Not content with transforming the franchise-based movie making model, Marvel have also been revolutionising the home media experience by creating a series of shorts which not only tie into the Marvel Cinematic Universe but enrich and deepen the connections between the movies they support.
Although they started by enhancing, re-cutting and adding to existing footage with the first two One-Shots (“The Consultant” and “A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To Thor’s Hammer”), from the DVD release of “Avengers Assemble” they’ve been wholly created new mini movies. “Item 47” laid the foundations for the TV series “Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D.” while “Agent Carter” gave Hayley Atwell’s Peggy Carter the send-off denied the character in “Captain America: The First Avenger” (and raised hopes for further adventures), and the latest, “All Hail The King” is the best so far. Spoilers for “Iron Man 3” ahead!
Picking up the story of Trevor Slattery aka The Mandarin, we learn that following his capture he has been incarcerated in Seagate Prison where he enjoys a comfortable life of prison celebrity including a fan club amongst the other prisoners and his own ‘butler’, Herman (Lester Speight). Further inflating Trevor’s voracious ego are the interviews with documentary filmmaker Jackson Norriss (Scoot McNairy) but in “All Hail The King”, during the final interview session it seems Norriss may have more than just journalism on his mind.
Ben Kingsley is again tremendous as Trevor Slattery, Croydon’s finest acting expert and still manages to be chilling when he does “the voice” and Sam Rockwell makes a hilarious and surprising cameo as fellow Seagate Prison inmate and disgraced weapons manufacturer Justin Hammer.
For those who like the Mandarin twist in “Iron Man 3”, there’s a lot to like here but the best thing is that if you hated the twist, there’s a lot for you to enjoy too and if you just like spending time in the Marvel Cinematic Universe then fill your boots. The unexpected call back to “Iron Man 2” with Justin Hammer is the icing on the cake and underscores just how cleverly Marvel is crafting its vision.