First Full Avengers Trailer Hulks Out with More Action

Marvel Studios

Marvel unleashed its first full trailer for The Avengers at 9:00 am today (Feb. 29) and the world rejoiced!  Any remaining doubts that this movie will cause nerdgasms in anyone that sees it were erased with its two and a half minutes of superhero awesomeness. 

Unlike the first teaser trailer that aired a few weeks ago, this one shows more of the team fighting each other and united against Loki and his army. It also delivers more closeups of Hulk and the other heroes and even showed the Jade Giant rescuing Iron Man. We've included a few screen captures so we can soak in some of the key scenes. Check out the trailer below and let us know if you were surprised by anything in it or if it was pretty much what you expected.

Marvel Studios
Hulk and Black Widow are escaping from something - but what? Could it be the S.H.I.E.L.D. helicarrier or maybe a ship belonging to Loki's forces?
Marvel Studios
It appears the team has some major personality conflicts at first which results in a world-class rumble. This sequence shows the heroes attacking each other and Agent Coulson saying "We need a time out." 
Marvel Studios
Cap's adamantium shield is being tested by Thor. The question is - Why are they fighting? 

Marvel Studios

The last scene shows Iron Man being chased by some type of alien-looking craft and he tells his fellow Avengers "Guys, I'm bringing the party to you."

Avengers Assemble on New Movie Poster!

Granted, as the image above demonstrates, the folks at Marvel Studios (or whoever does their posters) haven't mastered Photoshop yet - but who cares? This is The Avengers, and so despite some sketchy details in the posters that Marvel released today, we're still psyched. Of course, this is just the prelude to the eagerly awaited new trailer that will debut on the iTunes Trailers tomorrow (Feb. 29) at 9:00 am. Yep, we'll be there!

Also - below is the version of the new poster especially for the United Kingdom. As you'll notice, it's virtually the same except for one little thing - the title. Marvel has decided to change the name of the movie in the UK to Avengers Assemble. As of this writing, we haven't determined why the name change is only for the UK, but we're sure that will be revealed sooner or later. This is pure speculation, but could it be that Marvel wants the movie's title to be different than the 1998 film that was also called The Avengers - starring Uma Thurman and Ralph Fiennes? Again, though, why just in the UK?

Anyway, what do you think of the new poster? Have any guesses about what we'll see in the trailer tomorrow?

Rhys Ifans - Six Interesting Facts about Spider-Man's New Foe

I must admit, when I heard that Rhys Ifans had been cast as Dr. Curt Connors in The Amazing Spider-Man (ASM), I knew next to nothing about him. I had probably seen him in a film or two, but the name didn't register with me. Over the last few months, I've learned a bit more about him through interviews he's given about ASM and through my own online digging. For starters, I know he was born in Wales in 1968 and Welsh is his first language. I also learned that on July 22, 2012, he will celebrate his 44th birthday - just a couple of weeks after ASM opens. I learned that the correct pronunciation of his name sounds like "this  ivans" - with the stress on the "I" in "Ifans" After doing my research, I'm surprised I wasn't more familiar with Ifans, because he's certainly appeared in some fine movies and has garnered praise for much of his work.

Concept art of "The Lizard"
Before we check out some of Ifans' early work, here's a little info on the character he'll be portraying in The Amazing Spider-Man. In the film, Dr. Connors is a brilliant scientist who is genetically engineering a serum, with the intention of helping people regenerate missing limbs (Connors happens to be missing his right arm, as well). He tests this serum on himself and something goes horribly wrong. (When will scientists ever learn? Testing stuff on yourself never turns out okay). The film apparently follows the comic book tale fairly closely - just as in the comic, Connors uses reptile DNA in his serum and he is transformed into a half-human/half-reptile monster and Spider-Man nemesis, known as The Lizard

Ifans recently spoke to Empire Magazine about his character in ASM -
"Curt is a force for good throughout his life. He's a geneticist who wants to help people, like him, who are limbless. In his eagerness to advance that science, he makes a mistake and that's an occurrence we've seen throughout time, sometimes to our benefit, sometimes to our detriment. ...He is a broken man who wants to fix himself. The Lizard almost becomes a drug for him, an alter-ego like Jekyll and Hyde, if you like. He's strong and brave and agile in a way that he can't be in his own life."
Dr. Connors/The Lizard is Ifans' biggest role to date, but he's had a varied and interesting career -

In the early 1990's, he was the lead vocalist for the British rock/pop group, Super Furry Animals. However, he left the group before they released their well-received 1996 debut album, Fuzzy Logic. Although he never got a chance to sing on their record, you can hear him as one of the slightly incoherent voices on the answering machine in the song, Long Gone.

In 1999, he played Hugh Grant's slovenly (and hilarious) roommate, Spike, in the British romantic-comedy, Notting Hill. Skip to the 00.50 mark in the trailer below to see a bit of Spike in action.

In 2005, Ifans won a "Best Actor" award from the British Academy of Film and Televison Arts (BAFTA) for his portrayal of British comedian, Peter Cook, in the made-for-TV movie, Not Only But Always. In the movie, Ifans co-starred with Aidan McArdle (as Dudley Moore) as it portrayed the British comedy duo's friendship and collaboration in the 1960s and '70s.

Also in 2005, Ifans made a guest appearance in the music video, The Importance of Being Idle, by Oasis. He's also made appearances in several other music videos over the years.

Since 2007, Ifans has sung for the band, The Peth (Welsh for "The Thing"). The band released their debut album, The Golden Mile, in 2008. The album's title refers to the Grangetown area of the Welsh city, Cardiff, which is near the band's studio.

Finally, as Harry Potter fans know so well, Ifans played the white-haired editor of The Quibbler magazine, Xenophilius Lovegood, in 2009's Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part I. 

Did I neglect to include one of your favorite Ifans performances? If so, let me know on Twitter.

Rhys Ifans as X. Lovegood - Warner Bros.

Marvel Universe The Amazing Spider-Man Movie Girls T-Shirt 

'Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance' Needs Major Tune-up - Review

If you're willing to put your brain in neutral and lower your IQ about fifty points, you might have a good time at Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance (SoV). While I don't think the filmmakers will have to worry about renting a tux when award season rolls around, it wasn't the disaster that many other critics seem to think. It ranged from outright ridiculous in spots (What action movie isn't?) to actually kinda cool. I went into the theatre expecting a leaner, meaner, grungier take on the Ghost Rider franchise than the 2007 film, and for the most part, that's what I got. If you're expecting a groundbreaking, profound piece of cinema, stay far, far away. However, if you're the type of person who enjoys watching old, cheesy horror or action movies and appreciates them as visual spectacles - nothing more, nothing less - then maybe you'll dig it. I have to chuckle when I read reviews bemoaning the lack of character development and the silly dialogue in SoV. Come on, we're talking about a ninety minute movie based on a comic book character with a flaming skeleton as an alter ego, and you want character development? Screw that - The Rider has asphalt to melt and evildoers to flame-broil. 

Nicolas Cage - Sony Pictures
To put it bluntly, SoV is not as awful as many would have you believe, given that co-directors, Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor, had a budget of around $75 million, which is almost half the budget that Mark Steven Johnson had for the first Ghost Rider film. These days, it's almost unheard of for a major comic book movie to be made for under $100 million. Neveldine and Taylor made good use of their meager budget by filming in interesting (and I'm sure, cheap) locations in Romania and Turkey - full of ancient ruins and abandoned industrial facilities - which definitely gives the movie an eerie look. There are also two major action scenes that they nail - one in which The Rider commandeers a giant bulldozer of some kind, and the climactic chase featuring The Rider against a convoy of armored cars. What the movie lacks in a coherent story or believable dialogue, it at least makes up for with sheer heavy metal destruction. The directors also gave Cage free rein to be as nutso as he wanted, and he delivered - with a whacked out performance that bordered on self-parody. There are several over-the-top Cage freak-outs that will surely become YouTube classics.

The overall story is really the weakest part of SoV. It's a plot that's been used in horror movies for decades, and I have a feeling it took the screenwriter, David Goyer, all of two weeks to write it. Tell me if you've heard this one before - A special child is needed by a cult in order to make a sacrifice to Satan, and if that occurs, "a darkness will fall upon the earth" (someone actually says that in the film). Johnny Blaze (Cage) is recruited to save the kid (Fergus Riordan), many chase scenes then follow, and the Ghost Rider snuffs a lot of bad guys. That pretty much sums up the storyline of SoV. By the way, these demonic possession stories always seem to involve some secret sect of "the church", and sure enough, SoV has one of those, too. Without a doubt, the cliche-filled plot was the weakest part of the movie and definitely could've used a few more original ideas. 

While the re-hashed plot was disappointing, SoV has three things going for it. First, the visual effects people improved on the look of the Ghost Rider from the first film - with thick, black smoke trailing him, and a more realistic motorcycle, he's less flash and more fire and brimstone. Next, the supporting cast is good, and considering the mediocre script, should be given credit for putting in solid performances. The stunning Violante Placido (The American, 2011) plays the mother of the boy whom the bad guys are after, and seemed right at home amidst all the carnage (she can handle a sniper rifle, as well). Yes, she's there strictly as eye candy, but I have to admit, the close-ups on her flawless features were almost worth the price of admission. Idris Elba (Thor, 2011) also looked like he was having fun playing a mysterious motorcycle-riding monk named Moreau, and through sheer talent gave his character some depth despite having a non-existent backstory. 

Finally, Cage himself - I think it's obvious that Nic knows people like to see him go batshit crazy and he has several scenes in which he does just that. Yes, go ahead and call it terrible over-acting, but when you're watching a movie based on a completely ludicrous concept, Cage's histrionics seem appropriate. So, the final verdict is - Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance gets a few things right, but in the end is just mediocre. It can't rise above its cliche-ridden plot and dumb dialogue, and it's simply not as good as it could've been.While I liked parts of it, I believe only hardcore Ghost Rider fans will enjoy this ride.     

Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance 
Directed by Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor, from a screenplay written by David S. GoyerScott Gimple and Seth Hoffman. Based on Ghost Rider by Marvel Comics. Studio - Hyde Park Entertainment. Distributed by Columbia Pictures. Release Date - February 17, 2012.

Nicolas Cage as Johnny Blaze/Ghost Rider
Johnny Whitworth as Ray Carrigan/Blackout
Fergus Riordan as Danny
CiarĂ¡n Hinds as The Devil/Roarke
Violante Placido as Nadya
Idris Elba as Moreau
Christopher Lambert as Methodius

Tom Hardy on Meeting Batman for the First Time

How would it feel to see Christian Bale in the Batsuit, up close and in person? If you're like most people,  intimidating as hell, but don't feel bad, because that's how Tom Hardy felt. Hardy, who plays the villain, Bane, in The Dark Knight Risesstopped by The Jonathan Ross Show on the British TV network, ITV1, and talked about meeting Bale for the first time on the set of TDKR. Apparently, a black, invincible, high tech combat suit does make a rather awesome presence - enough to make a tough guy like Hardy take a big step back.

Go to the 9:00 mark in the clip below to check out Hardy's reaction to his Batman encounter.

At first, Hardy was feeling like he might have the upper hand on his slightly smaller co-star -
"When I got to L.A. to do a screen testing in the giant Bane outfit, I’d done some work," he says. "I felt strong, I’d been training. I see Christian sitting there and I didn’t have the tee-shirt pressed on, and I see his arms. I looked at him and thought, ‘I’m gonna work this.’"
However, once Bale donned the Batsuit, it sounds like Hardy's attitude got adjusted in a hurry -
 "I sat down and got changed into my outfit and went on set, and this huge leaning figure turns up that’s about ten foot tall, eight feet wide with huge pointy ears," Hardy says. "I looked at him and he goes, ‘Oh yeah. I’m Batman.’" 
Thanks to MTV for the heads up.
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Chronicle Impresses with Young Cast and Director - Review

First of all, Chronicle is a tough movie to categorize. I'm not sure how to describe it in one word - drama? suspense? action? It has some of each of those elements, but it doesn't fit neatly into one genre. However, let's clear up one thing about what this movie is and is not. It is a film about people with superhuman powers, but it's not exactly a "superhero" movie, as we've come to know that term. Yes, people in the movie can crush cars like they were toys and fly just like in comic books, but there are no uniforms or costumes, or villains out to rule the world. Hell, there's not even a super-secret lair anywhere to be seen. Instead, director, Josh Trank, threw out a lot of those superhero cliches and tried to make a serious, realistic film about ordinary people dealing with strange, new abilities.

                       Dane DeHaan - 20th Century Fox

Instead of the costumed heroes and villains that we've come to expect in conventional superhero movies, here we have three average high school students who accidentally gain extraordinary powers - and spandex or masks never enter their minds. Come to think of it, we might have to invent a new sub-genre in order to classify Chronicle - maybe calling it a "metahuman" movie is more accurate. If you're not familiar with the term, metahuman - it's being used in both popular fiction and comic books to describe any individual with capabilities that go far beyond normal human limits. In other words, metahumans can perform superhero-like acts, but no mask, alter-egos, or skin-tight costumes are needed. That difference is what sets Chronicle apart from every other mainstream "superhero" movie that's come before it. In fact, the movie seems to exist in a world where superhero comics or movies don't even exist. If I recall correctly, the characters don't even utter the word "superhero" or compare their powers to any comic book character throughout the entire film.

I hope that gives you an idea of what to expect if you see Chronicle. I'll put it this way, think Stephen King's Carrie more than Stan Lee's X-Men, and you'll be on the right track. Now, on to the review. Was the movie any good? Yes, it has a lot of things to recommend it, starting with a great young cast of new actors that I'm sure we will be hearing more of soon. The standout is Dane DeHaan, who plays the smart, but socially awkward Andrew Detmer. Also making good impressions are Michael B. Jordan and Alex Russell, who play Andrew's friends, Matt and Steve, respectively. To briefly sum up the plot - Andrew, Matt, and Steve find a strange, glowing object in the woods, and it somehow knocks them unconscious. On awakening, they discover they have the power of telekinesis (moving objects with the mind) among other superhuman abilities. The movie then explores what three ordinary teenagers would do with this power and how their psychological make-up would determine if they used it for good or evil. Without giving away too much - one of them has a troubled past that greatly influences how he thinks these powers should be used.

If you've seen the trailer for Chronicle, you know that it's filmed in the "found footage" style that's popular among filmmakers these days. That style of filming is one of the things that sets this movie apart from the mega budget superhero movies, but at the same time it can be a major turn-off for some people. There are scenes in which the camera jumps around so much, that if you get seasick easily, you might be running for the nearest bathroom at times. In the film, Andrew is obsessed with "chronicling" his life on camera, and so much of the movie is seen from his perspective. Kudos to Trank for devising some clever ways to keep Andrew's camera and others (such as a hospital security camera) recording the action at all times. For the most part, I thought the camerawork was very well done, but I've heard many people complain that this type of movie is a played out gimmick. By the way, in case you're wondering why the "found footage" style is so popular these days - I'm sure it's partly for artistic reasons, but truth be told, it's an incredibly inexpensive way to make a feature film, when compared to traditional techniques. Get ready for many more movies like this in the future.

I've waited a few days to write this review in order to give Chronicle a chance to sink and let me ponder how it compares to other superhero films. Overall, I was impressed with the smart, true-to-life dialogue and how the movie realistically portrayed three guys dealing with newly-gained superpowers. Trank effectively showed their gradual progression from clumsy, irresponsible beginners to having complete control over their powers and trying to use them wisely. At first the trio want to have a little fun at the expense of their classmates, but eventually they have to make profound moral choices as to how they're going to wield their powers - and that's really the heart of the movie.

Another highpoint for me was the skillful use of visual effects that showed cars and buildings being destroyed, the characters flying a la Superman, and a climactic super-powered fight scene in which a city is nearly decimated. In fact, the effects in this movie (with a $15 million budget) were better than those in many big budget movies like Fantastic Four (2005), which cost about about ten times more to make. However, the movie was far from perfect. I believe the biggest flaw in Chronicle was that it lacked a character that the audience could root for. Trank and company tried so hard to make it different than mainstream superhero movies, that they left out one of the things that makes those films so popular - a hero. In Chronicle, there just wasn't a character that I really cared about and could identify with. So, in the end, this is an impressive debut for Trank and a thought-provoking film that deserves to be ranked higher than many of the big-budget superhero movies. The absence of a truly likable, compelling main character was a weak point, but overall, Chronicle will please fans looking for a fresh take on superheroes. I'm just afraid others might leave the theater a bit disappointed.

Have you already seen Chronicle? Do you think it was great, good, or just meh? Let's hear it in the comments!

New Trailer! The Amazing Spider-Man

Sony Pictures
The Amazing Spider-Man trailer is loaded with web-slinging action and lots of info on the connection between Peter Parker (Andrew Garfield) and Dr. Curt Connors (Rhys Ifans). Apparently, Pete considers it his duty to stop the "thing" that Dr. Connors becomes. We also see more of Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone) and her police captain father (Denis Leary). It looks like the director, Marc Webb, has a cool vision for Spidey, with more humor and suspense than we saw in the first trilogy. There's been grumbling from fans ever since Webb replaced Sam Raimi in the director's chair, but this clip should quiet some of the critics. Also shown in this clip are Sally Field and Martin Sheen.

Now, as for the trailer - it seems to show an origin story that's largely faithful to Spidey's comic book beginnings, but this time, Gwen Stacy works in the same lab as Connors, who eventually becomes the villainous Lizard. Two things I like right away with this trailer - first, the origin story seems to include a bit of mystery as to what happened to Pete's parents, which opens a lot of story possibilities for the sequels to explore. Also, even though he doesn't say much here, I think I'm gonna dig Garfield's take on Peter Parker. He has a sullen, withdrawn expression - like a kid with a traumatic past, which refers back to the loss of his parents. Overall, I think this clip gives us a hint that Sony made a good call in hiring Webb to freshen and energize the Spidey franchise. Disagree? Let us know what you think.

Check out the first trailer below - released in July 2011

The Amazing Spider-Man opens on July 3, 2012 (USA)

11 Funny Fan-made 'Dark Knight' Images

The words "funny" and "Batman" aren't usually seen in the same sentence, but some warped  individuals out there are trying to change that. A quick trip around the internets has yielded this sampling of Dark Knight pics and GIFs that range from brilliant to WTF? Besides being sick, they have one thing in common - they were all inspired by Christopher Nolan's Dark Knight trilogy. We gotta admit, after these images were seared into our retinas, we may never see those flicks the same way again.

"Drop dem beats."
The Dark Knight as a romantic comedy

You might also like - The Dark Knight Movie Trilogy and the Comic Book Connection

"You think you're the bro-thority around here?!?"

Who knew they hung out after hours?

The Avengers - New Trailer and Images!

The Avengers - Marvel Studios
Here it is - the mini-trailer for The Avengers that ran during the Super Bowl on February 5! Yep, it's short, but it has enough teasers to keep us guessing about the plot of the movie until opening day on May 4. The images fly by so fast, it's easy to miss a few things, so we grabbed some interesting screencaps that might help you out when you watch it again...and again.

For example, the image above shows the entire team assembled in combat mode for (we think) the very first time. What was the coolest part of the trailer in your opinion? Most surprising?

The Avengers - Marvel Studios
The rampaging Hulk! For the first time, we see Hulk in a full-on rage! Notice the resemblance to Mark Ruffalo? Marvel allowed the actor portraying Bruce Banner to also play the Hulk via motion capture technology.
The Avengers - Marvel Studios
Okay, who the heck are these guys? Of course, they're members of Loki's army, but from where? Are they wearing some sort of armor, or is that their skin? 
The Avengers - Marvel Studios
The beautiful, but deadly, Black Widow - being stealthy and sexy as usual. 
The Avengers - Marvel Studios
Watch out Cap! Captain America's about to get fried by those lasers that are tearing Manhattan a new one. 
The Avengers - Marvel Studios
Now what's going on here? Hawkeye's falling out of an aircraft while shooting some sort of tri-point arrow, while New York is being pummeled below. 

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The Avengers - Marvel Studios
Loki pays Tony Stark a visit. That's the Chrysler Building in the background, so we know it's the Big Apple, but are they in the Avengers headquarters, or Stark's New York pad? 

The Dark Knight Movie Trilogy and The Comic Book Connection

One of the things we try to do here at Capes on Film is emphasize the comic book origins of the superhero movies that have become modern classics. Many of the recent films have been directly influenced by the look and tone of classic comic books, and whenever a filmmaker mentions his or her inspiriation, we like to point it out. One of the prime examples of that connection is how director, Christopher Nolan, as well as actors and writers, were influenced by many of the modern Batman books as they were preparing to make Nolan's epic Batman Trilogy - Batman Begins, The Dark Knight (TDK), and The Dark Knight Rises.

Check out these books in our new STORE!

For example, in an interview with MTV News in 2008, TDK screenwriter, David Goyer, said -
"The triad of Gordon, Harvey Dent and Batman teaming up against the underworld, we drew that from The Long Halloween,"
"The central relationship between Joker and Batman in 'The Dark Knight' was definitely inspired by The Killing Joke," Goyer said. "Especially the part where the Joker says that if he could choose his own origin, he would choose multiple choice. That's something we embellished on in this film."
As for the actors, Gary Oldman, once said that he read Batman: Year One for his role as James Gordon in TDK, and the late Heath Ledger reportedly studied several key graphic novels as inspiration for his now legendary performance as The Joker. Ledger was known to have read Alan Moore's The Killing Joke, and Grant Morrison's  Arkham Asylum: A Serious House on Serious Earth.

Now that the final chapter of Nolan's trilogy is set to open on July 20, there's speculation that another classic Batman tale is partially the inspiration for the movie's plot - that story being 1993's Knightfall. If you're not familiar, Knightfall is the story of how a "super-steroid" enhanced criminal mastermind named Bane, sets out to rid Gotham of Batman once and for all - breaking Batman's back in the process. As evidence of the Knightfall The Dark Knight Rises connection, you can check out an article over at ScreenRant.

Wanna pick up some of these graphic novels to get ready for The Dark Knight Rises? For your convenience, we've created a special page in the Capes on Film Store featuring all of the titles mentioned above as well as some carefully selected Batman reference books - several of which are at greatly reduced prices. Just click on "Books" and you'll see the special "Batman Books" section. 
Thanks for reading and see ya next time!