Marvel at the Cinematic Universe – Phase One

Well_look_who_finaly_assembledPhase One of the Marvel Cinematic Universe is comprised of six films; Iron Man, The Incredible Hulk, Iron Man 2, Thor, Captain America: The First Avenger and The Avengers. Each of the first five films act as jigsaw pieces forming the Avengers film.

These films don’t just introduce our roster of super heroes that will save the world, it builds the world for them to save. Between cameos and subtle nods to Stark Industries and S.H.I.E.L.D we discover that everything is in fact connected allowing us deeper investment in the franchise as a whole.

The films settings vary considerably taking place in the modern world, world war two and the world of Asgard. All roads lead to the Avengers battling an alien invasion force’s attempts to conquer earth on behalf of the Titan Thanos and whilst our heroes will be victorious it’s clear that our world will never be the same. Continue reading

Marvel at the Cinematic Universe

Marvel’s franchise of films has dominated the box office year after year. With sixteen films so far and an array of TV shows making up what we call the Marvel Cinematic Universe I’d like to explore it’s various components released so far an speculate on what we may see in the future.

As I write this I’m wondering how exactly am I going to review such a vast collection, I think the process needs to be somewhat organic. I plan to use this post as an anchor point journeying through each phase (of which there are three so far), reviewing each film individually with an accompanying prologue/epilogue for each overall phase.

I’ve come to think three phases we have so far as the acts of a story; Setup, Confrontation and Resolution. Phase One focuses on origin stories for our heroes, Phase Two steps beyond this and allows the characters to develop in a mixed and often volatile environment where as Phase Three will resolve the ever embedded ark of Thanos’s plan to collect the Infinity Stones and presumably rule the galaxy.

So let us begin our journey, the first phase awaits…

Thanos Chair

Alien: Isolation Review

Alien

As I step slowly into the room I raise my motion tracker to see if there’s any sign of movement. There’s none. It’s not here, at least I don’t think it’s here. I keep low to minimise the sound I make, scan the desks for anything I can make use of. Anything that will help me survive. I hear it. I move quickly but quietly to a locker just ahead of me, crawl inside and wait in silence. That sound it makes, it’s getting closer. It’s in the room with me. I keep still, my eyes fixated on it as it searches. Does it know I’m here? Is it toying with me? As it leaves the room I hear it scuttle away into an air duct. Relieved, for just a second, I come out of the locker and head towards my destination. It won’t be long now, I’ve nearly made it out of here…

I consider running as I’m so close but I’m scared the noise will bring it right back. So I stay low, stay quiet and keep moving. There are no doors ahead except for the exit I so desperately need to reach, the only way it can get me is if it comes up behind me. Still won’t run, don’t want to mess this up. My heart rate lowers, I turn around to make sure it isn’t following, if it is i’ve got enough in my flamethrower to scare it off once, maybe twice? I move backwards towards the exit. I hear a noise and look up. Before I even realise what’s happened it has me. I scream but even if anyone does hear me it’s no use. I’m dead.

All this has happened before, and all this will happen again…

That’s the nature of Alien: Isolation. You learn from your mistakes (and you will make them), and realise that Alien: Isolation isn’t one of those Alien games you’ve played before where you slaughter Xeno after Xeno. There’s only one here, and absolutely nothing you do will kill it. Continue reading

Avengers: Age of Ultron Trailer Released Early

So the trailer for Avengers: Age of Ultron was supposed to be released following the 6th episode of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D on the 28th of October. Seems someone had different plans and decides to leak the trailer themselves.

Marvel’s response? 

I, like I assume many others, refused to watch the trailer (in my head for a nanosecond)… and watched the leak. But what happened next was even more unexpected. Marvel released the trailer themselves! None of that Hydra-quality stuff either, it’s now available in full HD as shown below.

I love Marvel’s response to the leak, it mirrors the comedy elements that helped me fall in love with the Marvel Cinematic Universe in the first place. When the trailer for Batman vs Superman leaked online during Comic-Con they did nothing but attempt to remove all traces of it. If they had any sense they’d release said teaser trailer themselves right now to show Marvel they have fans too! Enjoy the trailer and don’t forget to clean up the puddle of drool you leave after watching.

Where’s my Hulk? – How Marvel could give us The Hulk sooner rather than later

Hulk

Have you seen him? Big, green, likes to smash things? I haven’t really seen much of him since the Avengers film aside from a brief cameo in Iron Man 3 (human form – I’m not complaining, can’t deny I bounced in my seat at the cinema!). But… where’s my Hulk?

Bruce BannerThe Marvel Cinematic Universe is somewhat set in stone already. Only Guardians of the Galaxy and Avengers: Age of Ultron are left unreleased for phase 2, and whilst we know Ant Man and Captain America 3 will be a part of phase 3 there’s still no signs of the big guy. Mark Ruffalo stood out in The Avengers for an actor who hadn’t had his own film prior to the assembly of Earth’s mightiest heroes. He gave a calmness to Bruce Banner we hadn’t seen in The Incredible Hulk that gave him this aura of mystery and mastery over his condition. The film definitely leaves me wanting more from this actor’s take on the character and I’m not so sure I want to wait until the second half of phase 3.

Marvel’s been triumphant in getting fans excited about more than just the films, with one-shots released alongside the DVD/Blu-Rays and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. on TV. This makes me wonder if we can’t do something equally challenging with the franchise, additional one-shot’s or even short films. Joss Whedon’s experience with Dr Horrible’s Sing Along Blog demonstrated that it’s possible to take an idea and a budget of 450k, release it online and make 3 million with it (Forbes interview with Whedon). With Whedon’s constant involvement with the franchise I’d really like to see what can be done with a small budget and a lot of fans willing to watch shorter Marvel productions.

I believe the audience is there, waiting for their Hulk to tear through the fabric of the Marvel Cinematic Universe…

Beyond Earth

So over the weekend Civilization: Beyond Earth was announced and honestly I think it’s the most exciting game I’ve seen in a while. Here’s a few reasons why…home_us2

1. Civ! Civilization games are great, whilst I’ve only been playing since Civ4 they offer a wide range of gameplay, micro management and infinite replayability.
2. Beyond the Space Race! Building a shuttle and launching it into a space has always been an interesting victory for previous Civilization games but now we get to see what happens when that shuttle touches down on a new planet and decide what to do once there.
3. Aliens! Is our civilization being built on Pandora with large blue tribal aliens or LV426 where everything seems normal until someone gets a hug? We just don’t know! Adapting to indigenous life on your new world is going to be both challenging and fun.
4. YOUR EMPIRE! That’s right you’re in control, are you going to build an army of battle droids, peaceful Jedi or aggressive Sith? I can see Star Wars mods for this game already!
5. Stargates! Alright let’s call them Warpgates for copyright reasons but here’s the potential to go back to Earth and integrate your distant relatives into your civilization peaceful or by force.

emporer-throne

I can’t wait to build my new empire and hear that little voice in my head once again telling me “one more turn” even though I’m tired and should be sleeping. What will you do on your new world?

Best information I’ve seen regarding Civilization: Beyond Earth is PC Gamer’s interview, it tells you “everything you need to know about the new factions, aliens, technology and more”. So go read, and enjoy the announcement trailer!

Downloadable B-Games

I’ve noticed a lot of handheld/mobile games getting HD treatment for consoles/PC lately (Deus Ex: The Fall, Arkham Origins: Blackgate), and it kinda got me thinking…

What if we had smaller games on a smaller budget, Downloadable B-Games if you will, released on Consoles/PC for mainstream games. Similarly to DLC you could have these Downloadable B-Games for a fraction of the main game’s price and they wouldn’t necessarily have to be dumbed down versions of a game either. Picture an RTS/Tower Defense Mass Effect game set during ME3’s battle against the Reapers… I’d buy that instantly!

Reaper Invasion

Just an idea really but you have to admit there’s some sort of market for this type of thing. Dragon Age has had a few smaller games released alongside the main titles, DA: Journeys being a web game released prior to Awakening’s launch, DA: Legends released on Facebook (later downloadable). Serious Sam 3 has a few indie games to accompany it as a marketing strategy too. I feel like there’s something there… Thoughts?

Cheers to @mindofgeekness for being a soundboard on this post and her obligatory comment now that I’ve posted this! 😉