Marvel

5 takeaways from second Spider-Man: Far From Home trailer - After Endgame, who is Mysterio, and can't fool MJ

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The Marvel Cinematic Universe keeps on rolling. Though one stage of Marvel’s superhero epic reached a conclusion of sorts with Avengers: Endgame, the overarching story continues with Peter Parker in Spider-Man: Far From Home. (Technically, Phase 3 of the MCU ends with this film, according to Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige.)

If there was any question of where Far From Home fits in the MCU timeline, the movie’s new trailer makes that clear. (I speculated on the latest Amusement Park Podcast that it must take place between Spider-Man: Homecoming and Avengers: Infinity War, but was obviously wrong.) So clear, in fact, that Tom Holland issues a spoiler warning before the preview begins. If you haven’t seen Endgame, don’t watch this trailer because it gives away a major development from that film, one you won’t want spoiled.

Highlights from Spider-Man: Far From Home trailer - Hey Nick Fury, there's Mysterio, and how many villains are in this?

So we’ll do our best to maintain that secrecy and make sure you go into Endgame fresh, able to enjoy its many surprises. It’s interesting that Marvel would go ahead with this when Endgame has only been in theaters for two weekends. But now we know why directors Joe and Anthony Russo declared that the spoiler ban would be over on Monday (May 6). There’s another movie to promote! And Marvel has about two months before Spider-Man: Far From Home hits theaters on July 2.

It’s been a while since we’ve broken down a trailer with some key takeaways. But it’s also been quite some time since a big trailer debuted to provide that opportunity. (Did we miss the boat on Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker? Maybe, but there wasn’t a whole lot to go on from that teaser.) This second look at Far From Home gives us a whole lot to chew on, so let’s dig in.

(Naturally, we’ll move past the first takeaway since it involves the major spoiler that Tom Holland warns viewers about from the start.)

Do superheroes get vacations?

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One perk of being a costumed crimefighter definitely isn’t paid vacation time. Most of them are too obsessed or dedicated to take time off. Bruce Wayne could take a vacation any time he wants, but Batman is always on watch. (Unless you count trips to the Middle East to take on Ra’s Al Ghul.) Tony Stark would probably take vacations, but he’s probably inventing two or three new Iron Man suits or creating new tech for the Avengers while on the beach with Pepper Potts.

Going on a trip that any high school student would covet, yet having his superhero duties eventually interfere with trying to enjoy himself and become closer with his classmates, is a classic Spider-Man conundrum. Peter Parker doesn’t get to be a regular high school kid. Something about great responsibility that comes with great power? Or Nick Fury stealthily barging into his hotel room…

Peter, meet Quentin

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In its recent summer movie preview, Entertainment Weekly ran a photo of an unmasked Peter Parker and Quentin Beck/Mysterio (Jake Gyllenhaal) shaking hands that raised many questions among fans. Why would Spider-Man and Mysterio be shaking hands and revealing their secret identities to each other? (This seems even more peculiar for Peter, who has so much more at stake.)

But the new trailer fills in some blanks, revealing that Beck appears to be working with S.H.I.E.L.D. (or whatever agency Nick Fury is in charge of now). But the bigger, more important revelation is that, according to Fury, Beck isn’t of this Earth. Or at least the familiar Earth on which Peter Parker and our favorite cast of characters resides. Thanos’s snap played havoc with whatever walls existed between dimensions, somehow bringing Beck to this Earth.

Is Far From Home opening the door to a multiverse in the Marvel Cinematic Universe? That path already seems to have been opened with the Quantum Realm in the Ant-Man movies and Endgame. Other galaxies and dimensions have been a big part of the MCU with the Thor, Guardians of the Galaxy and Captain Marvel films. Or is this something entirely new?

Who — or what — is Mysterio?

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After the first Far From Home trailer was released, I mentioned that Mysterio’s suit would fit right in on Asgard and his apparent powers resemble Doctor Strange’s. Maybe Beck is the Sorcerer Supreme of his alternate universe or something close to that? Could he be a demi-god of some kind? No need for Thor or Captain Marvel if someone of that power level is around to team up with Spider-Man.

If so, that’s a vast departure from the comic books, in which Beck is a failed stuntman and special effects whiz who uses his expertise and technology to fuel a life of crime. Spidey purists might take some issue with this, but Marvel’s movies have had no issue with veering away from the source material to best suit their stories. And those decisions almost always work out for the best.

Or is this all an elaborate scam — including classic Spidey villains Sandman, Molten Man and Hydro-Man — that Beck is playing on Fury and S.H.I.E.L.D.? That would be more faithful to the character. (Mysterio’s costume, with that distinctive helmet globe, sure is.)

Nothing gets past MJ

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The MCU is taking a much different, fresher angle on Spider-Man mythology. One of the best examples of that is “MJ,” Peter Parker’s love interest (played by Zendaya). The “MJ” isn’t for “Mary Jane,” leaving the door open for Mary Jane Watson if Marvel or Sony ever wants to go there in the future. This MJ is listed as “Michelle Jones” on IMDB and presumably in the film’s credits.

This MJ isn’t an aspiring model or actress, and she’s most certainly not interested in being defined as “the girlfriend” in this narrative or being appreciated solely for her looks. She’s smart, on par with Peter, which makes her amusingly intimidating. She’s also no fool, as revealed in this trailer, when she tells Peter that she knows he’s Spider-Man.

As she points out, wouldn’t it be kind of obvious? In Homecoming, Spider-Man appears in Washington, D.C. when Peter and his classmates are there on a field trip. In Far From Home, Spidey’s friendly neighborhood extends to London while the class is there again. And where is Peter when Spider-Man appears anyway?

Adapting classic comic book stories and narratives into movies often forces a postmodern take on these tales. That sometimes requires pointing out some obvious flaws which end up hurting characters. How could Lois Lane not know Clark Kent is Superman? (Man of Steel took care of that nicely by avoiding the issue entirely.) And how could at least one of Peter’s classmates not figure out that he is Spider-Man? Where Marvel goes with this in future Spidey films, presuming there’s at least one more, could be intriguing.

More Happy Hogan, please

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We don’t ask much from Marvel because they already do such an excellent job of giving us what we want and what we didn’t realize we wanted. But with Disney+ on the way and several Marvel limited TV series soon to come — including shows featuring Loki, Wanda and Vision, and The Falcon and Winter Soldier — how about providing us with the Happy Hogan series that we all want?

(OK, I shouldn’t speak for everyone. Maybe you don’t want a Happy Hogan TV show. But c’mon, think about it. Don’t you really?)

Will Happy get to visit Downton Abbey when he’s in London? We know from Iron Man 3 that he’s a big fan. Sure, this is a Spider-Man movie, but at least give the big guy his moment this time around. He works with Spider-Man, not for Spider-Man, after all.

He’s been a quietly underrated character in the Iron Man movies, upgraded to a more comedic supporting role in the Spider-Man films, and — without giving away spoilers — he also has one of the most touching moments in Avengers: Endgame. He’s the liaison between Tony Stark and Peter Parker, essentially being the surrogate mentor that Tony can’t or doesn’t want to be. He’s slightly miffed at having to be a babysitter because he really wants to be in charge of this high school kid. And we know he has delusions of being a bit more important than he really is.

Jon Favreau is busy with his own Disney+ project, overseeing the Star Wars Mandalorian series for the fledgling streaming provider. And he’s a man in demand, directing big blockbusters like The Jungle Book and The Lion King. But maybe when he’s done with those obligations, there could be some time to give Happy (and Favreau the actor) the showcase that he’s always deserved.

Highlights from final Avengers: Endgame trailer - Blasts from the past, new haircuts, Quantum suits, and Captain Marvel

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Surprise, surprise, surprise! Should we have expected a final trailer for Avengers: Endgame six weeks before the Marvel superhero epic hits theaters? Three trailers is usually the standard, and we’ve already seen one teaser and a Super Bowl ad, so maybe a third look at Endgame was inevitable.

It’s also possible that Marvel wanted to bounce off the Captain Marvel springboard and remind everyone — if anyone wasn’t actually aware — that far bigger things are on the way in the world of the Avengers and the newest hero we were just introduced to plays a role in that story.

Like with the previous teasers for Endgame, there’s a dark, somber tone here. Our heroes have been defeated and the bad guy won. Is a comeback and retaliation possible? If Captain Marvel taught us anything, it’s that the hero’s journey is often getting up after being knocked down. We don’t know who’s making it out of this story alive, and some of our favorite characters likely won’t, but they’re not going down without a fight. (And it looks like there’s a big one on some devastated, fiery landscape.)

Interestingly, we don’t see Thanos at all here. But we know he’s the reason for all of this. Maybe that does raise the question as to whether or not another threat is at hand. Can there really be a bigger adversary than Thanos? (And for that matter, where are the Guardians of the Galaxy other than Rocket and Nebula? Did their role in Endgame change when James Gunn was fired from GotG, Vol. 3?)

As we like to do for big trailers (especially for superhero movies), here are some takeaways from this final preview of Avengers: Endgame before we’re served the whole enchilada:

These Guys Have Come a Long Way

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The first thing we see in the trailer is Tony Stark in the Afghanistan desert, the remains of his Mark I Iron Man suit scattered across the sand after he escaped from The Ten Rings. Now he’s broadcasting (or recording) a message to Pepper Potts across galaxies with his Mark L helmet.

Then we’re taken back to skinny Steve Rogers in 1942, yearning to join the Army and fight in World War II but deemed too frail for battle. Nearly 80 years later, he’s the quintessential superhero, leading a group of heroes — all of which are more powerful than he is — into the ultimate battle.

Later, we’re reminded of how much Thor’s world has changed. Once the heir to the throne of Asgard and an admiring son to Odin, Thor has lost virtually everything. Asgard is gone. Odin appears to be dead. Mjolnir has been destroyed. And his hair is much shorter.

How often have we seen characters develop and evolve across a multi-film arc of stories like this?

What’s Happened to Hawkeye?

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Hawkeye was curiously missing from Avengers: Infinity War, presumably retired after the events of Captain America: Civil War, which left him jailed and away from his family. We saw a glimpse of him in the first Endgame trailer, sporting a sword and new costume in what’s likely the Ronin identity he assumed in the comic books.

The scene of Clint Barton tutoring his daughter in archery is an allusion to the family he lost when Thanos eliminated half the universe. With his family gone, he’s apparently become something else — something Black Widow is visibly upset to see. Judging from the shot of him shooting arrows again later in the trailer, he becomes Hawkeye (with a mohawk) again. Will he get his family — or his hair — back?

Black Widow Goes Back to Red

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OK, it’s probably sexist to highlight Black Widow’s hair, and not anyone else’s appearance. (Although Thor’s haircut was noted earlier in this post.) But what is going on there? Natasha Romanoff has gone through several hairstyles throughout the Avengers and Captain America films.

When we last saw her, she’d gone platinum blonde with shorter hair. Now we see her apparently growing her hair back out, likely an indication that a significant chunk of time had passed. (Hey, Steve Rogers shaved his beard off too.) Maybe Natasha has become Bonnie Raitt in the post-Thanos world.

Off to the Quantum Realm?

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Ever since the release of Ant-Man in 2015, fans have speculated as to what role the Quantum Realm will play in the larger Marvel Cinematic Universe. I was wrong to guess that it would tie in with Doctor Strange. Many others thought there might be a connection to Captain Marvel.

However, the Quantum Realm almost certainly plays a role in Endgame. We know Scott Lang was trapped there at the end of Ant-Man and the Wasp, but he’s returned home based on his presence in the Endgame trailers. But how did he get back and what may he have found there — even unwittingly — that might help the Avengers defeat Thanos?

The merchandising for Endgame revealed the new suits that the Avengers would wear in the movie. (Unless the new looks were simply a means to sell toys.) Even the Hulk — who might be digitally hidden here — wears one in some of the marketing that’s been revealed. Is there a practical reason for the suits, such as surviving in the Quantum Realm? Based on set photos, it also appears that a time-travel element is part of this story. Does that happen through the Quantum Realm?

Another notable glimpse: Tony Stark and Nebula are with the gang here, so either they were rescued from space or made it back to Earth on their own somehow.

There She Is, Captain Marvel

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We’ll try to avoid spoilers if you still haven’t seen Captain Marvel (although we’d love for you to listen to our special episode on the movie or check out my written review), but the movie serves as both an introduction to Carol Danvers and something of a prequel to Avengers: Endgame. Of course, the timing of Captain Marvel’s release isn’t a coincidence. Marvel’s newest hero is part of the Endgame storyline and possibly the key to the Avengers defeating Thanos.

So it’s really not a spoiler to say that Danvers eventually meets up with the Avengers. After all, we saw Nick Fury’s signal go out to her at the end of Infinity War. What we know now is that Carol got the signal and is ready to join the fight. But the Avengers have no idea who she is and Fury isn’t around to vouch for her. The same goes for Carol; she doesn’t know these people and the world has obviously changed very much in her 24 years away from Earth.

Thor tries to test her by whizzing Stormbreaker past her head, and Carol doesn’t flinch. That’s apparently enough to impress the god of thunder. Those who think Carol (or Brie Larson) doesn’t show enough emotion in her portrayal miss the point that she acts this way for a reason. She’s been doubted and tested by men throughout her life. Plus, she thinks — knows — she could take Thor in a fight if she had to.

As fun as Captain Marvel was, it’s going to be exciting to see her interact with the Avengers.

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[UPDATE: Many discerning fans noticed that Danai Gurira’s name was not listed above the credits on the poster, despite her character Okoye, being one of the heroes featured. Marvel has since changed that.]

This is a good final trailer to whet the appetite for the big meal coming in six weeks. Just enough new goodies were revealed to add a little bit more understanding of the story and generate excitement for what figures to be the movie event of the year. (OK, Star Wars: Episode IX will take issue with that.)

But really, enough with the trailers. We’re ready to see this thing, right? We’ve waited not-so-patiently for the past year and, just like Steve Rogers, aren’t quite ready to move on.

Avengers: Endgame — and its rumored three-hour runtime — surges into theaters April 26.

Captain Marvel takes a while to click, but eventually comes together for a payoff

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Carol Danvers has been a C-list character in Marvel Comics for most of her 50-year history. Only within the past seven years has she held the mantle of Captain Marvel that sells her as a pretty big addition to the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Danvers has a convoluted comic book history, one that surely made her difficult to distill into something simpler for a movie. Yet like Tony Stark before her, the lack of a signature storyline made Danvers a blank slate for Marvel Studios and the five writers (including Guardians of the Galaxy's Nicole Perlman and Inside Out's Meg LaFauve) who took a crack at Captain Marvel's story.

A comic book overhaul in 2012 by writer Kelly Sue DeConnick (who appropriately has a quick cameo in the movie) made Danvers a tougher, more accessible character fueled by all of the doubts and obstacles encountered throughout her life. That perseverance is what pushed her into becoming an elite fighter pilot and gave her the edge to stand as an equal with Captain America, Iron Man, and the other Avengers.

Read the full review here

Marvel's mutants don't have a merry movie outlook in the near-future

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What started out as a promising twist on the superhero movie and a potentially clever mix of genres looks like it’s turning into a debacle that 20th Century might prefer to ignore and bury.

During the TCA (Television Critics Association) press tour this week, producer Lauren Shuler-Donner — a longtime producer and shepherd of the X-Men movie series — talked about the franchise moving over to Marvel Studios with the Disney-Fox corporate merger. In the process, she addressed where the merger left the remaining X-Men related projects that Fox is still releasing or was developing.

One of those films is The New Mutants, following a teenage group of mutants learning to develop their abilities. The movie, conceived as a mash-up of horror and superhero elements, was originally supposed to be released last April. (April 13, to be exact.) But concerns about the film’s story and tone resulted in reshoots and the release date being pushed back to Feb. 22, 2019. Continuing creative uncertainty, namely an effort to make the movie scarier, punted the project even further down the calendar to Aug. 2.

Famed New Mutants artist Bill Sienkiewicz confirmed the renewed delays in an interview, according to Bleeding Cool.

Among the changes rumored to be made in reshoots was the introduction of a villain in a post-credits scene. Reportedly, Jon Hamm had originally been cast to play famed X-Men villain Mr. Sinister, but the studio decided to use a different bad guy with Antonio Banderas in the role. There have also been rumblings that a new character, Warlock, had been added to the main story. As a techno-organic alien that can change shape, adding Warlock would surely require a heavy use of digital effects, depending on how he’s used in the script.

All of this has left the movie in a messy, uncertain state, though director Josh Boone is reportedly still working on post-production before he begins work on adapting Stephen King’s The Stand for a CBS All Access series, which he is co-writing, co-producing and directing.

But is The New Mutants such a mess that Fox might nix its theatrical release and try to salvage whatever it can by selling the movie to a streaming provider? Apparently, there have been rumors that Fox might be talking to Hulu about taking the film. Shuler-Donner addressed this while talking to the press at TCA.

“They worked hard on it,” said Shuler Donner about the film’s production team, “I want to see it released (theatrically), I’d hate to see it thrown at Hulu.”

That quote comes from Deadline’s Nellie Andreeva, who also reports that a decision like moving a theatrical release to streaming won’t be made until the Disney-Fox merger becomes official. If The New Mutants gets pushed to Hulu, the good news is that fans would get to see it. Of course, that also means the movie didn’t go to theaters and almost certainly wouldn’t get a sequel. What may have began as a bold attempt to stand out could turn out to be an ambitious failure.

Another X-movie that we might not see at all is Gambit, which Channing Tatum still wants to make and had hopes of co-directing with his creative partner Reid Carolin. But the Disney-Fox merger has put a hold on any development there. Several directors have been attached to the project over the years, including Rupert Wyatt, Doug Liman and Gore Verbinski, only to eventually drop out. According to The Playlist, Tatum and Carolin tried to get their Magic Mike and Logan Lucky director, Steven Soderbergh, on board, but he has no interest in doing a superhero movie. (That’s unfortunate; a Soderbergh take on superheroes would be a must-see.)

Addtionally, Shuler-Donner acknowledged the inevitability that Wolverine will eventually be recast if and when Marvel decides to its own X-Men movies. It could be quite some time before Marvel gets around to the X-Men. If Dark Phoenix and The New Mutants are disasters, the studio will likely want to give audiences time to forget and regain an appetite for those characters.

In the meantime, movie sites can generate content by guessing who could take over for Hugh Jackman as Wolverine. (I’d start a list with Tom Hardy and Taylor Kitsch, but maybe that’s something we can discuss on the podcast sometime soon.)

Highlights from Spider-Man: Far From Home trailer - Hey Nick Fury, there's Mysterio, and how many villains are in this?

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According to rumors, we were supposed to get a trailer for Spider-Man: Far From Home in the first week of December, during CCXP in Brazil and shortly after the Avengers: Endgame trailer debuted. That obviously didn’t happen, either because Marvel preferred not to flood the zone with two big trailers in one weekend or because Marvel and Sony didn’t want to draw attention away from Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse by promoting their live-action friendly neighborhood wall-crawler.

But it’s been approximately six weeks now, which is a good distance from those other blockbusters. And Spider-Verse reminded us how special a character Spider-Man is (in several dimensions), presumably increasing anticipation for Tom Holland’s next swing as Peter Parker.

The wait is over! With no advance hype or tease the night before (tactics used for the Captain Marvel previews), Sony and Marvel sprung the first trailer for Far From Home online Tuesday morning.

Good timing, amidst a kind of slow period in comic book and comic book movie culture. The Spider-Man: Far From Home trailer gets the spotlight to itself and with little going on, we’ll all surely examine every second of this nearly three-minute preview.

As we like to do for big trailers (especially for superhero movies), here are some takeaways from this first look at the next Spider-Man big-screen adventure:

Aunt May is cool with Spider-Man

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Spider-Man: Homecoming ended with the surprising and hilarious moment of Peter Parker’s Aunt May (Marisa Tomei) discovering that her nephew was Spider-Man. May’s “What the f—-?” was quickly cut off by the credits, leaving us to wonder where this left the relationship between Peter and May and how this might affect future superheroing.

Based on the opening moments of this trailer, May is fine with Peter risking his life as a costumed superhero. Maybe that’s because she’s figured out how to use Spider-Man’s stardom to help the local community. He really is “Your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man.”

Also looking to be friendly is Happy Hogan (Jon Favreau), who’s taken a liking to Peter’s extremely attractive aunt. (He’s also apparently very aware of her wardrobe choices.) Happy and Aunt May aren’t a thing in the comic books (he ends up with Pepper Potts), but this is a good example of how the movies can create a fresh take on familiar characters and storylines. Will we get a Happy-Aunt May date?

Peter wants a break from Spider-Man

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To me, one of the strengths of Christopher Nolan’s Batman movies was exploring the idea that Bruce Wayne eventually wanted to give up crime-fighting. Who would want to continue that sort of life forever? Obviously, Peter Parker’s situation is very different, but it’s not at all difficult to believe that a high school kid would want to get away from anything that feels like a burden.

So when Peter has an opportunity for a European vacation, albeit a school trip with his classmates and friends (more Ned, please!), he wants to leave Spider-Man behind. Make it a real vacation! Get to know Mary Jane better! He can’t be Spidey if the suit is back in Queens, right? Right?

Nick Fury is watching

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Silly Peter! Superheroes don’t get a vacation. Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) hasn’t gotten to know this kid who was invited by Tony Stark to join the Avengers and gifted some high-tech Spidey gear. (Fury shadowing Peter also introduces a dynamic that was a key part of the Ultimate Spider-Man comics and animated series.)

If there’s a threat that Fury wants to take down in London, it’s curious as to why he didn’t utilize Captain America or Iron Man for the job. But this is probably a good time to mention that Far From Home takes place after Avengers: Endgame and we don’t know where that epic leaves those heroes.

For the purposes of this story, however, maybe Fury sees this as an opportunity to see what young Peter Parker is capable of while performing whatever task is needed. He’s the one who probably hooks Spidey up with his new suits (including the all-black stealth costume), as well.

Whoa, is that Sandman?

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Sandman is one of Spider-Man’s classic villains from the earliest Marvel Comics adventures. He did appear in Spider-Man 3 (played by Thomas Haden Church), but was pushed aside once Venom hijacked the story. It sure looks like Fury and Maria Hill (Cobie Smulders) are taking on a new version of Sandman in the trailer, but he’s almost certainly not a big part of the story.

However, it does appear that Sandman is one of three Spidey villains that show up in this film, along with Molten Man and the already rumored Hydro-Man. This is a clever way to work more of Spider-Man’s rogues gallery into these movies (unless you’re disappointed over Sandman not getting his own story), but the appearance of these characters leads to a question regarding the main villain of the piece.

Hello, Mysterio!

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We knew that Jake Gyllenhaal signed on as a villain in the next Spider-Man movie and set photos confirmed that he was playing Mysterio (cheekily referenced by the actor himself on Instagram), another of Spider-Man’s celebrated adversaries. But in arguably the best reveal of the Far From Home trailer, we get our first look at Gyllenhaal as the master illusionist.

With a costume that resembles a warrior from Asgard (and powers like Doctor Strange’s), Mysterio is presumably trying to portray himself as a hero to the masses. (And Peter’s classmates are intrigued, except for bully Flash Thompson.) What’s his motivation? Well, if the script follows comic book storylines, Mysterio (aka Quentin Beck) is a special effects master and stuntman who struck out in Hollywood.

Does he create illusions of Sandman, Molten Man and Hydro-Man to make it appear as if he’s a hero saving the day? It sure looks that way. But maybe it’s more than that, and Beck registered on Fury’s radar somehow with a bigger crime in mind.

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Overall, this is a fun trailer that rewards fans who have been waiting for months to see new Spider-Man action. It’s not a teaser that reveals very little, taking time to explain the story points. Yet it also doesn’t reveal too much, leaving enough questions that will intrigue the audience and invite speculation for months to come.

Where’s Tony Stark? Will there be any repercussions from what happens in Avengers: Endgame? (Obviously, Peter, Fury and Hill all survived — or were brought back from — the events of Infinity War.) What is Mysterio’s deal? Will Peter and Mary Jane start going out? Or Happy and Aunt May? What other new toys will Spidey get to play with?

UPDATE: An international version of the trailer was also released, which includes entirely different footage in the opening 30 seconds. Looks Like Peter didn’t leave the Spidey suit back in Queens, after all. (Hat tip, Slashfilm)

Spider-Man: Far From Home swings into theaters on July 5.

Highlights from the new Captain Marvel trailer: Noble warrior heroes, blue blood and alien kitties

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Kicking off a big week for Marvel, the second trailer for Captain Marvel debuted during halftime of Monday Night Football. (The long-awaited first look at “Avengers” 4 is expected to debut Wednesday morning during Good Morning America.) ESPN was likely grateful for some corporate synergy to draw viewers to the broadcast who probably weren’t interested in watching the Eagles play the Redskins.

It’s often interesting to compare the first and second trailers for a blockbuster movie marketing campaign, and see what the intention is toward the audience. As we saw back in September, the first Captain Marvel trailer was more of an introduction to Carol Danvers (Brie Larson) and her abilities, emphasizing showy points like the story taking place in the 1990s and younger versions of characters like Nick Fury and Phil Coulson.

With the intro now out of the way, this latest trailer focuses more on the story. The Skrulls and Kree are alien races at war, and the conflict has made its way to Earth.

With rumors of trailers for Avengers 4 and Spider-Man: Far From Home (along with Shazam! or Godzilla vs. Kong from the non-Marvel realm), there’s the possibility that Captain Marvel’s new preview gets quickly overshadowed. But probably not, with the goodies that this trailer includes and the likelihood that it will be attached to some blockbusters during the holidays like Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse and Mary Poppins Returns. (Probably Aquaman, too.)

For now, however, Captain Marvel has the spotlight to herself. Here are some takeaways from our latest look at Marvel’s newest star:

That’s why Captain Marvel hit that old lady

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For many viewers, one of the shocking moments from the first Captain Marvel trailer was seeing our hero belt a kindly old woman on a train. Who would punch an old woman? What kind of hero does that? But most Marvel Comics fans guessed that the civilian was a Skrull in disguise. And what better way to demonstrate their shape-shifting abilities than to take the form of a seemingly harmless elderly woman?

This time, we see the follow-up. That old lady isn’t harmless, providing the entertaining visual (with guttural growl) of her springing out of her seat to drop-kick Captain Marvel in the chest and cartwheel down the corridor. For the sake of public perception, let’s hope that the Skrull reverts to its true form after Danvers knocks her out. Otherwise, the Kree might have a public relations issue with the other passengers on that train. (Not that she’d care…)

Hey, it’s Annette Bening!

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One of the fun things about Marvel movies is to see actors not typically associated with blockbuster films (Glenn Close, Robert Redford, etc.) get to play a role. Annette Bening joins that group, though we don’t know exactly what part she’s playing in Captain Marvel.

While it might be fun to see her fulfill an older mentor type of role, like Liam Neeson did in Batman Begins and Star Wars: Episode I, the assumption is that Jude Law’s character will provide guidance for Carol Danvers. Based on what we hear from Bening in this trailer (“we made you one of us”), she has more to do with programming Danvers into a soldier for the Kree, changing her physiology (which includes blue blood), and so forth.

There’s a Skrull!

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We got a brief glimpse of Marvel’s legendary shape-shifting alien invaders in the first Captain Marvel trailer, but get a much closer look here. Additionally, we get some dialogue from Ben Mendelsohn’s Talos, who will hopefully be a villain on par with Orson Krennic from Rogue One. (Mendelsohn also played something of a bad guy for directors Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck in 2015’s Mississippi Grind.)

The Skrulls have been long overdue to appear in a Marvel movie. At one point, it was believed that the rights to the Skrulls belonged to Fox as part of the Fantastic Four’s package of characters and that’s why they didn’t appear in The Avengers. But the rights are obviously shared between studios, like Quicksilver was between the Avengers and X-Men films. (Such rights issues will be a moot point with the Disney-Fox merger.)

With their ability to take the form of any person, it’s expected that the Skrulls could become a major player in the studio’s next phase of films. Could some of our favorite heroes end up being an alien menace in disguise in future Marvel films? That could be fun and upsetting.

She has the power!

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Marvel Studios head Kevin Feige has said that Captain Marvel is the most powerful hero in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Those familiar with the character from the comic books nod knowingly and approvingly. But that might be a tougher sell to fans who think Carol Danvers couldn’t possibly be more powerful than Iron Man or the Hulk. Or what about Thanos?

Obviously, we’ve yet to see on screen just how powerful Captain Marvel can be. This movie and Avengers 4 will surely take significant steps to establish how powerful she is. (Will she be the key to defeating Thanos, for instance?)

But the trailer provides a hint of that in its climactic moment with Danvers saying that she’s going to end the war between the Skrulls and Kree. We then see her surge with power, fly above the Earth and destroy spaceships with energy fired from her hands. (Oh, and she’s doing so wearing that cool battle helmet — designed by Jamie McKelvie for the comics — which forms her hair into a mohawk. We haven’t seen Thor or Iron Man do that. Stand back.

That’s no kitty, nick fury

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Based on this trailer, one of the highlights of the movie promises to be the banter between Carol Danvers and a younger, pre-eye patch Nick Fury. This is literally a side of Fury we haven’t seen before. He has both of his eyes, a full head of hair, and isn’t the sardonic badass we’ve come to know in the Marvel films.

Fury also apparently has a soft spot for cats. But the little kitty with which the future director of S.H.I.E.L.D. is so smitten — who also lurks in the shadows of the first Captain Marvel poster — isn’t a terrestrial feline. No, sir. That’s an alien lifeform.

The cat is a relatively recent addition to the Captain Marvel mythology, which has been built up over the past 10 to 15 years as her role has become more important in the Marvel Comics universe. Named Goose, surely as a nod to Danvers’ pilot days (the cat is called Chewie in the comics), the pet is actually a Flerkin. Flerkins resemble cats, much like Rocket Raccoon looks like a terrestrial raccoon.

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Rocket and Goose (Chewie) have actually butted heads in the comics, so maybe that gives us something to look forward to in Avengers 4. In the meantime, it’s probably a good idea for Fury to be sweet to that little beast. Otherwise, he might reveal those fanged tendrils that reside deep in his mouth.

There’s an air of mystery to Captain Marvel

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Fortunately, this second trailer doesn’t reveal everything. There’s even a hint at a mystery that Danvers (and Fury) are likely trying to solve throughout the story.

“Something in my past is the key to all of this,” Danvers says to Fury. What exactly brought Danvers back to Earth? Was it simply her role in the Kree-Skrull War? Or is there more to it? Why was Danvers taken by the Kree in the first place? Was she in the wrong place at the wrong time, becoming an unwitting participant in an intergalactic battle? Was there something different about her from the very beginning?

We’ll get to see Captain Marvel in theaters on March 8, 2019.

Don't worry: Stan Lee already filmed his cameo for Avengers 4

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Plenty of thoughts and memories surged in our minds (and emotions in our hearts) upon hearing the news that Stan Lee passed away at the age of 95. But how many of you soon wondered whether or not Lee had filmed a cameo for Avengers 4, currently scheduled for a May 3, 2019 release?

Not to worry, True Believers. As noted by HitFix, Lee had already finished filming his appearance in the film, which shouldn’t be a surprise to those following every development concerning Avengers 4 closely. Principal photography, including reshoots, wrapped in October.

Here’s the Lee cameo from Avengers: Infinity War.

But directors Joe and Anthony Russo actually filmed Lee’s cameo while making Avengers: Infinity War, getting through his appearances in various movies in one day so he didn’t have to fly back and forth at his age.

Joe Russo explained the process in an April BBC Radio interview, via ComicBook.com:

“So, Stan, typically we try to get him out — he doesn't love to fly — so we try to get him out for his cameos around the same time. So if we have other movies shooting on the same lot that we're on, for instance Ant-Man [and the Wasp] or Avengers 4, we group his cameos together and then move him from one set to the next and get him through his cameos in one day.”

So we can guess that Lee filmed at least three cameos (including Ant-Man and the Wasp, embedded below). Maybe four, presuming that Captain Marvel was filming around the same time.

No word on what Lee’s cameo will be in Avengers 4, but why would you want to know that now anyway? The fun with those appearances is when and where they unexpectedly pop up. Sometimes, Lee plays bystander characters. Other times, he’s a part of the story. But the cameos are almost always fun.

Plenty of enterprising video bloggers have assembled collections of Lee’s many cameo appearances in Marvel movies. Picking one favorite would be difficult. For pure laughs, I’d choose Tony Stark mistaking Lee (or someone who looks just like him) for Hugh Hefner in Iron Man.

He was actually a part of the story in The Incredible Hulk, drinking tainted soda that allowed the government to find Bruce Banner.

But personally, I like Lee’s appearance as the Fantastic Four’s mailman, Willie Lumpkin, because he’s playing an actual Marvel character he helped create.

How about you? What are your favorite Stan Lee cameo appearances?

Stan Lee left behind a legacy unlike any other

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What was the difference between Marvel and DC comics through most of their respective existences? DC's heroes are arguably more iconic, especially the trinity of Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman. But Lee's superheroes were so much more human than DC's.

Peter Parker had to worry about homework, girls at school, and helping his Aunt May with money. The Fantastic Four sometimes couldn't pay rent for their space atop the Baxter Building. Bruce Banner constantly lived in fear that the monster inside him would destroy everything he held dear. Thor had to live in the body of a cripple on Earth to teach him humility.

Stan Lee reached out and bonded with the fans, referring to them as "True Believers" and signing off with "Excelsior!" like we were all members of a club.

— Read the full post here —

6 takeaways from the first Captain Marvel trailer: It’s the 90s, she’s from space, and everybody’s younger

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All we needed was a little patience. When Brie Larson and Entertainment Weekly promised to “break the internet" with a big announcement and followed that up with a reveal of an EW cover with 10 photos from the upcoming Captain Marvel film, some fans were a little bit disappointed that we weren’t getting a trailer.

(Put Chris Cox in that group, as we discussed in Episode 4 of the Amusement Park Podcast.)

We just needed to wait about two weeks.

Taking the same path that Marvel typically follows with their movie releases, the studio built anticipation with the EW story before setting its other machinery in motion. With Disney owning ABC, the Captain Marvel trailer was sure to debut on either Good Morning America or Jimmy Kimmel Live.

GMA got the nod, as announced Monday evening.

And ABC’s morning show had an event set up for the trailer’s debut, having Ginger Zee with Brie Larson at Washington D.C.’s National Air and Space Museum, along with a few dozen STEM students. (Hopefully, my little niece was watching. She’s already a great dancer, but get into science, kid!)

Now that we’ve finally gotten a look at Captain Marvel in action, here are some takeaways from the two-minute introduction to Marvel’s first headlining female superhero.

Remember, it’s the 1990s

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The trailer makes it clear right away that the story takes place in the 1990s with Carol Danvers (Larson) crashing through the roof of a Blockbuster Video. Nice nod to the past.

Would it have been too on point to see surveillance video of Danvers crashing through the ceiling, as we’ve seen recently with burglars in convenience stores? Probably.

Shortly thereafter, we get a Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) voiceover explaining that this visitor is a renegade soldier. Is Danvers fleeing the Kree Starforce to which she belongs? That sets up a flurry of story possibilities while possibly establishing the driving plot of the movie.

Captain Marvel goes “Pew Pew!” with her hands!

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Fans of Marvel Comics know what abilities Captain Marvel has. (Super-strength and speed, flight, invulnerability, photon blasts, etc.) But regular moviegoers who don’t know that stuff get a glimpse of the character’s powers with the Captain shooting energy blasts from her hands at an off-screen adversary.

At the very end of the trailer, we see Captain Marvel loading up with plenty of power, presumably ready to be unleashed on a bad guy.

Flashbacks are a big part of the story

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We’ve been told Captain Marvel won’t be an origin story. At least not in a traditional, linear sense, as the trailer demonstrates. “It’s hard to explain,” says Danvers to (a much younger) Nick Fury.

Danvers will experience plenty of flashbacks as her memories come back upon her return to Earth, which will provide us background information on the character, such as her childhood and military experience. Surely, that’s how we’ll find out how Danvers gets her superhuman abilities (which, if the movie follows the comic books, will come from alien DNA).

Oh, that’s why she has no memories

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Were Carol Danvers’ memories erased — or repressed — as part of her programming upon joining the Kree? Maybe discovering that her brain was being tampered with is what compels her to flee from the Kree and return to Earth.

Having her memories hidden would give her something in common with the Winter Soldier. If those memories haven’t been restored in current time, maybe she’ll eventually have to go to Wakanda and have Shuri fix that, just like Bucky did.

Captain Marvel just hit an old lady!

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One of the biggest surprises or most shocking moments of the trailer comes when Danvers (who doesn’t yet appear to be Captain Marvel, judging by the teal color of her uniform) punches an old woman on the subway. That’s not very superheroic!

But the villains of the story are the Skrulls (of which we get a very brief glimpse in this trailer), and comic book fans know that their primary ability is to change their shape and disguise themselves as another life form. So that old lady is probably a Skrull. Let’s hope she is, anyway. Otherwise, Danvers has some explaining to do. Not even Drax would do that. man.

Agent Coulson has hair!

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Again, this story takes place at least 20 years ago, presuming that the current Marvel Cinematic Universe is happening in modern times. That gives Marvel an opportunity to present much younger versions of familiar characters.

We see Nick Fury (with two good eyes) earlier in the trailer, and also get a glimpse of young Phil Coulson (Clark Gregg). And since he’s younger, he also has a full head of hair. (Gregg must’ve loved that special effects benefit.)

As mentioned on the podcast, someday we’ll have to rank all of the de-aged Marvel characters we’ve seen on screen, such as Michael Douglas’s Henry Pym, Kurt Russell’s Ego, Robert Downey Jr.’s Tony Stark. Michelle Pfeiffer’s Janet Van Dyne, and Fury and Coulson (or “Son of Coul,” as Thor once called him).

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This first trailer is very much a teaser, not revealing very much. That’s to be expected. Captain Marvel has to be introduced to a wider audience. Plenty of devoted comic book fans might not be entirely familiar with her (I know I’m not) because for most of her Marvel Comics existence, she’s been a C-List character.

(Even Iron Man and Thor were B-List, ranking below the A-List properties Marvel Studios didn’t have, such as Spider-Man, the Fantastic Four and X-Men.)

Subsequent trailers and promotional appearances will fill in more blanks and explain more of the story in the months to come. (Hopefully, without too many spoilers.) Marvel doesn’t typically spoil too much, though may feel the need to if the potential audience still isn’t sure what they’re getting. But that wasn’t necessary with Guardians of the Galaxy and it surely won’t be needed here.

Captain Marvel flies into theaters on March 8, 2019.