The Up and Down Avengers
I took a couple weeks off, getting myself ready for summer vacation and getting myself all done with school. I was anticipating Avengers: Age of Ultron for so long; I ended up going to see it twice in 2 days. The first was like eating your first plate on Thanksgiving: you’re so excited for the meal that once you’re done you didn’t really get to taste all the food. The second plate gives you more of the taste of the film. Anything other plate after that you’re asking for 10 extra pounds plus a food coma. So after the excitement wore off and I was able to reflect back on it I watched it again. I found that I really enjoyed the second viewing of it more than the first. I waited to go with a friend as long as I could but by Saturday I had to see it myself (he was at a bachelor party).
Now I have to see Mad Max: Fury Road and Tomorrowland (screw Rotten Tomatoes, I have heard great things about this film, I’m checking it out).
Besides my review of Age of Ultron, we’ll take a look at the Supergirl trailer, a new documentary on George Miller’s failed Justice League film and Hugh Jackman’s possible cameo in Deadpool!
Avengers: Age of Ultron
WARNING SPOILERS BELOW!
I want to open with this: I really loved this film. I think this film had a lot going against it. It had insane expectations. More people were looking forward to and anticipating this film more than the second coming of Jesus. There was more riding on this film than LeBron James winning a title for Cleveland.
What if we took the US’ greatest athletes today, put them on a soccer field and they won the World Cup. Think about it: the US got Chris “Megatron” Johnson, LeBron James, Chris Paul, Russell Westbrook, Sidney Crosby, Mike Trout and other athletes on a soccer field, told them to beat Italy. Then you have Phil Jackson being the alcoholic coach forced to coach this band of misfits. Then at halftime they have to come back to tie it on a last second goal. Then they go to PKs and end up winning the World Cup in dramatic fashion. That was like the first Avengers film.
Then that team comes back (now like the Avengers: Age of Ultron) and gets bounced in the semi-finals the next go around. How could anyone meet expectations of the last time? It’s impossible. That soccer team didn’t perform badly, they just didn’t win the championship. That’s what Age of Ultron had to do. The magic of Avengers was seeing something that we had never seen in cinema before: various characters part of the same universe teaming up over the course of 5 films. So we forgive Avengers for any flaws because of that magic. Now we’ve already seen them together. The magic is gone. So that’s a hurdle to overcome.
I thought the action scenes were excellent. I love how the opening starts with a battle. They are all exchanging banter between each other and that’s part of the magic of this group. Robert Downey Jr. brings that magic while at the same time becomes a real human character; he’s not shoehorned into being the one liner character he could fall into. He has desires, dreams and conflict within himself. His focus on Captain America’s first line was fantastic and was a great running joke. I also enjoyed how Iron Man took a back seat in this. This wasn’t a Tony Stark film featuring other super heroes. There is a bunch of focus on Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner), Bruce Banner (Mark Ruffalo) and Black Widow (Scarlett Johanson). There are so many different characters and elements in this film, including some new ones.
Two of those new characters were Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch played by Aaron Taylor-Johnson and Elizabeth Olsen, respectively. I thought they did great. Outside of some questionable voice acting by Olsen, I really enjoyed these characters on screen. Quicksilver’s banter with Hawkeye was a huge highlight for me in this. What I also like is the character arc for both of them. They started out hating Stark, out for revenge. In fact, you could argue they are the main villains helping to manipulate situations to create Ultron. However, they are still human characters; they didn’t want the world to burn so they team up with the group with a similar interest. I thought Scarlett Witch’s change was fantastic. Olsen was able to convey a range of emotions even without talking. Scarlet Witch’s powers were not totally established; she could kind of do everything.
However, the best performance of this whole film was Ultron. He was a deeper character than most “AI’s who turn against their master” and James Spader was PERFECT. He brought a confidence, a calm rage and wit that the character did not have in the comics. He experienced a range of emotions. He also wanted to see an evolution; that was mankind’s greatest flaw: the resistance to evolve and change. Ultron wanted to evolve and change and encapsulated that in Vision. But Spader brought something new to this character; and I loved it. Ultron was merciless, calculating and cold. He also had a charm; the kind of charm a mass murderer would have.
I love some of the subplots. One of them is the scene between Tony Stark and Steve Rodgers. When they are going back and forth cutting up the wood on Hawkeye’s farm that was fantastic. It sets up Captain America: Civil War perfectly. It was awesome.
Now on to some things I didn’t like. I felt like the film was very short. It should probably have been at least 30 minutes longer. I will be watching the director’s cut the moment it comes out. There were several subplots that could have been fleshed out more with a couple more scenes. The romance between Widow and Banner wasn’t bad but it felt out of nowhere. It’s not like Captain America and Widow; there was some flirting and chemistry between the two that would indicate that. Banner and Widow felt like it was thrown in there. I also didn’t like how the Avengers were all thrown together at the beginning. Seeing them come together would have been great. I later found out that it was indicated on an episode of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. I’m normally a proponent of keeping the TV and film worlds together but this was an instance that it hurt. Not everyone watches AoS so it hurts those who don’t. I felt like a small explanation of who brought them together would have been better.
Overall, I really enjoyed this film. I thought it was great with enough depth. While it felt short, it is a great follow up to the hugely successful Avengers. It had its flaws and wasn’t as good as the last one but it was a very good film nonetheless.
While I watching this trailer, I thought “this is what Superman needs to be.” This is an instance where DC’s idea clashes with what will work. Superman isn’t depressing or dark or gritty; it full of colors, bright and makes you want to save a kitten or walk an old lady across the street. That’s what I got watching this. This lead, Melissa Benoist, has such a great charm to her. She has “it” for Supergirl; someone who is tough but who also has that drive to be good. I really dug most of this. It also seems to avoid the problem that some of these shows have: avoiding the teenage drama. It’s something that Arrow and Smallville fell into. This one seems to be avoiding that. Sure, some of the dialogue seems cheesy (specifically about the “family” crest) but a Superman universe is allowed to have some cheese. This will be interesting to see if this will fall into the same universe as DC’s other shows since this one is on CBS. I would guess that it will but it might not. I would love to see her interact with Flash or with Arrow for that matter. Anyway, I’m excited about this show.
The Death of the Justice League
Soon after John Schnepp’s documentary comes out about a failed Superman film, we are getting another documentary chronicling George Miller’s failed film. Personally, I had heard about this but I don’t have much knowledge. This is part of the fun for myself; someone who wants to know about films and how they’re made. I would love to watch a film about this. I haven’t seen The Death of Superman Lives: What Happened? but I am intrigued about this film. Who doesn’t want to know why Common didn’t become Green Lantern?! America deserves an answer to this question.
Hugh Jackman in Deadpool?!
image from screenrant.com
Look, I love this news. We saw what a Wolverine cameo is like (as seen in X-Men: First Class). It was one of those things that electrified the film, Rock style. Look, it would be awesome to have, especially with Deadpool’s humor verses Wolverine’s seriousness but how cool would it be if it wasn’t Wolverine but it was actually Hugh Jackman playing himself playing Wolverine? That would be so much fun. It would fit into Deadpool’s world as well. Look, I want a Deadpool who is meta, who is totally aware of his world. I want there to be some real meta stuff going on; Deadpool should be selling his own gear all over the place. He should buy a ticket to his own film. Just go all out with this. Deadpool should be bloody and bloody fun. Having a cameo of Wolverine would be fun but a cameo of Hugh Jackman playing Wolverine would be spectacular.