Have We Already Seen Footage From Avengers 4?

Beware, the following article contains spoilers for Avengers: Infinity War and speculation regarding Avengers 4

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As Infinity War takes the first steps towards complete and utter box office dominance, you would be forgiven for forgetting that the as-of-yet untitled Avengers 4 is right around the bend in 2019.

Whilst we have Ant-Man and the Wasp and the much anticipated Captain Marvel to come in-between the two juggernaut Avengers films, I’m beginning to wonder whether Marvel have sneakily already shown us footage from Avengers 4.

There was one shot throughout the marketing stage for Infinity War that was pretty much everywhere. It was the go-home sell for the movie and is the image that has been used most frequently for articles, blogs, interviews etc. outside of the posters themselves. Yet it was never in the actual film itself…

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It’s not unusual for trailers to use footage that isn’t in the finished product, Rogue One for example had a large amount of footage that wasn’t anywhere to be seen in the final product. But most of that was a result of re-shoots, something that Infinity War hasn’t particularly suffered from. Besides that, there is one glaring entry in the above image that calls to question the reliability of what we’re seeing, and that’s the inclusion of The Hulk.

If you’ve seen Infinity War (And if you haven’t why the hell are you reading this article) then you’ll know that the Hulk only makes one appearance at the beginning of the film, and after being crushed by Thanos he suffers from some performance issues throughout the rest of the film.

It’s entirely possible that Marvel crafted this image for the sake of marketing and to give the trailers that one grand scene of the Avengers charging into battle together. But in that situation why include the Hulk? In other footage of the Wakandan Defence Force the trailers very openly acknowledge the HulkBuster armour, and quite clearly don’t include Hulk for the sake of it. So why include him here when it would have been simpler just to leave him out entirely?

My theory is that Marvel actually used footage from Avengers 4. Now, stay with me. It’s been long rumoured that Avengers 4 will be a time-travel movie, whereby the remaining cast go back in time to try and change the outcome of Thanos’ victory in Infinity War. So who’s to say that it doesn’t all lead to a similar version of the battle we saw at the conclusion of Infinity War? Where the Avengers take on Thanos at Wakanda, only this time things are different. Bruce Banner and Hulk could have by now worked out their differences, and the inclusion of the Hulk rather than the HulkBuster armour piloted by Bruce would no doubt be a much greater asset to the good guys. Furthermore, it explains why the entire army is pictured in the forest, a place where only the Avengers go during their fight with the Black Guard and Thanos. Perhaps this time they’re aware of when and where Thanos will appear and they all tackle the Titan together?

It also lends some weight to the speculation that Pepper Potts was seemingly pregnant in her running suit when photos were taken of the Infinity War set. If she was then it would seemingly confirm that we are going to be revisiting Infinity War scenes, but with major differences come Avengers 4.

This is all speculation though and it causes as many issues as it answers. But it’s fun to speculate and the revisiting of the Wakandan battle scene with a different outcome could be a lot of fun. Heck, The Edge of Tomorrow showed that repeating the same battle can be done really well.

What do you think? Is the inclusion of Hulk just a marketing ploy, or does it hint towards something else to come in the future.

 

Review: Avengers Infinity War

Director: Anthony and Joe Russo
Writers: Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely
Starring: Everybody

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10 years of ground-breaking cinema has built up to this moment. It’s the culmination of the Marvel Cinematic Universe to date and by God does it deliver.

I usually like to write my reviews immediately after having seen a film, but with this one I felt as though I needed more time to digest what I had seen. It’s such a large movie, both in terms of the scale within which the action takes place, and the sheer production size that it can at times feel overwhelming, and taking some time out to process the movie before finalizing your thoughts is probably the best bet.

As always this review will be spoiler free and I implore everyone to try and go into this movie knowing as little as possible. Even the smallest of spoilers might detract from what is a piece of cinema like no other.

The Russo Brothers have done a fantastic job with a movie that may have been one of the most difficult films to produce in cinematic history. Never before has a film not only had 10 years worth of build up via the format of 18 previous films but also had to integrate over 60 previously established and popular characters. It’s a challenge that would turn away many people in the film industry and some serious credit needs to be dropped at the feet of the Russos. They manage to perfectly balance the massive cast of heroes and side-characters, giving all the right people just the correct amount of screen time. Of course there are characters who stand out more than others, but that’s always been the case since way back at Avengers Assembled, so with the addition of the Guardians and about 10 new franchises it’s hard to criticize.

You could quite easily make a case to say that at least 9 or 10 of our main protagonists steal the show and that is no bad thing. But despite all these new faces, despite the multitude of interweaving storylines that play out over the course of the movie, in my own personal opinion it is the MCU’s big bad, Thanos, who comes out of this movie as the star.

As the Russos have stated before, Infinity War is essentially Thanos’ movie and after having seen it you cannot disagree. What that means is that we have perhaps our best ever Marvel villain, and one who could easily hold his own against some of the better villains in movie history. He is given depth, emotion, motivation and presence, all key ingredients in the superhero movie cocktail.

What surprised me was the level of emotion throughout the movie. From the opening scene the pace of this movie is frenetic, very rarely taking a moment to allow the audience to breath. So at first I was scared that the Russos had sacrificed character development and raw emotional moments for a film more akin to the final Harry Potter movie but on a bigger scale. Fortunately I was proved wrong many times over as the film continued to deliver emotional sucker-punches and some really nice character work, especially among some of the members of the Guardians of the Galaxy.

Unfortunately there were the odd moments of dodgy CGI, which was dissappointing but not distracting. But my biggest complaint came from the fact that during some of the action scenes, I felt the direction wasn’t as strong as in past Marvel movies. I often found myself losing track of what was happening due to the shakey cam and close up shots, which was a shame especially in the later battles.

The ending is perhaps the bravest I have seen in a movie and it will keep you thinking about it for days after having watched it last. I saw Infinity War at a midnight screening on the day of release, and I’m still going over the ending in my head. It sticks with you on a number of levels and it’s unlike anything Marvel have ever done before. Fortunately they earn the ending, the jokes are toned down throughout the movie compared to the likes of Thor: Ragnarok and you’re very much grounded in the idea that it’s not playtime anymore.

As Dr. Strange says “We’re in the end game now”.

Final Score: 8/10 Porgs

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The Looming Tragedy Of Avengers: Infinity War

We’re only a few weeks away from the cinematic experience of the year, Avengers: Infinity War, but with rumours abound that we’ll be losing a fan favourite hero, who exactly is on the chopping block?

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For a few years now it’s been long rumoured that we would be facing the death of at least one major Marvel Cinematic Universe character once Infinity War and Avengers 4 rolled around. Names as wide and varied as Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, War Machine, Hawkeye and Vision have all had their names thrown out over the years as potential heroes who will bite the bullet. Contract agreements have led to speculation over some, whilst storyline threads have alluded to others.

Therefore as it stands the playing field is pretty open, there are a number of routes that Marvel could take to deliver an emotional gut punch during Infinity War and from the point of view of the fans that unpredictability is something to cherish. Too often do we go into superhero films with a solid idea of where the story will take us. Just last year DC tried in vein to dupe the audience into believing that Superman wouldn’t be coming back in Justice League, it was only once box office market numbers started to dwindle that they brought him into the marketing campaign. Even Marvel have suffered from a form of predictability, with the always present knowledge that Infinity War and Avengers 4 were around the corner we knew deep down that whilst watching films such as Thor Ragnarok and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 that none of our heroes were yet in the firing line.

The gloves are off and it’s hard to argue that any of the original Avengers cast are for sure going to find themselves coming out these two films alive and well. Sure there are some who have a longevity that the others do not. Hulk is likely to stick around and with rumours abound of a Black Widow spin-off being in the works, as well as the easier route of having the more human characters retire to a farm somewhere, always being open.

So who do I think are the likely candidates to start pushing daisies?

Captain America

It was a recent profile on Chris Evans for the New York Times that prompted the creation of this article in the first place. In the profile it appears to confirm that Cap is sticking around until Avengers 4 and then packing his boots and leaving the franchise for good.

But for me that all feels a little too convenient so close to the release of Infinity War. Why would Marvel authorise the release of that news if it takes away any stakes for the character in a hotly anticipated film that’s only a few weeks away? Combining that with the knowledge that Evans’ original contract with Marvel finished with Infinity War, and that he supposedly signed on to an additional film, and with tinfoil hat on I’m starting to think that there’s a conspiracy afoot.

Whilst it could very well be true that Evans is sticking around for Avengers 4 and that is the end of his Marvel run, I’m now slightly more convinced that we could be looking at a shock exit for the character at the end of Infinity War.

Thor

It was recently made evident by the Russo Brothers that Infinity War is essentially the story of both Thanos and Thor, with the two characters taking up the most amount of screen time in the film.

Thanos having such a pivotal role was an obvious reveal, but I feel as though the Thor declaration was slightly more revealing plot-wise. As of yet Thor hasn’t had a massive presence in the trailers, popping up here and there, but with little dialogue and no clear direction for where his story in the film will take him. Which is interesting given that the film will likely start with the Asgardian clashing with Thanos before being flung into the far reaches of space where he will meet up with the Guardians of the Galaxy.

What this leads me to believe, is that Marvel are trying to play coy with us. We’re directly shown Loki approaching who we assume is Thanos on the captured Asgardian ship, with accompanying Asgardian bodies littering the ground. We presume this is Loki’s turn to Thanos’ side, or at the very least his surrender of the Tesseract. But I think there’s more to that scene, so it’s prediction time!

Loki has played a key role in Phases 1-3 of the MCU, you could even argue that he was the central villain that for a long time kept the whole thing anchored to a central point. So what better way is there for Thanos to be asserted as the new big-bad than to take out the person who came before him? I expect that Thor and Bruce Banner are nearby in the scene where Loki is handing over the Infinity Stone, and that as a final act he turns and uses its power to cast the pair away to safety, saving them and causing Thanos to have him killed at the hands of the Black Order. This will be how Thor ends up with the Guardians and Bruce ends up back on Earth.

This can then lead Thor on a revenge mission against Thanos, one that culminates with the God of Thunder falling in some heroic fashion that helps to save the rest of the Avengers or at the very least foil Thanos’ plan long enough for there to be a need for another part to this story in Avengers 4.

So in wrap up, I think that Infinity War will at the very least be the last time we see Captain America and Loki, with Thor either following them out in the same film or his death being held off for Avengers 4. Both Cap and Thor have had their time in the sun, they both have 3 solo films under their belt and their stories have little room to maneuver in Phase 4.

Iron Man is another obvious candidate, but I think that he will bow out in Avengers 4 rather than Infinity War, setting up a clean slate for the likes of Black Panther, Spider-Man and Dr. Strange to take over as the leaders in the MCU new age and allowing us to see an angry Tony Stark who is out for revenge following Cap’s death.