Marvel Studios: A Difficult Start But A Fantastic Movie History Part 2
At the end of the 90′s a film based on a secondary “horror” character from Marvel Comics premiered in theaters around the world, Blade. For the first time a Marvel character had a production well cared for, with good visual effects and an actor particularly known for action movies, Wesley Snipes. It was a success, and earned a trilogy. The film paved the way for the later production of characters from Marvel Comics.
NOTE: If you have not read the first part, click the link: Part 1
In 2000, began the hegemony of the Marvel heroes in movies with the premiere of X-Men, already famous as a result of the comics and cartoons, the film was an absolute success with audience, becoming a profitable film franchise, with four films, a prequel, and another on the way. But it took Hollywood quite some time to realize just how profitable this partnership of the seventh to the ninth art would be .
Blade (Wesley Snipes) was born as a hybrid of human and vampire because he was contaminated in the womb of his pregnant mother when she was bitten by the vampire Deacon Frost (Stephen Dorff). With that, he became powerful and immortal but with his human side intact. With the help of his mentor, Abraham Whistler (Kris Kristofferson), he takes upon himself to fight the vampires in order to avenge the death of his mother. One enemy in particular appears in his path, and it is precisely his vampire “father” Deacon Frost, who aims to become the leader of the vampires and guide them in a major attack against humanity.
Trivia: Blade is a Daywalker, half vampire and half human, this gives him vampire abilities like rapid regeneration, strength, reflexes, speed and superhuman agility. Blade has none of the vampires weakness and can walk by day and do everything that a vampire can. But he still fells the need to drink blood. He is a master of martial arts and disguises, great swordsman and thanks to his vampire abilities he can feel the presence of supernatural creatures. Created by Marv Wolfman and Gene Colan, his first appearance was in Tomb of Dracula # 10 in 1973.
Original Title: Blade Director: Stephen Norrington Cast: Wesley Snipes, Stephen Dorff, Kris Kristofferson, N’Bushe Wright, Donal Logue, Sanaa Lathan Producer: Peter Frankfurt, Wesley Snipes, Robert Engelman, Andrew J. Horne, Avi Arad Written by: David S. Goyer Soundtrack: Mark Isham Running time: 120 min. Year: 1998 Country: USA Genre: Action / Adventure / Horror
Blade II, 2002
Blade (Wesley Snipes) finds his friend Abraham Whistler (Kris Kristofferson) who apparently survived a suicide attempt. He know counts with the help of a young man, Scud, who develops devices and weapons for him to use in their constant battle against the beings of the night. A new threat emerges, a more powerful race of vampires called Reapers created from genetic breeding between humans and vampires, and it endangers both races. So, Blade joins forces with his greatest enemies so that, together, they can tackle this new race of bloodsuckers.
Trivia: Mike Mignola and Tim Bradstreet, both artists from the comics, worked on Blade 2 in the the visual concepts of the film. The filming of Blade 2 occurred in the city of Prague, capital of the Czech Republic.
Original Title: Blade II Director: Guillermo del Toro Cast: Wesley Snipes, Kris Kristofferson, Tchéky Karyo, Norman Reedus, Leonor Varela, Ron Perlman, Luke Gross Production: Wesley Snipes, Peter Frankfurt Patrick Palmer, Avi Arad Written by: David S. Goyer Soundtrack: Marco Beltrami Duration: 117 min. Year: 2002 Country: USA Genre: Action / Adventure / Horror
Blade: Trinity, 2004
In an unknown location in the desert the vampires resurrect Dracula (Dominic Purcell), who gave birth to the vampire race and has powers that allows it to survive in daylight. The creatures of the night start a smear campaign against Blade (Wesley Snipes), putting the FBI on his tail. After a few meetings with agents, Blade and Whistler (Kris Kristofferson) realize they need help. After being attacked and captured, Blade is saved by the Nighthawks, a group of humans dedicated to hunt vampires led by Abigail (Jessica Biel), who is also the daughter of Whistler. Along with Hannibal King (Ryan Reynolds) and scientist Sommerfield (Natasha Lyonne), who has a visual impairment, Blade and the Nighthawks start a series of battles against Dranica Talos (Parker Posey), the current leader of the vampires, not knowing that they will have to confront Dracula himself.
Trivia: Guillermo del Toro, director of Blade 2 was invited to direct the 3rd film, but he choose to direct Hellboy (2004) instead.
Original Title: Blade Trinity Director: David S. Goyer Cast: Wesley Snipes, Kris Kristofferson, Jessica Biel, Ryan Reynolds, Parker Posey, Dominic Purcell, Triple H Production: Wesley Snipes, Avi Arad, Cale Boyter, Toby Emmerich Screenplay: David S. Goyer Music: Ramin Djawadi Duration: 113 min. Year: 2004 Country: USA Genre: Action / Adventure / Horror
X-Men , 2000
The mutants are the next step in the human evolutionary ladder, but suffer a lot of prejudice because humans in general do not understand their powers and fear that in the future they may come after normal humans. Professor Xavier (Patrick Stewart), advocates a peaceful existence between humans and mutants, and with his X-Men fights against the evil Brotherhood of Mutants, led by Magneto (Ian McKellen), who declared war on humans, he is weary of so much persecution and humiliation of their race. Two mutants in particular will be involved in this fight: the first is Wolverine (Hugh Jackman), which has a healing factor and unbreakable adamantium skeleton and retractable claws, and the second is Rogue (Anna Paquim), a young woman who absorbs all the vital force and powers of anyone she touches. These two mutants are sought after by the Brotherhood of Mutants and the X-Men, as each faction wants to strengthen their side. The difference is that Xavier wants the two mutants to help them control their powers, while the mutant Magneto needs to carry out his plan of killing all the worldwide nation leaders that are meeting in Ellis Island to decide the future of mutants.
Trivia: The film grossed $ 55 million in its weekend debut in the United States. Created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, their first appearance was in X-Men No. 1, 1963.
Original Title: X-Men – The Movie Director: Bryan Singer Cast: Patrick Stewart, Hugh Jackman, Ian McKellen, Halle Berry, Famke Janssen, James Marsden, Bruce Davison, Rebecca Romijn-Stamos, Ray Park, Anna Paquin Producer: Lauren Shuler Donner, Ralph Winter, Avi Arad Screenplay: Tom DeSanto and David Hayter Soundtrack: Michael Kamen Duration: 104 min. Year: 2000 Country: USA Genre: Action / Adventure / Fantasy
X2: X-Men United, 2003
Still living in a world that hates them, the mutants are discriminated against even greater when a new mutant stages an attack on the President of the United States, nearly killing him. This causes society to manifest even more against the mutants, causing the mutant registration project to gain strength. William Stryker (Brian Cox), a soldier who has experience in dealing with mutants and a link with Wolverine’s (Hugh Jackman) past, becomes one of the spokesmen of this project and becomes responsible for a plan that is aimed at eradicating all mutants. With the permission of the President, Stryker launches a major offensive against the mutants and invades Professor Xavier’s mansion forcing Magneto (Ian McKellen), who escaped from prison, to join the X-Men to fight against Stryker.
Trivia: X2 was released in the U.S. on May 2, 2003 and became a critical and commercial success, earning eight nominations for Saturn Awards and grossing nearly 407 million dollars worldwide.
Original Title: X-Men 2 Director: Bryan Singer Cast: Patrick Stewart, Hugh Jackman, Ian McKellen, Halle Berry, Famke Janssen, James Marsden, Rebecca Romijn-Stamos, Brian Cox, Alan Cumming, Anna Paquin Production: Tom DeSanto, Avi Arad, Ralph Winter, Lauren Shuler Donner Screenplay: Michael Dougherty, Dan Harris, David Hayter Music: John Ottman Duration: 134 min. Year: 2003 Country: USA Genre: Action / Adventure / Fantasy
X-Men: The Last Stand, 2006
A vaccine is created to suppress the X gene that gives mutants their powers, offering a cure for the homo superior. Magneto raises an army and says that the cure will be used to exterminate the mutant race. He finds out that Jean Grey has enormous power and that she is willing to use it. Magneto and Xavier meet in order to dispute Jean’s loyalty, until Phoenix awakens and releases all her fury killing Xavier. The X-Men regroup to face Magneto’s army who is attacking the pharmaceutical company that created the mutant cure. After the battle, Phoenix emerges and begins to destroy everything around them. Momentarily lucid Jean asks Wolverine to save her. Angry about it, but leaving him with no choice, he kills her, it was the only way to save Jean’s Phoenix.
Trivia: Bryan Singer, director of the two previous films, was going to direct X-Men – The Last Stand but decided to direct Superman Returns (2006) stating that he would be available to direct the 3rd X-Men movie after it. However, because Fox wanted to launch the 3rd film in 2006, they decided to replace him with another director. The film is loosely based on two arcs of the comic books: X-Men: The Dark Phoenix Saga from writers Chris Claremont and John Byrne, and Gifted written by Joss Whedon and John Cassaday.
Original Title: X-Men – The Last Stand Director: Brett Ratner Cast: Hugh Jackman, Halle Berry, Ian McKellen, Famke Janssen, Anna Paquin, James Marsden, Rebecca Romijn, Shawn Ashmore, Patrick Stewart Producer: Avi Arad, Lauren Shuler Donner Ralph Winter Screenplay: Simon Kinberg and Zak Penn Soundtrack: John Powell Duration: 104 min. Year: 2006 Country: USA Genre: Action / Adventure / Fantasy
X-Men Origins: Wolverine, 2009
1845 Canada, young James Howlett sees his father John Howlett being murdered by the caretaker of the house where he lived Thomas Logan, father of Victor Creed. Terrified, James develops his mutation: bone claws grow between the joints of his hands and he kills Thomas, who before dying reveals that he was in fact his real father. James Howlett and Victor Creed flee for several years and across different historical moments of the United States until they are discovered by William Stryker looking for mutants to join his division. After a quarrel, James leaves the group and goes to live in the mountains with a new identity, Logan. His girlfriend is killed by Creed. Logan asks Stryker to join the “Weapon X” project which reinforces his skeleton with Adamantium, an indestructible metal alloy. Becoming a deadly weapon and equipped with claws that cut through almost anything, using the codename Wolverine, he goes in search of Victor Creed seeking revenge, only to discover that his life was an eternal lie.
Trivia: The movie was not well received by critics, who considered it uninspired and poorly written. Despite this, Wolverine earned $ 364 million worldwide. The director chair was offered to Zack Snyder who refused because he wanted the movie to be rated R. Created by Len Wein and Herb Trimpe, his first appearance was in The Incredible Hulk No. 180 of 1974.
Original Title: X-Men Origins: Wolverine Director: Gavin Hood Cast: Hugh Jackman, Liev Schreiber, Danny Huston, Will.i.am, Lynn Collins, Taylor Kitsch, Kevin Durand, Ryan Reynolds Production: Hugh Jackman, Lauren Shuler Donner, Ralph Winter Screenplay: David Benioff, Skip Woods Soundtrack: Harry Gregson-Williams Duration: 107 min. Year: 2009 Country: USA Genre: Action / Adventure / Fantasy
X-Men: First Class, 2011
In 1944 Poland the young Erik Lensherr develops his mutant powers in the concentration camp while seeing his mother being executed by the Nazis. Later he embarks on a continuous search for the killers of his family. Meanwhile, Xavier (James McAvoy) is formed at Oxford University and becomes a genetic specialist. In Las Vegas, a CIA spy Moira McTaggert (Rose Byrne) infiltrates the Hellfire Club while in pursuit of Colonel Hendry. Erick Lensherr (Michael Fassbender) discovers the whereabouts of his main enemy, now going by the name of Sebastian Shaw, a powerful mutant who has a plan to provoke a nuclear war and obtain world domination. The fates of Erick, Charles and Moira McTaggert will interconnect to try to stop the menace of the Hellfire Club and its evil mutants.
Trivia: A new beginning of the mutant franchise, the film connects true historical facts with the plot. Well received, with excellent reviews and the box office was good. A direct sequel is already in development.
Original Title: X-Men: First Class Director: Matthew Vaughn Cast: James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Rose Byrne, January Jones, Jennifer Lawrence, Oliver Platt, Kevin Bacon Producer: Gregory Goodman, Simon Kinberg, Lauren Shuler Donne Writers: Ashley Edward Miller, Zack Stentz, Jane Goldman, Matthew Vaughn Music: Henry Jackman Duration: 131 min. Year: 2011 Country: USA Genre: Action / Adventure / Fantasy
Fantastic Four, 2005
A disaster strikes a spacecraft, causing its five crew members to undergo changes in their body and to gain special powers. Reed Richards (Ioan Gruffudd), the leader of the group, gains the ability to stretch his body now made of rubber. Sue Storm (Jessica Alba), his girlfriend, gains powers that allow her to turn invisible and create force fields. Johnny Storm (Chris Evans), Sue’s brother, can increase the heat from his body and turn into flames, while Ben Grimm (Michael Chiklis) has his body turned to stone and gains superhuman strength. Upon returning to Earth after the accident, the new powers begin to manifest themselves, so that everyone has to adapt to them and also to the status of celebrities. The fifth member of the group that was on the ship was Victor Von Doom (Julian McMahon), who also undergoes a transformation and gains the power to shoot and manipulate energy. The new team of heroes known as the Fantastic Four as to stop the powerful villain Victor Von Doom, who is now known as Doctor Doom.
Trivia: The film had a largely negative reception, but earned a worldwide box office of $ 330 million worldwide. Created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, their first appearance was in The Fantastic Four No. 1, 1961.
Original Title: Fantastic Four Director: Tim Story Cast: Ioan Gruffudd, Jessica Alba, Michael Chiklis, Chris Evans, Julian McMahon Producer: Avi Arad, Bernd Eichinger, Ralph Winter Screenplay: Michael France and Mark Frost Music: John Ottman Length: 106 min. Year: 2005 Country: USA Genre: Action / Adventure / Fantasy
Fantastic Four: The Rise of the Silver Surfer, 2007
The Fantastic Four face their greatest challenge yet when an enigmatic and intergalactic herald called the Silver Surfer comes to Earth to prepare the planet for destruction by his master, Galactus. As he crosses the globe causing panic, Reed, Sue, Johnny and Ben must unravel the mystery of the Surfer’s arrival, as they face the return of their mortal enemy, Dr. Doom, before all hope disappears.
Trivia: Budget of the movie was of $ 130 million. The film received two Golden Raspberry nominations in the categories of Worst Actress (Jessica Alba) and Worst Screen Couple (Jessica Alba and Ioan Gruffudd).
Original Title: Fantastic Four – The Rise of the Silver Surfer Director: Tim Story Cast: Ioan Gruffudd, Jessica Alba, Michael Chiklis, Chris Evans, Julian McMahon Producer: Avi Arad, Bernd Eichinger, Ralph Winter Screenplay: Don Payne and Mark Frost Trail Music: John Ottman Duration: 91 min. Year: 2007 Country: USA Genre: Action / Adventure / Fantasy
Tune in next week for part 3 where we will take a look at movie blockbusters such as the Spider-Man trilogy and reboot but also at such “incredible” things as Daredevil, Elektra and much more!