenny Loggins, Top Gun The love scene scored to Berlin might be a bit more iconic, thanks to its awesomely cheesy use of backlighting, but the best musical moment in Top Gun is, without a doubt, the montage of fighter pilots taking off, scored to what is perhaps Kenny Loggins’ most ridiculous hit of all. Did Berlin give us one of the best running jokes of all time? No. No they did not.
Rogue Pictures via Everett Collection
“Don’t Stop Me Now” by Queen, Shaun of the Dead Edgar Wright’s Cornetto Trilogy is filled with hilarious gags and perfectly-timed music cues but none are more elaborate, ridiculous or more pitch-perfect than the gang’s choreographed attacks on the zombies in the bar, using an assortment of pool cues, a fire extinguisher and a last-minute rifle. The fact that everyone in the film acknowledges the insanity of the situation – and even dance along! – makes it unforgettable.
“Where Is My Mind” by Pixies, Fight Club Fight Club is a weird, twisted psychological thriller that leaves you questioning what was real and what was hallucinated. Therefore, the only appropriate song to end it with is one that asks the core question of the film: “Where Is My Mind?” Just melancholy enough to fit the tone, and just obvious enough to help even the slowest members of the audience make the connection.
“Johnny B. Goode” by Chuck Berry, Back to the Future When you’re tasked with reviving the party at your parents prom, you could go the safe route and play something everyone would be familiar with, or you could invent rock and roll by busting out some Chuck Berry… before he’s even heard it. And then you can make everything awkward by extending a guitar solo for far too long and freaking everyone out, but hey, Marty McFly was ahead of his time. It’s not his fault they didn’t get it.
“You’re the Best” by Joe Esposito, The Karate Kid In the ‘80s, wimpy kids everywhere were inspired to stand up for themselves and find their inner Karate Kid thanks to Mr. Miyagi. But his “wax on, wax off” philosophy would be nothing without the encouraging synth-pop of Joe Esposito telling them that nothing could ever bring them down. How else were they supposed to get pumped up for the biggest karate competition of their life? Or you know, the playground. Both are intimidating.
“Born to Be Wild” by Steppenwolf, Easy Rider Since its release in 1968, “Born to Be Wild” has been the second favorite song of music supervisors looking to indicate someone as a “bad boy” without actually forcing the other characters to say it. (The first, of course, is “Bad to the Bone.”) It might be cliché now, but it all dates back to 1969, when Dennis Hopper and Peter Fonda set off on a road trip and ensuring that any time someone bought a motorcycle, a Steppenwolf reference would be made.
Getty Images/Kevin Winter
Do you remember where you were when Batman V Superman was announced? When the first glimpse of Avatar was bestowed upon the world? Probably not, but for the Comic-Con faithful, these moments are gospel. San Diego Comic-Con has become the destination for any geek worth his salt, and a select few moments throughout the convention's history have become legendary to fans across the world. Here are the most memorable moments from Comic-Cons past.
The Batman V Superman announcementRight at the tail end of the 2013 Warner Bros. panel, a Jittery Zack Snyder turned up to announce that he was working on a sequel to Man of Steel. Then, with help from the booming voice of Harry Lennix and a choice excerpt from Frank Miller's classic Batman tale The Dark Knight Returns, Warner Bros. dropped a bomb on Hall H with the announcement of Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice (which was then untitled). When the logo blazed on screen with all its glory, SDCC 2013 had hit its definitive peak.
Michael Keaton earns the cowlEveryone remembers the ballyhoo made about Heath Ledger being cast as the Joker in 2008's The Dark Knight, but comic book fans had been complaining about casting long before then. All the way back at Comic-Con 1988, the fervor about the new Batman movie was high; many fans didn't think Michael Keaton could pull off the Caped Crusader. But most of these detractors quieted down when the original creator of Batman, Bob Kane himself, stopped by the Con and gave the actor and Tim Burton's production his blessing via a set visit. He also showed up with a ton of set photos and production designs to ensure fans that his creation was in good hands.
Twilight comes to Comic-ConFor nearly 40 years, Comic-Con had been a place for more male-focused geekery. But in 2008, the playing field was leveled when the Twilight saga was given a panel in the hallowed nerd pantheon that is Hall H. This of course brought droves of Twilight fans to the convention center, who of course butted heads with seasoned veterans of the Con who though the new visitors didn't belong. But Twilight's domination of that year's festivities were undeniable. The vamps were here to stay.
The Avatar preview screeningIf there's one thing to learn from Comic-Con, it's that you shouldn't always buy into the hype. Hyperbole flows through San Diego like a river, and people will champion anything and everything as a gamechanger. But the hype around the preview screening of Avatar at 2009's convention was so massive, it was hard not to believe. The preview of James Cameron's spectacle-laden adventure left many Con-goers slack-jawed with awe.
The Avengers assemble in Hall HJoss Whedon has long been a popular face at comic-con, but he might as well have been coronated as king when he brought every member of The Avengers on stage for the first time in 2010. It was a moment that Marvel studios had been steadily building up to for years, but seeing all of those heroes (albiet in street clothes) in one place at the same time was magical.
The Iron Man trailer premiereUnsuspecting fans at the first ever Iron Man panel were greeted with a surprise visit from Jon Favreau, and an even bigger surprise: the first look at a new trailer for Iron Man. The trailer was only a few seconds long, showing Iron Man shooting through the sky, but it was enough to send the hype for the upcoming film skyrocketing. It was surefire proof that Marvel was doing right by all these heroes.
Scott Pilgrim vs. The World wows the crowdIn a rare treat, fans at the Scott Pilgrim vs. The World panel were treated to a screening of the film. Edgar Wright's dazzling comic book adaptation won heaps of praise from attendees, and Hollywood's relationship with the convention was riding high. Unfortunately, the studios soon found out the convention hype doesn't always equal ticket sales, and the film fizzled out of the box-office without recouping it's budget.
Karen Gillan goes baldMaybe it was just a really convincing wig, maybe we just couldn't wrap our heads around those deep red locks being fake, or maybe we just don't usually expect to see people ripping hair off of their heads at Comic-Con. But at the panel for Guardians of the Galaxy, after being confronted by host Chris Hardwick with accusations that her character in the upcoming space opera is bald in the comics, the actor unleashed her buzzed head to the world, and everyone lost their minds.
When it comes to romance, nobody's smoother than John Stamos. He made everyone swoon as the guitar-playing, child-rearing Jesse Katsopolis on Full House, he sang and danced his way into their hearts in Bye Bye Birdie, and he probably beat everyone out for Prom King in high school. He can even make yogurt seem attractive. Such is the power of Stamos. If you're looking for a way to win over the hearts of millions, there's no better role model.
Which is exactly why the producers of My Man Is a Loser chose him to play the ultimate playboy-turned-marriage counselor. The film centers around Marty and Paul (Michael Rapaport and Bryan Callen, respectively), two family men who turn to Stamos' character, Mike, for guidance after their marriages start to fall apart. However, their plan to sweep their wives off their feet backfires, as Marty and Paul 2.0 might actually be worse than the original model. Turns out Mike still has a few lessons of his own to learn, and bartender Clarissa (Tika Sumpter) might be just the person to teach him.
In this exclusive clip from the film, Mike guides his buddies through the three Ls of communication - look, listen, and learn - by having them uphold a conversation with three strangers. Apparently it's his talent for paying attention, along with his jet black hair and winning smile, that helps Mike win over all the ladies. Although, if we're being honest, his tenure with Jesse and the Rippers probably helps.
My Man is a Loser will be released in theaters and on VOD on July 25.
We might well bemoan the loss of the Edgar Wright touch on Marvel's upcoming Ant-Man feature, but there is a silver lining: now, the innovative action-comedy director gets to work on his own original (and, likely, far more interesting) project. Deadline reports that Wright will next helm a film called Baby Driver, a mixture of "crime, action, music and sound." Even with all those nouns jumbled together, the project is still largely ambiguous. And with a title like Baby Driver, we can only begin to imagine what it might be about...
A baby that's also a driver?Wright directs a Look Who's Talking-style family comedy (rated R for language and violence, but still... for the family) about an infant who sets out on the road in his parents' Chevy Camaro.
Somebody who drives babies around? Like a chauffer for babies?Inspired by Vin Diesel's The Pacifier, Wright creates a film about a tough guy getaway driver who takes a new gig picking up the Wasserman kids from nursery school... and grows to love them.
Somebody who drives actual babies? Like the car is a baby, and the guy drives the baby-car?In the distant future, Jonathan Swift's "Modest Proposal" has been brought to life in a few interesting ways. This dark dystopian fantasy has people driving around vehicles made of discarded babies, in light of the recent metal shortage.
An early-years biopic about Good Will Hunting star Minnie Driver?Get it?
An animated film about a young screwdriver?Finally, Wright takes his visual style to Pixar, breathing life into a toolbox of adventures led by a plucky young screwdriver named Phillip.
So, maybe one of those. Or, you know, an actual idea. Either way, we're excited.
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Paramount Pictures via Everett Collection
Action man Dwayne Johnson spent more than three hours in the make-up chair every day, having the hair from a yak's testicles carefully stuck to his face for his new role as Greek demigod Hercules.
The Scorpion King star reveals he had to undergo a lengthy styling process before filming each day to make him look like the mythical hero director Brett Ratner had envisioned for the movie, but he made a surprising discovery one morning, when he enquired about where the hair had come from.
The typically clean-shaven actor says, "The beard hair... had to be put on, strips cut, inch high, quarter inch wide, piece by piece. I asked my Italian designer, I said, 'Matteo, what is this?' He goes, 'Oh, it's the hair from a yak'. It's very expensive, very fine hair... He was putting it on my face and I go, 'Well, what part (of the yak)?' and he goes, 'The testicles!'"
But Johnson confesses he was a big fan of the beard hair, adding, "It's the softest!"
Little Big Man author Thomas Berger has died, aged 89. The writer passed away at Nyack Hospital in New York state on 13 July (14), a week before his 90th birthday.
His health had been deteriorating in recent months, according to his literary agent Cristina Concepcion.
The versatile wordsmith, who penned 20 novels ranging in genre, is best known for his third book Little Big Man.
The 1964 satirical story was adapted into a big screen version starring Dustin Hoffman in 1970.
Berger, who served in World War II, is also known for the novel Neighbors, which was turned into a film starring John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd in 1981.
He was a finalist for the coveted Pulitzer Prize for fiction in 1984 for his novel The Feud, which was also made into a movie, and in 2012, Samuel L. Jackson starred in Meeting Evil, which was based on another of Berger's books.
The Rock has quite a lot cooking at the moment. In addition to recently wrapping on the seventh installment of the Fast and the Furious franchise, he’s got an epic starring vehicle in Hercules hitting theaters on Friday, and he’s all but confirmed that he’ll soon be donning the golden cape of Shazam onscreen soon (via TotalFilm). Between the blockbusters, the action-packed period pieces and an upcoming tenure as a superhero, there’s no doubt that Dwayne Johnson is a bona fide box office star. But even though he can bring people into a movie theater, people still seem reluctant to view The Rock as a legitimate actor.
After all, the first time that the public got to know Johnson, he was vamping in the wrestling ring and earning dramatic close-ups with the lift of his eyebrow. When he first began branching out into acting, via goofy action films like The Mummy Returns and The Scorpion King, people were understandably reluctant to accept this giant goofball as a real thespian. But it’s been almost a decade since Johnson left wrestling behind for movie sets, and despite racking up dozens of credits and hit films, he’s still more closely associated with the ring than with Hollywood.
But Johnson is a talented actor. Despite a few early cinematic disasters, he’s steadily delivered entertaining, compelling, layered and even moving performances. He’s charismatic and appealing, both on and off-camera, and his resume of characters is more diverse than you might realize at first glance. He’s got basically everything he would need to become a major movie star, and yet we’re still hesitant to give him that title. We had no problem with Channing Tatum’s transition from dance films and rom-coms or Terry Crews’ growth from an NFL player to one of the funniest character actors in Hollywood. So why can’t we see Johnson in the same light?
Is it because he was so well known as an athlete that we can’t help but associate him with sports (or whatever pro-wrestling qualifies as) rather than movies? Or is it because his first forays into acting were characterized by box office flops and cheesy kid’s movies? Can we just not see the man who made Tooth Fairy as a legitimate actor, despite the numerous successful films he’s made since?
It could be that we, as an audience, need to see Johnson in a completely different light in order for us to really let go of his wrestling past. Matthew McConaughey was just the Southern guy from those bad rom coms until the one-two punch of True Detective and Dallas Buyers Club, and people didn’t start taking Tatum seriously until he teamed up with Stephen Soderbergh for Magic Mike and let his comedic talents shine in the Jump Street flicks. Perhaps Johnson needs to find a more serious project with a prestigious director in order for us to really appreciate his talents. Meanwhile, his next two features, Hercules and San Andreas, are more likely to be perceived as mindless action movies he can add to a long list of blockbusters.
All of this puts a lot of pressure on his potential performance as Shazam. While many of the performers who have taken on superhero roles are highly-acclaimed character actors, like Robert Downey Jr., Christian Bale, or Mark Ruffalo, the genre has a long history of casting people who look the part, even if they can’t quite act it. If the Shazam film doesn’t do well, both Johnson’s athletic background and hit-and-miss film history will likely be blamed for the flop, and it could erase a lot of the goodwill that he’s earned over the years as an actor.
However, if it does well, it could be exactly what Johnson needs in order to be seen as a legitimate actor and movie star. Before he set off after John Connor in The Terminator, Arnold Schwarzenegger was best known for being a body builder, but after that film became a hit, he was regarded as an actor first and foremost (even when he became a politician). Shazam could do the same thing for Johnson, and finally help the public see him as more than just the goofy wrestler with the eyebrow and the catchphrase. Considering DC has had a patchy track record when it comes to superhero films lately and the fact that Shazam isn’t as well-known to the general public as Batman or Superman are, audiences probably won’t have very high expectations for the film, which should make it easier for Johnson to exceed them, and reintroduce himself to the world as an actor.
And if that doesn’t work, there’s always True Detective Season 3, right?
Drafthouse Films via Everett Collection
The word "auteur" gets thrown around a ton in Hollywood, but few filmmakers truly earn the title like Michel Gondry. Over his career, the French filmmaker has fine-tuned a unique visual style that separates him from his peers and really makes his work distinct. Gondry, at his best, thrives on the absurd and creates abstract, dream-like imagery that doesn't distract from the characters who populate his stories. He lets thing get weird, but never for the sake of just being weird. In celebration of his latest film, Mood Indigo, we're taking a look at the Gondryest elements in our favorite Michel Gondry films.
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless MindIn Eternal Sunshine, a grief-striken Joel Barrish (Jim Carrey) tries to erase all memories of his long time girlfriend, but he soon learns that it really is better to have loved and lost than to not have loved at all. The film’s Gondryest moments surface when Joel is hurtling backwards through all of his memories with his girlfriend Clementine (Kate Winslet). The director uses his visual panache to depict how the mind tends to distort what we think we remember. Joel’s memories start fusing together as he travels through his past, and Gondry plays with size and perspective in some curious and fun ways — most notably, shrinking Carrey down to the size of a toddler for a childhood memory scene.
The Science of SleepGondry is the perfect filmmaker to tackle the surreal world of the subconscious. He dives into the dreams of halfway delusional artist Stéphane (Gael García Bernal), bastardizing the visual scope and the passage of time. One particularly wild scene early on in the film tosses Stéphane into a dream about his office workers that involves sporadic bouts of sexual intercourse, various pieces of papier-mâché set dressing, and a gigantic pair of human hands.
Be Kind RewindSure, we could all make low-rent versions of Ghostbusters and Rush Hour in our backyards, but they wouldn’t turn out one tenth as funny or visually appealing as the “remakes” peppered throughout Be Kind Rewind. Even though most of the sets, costumes, and effects look like they were made with construction paper, cardboard, and junkyard junk, Gondry's knack for great aesthetics shines through.
The Green HornetThe Green Hornet is definitely the director’s least Gondry film to date. There’s hardly much about the Seth Rogen action-adventure that points to the director’s usual dreamlike visual style, but the one small Gondryism in a mostly dull film is the liberal use of Kato-vision. The Hornet’s masked assistant Kato (Jay Chou) dispatches enemies by way of a crafty visual effect where his mind highlights the dangers in the environment like a Terminator, and slows his combatants down to a crawl so he can dole out maximum punishment. It’s a trippy and original way to do slow-mo - an effect we were growing pretty tired of - and proof that the filmmaker wasn't completely asleep while making the 2011 film.
The We and the IAlthough we usually associate Gondry's style with the visual, here we see his flare for the aural. Gondry sticks to accepted "reality" in The We and the I, a film about the buzzing subcultures aboard a bus ride home from high school in The Bronx. Even though The We and the I lacks literal trips into the human mind, home-made videos, or superpowers, Gondry's attention to rhythm still allows for a few steps away from naturalism. The kids move, talk, and breathe in a fast-paced harmony, making the film (and lengthy busride) speed by with terrific energy.
Is the Man Who Is Tall Happy? An intellectual conversation with one of the modern age's greatest thinkers (Noam Chomsky), delivered in the form of hand-drawn illustrations that resemble urban sidewalk chalk scribbles? How much Gondryer can you get than this inviting documentary? Well, maybe Mood Indigo.
This Post Contains Spoilers for the Upcoming Guardians of the Galaxy!
With all of the attention surrounding the Avengers franchise in the last few days, Marvel wanted to make sure the world didn’t forget that they have another team of superheroes hitting screens in just a couple of weeks. And the way they chose to go about that was by revealing a cast list that let some of the most exciting, buzzed about and truly bizarre cameos in Guardians of the Galaxy slip to the entire Internet. According to Stitch Kingdom, cult favorite Nathan Fillion will be appearing as “Monstrous Inmate,” – which is a bit of a letdown, considering the amount of press his cameos has generated over the past few months – Stan Lee will play “Xandarian Ladies Man,” and Howard the Duck will be making an appearance as himself.
Yes, you read that last sentence correctly: Howard the Duck will be in Guardians of the Galaxy. It hasn’t be revealed why, when, or how he will make a cameo, but he will be there, and Stitch Kingdom has the casting scroll to prove it. But as absurd as it seems to have Howard the Duck, who despite his divisive feature film is a Marvel fan favorite, appear in Guardians of the Galaxy, it doesn’t even come close to topping the list of the most bizarre character crossovers and cameos. Seriously, there are things out there that are stranger and more confusing than the prospect of Howard hanging out with Rocket and Groot. Don’t believe us? Take a look for yourself:
Charles Barkley and Godzilla The union of the five-time NBA All-Star and two-time Hall of Famer and the giant mutant lizard that has been known to both spit fire and shoot lasers from his eyes was originally conceived as a Nike ad, and later expanded into a comic book. Because nothing says “cool sneakers” like a basketball-playing kaiju that can’t actually fit his giant feet into shoes. Also, who was buying that comic book?
Spider-Man and Ren and Stimpy There was once a time when you hadn’t properly made it until your cartoon got its own comic book. Unfortunately, some shows just aren’t meant to be read, and Ren & Stimpy is one of them, so when the comic book (unsurprisingly) failed to sell, they brought in the big guns: Spider Man. In true Ren & Stimpy fashion, Spidey took on Powdered Toast Man, that beloved vigilante superhero/breakfast food spokesman. If you’ve ever wanted to know what it was like to read a 12-year-old's fever dream, this is the comic for you.
Superman and the Quik Bunny Spider-Man isn’t the only superhero to succumb to some very obvious product placement. Superman one teamed up with the Quik Bunny, purveyor of powder that makes your milk brown, in order to fight the Weather Man, a lame villain with fourth-tier powers and a costume that made him look like he was starring in a community theater production of Robin Hood. At least Spider-Man had the dignity of fighting with a fictional breakfast-hero.
Inspector Gadget and Mario and Luigi Remember the Super Mario Bros. Super Show!? No? Well, that’s probably for the best, but it does mean that you missed seeing Inspector Gadget, the world’s more over-equipped and incompetent detective, get his various malfunctioning parts fixed by Mario and Luigi, who are supposed to be plumbers. You probably wouldn’t be surprised to find out that it goes horribly wrong, to no-doubt hilarious consequences. Clearly, the moral of this episode was to play to your strengths, and maybe not to call a plumber to fix a wire problem.
Archie and the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles On some level, this one probably makes some sense. After all, Archie and his friends are teenagers, and so are the Ninja Turtles. Both groups like pizza and video games and, from the looks of the cover, dance parties. But what’s really strange about this crossover is that it happened as the result of the Turtles being spit out by a giant cow head, which apparently allowed them to hop through various dimensions. Mutant ninja turtles or no, there had to be an easier way to get these guys to Riverdale.
Arthur and Mr. Rogers In what is perhaps the most well-meaning, mild-mannered crossover of all time, Mr. Rogers appeared on an episode of Arthur that centered around Arthur being embarrassed that the friendliest man on television was going to be staying at his house. Of course, this conflict is solved with a charming heart-to-heart that taught children that real friends don’t make fun of their friends for what they like. Unless that thing is Transformers. Not even Mr. Rogers can endorse Michael Bay.
Marvel Superheroes and Guiding Light You know who’s really into comic books and superheroes? The kind of people who religiously watch daytime soap operas – we’re assuming that was the pitch that got Guiding Light to team up with Marvel on a crossover episode that saw soccer mom Harley Davidson Cooper gain superpowers after being struck by lightning on Halloween night and transform into Guiding Light. (Seriously.) The saddest part of this is that Marvel clearly didn’t learn anything from their failed experiment at reaching a new audience, since they had the Thor announcement revealed on The View.
Batman and Robin and Scooby Doo When it comes to crime-fighting teams, there are two that stand above everyone else: Batman and Robin and the Mystery Gang. So teaming them up on The New Scooby Doo Movies to uncover a hooded counterfeiter who’s been sending the Penguin and the Joker fake money makes perfect sense, right? Sure, if you live in a world where Mrs. Baker is on the same level of super villainy as two of the most iconic comic book villains of all time. Fun fact: this episode was so poorly received that Batman later made fun of it in an episode of his own.
Cartoon All-Stars to the RescueThe plot of this movie sees cartoon favorites like Winnie the Pooh, Alvin and the Chipmunks, the Muppet Babies, the Looney Toons, and the Smurfs come to life in order to convince Michael to stop smoking pot, drinking, and stealing from his sister’s piggy bank for drug money. Because if anything is going to convince someone to stop doing drugs, it’s a bunch of cartoon characters who suddenly come to life and sing songs about life choices. Clearly, all D.A.R.E. really needed to be effective was Daffy Duck.
It’s been a big week for Marvel fans. First, the company unveiled the new Thor, a woman who takes over the title and responsibilities of the God of Thunder after the current Thor is deemed unworthy to wield Mjolnir, and then the first look at the villains of The Avengers: Age of Ultron was revealed along with their new, Iron Man-centric backstories. But Marvel wasn’t quite done yet, and on Wednesday night, they turned to The Colbert Show to reveal that Sam Wilson, better known as Falcon, would be carrying the shield as the new Captain America.
The shift-in-power comes after Steve Rogers’ body has been drained of the super serum that turned him into Cap in the first place, which resulted in him rapidly ageing to better reflect his 95 years of age. Since he’s no longer to be the hero that America deserves, the mantle falls to his good buddy Sam, who will officially make his debut in the stars and stripes in All New Captain America #1. Iron Man will also be getting a makeover alongside Thor and Cap, and in the Superior Iron Man #1, fans will see Tony Stark move to San Francisco in his new, shiny silver suit, in order to make some changes that not all of the Bay Area’s residents take to, resulting in a darker, more temperamental hero. Of course, all of these changes lead to one big question: how will this affect the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Thus far, the two have operated as separate continuities, but both the solo and Avengers films take their cues from the comics. But while it’s likely that Tony’s new attitude might bleed over into his movie counterpart, the real thing that fans are wondering is whether or not Anthony Mackie will get to inherit the shield from Chris Evans. And it’s a possibility we’ve been thinking a lot about as well.
Why We Might See Mackie as Captain America: Though it’s the first time that Falcon has inherited the title of Captain America, he has a long history of carrying the shield whenever Steve is hurt or otherwise incapacitated, and has temporarily filled in for Cap multiple times over his fifty year run in the comics. Although Bucky Barnes’ stint as Cap is better known, Sam actually has a bigger history in the stars and stripes to draw from. Picking Sam as the new Cap would open up a lot more possibilities for the writers in terms of the stories they could tell and the comic books they could draw from.
Depending on how many movies Evans has left in his contract, it could also allow them to switch to a new Cap sooner than they could with Bucky, who at the end of The Winter Soldier still doesn’t remember anything about his life before becoming a HYDRA super-assassin. Passing the mantle to Falcon would allow them more time with Bucky’s story, and they wouldn’t need to rush through his discovery and recovery process in order to get him into Cap’s uniform quickly. Bucky’s story is a complex, compelling one, and it would be a shame to see the films bypass a lot of what makes it so interesting simply to rush him into a new uniform. The recent films’ focus on the psychological consequences of being a superhero has been one of the most engaging and entertaining parts of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and Bucky is a prime candidate to explore more of those issues, and to add new layers to the story.
At this point in the films, Sam is in a better position to take over for Cap. His dedication to helping Steve, no questions asked, and to supporting him on his quest to repair the damage that HYDRA has done to S.H.I.E.L.D. and the American people is very reminiscent of Steve’s willingness to do anything to protect America, its ideals, and its people. Like Steve, he is a good guy through and through, the kind of person who would protect, inspire and encourage the American people, which is exactly what Captain America is supposed to do. Sam already embodies much of what makes Captain America the hero he is, just a little flashier and a little louder. Mackie is also in a slightly better position to inherit the franchise than Sebastian Stan is. Though both are talented actors who have been working for a long time, and are just starting to break through to the mainstream, Mackie is a bit more well-known and dynamic than Stan, which will no doubt come in handy with all of the press and fan attention that the actor who plays Captain America will have to deal with. And like both Evans and Stan, Mackie is a fan favorite, having won over everyone with his enthusiasm for his character. Nobody loves Falcon more than Mackie, and nobody would love being Cap more than Mackie would.
Why We Probably Won’t See Mackie As Captain America: Unfortunately, it seems seriously unlikely that we will ever see Sam inherit the title of Captain America on the big screen. Since Marvel plans out every part of their Cinematic Universe well in advance of the films’ release, they have been laying the seeds for Bucky to take over for Cap for some time now, dropping hints in both Captain America films that foreshadow his eventual ascent to the title. It seems unlikely that they would abandon the foundations that they have been laying for years now in order to give Sam the shield, even if it would be a smart decision.
Making Falcon the new Captain America would also risk angering the very vocal subset of fans who are reluctant to see any drastic changes made to the characters that they have become so comfortable with. Any time a character’s race gets changed – like when Miles Morales became Spider Man or Michael B. Jordan was cast as Johnny Storm in the Fantastic Four or Samuel L. Jackson was picked to play Nick Fury – some fans get upset about it, and because their negative outlook gets attention from both press and other fans, the studios become convinced that their position is the one that the entire fandom holds. Studios aren’t going to want to risk alienating a major part of their audience, and so they continue to make the safest choices imaginable. Why else do you think it’s taken so long for us to get a female-fronted superhero film?
Despite the quality of their films and the diversity of the heroes and comic books they have to offer, Marvel is still focused on pleasing their fans in order to make money. That means that if they think that audiences will be happier watching the white dudes they’re comfortable with save the world, that’s what they’re going to give them. It doesn’t matter how many issues Sam’s tenure as Captain America sells, or how much praise the books get, transitioning from Evans to Stan is the safer choice, and therefore the one most likely to make the most moviegoers happy. By catering to the fans who make the most noise, even if they’re the smallest subset of the fandom, Marvel will feel like it’s catering to the entire fanbase, which is why it’s so difficult to get Hollywood studios to break away from their standard formula.
On top of that, there’s no telling exactly how long Sam’s run as Cap will last. Comic books are constantly revamping and rebooting themselves, which means that plots are constantly being retconned and changed. If Sam is only going to have a short run as Cap, then the filmmakers might be hesitant to restructure the films around this new development, especially if they’re worried about how fans will react. Yes, Bucky’s time as Cap wasn’t particularly long, but the shift in power has been around long enough that they not only know how fans feel about it, but they’ve also been able to work out how best to incorporate it into the films.
We might only get to see Sam as Captain America in the comic books, but at least we have the knowledge that even that is enough to make Anthony Mackie the happiest person on earth right now. And when Mackie's happy, everyone is.