Civil War – Predictions and Speculations

Today is a good old-fashioned speculation post. With Captain America: Civil War right around the corner, it’s looking like the biggest Marvel film ever in terms of cast, plot and marketing scheme, (which I didn’t think was even possible after Avengers 2). The reason for this post, is from overhearing a few conversations and it seems many people are “betting” on which character(s) is going to die. Harsh yes, but I’d like to join the discussion so, here are my thoughts… (Warning: Potential spoilers if you haven’t seen the other movies!)

Bucky Barnes / Winter Soldier: 

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Bucky, or the Winter Soldier, has only just redeemed himself and become a “good guy.” He’s not yet fully established in this universe and there is a big reason why he can’t die at the start of his Marvel career. Also, the only person who would be upset at this point is Cap who seems to go to great lengths to protect his man. There is more to see of this character.

Hawkeye:

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Hawkeye is ranking top of the polls right now from what I’ve heard. But here is why I don’t think he can or should die: he is the only member of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, or any superhero movie, to have a functional family. This character came into his own in Avengers: Age of Ultron and it would be heart breaking if he died, which is the reaction Marvel crave, so perhaps it would make sense. Hawkeye’s appeared in enough movies after all. But again, he is the only Marvel Superhero to have a working, FUNCTIONAL family. Audiences often need characters to set good examples particularly in times of stress, war and economic trouble (cinema is practically propaganda, but sometimes in a kind of nice nurturing way). Being a cool guy and having a FUNCTIONAL family sets a good example to audiences, enforcing that marriage still works and isn’t dying off, that a career and kids can still happen, that people can have both. Marvel struck the balance right with this guy. Hawkeye, or Agent Barton, counteracts the bad examples of Tony Stark’s play boy life, Scott Lang’s criminal lifestyle or Peter Quill’s lack of commitment to anything/anyone (even though these hero’s do “clean up their act”). All this aside, Hawkeye is an underdog type character and I think he’s great, so I hope he’s here to stay.

Scarlet Witch or Ant Man or Falcon or Vision:

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Marvel would be idiotic to kill off any of these characters. They are not established enough yet. Scarlet Witch’s brother Quicksilver was killed off pretty quickly granted, but, next to Black Widow and until Captain Marvel and The Wasp join, she is the only female hero in this franchise (I exclude Gamora as she isn’t part of this timeline yet). Also, she has the potential to be the strongest Avenger! Ant Man has a sequel scheduled so he’s sticking around. Vision plays host to the mind stone that is in his head, so he needs to be kept on until the Infinity Wars. The most expendable here is Falcon, but Marvel will then fall under scrutiny for a lack of diversity if he’s killed off. Plus, he’s friggin’ awesome.

Black Widow:

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Black Widow is also high ranking, next to Hawkeye. Natasha has been in many many movies after all and is still a secondary character. But with the introduction of Spider-Man and Black Panther, two more male superheroes, and Marvel shying away from giving her her own movie, it will be one huge kick in the face and will further anger/alienate audiences if she is killed off. We NEED Black Widow.

Spider-Man or Black Panther:

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Don’t be silly, they haven’t even made their debut yet. And I can’t wait to see them in action!

War Machine:

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Rhodey has been in it from the very beginning of the MCU in Iron Man (remember Terrence Howard?), so he’s been in enough movies that he could be killed off. He was shown to be unconscious in the trailer, but I’m sure it’s a classic misdirect on Marvel’s part. Being initiated into the new Avengers team has added weight to the character, so I don’t think they would get rid of him yet. We also have the lack of diversity problem that we have with Falcon. Plus, I don’t believe people will care too much if he was killed off… or I won’t… I’m sorry, I can’t stand Don Cheadle and his new characterisation since replacing Terrence Howard. Overall, I think he could outlive Iron Man…

Captain America or Iron Man:

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The two protagonists, almost joint leaders of the Avengers, but now the leaders of their own sides locked in a Civil War. It’s no spoiler that both Robert Downey Jr. and Chris Evans’ contracts are coming to an end. The impact needed here, the heart break, the tears and the crushing pain of losing a much loved character… I believe it will be either Tony Stark or Steve Rogers. Or both. So just prepare yourselves.

OVERALL VERDICT: Brace yourself for a devastating loss in Iron Man or Captain America’s deaths. But of course, I could be completely wrong.

What do you guys think? I’d love to hear your thoughts on this.

M x

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Matt Charman Q+A: Bridge of Spies (2015)

So Wednesday 6th April saw me sat in a Q+A session with the incredible Matt Charman, screenwriter of Bridge of Spies. He was a fascinating bloke to say the least, particularly interesting to me as I love writing and have always considered screenwriting a potential career path for me.

Matt Charman’s advice to early writers, or to any writers, is to “write what you want to see.” And as writers, we should be able to tell anecdotes and stories well. I myself am sometimes eloquently fascinating or sometimes lose absolutely all social skills and bore everybody to sleep with my life stories, however this will force me to practice! His work ethic too is incredibly impressive; writing on one project from 7am-1pm, then writing on another project from 1.30pm-7pm. If you want to write, just keep at it!

The idea for Bridge of Spies came from footnote in a book, according to Charlan, about JFK and his administration, where JFK sent a man named James Donovan, an insurance lawyer, to negotiate in Cuba with Castro directly to return American hostages during JFK’s “Bay of Pigs” period. The footnote told Charlan that James Donovan was an insurance lawyer who was known for negotiating in East Berlin in the Rudolf Abel case. His mind was whirling; who is this James Donovan that the American government put all their faith in- twice?

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I wrote a short review on Bridge of Spies a while back in November after I had watched the film, but never published it. So here we go:

Three reasons I thought I’d like this film. First, because it is directed by Steven Spielberg- you’ve got an above average film right there already. Secondly, because it’s based on a true story of America in the 1950s – which I am completely fascinated with. And thirdly… It starred Tom Hanks. An amazing man and a fantastic actor, class A, the best- I love Tom Hanks. But what did concern me was that this film could end up being another boring Lincoln. But how wrong I was!

During the Cold War, the Soviet Union captures U.S. pilot Francis Gary Powers after shooting down his U-2 spy plane. The only hope of freedom is New York lawyer James Donovan (Tom Hanks), recruited by a CIA operative to negotiate his release. Donovan boards a plane to Berlin, hoping to win the young man’s freedom through a prisoner exchange. If all goes well, the Russians would get Rudolf Abel (Mark Rylance), the convicted spy who Donovan defended in court.

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Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg are a reliable combination. And with a killer script by Matt Charman, and Mark Rylance’s support, this film is an engaging, captivating watch. I wasn’t surprised either to see the Coen Brothers being the co-writers on this (alongside Charman), as some of the dialogue and the mood the Coens create in their films was ever present. Mark Rylance (who won Best Supporting Actor at the Academy Awards), is incredible, there are no words (and adding to this review now, he seriously deserved the Oscar, he’s a wonderful actor).

A politically driven film, and topical at it’s time of release with recent terrorist attacks, our society living in fear and world leaders doing what is easy and not right, Bridge of Spies also portrays a society living in fear, but a character like Donovan addresses the opposite; do what is right and not what is easy. Overall, Bridge of Spies is a wonderful film, thoroughly enjoyable and even my American friend grew emotional stating “this film has made me so proud to be an American.” Like 50s America, forever living in fear of the Atom Bomb, we shouldn’t live in fear either as life just goes on and, like Mark Rylance’s Rudolf Abel asks, “would it help?”

M x

Heath Ledger (1979-2008)

Heathcliff Andrew Ledger would be 37 years old today.

At 14 years old, I had a lot going on at home and I used films as an escape from this. Being absorbed in another’s world with another person’s life to focus on allowed me to escape mine. Each film, different from the last, was beautiful and unique. I adored watching all sorts of genres from Hollywood blockbusters to world cinema to old classics. At that point, I hadn’t decided I wanted to become a filmmaker.

A family friend of mine understood, and one day, she brought round Brokeback Mountain. Having heard the film’s name through award ceremonies, I knew the film but had no clue what it was about. I didn’t research the film beforehand or even read the blurb of the DVD, I just slotted it into my portable DVD player in my room and watched.

Maybe it was because of what was happening in my own life that made it so emotional and poignant? But one thing’s for certain, Brokeback Mountain is the most perfect film I’ve seen and I watched right to the end through Gustavo Santaolalla’s The Wings, Willie Nelson’s He Was a Friend of Mine and Rufus Wainwright’s The Maker Makes. I couldn’t stop crying, and never have I cried so much at a film since. It was the oddest experience. And Heath Ledger’s performance brought this on, I can’t even explain it. He shone brightest in an already shining film, conveying through Ennis Del Mar the injustice and painful reality of living a difficult life, in a difficult time and this resonated strongly with me.

After Brokeback Mountain, I desperately wanted to not just watch these films in my bedroom on my little portable DVD player late at night anymore. Instead, I sought to create them. To move and inspire someone just as Ang Lee’s masterpiece had and to discover or even meet acting revelations like Heath Ledger himself. But, alas, the announcement of his death came shortly after.

Without his initial influence, I wouldn’t be pursuing a career as a filmmaker. Heath Ledger helped me find my passion, helped me to concentrate on something else other than my life and he helped me imagine a potential future for myself. Even now I can quote the film, write a University academic essay on Brokeback Mountain and often I refer back to Heath Ledger’s work. He was my role model, a symbol of where I wanted to reach one day. I owe him a lot.

Heath Ledger was the greatest actor my generation has ever known: an incredible talent and a special person. He was taken too young, but to quote Ennis: “if you can’t fix it, you gotta stand it.” Happy birthday dude, and thanks for everything. M x

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