The so-called “Marvel Cinematic Universe”, wherein movie adaptations of superheroes from Marvel Comics are brought to life by their filmmaking arm Marvel Studios (now independent of the Marvel umbrella and holding equal status under their mutual parent company Disney) began in 2008 with “Iron man” starring Robert Downey Jr. It then grew into a multi-million dollar earning juggernaut that generated installments not only on theaters but also television (courtesy of ABC) and streaming (Netflix) that would culminate with some grand gathering of characters like in the “Avengers” films and the upcoming “Defenders” assembling the previous Netflix solo hero series. Thus far they’ve been going all well and good, but there has been one element missing out of the whole MCU since its inception: there haven’t been any prominent female antagonists that have taken front and center to menace the heroes. But that’s about to change.
CNN reports that Australian actress Cate Blanchett is having a blast portraying a first for the MCU films. She is playing the malevolent Goddess of Death Hela in the upcoming “Thor: Ragnarok”, starring opposite Chris Hemsworth as the hammer-wielding god and Avenger, and on murky alignment with established franchise nemesis Tom Hiddleston as Loki. Blanchett describes her character as a complex villainess “with a lot of baggage…She’s a little bit cross.” The Oscar winner had found it “ridiculous” at how her role was the first female bad guy for the greater MCU, remarking, “Can you believe we’re having this conversation and it’s 2017 and we’re talking about the first female villain.” She further adds how she sees so much “untapped potential villainy” in women characters.
“Thor: Ragnarok” is the third solo outing of the titular Marvel character on film. In this installment Thor (Hemsworth) finds himself significantly depowered after his trusty war hammer Mjolnir is destroyed, leading to him being stranded by the resurgent Hela (Blanchett) in an alien planet where he runs into an old and long-missing friend, Bruce Banner aka. the Hulk (Mark Ruffalo).
Meanwhile, on the streaming front, Marvel Studios and Netflix are gearing up to ready the premiere of “The Defenders”, a series featuring the eponymous team of Marvel superheroes, in this case the more street-level characters that have already been introduced in past Netflix shows: Daredevil (Charlie Cox), Jessica Jones (Krysten Ritter), Luke Cage (Mike Colter) and Iron Fist (Finn Jones). What’s interesting about the series is that the main antagonist is also another woman, seemingly a character original to the series without a comic book counterpart. Sigourney Weaver portrays Alexandra, a mysterious figure wielding some political muscle and authority in New York City whose activities force these erstwhile individual heroes to team up.
Marvel’s “The Defenders” premieres on August 18, while “Thor: Ragnarok” hits cinemas November 3.
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