Tag Archives: Guardians of the Galaxy

Here’s the Thing; There’s a Reason Behind Marvel’s Lacklustre Villains

By Joe Strange


Age of Ultron is out everywhere now folks! Now that America has finally caught up with us all, the rest of the world can finally talk about all the things we wanted to discuss this time last week.

What? It’s only been a day and I can’t talk spoilers yet? Oh fine.

I’ll just talk about how awesome Ultron is then…

Here’s the thing; Marvel has caught a lot of flak for having less-than-brilliant villains in the past, especially in phase 2: Killian was kind of vanilla in Ironman 3, and we won’t even mention what they chose to do to the Mandarin. In Thor The Dark World Christopher Eccleston’s Malekith was generic as could be, he was just an angry elf with abandonment issues. Even Guardians of the Galaxy, one of the best Marvel films to date, had a really lacklustre villain in Ronan the Accuser (Lee Pace) who acted like a spoilt child with anger management issues, you want to destroy Nova for what reason Ronan? Actually, I don’t care, because this tree can friggin’ talk.

So how does a studio with villains as bland as ‘angry pale leader’ and ‘angry blue leader’ also manage to pull out villains as great and relatable as Loki, or as terrifyingly hilarious as Ultron?

With Loki and Thor, the brothers were two parts of a whole; working off of each other as allies, and turning into enemies as the relationship was strained due to Thor’s rise to power and Loki’s belief that he should have been the true ruler of Asgard. This isn’t a relationship based on hate, as is many in the universe (Killian despises Tony for abandoning him, Malekith hated everything that wasn’t him, I think? He just wanted that ether to… get it into the plot I guess). There is a real relationship here, and when the brothers begin to part there’s not just anger, but a sense of betrayal. You feel connected to Loki, because Thor doesn’t start his journey as that great a guy, he’s arrogant and cocky, but while Loki lusts after power, Thor eventually earns his place, redeeming himself in the eyes of the audience, and while Thor takes the path of redemption, Loki goes off of the deep end. Quite literally.

Of course it helps that Tom Hiddleston is an incredible talent, and that Loki is a great character with whom the writers can do an awful lot with.

Compare this family feud with the Kree-Nova dispute in Guardians of the Galaxy: we don’t see any of this conflict, we’re told about it. We are, however, shown that Ronan is a fundamentalist, and that he’s consorting with the undesirables that we saw in the Avengers. The difference between Thor and Guardians, however, is quite simple; in Thor the main point of conflict in the film was the relationship between the brothers, whereas the entire point of Guardians was to throw this team together, they didn’t need a complex villain, they needed a common enemy, because there was conflict enough within the group.

Ironman 3 was looked upon less than favourably by a lot of people (Not me though, I’ll defend Shane Black till the end of days,) most notably for the mistreatment of one of the most iconic villains in Ironman’s rogues gallery, as well as for the… ‘meh’-ness of Aldrich Killian. Yes, they should have saved The Mandarin for another time, but the real opposing force in Ironman 3 isn’t Killian or the Extremis project, it’s Tony’s coping with his own shortcomings. It’s a film about battling inner demons, which is why a fellow from Tony’s past isn’t that bad a shout to kick off the plot.

At least, it wouldn’t have been if he hadn’t claimed to have been behind the whole damn thing and, while we’re at it, what the hell was with the fire breath? Is he a dragon? No? Then get it out of here.

When you look at Malekith’s role in The Dark World he’s little more than a McGuffin transporter. No one watched The Dark World for the leader of the Dark Elves, they watched it for the further development of the relationship between Thor and Loki and the shared universe that they’d invested in. Malekith is not a great villain, it’s true, but any amazingly developed antagonist would have detracted from the real driving force behind the film; Thor and Loki.

And woe betide anyone who gets in the way of the fans and Loki.

Which is where I think Marvel struck gold in using Loki as the main antagonist for the Avengers; here is a villain we already care about, that we have some sympathy for, and a team of people we need to see work together. By combining the two we get a film with some great character development and a great villain that the audience feels that they know just as well as the protagonists.

We see the reverse of this in Age of Ultron; we have an established team, we see from the opening scene that these characters are comfortable with each other and are still, at their core, the characters we last saw in their respective instalments, the development side of this is with Ultron; a villain who is every bit as snarky and clever as Tony Stark, but would never admit to being anything like his creator. We see Ultron’s literal growth through the film, his evolution from simple (or not so, as it might be) AI to a determined, power crazed lunatic, kind of like a certain man of Iron if he had dropped off of the deep end like Loki.

It’s Ultron’s view on the world, and more importantly, of the established team, that makes him an engaging villain, in the same way that it was our understanding of Loki and his view of himself that makes him a good villain in the Avengers. On the small screen; Wilson Fisk works as a good foil to Daredevil as they’re polar opposites, they both have the same aim, to make Hell’s Kitchen more tolerable, but their methods are completely different.

So, to wrap up, while Marvel’s villains might not always be the greatest, it seems to be that when they are slightly lacking, it’s so the film can shift its focus to more than just the good vs evil conflict. The best villains are the ones that interact with the protagonists on a personal level, and who we have a connection with, whether it be from previous films, in the case of Loki, or through shared characteristics as we see with Ultron.

Now, it’d be nice for film makers to begin to trust audiences with both a complex villain and a higher message that doesn’t rely on the main point of conflict to convey that message, but we have to remember that films are really quite short, and sometimes you have to make compromises.

But, yes, less furious entitled men of various shades and more complex, relatable shades of grey in our villains please and thankyou.

 

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Coffee Time News 24/02/15

Nicholas Cage to star in Snowden, Game of Thrones Bloopers and more GTA Online heist leaks.

Film

James Gunn, director of Guardians of the Galaxy, has responded the recent comments regarding the ‘tsunami’ of superhero movies, focussing on the thought that those who make big budget hero movies don’t put as much love into their work as smaller features.

Nicholas Cage will be reuniting with director Oliver Stone (who previously worked together on World Trade Centre) in the upcoming Edward Snowden film, Snowden which will also star Joseph Gordon Levitt.

Chris Pratt has addressed the Indiana Jones rumours that have been floating about, and has said that while it’d be cool, there’s nothing until there’s something, and that he’d want to do the iconic character justice, so the script would have to be right.

Television

More featurettes on the Red Hood Gang in Gotham, Jim Gordon talks about the introduction of masks and vigilantes in the world of Gotham.

House of Cards season 3 gets another trailer ahead of its release on Netflix this weekend,

Ahead of the release of season 5 in April, the bloopers for season 4 of Game of Thrones have surfaced, full of line calls and trip ups.

Games

This years Video Game Conference, which will be hosted next month will see the final iteration of the Steam controller, as well as an unannounced home VR hardware system.

A new trailer for Kirby and the Rainbow Curse is out, and sings the games praises all the while.

Another month, another heap of GTA Online heist rumours. This one comes in the form of leaked images and details. Check the list and images here.

Coffee Time News 09/02/15

Is there a Hunger Games Prequel on the way? Is there a Legend of Zelda live actions series on the way? Is there no spoon?!

Film

Guardians of the Galaxy 2 will be ‘taking risks’, according to Marvel and creator James Gunn. Apparently the sequel to last year’s runaway hit won’t be following any particular story already laid out in the comics. This shouldn’t come as a surprise to fans, since the original took some creative licence with certain characters. But in all honesty, if there’s one Marvel property that the general public won’t mind being altered slightly, especially if we get as good a product as the original, it’s Guardians of the Galaxy, since barely anyone knew about them before last summer.

Disney’s next big adaptation, Beauty and the Beast, which will star Emma Watson, may have found its Beast. Ryan Gosling has reportedly been approached to play the reclusive Beast, though with Gosling’s current trend of preferring smaller, independent films, (and turning down roles in Spiderman and the Ghostbusters) it could end up being a (hopeful) rumour.

Ah, when a franchise does well, it just keeps on cashing in doesn’t it? Apparently Lionsgate, the studio behind the incredibly financially successful Hunger Games series, is looking for developments and the possibility of a sequel or prequel to the series. Readers of the books will most likely lean towards a sequel, with the events leading to the first rebellion, lead by District 13 being a lot more interesting, than post book events. But with the risk of telling a story that everyone will have heard already.

Television

Agents of SHIELD returns on March the 3rd, and the newest trailer for the show focusses on the adage ‘what have they become’. After the events of the winter finale and the incident with Raina and Skye (Daisy) in the room with the Terragenesis process, the two characters have changed, for better or worse, and it’s also opened up the world of the Inhumans.

New images have appeared for the Sherlock Christmas Special. With a definite Victorian theme, there’s still a lot of conjecture about what exactly is happening. A dream? Hallucination? Flashback to the Victorian era? Who knows!

Well, this is news I was not expecting, and am still slightly dubious about: Netflix is working with Nintendo to create a live action Legend of Zelda series. It’s got no writer, no director and no cast, but it’s apparently in the works. Nintendo have a jaded history with screen adaptations of their work, (Oh, Super Mario Bros) and a wrong move on Netflix’s end could cause the company to back out. Nintendo are like a skittish dear. But the thought of a Zelda TV show is interesting to say the least: It’s got potential to be epic and huge, but they’d have to be really careful with such a beloved property.

Games

Turtle Rock’s Evolve is released tomorrow, and it comes with a hefty 3 GB patch to speed up load times when setting up matches, something I’m more than happy to download since nothing makes a multiplayer experience slower than bad load times, and lag, but that can’t be helped.

A while ago we reported on the Nintendo ‘creator’s program’, a way for Nintendo to monetise on the ever popular stream of Let’s Plays, while allowing the creators some section of the profits, while it’s been almost universally panned by big names in game play, it’s still popular, and Nintendo have said now that they can’t keep up with all the applications. Oops.

The DICE awards were last week, and one game ruled them all, Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor raked up 8 of its 9 nominations, while Dragon Age Inquisition took the ‘top prize’ of Game of the Year. Check out the whole list here.

Coffee Time News 22/12/14

Happy Holidays folks! Christmas is just a few days away and we’ll be taking a break from the news until new year, after this batch that is!

Film

James Gunn has reiterated that Guardians of the Galaxy isn’t just a lead up to the Avengers Infinity Wars, and that both the original and the sequel should be considered their own monsters. That being said he hasn’t denied the possibility of some of the Guardians meeting some of the Avengers.

Amy Pascal, who’s been in the news a lot recently, mostly because of all the information flowing from the Sony hack, has suggested Idris Elba as Daniel Craig’s successor for James Bond. The best part? Idris has said that he’d take the role if it was offered to him.

Though it’s a bit of a TV/Film crossover SNL have another great sketch, this time Doctor Evil is giving Sony and North Korea a bit of evil advice, and it’s hilarious.

Television

Clark Gregg (Agent Coulson, Agents of SHIELD) shared this image on his facebook page which is taken from the Secret Avengers  comic series. Now is this Gregg showing his love for the series, or is he teasing a possible appearence by Jeremy Renner’s Hawkeye.

The Daredevil series will be a crime drama first, superhero story second, which actually fits in nicely with the character’s approach to crime fighting, and the Defenders’ street level history.

Take a look here at the first designs for Arya Stark‘s costume for season 5 of Game of Thrones. The fifth season sees her in Braavos, where her grubby appearance might not go down that well.

Games

Microsoft is following the footsteps of Ubisoft and apologising for the… issues, with the Halo Master Chief collection and giving the spurned a free game, though unlike Ubisoft Halo players don’t get a choice, and it’s a remastered ODST, sans Firefight. Which is still cool, I mean, I really enjoyed ODST, and a free game is a free game.

Far Cry 4 is getting some Permadeath DLC. Which would be exciting if it didn’t seem to just be a bunch of time trials. So close.

The Sims 4 is getting a ‘game pack’ which isn’t quite an expansion pack, but not quite a ‘stuff pack’ (their words) set in the outdoors-y wilderness of Granite Falls, come January.

That’s it for this year’s Coffee Time News and we’ll see you again in January where you can get caught up on any news that surfaced over the holidays. A quick thank you for everyone who’s visited the site this year, it’s been a great first year here for the team, and here’s to another great one in 2015!

Coffee Time News 21/11/14

Film

Guardians of the Galaxy was a lot of fun, but you know what’s even more fun? These bloopers.

Ridley Scott has announced that Prometheus 2 will have a fresher kind of alien, which is to say the Xenomorph (and that abomination we saw in Prometheus) will be absent.

Pitch Perfect 2 has a trailer. Now, I’m unashamedly excited for this film, considering I’ve seen the originals far more times than I can count.

Television

Better Call Saul has a trailer now, as well as a release date and air time, February 8th will see the return of Breaking Bad’s lawyer, but whether it will live up to the explosive popularity of the original series is still be be decided.

Days after we reported that Luthor will be getting a US adaption, Idris Elba will be reprising his character in two specials next year, which will shoot in March.

The Flash is quickly becoming my favourite show on television, and the eighth episode of the season, as well as the eighth episode of its sister show Arrow will be a crossover between the two, and here’s some images from it.

Games

The intro cinematic for Destiny’s first DLC the Dark Below, which will see players taking on Crota, the Hive God, has been leaked and can be watched here.

The Cast of Telltale’s Game of Thrones game will be alien to most people who are invested in the show, as well as a little new to those who’ve read the books, but there’s a rundown here as well as the first trailer, which is proof that we’ll be playing with familiar characters as well as new.

Middle Earth Shadow of Mordor has seen another Skin released for free, this time it’s the female character Lithariel, who is the daughter of the queen of Nurn. Lithariel is introduced halfway through the story but the skin will be playable all through the game, though the cutscenes and cinematics won’t be effected.

Coffee Time News 17/11/14

Film

Ridley Scott’s definitive cut of Bladerunner will be coming to theatres in 2015, and we might get to see more of the world if the sequel he’s been working on sees the light of day.

Writers/directors Chris Miller and Phil Lord have announced that there will be more female main characters in The Lego Movie 2, as well as more female ‘stuff’ now this could be a reference to the original’s ending.

Star Lord’s parentage in Guardians of the Galaxy 2 will serve the plot and not just the twist, according to James Gunn he’s not aiming for a huge revelation for the character.

Television

Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD is finally coming to video streaming service Netflix, it’s a surprise it’s taken so long considering Marvel’s plan for Daredevil and the Defenders series.

Lucy Griffiths’ Liv character from the Constantine pilot was quickly written out, but there is a chance she could return in another capacity now that the writers have acknowledged their mistake.

Chris Pratt is keen to return to television, especially if it’s a chance to relive Star Lord in Agents of SHIELD.

Games

Sweden want to label games that promote gender equality, the Swedish trade body has been given a grant by the government to research ways to do so.

Far Cry 4 can be finished in a round about thirty minutes, if you decide to stay instead of go.

Telltale’s Game of Thrones has been stringent on the details since the announcement of their episodic adventure series, but it seems that some trailer images have been leaked.

Coffee Time News 03/11/14

After a long weekend Axby is back, and what better way to celebrate that than with some Coffee, some time and some news.

Film

To kick things off here’s the first trailer for Furious 7, showing off a new job and a big named cast.

Unsurprisingly, Tom Hiddleston’s Loki will be returning for Thor Ragnarok, but also for Avengers Infinity Wars, and a bit closer in Avengers Age of Ultron.

Guardians of the Galaxy has passed Maleficent in the Worldwide box office, and is now second only to Transformers Age of Extinction.

Television

In case you missed the reveal of the Ra’s Al Ghul of the TV show Arrow, here it is. Now, it’s not quite the same as a certain mr Neeson, but hopefully he’ll excel too.

Speaking of Arrow, in the next episode we get to see a little bit of an origin story for Felicity Smoak, which, after 2 seasons, is probably due. 

And while we’re speaking Promo images, here’s some for the next episode of the Flash.

Games

Due to a pretty severe case of Post Patch jitters, the PS4 audience of the Evolve Big Alpha has seen very little action, as such, the Alpha has been extended on all platforms until Tuesday.

Battlecry is a free to play class based shooter from Bethesda. You can check out the first few classes here as well as some pre alpha footage.

Want to play as one of the gaming world’s favourite villains in Borderlands the Pre Sequel? Tough. You can play as his clone though, Handsome Jack is available as a playable character in the next piece of the Presequel’s DLC.