Spring movie season in full swing
Superheroes and tentpole cinematic extravaganzas descend upon us as warm weather shoves frosty down memory lane. Although “Captain America Winter Soldier ” will kick off a marvelous summer, moviegoers should add another title to their possible “must-see” list – Disney’s “Maleficent. “
Cresting on its box office blizzard, “Frozen,” which would not let go of the Top Ten for 17 weeks, Disney cast Angelina Jolie as the voice for the most despised villain of fairy tales, “Maleficent,” whose poison spindle places Princess Aurora (“Sleeping Beauty”) into a coma awaiting true love’s kiss. The winged Maleficent has not had her story previously told, just the arch hatred and villainy of her character.
Similar to the story of “Frozen’s” Elsa, who possessed a kind heart that prompted her isolation to prevent her wintery powers from harming her sister and the kingdom, Maleficent has a darkly tragic back story, too, that alters her from good- mindedness to a frigid heart spewing curses and hate.
Whether or not memorable characters, hummable chart topping music and adult appeal strike twice for Disney would be an incredible accomplishment, especially if word of mouth and repeat business redirects lots of “likes,” “tweets” and buzz. But, “Frozen” came within $10 million dollars of usurping “Iron Man III” for second place in 2013 behind “Hunger Games: Catching Fire.”
Neither “Captain America: The Winter Soldier,” due April 4, or “Amazing Spider-Man II,” due May 2, will do battle directly with the evil “Maleficent” (due May 31) – unlike a pending release date controversy that in 2016 would propel “Batman and Superman” into cinemas on the same release day as the third Spidey sequel.
THE FALCON JOINS CAPTAIN AMERICA (April 4)
MU Thundering Herd fanatics and Marvel Universe fans have a prominent connection to the “Captain America” sequel in which Anthony Mackie joins the cast as The Falcon. Mackie starred as Nate Ruffin in “We Are Marshall.” His Falcon character was one of the first published African American superheroes, although Black Panther had a longer comic publishing history.
Ironically, The Falcon gained powers of flight and telepathy following a plane crash. Before the transformation, he had been a dude from Harlem turned drug dealer.
Mackie himself a “baseball kid,” not a nerd, did remember that his character’s alter ego, Sam Wilson, has a 6’3,” 245-pound psyche. So the actor began hitting the weights shortly after being awarded the part. The sequel has occasionally been dubbed “Avengers 1.5,” and there’s Falcon buzz that he will be seen in future “Captain America” sequels and for “Avengers 2: Age of Ultron.”
In one interview, Mackie explained, “I’m in about 60 percent of the movie,” in which Captain America, the Black Widow and The Falcon together solve the crime and take down the Winter Soldier. (The Black Widow teams with Punisher in a direct to home video animated release now available for sale.)
AMAZING SPIDER-MAN II (May 2)
Director Marc Webb assembled a round table of Hollywood funny men to brainstorm the one-liners and quips for the Spider-Man sequel. Obviously, Andrew Garfield’s take on the web slinger will continue climbing up the chuckle meter. Emma Stone returns as his love interest. The villains are Jamie Foxx as Electro, Paul Giamatti as The Rhino and Dane DeHaan as the Green Goblin.
X MEN DAYS OF FUTURE PAST (May 23)
All mutants assemble for a two-time period battle for survival of their race.
Wolverine will travel from 1973 to 2023 attempting to change history by preventing the assassination of a historic figure by the villainous Mystique. Storm, Iceman, Shadowcat, Professor X, Magneto, Colossus and the Beast, X, and Havok are confirmed from “First Class.” Director Brian Singer acknowledged that a scene with Rogue has been cut and an early decision determined that Emma Frost will not make a comeback.
GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY (August 1)
Reflecting on the obscurity of these misfits from outer space, Stan Lee acknowledged that though they have the Marvel brand, he did not create them. Lee’s statement has been disputed by director James Gunn, who goes all the way back to Tales to Astonish (a horror/fantasy pre-Silver Age title that eventually launched the Ant Man) in which Groot, a tree like humanoid (Vin Diesel) debuted. Advance buzz launches an alien-heavy outer space-based “Raiders of the Lost Ark.” Peter Quill (played by Chris Pratt) was snatched as a child into outer space in the mid-’80s. He leads the Guardians as Star Lord. For a little quirky edge, the marksman Rocket is an alien that looks like a raccoon. Bradley Cooper will be his voice. You will also hear about these heroes and villains – Drax the Destroyer, Nebula, Yondu, Ronan, and Gamora.