You may not know this, but the main character in Machete first appeared in the Spy Kids movies. It's true! Okay, so technically, it wasn't exactly the same character, but Danny Trejo played another guy named "Machete" who was the uncle to the titular child agents, and also a spy and inventor himself. He wasn't a bloodthirsty killer, but Trejo certainly made the franchise more awesome simply by being in it -- just as he did in the From Dusk Till Dawn movies, as well as the last two Mariachi flicks. Now he's got his own franchise, with two more Machete movies supposedly on the way, but why is Robert Rodriguez the only one taking advantage of his awesomeness? The man would make a valuable addition to any existing franchise -- here are seven we think should grab him while he's hot.
Well, that's it. The backlash has begun. Against the Iron Man franchise (although not the first movie, which is apparently unimpeachable), against Marvel's slow build to The Avengers (which is really only touched on twice in the new film, briefly) and against Robert Downey, Jr. himself, who is apparently too obnoxious, although they may have him confused with the character he plays. I'll admit that I had my own doubts going into this second installment since I do recognize the greatness of the original and since Marvel hasn't had the best luck with getting their comic book characters firmly established as film characters on par with the likes of James Bond, Indiana Jones and Harry Potter. But from the perspective of a long-time, die-hard fan of ol' Shellhead, I thought director Jon Favreau, screenwriter Justin Theroux and RDJ and the rest of the cast delivered a sharp, entertaining follow-up despite some cracks in the armor.
Jon Favreau must really like AC/DC. Or, more likely, the band's blistering guitar rock, violent lyrics and electrically inspired name simply make them perfect candidates to provide the entire soundtrack to Iron Man 2. Rockers providing soundtracks is nothing new, but rather than featuring all-new songs, like Queen did for Highlander and Daft Punk is doing for Tron, the AC/DC soundtrack will be a "greatest hits" collection, including some of their best-known anthems from as far back as 1976. (The promo video is set to 1980's "Shoot to Thrill.") With this in mind, we looked at other tentpole films slated for this year and picked the bands (and solo artists) with suitable back catalogs to provide all of the music for each movie.
You hear that? That's the sound of a million geeks crying out. But whether it's a cry of happiness, anger or confusion depends on the geek, and that geek's specific feelings towards Marvel comic books and Joss Whedon. Word has come down that Whedon, the creator of Dollhouse and Buffy the Vampire Slayer, will direct the Avengers movie, and while many are intrigued at the possibilities, there are some who just don't see the logic. (To be fair, Whedon's an experienced Marvel Comics writer and also wrote and very nearly directed a Wonder Woman movie, so this isn't the craziest idea we've ever heard.) As for us, we're mainly wondering about which members of his talented acting stable may make appearances in the film. Although half the movie is already cast (Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, etc.), there are plenty of other classic Avengers and Avenger villains that could be used to round out the story. Here are the past Whedon stars that we'd cast:
This week Marvel Studios is releasing Captain America: The First Avenger, a period superhero adventure starring one of their most recognizable characters. But it's also a prelude to the company's next feature, which will be a kind of comic-book movie that hasn't been attempted on the big-screen before: a team-up adventure that unites some of Marvel's biggest heroes -- including Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.), Thor (Chris Hemsworth), Captain America (Chris Evans) and The Incredible Hulk (Mark Ruffalo, taking over from Ed Norton and Eric Bana) -- to combat a global threat. The title, of course, is The Avengers, the same name of the Marvel supergroup that's been battling bad guys in the four-color pages of the company's comics since 1963. Geek icon (and part-time comics scribe) Joss Whedon is writing and directing the film, which also stars Samuel L. Jackson as the group's leader, Nick Fury, Scarlett Johansson as the leather-jumpsuit clad spy, the Black Widow and Jeremy Renner as the ace archer, Hawkeye. Naturally, a project as ambitious as The Avengers didn't come together overnight. Marvel has been laying the groundwork for this film since the first Iron Man hit theaters in 2008, slipping in visual and verbal references to Avengers-lore in all their standalone superhero features. Here's a film-by-film guide to some of the Easter Eggs that have pointed the way to The Avengers
I really can't blame Jon Favreau for wanting to pass on the third Iron Man movie. He's already made two really good films, and any sort of arc he wanted to have in the third one was going to have to take a back seat to what happens with Iron Man in the Avengers and what Marvel wants him to do in Avengers 2. So best to leave it in the hands of someone who's sold on the whole "big picture" plan, but hopefully can still deliver the goods. Sadly, go-to sequel master Irvin Kershner is no longer with us, but we came up with a list of name directors with sequel experience who would, at the very least, create a threequel that would get people talking.
Are you in need of an Iron Man fix? It's been two months since the DVD came out and you've already found the Easter eggs and watched it often enough to make your significant other put Iron Man underpants on his or her Christmas shopping list. How else are you supposed to get your fix? Filming hasn't even started for the sequel! Have no fear, my jittery friend. Relief has come through in the form of Jeff Bridge's personal photo diary, Making Iron Man.
A scene in Iron Man teased the possibility of Tony Stark's right-hand man Jim Rhodes some day donning a suit of armor of his own to become War Machine. The role was played by Terrence Howard, who, thanks to Marvel Studios' success, looked to have a long franchise ahead of him, as well as possibly a spin-off movie of his own. That's all changed, according to The Hollywood Reporter, which is reporting that Howard is out of the sequel. Don't worry, though -- Jim "Rhodey" Rhodes will still be there. It's just that he'll be played by Don Cheadle, instead.
Although in many parts of the country it's still sweatier than a sumo wrestler in a sauna, the U.S. summer box office will be wrapping up the season as we head into Labor Day weekend. How did things go over the last few months? Better than expected, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Going into this weekend, "Nielsen EDI data showed domestic tallies of $3.96 billion that are sure to rise to beyond $4 billion by the Monday holiday." The box office was surprisingly strong "thanks to unsurprisingly robust sequels and a shockingly lucrative performance by the latest installment in a 19-year-old superhero franchise." The latter refers, of course, to The Dark Knight, although I have to wonder why its success is considered so shocking. Was anyone expecting, say, Meet Dave to siphon off some of the Bat's profits?
The greatest Marvel superhero movie ever made -- you heard me, Spider-Man -- is coming to DVD. On September 30, you'll be able to get your hands on three different versions of the Iron Man DVD, and like the three different armors he wears in the film, each has bigger and better features than the last. Let's call them Mark 1, 2 and 3. You know, because we're all big nerds. (Well, I am.)