Total Film’s Must-See Marvel Movies of 2021
True Believers, we did it! We made it to 2021. And hopefully, after the 2020 cinematic drought, it will be the mother load of all movie years. Luckily for fans worldwide, the entertainment world is already abuzz as reporters and celebrities gear up for ALL the new content to hit the big (or small) screen. It’s going to be so massive (in cinematic terms) that the must-see lists are already starting to roll in, and MarvelBlog’s favorite franchise has already appeared on one of the must-see movie lists – the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Total Film recently released a 2021 Preview: 47 Must-See Movies list that includes most of the MCU movies (both postponed blockbusters and brand-new thrillers) currently slated for release. At MarvelBlog, we are excited to finally see them on the screen.
Eternals will introduce an exciting new team of superheroes to the MCU, an ancient alien species who have been hiding on Earth for centuries. But following the events of Avengers: Endgame, the heroes are forced out of the shadows to reunite against mankind’s most ancient enemy, the Deviants.
Arriving as part of the MCU’s Phase 4, Marvel Studios boss Kevin Feige announced Eternals would be “entirely new and entirely different.” And while the film remains shrouded in secrecy, we already know it will be a boundary-breaking film with the first LGBTQIA+ character in an MCU movie. (No, the Endgame scene doesn’t count.)
Chloé Zhao, the talented director of the award-winning Nomadland, is excited to bring her fresh perspective (and wonderful eye for capturing vast, open scenery) to the MCU.
Speaking with Indie Wire about becoming a Marvel director, Zhao said that: “I’ve been a fan of the MCU for over a decade, so it makes sense for me to jump into a Marvel movie. I want to make films that last, that have a timeless feel to them, that aren’t just a flash in the pan with whatever topic is trending on Twitter right now.”
Eternals is directed by Zhao and stars Richard Madden as Ikaris, Gemma Chan as Sersi, Kumail Nanjiani as Kingo, Lauren Ridloff as Makkari, Brian Tyree Henry as Phastos, Salma Hayek as Ajak, Lia McHugh as Sprite, Don Lee as Gilgamesh, Barry Keoghan as Druig, Angelina Jolie as Thena, and Kit Harington as Dane Whitman/Black Knight. Currently, the Eternals film is set to be released on November 5, 2021.
Unlike the rest of the world, this reporter hasn’t been waiting for a standalone Black Widow movie since the ballet trained super-spy appeared as Scarlett Johansson in Iron Man 2. Given that, it wasn’t a big deal when the Black Widow film was delayed, not once but twice in 2020, because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Almost a full year after the original release date for Black Widow will have passed, the movie will finally be in theaters this spring, giving us Scar-Jo, Flossie Rose, and conspiracy plots galore.
And expect a lot of secret plots, since Black Widow is directed by Cate Shortland, the Australian filmmaker best known for the 2012 Nazi drama Lore, a critically acclaimed drama telling the story of a young woman who leads her siblings through fascist Germany.
Black Widow takes place before the first Avengers movie’s events. It follows Natasha Romanoff as she heads to Budapest to reunite with her Red Room “sisters” in arms, Yelena Belova and Melina Vostokoff, from the KGB training program. Natasha will also reunite with fellow Red Room warrior, The Red Guardian Alexei Shostakov – and we’ll finally be finding out what that conversation between Natasha and Clint Barton back in The Avengers was all about.
Black Widow is currently set to release on May 7, 2021, in the UK and the US. However, because of the ever-changing global situation, fans shouldn’t rule out unexpected (or last minute) changes in the release calendar.
MUST-SEE MARVEL: SHANG-CHI AND THE LEGEND OF THE TEN RINGS
A Shang-Chi movie has been in development at Marvel since early 2006 – yup, you read that correctly, it was in development even before Iron Man. However, it wasn’t until a decade later the film was officially announced. What took so long? Was it because the studio hadn’t found their leading man?
In December 2018, Kim’s Convenience star Simu Liu posted a tweet asking Marvel if he could play the MCU’s first title role to focus on an Asian superhero. And, wouldn’t you know it, he got the part!
Thanks for getting back to me https://t.co/FFRuM03p20
— Simu Liu (@SimuLiu) July 21, 2019
Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings will star Liu as the Master of Kung-Fu, Tony Leung Chiu-wai as The Mandarin, and Awkwafina in an undisclosed role. Given that Shang-Chi will be the first ever Asian-led superhero movie from a big studio, Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige previously shared that the film will star a 98% Asian cast – which is a big deal because there have been only a handful of movies or shows starring majority Asian casts.
Director Destin Daniel Cretton, whose film Just Mercy was met with acclaim at the Toronto International Film Festival, told Observer that:
It’s really exciting to me to be able to fill a movie like that with a bunch of Asian faces and be able to see of sides of these character than what we have seen before. Growing up, I didn’t have a superhero that looked like me, and it’s really exciting to give a new generation something I did not have. I couldn’t be more excited.
Although Leung is one of the most celebrated actors in Eastern cinema, he will be making his Hollywood debut in Shang-Chi as the villainous character, The Mandarin, who first appeared in 1964’s Tales of Suspense #50 by Stan Lee (writer), Don Heck (illustrator), and Ray Holloway (letterer). In the early issues, Marvel’s comic depiction was insensitive at best, and the character is often shown as a megalomaniac conqueror with stereotypical make-up.
Since Marvel’s original depiction of The Mandarin was insensitive, it seems like the company tried to clumsily fix the issue by introducing a red herring. The MCU attempted to reinvent the character in Iron Man 3 (played by Ben Kingsley) as a fictional figure created by the movie’s antagonist.
However, this time around, Cretton is looking forward to humanizing the role and putting the character’s troubled origins behind him. The director explained:
I think [Leung] brings humanity that we need for that character. We are not looking to contribute to the Asian stereotypes that we have seen both in cinema and pop culture. We’re hoping to show some different sides of both Asian-Americans and Chinese-Americans and Mainland Chinese characters. Tommy is such an incredible actor, and I’m excited to have him help us break some of those stereotypes because that villain could easily become a punchline.
As is customary with all things Marvel, Shang-Chi is cloaked in impenetrable secrecy. But, according to Cretton, what we do know is that “it’s going to be a really good film.” Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings will hit theaters on February 12, 2021.