Marvel reveals its Phase four. Includes Loki, Blade and more!

MCU fans assemble! Earlier today at SDCC, Marvel Studios announced its phase four of films and tv shows. Phase four deals with the aftermath of Avengers: Endgame and several prequels that we surely are excited for. Some of these include the reprisal of fan favourite Blade and the possible reprisal of Fantastic Four and X-Men series.

Here are all the films and tv shows in chronological order as they will be coming out in phase four:

Black Widow (May 1st, 2020) 

Falcon and the Winter Soldier (Fall 2020)

The Eternals (November 6th, 2020)

Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings (February 12, 2021)

WandaVision (Spring 2021)

Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness (May 7th, 2021)

Loki (Spring 2021)

What If (Summer 2021)

Hawkeye (Fall 2021) and 

Thor: Love and Thunder (November 5th, 2021)

Phase four has some really interesting stories in the box for us. We will see the origin of Black Widow and Hawkeye and the movies will most likely explore their infamous Budapest mission that they keep mentioning!

We will see Anthony Mackey don his Captain America suit and shield in Falcon and the Winter Soldier.

Shang Chi will introduce the real Mandarin. (Yeah, we want to forget Iron Man 3 too)

Thor: Love and Thunder will give us Jane Foster wielding the Mjolnir as the female Thor.

And What If will be a non-canon animated series that will be an alternate take on the MCU universe. Like, what would happen if Loki had found Thor’s Hammer!

Speaking of Loki, we are getting a Loki TV show! Yay.

We eagerly look forward to Disney’s D23 conference next month for more information!

A love letter to MCU from a fan with no ticket

Dear MCU,

Hope this letter finds you in good spirit. I know you are too busy to respond, but I wanted to let you know what you mean to us.

The millennials needed a major pop culture boost. We were fatigued to drool over dated fandoms. We needed something of our own.

And we got one. The mighty Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Read more: “Thank you, Marvel” – a fan looks back on 10 years of the MCU

The Messiah

Before MCU, comic book adaptations on the silver screen were always dissed by the producers. We sure had some darling flicks at the turn of the century such as Sam Raimi’s Spiderman and the X-Men trilogy, but they were deemed as nothing but potboilers. One 20th Century Fox executive even went on to say the genre ends with X-Men: The Last Stand, there is no future for this kind of rubbish. But tables were meant to turn. With the release of Batman Begins in 2005, superhero movies got a wholly new facelift. Chris Nolan aptly destigmatized Batman movies. But something was missing. We were half expecting some messiah would step in to make some superhero flicks featuring our larger than life heroes.

Finally, the messiah came and conquered.

His name is Kevin Feige.

The mastermind behind the monumental success of MCU. He pitched the idea of an inter connected movie franchise spanning decades. The major reason DC could not win in the theaters on par with Marvel because they couldn’t hire someone like Feige.

The big bang

It all started with Iron Man in 2008. The very idea of post-credit scenes in superhero films was entwined in this movie, and I missed it the first time. Nick Fury sneaking inside Stark mansion to approach Tony for a superhero team-up? It felt surreal. Who could have thought the possibility of one behemoth superhero movie like the Avenger (2012)? Four separate franchises were following a pathway to culminate into one historical motion picture.

The summer Avengers was released, I didn’t go to the theatre to have cinematic experience of some sort. I was just so happy to see four of my poster heroes fighting as a team. But the movie made our jaws drop, eyes bulge and hairs on our back raise in respect. It is arguably (one of the) greatest comic book adaptation till this day and years to come. A big hug for director Joss Whedon. I felt sad when he had to deal critically with Disney execs over creative issues. The man wanted Spiderman and other characters to appear in Age of Ultron. Instead, he got Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch. Can we blame him for his exasperation to direct the highly anticipated sequel?

On the darker side

The MCU has its fair share of haters too. Loki is the only grade A villain in the whole universe. I am intentionally excluding Winter Soldier, he doesn’t really count as a foe, does he? Thanos should not be compared with other names whatsoever. So where does it put MCU in the radar?

Cool action movies on steroids with unimpressive baddies? Maybe.

The directors who have worked relentlessly for phase 1-3 deserve a round of applause. The Russo brothers deserve something more, like a gigantic bouquet the size of a hulkbuster suit.

The people who made it happen

MCU succeeded with flying colors. One key reason is the casting. The people who played their respective characters in the movies, were meant to play those parts. Can you imagine Tom Cruise as Tony Stark? He almost bagged the role of this fancy billionaire if former cocaine junkie Downey Jr didn’t show his relentless passion to make a comeback in Hollywood. He gets 50 million per movie now for playing Iron Man.

And last but not least, we want to gleefully remember the masters who drew and wrote about the characters and universe. You guys rock! Stan Lee was fateful to see his creations on the silver screen. I wish other artists were as lucky as Stan the man. Jack Kirby (and many more) creators never got the due money or respect they should have gotten.

Before I manage to survive the adrenaline rush Avengers: Endgame has to offer, this is my token of love for the movies I will re-watch for the rest of my life.

Read more: A roadmap to Endgame: Everything you need to know

Yours truly

A fan with no ticket

A roadmap to Endgame: Everything you need to know

With the hype of not only Marvel fans but also, DC fans, if you have decided to go for the cherry on top which is Avengers: Endgame then we understand your distress upon watching all the movies so far. However, we know how tricky it can get to decide to opt for something that ends the whole saga of Marvel Cinematic Universe series of different superheroes and their endless battles which leads up to the final movie.

If you cannot watch the 22 vastly articulated films which lead to Endgame itself, do not worry because we have a short road map which might help you catch up with the marathon!

Read more: “Thank you, Marvel” – a fan looks back on 10 years of the MCU

IRON MAN (2008)

The marathon essentially starts with 2008’s Ironman starring Robert Downey Jr. however, not all the details would help you catch with the drift, but it is the starting of something beautiful. We see Tony Stark embarking on a journey of protecting the civilization with this creation and invention of explosives and weapons for mass destruction. The presentation of the relationship of Tony Stark and Pepper Pots is just as important for us to notice, as it carries a significant importance to Ironman himself.

THOR (2011)

Get ready to be distracted by Chris Hemsworth’s luscious locks and hard abs because there is no actor better to play the role of thunder god, the mighty hero from Asgard. What is important for us to see is the role of Thor, his hammer and him ascending to Earth as it leads to multiple more parts as weel.

CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE FIRST AVENGER (2011)

This movie is not only known for a step towards the marathon but it also is very well known for its representation of the World War II and role of women through the relationship of Steve Rogers and Peggy Carter, one of the founding agents of SHIELD. In the movie we see a skinny soldier turned into a hero-like representation of America, thanks to the ‘super-serum solder’ administered by the U.S Government. Why this movie, gets more attention is because The First Avenger showed the very first Infinity Stone which is called “The Tesseract”.

MARVEL’S THE AVENGERS (2012)

If you skipped Thor and The Incredible Hulk, this movie will help you to catch up with the details before they team up to battle a “Tesseract wielding Loki”. The film also shows us the importance of various main heroes who were previously cameo characters such as the Black Widow and the Hawkeye himself. However, this movie shows the core team of Avengers and a glimpse of the famous ‘purple evil alien’ we all know as Thanos.

CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE WINTER SOLDIER (2014)

Captain America’s transition from a S.H.E.I.L.D vigilante to a well-known superhero is beautiful transformation. But what is worth noticing is Cap pledges allegiance to his friend to the government, ultimately tearing the Avengers apart.

GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY (2014)

The MCU production now jumped from one planet to the other to bring us closer to Thanos himself. The movie represents Star Lord’s ability to hold an Infinity Stone as a part of his lineage. The Power Stone is kept for safekeeping in Xandar which is destroyed off-screen.

AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON (2015)

Marvel’s Avengers: Age Of Ultron..Ultron..Ph: Film Frame..©Marvel 2015

The movie which was hyped in Bangladesh not only for the Marvel fans, but also because it showed a scene of the Chittagong shipyard which quickly stirred more attention on social media. The movie might not be as entertaining as the first but it is important to see the creation of Vision by the power of the Mind Stone in Loki’s scepter. Here we also see one of the important characters known as Scarlet Witch.

CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR (2016)

Tony Stark and Steve Roger’s previous concerns come to a head because of Bucky and people’s unease with the group of superheroes destroying and creating chaos around the city to demolish problems they were responsible for. We also get to see introductions of Black Panther and Spiderman.

SPIDER-MAN: HOMECOMING (2017)

If you decide to skip the movie because of the bare minimum relation it has with Endgame, you could. However, one of the reasons why this movie is recommended is to see the relationship between Tony Stark and Peter Parker as both of them grow a beautiful bond which extends to one of the most emotional scenes in Avengers: Infinity War.

THOR: RAGNAROK (2017)

Now the story line of Thor might be repetitive leading to a cycle of losing and gaining power of thrones, but what this movie concentrates on, is how Loki gets his hands on Tesseract, the introduction of Doctor Strange and the destruction of Asgard which leads the refugees to run into Thanos.

BLACK PANTHER (2018)

One of the most anticipated movies last year was Black Panther itself as it was the leading movies in MCU to represent black empowerment so uniquely. The movie is the introduction of the superhero T’Challa and his community in Wakanda which we will also see in the movie Avengers: Infinity Stone.

AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR (2018)

If you haven’t watched all the movies, as a hardcore fan of MCU would, we assume that this movie might have stirred your interest with the yearlong memes and theories. Now, if you have not watched this movie, we strongly urge you to get a bowl of popcorn and sit through it all because both Infinity War and Endgame were shot and written simultaneously. We won’t spoil this much for you but it will spark a lot of questions in your mind, this we can guarantee.

ANT-MAN AND THE WASP (2018)

One of the many reasons why fans speculate this movie came after Infinity War was because he might play a major role in saving the world from Thanos. And the fans were not wrong. The post credit scenes of the movie take place after Thano’s snap and the consequences of Civil War. Do keep in mind that the Ant Man and its sequel plays an important role in the Endgame.

CAPTAIN MARVEL (2018)

Captain Marvel is initially known as Vers, a Star Force Agent from Kree race. She carries some powerful abilities such as super strength, physical endurance and the power to shoot blasts of energy with her fingertips. The Kree previously portrayed as villains before in Guardians of the Galaxy and Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. With the strong 90s vibe and complex storyline Captain Marvel will not disappoint you.

The release of Avengers: Endgame is on the 26th of April and get ready to stand in the never-ending line and tackle the hyped fans for popcorn and drinks because this year will be the most awaited year, as the journey comes to an end. So, are you ready for it?

5 Bangladeshi graphic novels you must read

Graphic novel is a wonderful medium where art and literature interplays. Often deemed as a pulpy and lesser creative form, graphic novels have gained momentum in the past 20 years or so. Often mistakenly labelled as comics, graphic novels deal with deeper subject matter and perplexed illustrations. They are bigger in length as well.

Bangladesh too has a thriving graphic novel scene confined in a limited readership. It is great to see publishing houses like Panjeree and Dhaka Comics are catering to the local fans and publishing new graphic novels frequently. If you have never read a deshi graphic novel, here is an essential reading list to get you started with. These 5 titles are a testament that our local writers/artists are rivalling with their Western counterparts, with what limited time and resource they have.

#1 Ruhan Ruhan (রুহান রুহান)

Genre: Sci-fi

Publisher: Dhaka Comics

Credit: Muhammad Zafar Iqbal (story), Mehedi Haque (illustration)

Summary: Ruhan Ruhan is set in a nihilistic and dystopian planet where people have no sense of humanity whatsoever. Ruhan, was fatefully kidnapped and deported to the planet ‘Gruzan’. A gang of savage businessmen throws him two options- either engage in a win-or-die gladiator match or be a guinea pig of human anatomy replacement. Ruhan is no ordinary guy, he defies the corrupt system and reclaims humanity. This graphic novel is a 5 part series; the last issue is scheduled to hit bookstores this year.

#2 Laily (লাইলী)

Genre: Comedy/romance

Publisher: Panjeree

Credit: Shahrier Khan (Story and illustration)

Summary: Laily, the titular character, is a drop dead gorgeous girl of her neighbourhood. After a 10 year hiatus, she returns to the area where she grew up. In no time, a neighboring engineer, a gangster and a journalist fall for her. With a heavy dose of Dhallywood-ish humor, Laily tackles all the hopeless romantics come what may. This is by far the best comedy graphic novel by a Bangladeshi artist. Although I might be opinionated, you’ll thank me later for recommending Laily!

#3 Shurjer Din (সূর্যের দিন)

Genre: Liberation war

Publisher: Pragati

Credits: Humayun Ahmed (story), Ahsan Habib (illustration)

Summary: Shurjer din chronicles the life of a group of teens amidst the tension of the liberation war. The main characters go through a crisis as their regular life comes to a standstill following the events of 1971. I highly recommend this graphic novel to pre-teenagers. Adapted from a Humayun Ahmed novella, Ahsan Habib’s illustration breathes sentiments of our glorious liberation war in this gem. This is a suitable starter for young readers who find war stories complex.

#4 Poncho Romancho (পঞ্চ রোমাঞ্চ)

Genre: Anthology

Publisher: Dhaka Comics

Credits: Kazi Anwar Hossain (story), various artists (illustration)

Summary: Kazi Anwar Hossain is a name synonymous with thriller/adventure books in Bangla. Back in mid 70’s, the legendary ‘Kazi Da’ adapted 5 stories by foreign writers, giving them an appropriate local setting. The book came out titled ‘Poncho Romancho’ featuring stories named Onno konokhane, Jhamela, Cancer, Ostad and Porokiya. Almost four decades later, Dhaka Comics adapted this anthology collection as a graphic novel. If you are a Sheba Prokashani fan, this one will definitely send nostalgia down your bloodstream.

#5 Cube (কিউব)

Genre: Sci-fi

Publisher: Panjeree

Credit: Shahrier Khan (story and illustration)

Summary: Geologist Joy Ahmed is employed in the coastal city of Cox’s Bazaar. He was having an ordinary life but soon things escalade when he stumbles upon an alien race. Aliens come to earth to scout a mysteriously powerful thing called ‘cube’. Whoever possesses the cube gains super power. Joy finds a cube as well as his love interest. But he will have a hard time defending his city as the extraterrestrial threat looms large in picturesque places of Chittagong.

That’s all for now, folks. I insist you to read Bangladeshi graphic novels. Without our support, it’s very hard to be a professional in this medium. As the local comic readers grow, we can dream of a day when fan-favourite titles will become live action movies. We’ll have our own Avengers or Tintin, someday!

Black Panther makes history with best picture oscar nomination

Black Panther made history as the first superhero film to be nominated for Best Picture at the Academy Awards. The closest film that came before was the Dark Knight, and many critics were vocal about the snub. Many believe that the subsequent expansion of the Best Picture category to ten nominations was a reaction to this controversy.

Black Panther has also been nominated for six other categories, such as Best Costume Design, Best Sound Mixing, Best Original Score, Best Original Song and Best Production Design.

“The only way we ever wanted to do this project was the right way and that meant finding a filmmaker who had something personal to say, who had a vision and could take this character into another arena and showcase the power of representation on a canvas of this size,”

Said Kevin Feige, president of Marvel Studios. 

“We’re very, very proud of what this film has done. The movie has made a cultural impact that is just humbling and gratifying to see. And we’re very grateful to the Academy for this recognition.”

Of course, Black Panther has some tough competition, sharing its nomination with Roma, Vice, The Favourite, Bohemian Rhapsody, BlacKkKlansman, Green Book and A Star is Born.

Directed by Ryan Coogler, Black Panther is notable for its cast and strong message. The film grossed $1.34 billion worldwide last year.

Avengers: Endgame trailer breakdown

Marvelites are having a pretty great week. A great Captain Marvel trailer dropped on Monday. Let me tell you, she looked mighty fine. Nintendo announced the return of the long-dormant Ultimate Alliance game franchise at The Game Awards on Thursday. A new Spider-Man: Far From Home trailer is supposed to arrive very soon. And as if to slap a whole cake on top of a cherry, the Russo brothers practically shadow dropped the new Avengers: Endgame trailer on Friday. The trailer reveals very little. But when has that stopped us from going through these a dozen times and look for clues? Let’s jump in.

Here’s the trailer, just in case you do indeed live under a rock.

Tony Stark is stranded in space

Marvel MVP Tony Stark isn’t off to a good start here. He is marooned aboard the Benatar, the Guardians ship. With food and Oxygen rapidly running out, earth’s greatest defender is desolate and helpless. We see him turning his helmet on to record a farewell message to Pepper Potts. The lighting is somber because who can bid a sad goodbye in harsh fluorescence? Him mentioning the end being part of the journey is sure to tug some heartstrings. He is also wearing a similar shirt from the first Iron Man when he was imprisoned by the Ten Rings. A great visual callback to his initial plight in a no-win scenario.

Avengers: Endgame trailer breakdown

Tony’s rescue is a hotly contested topic. We can only but speculate. Does Pepper Potts don the Rescue armor from the comics herself and go after her man? Will Captain Marvel pick him up during her return journey to earth following Fury’s SOS? Does Thor open a Bifrost with his Stormbreaker weapon and save him? Alas, we might have to wait till April for the answer. Or at least until the next trailer.

But what is Nebula’s story?

We also see Nebula hanging about the ship reminiscing and being all sad. There’s another very curious frame in the trailer where she gently caresses someone’s shoulder sitting in the ship. That is very out of character for her. Is she saying goodbye to Tony before leaving the Benatar? Or that is a completely different character at another point in the movie? Marvel has been really deceptive about these in the past. So rule nothing out.

Point Break is pissed

Thor Odinson proved last April that he is the mightiest of the Avengers. Maybe that is why it pains him the most that he could not stop the Decimation. Yes, that is what the head honchos at MCU decided to call the Thanos Snap. This revelation arrives thanks to Marvel’s Avengers: Infinity War: The Cosmic Quest Volume Two: Aftermath by Brandon T. Snider. Man, the name of this book needed a Snap as well to cut it down to half.

Anyways, back to Thor. Just look at him. This man right here is ready to get out on that stage and shred Thanos in a rap battle.

The Thanos-crow

The only character who is happily content in the trailer is Thanos. And why wouldn’t he be? He brought balance to the universe, in his own twisted way. Moreiver, as a great comic throwback, we see his armor strung like a scarecrow. He doesn’t need that anymore, because his job is done. In the comics though, Thanos is retreating in disgrace more than gloating over a hard-won victory. But a nice touch nonetheless.

Is Shuri alive?

This is a very important question. The fate of another character hangs in the balance because of her. Last time we saw Shuri, she managed to salvage most of Vision’s data before getting knocked unconscious. If she survived the Decimation, she could be paramount to bring at least one of the Avengers back. Interestingly though, the trailer reveals a scene where she is put under the “missing” tag along with some of the dusted heroes.

That could mean she was slain along with her brother. Or she might be alive but not working with the remaining Avengers yet. I mean, it was them who brought war and death to her home. Does she have her own agenda now? Time will tell.

Hawkeye…or Ronin?

We finally get a glimpse of Clint Barton after his absence in Infinity War in this trailer. Only…he isn’t Hawkeye anymore. He is in the shoes of another comic book character called Ronin. There are some other characters like Echo who operated under this cover identity. But Clint’s stint was more prominent in the comics.

The reason he wasn’t active during Infinity War because of his plea deal with the government. He had a family to protect and care for. Something tells me in his thousand yards long stare here that they might not have survived. Hence, his blatant disregard to government contract.

For reference, here’s the comic book version of Ronin.

Ant-Man is out of the Quantum Realm

This might be the biggest revelation of the trailer. Last time we saw Scott Lang, he was journeying into the Quantum Realm with the help of the Pym family. In a tragic sequence of events, Scott got stuck there after the Pym collective turned to ash. How he got out may end up being the single saving grace for the Avengers family, and the world.

Now Scott was using his trusted friend Luis’ van for the Quantum Realm incident. It might be possible that Luis survived the Snap and came back to rescue Scott through the radio. Or Scott could have gained powers due to excess exposure to the Quantum Realm ala Janet Van Dyne. But that’s unlikely because it didn’t help Janet herself.

Time travel is a safe money bet. Right as he’s venturing into the Quantum Realm, Scott is told by Janet van Dyne: “Don’t get sucked into a time vortex.” That seems to be a pretty on-the-nose warning but also one clear enough for a dope like Scott to eventually realize might be the key to him escaping his predicament. We’ll see.

Speaking of time travel

As the leaked set photos suggested earlier, time travel is definitely playing a big role in Avengers: Endgame. We see a hint of that in the trailer as well when we see Captain America in his winter soldier suit.

Avengers endgame trailer breakdown

We don’t know what’s cooking, but Cap certainly isn’t donning this particular old suit for no reason.

So, that’s it, folks. There is a long five-month wait before we close out on the first decade of MCU. It’s actually a good thing the trailer left out crucial plot points. This lets us converse and speculate about our heroes’ struggle to save a universe torn apart. After all, as the name reveal tells us, it’s about undoing the tragedy that has left them…disassembled.