Saturday, March 15, 2014

"Marvel Studios: Assembling a Universe" Reviewed

It seems to be the rallying cry here at Idle Hands, and something we say...probably every 5 or so articles...but it bears repeating. WHAT A GREAT TIME IT IS TO BE A GEEK!!! ABC shares our boundless joy with a sort of mini celebration of the Marvel Studios Cinematic Universe with a special called "Marvel Studios: Assembling a Universe" (airing Tuesday, March 18 (8:00-9:00 p.m., ET).

Alongside the meatier versions of The Avengers Blu-ray releases was an epic featurette tracking the history of the entire Marvel Cinematic Universe, from Iron Man on into this latest Avengers release, with thoughts from actors and crew, directors, producers, ...the masterminds behind every decisive thought that shaped the direction of each story line, and transformed the characters from comic icons to big screen legends. "Assembling a Universe" borrows a lot from this pseudo-documentary, condensing the extensive history lesson to its finer points, but still taking plenty of time with the genesis (ie; Iron Man), touching on Agent Coulson and SHIELD wrapping around each film, on into Iron Man 3, Agents of SHIELD and Thor 2 until we get to the meat of the special. You'll also notice the odd addition of comedians and other "noteworthy" celeb geeks speaking on their love of the Marvel Cinematic Universe here and there. Did they really need padding when we would have watched screen tests of Scarlet Johansson adjusting her new Black Widow suit for 20 minutes?

Captain America: The Winter Soldier is next on deck for release this April 4th, and so "Assembling a Universe" takes plenty of time to introduce the film to us, delving deeper than the explosive trailers and power packed clips. We get a glimpse at the relationship between Nick Fury and Steve Rogers (aka Captain America, natch), post Avengers, with themes touching on our own current battle to maintain our privacy while allowing our government the tools to keep us safe...which often work against each other. To set this tone on no uncertain terms, Fury has a conversation with Steve while wearing a black uniform that forces a comparison to German World War 2 intelligence officers, begging the question "at what price, freedom?" and reminding us it is all a slippery slope. This is sure to be a powerful, overlying message in the film. We get a brief moment touching on the expanded relationship between boy scout Cap and flying-by-the-seat-of-her-pants super spy Black Widow before a lengthier introduction of Falcon and bit on how he fits into the story.You'll also see a tiny bit on Winter Soldier, himself, but thankfully, they are leaving something for our viewing pleasure on opening day!!

Next, we head into Guardians of the Galaxy, which is a "blink and you'll miss it" fly by of the production with quick quotes from actors, performances in front of green screen, better looks at Ronan in his full costume and just enough visuals to hook a new viewer, but no further exploration past the bits we've seen already, and certainly no key moments to knock those on the fence, off. This is just a taste of the film, moving at break neck speed, with images cutting away so fast I challenge the top geek websites to gather decent screen grabs! Having not seized this opportunity to grab the attention of those fans who have no idea who the Guardians are, I'm curious to see where the marketing of the film will go as we seed toward opening day. Of course, the company could be fairly confident that their OOGA CHAKA echoing trailer posted damn near EVERYWHERE on the internet was enough to get mouths drooling far beyond the core fanbase..and they might be right at that. We shall seeee...

At this point, the screen went black and plain text announced that HERE was where we would be watching bits on Avengers 2: The Age of Ultron, but because we are sneaksy hobbitses who rarely keep our mouths shut, we would have to wait until the special airs to see it. BONED!! I can't say I blame them, and yet, I have. Evil.

The show wraps up with seconds from past and future films, flashing past at a speed so great you'll have trouble figuring out which things you've seen before and what you have not. The clever editors even splice in some Ant-Man bits, though nothing new past what we've seen so far.

Is "Marvel Studios" Assembling a Universe" packed with enough new footage, interviews and fun moments to make die hard fans tune in? Absolutely. There's something to be said, even amid the marketing push this special surely lends, about the genuine excitement of those involved with Marvel Studios films, and how that excitement is conveyed here. Did Disney need to pump out another look at their upcoming slate? No. We were all going to see Captain America anyway! "Assembling a Universe" comes off as a group of fans, now on the inside of a project we are all anticipating, calling us over to say "check this're going to freak". ....and freak you shall.

Thanks to ABC for access!

Note to websites looking for news: Please credit us. If you are grabbing pictures, only grab half at the most of what we are showing and link back for the rest. We appreciate your interest and thank you for your cooperation!

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