The Centurions

The Amazing Spider Man
Introducing The Green Goblin, Electo and The Rhino

Copyright 2 May 2014 Sony Pictures

The movie opens with a close-up on fingers furiously typing on a keyboard. Files are being deleted from a system. Spiders kept in tubes as research test subjects are killed en masse with poison gas. A bespectacled figure checks vials, some of which feature the skull and crossbones. A shot reveals it’s Peter Parker’s father, Richard Parker (Campbell Scott). Suddenly, his computer access is cut off and he can’t complete his mission to destroy the project files. Richard dashes from the Oscorp building on his way home to Peter and his wife, Mary (Embeth Davidtz) .

Richard is recording a message with a webcam. “People will say I’m a monster for what I’ve done”. He hears Peter call for him and cuts his message short. Rushing up from the basement, he sees that the house has been ransacked. Someone is looking for the files he took. A car pulls up as Mary says goodbye to Peter. Richard grabs her away. Peter is clearly distraught. He touches Richard’s hand for one last time and stares at them from the front door.

Richard and Mary are on a private jet. Mary mentions that she has found somewhere safe for them to stay as Richard uploads project files from his laptop. He tries to reassure her, explaining that their life has been changed forever. Richard doesn’t want to put Peter through that. Mary pops into the bathroom just as one of the flight crew steps out of the cockpit. Richard notes the man has gone to a sink and appears to be washing blood off his hands. He is VERY suspicious and wary of the guy’s behavior. Suddenly, the crew guy pulls a gun and threatens Richard. He locks Mary in the bathroom and prepares to shoot Richard. As Richard uploads the file, Mary realizes something is wrongs and bursts out. A struggle ensues and Mary is shot! Richard desperately overcomes the thug. Mary reminds Richard to finish the upload just as the thug roars back to life!

They scrap back and forth as we see the pilot (Timothy Adams) is dead and the plane falls into a steep dive. Thug shuts down the laptop again as Richard realizes his fate is sealed. Mary is dead; there’s no getting out of the situation. However, the file upload to Roosevelt has to be completed. Richard shoots out a window and holds onto the laptop with the strongest Cat-5 cable in existence. The hitman flies out the window to his death and Richard confirms that the file is transferred. The plane plummets to its doom and cut to black.

Present Day

Music rings in as the camera follows Spider-Man falling to earth. A stunning sequence follows Spider-Man playing webbing his way through the city. He overhears a helicopter radio announcing a plutonium shipment under siege at Oscorp. Spidey swings into action to help. A big tow truck is being driven by a bald guy with a Russian accent, Aleksei Sytsevich (Paul Giamatti). He’s bashing lots of Manhattan vehicles as he tows/steals the Oscorp truck. Armed assistants set explosives to blow the hatch as the Russian rolls over police cars. Spidey swings impressively through buildings in hot pursuit.

The goons (Dusan Hyska & Andrei Runtso) blow the hatch and hop into the van. There’s a container of yellowish vials that are their target. Spidey hops onto the tow truck and engages in some Spidey banter with Sytsevich (who clearly has no idea who he is). As the goons prepare to hijack the plutonium, we cut to a Oscorp employee the socially inept geek Max Dillion (Jamie Foxx) stumbling through a crowd with an armful of blueprints. Naturally, the prints get knocked from his hands and roll into the street JUST as Spidey and Sytsevich barrel around the corner. Spidey leaps to the rescue and prevents Max from being squashed by a cab. Spidey hands him the plans and notes that he works at Oscorp before leaping away.

Sytsevich, clearly ignorant of the dangers of radioactive material, slams into a bunch of cars, tossing the goons and the P-238 around in the van. Dozens of cop cars crash into the truck pinning it in. The goons burst from the van firing at the cops with automatic weapons. Strands of web shoot from above, yanking the goons and suspending them over the cops. Sytsevich takes his chance to escape. The P-238 is bouncing all over the place as Spidey tries to avert disaster, catching, juggling and swinging like a chandelier. As he bounds out to recover one last vial, his phone rings. Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone) is at their high school graduation waiting for him. He’s really late. As he playfully banters with Gwen he imagines that he sees her disapproving father riding by in an NYPD patrol car. He remembers his broken promise to leave Gwen alone (from the first Amazing Spider Man film).

Gwen is called up to deliver her valedictory speech. Peter isn’t there. Cut back to the truck chase. The next sequence bounces back and forth between the speech and Spidey trying to stop the truck. Parker’s Spider sense triggers into a slow motion shot as he leaps over a bus to protect some pedestrians. FINALLY, Spidey subdues Sytsevich, grabs the P-238, makes it to graduation and kisses Gwen on stage! (Note: Spider Man and comic book creator Stan Lee has a cameo as an elderly man at the graduation who sees Peter change out of his Spider Man costume).

Aunt May (Sally Field) takes pictures of the new graduate before sending him off with Gwen. They make a date where Peter will join Gwen and her family for Dim Sum at 8:00 pm. Peter catches a glimpse of Captain Stacey standing with his family and hears his voice in his head. That evening, Peter shows up to the date, but won’t come into the Chinese restaurant that Gwen and her family are at. Gwen meets him at the door and they talk again about her dad and the promise Peter made. Peter is torn, but Gwen really isn’t having it. Peter loves her, but he couldn’t handle losing her because of his actions. Gwen decides to break it off. She’s done.

The next morning, Peter is on another visually stunning city patrol. Falling and swinging as the wind ripples his Spidey suit. As a radio call-in show plays in the background, Spidey rescues a grade school kid and his science project. He encourages the kid, much like he did with Max at the beginning of the movie. During an extended montage, a talk radio debates rages while he saves a girl, changes clothes, saves a bodega and mingles with costumed New Yorkers. Of course, he still keeps an eye on Gwen every now and then.

After a cute scene with Aunt May, we cut to Max Dillon, who has really flipped out after his chance meeting with Spider-Man. He seems to have created an alternate Spidey persona with whom he engages in a meticulously crafted fantasy. Oscorp is developing a new power grid system and Max is part of the team. Max’s delusion may have spilled over into his work life too. He shares an elevator with Gwen with whom he shares his Spider-Man story. Unbeknownst to him, Gwen appreciates his fascination.

Meanwhile, Harry Osborn arrives home to visit his ailing father. Norman looks awful; his skin is discolored and his hands are claw like. He’s bedridden and looks like he’s at the end of his rope. Norman derides Harry for not achieving more. They have a fractured relationship. It is as bitter as Norman’s illness. He says the disease is genetic and implies that Harry will succumb to the same fate. He asks to see Harry’s hand and notices that it is shaking; a symptom of the illness. He hands Harry a drive with his research. Minutes later, a newscast announces Norman Osborn’s death.

Gwen receives a quick message about good news regarding her scholarship; meanwhile, most of Oscorp is being allowed to leave early to attend a memorial for Norman, but Max is told by his supervisor (B.J. Novak) to stay behind and check out a problem with the bio-electric power grid. The room is a mess of electric eel tanks and strange equipment. Max calls a colleague to deactivate the system for safety purposes, but the colleague refuses, saying he’s on his way out the door. Max nevertheless tries to repair the system, but ends up electrocuting himself and falling into the tank of eels. His transformation has begun.

Meanwhile in a boardroom, Harry is being informed of various Oscorp troubles. He twirls the drive while responding to the information. He couldn’t care less about it all, and sees that the Board doesn’t respect him. Consequently, he lashes out with his disdain for them, elevating his father’s assistant, Felicia Hardy (Felicity Jones), as his second-in-command. Charm doesn’t run in the family. Peter Parker is announced, raising eyebrows in the room. Harry steps out to see Peter. They haven’t seen each other in years. He came to check in on his old friend in the wake of his father’s passing. After an awkward moment, the friends reconnect with a laugh.

In a local riverside park, Harry and Peter catch up. Harry seems genuinely happy to get away from his Oscorp drama and they bum around the city together. Harry apologizes for the distance in their relationship which leads to a conversation about why Peter’s parents left. Harry also learns that Peter has a girlfriend, and Peter says Gwen’s name, mentioning she’s an Oscorp employee. A van is monitoring their conversation which turns into a discussion of Max’s accident. He’s to be written off to avoid another scandal.

Cut to the lab where Dillon’s corpse has been stashed. In the midst of electrical interference, Dillon’s body reanimates in a shower of sparks. Electrical tools jump to life as Dillion discovers the nature of his powers. Grabbing a coat, Dillion/Electro Man stumbles out of the lab.

That evening, Peter meets with Gwen in the city. Looks like they’re making up. They have real chemistry and they both seem a lot happier in each other’s presence.

Meanwhile, Dillon steps into the street and immediately sets off all the car alarms. He sucks the electricity right out of a car. As he looks up, he sees the city as a matrix of electrical energy. Max Dillon wants more and heads to Times Square.

Back to Pete and Gwen. He admits that he’s been watching over her. She knows he’s still in love with her. It’s a nice moment. “It’s the closest I can get to being with you.” Suddenly, Gwen drops a bomb. That phone call was about a scholarship to Oxford. She’s one of two finalists and could be headed to England. As Peter tries to process the news, his spider sense triggers. He looks to Times Square.

Max grabs a power outlet to draw in the energy. He doesn’t appear to have any motivation other than to absorb the energy. A cop demands that he stop and Max inadvertently flips a big truck with his electromagnetic powers. As a fleet of cop cars surround him, he catches a glimpse of himself on the big TV monitors. It’s the attention and stardom he’s craved his whole life. His emotions explode triggering a wave of energy that flips the squad cars. Spidey swoops in to catch one before it crushes a cop and tries to talk Max down.

At first Max seeing his hero seems to improve his mental state. Spidey tries to talk him down a bit, begging the police snipers to lay off. Unfortunately, they take a shot, setting him off. As the crowd rallies behind the Spider Man, Max’s inner dialog goes into overdrive. Convinced that he has been betrayed, he grabs some electrical cables, jacking them into his chest and sucking huge amounts of electricity into his body. Times Square goes dark and Max/Electro sends a blast of power that tears the block to shreds. Electro sends lightning bolts into the screaming crowd, levitating on electromagnetic force. Spidey sprays a fire hose onto him, disrupting Electro’s power and sending him plummeting to earth. Electro is down for the count and Spidey heads home to watch the news about the fight.

Glancing at his busted web shooter, Peter becomes consumed with solving the mystery of his parents’ disappearance. He feverishly starts research on the internet trying to connect the dots.

Meanwhile, Harry is sitting in a cavernous office. He’s listening to news coverage fiddling with the drive his father left him. He feels an itch on his neck and as he reaches to scratch it, the drive pricks his finger. Falling to the desk, the drive causes a reaction with the desktop display and begins spitting out information about a secret battle armor. Harry looks at more files, and sees a video of Richard Parker explaining research into mutated spiders

Cut to Peter experimenting with ways to Electro-proof his electronic web shooters by watching YouTube videos. The next morning, his phone rings. It’s Harry asking to see him. Harry says he’s dying and needs Peter’s help to save his life. At Harry’s office, a video of Richard and Norman is playing. They are talking about how spiders might be merged with human DNA to achieve miraculous cures. Harry is convinced that Spider-Man is the key to success. Harry needs to find Spider-Man and experiment on his blood to find a cure.

Meanwhile, Gwen starts looking through Oscorp files to find Max Dillon. She thinks that he might be the electrical creature that attacked the city. Security agents detect the file access and block it, and then trace it back to Gwen.

Cut back to Harry, who thinks Peter has a relationship with Spider-Man. He needs Peter to put them in contact. The scene cuts back and forth between Harry/Peter and security people tracking Gwen’s inquiries. They start to chase her and she bumps into Peter. Hopping into a storeroom, she explains that she knows who Electro is. Peter explains that Harry wants Spider-Man’s blood and is fearful of the consequences. But back to business, Peter doesn’t want Gwen to go to England. They kiss and attempt to exit the building. Gwen hops into an elevator with Harry Osborn. Harry figures out that this is the Gwen who has a relationship with Peter.

Cut to an exterior shot of Ravencroft Institution where Dillon has been collected and stored. Clearly, this isn’t a benevolent place. Dr. Kafka explains that he wants to help Dillon. Max is incredulous as he recognizes Oscorp tech. After a few attempts to assess the limits of his powers, Dillon christens himself Electro. Scheming Oscorp exec Donald Menken (Colm Feore) commands that he be shut down and Electro is placed back into the neutralizing water chamber.

Back at Peter’s house, Aunt May is sitting in the midst of Peter’s conspiracy web about his parents. He confronts her about the truth and demands answers. She explains that he was dropped off on their steps with no explanation. She begins to ramble in frustration and will not reveal anything more about his parents. Peter explains that he doesn’t want to replace her, he just needs to know the truth. May relents and tells him that some government officials came to see them. They claimed that Peter’s parents were traitors. It doesn’t make sense to either of them. May says that Richard had a very normal routine of taking the D train to work every morning at 7 am, and came home at 6 pm.

Cut to Harry’s house. He looks awful. Spider-Man has dropped in to explain that giving him his blood isn’t possible. It could have deadly side effects. Harry doesn’t care. He wants the blood, no matter the cost. Harry is clearly going over the edge. He is desperate and Peter realizes he’s made a mistake. He’s about to make another one by interrupting Gwen as she heads into her scholarship interview. Despite breaking his heart, he wishes her luck in the interview.

He takes his frustration out on his conspiracy web, tearing it apart. In the midst of the take down, he throws an electronic device that Richard owned, and it breaks open, revealing a large number of subway tokens stashed inside. He remembers what May said about Richard taking the D train. Entering Roosevelt and the D train together on the internet, he learns about a secret subway station along the D line that was used to transport President Roosevelt, the same person Richard was trying to send the data to in the opening scene.

Back at Oscorp. Harry is in a drunken fit. He’s sure that his fate is sealed since the super spiders were destroyed. Felicia, however, thinks there’s still a chance. Apparently, Oscorp extracted the venom as a failsafe before killing the spiders. Harry begins combing through files to find the cache of venom. Apparently, Menken has been using Harry’s security clearance to run the off-books Special Projects division at Ravencroft. Harry watches the Electro footage as Menken bursts into his office. It’s a setup! Menken uses the Electro fiasco to remove Harry from his job and wrest control of Oscorp.

Peter is in the subway tunnels looking for his dad’s lab. He discovers the Roosevelt station and activates a switch with a token. Gradually, the tracks open to reveal a subterranean lab car that roars to life. All of his dad’s research is here and the file download was completed years ago. Richard’s video explains Norman Osborn’s nefarious deeds while proclaiming his own innocence. Richard Parker refused to let his research be used for biological weapons.

At Ravencroft, Harry breaks in to meet with Electro, stunning two guards and taking their access badges. Back to Peter, Richard announces that he used his own DNA with the spiders, meaning that only someone with HIS bloodline can replicate the experiments. That’s why only Peter could inherit the Spider-Man powers without harm

Harry races through the Ravencroft facility activating a fire alarm.

Peter watches as his father says that Peter is the most important thing to him, driving Peter to tears.

Harry strips off his disguise and enters the chamber where Electro is being held. He cancels Electro’s sedation. Harry bargains with Electro to take down Oscorp for him. Harry appeals to Max’s desperate need for friendship and they agree to take down Spider-Man together Of course, Electro exacts revenge on Kafka before escaping with Harry.

Meanwhile, Peter leaves the subway station and receives a voice mail from Gwen. She’s been accepted to Oxford and is already headed to the airport to avoid a face to face goodbye.

At Oscorp, Electro kill Menken’s security guard before Harry walks in and forces Menken to grant him access to Special Projects. Electro dashes off to reclaim his stolen power grid design and cripple the city. In Special Projects, Harry injects himself with the spider venom “cure”, which sets off a painful transformation into the Green Goblin as Menken escapes. Harry is in extreme pain and looks up to see the special armor from the hard drive video. Crawling painfully while green light flashes all around him, he makes his way to the suit. Upon entering it, a healing protocol begins to repair the damage to his ravaged system.

Cut to Gwen, caught in bridge traffic on the way to the airport. Her taxi driver (Teddy Coluca) sees that Spider-Man has webbed a love note on the bridge that draws Gwen out of her cab. He scoops her up and carries her off to talk. He’s in love with her and they have the “movie love talk” on top of the bridge. Peter will go to England to be with her. As they kiss, Electro takes down the city’s power grid, enveloping New York in darkness (and severely complicating air traffic). Gwen says there’s a reset switch at the plant, but if Electro fries that, the city will never get back up. Brainy Gwen also figures out that Peter can Electro-proof his web shooters by magnetizing them. They do this with jumper cables from a squad car and Peter webs Gwen to a car for safety.

Electro is a living field of electricity that dwarfs whole city blocks. He challenges Spider-Man to settle their score setting off a dazzling sequence of Spidey jumping around Electo-blast and grabbing his webbing like a maniac.

Meanwhile, the flight Gwen missed is getting pretty desperate for contact with ground control. Their own instruments are being affected by Electro’s field. What’s more, ANOTHER flight is on an intercept path.

Spidey tries to short circuit Electro, but he’s grown too powerful They trade punches and Electro literally spits electricity onto Spidey’s head. Gwen’s magnetizing trick works allowing Peter to toss Electro into the power grid and gain a moment’s breather. Unfortunately, Electro is back in seconds and starts pummeling Peter as he bounces between the grid towers. Spidey is taking a pretty bad beating until Gwen runs over Electro with a Squad car. Gwen insists on staying and they work out a plan to defeat Electro. Spidey will distract him while Gwen resets the system. It’s a big impressive fight sequence with Spidey using his spider sense to evade electrocution.

Spider-Man creates a web to channel Electro’s energy and cues Gwen to flip the switch. The backlash restores the city’s power and seemingly destroys Electro. The restored power avoids the plane collision and all seems well. Until Harry comes screaming in on his goblin glider, cackling maniacally. Seeing Peter and Gwen together, Harry/Green Goblin figures out that Peter is Spider-Man and decides to hurt Peter by harming Gwen. Peter pleads with him to let Gwen go. Harry/Green Goblin obliges, by dropping her from his glider. Peter jumps to save her, but Harry drops a pumpkin bomb to finish the job. A furiously fast fight ensues, with Harry and Peter duking it out while Gwen attempts to avoid becoming collateral damage.

Gwen falls and Peter webs her stopping her descent. Harry pounces and pins Peter to a clock wheel. As the mechanism moves, it will cut his web and send Gwen to her fate. Peter pins Harry and wedges his foot on the mechanism to spare Gwen, but to no avail. The wheel turns, the web snaps and Gwen falls. The clock damage takes out Harry and Peter leaps through the wreckage to save his love. The web line catches, but the impact snaps her neck, killing her instantly. The pose mimics the comic book perfectly. Peter gently cradles her lifeless body, pleading for her to stay with him.

Cut to her funeral. Mrs. Stacy (Kari Coleman) is devastated. Peter and Aunt May hang back until the family leaves. Peter sits alone at her grave and a series of shots show him watching over her site over a period of several months.

At Ravencroft, Harry is in a cell. A visitor shrouded in shadow (the same man from the end of the first film) visits and discusses a plan. Spider-Man is grief-stricken and out of action. Harry has a plan and wants to “keep it small.” Apparently, all that they need is at Oscorp. They decide on using Aleksei Sytsevich as a test subject.

Cut to a shot of Oscorp tower. Mr. Gustav Fiers (Michael Massee), who is the shadowy man walks through a room with specialized gear; Octo-arms (for Dr. Octopus), vulture wings (for Vulture), and an armored Rhino suit…. They will spring Sytsevich and set him against the city.

At the Parker house, a newscast indicates that Spider Man has been missing for five months. Aunt May expresses concern that Spider-Man has disappeared. Peter is consumed with remorse, but in his bedroom he grabs a USB stick and watches Gwen’s graduation day speech. The speech is all about maintaining a sense of hope. Remembering her bravery, he opens his closet and takes the uniform.

Aleksei Sytsevich, controlling the mechanized suit as The Rhino, has just robbed a bank and is rampaging through the city. His superior armor is cutting through the cops. Inspired by his hero, the science fair kid has donned a Spidey suit and runs out to face the Rhino. Laughing at the sight, Rhino takes the bait and marches toward him. Until the real Spider-Man swoops in. Rhino charges Spidey who swings a manhole cover against Rhino….

Fade to black. End credits.

’Nuff said.

Captain America
The Winter Soldier

Copyright 4 April 2014 Marvel Studios

Two years after the events of ‘The Avengers’, retired soldier Sam Wilson (Anthony Mackie) jogging around Washington, D.C. Catching up to him very quickly is Steve Rogers, aka Captain America (Chris Evans). Steve completes multiple laps over Sam until the latter gets tired and sits to rest. The two of them formally introduce themselves to each other. Sam is a war veteran and he knows Steve has been adjusting to life in the 21st century, and that he has a lot to catch up on. He recommends Steve listen to Marvin Gaye’s “Trouble Man” soundtrack to get up to speed on the last few decades. Steve adds it to his list, along with things like “Star Wars/Trek” and “Rocky”. Steve then gets a text telling him to stand by the curb. A car pulls up, driven by Natasha Romanoff, aka Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson). She greets the two men and has Steve hop in the car.

The duo join other S.H.I.E.L.D. agents, led by Brock Rumlow (Frank Grillo), as they fly over the Indian Ocean. A S.H.I.E.L.D. vessel, the Lemurian Star, has been taken over by pirates, led by Georges Batroc (Georges St-Pierre). They are holding hostages, including Agent Jasper Sitwell (Maximiliano Hernandez). Steve, in his Captain America outfit, dives out of the jet armed only with his shield and no parachute. He lands in the water and climbs onto the ship, beating every goon that comes in his way. Natasha and the other agents drop down to aid Cap. The agents defeat the pirates and rescue the hostages while Batroc tries to run and is caught by Cap. They fight on the deck of the ship, with Batroc getting quickly back up on his feet even when Cap manages to take him down. “I thought you were more than a mask,” he says smugly. Steve removes his mask and replies, “Let’s find out.” He continues the fight and knocks Batroc down for good with his shield.

Steve finds Natasha extracting files from the ship’s computer using a S.H.I.E.L.D. flash drive. He calls her out on this as they’re supposed to be helping Rumlow get hostages out. She pulls the flash drive out, moments before a pirate runs past and throws a grenade at the two. Steve grabs Natasha and jumps through a window before it explodes.

At the Triskelion, S.H.I.E.L.D. headquarters in Washington DC, Steve confronts Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) about the motives behind Natasha’s task. Fury knew Steve wouldn’t be comfortable with it, so he asked Natasha. Fury reminds Steve that he can’t trust anybody, even those who work closely with him. He takes Steve into an elevator down to the underground level where there are three Helicarriers being worked on as part of Project Insight, an operation that connects the Helicarriers to spy satellites used to prevent any possible terrorist attacks. This is in part a response to the events that took place in New York, but Steve sees this as more of an aggressive form of protection. Fury insists that he get with the program.

Steve visits the Smithsonian Museum to check out an exhibit dedicated to Captain America. A child recognizes him in disguise, but Steve holds a finger to his lips asking the kid not to point him out. The kid understands and keeps quiet. Among the displays are mannequins with costumes of Steve’s old commando squad, and one of his old friend Bucky Barnes (Sebastian Stan), whom Steve saw fall to his death (in the first Captain America film). Steve checks out a video of his old love, Peggy Carter (Hayley Atwell), in which she commemorates Steve on his actions as Cap. He later visits an elderly Peggy, who has since been married and had children. She is ill and although she initially appears to recognize Steve, she slips back into a state where she believes to be seeing him again for the first time since he was lost, shocked to see him alive. He merely says, “I couldn’t leave my best girl. Not when she owes me a dance.”

Fury tries to access the files that Natasha got on the flash drive, but he is unable to get past security, something that was apparently set by himself. He goes to meet with Defense Secretary Alexander Pierce (Robert Redford) as he is meeting with the World Security Council over the matter of the hijacking of the vessel. Fury tells Pierce that they need to delay Project Insight. Pierce says ‘okay’, but he wants Fury to have Iron Man stop by his niece’s birthday.

Steve finds Sam counseling other veterans suffering from PTSD. After the group meeting, Sam reveals to Steve that he lost his friend Riley in battle in Iraq after he was shot down in the air with an RPG. Despite this, Sam still loves flying. He asks Steve what makes him happy. He doesn’t know.

As Fury drives, he contacts Agent Maria Hill (Cobie Smulders) to rendezvous with him. As he stops at an intersection, a police car pulls up alongside Fury’s car on his passenger’s side. Fury notices that the officers driving the car are looking at him very suspiciously as a black man driving a very expensive SUV. The driver then hits his siren for a quick second and pulls forward.

Just as Fury pulls into the intersection, another police car appears and T-bones Fury’s car from the drivers’ side, sending it into some bollards. The first police car then suddenly stops, and backs up straight into Fury’s car. A third police car simultaneously plows into Fury’s car from behind, and several more units quickly arrive, boxing Fury’s car in. The first police car to hit Fury then backs up. A second later, a black windowless van screeches to a halt, discharging a full SWAT team. The patrol and SWAT officers draw submachine guns and assault rifles and take up positions around Fury’s car. The onboard computer informs Fury that the DC Metropolitan Police dispatch shows no units in the area.

Seconds later, the police officers open fire, riddling the car with bullets, to no avail, since the windows are made of bulletproof glass. The police decide to move to their next strategy: four men from the SWAT team grab a hydraulic battering ram from their van. They unfold a tripod, and plant it next to the car. The operator then pushes a button so that the tripod drills holes into the pavement to stabilize it, before firing it. Each hit rocks the car sideways and weakens the window drastically. Just as the window’s integrity reaches 1%, Fury grabs a hidden minigun and returns fire through the window. Most of the cops on the scene are immediately hit and killed, while the SWAT van and one of the police cars are blown up by a grenade launcher. After a prolonged exchange of gunfire, he commands the car to drive itself out. Fury’s car takes off, with two police cars in hot pursuit.

A lengthy pursuit unfolds through the streets. After forcing their way through stopped traffic, and another running shootout, the two police cars catch up to Fury and begin to trade paint with him. Fortunately for Fury, his onboard computer detects a box truck about to catch up to them at the next intersection. Fury slams on the brakes for his car, while the two police cars continue on and are promptly T-boned by the truck.

Fury commands the vehicle’s computer to get him to a safe location and speeds off. Before the computer can find a safe spot for him, he sees the Winter Soldier (Sebastian Stan) standing in the middle of the road. The Winter Soldier promptly shoots a sticky bomb that attaches itself to the underside of Fury’s car. It explodes and flips the car over. The Winter Soldier walks over to Fury, ready to finish him off, but he escapes in time by burning a hole through the roof of the car and the street below with a laser weapon.

Steve goes back to his apartment to find his pretty neighbor, Sharon Carter (Emily Van Camp) going to do laundry. He offers to let her use his machine, but she says she just spent a lot of time in the diseased ward of the hospital and doesn’t want to pass any sickness to Steve. She tells him that he left his stereo on.

Steve hears music as he cautiously enters his house, grabbing his shield for protection. He finds an injured Fury sitting on his couch. Out loud, Fury says his wife kicked him out, but he shows Steve through text on his phone that anybody could be listening. Before he can say anything else, Fury is shot three times. Steve looks out the window for the shooter. Fury hands him the flash drive and tells him not to trust anybody. The neighbor comes in, armed with a gun. She is Agent 13 of S.H.I.E.L.D., and she tends to Fury. Steve runs after the Winter Soldier. Steve smashes through the walls to catch up to the Winter Soldier outside. He throws his shield at him, but the Winter Soldier catches it with one swift move in his left hand, then throws it back to Steve. Steve catches the shield and is shoved back a bit and looks up, only to find the Winter Soldier has disappeared.

Natasha meets up with Steve at the hospital as they watch doctors operating on Fury. Joining them is Agent Hill. The doctors try to revive him, but Fury flatlines. They call in his death. Afterwards, Natasha asks Steve why Fury was in his apartment. He claims to not know, right as Rumlow tells him they need him back at S.H.I.E.L.D. Natasha calls Steve a bad liar, and they separate. We see that Steve also hid the flash drive behind a pack of gum in the vending machine.

Steve is brought in to speak with Pierce. He also asks Steve why Fury was in his apartment, hoping to find clues to who killed him. They suspect Batroc after he was found the previous night in a safe house. Pierce insinuates that Fury hired the pirates to infiltrate the ship so that he could acquire classified information, and was then killed after the deal went wrong. Steve denies the claim. Pierce asks him again why Fury was there. Steve only says that Fury told him not to trust anybody.

Steve hops on the elevator, which becomes occupied with more S.H.I.E.L.D. agents at each floor it stops at, including Rumlow. Steve notices one agent looking sweaty, and others looking very suspicious, itching for their pistols. He asks anybody if they’d wish to get out, prompting them all to attack him. They strap him magnetic cuffs to his wrists and hold an electric stunning rod to him, but Steve overpowers them and knocks everyone out cold. Agent Sitwell sees the battle through a monitor and orders the STRIKE team to get to the elevator. Steve breaks off the cuffs with his shield and sees the STRIKE team heading his way. He breaks off the elevator wires to send the elevator down. The team still approaches, so Steve breaks through the glass in the elevator, falling dozens of floors and hits the plaza, landing on his shield. He runs to the garage and rides out on his motorcycle, evading the obstacles laid out by S.H.I.E.L.D. A Quinjet emerges to shoot at Steve. He throws his shield into the propellers, jamming it, and giving him an opportunity to hop over it and escape.

Sitwell orders S.H.I.E.L.D. agents to be on the lookout for Steve. Agent 13 demands to know why they’re issuing a manhunt for Captain America. Pierce comes into the room and brands him a fugitive for withholding information on Fury’s death.

Steve goes back to the hospital to retrieve the flash drive from the vending machine, but it’s gone. Natasha appears, chewing some gum. Steve pushes her into a room and demands to know what she knows about the mysterious assassin. She knows the assassin as the Winter Soldier. He nearly killed her on a mission in Iran, during which the target she was assigned to protect was killed, and has reportedly been responsible for over 200 assassinations over the past 50 years. They decide to use the flash drive to find out what they can on Winter Soldier’s whereabouts.

Pierce meets with the WSC members again, defending Fury as a martyr, though they believe he was killed for trying to cover up his own illegal dealings. They all opt to reactivate Project Insight.

Steve and Natasha go to a mall, disguised as a civilian couple. They take the flash drive to an Apple Store and pop it into a MacBook Pro to find signal coming from Wheaton, New Jersey. Natasha tells Steve that they have 9 minutes or less before SHIELD agents find them. The duo spot Rumlow and other S.H.I.E.L.D. agents coming around every corner. Natasha pulls Steve in for a kiss on the escalator to draw attention away from themselves, since public displays of affection make people uncomfortable. The ruse works and Rumlow doesn’t spot them.

Steve and Natasha drive to an abandoned military base where the signal led them to. Steve recognizes it as his old training base in New Jersey, and he briefly envisions his former, smaller self running past him. He enters the facility with Natasha, which is discovered to be an original S.H.I.E.L.D. office. They find framed portraits of Howard Stark and Peggy, along with Col. Chester Phillips. Steve looks behind a bookshelf and uncovers a room full of computers. The only modern type of technology in the room is a small port for the flash drive to be stuck in. Natasha places it in there and activates a computer. A German voice speaks and analyzes the two. The voice belongs to Arnim Zola (Toby Jones), former accomplice of the Red Skull. He transferred his consciousness into a computer once his body had failed him because of a disease. Zola tells the duo that his and Red Skull’s group HYDRA was formed on the belief that humanity could not be trusted with its own freedom, and after the war, S.H.I.E.L.D. recruited him and other HYDRA operatives, where they conspired against their new employers. He reveals that they were directly responsible for targeting people such as the President, along with causing the car accident that killed Howard and Maria Stark. Zola adds that a missile is heading for their location in less than 30 seconds. Steve and Natasha jump into a hole as the missile hits, destroying the computers. Steve protects himself and Natasha as the place crumbles. Rumlow and his goons search the place to make sure there are no survivors.

In his home, Pierce bids goodbye to his housekeeper, Renata (Branka Katic), just as the Winter Soldier appears in his kitchen. He never speaks a word. Pierce starts to talk to him when Renata comes back to get her phone. Remarking that he wishes she’d knocked, Pierce shoots her twice because she’s seen him and the Winter Soldier talking.

Steve and Natasha hide out at Sam’s home, knowing they can trust him. Natasha expresses remorse over her involvement with HYDRA agents. Sam agrees to help the two, utilizing a military project called Falcon.

Back in D.C., Sitwell walks away from meeting Senator Stern (Garry Shandling; reprising his role from “Iron Man 2”). Before they part ways, Stern leans in and whispers to Sitwell, “Hail HYDRA”. Sam calls Sitwell’s phone and orders him to walk to a car to meet with him and his friends. The heroes force Sitwell up to the roof of a tall building. Steve holds Sitwell over the edge, threatening to drop him. Sitwell knows this isn’t Steve’s style. Steve agrees…letting Natasha kick Sitwell off the roof. Moments later, Sam, in his Falcon jet-pack suit with wings, flies up to the roof holding Sitwell. The now terrified traitor confesses that Zola created an algorithm to locate certain people around the world based on any personal facts or data. He name-drops Tony Stark (Iron Man), Bruce Banner (The Hulk), and Stephen Strange (hinting to a future “Doctor Strange” movie). The targets are picked based on their past actions. This makes Sitwell realize that Pierce may very well kill him.

En route back to the Triskelion, the Winter Soldier jumps onto the heroes’ car and pulls Sitwell out through the window, and throws him into the path of a truck. The assassin is joined by other HYDRA agents in attacking the car. Steve pulls Natasha and Sam out, sliding on the car door through the streets. They fight off the villains, with Winter Soldier pursuing Natasha while the HYDRA agents fight Steve and Sam. Winter Soldier thinks he’s found Natasha hiding behind a car and he shoots a bomb to her, but it was really a recording played back on a phone. When he does find Natasha, he shoots at her. Steve jumps out and battles Winter Soldier. The assassin is just as fast and even stronger than Steve. Steve manages to remove his mask, and he finally learns the assassin’s identity — Bucky Barnes. Steve stares at the man who was once his friend, unable to believe that he is standing before him alive and trying to kill him. “Bucky?”, he asks. “Who the hell is Bucky?”, Winter Soldier responds. The HYDRA agents then take Steve, Sam, and Natasha into custody.

The heroes are taken in a prison van. Sam notices Natasha is bleeding from her shoulder, telling the guards she needs assistance. One guard pulls out an electric rod, neutralizing the other guard. The first guard turns out to be Agent Hill in disguise. She takes the heroes to a secret facility to treat Natasha, but first she shows them Fury lying in bed, very much alive. He survived with an anti-stress serum developed by Banner, originally to control his Hulk problem. When he and Natasha are a little more rested, they gather with the other heroes over the fact that Project Insight is set to take place within hours, where the Helicarriers will form a triangular shape and lock sights on their targets around the globe. Fury takes out three chips that they will use to override the Helicarriers’ systems. He turns control over to Steve to give orders.

Within a bank, the HYDRA agents work to fix up Winter Soldier’s metal arm after his fight with Steve. He has brief flashbacks to his old life, from the fall he took to the moment he was recovered by Zola and the HYDRA agents. His left arm was amputated and replaced with the bionic metal arm. When he began to freak out, Zola had him sedated and later put on ice. Pierce comes in, praising the Winter Soldier’s work and asking him to come back to do it again. Winter Soldier asks about Steve, claiming to know him. Pierce orders the agents to get him back to his original killing mindset.

Steve stands on a bridge, reminiscing about his time spent with Bucky. A flashback shows Bucky with Steve after the funeral of Steve’s mother. Bucky offers Steve to let him stay with his family, and all he’d have to do is shine his shoes. Sam comes over, prepared to join Steve in the fight. Steve tells him to suit up before going to the Captain America exhibit to get his old suit. The elderly security guard (Stan Lee) sees the suit missing and comments that he’s gonna get fired.

The WSC members arrive at the Triskelion, guided by Pierce. He gives them electronic pins that will give them access to anywhere in the building. Rogers and Falcon break into the headquarters. Cap accesses a mic that patches him through to every speaker. He tells the agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. that Pierce is a traitor who is working with HYDRA agents, and that they must stop Project Insight from happening. Rumlow and his goons break into the control room. He forces an agent to release the Helicarriers, but Agent 13 intervenes. She forces Rumlow to drop his gun. He does, then grabs his knife and cuts 13’s arm, leading to a gunfight between the S.H.I.E.L.D. and HYDRA agents. Rumlow, amidst the bullets, manages to release the Helicarriers himself.

Cap and Falcon make their way to the Helicarriers as the HYDRA agents try to shoot at them. Cap gets the first chip into one Helicarrier, while Falcon flies around, avoiding getting shot. He manages to get a heat-seeking missile that was aimed at him to hit a Helicarrier to give him an entrance, allowing him to place the second chip in there. Hill, meanwhile, monitors their progress while fighting off HYDRA agents trying to kill her.

Pierce tries convincing the WSC members to join him in their project, making it sound as a peaceful effort to subdue potential attacks around the world. He hands Councilman Singh (Bernard White) a glass of champagne, but Singh refuses to join him and tosses the glass. Pierce pulls out a gun and aims at Singh, but Councilwoman Hawley (Jenny Agutter) kicks Singh away, then takes down the other HYDRA goons in the room before taking the gun. She removes her disguise to reveal Natasha. Her backup comes when Fury steps out of a helicopter, to Pierce’s surprise. Knowing Pierce probably changed the retinal scan, Fury removes his eyepatch to reveal his scarred dead eye to override Project Insight along with Pierce, as they are the only two agents of the highest degree needed for that. Pierce then sets off the pins he gave the council members, causing it to burn deeply into their sternum. He threatens to set it on Natasha, forcing her to walk out with him. Natasha activates it herself, burning herself, but not as deep. Fury then shoots Pierce twice, killing him. His last words are “Hail HYDRA.”

The Winter Soldier is set loose, killing off the S.H.I.E.L.D. agents trying to aid Cap and Falcon in taking down the last Helicarrier. He rips off Falcon’s wing and throws him off the Helicarrier. The HYDRA agents begin to lock on their targets, with over 700,000 and counting. Falcon manages to get his parachute out, leaving him grounded. He runs back into the Triskelion to fight Rumlow. Cap confronts Winter Soldier inside the Helicarrier, trying to get through to his best friend by reminding him that millions could die. Unwilling to listen, Winter Soldier battles Cap again. Cap runs to grab the chip and replace it, but Winter Soldier swipes it from him. Cap manages to wound both of Winter Soldier’s arms, then puts him in a headlock until he releases the chip. Cap rushes to place the chip into the system, but Winter Soldier shoots him three times. He still succeeds in placing the chip, calling Hill to override the Helicarriers. The targets go offline, to the surprise of the dumbfounded HYDRA agents. With the systems overriden, Hill has the Helicarriers open fire upon each other. One Helicarrier crashes into a dam beneath the Triskelion. The second crashes through the Triskelion, catching Rumlow in the destruction. Sam runs like hell out of the window as Natasha and Fury fly their chopper in time to catch him.

The third Helicarrier continues to fall with Cap and Winter Soldier inside. Cap chooses not to fight his friend, dropping his shield out of the Helicarrier. Winter Soldier mercilessly punches him repeatedly across the face, even as Cap chooses to stick it out with him until the end. Before he delivers the fatal blow, Winter Soldier looks at Cap with hesitance, almost as if he is starting to remember. The Helicarrier crashes, throwing Cap out and sending him into the water below. He slips into unconsciousness, but not before seeing a hand reaching out for him. Winter Soldier drags Cap to the shore before walking away for good.

In the aftermath, we see Steve in a hospital recovering as Marvin Gaye’s “Trouble Man” plays. He wakes up to hear the music. We also see Agent 13 at a shooting range, Agent Hill about to undergo a lie detector test at Stark Industries, Senator Stern getting arrested, and Rumlow being treated by doctors, still alive but terribly burnt. Natasha is brought to a hearing to answer for her ties to S.H.I.E.L.D. She defends herself by saying that even if they wanted to put her in an institution, they could not because the council members know they need her and her allies. She coolly walks away. Meanwhile, Fury gets rids of any trace of his existence, including his passports and eyepatch, burning them for good.

Fury meets Steve and Sam at a cemetery at his own grave. On the headstone are Fury’s name and the words “The path of the righteous man….” This is a reference to the fake Bible verse that Samuel L. Jackson’s Pulp Fiction character, Jules Winnfield, liked to quote. Fury tells Sam and Steve that if anybody asks for him, they only need to come here to his grave.

Fury leaves as Natasha arrives to tell the guys this is Fury’s way of saying “Thank you.” She hands Steve a file that he wanted, then suggests he ask out Agent 13, whose name is really Sharon Carter. Steve looks at the file, which concerns Bucky and his Winter Soldier transformation. Sam realizes that Steve is going to look for Bucky. Steve tells him that he doesn’t have to go with him. Sam replies, “I know. When do we start?”

Mid-Credits Scene:

Baron Wolfgang Von Strucker (Thomas Kretschmann) is discussing recent events with a fellow HYDRA agent in an underground lab somewhere in Europe. Even though some of their agents have been lost, they have many other followers around the world. They are performing an experiment with secret weapons, including Loki’s scepter. Von Strucker guides the agent to “the twins” — Pietro and Wanda Maximoff, aka Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch (Aaron Taylor-Johnson and Elizabeth Olsen). They exhibit superpowers of their own, with Pietro having superhuman speed, and Wanda having telekinetic powers, which she is seen using destructively. Von Strucker observes them and comments, “This is the age of miracles…”

Post-Credits Scene:

Bucky/Winter Soldier walks through the Captain America exhibit at the Smithsonian and comes across the display of himself. He stares at it pensively, hoping to regain memory of his old life.

’Nuff said.

The Dark World

Copyright 8 November 2013 Marvel Studios

Eons ago, Bor, the father of Odin, clashes with the Dark Elf Malekith, who seeks to destroy the universe using a weapon known as the Aether. After conquering Malekith’s forces, including enhanced warriors called the Kursed, on their home world of Svartalfheim, Bor safeguards the Aether within a stone column. Unbeknownst to him, Malekith, his lieutenant Algrim, and a handful of Dark Elves escape into suspended animation.

In present-day Asgard, Loki stands imprisoned for his war crimes on Earth. Meanwhile, Thor, alongside warriors Fandral, Volstagg and Sif repel marauders on Vanaheim, home of their comrade Hogun; it is the final battle in a war to pacify the Nine Realms following the reconstruction of Bifröst, the “Rainbow Bridge” between realms, which had been destroyed two years earlier. In London, astrophysicist Dr. Jane Foster’s intern, Darcy Lewis, now with her own intern, Ian, takes Jane to an abandoned factory where objects have begun to disobey the laws of physics and disappear into thin air. Separating from the group, Jane is teleported to another world, where she is infected by the Aether.

The Asgardians learn that the Convergence, a rare alignment of the Nine Realms, is imminent; as the event approaches, portals linking the worlds appear at random. Heimdall alerts Thor of Jane’s recent disappearance, leading Thor to search for her. When she inadvertently releases an unearthly force while being arrested by the police for trespassing on private property, he takes her to Asgard. However, the Asgardian healers say they do not know how to treat her. Odin, recognizing the Aether, warns Jane’s infection will kill her given enough time, and that the Aether’s return heralds a catastrophic prophecy.

Malekith, awakened by the Aether’s release, turns Algrim into a Kursed and attacks Asgard. During the battle, Malekith and Algrim search for Jane, knowing she contains the Aether. When they fail to capture her, they escape, but not before killing Thor’s mother Frigga in a swordfight. Despite Odin’s orders not to leave Asgard, Thor reluctantly teams up with Loki, who knows of a secret portal to Malekith’s world, where they will use Jane to lure and confront Malekith, away from Asgard. In return, Thor promises Loki that he can have his revenge on Malekith for killing their mother. With Volstagg and Sif stalling Asgardian soldiers and Fandral assisting their escape, Thor and Loki commandeer a Dark Elf spaceship and escape to Svartalfheim with Jane.

On Svartalfheim, Loki tricks Malekith into drawing the Aether out of Jane. However, Thor’s attempt to destroy the substance fails, and the Aether-empowered Malekith leaves with his ship as Loki appears to be fatally wounded while protecting Thor from Algrim. Thor, cradling Loki in his arms, promises to tell their father of his sacrifice. Following Loki’s apparent death, Thor and Jane discover another portal in a nearby cave and reunite with Jane’s mentor Dr. Erik Selvig, Darcy and Ian in London. There, they learn that Malekith plans to unleash the Aether to destroy the universe, and that he will do this in Greenwich, the center of the Convergence. Thor battles Malekith, but a portal separates them, leaving Malekith unopposed. Thor comes back in time to help his mortal comrades use their scientific equipment to transport Malekith to Svartalfheim, where he is killed before he can destroy the universe.

Thor returns to Asgard, where he declines Odin’s offer to take the throne and tells Odin of Loki’s sacrifice. As he leaves, Odin’s form transforms to that of a grinning Loki.

In a mid-credits scene, Volstagg and Sif visit the Collector and entrust the Aether to his care, commenting that, with the Tesseract already in Asgard, having two Infinity Stones so close together would be dangerous. As they leave, the Collector remarks, “One down, five to go.” (Foreshadowing the Guardians of the Galaxy movie.) In a post-credits scene, Jane and Thor reunite on Earth, while somewhere in London a frost monster from Jotunheim, accidentally transported to Earth during the final battle, continues to run amok.

’Nuff said.

Destruction in Metropolis
Kryptonian World Engine Destroys much of downtown Metropolis


Kryptonian soldier Zod attempts to use Kryptonian World Engine to terraform Earth into a new Krypton.

Man of Steel

Copyright 14 June 2013 Warner Brothers Studios

The story opens on the Planet Krypton, wherein Lara Lor-Van (Ayelet Zurer), has just given birth to a son. She and her husband Jor-El (Russell Crowe) have birthed their son naturally and in violation of the basic laws of the planet, where babies are to be bred through genetic engineering with a planetary ‘Codex’ that imprints what a person’s place in life is to be (leader, scientist, general, etc).

Jor-El and his wife have chosen this path as their planet is on the brink of destruction. Harvesting their planet’s core for resources has made it unstable and it will destroy itself. After the birth of his son, Jor-El appears before the Kryptonian Leaders, pleading with them to allow him to save the planet’s Codex, and to search for a habitable world beyond Krypton. However, even with destruction imminent, the council will not abandon its ways.

The council is set upon by General Zod (Michael Shannon) and numerous followers, intending to take control of the planet. Though Jor-El does disagree with Council, he refuses to join Zod’s coup. Zod orders Jor-El to be arrested, but Jor-El escapes and flees to an area nearby, wherein the planet’s birthing chamber resides. Right before he leaves, he tells Lara to prepare the small spacecraft he has built to transport his son from Krypton and to find a suitable world to send him to.

Stealing the Codex from the chamber, Jor-El races back to his home where his wife Lara has found a planet to send their baby to: Earth. Though Lara is sad at the loss of their child, Jor-El claims he will live his life in a new way: free of the limitations imposed by Kryptonian society. Their son, Kal-El, will be able to choose his way in life. Lara worries about their son’s ability to survive on his new planet; Jor-El assures her he will be stronger, faster, invulnerable and possess powers that will make him a super-being there because of Earth’s yellow sun. Jor-El places the Codex into a device that bonds it to his son’s living cells.

As they prepare to launch the pod containing their son, Zod and his followers force their way into the Els residence, demanding that Jor-El hand over the Codex. Jor-El claims it is in the pod with his son. Zod becomes enraged and attacks Jor-El, eventually stabbing him to death. During the fight, Lara engages the pod’s engines and it shoots into the sky.

Angered that Jor-El and his wife have doomed the Kryptonian race with the removal of the Codex, Zod orders his followers to shoot down the pod. However, his orders are suddenly cancelled when Kryptonian security ships appear, destroying the attacking vessel and arresting Zod and his minions. In the confusion, a Phantom Drive engages on the pod, rocketing the baby away in the blink of an eye.

Zod and his followers are banished to The Phantom Zone. In a fury, Zod lashes out, declaring the leaders will not grant him and his followers a quick death. He also swears to Lara (who is present), that he will find her son. Zod and his followers are placed in a giant craft, the Black Zero, that is sent into the Phantom Zone.

Shortly after, Krypton’s core collapses as Lara passively watches the planet breaking apart. Many worlds away, the pod carrying Kal-El rockets into Earth’s atmosphere, touching down somewhere in the Great Plains of the United States.

The scene then shifts to ocean waters, where we see a bearded man (Henry Cavill) working aboard a fishing vessel and having trouble concentrating on his duties.The crew are soon alerted to a distress call for help from a flaming oil rig. The bearded man quickly disappears from the ship but is on the rig moments later, rescuing the crew and getting them to board a Coast Guard chopper. He is unable to join them, as he rushes to keep a part of the rig from collapsing on the landing pad. As the chopper flies away with the rig’s crew, the rig collapses down on him and he ends up floating in the water.

We soon learn that this is Clark Kent, as in a deep mental state, he recalls when he was younger, and manifested X-Ray vision, and super-hearing. Scared at what he was seeing and hearing, Clark runs from his classroom and locks himself in a closet. His Mother Martha Kent comes to the school, and manages to coax him out, helping him to focus his powers, quelling the myriad sounds he hears.

Back in the present-day, Clark has managed to return to land and steals some clothes. As he attempts to figure out where he is, he sees a school bus nearby. Clark has another flashback to when he was 13. He recalls being picked on by a boy named Pete Ross (Jack Foley), before the school bus they were on suddenly blows a tire, and careens off a bridge into a river. Thinking quickly, Clark escapes out the rear emergency door, and pushes the bus to shore. Clark jumps back into the water and pulls the very boy who harassed him to safety.

Though Pete’s mother claims that Clark miraculously saved the occupants of the bus, Clark’s father Jonathan Kent (Kevin Costner) tries to convince her otherwise. Needless to say, Clark feels even more conflicted, as his father has tried to tell him to suppress his powers, but Clark was torn by a need to help others.

When Clark demands to know what’s wrong with him, Jonathan shows his son the pod he came to Earth in, along with a strange metallic item that was found with him. Jonathan claims he had a metallurgist examine it, but it is comprised of elements not found on Earth. Imprinted on the small fragment of metal is a shield-like shape containing an “S”.

The scene then returns to the present day, where Clark has a job at a truck stop in Canada. As he works, he hears some military men talking quietly about some object found in the ice a ways north of the stop. When a trucker comes in and starts harassing one of the waitresses, Clark attempts to stop him, but afraid others will see his powers, stands there and takes the trucker’s taunts. Without saying a word, Clark takes off his apron and leaves the stop. Later, as the trucker leaves, he is shocked to find his rig impaled on several of the tree logs he was hauling.

The scene then cuts to Lois Lane (Amy Adams), landing at the base in Canada, where she is met by Professor Emil Hamilton (Richard Schiff), and Colonel Nathan Hardy (Christopher Meloni). Drilling is still commencing within the ice to get to uncover the craft, but ice drilling tests have at least confirmed that the ice surrounding the object is thousands of years old.

Going out in the evening to shoot some pictures, Lois is shocked when she checks them to see a man walking on a ridge near the drilling site without cold-weather clothing. She sneaks up to where he was, and finds a tunnel bored into the ice. The tunnel is Clark’s doing, as he had followed the word of the military men, and made his way to the site, using his heat vision to tunnel into the ice. He then finds a strange spacecraft, and going inside, finds a panel that opens up. It contains a hole that seems to match the shape of the object his father found with him in the pod. Inserting the object the hole causes a person to suddenly appear nearby. He doesn’t say a word, simply walking off. Clark attempts to catch up to this person, but he always seems to be several steps ahead of him.

Meanwhile, Lois has found her way onto the ship, but is attacked by a sentry. Her screams cause Clark to come running. After dismantling the sentry by crushing it with his bare hands, he sees that the sentry has wounded Lois in her lower abdomen. He tells her she’s bleeding internally and uses his heat vision to cauterize the wound. Shortly after, military forces nearby are all amazed when the ice starts to crack and a giant ship emerges, flying off.

Lois is found the next day and shortly thereafter she writes up an article about what she experienced. However, her editor at the Daily Planet, Perry White (Laurence Fishburne), refuses to publish it. Even the Pentagon has denied her ‘aliens and spaceships’ story. Lois then attempts to play hard ball. Going to a contact of hers named Glen Woodburn (Chad Krowchuk), she allows him to publish her story. Though he cautions that she could get in trouble for leaking the story, she claims she wants to do this, in hopes that it will catch the attention of the person she met.

Meanwhile, Clark has piloted the spaceship to another remote location in the Arctic. It turns out the figure he was following is a hologram of his father Jor-El, who is appearing via the ‘key’ Clark inserted into the ship. Jor-El explains the history of the planet Krypton and that the ship Clark found was a sentry ship sent out many years before, when the the council of Krypton had attempted to colonize other planets.

Jor-El shows Clark a dark blue and red suit bearing the shielded “S”. Jor-El explains that it is the emblem of the House of El and a symbol of hope. Jor-El also explains that the Earth’s sun has made Clark stronger, and has been helping him manifest powers for some time. Jor-El tells Clark that the suit will symbolize his mission: to help the people of Earth and act as their guardian. Stepping outside the ship, Clark begins to push his powers: first taking flying leaps, before eventually being able to fly at great speeds, breaking the sound barrier and flying great distances around the world.

Back in Metropolis, Perry White is furious that Lois leaked her story to the internet, and suspends her for three weeks. Lois uses this time to begin tracking down leads to her mystery man. Her sleuthing leads her to Smallville, and eventually, Martha Kent.

Visiting the grave of Jonathan Kent, she is surprised when her mystery man appears (albeit in nondescript clothing). Lois claims she wants to tell Clark’s story, but he tells her of how he abides by his father’s request to not reveal himself until the world ‘was ready.’

Clark then relates how Jonathan died. After the two have an argument during a drive, which mostly concerns Clark frustration over his true ancestry and how he is forbidden to reveal his powers to anyone but his parents, they stop when a tornado forms, threatening everyone on the road nearby. Clark gets his mother and several others to safety, with Jonathan attempting to get the family dog free of their vehicle. The dog makes it out safely, but Jonathan ends up injuring himself, unable to make it to the overpass where everyone has taken shelter. Clark had wanted to help his father, but a gesture from Jonathan cautioned him to not reveal himself, leaving Jonathan to be swept away by the tornado. Hearing his story, Lois respects Clark’s wish for privacy, and stops trying to pursue a story from him.

Clark returns to his mother, and happily tells her that he has found where he came from, and who his true parents are. Though Martha fears that her son will now be taken from her, Clark assures her it won’t happen.

Meanwhile, the military has received word of a strange ship in geosynchronous orbit around the planet. Soon, others report the strange sighting, but are surprised when power is cut off to all parts of the world, and a message is broadcast from General Zod. Zod demands that the people of Earth hand over Kal-El within 24 hours or there will be consequences. A worldwide manhunt is initiated to find this “Kal-El”. Glenn Woodburn is interviewed about the aliens and drops Lois’ name, which soon results in numerous FBI agents being sent to take her into custody. Lois tries to flee from them, but she’s quickly intercepted and turned over to the US Army.

Back in Smallville, Clark goes to a local church, and confesses to the pastor there that he is the one the aliens want. Though he admits he is conflicted: he doesn’t trust that Zod will leave Earth in peace, but he is also wondering if he should trust humanity. His decision is made when the Pastor tells him that sometimes one must take a leap of faith.

Clark then appears before the Army in his Kryptonian suit, willing to surrender on condition that he can meet with Lois and that she be freed. Clark is handcuffed (he allows them to, as a gesture of trust and to help them feel more secure), and he and Lois have a short conversation. She asks him about the “S” on his chest which he tells her is not an S as Earthlings know it, but a symbol of hope. When she suggests a new moniker, her voice is cut off by feedback from the audio system observers are using behind a 2-way mirror — but Clark shows he is easily able see through it and identify the people standing behind it. Clark stands up and effortlessly breaks his handcuffs and tells the observers he’ll allow them to turn him over to Zod and that he’ll protect the planet from whatever danger Zod presents.

In a remote desert, a black craft appears to bring him to Zod’s ship. The craft is commanded by Faora-Ul (Antje Traue), who also demands of General Swanwick (Harry Lennix), that Lois also be taken with them. Though Swanwick points out that the deal was originally for only Kal-El to be handed over, Lois goes along. Before they reach Zod’s ship, Lois is fitted with a breathing apparatus, as the atmosphere on the ship will be toxic to humans. When Faora is distracted, Clark slips Lois the key he used to restart the Arctic ship.

On board the ship Zod welcomes Clark, who a few moments later collapses to the floor of the ship, seemingly unable to breathe. Though Lois is worried for him, Zod assures her that Clark’s body is simply adjusting to the Kryptonian atmosphere aboard the ship.

Clark passes out, and finds himself in a dreamlike vision of his family’s farm. Zod explains to Clark that after the destruction of Krypton, the portal to the Phantom Zone where they were trapped was opened again. After modifying the portal’s Phantom Drive, they were able to transport themselves all across the galaxy in the Black Zero. Visiting the various planets which colonizing ships were sent, their searches for a new planet proved unfruitful, as each of the colonists sent to these various planets were found to have perished. However, Zod and his followers took what they could from the remnants of their civilization, including a terraforming machine called a “World Engine”.

When Clark activated the ship in the Arctic, it sent out a signal, which lead Zod to Earth. Zod claims that he intends to turn Earth into a New Krypton, but Clark is unwilling to go along with this plan since it will mean Earth’s annihilation and the deaths of all humans.

Awakening from the vision, Zod tells Clark that with or without him, he will revive their civilization. As well, Clark’s adjustments to the ship have made him no stronger than the other Kryptonians on it. This allows one of Zod’s men, Jax-Ur (Mackenzie Gray), to obtain a blood sample from Clark.

Meanwhile, Lois is thrown into a holding cell, where she comes across a panel with a small hole. Lois notes it is the same shape as the key she has. Inserting it allows the information from Jor-El to appear before her. The key causes the ship’s atmosphere to alter towards more suitable conditions for Clark and Lois, and Jor-El gives Lois valuable information for stopping Zod, along with leading her to an escape pod. As she activates the pod a guard suddenly shoots at her, damaging the pod. The change in the atmosphere returns Clark’s strength, allowing him to break his bonds, and Jor-El appears before him, pointing out that Lois needs to be saved because of the damage to the pod.

Clark saves Lois from the pod, but his attention is soon drawn to his mother, who is set upon by Zod and Faora. Zod goes to the Kent farm, looking for the Codex. Faora finds Clark’s pod, but no sign of the Codex. When Zod threatens Martha, Clark races to save her, hitting Zod with such force that the two end up thrown into the heart of downtown Smallville.

Upon recovering, Zod’s face-mask malfunctions and his body begins to adapt to the Earthen environment, as he suddenly gains X-Ray vision, and his hearing begins to take in everything at once (just like Clark did when he gained these powers long ago). The effect is debilitating to Zod as his senses overload and he is forced to retreat.

Clark claims that his parents helped him hone his skills to control the sensory overload, but his assurance is thrown aside when a ship recovers the stunned Zod, and Faora and a larger Kryptonian (Nam-Ek) attempt to bring Clark down. A battle erupts between Clark and his enemies, causing huge amounts of destruction.

Word of the alien presence in Smallville has reached the Army, and Col. Hardy approaches with helicopters and planes. Hardy claims that all three of the aliens (including Clark) are hostile, and all forms of weaponry are thrown at them. Though Faora and Nam-Ek escape, Clark is able to change Hardy’s mind when he saves the Colonel along with several other soldiers.

Clark returns to his mother, but also encounters Lois, who explains to him what Jor-El told her on the ship.

Back on his ship, Zod is informed what happened to the Codex. Jor-El had diffused it into Clark’s cells, making him the source to create new Kryptonian life. When Zod is informed that Clark does not need to be taken alive to retrieve the Codex, he puts his plan into effect.

Zod separates the World Engine from the Black Zero. As it touches down in the South Indian Ocean, the Black Zero hovers over Metropolis. Using the Phantom Drive, Zod activates the World Engine, which creates a link with the Black Zero through the Earth’s core, beginning the process of terraforming Earth into a planet more like Krypton. Dr. Emil Hamilton determines that the process is creating a stronger gravitational pull and making the planet more dense. The effect causes massive destruction, flattening cars and shaking skyscrapers apart. The force of the machine also causes objects to repeatedly rise and plummet to Earth.

As Swanwick contemplates what to do, he receives word that Clark (now being called “Superman” by some of the soldiers), has a plan. Using the information that Lois obtained, Clark reasons that if the pod that brought him to Earth is activated by the key he has it will start up the Phantom Drive inside. If the pod collides with Zod’s ship which also has its drive activated, a black hole will warp the Black Zero and it’s occupants back into the Phantom Zone.

Meanwhile, Zod leaves his ship, and heads for the ship Clark found in the Arctic. On board the ship is a gestation chamber with many unborn Kryptonian fetuses. The projection of Jor-El speaks to Zod, telling him to halt his operation. Zod refuses to listen to the words of a ghost. and will stop at nothing to revive Krypton and it’s people. Zod’s key eventually overrides Jor-El’s, and the ship now responds to Zod, causing Jor-El’s hologram to disappear.

Col Hardy, Dr Hamilton, and Lois board a plane to take the pod to Metropolis, while Superman flies around the world to try and stop the World Engine. However, he is assailed by a Kryptonian defense mechanism within the machine that attempts to fend him off with long tentacles.

The situation over Metropolis grows more desperate as none of the planes sent by the Air Force are able to get close to the Black Zero. Zod’s ship and the World Engine have created a gravitational vacuum that keeps the transport unable to properly launch Clark’s pod. Realizing there’s no way he can fight off the tentacles, Clark goes deep under the World Engine and punches his way through it, causing the connection to sever and the machine to explode. With the gravitational disruption gone, Hardy flies the transport closer to Zod’s ship but it is intercepted by Faora, who attempts to stop them.

As well, Zod has arrived in Metropolis with the ship. As he attempts to destroy the Air Force plane, Clark swoops in and crashes into the ship’s control panel. Zod yells for Clark to once again let him complete his plan to revive Krypton. “Krypton had its chance,” yells Clark, who then uses his heat-vision to tear apart the ship, causing it to crash and the gestation chamber to fracture.

Faora’s attempts fail as well as Hardy steers the plane into the ship. As Lois was on the rear of the plane as it tilted down towards the ship, she loses her balance and falls to Earth. The collision of the two Phantom Drives causes the military aircraft and the Black Zero (along with the people on the vessels) to disappear.

Clark manages to save Lois again and puts her safely on the ground. Nearby, the sound of moving metal is heard, and Clark finds Zod, thoroughly enraged. Zod tells Clark that he was engineered to be a General of Krypton and to protect it and its people. With nothing left to revive the planet, Zod seethes that Clark has taken his soul and promises to kill the humans one at a time in retribution for what Clark has done.

The two then battle across Metropolis, smashing through buildings. During the fight, Zod adapts further to Earth’s atmosphere, spawning heat-vision and the ability for flight. The battle soon ends with them in a train station, where Zod blasts his heat vision at a nearby family. “If you love these people so much, then you can mourn for them,” he shouts. Clark begs Zod to stop but when Zod claims he will never stop, Clark snaps the General’s neck, killing him. It is clear that Clark did not want to exact such a terrible judgement, and he agonizes over having not only killed another person, but one of the last of his race. Lois appears and comforts him.

Some time later, Swanwick and Black Ops Mercenary (Christina Wren) find Superman downing an Air Force drone. Superman claims that he knows they had sent it to find his home on Earth but he wants the search to stop. He vows that he will continue to fight for what is right and the security of Earth. The General questions Superman’s commitment to which Clark replies that he’s from Kansas and can be trusted. As he flies away, the General’s adjutant smiles, clearly won over by how handsome and forthright he appears to be.

Clark then returns to Smallville, where he and Martha visit Jonathan’s grave. Clark claims he wishes his father could have seen what he accomplished, but Martha Kent says he did. When she asks what Clark intends to do now, he claims he’ll get a job where he can be updated on what is going on with the world, where he won’t be questioned about visiting dangerous places, and where he will be able to ask questions if needed.

We then see him in the Daily Planet building, being introduced to Lois Lane. Though he is now sporting a pair of black-rimmed glasses, it is apparent that Lois knows just who this new employee is.

’Nuff said.

The Invicinble Ironman
Introducing The Mandarin

Copyright 3 May 2013 Marvel Studios

The movie opens with Tony (Robert Downey Jr.) narrating a story about how we create our own demons. In a flashback to New Year’s Eve 1999, Tony, meets a botanical scientist named Maya Hansen (Rebecca Hall) in Bern, Switzerland, and arrogantly avoids crippled scientist Aldrich Killian (Guy Pearce), who wants Tony’s backing in his endeavor, Advanced Idea Mechanics (AIM). Maya has an experimental plant. Maya has been working on experimental (and in some cases unethical) biological research in plants that causes their DNA to change drastically and has the power to cure incurable diseases and paralysis.

In December 2012, it has been quite some time after the events of New York City and the Avengers Initiative. A haunted Tony Stark has obsessively built several Iron Man suits in his mansion. Tony works on a new model, the Mark 42, which is modular; all the suit pieces fly to him and recombine. The first attempt at making the MK42 work is met with a funk version of “Jingle Bells” with Tony dancing while the pieces are coming at him. As per the course, Tony of course completely ignores any safety measures that JARVIS takes. It ends rather poorly when Tony is thrown across the room attempting flight with the MK42 and it shatters into pieces. JARVIS of course gloats with an “I told you so” moment.

Tony then continues his story about creating demons. He then talks about how he turned on the TV to find a new terrorist at work called “The Mandarin” (Ben Kingsley). The Mandarin hijacks American airwaves and makes his American debut by taking credit for the bombing of a US military station in Kuwait that killed the wives and children of soldiers out on maneuvers. President Ellis’s initial response to the Mandarin however makes him the butt of the jokes of late night talk show hosts: It seems the only thing that he’s able to come up with is to take the MK8, the suit worn by Colonel James Rhodes (Don Cheadle) and formerly known as “War Machine” and have it repainted, rebranded, and reintroduced as “The Iron Patriot”.

Tony later asks Rhodes in a restaurant what’s really going on with the Mandarin. Rhodes tells Tony that while the media and the press only know of three bombings attributed to the Mandarin, there have been at least six more that have taken place off the books. Rhodes explains that he’s now operating MK8 as the “Iron Patriot” (formerly known as War Machine). While the two are coming to an agreement that the name chosen was horrible, Tony is confronted by a group of kids who want his autograph. Tony jokes that the boy looks very much like Ralphie from A Christmas Story. The girl asks how Tony was able to escape the worm hole in New York, causing him to freak out. Tony makes a B-line for his Iron Man suit and enters, JARVIS explains that Tony is suffering a massive anxiety attack.

Back at Stark Industries, Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow) goes to meet her 4:00 appointment. The appointment is Aldrich Killian, who has cleaned himself up since 1999. Aldrich wants Stark Industries’ backing in his think tank called “Advanced Idea Mechanics”. AIM’s goal is a biological experiment called “Extremis” which harnesses’ the brain’s power to alter human DNA. He then shows Pepper a massive hologram reconstructing of his brain and how Extremis can utilize parts of the brain that would otherwise go unused. Pepper tells Aldrich that Stark Industries isn’t interested in funding AIM because the ideas could be translate into human weapons.

Happy Hogan (Jon Favreau) has found a new career as the head of security at Stark Industries although he’s annoying nearly 99% of the company’s personnel and visitors with his penchant for requiring everybody to wear badges, and Pepper explains that complaints against him have risen nearly 200% since he started working there (which Happy takes as a compliment).

Pepper drives home and Tony has a huge stuffed bunny for her as her Christmas gift. However, he is busy working and Pepper isn’t greeted by Tony, but by another remote-controlled prototype of the Iron Man suit, and that has her rather upset. Tony has developed a heads-up-display (HUD) and is using it as a remote control. That night while asleep, Tony is having some bad PTSD induced trauma about what happened in New York. They’re then startled when one of the new prototype Iron Man suits is awakened and has made its’ way into the bedroom. Tony then immediately dismantles it. A frustrated Pepper tells Tony that she’s going to sleep downstairs and has him “tinker with that” after he explains to Pepper that he’s been a complete mess since the events in New York and has been unable to sleep.

The next day Happy follows one of Killian’s men, Eric Savin (James Badge Dale), to the Grauman’s Chinese Theater. Savin gives another man, Jack Taggart, a briefcase. Happy tries to intercede but is beaten senseless by Savin, and seconds later, Taggart overheats and explodes, leaving behind only his old dog tags. Happy is left severely injured, while Savin walks away. Hours later, the Mandarin hijacks the TV airwaves to take responsibility for the blast.

Tony is now furious over Happy, who has been knocked into a coma by the bombing.. After visiting the hospital to check on Happy, and to make sure that all of the hospital employees were wearing badges while in Happy’s room (not to mention make sure that the TV is playing Downton Abbey as it’s Happy’s favorite show), Tony is mobbed by reporters. One of them blatantly asks if Tony is going to kill this guy. A frustrated Tony then asks the reporters if that’s what they really want, then issues his threat to the Mandarin saying that he just died and gives his home address on TV, egging on the Mandarin to carry out an attack on his home and that he’ll be ready. Tony then angrily destroys the reporter’s tape recorder and tells the mob of reporters to bill him.

While at home, Tony has JARVIS bring up a hologram diagram of the destruction at Graumann’s Chinese Theater. While JARVIS is analyzing the attack, Tony discovers that Happy is pointing to a curious oddity of military dog tags with the name “Jack Taggart” etched onto them. Since there was no active military personnel at the blast, Tony wonders exactly what the dog tags are doing there. JARVIS then analyzes the latest Mandarin attack and compares with past incidents. This blast at the theater bears resemblance to an incident that happened four years ago in Rose Hill, Tennessee, and predates any known Mandarin attack, where an ex-army soldier named Chad Davis blew himself up, taking five people with him. Tony asks JARVIS if he’s ever been to Tennessee. JARVIS then creates a flight path for the Iron Man suit.

He’s interrupted when the doorbell rings. A paranoid Tony wonders why he’s getting visitors since he told JARVIS that the house is on complete and total lock down. The visitor turns out not to be the Mandarin, but Dr. Maya Hansen, who believes Tony is in danger. A freaked out Pepper is arguing with Maya and just as that’s happening, the house is attacked by three gunships disguised as news choppers. Tony commands the MK42 suit to cover and protect Pepper. Pepper and Maya survive the attack. Tony gets the MK42 back but down on power he cannot fly. The house crumbles into the sea, taking Tony with it. The suit regains some power and flies off, unseen. Tony passes out.

Sometime later, Tony awakens in the suit when JARVIS sets off the low battery alarm. He then sees he’s plummeting towards the ground and crashes into a snowy forest at full speed. Initially, he thinks he’s in Northern California, but JARVIS informs him that he’s actually five miles outside of Rose Hill, Tennessee. Tony is exasperated, but JARVIS reminds him that he asked for a flight plan to be made. With no more power, JARVIS shuts itself down.

Tony trudges through the snow, dragging the MK42 along with him. He stops at a gas station, where he uses a payphone to call Pepper, then steals a Poncho off a cigar store mannequin.

Tony then drags the MK42 to a seemingly empty house nearby. Inside, he immediately begins work on repairing the MK42. But the house isn’t empty. It’s occupied by a lonely 10 year old kid named Harley Keener (Ty Simpkins), who is stunned to find Tony working in his garage. Tony asks Harley for some help and promises that he’ll be rewarded later on if he gets the help he needs. Harley tells Tony that the world thinks he’s dead after the attack on his mansion. Tony calls himself “The Mechanic” and Harley asks Tony one question too many about the events in New York City, causing Tony to have another anxiety attack.

Back at the remains of Tony’s now completely destroyed Malibu mansion, Pepper is searching for any clues to find out whether or not Tony’s still alive. Thankfully she is able to retrieve a voice message left from Tony recorded after the attack that proves that he is alive. A relieved Pepper then seeks answers. Tony, working with Harley, assumes that Harley is being bullied at school because Harley keeps making harmless weapons to defend himself with, like a potato gun. Tony finally manages to get JARVIS back online thanks to a HUD display that he developed several months prior to the bombing.

Teaming with Harley, Tony investigates the remains of the Mandarin-esque suicide bombing. Harley tells Tony about all the rumors surrounding the attack and the “soldier” in question. Tony notices that there are five shadows on a concrete wall, from the five victims who were killed along with Chad Davis.

Tony then meets with Davis’s mother at a bar, where he notices she’s expecting someone and has a file on hand. He is about to ask her more questions when one of Killian’s agents, Ellen Brandt, shows up and suddenly cuffs Tony. She poses as a Homeland Security agent to explain her actions to the sheriff, but when he starts asking her for identification, she shoots him. Tony manages to escape the bar, only to be cornered by Savin. He manages to defeat Brandt by luring her into a room where he’s opened a gas line, and heats up Davis’s dog tags in a microwave. The explosion throws Brandt into a telephone line and electrocutes her. Savin tries to take Harley hostage, but Harley overpowers him, allowing Tony to grab his car keys and escape.

Tony drives off in Savin’s car. While he drives, the Mandarin hijacks the airwaves once more and explains that he’s going to brutally murder the CEO of a major oil company on live television if the president doesn’t contact them within a specific time frame. Despite the President making the phone call, the Mandarin carries out the shooting, warning that the President is his next target.

Tony calls Rhodes, who has managed to locate what they think is the Mandarin. Rhodes takes his suit to the Middle East. There, he is shocked to find nothing but an abandoned warehouse which doesn’t have a single trace of the Mandarin. He also finds that the file he got in Rose Hill is a document from Advanced Idea Mechanics, Killian’s company.

Tony drives to a nearby beauty pageant, and sneaks into one of the camera crew vans so he can research the data on the documents he’s found. Fortunately for Tony, the van is being operated by one of Tony’s biggest fans, who even goes so far as to have Iron Man’s likeness tattooed on his arm – though rather unrecognizable. Tony hacks into AIM’s servers and finds video footage that sheds new light on what is going on: the bombs are the work of soldiers from the Extremis program, an experimental treatment intended to allow its users to recover from crippling injuries like amputations. However, if a user’s body cannot properly metabolize Extremis, the user’s body heats to an extreme temperature and explodes. After veterans started growing unstable and exploding, their deaths were used to cover up Extremis’ flaws by manufacturing a terrorist plot. The test footage shows that a number of early subjects were killed because of Extremis’s flaws.

Rhodes tracks the Mandarin’s IP address and is led to a sweat shop in the Middle East. But it turns out to be a trap, for one of Killian’s agents disarms him and knocks him unconscious. Then Killian’s men steal Rhodes’s suit.

Tony uses the IP addreses that the Mandarin has been using to hijack American airwaves and traces him to Miami. Tony infiltrates the estate headquarters using a variety of home-made weapons fashioned from stuff bought at a hardware store, Harley’s trade mark potato gun, and a limited edition Dora the Explorer watch belonging to Harley’s unseen sister.

Inside he discovers the Mandarin is actually a flighty British actor named Trevor Slattery (Ben Kingsley), who is oblivious to the acts the Mandarin has carried out. When confronted, Slattery manages to tell both Tony and Rhodes that he’s the Mandarin, and manages to completely annoy them both, and Tony goes to confront Killian, while Rhodes stays behind and tries to get any information he can out of the completely clueless Slattery. Tony is captured by some of Killian’s henchmen – who are also Extremis experiments, and Maya reveals she was working with Killain all along. She thinks Tony can help perfect the Extremis DNA. Aldrich arrives and reveals he has kidnapped Pepper and subjected her to Extremis, intending to infuse her with superhuman abilities and turn her against Tony as leverage to gain Tony’s aid in fixing Extremis’ flaws. Aldrich then shoots Maya.

Tony escapes his captivity by summoning the MK42 suit from Tennessee, and reunites with Rhodes on the estate, discovering that Aldrich intends to attack President Ellis aboard Air Force One. Unfortunately as time is critical, the MK42 has yet to regain full flight power. Savin boards the President’s plane wearing the Iron Patriot suit, shoots the Secret Service agents aboard and takes the President. Savin then blows holes in the airliner body and survivors fall out. Iron Man kills Savin and manages to rescue the falling people, Tony had been controlling the unit by remote control. Meanwhile the Iron Patriot suit flies away with the President on board. Tony and Rhodes trace Aldrich to an impounded oil drilling platform where Aldrich intends to kill Ellis on live television. The Vice President will become a puppet leader, following Aldrich’s orders in exchange for Extremis to cure a little girl’s disability.

Rhodes manages to locate the President in a massive ship yard at Miami’s port. Tony enacts a new strategy, and has JARVIS enact the “House Party Protocol” which unleashes a massive army of Iron Man suits – each one different from the next. On the platform, Tony goes to save Pepper, and Rhodes saves the President. Tony summons a fleet of his various Iron Man suits, controlled remotely by JARVIS, to provide air support and attack the many other Extremis infected guards. Rhodes secures the President and leads him to safety, while Tony discovers Pepper has survived the Extremis procedure. However, before he can save her, a container crane rig collapses around them and she falls 200 feet to her apparent death. Tony is forced into confronting Aldrich using several suits and finally traps him in the 42 suit that self-destructs. But, a glowing Aldrich survives and staggers toward a defenseless Stark. Killian tells Tony that the Mandarin was made up, that he is the Mandarin and that all attacks were taken out by Extremis experiments. Pepper shows up with Extremis powers and finishes off the weakened Aldrich.

After the battle, Tony orders JARVIS to implement “Clean Slate Protocol” which destroys each remaining Iron Man suit remotely, as a sign of his intention to devote more time to Pepper. The Vice President and Slattery are arrested. In a voiceover Tony mentions he cures Pepper, and Tony himself undergoes surgery to remove the shrapnel embedded near his heart. He pitches his obsolete chest arc reactor into the sea, musing he will always be Iron Man, even without his armor. He gathers some scrap parts from his house wreckage and drives off in his Audi eTron. He then leaves Harley with a rebuilt lab and new version of Harley’s trademark potato gun, telling him that Iron Man will be back and leaves a thank you note from “The Mechanic”.

In a post-credits scene, it is revealed that Stark has been recounting his experiences to Dr. Bruce Banner (Mark Ruffalo, uncredited), who awakens, having fallen asleep at the beginning of Tony’s story, followed by the words “Tony Stark will return”.

’Nuff said.

The Amazing Spider Man
Introducing The Lizard

Copyright 3 July 2012 Sony Pictures

Scientist Richard Parker (Campbell Scott) is playing hide-and-seek with his young son Peter (Max Charles) when he discovers that his study has been broken into. After quickly gathering some hidden documents, Richard and his wife Mary (Embeth Davidtz) leave Peter with his Aunt May (Sally Field) and Uncle Ben (Martin Sheen), then mysteriously depart without telling Peter where they are going.

Years later, the teenage Peter Parker (Andrew Garfield) has become an alienated social outcast. He attends Midtown Science High School, where he pines over his crush Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone), while frequently getting bullied by the obnoxious Flash Thompson (Chris Zylka).

At home, Peter finds a briefcase containing some of his father’s old documents and learns that his father worked with fellow scientist Dr. Curtis Connors (Rhys Ifans) at a pharmaceutical company named Oscorp. Faking his way into the Oscorp building by pretending to be an intern, Peter sneaks into a laboratory where extremely strong “biocable” is being created from genetically-modified spiders. One of the spiders escapes from its container and bites Peter. On the subway ride home, Peter scuffles with a gang of thugs and discovers that he suddenly has increased agility and strength. Upon returning home, he finds the spider hiding in his jacket and stores it away.

The next day, Peter goes to Dr. Connors’s house and gives him Richard Parker’s documents. Dr. Connors explains that he and Richard were researching cross-species genetics in order to find a way to re-grow lost limbs, Dr. Connors being motivated by the loss of his own right arm. Dr. Connors is frustrated because his superior, Dr. Rajit Ratha (Irrfan Khan), is pressuring him to devise a cure for Oscorp’s CEO Norman Osborn, who is terminally ill.

Back at school, Peter gets in trouble after accidentally breaking a basketball hoop during a game with Flash. Uncle Ben is forced to switch a work shift to meet with the principal about the situation. Afterward, Uncle Ben asks Peter to pick up Aunt May, but Peter instead practices his new-found powers and meets with Dr. Connors at Oscorp, who shows him how the limb-regeneration formula works on a laboratory mouse.

When Peter returns home, Uncle Ben scolds him for having forgotten to pick up Aunt May, reminding him that Richard believed that people should always make their responsibilities their priority. A distraught Peter storms off. He goes to a store to buy milk, but falls two cents cents short and is refused service by the store clerk. Suddenly, a man robs the store and Peter doesn’t do anything to stop him. Uncle Ben, who was searching for Peter, sees the thief running away and wrestles with him over a gun. The thief shoots Uncle Ben right in front of Peter and runs off.

Shortly after the attack, Peter acquires a police sketch of the killer and uses his abilities to hunt criminals matching the killer’s description. After attacking a man who fits the description, he is chased by a gang and falls inside an abandoned gym, and a luchador wrestling poster inspires him to create a mask.

Later on, he adds a spandex suit for mobility and suddenly becomes a folk hero who the public refers to as ‘Spider-Man.’ The police, led by Gwen’s father, Captain George Stacy (Denis Leary), soon start a man-hunt for the masked vigilante.

Meanwhile, Dr. Ratha fires Dr. Connors for refusing to immediately start human trials of the limb-regeneration formula. He takes a sample of the drug and plans to test it at a Veterans Administration hospital under the guise of flu shots. Growing desperate, Dr. Connors injects himself with the formula, and passes out. Upon awakening, he finds his lost arm has fully regenerated. However, he then mutates into a large, reptilian monster and chases Dr. Ratha at the Williamsburg Bridge, throwing cars over the side as he rampages. Spider-Man saves each fallen car with the biocable web, which he deploys from wrist-mounted shooters of his own invention. With a great deal of difficulty, he also manages to save the life of a young boy trapped in a car that has fallen from the bridge and that Spider-Man is holding suspended in midair through the biocable webbing. Spider-Man then confronts the Lizard in the sewers, barely escaping alive.

Unfortunately, Peter leaves behind a camera he used to expose the Lizard’s intentions — a camera inscribed with his name. The Lizard finds it and learns Spider-Man’s real identity. He attacks Peter at school and plans to unleash the drug all over Manhattan to mutate all humans into lizards using a cloud-generating device at Oscorp Tower, unaware that Gwen is there making an antidote for the condition at Peter’s request. The police mobilize to stop both him and Spider-Man, but are delayed when the Lizard infects officers with small doses of the chemical.

Captain Stacy learns Spider-Man’s real identity and allows him to go stop Connors while proceeding to the tower himself after Peter mentions that Gwen is there making the antidote. However, during the manhunt, Spider-Man was wounded by a police bullet and is having difficulty swinging from building to building to reach Oscorp Tower. The father of the young boy whose life Spider-Man saved works in construction, and hears about what’s going on through the radio and TV while working an evening shift. He calls all of his construction worker friends who are also working, and they all maneuver large cranes into proper formation so that Spider-Man can use them to reach Oscorp Tower.

After Captain Stacy retrieves the antidote from Gwen and arrives to save Spider-Man, who was being overpowered, both of them fight together to delay the Lizard while Spider-Man modifies the machine to disperse the antidote instead, restoring the humanity of Connors and the infected officers, and allowing him to save Peter from a fatal fall from the tower.

Unfortunately, the Lizard mortally wounded Captain Stacy. Before he dies of his wounds, Stacy makes Peter promise to keep Gwen safe by staying away from her. Peter initially does so, staying out of sight at Captain Stacy’s funeral, which offends Gwen. She confronts him at his house, and he doesn’t talk about it, but Gwen is no fool; she realizes his reasons. Arriving late to class back in school, Peter is told by a teacher to “not make promises he can’t keep.” Peter leans forward and whispers to Gwen, “but those are the best kind.” She smiles, and it is implied that the two resume their relationship. With his first challenge surmounted, Peter officially takes to the streets as a proper hero.

In a post-credits scene, Dr. Connors is sitting in a prison cell speaking with a mysterious man (presumably Norman Osborn). The man inquires about Dr. Connors divulging information about Peter’s father, but Dr. Connors tells the man to leave Peter alone, and the scene abruptly ends with a flash of lightning.

’Nuff said.

The Avengers
Battle of New York

Copyright 4 May 2012 Marvel Studios

Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson), director of S.H.I.E.L.D. (Strategic Homeland Intervention, Enforcement, and Logistics Division), arrives at S.H.I.E.L.D. headquarters outside of Santa Fe, New Mexico, during an evacuation. The Tesseract, an energy source of unknown potential, has activated. It opens a portal through space and the exiled Norse god Loki (Tom Hiddleston) steps through, carrying a strange spear with a blue glowing tip. Loki takes the Tesseract and uses the spear to take control of the minds of several SHIELD personnel, including Dr. Erik Selvig (Stellan Skarsgård) , and Agent Clint “Hawkeye” Barton (Jeremy Renner), to aid him in his getaway. SHIELD personnel pull out of their base when an energy surge from the Tesseract causes the ground beneath the base to collapse and destroying it. A short pursuit of Loki fails to capture him.

In response to the attack, Nick Fury issues a state of emergency, telling his top agents Phil Coulson (Clark Gregg), Natasha Romanoff (Scarlett Johansson), and Maria Hill (Cobie Smulders), that they are completely out of options. Fury pulls Romanoff and Coulson out of their respective assignments and sends them to find the heroes he needs to oppose Loki. Romanoff is found in Eastern Europe interrogating suspects, and Coulson pulls her off the assignment and sends her to find “the big guy”: Bruce Banner (Mark Ruffalo), aka The Incredible Hulk. Banner has been living in exile in India working for a hospital in Calcutta helping sick people, and has found inner peace doing so. Romanoff tells Banner about the Tesseract and its’ destructive capabilities. As the world’s expert on gamma rays, Banner is their best chance to find the cube’s location.

During a video chat with the World Security Council, the superiors who run S.H.I.E.L.D., Fury is grilled about his plan to bring about the Avengers Initiative. The WSC are furious, saying that it’s the wrong thing to do and these people will never work together as a group. Fury says they have no other option and this is their only hope of defeating Loki. The superiors reluctantly agree.

Steve Rogers, (Chris Evans) on the other hand, is relatively easy to find. S.H.I.E.L.D. has been keeping tabs on him since he was found in the ice and still alive. Fury goes to greet Rogers at his gymnasium where he finds he doesn’t sleep. Fury tells Rogers that he will find a briefing packet about what’s going on back at his apartment. Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) is seen in a new Iron Man armor that has underwater capabilities. He is installing a new electrical connection that will take his office building completely off the electrical grid allowing it to become self sustaining. He’s greeted at his office by Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow) who tells him that it’s date night. Tony wants Pepper to know how it feels to be a genius and after an argument about how much credit she should get for coming up with the Stark Tower idea, date night is off. Coulson arrives, and Tony quickly and repeatedly tries to cut him off. Coulson hands Tony a laptop with all the data on it about everything that’s going on. Pepper decides instead to go to Washington DC to get the zoning permits for the next two buildings for Stark Tower as it seems Tony has homework to do, and a lot of it.

On the airplane to the secured location – an aircraft carrier that can convert to a flying aircraft carrier, Coulson is telling Rogers about how it’s such an honor that they found him and tells him about his Captain America trading card collection. They then head to the helicarrier and Rogers is introduced to Dr. Bruce Banner. The two then wonder what kind of ride they’re in for. Rogers thinks it’s a submarine but the last thing Dr. Banner should be riding in is a submerged, pressurized metal container. The carrier takes off. On board, they are briefed that Dr. Selvig and Loki have been traced to Stuttgart, Germany.

Rogers’ first assignment is to go to Stuttgart to arrest Loki and bring him on board the helicarrier. Loki is at a formal black tie gala at an art museum where he is kidnapping a doctor who harbors the element they need to make the Tesseract work. While Dr. Selvig creates a distraction and Hawkeye kills the men guarding the building, Loki carries out his plan. Outside, he is instructing the civilians present that they need to kneel before him – or else, and that freedom is life’s great lie. He’s then confronted by Rogers in Captain America regalia, and later Tony makes his entrance to the tune of AC/DC’s “Shoot To Kill” with full Iron Man weapons drawn and daring Loki to make a move.

Loki quickly surrenders when the two heroes arrive, and while being flown to the high tech prison on board the helicarrier, the plane encounters a lighting storm. Rogers asks Loki if he’s afraid of lighting but Loki tells him it’s not the lightning that he’s afraid of. It’s what follows. Thor (Chris Hemsworth), Loki’s half-brother and the Norse God of thunder, arrives and attempts to capture Loki so Loki can face Asguardian justice for his crimes (which will be more effective than Earth’s), but Thor gets into a fight with Rogers and Tony. The fight ends in a stalemate. Eventually, Loki is taken to the helicarrier and placed in a glass cell designed to hold the Hulk. Fury explains that if Loki attempts to escape, even by merely cracking the glass, a shaft will open below him and he’ll plummet to Earth and possibly be killed.

On board the aircraft carrier, the fully assembled Avengers squad is being briefed by Fury about what they think will possibly happen next. Loki is in prison and is interrogated by Agent Romanoff. Tony Stark arrives and it seems the only one of the group he really gets along with is Bruce Banner. While conducting experiments on Loki’s scepter, Stark tries to get a rise out of Banner so he can witness Banner’s famous party trick (read: turning into the Incredible Hulk). Banner flinches and then begins telling about how he’s been unable to fully harness his abilities and that he suffered depression after the accident. That’s why he moved to Calcutta, as helping people is what gives his life meaning.

The Avengers, now brought together, argue and deliberate over how to approach Loki and the revelation that SHIELD plans to harness the Tesseract’s power to develop weapons, a discovery made by Rogers. Fury admits that the events in New Mexico a year before (recounted in Thor) made SHIELD aware of other races on other worlds, some of whom may see Earth as an easy target. Thor is seen asking agent Coulson about what happened to Jane Foster. Coulson tells him that S.H.I.E.L.D. has placed her in their witness protection program and that she’s in a safe zone in London.

The decision was made to produce weapons with the Tesseract as a means of deterrence. As the group argues, Clint Barton and Loki’s possessed agents attack the helicarrier, disabling one of its engines in flight. While Stark and Rogers attempt to restart the damaged engine, Romanoff tries to prevent Dr. Banner from turning into the Hulk and destroying the ship from inside. Her attempt fails and she’s chased through the ship until Thor takes up the battle to pacify the beast and manages to fell him briefly with a hit from his hammer, Mjolnir. While fighting Barton, Romanoff slams him into a guard rail, and the blow to the head breaks Loki’s mind control. After the Hulk falls from the ship, Thor is tricked into Loki’s holding cell by Loki himself, who has recovered his scepter and releases the cell and allows Thor to plummet. Loki is held at bay briefly by Agent Coulson but is also tricked by one of Loki’s holographic projections – Coulson is stabbed in the back by the real Loki. Coulson later shoots Loki with a blast from an unidentified weapon, one that harnesses the power of the Destroyer. Coulson dies while Fury tries to save his life. Thor escapes from the cell a split second before it hits the ground. Banner wakes up in his human form after crashing into an abandoned factory.

Fury uses Coulson’s apparent death to motivate the Avengers to work as a team. Stark and Rogers realize that simply defeating them will not be enough for Loki. He needs to overpower them in a very public way so as to validate himself as ruler of Earth. Using a device built by Dr. Selvig, Loki opens a portal to the Chitauri home world over Manhattan, summoning a Chitauri invasion. Once again the group’s petty differences overshadow their ability to communicate as a team, especially with Banner now missing. While in an argument with Rogers, Tony finally figures out that Loki is a full tilt diva, and that he’s obviously set up shop at the top of Stark’s office.

Natasha, unfortunately arrives too late just as Dr. Selvig has opened the portal. This unleashes Loki’s army and all hell breaks loose. The army is massive and they can’t all fight them off as much as they are entering the earth’s atmosphere. Tony Stark thankfully shows up, as does Bruce Banner. While fighting, Rogers dispatches NYPD cops to direct citizens into the underground tunnels and sewers. Meanwhile, the Hulk smashes, and Tony arrives at Stark Tower where he attempts to stall Loki with a drink which is used to threaten and intimidate him. As that’s going on, Tony has JARVIS prepare an under development version of Iron Man called MK18 which is contained in a giant box coded specifically for Tony and has advanced weapons capabilities. Loki refuses to cooperate, saying the destruction will continue as long as the citizens of earth don’t get that they need to be ruled by him. Loki attempts to take control of Stark by using his scepter on his heart to control his mind, but it fails thanks to Tony’s somewhat trusty Arc Reactor that keeps him alive.

The Avengers rally in defense of New York, but quickly come to the conclusion that they will be overwhelmed as wave after wave of Chitauri descend upon Earth. With help from the reformed Barton, Rogers and Thor evacuate civilians while Dr. Banner transforms into the Hulk and goes after Loki, beating him into submission in Tony Stark’s penthouse. Romanoff makes her way, with a little help from the Chitauri, to the device that holds the portal open (conveniently located on the roof of the Stark Building) and hits Dr. Selvig over the head, freeing him of Loki’s control. Dr. Selvig reveals that Loki’s staff can be used to close the portal.

As that’s happening, Hulk confronts Loki, who refuses to be intimidated by such a beast. As Rogers instructed, Hulk smashes Loki into near oblivion. That allows Romanoff to grab the scepter and head to the roof to shut down the portal. While Romanoff is securing the portal, Stark is securing the perimeter. Meanwhile, with Fury on a conference call to the council, Fury berates the council’s decision to launch a nuclear missile at Manhattan. Fury tries everything possible to stop the council from launching nukes, even destroying two jets that are taking off from the helicarrier. Unfortunately as he’s about to fire on a third, it gets away and launches a nuclear weapon.

Tony intercepts the missile and he knows exactly where to put it – he flies it into the portal. While in the portal, Stark instructs JARVIS to try Pepper one last time. Unfortunately the call fails as Pepper is on a plane and glued to the TV with other Stark Industries executives. Tony launches the nuke at the Chitauri mothership, completely destroying the invasion. All the invading aliens collapse and are rendered useless. Stark sees the nuke go just as he runs out of oxygen and falls to what appears to be certain doom. Thankfully he manages to escape the portal just as Romanoff is able to successfully close it. Once back in the atmosphere it looks like Tony isn’t going to make it, but is saved by the Hulk thanks to incredible timing. A dazed Stark, awakened by the Hulk’s roar, offers to take the team out for shawarma, but they decide to apprehend Loki first. The Avengers go their separate ways. Romanoff, Rogers, and Hawkeye return to working for S.H.I.E.L.D., Tony and Pepper are seen rebuilding Stark Tower and are working on the next phase of the project. Thor escorts Loki and the Tesseract back to Asgard where Loki will stand multiple trials for war crimes from both Asgard and the Chitauri. Meanwhile, multiple TV news reports recap the events surrounding the Avengers, and while they’ve become worldwide heroes for to some for their efforts in New York, others are fearful and want to know who will take responsibility for the devastation.

On another video conference call with the World Security Council, Fury is being congratulated, but they also grill him that now their secret’s out, this group is too dangerous for the world to handle. And Fury is glad – what happened in New York is a warning. A warning to all galaxies that if they try to attack earth, S.H.I.E.L.D. is there to defend it. And they have just the team. Fury also tells the S.H.I.E.L.D. board that the Avengers’ whereabouts are no longer being tracked. They’ve earned a leave of absence, but will be called back when needed. He also tells the council that the Tesseract is where no one on earth will ever be able to find it.

In a mid-credits scene, the Chitauri leader the Other tells his master that it is futile to attack Earth, as fighting the Avengers is like courting death. His master turns, revealing himself to be Thanos.

After further credits, the Avengers are shown eating together in a shawarma joint; the team looks worn out and no one speaks.

’Nuff said.

Captain America
The First Avenger

Copyright 22 July 2011 Marvel Studios

Bright headlights cut through a thick sheet of snow-flakes. A scientist, bundled as warmly as possible, treks through the sleet. Two other men, in matching black cold-weather uniforms, approach the scientist. He leads them to an excavation site which is easily the size of a football field; at the center of the site appears to be a giant wing and fuselage. The black-suited men cut through the fuselage of the mystery craft and enter. Inside they find the remains of a massive, frozen ship. One of the men brushes away at the snow and sees a shimmering red, white, and blue shield encased in ice.

Tonsberg, Norway, 1942:

Two caretakers for an ancient Viking ruin listen as their town is overrun by Nazis. Suddenly the front door blasts open and in flood multiple Nazi agents. One of the caretakers is killed in the blast and the other frantically begs that the soldiers leave him in peace. They pay no attention to the old man and instead open the building’s crypts one-by-one. They come to one sarcophagus whose lid is too heavy to lift. A dark figure appears in the exploded entryway. Johann Schmidt (Hugo Weaving), a high-ranking Nazi and leader of the HYDRA sect, nonchalantly enters. He crosses the room, comes to the difficult-to-open sarcophagus and easily pushes the lid free. Within he finds the skeletal remains of an old Viking clutching a glass cube (the Tesseract). The caretaker pleads for Schmidt to leave it. Schmidt scoffs and tells how this cube would be the jewel of Odin’s treasury if it weren’t a fake. He smashes it on the floor and goes to the caretaker, asking where the real cube reposes. The caretaker initially refuses but under threat of harm to his family, he relents, gesturing to a hidden drawer across the room. Schmidt pries the drawer open and finds the real, glowing cube concealed within. Schmidt orders his men to shell the city and then shoots the luckless caretaker.

At a recruiting station in Brooklyn, Steve Rogers (Chris Evans), a 20-something, 90 lb, 5-foot tall asthmatic eagerly awaits the opportunity to enlist in the United States Army. The army doctor gives a once-over to Steve’s medical file, which reads like that of a 90 year old man, and rejects Steve’s application as the military 4-F, as this is his fourth failed attempt to enlist.

Distraught Steve heads to the movies. He envies the enlisted men featured in the pre-show newsreel, and watches as other audience members tear up. A loud-mouthed, impatient movie-goer begins yelling at the screen “Start the movie! I didn’t pay to see this crap!” Steve tells the man to shut up, and is surprised as the man turns around, stands up and towers above him. In the alley behind the theater the bully savagely beats little Steve. Skinny Steve bravely fights back, but is easily overpowered. James “Bucky” Barnes (Sebastian Stan), Steve’s best friend, comes running to the alley. He swiftly kicks the bully away and tends to Steve, who is annoyed that Bucky showed up and got rid of the bully right as Steve got his second wind. “Bucky” is now an enlisted-man. His application was accepted and he’s been assigned to the 107th infantry.

In a celebratory mood, Bucky invites Steve to go dancing with a pair of girls on a double date. Bashfully, Steve tags along. The four head to the World’s Fair in Queens. While Bucky canoodles with his dates, Steve watches as playboy inventor Howard Stark (Dominic Cooper) unsuccessfully demonstrates a flying car. Steve breaks away from the group and goes to another recruiting station. Bucky catches up with him and asks how Steve intends to forge his application this time. Unbeknownst to them both, Dr. Abraham Erskine (Stanley Tucci) while passing by, eavesdrops on their conversation. He is fascinated by the gumption of Steve. Bucky wishes Steve good luck on his latest application and Steve heads in to the recruiting station for his fifth physical. Inside Steve sits on an examination table and grows nervous when an MP enters the room, and is soon followed by Dr. Erskine. Dr. Erskine has all of Steve’s prior applications, and recognizing Steve’s strong will and unwavering conviction, he accepts his latest application.

In a secret military installation high in the Alps, Johann Schmidt brings the glowing cube to Dr. Arnim Zola, his Hydra weapon specialist. The cube’s seemingly limitless power enables Schmidt and Dr. Zola to power unstoppable energy guns and cannons.

Meanwhile, Steve has been enlisted into basic training under the careful watch of Dr. Erskine and Colonel Chester Phillips (Tommy Lee Jones). He and his platoon are told that they are candidates for the government’s latest Super Soldier program. Phillips is unimpressed with Steve and is vexed by Dr. Erskine’s interest in him. During basic training Steve meets a beautiful, but serious British officer, Peggy Carter (Haley Atwell), who seems to pity Steve. Despite being the smallest and weakest of the platoon, Steve demonstrates the greatest spirit and selflessness. Phillips, still unconvinced, tosses a grenade into the group, and is surprised when Steve alone leaps on top of it, willing to sacrifice himself to save the others, before discovering that the grenade was a dummy. Phillips concedes to Erskine’s decision.

That evening Dr. Erskine speaks with Steve. The two bond over a bottle of Schnapps and Dr. Erskine reveals that this is not his first time performing this experiment. He tells a story of how as a scientist in Germany, he was ordered by Johann Schmidt to create a serum that would give a man god-like strength. Dr. Erskine created an early version of the serum he intends to use on Steve, only when Schmidt injected himself his body’s skin corroded away, leaving him as a sinewy red skeleton. Undeterred by the risk, Steve agrees to follow through with the procedure.

The following morning Steve and Peggy wind their way through Brooklyn and come to a stop in front of an old antique shop. Along the way Steve points out various parts in Brooklyn where he’s been beaten up. She asks him why he never ran away. He responds that running away, in his mind, was an invitation for further abuse.

The two enter the antique shop, exchange pass-codes with an old woman manning the register and descend into a secret military bunker concealed within. Peggy leads Steve to the heart of the bunker where they find Dr. Erskine preparing a medical capsule along with Howard Stark, and Colonel Phillips rubbing elbows with senators and dignitaries. Steve is told to remove his shirt and sit in the capsule. Stark describes that the procedure will first mean injecting muscle re-generators into Rogers’ major muscle groups which will then be bombarded with “vita rays.” Carter bids Steve good luck and joins Phillips in the overhead viewing chamber. Erskine’s serum is injected into Steve’s muscles and Steve is enclosed within the vita ray capsule. The capsule glows brightly, Steve yells in pain but also tells them to continue and the procedure is quickly completed. Steve exits the capsule a foot taller and a hundred pounds heavier with solid muscle.

Everybody, including Phillips, celebrates the success of the procedure, and descends from the viewing chamber to congratulate Erskine. A lone dignitary, in actuality a German spy named Heinz Kruger (Richard Armitage), stays behind, placing a small satchel on a chair. Moments later the viewing gallery explodes. Kruger descends the stairs and fatally shoots Dr. Erskine twice. He swiftly kills the guards and flees onto the streets with Peggy in hot pursuit. Steve tends to a dying Dr. Erskine, who has just enough energy to point to Steve’s heart; Erskine passes. Steve bolts out of the bunker, in pursuit of Kruger.

In the street Peggy pursues Kruger, and easily kills his getaway driver. Kruger steals a taxi and aims to run over Peggy. Steve arrives in the nick of time, saving her from being killed by the on-coming taxi. Steve pursues the taxi on foot, running faster than a normal human can (and not suffering the fatigue even a healthy man would). He leaps onto the roof of the taxi, dodges Kruger’s gunfire and the two come to a crashing stop at the Brooklyn docks. Kruger shoots at Steve, who holds the star-imprinted door of the wrecked cab in front of him as a shield. Kruger flees to his Hydra sub, which dives underwater just as Steve arrives. Steve dives after the sub, punches a hole through the cockpit’s glass and yanks Kruger to the surface. Kruger tells Steve that he is the first of many, that Rogers can “cut off one head,” but two more take it’s place." He then kills himself with a cyanide capsule hidden in a fake tooth, letting out one last “Heil HYDRA!” before dying.

Meanwhile, Schmidt and Dr. Zola are visited by a trio of Hitler’s top commanders, tasked with inspecting Schmidt’s operation. They ridicule Schmidt, saying that the Nazi party no longer takes him and HYDRA seriously due to his obsession with magic and the occult and playfully refer to him as “The Red Skull”, a name that infuriates Schmidt. Schmidt takes the three to his weapons lab where they are shown his unstoppable energy weapons and a strategic map of Europe dotted with targets. One of the three notices a target hovering over Berlin and confronts Schmidt. Schmidt quickly vaporizes the three Nazi officers. Schmidt announces that HYDRA has disbanded from the Nazi party and is now enemies with the world.

The following day Phillips and Carter pick up the remains of Dr. Erskine’s lab. Both are despondent because the only man able to produce the super soldier serum was Dr. Erskine. Steve is eager to go the front lines of the European Theatre but Phillips would rather he be a lab-rat than a soldier in his army. Steve is approached by a senator holding a newspaper of the prior day’s events, emblazoned with a front-page photo of Steve chasing down Heinz Kruger. Steve has become an overnight celebrity and the Senator has an idea that will be mutually beneficial.

Steve is enlisted in the USO (United Service Organizations), and travels around the Midwest performing musical numbers in a shoddy red, white and blue costume while carrying a triangle-shaped shield bearing the stars-and-stripes. He takes on the name “Captain America” and the show includes a theme song written specifically for him, features dancing girls and a short segment where he punches out Hitler, played by an actor. Captain America becomes an overnight success, spawning comic books and black and white movies. His antics drum up revenue for the USO.

Steve is soon taken overseas, to Italy, where he is to continue entertaining the troops. Upon his arrival the surly and war-torn men tease him and tell him to get lost. He is soon met by Carter, who along with Phillips, is overseeing European Theatre of the war. She tells him that the men are unhappy because many men from their division, the 107th Infantry, have been killed in battle. Steve realizes that this is Bucky’s division, and quickly runs to see Phillips. Phillips is unable to find Bucky’s name on his casualty list and tells Steve to go back to his job as a movie star and a cheerleader. Steve asks Carter where the men, and Bucky, are being held. She shows him a map, and a known HYDRA weapons factory 30-40 miles behind enemy lines. Steve hastily pulls on a pair of army trousers and leather jacket over his Captain America costume, and a blue helmet with a white ‘A’ stamped on the front. He aims to steal a jeep and drive into HYDRA’s back yard, but she has a better idea.

Howard Stark flies them both over the battlefield in his private propeller plane. Steve surmises that Stark and Carter have a relationship and bashfully withholds his feelings for her. Just as AAA guns from HYDRA begin firing on Stark’s plane, Steve parachutes in, while the other two escape back to safety. Steve stealthily makes his way into the HYDRA base, taking out numerous guards in the process.

Inside, Schmidt and Arnim Zola are manufacturing enough weapons to wipe out every capital in the world. Steve makes his way to the holding cells where he sees hundreds of imprisoned men from the 107th. He frees the men and tells them to make a “messy” exit. Under the leadership of the “Howling Commandos” the prisoners manage to overpower their captors, steal guns and tanks, and escape from the facility, destroying much of it. Schmidt watches Steve by CCTV, and quickly realizes that he must be Erskine’s man. He quickly activates several explosive charges that will level the base.

Steve makes his way through the facility and happens across Bucky, who is tied down to an operating table. There, he also notices an oversized tactical map mounted on the wall, with various marked installations. Steve frees Bucky, who is surprised to see that Steve is taller than him, and commits the map to memory.

The two head up the catwalks and find themselves face-to-face with Schmidt on a retractable bridge. Rogers punches Schmidt in the face who surprisingly stands his ground. Schmidt plays with his face, as it has apparently come free from his skull and quickly peels it away as a mask. The Red Skull stares back at Rogers and Bucky and swiftly enters an elevator. In the elevator The Red Skull tells Arnim Zola to meet him at another one of Hydra’s bases and to take his car. The Red Skull escapes the exploding facility in a private plane while Zola sneaks away in Schmidt’s roadster. Inside Steve and Bucky have a huge divide to cross to their freedom. Bucky crosses a trembling, buckling support beam and manages to cross to safety moments before the beam plummets into the fire below. Left with no other option, Steve backs up as far as he can and leaps over the burning chasm.

Back at the 107th base camp, Phillips dictates a letter to his typist, telling how Rogers disappeared the prior night and likely perished during the battle. Just then Rogers arrives, with nearly 400 survivors of the 107th, leaving the base in a fervor. Rogers submits himself to Phillips for disciplinary action for going out in direct violation of orders, but is forgiven.

The news of “Captain America’s” success on the battlefield is swept over the world. In London, Steve gives Phillips and Carter his best recollection of the HYDRA base map and tells them that he intends to go to those bases and destroy them one-by-one and wishes to recruit a team of men made up of those he liberated in Italy. Steve meets the Howling Commandos in a bar and they eagerly accept the offer. While there all the men are surprised as Peggy enters dressed in a form-fitting cocktail dress. She ignores all the men, including Bucky, and flirts with Steve, telling him that she’d love to have a dance with him some day.

The next day Steve is summoned to the Brooklyn bunker to see Phillips and Stark. Steve is approached by a beautiful female officer who wishes to thank him for his service the best way she knows how. Peggy walks in on Steve kissing the enlisted-woman and angrily storms away. Steve apologetically follows her to Stark’s lab, insisting that he gets nervous around women and asks why he should apologize if Carter and Stark have a thing going. Stark quickly shoots down the rumored relationship and takes Steve to his weapons engineering lab. He remarks that Rogers has become attached to the triangular shield, which Steve says is a handy tool in the field. On a table are several prototype shields with sophisticated components, however Steve finds a plain, circular shield. Stark explains that the shield is made of a metal called “vibranium”, which is lighter than steel and is vibration resistant and will absorb heavy impacts. He holds the shield in front of him and asks Peggy for his opinion. She playfully/scornfully fires a clip at the shield, which Steve ducks behind. The shield passes the improvised test admirably. As she walks off, Steve passes a sketch of a uniform to Stark.

Steve dresses in red, white and blue fatigues, dons a blue form-fitting helmet and stows the newly-colored shield onto his back. Captain America and his soldiers, including Bucky, make their way across Europe, flattening Hydra’s bases one-by-one, with Rogers becoming quite skilled at using the shield as a projectile weapon. News of his exploits reach the Red Skull and Zola.

High in the Alps, Steve and his men have a mission to capture Zola in his personal train. Three member of the team: Cap, Bucky and Gabe Jones (Derek Luke) zip-line across a massive chasm and storm the train car-by-car. Soon Cap and Bucky are cornered by heavily armed Hydra soldiers. They narrowly defeat the soldiers, however Bucky is tossed from the train and plummets into an icy river below. Zola is apprehended.

Zola sits in a prison cell and is visited by Colonel Phillips, who carries with him a steak dinner for Zola. Zola rejects the meal, impressed with the idea that it must be poisoned. Phillips shrugs and eats the meal. He tells Zola that he broadcast an easily decodable message, which has certainly been intercepted by HYDRA, saying that Zola had defected. He also knows that Zola is easy to bargain with since he’s the sole HYDRA agent they’ve captured who hasn’t taken his cyanide capsule to avoid disclosing information. Zola, fearing that the lie will result in his death by the Red Skull, concedes to Phillips and tells him information of the Red Skull’s only remaining HYDRA base.

Rogers sulks in a war-ravaged bar. Carter arrives and comforts Steve, after losing his best friend. Steve realizes that Dr. Erskine’s serum rapidly regrows dead cells, rendering it impossible for Steve to get drunk. The two flirt a bit and talk about having a dance, once again.

Rogers and his team prepare a battle plan to take down Red Skull at his headquarters. Rogers, dressed in a new uniform, mounts a Harley and charges the base. He easily dodges HYDRA soldiers and tanks and finds himself within the base, surrounded by a HYDRA army. He is taken into custody and led to the Red Skull’s private weapons lab. Red Skull asks what makes Steve so special. Steve says “Nothing. I’m just a kid from Brooklyn.” moments before members of his team zipline into Red Skull’s office.

A climatic firefight ensues as hundreds of soldiers, under the direction of Phillips and Carter storm the base, killing many HYDRA soldiers. Red Skull flees to his private hangar, in which a gigantic flying wing is preparing for take off. Steve attempt to catch up with the plane on foot, but is unable. Phillips and Carter arrive, behind the wheel of Skull’s roadster, and the three take off after the plane. Just as Steve is about to leap onto the plane Peggy stops him and kisses him. Steve leaps from the roadster onto one of the plane’s massive wheels. He sneaks into the craft where he finds dozens of kamikaze planes/missiles, each labeled with a different major American city. Hydra soldiers soon enter the room and Steve battles them, taking out numerous men and tiny planes. One of the planes, labeled New York, drops free. Steve takes off after it and manages to commandeer the craft and crashes it back into the flying wing.

Inside the large cockpit, Captain America and Red Skull have a fisticuffs battle. Red Skull fires his cube-energy pistol at Steve who easily deflects the shots using his shield. A shot is deflected into one of the cockpit’s center consoles which contains the glowing blue cube. The console is damaged and Skull lifts the cube into the air. Suddenly a portal opens above him, showing starry space. The Red Skull glows brightly and is seemingly disintegrated. His remains are swept up into the cosmos. The cube, still glowing brightly, drops to the ground and burns its way down through the plane’s hull before plummeting into the ocean below. Steve mans the plane’s controls and radios Carter. He tells her that the plane is on a flight-path that will take them to the Eastern Seaboard. He tells her that their dance will have to wait. He pushes the plane into a dive and crashes it into a glacier below. Peggy can only hear static.

Steve awakens in a 1940’s hospital. An old-fashioned radio transmits the play-by-play of a Brooklyn Dodgers game. He gets up, looks out the windows and watches as the hospital door opens. A young nurse (Amanda Righetti) who bares a striking resemblance to Peggy enters. She waits for a response from Steve, who suspiciously looks at her. He asks why the radio is playing a game from May 1941… specifically, a game that he knows he attended. She reaches into her pocket and withdraws a two-way radio. Two tall soldiers in black uniforms enter the room, and Steve easily tosses them through a wall. Steve steps through the hole and is surprised to see that the ‘hospital’ is in fact a movie-set. He runs through the dark corridors, pushes a door open and appears in a modern skyscraper, bustling with people in business suits. He flees the building and finds himself in Times Square, circa 2011. He peers around, shocked by his surroundings, and watches as numerous matching black SUVs encircle him.

Nick Fury (Samuel L Jackson) steps out and carefully speaks to Steve. He tells him that he’s been asleep, in ice, for 70 years, in a state of suspended animation. The hospital set was meant to gradually introduce him to modern society. Still perplexed, Steve breathes heavily and sadly tells Fury that he had a date, since everyone else he used to know in the 1940s, is long dead or very old now.

In a post credit scene, Steve is in an old-fashioned gym. He pummels a punching bag so hard that he knocks it off it’s chain and sends it flying across the room. Fury enters the gym, and asks Steve if he’s had trouble sleeping. Steve cynically asks if Fury has come with another mission. Fury replies to the positive.

Suddenly we see images of all the superheroes, whom include Steve/Captain America, Thor (from the movie of the same name), Tony Stark (from the ‘Ironman’ movies), Hawkeye, Black Widow, Bruce Banner (from ‘The Incredible Hulk’) and other Shield agents preparing for battle. Fury, tells him that “They’re up.” His personal mission to build an army of superheroes is complete, previewing The Avengers.

’Nuff said.

First Class

Copyright 3 June 2011 20th Century Fox

At a German concentration camp in occupied Poland during 1944, young Erik Lensherr is separated from his parents by Nazi guards. The child’s desperate mind remarkably bends a metal gate until a guard knocks Lensherr unconscious (a recreation of the opening scene of the first X-Men movie). Scientist Sebastian Shaw, who has observed this incident through a window, calls Lensherr up to see him. Placing a metal coin on a desk, he orders Lensherr to use his power to move it. When Lensherr cannot, despite his best efforts, Shaw shoots and kills Lensherr’s mother in front of him. In his rage, Lensherr’s out-of-control magnetic power kills the two guards and destroys two rooms, to Shaw’s delight. Shaw tells Lensherr that they will “have fun” developing the boy’s power.

Around this same time, in a Westchester County, New York, mansion, young Charles Xavier is awoken when he thinks he hears a burglar break in. He heads down to the kitchen and finds a young, shape-shifting girl named Raven Darkhölme, disguised as his mother, who is looking through the fridge for food. Using his mind to talk to Raven, Xavier accuses his “mother” of being an imposter, and asks what it has done with his real mother, as she would not make him a sandwich or hot chocolate. Raven shifts back to her normal, blue-skinned form. Overjoyed to meet someone else “different” like him, Xavier invites her in.

In 1962, Lensherr goes to Switzerland and forces a banker (by ripping out one of the metal fillings in his mouth) to trace a bar of Nazi gold to Shaw’s address in Argentina. In a tavern there patronized by former German soldiers, Lensherr kills three men as he learns that Shaw owns a yacht in Florida. Meanwhile, in England, Xavier has graduated from Oxford and is publishing his thesis on mutation; Raven is now his foster sister and works as a waitress. Simultaneously in Las Vegas, Nevada, CIA agent Moira MacTaggart follows U.S. Army Colonel Hendry into the Hellfire Club, where she sees Shaw, Emma Frost, Riptide and Azazel. Shaw calmly threatens Hendry, telling him that the Colonel should reverse his position on advocating that the U.S. install nuclear missiles in Turkey, a move the government had previously avoided so as not to provoke war with the Soviet Union. When Hendry refuses, Shaw has Riptide demonstrate his power to conjure tornadoes from thin air and hurls Hendry into a wall. Convinced, Shaw has Azazel teleport Hendry to the President’s War Room, where he supports the missile placement in Turkey.

Shaw later meets with Colonel Hendry on his yacht, and refuses to give Hendry his money, at which point Hendry pulls out a grenade and threatens to pull the pin and kill himself and everyone on the boat’s deck. Shaw takes the grenade and pulls the pin himself, and absorbs the blast — Shaw is a mutant, and absorbs energy, which also keeps him young, then taps Hendry, expelling the grenade’s energy into the Colonel, destroying him.

MacTaggart seeks Xavier’s advice on mutation, and takes Xavier and Raven to the CIA to convince the chief that Shaw is a threat. After convincing them that mutants exist, they are to be taken to a covert facility, but first Xavier insists they track down Shaw. Shaw is aboard his yacht relaxing with Frost and Riptide when Lensherr appears. Frost uses her telepathy to pacify Erik and pushes him overboard.

Lensherr attacks Shaw, using the anchors and chains of the yacht to tear the boat apart. When Shaw escapes in a submarine hidden below the upper decks of the boat, Lensherr tries to stop him, his ability to control metal pulling him along in the water. Xavier stops him so that he does not drown, speaking to him telepathically and telling him it’s useless to follow Shaw. Lensherr joins Xavier and Raven at the CIA facility, where they meet Hank McCoy, another mutant that Xavier accidentally outs. McCoy and Xavier use a prototype Cerebro to locate mutants and recruit several of them to train to stop Shaw. During the recruiting process, we also see Xavier and Lensherr trying to talk to Logan (Wolverine) in a bar. He promptly tells them to go to hell, and they walk off.

Shaw plans to meet with a Russian general, but sends Frost instead, who is then captured by Xavier and Lensherr. Lensherr tortures her briefly and Xavier taps into Frost’s mind and finds out that Shaw plans to start a nuclear war between the US and Russia in order to wipe out all normal humans. Back in the US, the CIA facility is attacked by Azazel, Riptide and Shaw, who kill all the guards and agents present. Shaw offers the new mutants to a place on his side, but most of them refuse. He recruits Angel and kills Darwin by forcing him to ingest a massive amount of energy when he tries to fight back. When Lensherr and Xavier return they all go to Xavier’s mansion and begin to train, though Raven is conflicted about hiding her natural form. Hank creates a vaccine that is supposed to turn his and Raven’s appearance normal, however, when Hank takes it there are unexpected side effects: his mutant physical features are enhanced; he now has blue skin, blue fur and is several times stronger. The newly assembled X-Men team boards a specialized SR-71 Blackbird jet modified by Hank and fly out to the Caribbean.

President Kennedy institutes a blockade of a Russian fleet in the Caribbean Sea. Shaw travels with the Russian fleet to ensure that the missiles get to Cuba. Xavier, MacTaggart and Lensherr fly to the blockade to stop the fleets from engaging. Wearing a special helmet given him by the Soviets that blocks out telepathic interference, Shaw uses the sub’s nuclear core to charge himself up. While Azazel kills the crew of the Russian missile ship, Xavier uses his powers to make a Russian officer on one of the escort ships fire a missile and destroy the cargo ship carrying the Soviet weapons before it crosses the demarcation line established by the United States.

With Xavier’s help, Lensherr pulls Shaw’s submarine from the water, but an attack by Riptide forces the X-jet and submarine to crash on a nearby beach. Xavier desperately tries to locate Shaw with his telepathic ability but is unable while Shaw is in the reactor room of the sub and wears his helmet. Lensherr goes after Shaw and finds him in the sub’s reactor room. The two battle furiously and the shielding around the chamber cracks, allowing Xavier to locate Shaw. Lensherr tries to overcome Shaw with the metal in the room but Shaw counters with his own telekinesis and pins Lensherr to the wall. Suddenly, Lensherr plucks Shaw’s helmet from his head with a length of cable and Xavier is able to freeze Shaw in place. Lensherr puts on the helmet to block out Xavier’s telepathy and admits that he agrees with everything Shaw believes about mutants and humans and how he never would have developed his power if Shaw hadn’t forced him to. Eric, however, is still vengeful about Shaw’s murder of his mother and kills Shaw by slowly forcing the coin that Shaw taunted him with as a child through his brain while Xavier screams, experiencing the act himself. Eric exits the wrecked submarine with Shaw’s body and announces to his fellow mutants that the humans in both fleets are their real enemies and that the mutants should band together to fight them. Xavier pleads with Eric to end the campaign but he fails.

The two fleets fire their missiles and shells at the mutants on the beach, but Lensherr, now fully in control of his abilities, stops the projectiles in mid-flight and then turns them on the fleet. In the ensuing fight Xavier manages to distract Lensherr, but when MacTaggart fires at Lensherr he deflects the bullets, with one striking Xavier in the lower spine. The missiles and shells all fall into the ocean or explode. Lensherr removes the bullet from Charles’ back but, more furious than before, begins to choke MacTaggart with the chain holding her ID tags, blaming her for Xavier’s injury. Xavier tells Erik that Moira is not the one responsible and Erik relents, realizing he injured his friend. Erik releases Moira, who rushes to Xavier’s side.

Lensherr takes Raven, Angel, Riptide and Azazel and leaves, having convinced them that humans are their enemies. Xavier, now confined to a wheelchair for the rest of his life, and his fellow mutants return to the mansion, where he will open a school. He wipes MacTaggart’s memory. MacTaggart reports to her superiors but has nothing to tell them, knowing that Charles had erased her memory of all recent events.

At CIA headquarters, Emma Frost sits alone in a specialized holding cell. The door is suddenly ripped from it’s frame and Erik walks in, his new recruits waiting just outside. He is wearing a new uniform and a newer version of the helmet he’d stolen from Shaw. He tells Frost to call him “Magneto.”

’Nuff said.


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