Shhh. Can you hear it? The high-pitched squeal of die-hard Marvel fans everywhere as they tear off the plastic wrapping and crack open the case of this week’s DVD superhero release, The Wolverine. It’s the cherry on the top of the superhero mania which has been building for months … with October’s release of Thor: The Dark World and the 2014 Captain America trailer for Winter Soldier. So, in homage to the defenders of all realms, Janet Leigh takes a look at what makes 2013’s main Marvel’s heroes so SUPERB.
This year kicked off with the suavest of all Marvel characters, Tony Stark, in Iron Man 3. It’s no surprise that the sophisticated ‘gadgetier’ is one of Marvel’s most admired heroes: he’s a genius with a collection of self-made steel armor to prove it. However, when in the third installment of the movie franchise, he is reduced to just a man in plain clothes, Stark was still able to rise to the occasion and become the valiant champion we know him to be. Cue the tears of admiration. When stripped of his suit, Stark becomes nothing more than the rest of us. A man who uses his human abilities to outwit and triumph over his enemies. Besides, who wouldn’t hero-worship someone who could put together an Iron Man suit in the middle of nowhere with nothing but a few scraps of metal, a watch and a feisty ten-year-old for tools?
One man and his hammer … It could only be the warrior Thor and whether he’s a god or not, he still has problems. When cast out of Asgard and stripped of his powers by his father, Thor must prove his worth to return to his former glory … and prove it he does. Even without superhuman capabilities there is something special about Thor. Whether it’s his roguish ways or his ability to make S.H.I.E.L.D agents, with all their extensive combat training, look like bugs beneath his shoes, it’s hard to tell. But no one would argue that Thor is never better than when he’s wielding that hammer like a titan. Something wondrous happens the moment the god of lightening is reunited with his favourite tool. It’s like holy matrimony doused in opulence. And sure enough Thor: The Dark World delivers plenty of hammer brandishing and swashbuckling. The sequel sees the love-struck hero still pining for Jane and vice versa and with Dark Elves to defeat it seems the lightening god has his hands full.
There’s almost something oddly ‘human’ about Captain America. Maybe it’s because he started off like the rest of us: imperfect. A scrawny twig of a thing, barely able to hold up his own body weight let alone keep up with the men from his military squad. Now he runs with the likes of The Hulk and Thor, battling it out side-by-side in The Avengers and holding his own. However scratch the surface and there is still the same humble, honor bound man; one who respects his present position and strength yet remembers his roots. Hats off to you Captain as Marvel fans await the 2014 release of Winter Soldier with palpable excitement.
Ahh, Logan. The tortured anti-hero. It’s fair to say that a part of him was lost when he took the life of Jean Grey in order to save her from insanity… oh and the wicked influence of her alter-ego, the Dark Phoenix. His haunting night-terrors in The Wolverine serve as testimony to that. Living a life of seclusion and looking about as scrubbed up as a stray cat, Logan appears to have put his heroic days well and truly behind him. That is until he is dragged kicking and screaming back into the fold by the plight of young Japanese girl. Despite his snarly, wannabe loner ways Wolverine still has a firm, unshakable place in the heart of all fans and he is never more intriguing than when faced with reality of permanent mortality. Scowl intact and with claws to the ready, that’s how the brooding hero enters all fights and quite honestly … show of hands … who’d want it any other way?
2013 may have seemed like a MARVELlous treat but the filmmakers have been tinkering away behind the scenes to bring forth bigger and better in the future. Great things are to be expected from next April’s release of Captain America: The Winter Soldier not to mention The Amazing Spider-Man 2, which follows in May. 2015 also sees the return of The Avengers in Age Of The Ultron and the movie debut of Marvel’s Ant-Man. And if that wasn’t enough, recent news reveals that Netflix and Disney have made the greatest of all alliances. The two have teamed up to create four Marvel miniseries staring the characters Daredevil, Iron Fist, Jessica Jones & Luke Cage. Shhh, what’s that…oh nothing, just those high-hitched squeals again.