To Infinity and Beyond...
(WARNING: Includes Spoilers For 'Captain America-Civil War')
From the trenches of the 'Captain America-Civil War' cutting room floor we are beginning to learn even more about just what the Russo Brothers had in store for their sequel to 'The Winter Soldier'.
And it goes beyond the concepts of original Marvel art.
Sure, earlier on this year when we saw sketches of ideas like Hawkeye's original, purple hooded suit and the iconic Giant-Man airport battle scene (that looked this week to take even more wing if Ant-Man had chose to sign up with Stark's Iron legion), we caught glimpses of something as visionary as Paul Bettany's android application. But the more that we're hearing now just makes us wish we actually saw it for big-budget real.
Prepping for the release of Marvel's biggest Avenger movie on DVD and getting ready to direct the Thanos titan 'Infinity War' part of the teams trilogy, the Russo's were open to discussion about what they closed off pre-production. First off was a scripted idea of Scarlett Johansson's Black Widow character revealing more of her "blood on her ledger", dripping in darkness backstory that we saw flashbacks of in the hallucinogenic, witches nightmare, cutaway scene of the 'Age Of Ultron' and surely will learn more about in the on the cards Phase 4 solo movie that we can't wait for. The dialogue between her and Cap would reference her training as a child and reveal in a raw fashion how she and her classmates who became fast friends where left in the freezing Tundra with supplies for only one to survive. "Don't let them push us into the cold" she tells Steve as can be read in the novelization of 'Civil War' (who said blockbuster novelizations where tame type by types?). Chilling...and classic!
This may be dark, but it should have has some light shed on it for this war torn family feud. It had just the right context. As did that of Sebastian Stan's holding of Cap's shield (that happened a couple of homage times in his 'Winter Soldier' movie). The literal passing of the shield between Bucky and Rogers (Buck Rodgers anyone? We just got it whilst writing) as they lay the beat-down on Iron Man was symbolic of the comics where Steve Rogers' Captain America dies and his sidekick Bucky Barnes takes his shield and mantle. Before the most anticipated Marvel movie and blockbuster of the year (sorry Wade) came out many speculated that movie-life would imitate comic-book art. Especially with the number differential in picture deals between stars Chris Evans and Sebastian Stan and the appearance of Frank Grillo's Crossbones in 'Civil War'. But rumours of the Punisher-esque character dead-shotting Cap from afar like in the comics were killed when the Scarlet Witch turned him into a flying fireball. It still could happen though...because in the latest Marvel comics The Falcon takes over from Cap and you just know Anthony Mackie is ready. Even if there is a sibling like rivalry between the Avenger leaders two sidekicks. Still a deleted airport scene hanging on the special features section of the DVD that features Bucky using Cap's shield whilst saying "I got to get me one of these" (you sure could Buck) would have made for a nice, symbolic addition. Even if it was a little too on the nose...or shield.
Even yesterday, even more was revealed by Los Angeles based cinema reporters Movie Web on what could have gone down in 'Civil War'. Not that aside from, Thor and the Hulk being M.I.A. we had so much going on already. When Marvel Studios first got the rights to Spidey back, sharing with Sony many wondered how the spandex slinky superhero would fit into 'Civil War'. It was thought that he would join Iron Man like the classic comic. That was true. Then with the additional information that Tony Stark would be designing a hi-tech suit for Peter Parker it was believed that it could be the classic Iron Spider look (see above). That was unfortunately false...or was it?! Although Joe and Anthony Russo caught their own iconic shot of Parker webbing Captain America's shield, they had designs on bolting up Spider-Man's Iron Suit and bringing it too the party. But instead we ended up with some Under Armour looking 80's homage with a curious tint in the eyes. But still Iron Man looks to make an appearance in Spider-Man's 'Homecoming' next year before their next war...so it looks like the metal Spider may crawl its way onto screens too between classes and Flash's.
One more genius idea that the Russo's had was to bring William Hurt's General Thunderbolt Ross from the first Edward Norton 'Incredible Hulk' movie back to 'Civil War' to shine some political light on the registering of the accords. And although their less is more approach-even in this umbrella to tent-pole flick-was as genius as their suit stripping down of Captain America in their politically charged, old school thriller feel of 'The Winter Soldier' (their best movie and move yet), the idea of us seeing the Red Hulk had us charging to cinemas like bulls. Even if we would be denied a Red Hulk/Green Hulk fight (like seemingly we always will be of a fling with the 'Fantastic Four's' Thing) like the Abomination of the last 'Incredible' movie, having another monster that you actually would like when they were angry was about to have the die-hards falling for this 'Civil War' like those performing re-enactments in the South. Still alas the Thunderbolt of General Ross obviously settled for jazz and bongos and we were left with as yearning for 'Planet Hulk' in the next 'Guardians Of The Galaxy' movie that ended up having the 'Ragnarok' of 'Thor' 3 seeing green. Even though an early comic-con trailed video-cam leaked on YouTube hinted at Iron Man bringing out the Hulk Buster once again for another royal rumble like Anthony Mackie accidentally name dropping Mark Ruffalo on a 'Civil War' press tour.
This reminded us of our slight disappointment in the clunky 'Age Of Ultron' movie, were the iconic showdown between Tony Stark and Bruce Banner both at full growth was originally meant to be shaded in grey. Giving the Hulk his first look in the comics before it ended up being cheaper and even more classic looking for legendary creators Stan Lee and Jack Kirby to go green in their cells. This homage Grey Hulk never happened in the end out of fears that fans wouldn't realise that this grey giant running down the streets after Iron Man's significant upgrade like a rhino was actually the Hulk. Are you kidding me? Who else it this pants only gnarly goliath meant to be!? The BFG?! And for that stupid marketing reason, that's why he ended up in Snozecumber green throughout. Gobblefunk! Still, it looks like Marvel are learning from their not so much mistakes, but maybe mis-steps. From the bold and beautiful casting that's happening in 'Homecoming' to all that's in store for Brie Larson's 'Captain Marvel' and the forthcoming 'Black Panther' movie...oh if they bring the cape back! It's time for the successful studio to get more risky as they hit phase infinity in these 'Dr. Strange' days. Besides they pulled off the impossible twice with 'Guardians' and 'Ant-Man'. How about making it three times for the charm? Perhaps we'll see more of these characters in the 67 strong 'Infinity War' that may finally see some love for the small screen 'Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D.' and Netflix 'Defenders' team lead by the re-defined, fearless 'Daredevil' (that was hinted at with a 'Luke Cage' character cameo tie-in in 'Civil War') and maybe even a similar Spider deal worked with Fox for an 'X-Men' mutant mash-up after they faced the critical 'Apocalypse' this Summer. Or so us geeks can only hope. Or perhaps it's time for Marvel to actually follow D.C. for a change and their knockout battle with 'Batman V Superman-Dawn Of Justice' (that was actually better than most people thought. Even if 'Civil War' was the victor, it's margin wasn't as big as everyone made out...and that's no insult to either party!) and give us an 'Ultimate Edition' of these Ultimates on DVD. Either way it's time for them to reveal more of their conceptual ideas beyond the amazing artwork. Otherwise what's the use of an Easter Egg hunt if you can't eat the chocolate? When the Russo brothers and their infinite Avengers make it to 'Infinity' it's time for Marvel to really suit up! TIM DAVID HARVEY.