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Koete

Avengers: Age of Ultron

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Most of Marvel's movies are "not the best thing ever," just like most movies period. I can illustrate why Thor 2 is worse than that with one scene: when Kat Dennings and the new pointless character kiss near the end of the movie. As soon you see the two of them together on screen, you know they're going to end up kissing by the end, because it's so predictable. And the movie doesn't take any effort to make it interesting or for you to care even the tiniest bit; it just happens because it's happened in a million stories before. There's the worthless lead villain, the horde of video game minions, and the complete lack of chemistry between Thor and Jane, but that moment says clearer than anything how lazy and sure the Marvel audience will watch whatever it's given that movie is.

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Right. Here's the thing. After having forcibly restrained myself from going to one of the 00:01 showings on 23rd April, I'm now going after work. Would there be strenuous objections to my coming on when I get back and posting - Spoiler Free - comments?

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Most of Marvel's movies are "not the best thing ever," just like most movies period. I can illustrate why Thor 2 is worse than that with one scene: when Kat Dennings and the new pointless character kiss near the end of the movie. As soon you see the two of them together on screen, you know they're going to end up kissing by the end, because it's so predictable. And the movie doesn't take any effort to make it interesting or for you to care even the tiniest bit; it just happens because it's happened in a million stories before. There's the worthless lead villain, the horde of video game minions, and the complete lack of chemistry between Thor and Jane, but that moment says clearer than anything how lazy and sure the Marvel audience will watch whatever it's given that movie is.

Well one thing that really does annoy me about Thor 2 and gives credence to how lackadaisical the approach in telling a good story was is the fact that the villain legitimately killed Thor's mother. He murdered her. And that never comes up again. Thor doesn't go after him for vengeance, or even say "This is for my mother". He doesn't even look sad at her funeral. It was a total limp-wristed "emotional" scene that forgot the emotion.

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What? Thor was devastated and rage-filled when she died. He and Loki only worked together because they both cared about Frigga so much that they could put aside their issues for the time being; they pretty much literally said that to each other.

Not to say that Thor 2 wasn't lacking in the character depth department, but that was one of the few highlights.

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Well, I just got back from seeing it.

It was OK, if a little uneven pacing-wise. And for some reason I cannot explain it left me feeling... dissatisfied.

I have seen the first one five or six times now and still enjoy it. This one... I'm not going to see it again till I get the DVD. And even then, I get the feeling its going to be sitting on the shelf unwatched.

Updates on further reflection

I think I will add disappointing to the above description.

Spader and RDJ were phoning in their performances. There wasn't really any flash from Stark at all, not like in previous movies. Tom Hiddleston was on fire in all his appearances as Loki, but most especially in the first movie. Spader was just.. there.

And really, if you've seen the trailers and the clips... well, you've seen the movie.

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I liked it. Didn't love it. It's a good time with the Avengers, smashing robots most of the time, with some good character bits in there. But it's nothing special.

Very mild spoilers, only tagged just in case you wanna go in 100% blind:

The negative:

Ultron was an incredibly straightforward comic book villain, almost moreso than Loki. In fact, yeah, Loki actually did have the whole "I was a god and still deserve to be so" thing going for him; Ultron is pretty much just "meh, humans are lame, they should die because reasons."

Also, I mostly hated James Spader as Ultron. An overly charismatic villain performance works with someone like Loki who actually has the ability to stand in front of a camera and control the audience's attention, but Ultron is basically a CG cartoon that makes jokes, and they fall pretty flat.

The positive:

Action is good. Not as "fun" as Avengers and not as brutally precise as Cap 2, but it's good.

Scarlet Witch is pretty fantastic. I wondered how they were going to handle her powers and personality, but it all worked out pretty great. Vision is really cool too.

Aaaaaaand that's it, I guess. I don't really have much to say about it, which is sad I suppose.

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I liked it. Didn't love it. It's a good time with the Avengers, smashing robots most of the time, with some good character bits in there. But it's nothing special.

Very mild spoilers, only tagged just in case you wanna go in 100% blind:

The negative:

Ultron was an incredibly straightforward comic book villain, almost moreso than Loki. In fact, yeah, Loki actually did have the whole "I was a god and still deserve to be so" thing going for him; Ultron is pretty much just "meh, humans are lame, they should die because reasons."

Also, I mostly hated James Spader as Ultron. An overly charismatic villain performance works with someone like Loki who actually has the ability to stand in front of a camera and control the audience's attention, but Ultron is basically a CG cartoon that makes jokes, and they fall pretty flat.

The positive:

Action is good. Not as "fun" as Avengers and not as brutally precise as Cap 2, but it's good.

Scarlet Witch is pretty fantastic. I wondered how they were going to handle her powers and personality, but it all worked out pretty great. Vision is really cool too.

Aaaaaaand that's it, I guess. I don't really have much to say about it, which is sad I suppose.

I second all of that.

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I honestly really, REALLY enjoyed it. Like, my reaction from this first viewing is much higher than it was for the first movie's initial viewing.

It felt like a true Avengers story to me, and every character got a moment to shine. The movie is a bit more intense and darker than the previous, which gives it moments of Cap 2 intensity to it, but it's still mostly in Avengers-land. I loved that this movie also openly acknowledged everything that had gone on in the MCU leading up to it, as opposed to most of the other films because now we know what we're seeing when we watch these films.

I have zero complaints, I thought everyone was fantastic. I thought Ultron, if a bit conventional in his goals, was still entertaining and engaging as hell, all due to Spader. The action was great, the characters were all great, and it keeps me excited for Phase 3. The day will come when these movies are less of an event and more of a "once-a-year" Marvel flick which loses it's luster, but that's not happened for me with this one.

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I enjoyed it. What I wanted going in and what I got coming out was fun. Yeah, I have my quibbles with a handful of things, but I still had fun. And that is good enough for me.

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Very well made film with incredible action and effects as expected. There are a lot of tie-ins to the expanded Marvel universe, some more effectively than others. I don't think it was worth the hype, it drags a lot between the action and Ultron was much less scary and imposing as he was built up to be.

That being said, I ultimately enjoyed it.

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I liked it. It wasn't perfect, but I walked in expecting an entertaining two and a half hours and that's what I got. The first was better, but I had a good time and I will almost certainly be seeing it again.

However, Thor did not say The Line. One star.

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More in depth thoughts:

What Worked:

- The action was by and large on point. The opening fight, the Hulk vs. Tony fight and The final throws own with Ultron were all very good.

- The previously mentioned Hawkguy improvements were really surprising and welcome.

-Thor was pretty great, too. The self-awareness he showed as the only Avenger with a background in mysticism was great.

- Don Cheadle was a joy as Rhodey, as always.

- Elizabeth Olsen and Aaron Taylor Johnson were both really good. Their powers were well defined and visually striking

- The writing, overall, was very funny and included a lot of great character moments.

What Didn't:

- Why does Widow need to be the romantic interest in every movie? She's a strong enough character that she doesn't need to be coupled to Banner.

- Cap is just an "Aw, shucks," cartoon character at this point.

- If they're trying to turn Tony into the goose stepping villian from Civil War, they're well on the way. His solution to defeat the unstoppable evil robot he accidentally created? Build an even more unstoppable one, WITH a nigh unlimited power source that he doesn't understand.

- I didn't get Ultron. I get his goal and his means and all that, but why was he cracking jokes?

- Where did Fury get a helicarrier? They were all destroyed in Cap 2?

- How did Thor know about the Infinity Gem that The Guardians found?

- Where was Falcon during the final showdown? Did Fury lose his number?

- So Stark is retiring again? And Hulk and Thor are both going AWOL?

Basically, a solid, but flawed movie. It's got seventy five percent on Rotten Tomatoes, and that seems about right.

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- Where did Fury get a helicarrier? They were all destroyed in Cap 2?

Those were the three super-awesome-repulsor-techy Project: Insight helicarriers. This was the original from the first

Avengers flick.

- How did Thor know about the Infinity Gem that The Guardians found?

I just chalked it up to "Asgard keeps an eye on these things, since they know the Collector had the Aether and I assumed they were aware that he had a bad time in

Guardians.

- Where was Falcon during the final showdown? Did Fury lose his number?

Yeah, that was bullshit. Nice to see him at the end, though (with a new paint job and everything).

- So Stark is retiring again? And Hulk and Thor are both going AWOL?

I.. guess? But he'll be back this time next year in Cap 3? I know that not having to be an Avenger anymore was kind of the point of this whole thing. I know they wanted to change up the roster, but I don't see them not having Downey in Avengers 3/4 if he's around. Also,

you cannot lose Hawkeye now that he's finally interesting.

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I.. guess? But he'll be back this time next year in Cap 3? I know that not having to be an Avenger anymore was kind of the point of this whole thing. I know they wanted to change up the roster, but I don't see them not having Downey in Avengers 3/4 if he's around. Also,

you cannot lose Hawkeye now that he's finally interesting.

The amount of "This is my last job/One day until retirement/I'll totally return to my pregnant wife and adorable children/no tragedy could possibly befall me" type stuff for Hawkeye really got on my nerves. When it turned out that Quicksilver bought it instead of him I didn't feel the full emotional weight of the sacrifice, I felt like Joss Whedon shouted "PSYCHE!"

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Just came back from it.

Pros:

-Hawkeye is finally a character!!! And what a character. The best parts of this film belong to him solely. The moment with him and Scarlet Witch during the battle was amazing. One of the best moment in the Marvel Movie Universe.

-The battle between Ultron and Jarvis when they were both holographic constructs. Also one of the most interesting things the MMU has seen. Real sci fi stuff.

-Quicksilver. Wow. His powers worked ALMOST as coolly as they did in Days of Future Past, but he was a way better character.

-The party scene. Solid.

-Spader's voice acting: incredible. I was very impressed (as were my kids) that Ultron had a sense of humor, and appropriately, it's the same kind of sense of humor as Stark.

-Klaw. Basically, just because I can't believe I saw a movie with Ulysses Klaw in it.

-Hulk v. Iron Man. Pretty good.

-Vision. Whoa. Same goes for the shot of the new team.

Cons:

-The special effects. I knew going in that that double page spread image they shared in the trailer would be awkward to show on screen as part of a larger piece, but the whole first set piece was terrible looking. In fact, none of the action set pieces really worked as well as they have in previous MU movies (not including the original Avengers which stupidly broke down into a video game melee battle for the third act). This one had much of the same problem at the end, though not as bad. Overall, special effects and fight choreography get a C+ overall.

-Not even after the introduction of three new female characters does a Marvel movie pass the Bechdel Test!

-Stark is the worst. Period. For someone so smart, he's written like a total fucking idiot.

-

Quicksilver dies? WTF? He's like the second best character in the movie!

Overall, despite being much better than the first Avengers, the film is still heavily flawed and quite notably the work of a director who didn't really look like he wanted to be there. I give it a 3.5/5

My ranking if you're interested:

GOTG

Winter Soldier (though these top two could be switched after a rewatch of WS.)

Captain America

Iron Man

Avengers 2

Avengers

Thor 2

Incredible Hulk

Iron Man 2

Iron Man 3

BUT: EVERYTHING is better than Agents of SHIELD. I'd probably saddle Agent Carter right after Captain America and Daredevil is better than everything.

Edit: Oh yeah, the post-credits sequence was out of the blue and not on point with the story at all. It was just a wink.

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However, Thor did not say The Line. One star.

Ha ha, for real? It's right there!

Yeah, that was also kind of bullshit. Instead we get the hackneyed "Is that all you've got?" Because THAT's how Thor talks, I guess?

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More in depth thoughts:

- Why does Widow need to be the romantic interest in every movie? She's a strong enough character that she doesn't need to be coupled to Banner.

Basically, a solid, but flawed movie. It's got seventy five percent on Rotten Tomatoes, and that seems about right.

I've never seen the Widow ever as a love interest in any movie. Even in this, she was leading the romance moreso than Bruce. She was attracted to him, and it was written well enough without being "ZOMG YOU'RE MY ONE TRUE LOVE". She was neither a love interest in IM2 nor Avengers, and was blatantly just platonic friends with Steve in Winter Solider. I thought the romance was interesting and didn't come off at the expense of either character.

I've still yet to see a complaint or criticism that I agree with. Even with

Falcon not being in the final battle, what exactly was he going to do? Shoot guns at the robots? Maybe, but at least War Machine's presence made up for his inexcusable absence from the third act of the previous film.

-Not even after the introduction of three new female characters does a Marvel movie pass the Bechdel Test!

I will concede that Velma's character was literally the "pregnant and barefoot in the kitchen" character trope, but even still I thought she was written decently. She could've been done way worse. Of course the question now is that better than not having the cliche at all.

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Very fun, very flawed movie. Some thoughts:

--I have to say, I never really felt like the heroes were in THAT much danger. It never seemed to me that the world was going to end, and I think that's because Vision was created so quickly out of nowhere and Ultron's plans were essentially doomed from there before the final battle even began.

--That said, I love how they portrayed Vision.

--Ultron was hit or miss for me. Spader was fucking great, but some of the character's banter felt...out of place. I enjoyed the lines, regardless, but in the context of the character, some of them seemed a bit too silly.

--Cappy owned this thing. Still my favorite Avenger in all of these movies. I really hope Bucky comes back in some manner given the hint they dropped early on.

--I'm stoked to see how they tie the Black Panther movie into this, because they will have to reference this after the Hulk/Hulkbuster destruction that went down in that geographic region.

--THOR DIDN'T SAY "Ultron, we would have words with thee!" FAIL. FAIL. FAIL.

--LOVED the lineup at the end of the movie--Cap, Widow, Falcon, Vision, Scarlet Witch, and Rhodey. I can't wait to see them as a unit.

--I hope Quicksilver is brought back to life somehow, because they didn't give him the token 60-second funeral scene.

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