A Chinese man named Chan can create fire from nothing, in the palm of his hand.
(Like Doc Ock says in SPIDER-MAN 2, “The power of the sun, in the palm of my hand!”)
Chan is approached by a mysterious woman in a flower dress. She convinces him to take on a superhero-esque name and show off his powers. After all, as she says, no one knows the name Steve Rogers, but everyone recognizes Captain America.
So, Scorch is born. (The girl in the flower dress’s idea).
Apparently becoming a superhero or supervillain is an important lesson in branding.
Another week, another MARVELous (sorry for the pun…) episode of AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D.
In ‘Eye Spy,’ Coulson and the gang track down one of his old proteges, Agent Mindy, long thought dead, more recently appearing as a turncoat with superpowers. Not only is she a skeleton from Coulson’s past, but she can see skeletons with her new gift of X-Ray vision.
Rather than going into detail surrounding the synopsis, in this ‘issue’ I simply want to cover the broad strokes/themes of the season and how they play out in this ‘Eye Spy.’
You are welcome to watch the episode for yourself, for free, on Hulu, if you have not seen it already.
Tony Stark isn’t the only one in the MCU (Marvel Cinematic Universe) who creates his own demons. In the third episode of AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D., Agent Phil Coulson ends up accidentally creating his own super-villain.
But just like the narrative of IRON MAN 3, let’s track this from the beginning…
If the “Pilot” was an NCIS knock-off and “0-8-4” was a mini-Marvel action movie, then “The Asset” is basically Marvel’s version of MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE.
Starting with the most impressive special effects I’ve seen on a network show (surely part of the budget is borrowed from the AVENGERS INITIATIVE: PHASE TWO films), this globe spanning episode involves infiltrating an incredibly secure compound and ends with a device that would make SPIDER-MAN 2’s Doc Ock jealous.
The second episode of AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D. is a real Marvel!
While S.H.I.E.L.D.’s pilot left the question, whether or not the show would be original or an NCIS -type-procedural with a coat of Stan Lee paint, the 2nd episode proves this show is the real deal; a deal even Samuel L. Jackson can’t refuse.
This episode, Marvel movie fans get the treat of transitioning from A.I.M.’s Extremis in episode 1, a Hydra’s Tesseract weapon of mass destruction.
Responding to a ‘0-8-4,’ Agent Phil Coulson’s (Clark Gregg) elite unit of S.H.I.E.L.D operatives and Skye (Chloe Bennet), the former(?) member of ‘The Rising Tide,’ (and acting consultant, just like one Tony Stark), end up in Peru. What is a 0-8-4, you may ask? (As Skye did…).
Well, let’s just say the last 0-8-4 Agent Phil Coulson responded to was an unmovable hammer in New Mexico…
The “Marvel Movie Universe” has finally come to a television near you (or Hulu) for the 2nd chapter in “The Avengers Initiate Phase Two.”
MARVEL’S AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D. continues every geek’s wet-dream by weaving the same universe, not just across multiple big-screen superhero franchises, but now in a weekly TV format, shedding more light on S.H.I.E.L.D and Agent Coulson, the essential, behind the scenes backbone of the Avengers. Though the show still lost in the ratings to what continues to be TV’s most popular show, NCIS, it was the third best premiere of a drama… ever… with 12.1 million viewers.
EXTREME SPOILERS AHEAD FOR AVENGERS, DARK KNIGHT RISES, AND SKYFALL.
Possible SPOILERS for any other films referenced.
We’ve finally reached 2012, a year full of great villains! Perhaps the best year for antagonists in this modern age!
All of 2012’s “Terrible 3” fit the mold I discussed in previous posts of “A Better Class of Criminal” (Part II, Part III). All 3 deserve to be on the list of 100 greatest villains ever; any other year, each would be the highlight due to less steep competition from the other 2.
Loki (Tom Hiddleson), THE AVENGERS
Loki is the weakest of the 2012 “Terrible 3,” yet he is still fan-diddily-tastic and miles above most antagonists on the silver screen (technically, billions of miles above, since he is from Asgard…).
Let’s tick the boxes off for the traits we’ve already covered ad nauseum…
1) Loki has a mastermind of a plan. The demi-God is always on step ahead of S.H.I.E.L.D., the Avengers, and even his own brother, Thor. More specific, like great villains past (think the Joker), his plan involves being captured in order to destroy the Avengers from the inside. In his case, he wants a shot at the monster S.H.I.E.L.D. brought on their own Hellicarrier, Bruce Banner aka the Hulk.
Even past his capture and escape, Loki is a step ahead of Captain America and team, setting up at Stark Tower before even Tony Stark realizes it.
2) Loki loves his work. He smiles so often, with such evil and glee, even when things look there worst for him. My personal favorite is the smile Loki pops off while “removing” a man’s eyeball before he first encounters Captain America in Germany.
He smiles when he arrives on our planet, as Thor threatens him, as he watches Thor, Iron Man, and Captain America clash, as he passes Banner’s lab in cuffs, as he threatens Black Widow, and even when Tony Stark taunts him in the third act. Loki’s having so much fun he can’t contain himself.
As a result, so do we! A lot of credit has to go to the actor, Tom Hiddleson, on this one. As written, Loki could be played more seriously, but Hiddleson nails Loki’s playfulness.
3) Speech! Speech! – Loki may not have a unique voice like his predecessor, The Joker, or his successor, Bane, but he can still deliver quite the evil speech.
To the people of Germany:
“Is not this simpler? Is this not your natural state? It’s the unspoken truth of humanity, that you crave subjugation. The bright lure of freedom diminishes your life’s joy in a mad scramble for power, for identity. You were made to be ruled. In the end, you will always kneel.”
To Black Widow:
“I won’t touch Barton. Not until I make him kill you! Slowly, intimately, in every way he knows you fear! And then he’ll wake just long enough to see his good work, and when he screams, I’ll split his skull! This is my bargain, you mewling quim!”
“Enough! You are, all of you are beneath me! I am a god, you dull creature, and I shall not be bullied by…”
4) Loki is unique. Sure, we’ve seen many super-villains over the years, but Loki is a God/Alien. He considers himself a fallen king, driven mad by the power of the Tesseract and envy of Thor. He sees the human race as ants, something very few to no villains mentioned previously feel. After all, even those like Norman Osbourne aka the Green Goblin, who sees himself as above regular people, was human himself before experimentation.
5) Loki makes it personal. He attacks the Avengers “where they live” (according to Tony Stark), killing friend of the team Agent Phil Coulson.
Bane (Tom Hardy) , THE DARK KNIGHT RISES
I argue that Bane is an even stronger Nolan Batman baddie than Joker… and most people call me a fool.
Joker may have tested Batman’s one rule… and corrupted Gotham’s White Knight, Harvey Dent… but BANE BROKE THE BAT! And held Gotham hostage for months, keeping the entire US government at bay.
My favorite scene in Nolan’s entire DARK KNIGHT TRILOGY is Bane and Batman’s initial fight in the sewers. Not only is the action perfectly brutal, leading to the destruction of Batman – the final moment true to the exact panel from the comic – but every line Bane utters during the fight is gold; instantly classic. Both the writing, and the all important delivery by the extraordinary Tom Hardy make the scene the best of the comic-book-movie crop:
“Not as serious as [your mistake], I fear…
Let’s not stand on ceremony here, Mr. Wayne.
Peace has cost you your strength. Victory has defeated you!
Theatricality and deception. Powerful agents to the uninitiated. But we are initiated, aren’t we Bruce? Members of the League of Shadows. And you betrayed us!…
I am the League of Shadows! I’m here to fulfill Ra’s al Ghul’s destiny!
You fight like a younger man with nothing held back. Admirable, but mistaken.
Oh, you think the darkness is your ally. But you merely adopted the dark. I was born in it, molded by it. I didn’t see the light until I was already a man. By then it was nothing to me but blinding!
The shadows betray you, because they belong to me!
I will show you where I have made my home whilst preparing to bring justice to Gotham… Then I will break you.
Your precious armory, gratefully accepted. We will need it.
Ah yes, I was wondering what would break first… your spirit… or your body?!?!”
CLICK “READ MORE” BELOW FOR MORE BANE GOODNESS! NOW WITH SILVA FROM SKYFALL!