Sebastian Stan’s Winter Soldier is a frequently-seen character in the MCU. He first appeared in Captain America: The First Avenger when he was just plain old Bucky Barnes, a sergeant in the US Army. When he supposedly died at the end of the film, he was actually rescued and turned into the Winter Soldier by HYDRA. The Winter Soldier spent the next 70ish years assassinating HYDRA’s enemies, including Howard Stark. In 2014, he was freed by Captain America, and then in 2016 kick-started the Avengers Civil War. And here we are.
Sebastian Stan has been quite busy on his press tour for The 355, but that hasn’t stopped him from making comments about his character’s status in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, his ongoing feud with Tom Holland, and of course, his favorite films/TV series of MCU Phase Four. He’s said that he’s unaware of his character’s fate and future in the upcoming series. Stan’s also stated that he hasn’t even seen Spider-Man: No Way Home yet, citing the pandemic for the reason not to go. He also jokingly added that he doesn’t support Tom Holland movies.
Now, he’s gone as far to say which MCU projects in Phase Four are his favorites, and they might surprise you.
SEBASTIAN STAN EXPLAINS WHY BLACK WIDOW AND WANDAVISION ARE THE BEST
In a new interview with ComicBook, Bucky Barnes and Winter Soldier actor Sebastian Stan spoke about his favorite MCU projects in Phase Four (outside of the ones he’s in, of course), and Stan touched on two particular projects.
Listen, I really liked WandaVision. For me, that was a series that I really liked because I thought it was such a different world. Such a different take on those characters and from what they’ve done before with them. So I really liked that. And then, you know, Black Widow, obviously, is always going to have a soft spot in my heart. There are some action sequences in that that are just insane.
Sebastian Stan when asked about his favorite MCU projects in Phase Four
Sebastian Stan has chose 2 arguably wonderful projects, that both fans and critics alike enjoyed. WandaVision was the project that kick-started Phase Four. That series had an immense base that stayed up every Thursday night to watch the new episode, and it’s something that Marvel hasn’t been able to replicate since. Black Widow was originally supposed to kick off Phase Four, but got delayed to the point where it was the fourth project in the phase, albeit the first film. If he picked those two projects specifically, perhaps he’s hinting towards appearing in a project linked to one of those characters soon? It’s a possibility, as always with Marvel, but only time will tell.
What did you think of this news? Were you happy with WandaVision and Black Widow? WandaVision and Black Widow are now both streaming on Disney+.
Marvel Studios has a lot of projects in the works. Secret Invasion, Eternals, and Moon Knight, to name a few. We’re nearing the end of 2021, and our team thought it would be good to give our take on all the Phase 4 projects left. But first, let’s give a quick overview of Phase 4 so far.
WARNING: This article contains spoilers for the following Marvel Studios projects: WandaVision, The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, Loki, Black Widow, What If…?. If you have not watched or finished any of the aforementioned TV series or films, stop reading now. The preview of new content for the Marvel Cinematic Universe is in Part 2.
When Marvel Studios’ WandaVision was announced at Comic-Con 2019, fans instantly knew it was going to be a hit. The release date was announced in November 2020, and 2 months later, on January 15, 2021, the first 2 episodes of WandaVision finally premiered. People everywhere were talking about Wanda Maximoff in a sitcom, if Mephisto would pop up, and whether Wanda’s quirky neighbor Agnes was really Agatha Harkness.
Since then, WandaVision has become a cultural phenomenon, Elizabeth Olsen a household name. The series has garnered nearly 1 billion views worldwide to date. In mid-July 2021, the series received 23 nominations for the Television Academy Awards, including a nomination for Outstanding Limited Series. The number of nominations was the the second-most, after The Mandalorian and The Crown, which both received 24.
The impact that this show had for the MCU as a whole was that Wanda Maximoff was formally introduced as the Scarlet Witch for the first time, and introduced a whole new range of powers and abilities to the MCU, magic. We had already known sorcery from the first Doctor Strange film, but WandaVision introduced magic as a whole, including Chaos Magic, which seems to be the category of the Scarlet Witch’s powers. The show also introduced Billy and Tommy Maximoff, which in the comics, are Young Avengers that go by the names Wiccan and Speed.
An often overlooked detail are the two post-credit scenes in the final episode of WandaVision. The less notable one, which finds Wanda in a remote cabin in the mountains, where she’s studying the Darkhold intensely. As a result of that, she hears Billy and Tommy scream for help. We’re led to assume that this is the scene that will lead into Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. The second post-credits scene finds Monica Rambeau in the aftermath of the Battle of Westview, and when she is asked to go into the movie theater by an FBI agent, that very same FBI agent turns into a Skrull. This sets up Secret Invasion mainly, but also The Marvels.
The Falcon and the Winter Soldier
Anthony Mackie is The Falcon. Sebastian Stan is The Winter Soldier. The Falcon and the Winter Soldier opened 2 weeks after the finale of WandaVision, to extremely high hopes. The release date was announced at Disney Investor Day 2020, it was revealed to be March 19, 2021. While it was a good series, it wasn’t WandaVision level, so this series received a lot of flak it didn’t necessarily deserve.
Even though that was the case, it topped the Nielsen rankings, at #1 for several weeks. It also was the second-most watched premiere on Disney+ ever, after Loki. WandaVision was third. In mid-July 2021, The Falcon and the Winter Soldier was awarded 5 Emmy nominations.
The ramifications for the wider MCU that this series provided were threefold. First, Sam Wilson took on the mantle of Captain America. Second, this introduces yet another potential Young Avenger to the MCU, Eli Bradley, grandson of Isaiah Bradley. In the comics, Eli goes by Patriot.
Last, Zemo is transported to the Raft, where he could be recruited for the Thunderbolts or Dark Avengers. Val now has an impressive list of candidates for her team, consisting of John Walker Zemo.
The post-credit scene finds Sharon Carter in a US Senate hearing, where she is recruited back into government intelligence agencies. She is given a squad of her own, and access into the government database. She leaves the hearing. Immediately after, she calls her “contact”, saying that she has access to government databases, and to start lining up buyers. Could this “contact” be the same contact that Sonny Burch mentioned in Ant-Man and the Wasp? Knowing Feige, anything is possible. This comes after the reveal earlier in the episode that she is the Power Broker, which could potentially set up Armor Wars, or, as many fans have been speculating, Secret Invasion, if this Sharon Carter is revealed to be a Skrull.
Where to start? Marvel Studios’ Loki is arguably the best streaming television series ever. From score to story, Loki shines in every category. The casting is off the charts. Tom Hiddleston is the only returning character from the MCU, everyone else is new.
The casting of Owen Wilson as Mobius M. Mobius is flawless, so is the casting of Gugu M’batha Raw as Judge Ravonna Renslayer. To name a few more, Jonathan Majors as He Who Remains and Sophia Di Martino as Sylvie. The score, composed by Natalie Ann Holt, was EXTRAORDINARY. The script, crafted by Michael Waldron, was so good that Kevin Feige hired him to pen Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. Kate Herron, the director, captured the elements of the settings and story feels perfectly.
Every part of Loki was done to the best of Marvel’s ability. Top 10 MCU project, some say Top 5, and a few even go as far as to say Top 3. Every week that a new episode of Loki released, it was #1 or #2 on the Nielsen charts. Views well surpassed 1 billion per episode, and it was the most-watched premiere on Disney+ ever, surpassing WandaVision, The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, and The Mandalorian. Unfortunately, the series concluded too late to be considered for the 2021 Emmys, but fingers crossed for as many nominations as possible in 2022.
What we learned from this series, WandaVision, and The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, is that Marvel Studios is crafting stories for Disney+ that focus more on individual character development, and less on wider MCU repercussions. However, that doesn’t mean that there isn’t any impact on the MCU. In this show, there is actually quite a lot of it.
The event that has the biggest impact on the MCU is Sylvie killing He Who Remains, thereby freeing the multiverse. She also ends up letting infinite variants roam free, and starting another multiversal war. This sets up Loki season 2, What If…? season 1, What If…? season 2, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, Spider-Man: No Way Home, and Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania. Other things include the introduction of yet another Young Avenger, Kid Loki. Man, Feige is really fast-tracking this team.
It also sets up the possibility of other characters’ variants in the MCU, an example being a report we heard last year, that Tom Cruise would play a variant of Iron Man in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.
Before its’ release, Black Widow was delayed 3 consecutive times. From May 1, 2020 to November 6, 2020. Then from November 6, 2020 to May 7, 2021. And then finally, from May 7, 2021 to July 9, 2021, with the Disney+ Premier Access announcement. While it’s not the best film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, it’s certainly one to remember. Florence Pugh shines in this action-packed blockbuster, with Rachel Weisz, David Harbour, and Ray Winstone as the supporting cast.
While this is Scarlett Johansson’s film, we already know the character of Natasha Romanoff so well, so it’s hard for Johansson to remain dominant throughout the film. Director Cate Shortland does a great job of turning the script into something presentable, as Head Writer Jac Schaeffer didn’t do the best job on Black Widow, even as she masterminded WandaVision.
The film has the biggest domestic gross of the year, but still sits somewhere in the Top 5 for worldwide gross, since China has so far neglected Black Widow. In its premiere week, it took in $60M in domestic gross, $80M in international gross, and $50M in Premier Access revenue. It was #3 in its’ premiere week on the Nielsen streaming charts. However, the film could be an Oscar contender for the Best Visual Effects category, but likely no more than that.
There is a very small MCU footprint in this film, but that’s to be expected, the film is mainly a prequel. The sole impact is that Val shows up in the post-credit scene, telling Yelena that Clint Barton was responsible for Nat’s death, and sends her to hunt Barton down. 1) This makes Yelena a very strong contender for whatever team Val is putting together, whether it’s the Thunderbolts or the Dark Avengers. 2) It leads into the Hawkeye TV series, which premieres November 24th (covering in Part 2). We’ll see her in Hawkeye. Yelena indicates that her and Val have met previously, which raises questions. What Yelena was up to in the years between being freed from the Red Room, to when she was at Natasha’s grave.
What If…?, Marvel Studios’ first venture into the realm of animation, does not fail to prove its’ worth. From the first episode, we can see just how good the voice acting is. The first episode seems basically like Captain America: The First Avenger, but with a twist. However, it’s important to note that the tentacled villain at the end of the episode is NOT Shuma Gorath.
Notes From Episode 1
In a recent interview, a showrunner on What If…? confirmed that characters that hadn’t yet appeared in the MCU would NOT appear in What If…?. Even as he’s slated to appear in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, Shuma Gorath hasn’t appeared in the Marvel Cinematic Universe YET, so he won’t appear in What If…?. More likely that it’s just some random tentacled Hydra god.
In any case, it will be exciting to see what What If…? provides over the course of 7-8 weeks, through the next 8 episodes. I’m particularly excited for the Spider-Man zombie hunter and the Doctor Strange episode. And remember, we will see some of these characters in live action, some are coming sooner than you’d expect…..
This is Part 1 of Marvel Studios: All Upcoming Projects And Our Take On Them. Part 2 is live now, accessible in the link below. In the next part, previews of Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, Eternals, Ms. Marvel, Hawkeye, and Spider-Man: No Way Home will be featured.
UPDATE AT 4:01pm PST (July 30, 2021): Women In Film LA, Reframe, and Time’s Up have issued a joint statement against Disney’s response to the lawsuit:
While we take no position on the business issues in the litigation between Scarlett Johansson and The Walt Disney Company, we stand firmly against Disney’s recent statement which attempts to characterize Johansson as insensitive or selfish for defending her contractual business rights. This gendered character attack has no place in a business dispute and contributes to an environment in which women and girls are perceived as less able than men to protect their own interests without facing ad hominem criticism.
WIF LA, Reframe, and Time’s Up in a joint statement regarding the lawsuit
UPDATE AT 10:18am PST (July 30, 2021): CAA co-chair and the agent for Scarlett Johansson, Bryan Lourd, issued this statement in response to Disney’s press release on the lawsuit:
“I want to address the Walt Disney Company’s statement that was issued in response to the lawsuit filed against them yesterday by our client Scarlett Johansson. They have shamelessly and falsely accused Ms. Johansson of being insensitive to the global COVID pandemic, in an attempt to make her appear to be someone they and I know she isn’t.
Scarlett has been Disney’s partner on nine movies, which have earned Disney and its shareholders billions. The company included her salary in their press statement in an attempt to weaponize her success as an artist and businesswoman, as if that were something she should be ashamed of. Scarlett is extremely proud of the work that she, and all of the actors, writers, directors, producers, and the Marvel creative team have been a part of for well over a decade.
This suit was filed as a result of Disney’s decision to knowingly violate Scarlett’s contract. They have very deliberately moved the revenue stream and profits to the Disney+ side of the company leaving artistic and financial partners out of their new equation. That’s it, pure and simple.
Disney’s direct attack on her character and all else they implied is beneath the company that many of us in the creative community have worked with successfully for decades.”
UPDATE AT 3:58pm PST (July 29, 2021): The Hollywood Reporter has published that Disney has made a statement about these claims:
There is no merit whatsoever to this filing. The lawsuit is especially sad and distressing in its callous disregard for the horrific and prolonged global effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. Disney has fully complied with Ms. Johansson’s contract and furthermore, the release of Black Widow on Disney+ with Premier Access has significantly enhanced her ability to earn additional compensation on top of the $20M she has received to date.
The Walt Disney Company on Johansson’s lawsuit
“Black Widow” star Scarlett Johansson is suing The Walt Disney Company in a shocking turn of events. Johansson is claiming that they have breached her contract by releasing Black Widow in a hybrid format, not an exclusive theatrical release.
The claim that was filed to the courts on July 29th say “Disney intentionally induced Marvel’s breach of the agreement, without justification, in order to prevent Ms. Johansson from realizing the full benefit of her bargain with Marvel.”
This follows after Black Widow made $80 million on its first week of release, but then dropped a whopping 67%, the biggest decline of any Marvel Studios release to date. This is being blamed on Disney’s decision to release Black Widow on Disney+ and in theaters simultaneously, a day-and-date release model.
The complaint also said that Johansson raised concerns in 2019 about the film being released on Disney+, with Disney later on ignoring her requests to renegotiate her contract after the release strategy was changed.
Disney’s CEO, Bob Chapek, defended the decision to shift Black Widow to hybrid in May on an earnings call. “One of the things we learned is that flexibility is good,” he said. “We’re really celebrating that flexibility … we’re trying to offer consumers more choice.”
There is no denying that Phase 4’s first film, Black Widow, was a huge hit and that is in part due to the supporting cast of Florence Pugh, David Harbour and Rachel Weisz. Well, it’s widely known Pugh will return in Hawkeye but no word on the other two… until now!
Here at Cinema Reviewed, we have exclusively learned that Harbour and Weisz have signed on for more MCU flicks and could possibly show the Red Guardian fighting Captain America, somewhat due to the fact that Harbour said his character wasn’t lying about that. Something that was an issue in the film for me and many others as well was that Weisz clearly has more development to show and possibly more of her work in the Red Room.
We don’t know what they will return in but for now, you can check out Harbour and Weisz in Black Widow which is in theatres and on Disney+ Premier Access. What did you think of the film? Share your thoughts by tagging @RCDiscussion, @BigScreenLeaks, or @ReviewedCinema on Twitter, or replying in the comments below!
Black Widow has finally come out, fans have been waiting since the movie was announced, then delayed three consecutive times, hopping from May 2020 to November 2020, then to May 2021, and then lastly to July 2021. All in all, though, Black Widow was worth the wait. It has its ups and downs, just like any film, but it’s overall a wonderful kickoff to Phase 4 of the MCU.
WARNING: FROM THIS POINT ON, THERE WILL BE SPOILERS FOR BLACK WIDOW. IF YOU DO NOT WISH TO SEE THESE SPOILERS, STOP READING IMMEDIATELY.
Where to start? Well, this film is pretty good. Despite the 80% on Rotten Tomatoes (which were mostly due to a certain detail that we’ll talk about later), it still was a good movie, and when I saw it at the theater, I really enjoyed it. Florence Pugh really takes her role to the next level in this film. She acts with grace and elegance, and outshines everyone else in this film.
Rachel Weisz plays her part as Melina Vostokoff, and while she does end up calling the Red Room to capture Romanoff, she later regrets it and helps them to escape and kill General Dreykov. Her story has a full character arc, from the flashback to Ohio in 1995, to the escape with the Widows from Secretary Ross, she has a full arc that’s well developed, and she would do well in the future of the MCU, as a hero, anti-hero, or maybe even a villain.
The action scenes in this movie are off the charts, up there with the likes of John Wick, Mission: Impossible, James Bond, and Captain America: The Winter Soldier. Scarlett Johansson has some impressive scenes, including the prison break sequence and the whole sky-fight display.
Julia. Louis. Dreyfus. We saw her for all of about 3 minutes, but that was enough to give us chills about what she has in store for us as the MCU continues. First in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, now in Black Widow, it seems that Contessa Valentina Allegra de Fontaine (Val for short, but NEVER call her that to her face) is assembling a team. Her character is meant to be a sort of Dark Nick Fury, so you never know what projects she might appear in.
Finally, O-T Fagbenle. He portrays Rick Mason, who basically outfits and equips Natasha for her missions. He’s the one in the background, never seen, never known, but is always there, helping out as much as he can.
Now, let’s go to the bad. David Harbour as Alexei Shostakov/Red Guardian mostly just gets his butt kicked in this film. Period. Whether it’s a pyschological butt-kicking by Yelena and Natasha, or a physical one from Taskmaster, it’s basically all he does in the movie, and doesn’t add much to the plot. If anything, he’s there for comedic relief, but it’s mostly dad jokes.
The third act is when everything falls apart. There was too much talking in the first two acts, so the third act becomes super rushed, and doesn’t make complete sense. It feels like The Flash is speeding up the script, there’s so many ways the third act could have been better, but somehow, they didn’t catch the mistakes in post-production.
The biggest issue with the film, though, was Budapest, Dreykov, and Taskmaster, which are all related. Taskmaster was Dreykov’s daughter, which was a problem in itself. In the comics, Taskmaster was a man, named Tony Masters. While the gender and identity change was fine, the way it was executed was poor. The movie doesn’t explain how Dreykov and Taskmaster survived the assassination attempt in Budapest.
On the topic of Budapest, to the crew of the film: Show, don’t tell. That scene could have been done better in so many ways. There was just a bunch of description, but it would have been 100x better if they had shown a couple flashbacks to the battle.
Now, Dreykov. I’m going to be blunt. He was terrible. There was no character depth to him, he died too quickly, and his character didn’t make sense. He was basically a Russian military general who had his men kidnap young girls and train/brainwash them to become assassins.
The film doesn’t explain his motivations for doing those things. He died too quickly, and could have been better developed if he was taken prisoner by Yelena and Natasha. In a future project, he could have been visited by Yelena (since Nat’s dead), and he could have been a bit part of another project. But of course, he died.
Quick breakdown of the film and the ramifications it has for the MCU going forward: Val is setting up Hawkeye. By giving Yelena a target (Clint Barton), we’ve gotten our first look at what we’ll see in the Hawkeye series. Second, Val’s also clearly building some sort of super-team, either the Thunderbolts or the Dark Avengers. By recruiting Yelena and John Walker (US Agent), Val has 2 members needed, and she’s expected to recruit Zemo soon enough.
David Harbour and Rachel Weisz are clearly appearing in future projects down the road, most likely with the freed Widows and the now-freed Taskmaster. What happens to them, hero, anti-hero, or villain, remains to be seen. Taskmaster will probably become some sort of a Deadpool-ish character, without the explicit content. The freed Widows may go on missions with Vostokoff and Shostakov. Vostokoff may become her comics persona, the Iron Maiden.
Yelena Belova will hunt Barton down, probably try to kill him, clearly appearing in the Hawkeye TV show, and wherever Val shows up, Yelena’s probably not too far behind.
All in all, the film’s action was top-notch, and Florence Pugh CRUSHED IT as Yelena Belova, but Taskmaster could have been done a bit better. Besides that, and that the film was rushed in the third act, it was one of the more memorable entries into the Marvel Cinematic Universe, I look forward to seeing these characters in action again someday.
Marvel Studios’ Black Widow is now playing in theatres and streaming on Disney+ with Premier Access. See Yelena Belova in Marvel Studios’ Hawkeye, releasing Late 2021 on Disney+.
We are only 3 weeks away from the release of Black Widow, and yesterday, critics got to share their impressions of the film. Black Widow currently sits at 99% on Rotten Tomatoes, currently the best of any Marvel Studios film. The film has been delayed 3 consecutive times, but will finally release this July, in theaters and on Disney+ on their Premier Access service.
The movie is set between the events of Captain America: Civil War and Avengers: Infinity War. The film is directed by Cate Shortland, and is written by Jac Schaeffer, who also was the head writer on WandaVision. Black Widow stars Scarlett Johansson as Natasha Romanoff, Florence Pugh as Yelena Belova, Rachel Weisz as Melina Vostokoff, David Harbour as Alexei Shostakov, and O-T Fagbenle as Rick Mason. The movie is produced by Kevin Feige, Louis D’Esposito, and Victoria Alonso.
Biggest Screen Possible
Best Solo Film
A Marvel Star Is Born
The MCU’s Bond Movie
Marvel Studios’ Black Widow releases in theaters and on Disney+ with Premier Access July 9, 2021.
Just when we expected it least, Marvel Studios dropped a brand-new “Special Look” at Black Widow. The first film in Phase 4 has been highly anticipated for a very long time.
Originally set for release on May 1, 2020, the film was pushed to November 6, 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It was pushed again due to the pandemic, this time to May 7, 2021, and then one last time to July 9, 2021.
REVEALED SCENES IN NEW SPECIAL LOOK
In the brand-new TV spot, new scenes are shown, one of which shows military troops (unclear which military) lining up and aiming at a target, which is not shown. Scarlett Johansson opens the Special Look, telling fans to “Enjoy this Special Look”.
Scenes from films such as Avengers: Age of Ultron and Iron Man 2 are shown, it’s unclear whether these scenes will actually be featured in the film as flashbacks, or only will be used in promotional material. Scenes that have been seen in previous trailers are shown, such as Romanoff jumping from the helicopter onto a walkway. A different perspective from the shot shown above is shown.
In another scene, Florence Pugh slams her batons together, and a shot of the car chase is also shown. The full special look can be watched below.
Marvel Studios’ Black Widow releases in theatres and on Disney+ with Premier Access July 9, 2021.