Review season is just about upon us for TV shows, so I figured I’d kick it off with a review of Avengers 2: Age of Ultron. If you haven’t seen it, then scroll down to the last paragraph for my rating… unless you want to be spoiled. Yes, there will be spoilers mentioned. You’ve been warned. 🙂
Let’s start with Robert Downey Jr as (Ironman) Tony Stark and Chris Evans as (Captain America) Steve Rogers. If you can’t see Civil War coming out of this, then you missed a lot. Tony and Steve don’t see eye to eye on a lot of things, but Stark’s actions in this movie put them on separate paths toward a common goal. RDJ was once again perfect as Stark. In the comics it was Antman who had created Ultron, but they changed it for the movie. Having Stark create Ultron made a lot of sense here. It was done well overall and it brought out the character flaws this team had. Tony had already created the Iron Legion robo police force and his reasons for wanting to go further were justified. Steve is still trying to adjust to modern times, so being left in the dark about such a bold move was not something he felt was wise. The dynamic here was less about Ultron and the threat than it was about setting up Cap 3.
Chris Hemsworth shined as Thor. More focus was put on the true power that he wields, specifically Mjolnir. Thor’s confidence is almost a cockiness in his abilities and if Captain America almost lifting the hammer wasn’t bothersome enough to THor’s ego, then certainly Vision’s actions were. Heimdall‘s brief cameo fit well and I like how they set up what looks to be Thor 3: Ragnarok. Thor’s role here was to inform about the power of the infinity stones and the role they play in the universe.
Hulk (Bruce Banner) took more of a back seat for me in this movie. Mark Ruffalo’s portrayal was spot on, and though the Hulk shined we got to see more of the struggle Banner has coping with his alter ego. He accepts it less and fears it more than in the last movie. So much so that he is solely responsible for helping Ironman develop the Hulkbuster (veronica) armor. The presence of both Banner and Hulk were equally important this time, but I feel as though he was bullied a bit by Tony. I was a little caught off guard by the sexual tension between him and Natasha, but I’m glad that they strayed from that. Who knows where he ended up in the end. Fury mentioned the craft MIGHT have crashed into the ocean, but you can’t help but wonder if it was all a setup for another Hulk movie (Planet Hulk). I hope not as I don’t particularly like that story.
Scarlett Johansson has proven my initial thoughts on her in the role to be completely false. I love her as Black Widow (Natasha Romanov), though I do have one issue. Whedon could have corrected the lack of RUssian accent in the flashback to her ballet days, but he chose to ignore it. I was pleased that we got a little more of her background though and everything that was hinted at in her prior appearances. Her crush on Banner was strange to me, but then again I was blown away that her relationship with Clint was less intimate than I’d rightfully assumed.
Jeremy Renner really took the lead in this movie. Hawkeye (Clint Barton) was finally called his codename and it was fun how it was done and the reasoning. I was blown away by the reveal of his family but it was a welcome change. There needed to be someone with some kind of personal life and he being the choice made sense. While Cap was the leader and Tony the funding of the team, Hawkeye was the glue that held them together.
War Machine (James Rhodes) and Falcon (Sam Wilson), played by Don Cheadle and Anthony Mackie cameoed in important minor roles that by the ending you realize will become much more in the next installment.
Quicksilver (Pietro Maximoff) and Scarlet Witch (Wanda Maximoff) were perfect. Aaron Taylor Johnson was a much better Quicksilver than the already likeable one that was in X-Men DOFP. My only regrets are that he had to die because of the dual studios usage of the character. In a battle like this however there are bound to be casualties, so I’m fine with the choice. Elizabeth Olsen was both sexy and creepy in her role, and I’m happy with the portrayal of her powers. The slight modification worked well and the hint at the twins’ past can be touched upon more if Marvel ever ended up with rights to X-men. The twins beginning as antagonists and becoming heroes was everything I wanted to see with them.
Vision is both the evolution of JARVIS and the creation of Ultron. His origin was similar to the comics and his presence and sleek look were a very welcome addition. He was to this movie as Hulk was to the last, and earned his place quickly. Although his solar gem atop his head was changed to the mind gem, the origin and use of that which was once in Loki’s scepter placed well. It was a primary reason why he became so powerful and heroic. As part machine with organic matter in him, he is able to wield it without being corrupted by temptation or control. They even gave a nod to the romance that will be eventual between him and Scarlet Witch.
Samuel L Jackson is always great to see as Nick Fury, and with him and Maria Hill back on the scene with SHIELD it will be interesting to see where this takes the agents of shield series.
Finally, on to the villains…
Baron Von Strucker while having a minor role was a good starting point for the film. Why not have a minor subplot with HYDRA before kicking into another threat? I’ve welcomed this with the Spiderman movies and any characters that have a huge rogues gallery.
Ulyses S. Klau played by Andy Serkis had a story element that will directly lead in to Black Panther. They mentioned Wakanda, he had his arm torn off, and he’d stolen vibranium. It is an excellent lead in that didn’t feel forced.
Ultron was easily the highlight of this film. James Spader gave off the vibe that this robot was like a child with a god complex. Designed to eliminate threats, the cliched “robot thinks it knows better by eliminating the human race” felt fresh here because of Ultron’s personality. There were hints of logic, and Tony’s personality that made him unique in many ways. So much so that it almost felt like Tony Stark was the villain at times.
Thanos had only a brief scene. While it was not anywhere near one of the better credits scenes, it was something that laid ground for the next installment.
What else is there to say? From the plot to the set ups of the next few movies and where the characters go personally, there is a lot packed in to 2 hours and 20 minutes. Stan Lee‘s cameo was my favorite of them all, and that says something right there. People have complained that Age of Ultron is not as good as the first Avengers movie, but it’s an unfair assessment. These movies are entirely different from one another. I feel that this tied up a lot of loose ends and opened the movie universe up to so much more potential. In my opinion it exceeded Avengers 1 in many ways while not surpassing it in others. It isn’t a perfect comic book movie, but it is damn close. I give it 9.5 sCrypt Coffins out of 10.
If you have anything to add, please comment below.
I was finally able to catch Ironman 3 last night, and this is perhaps one of the most difficult reviews for me. Why? You ask. Well, It was so out of what I was used to seeing from our past Ironman/Avengers movies, that I didn’t know how to take it at first. Is this a bad thing? Most certainly not. However, there are a few things with which I have issues. Warning, there will be some spoilers in here, so if you’d like to avoid seeing them, scroll down to the last paragraph for my rating.
I must say, that the Extremis story arc was a good pick with which to go, but I wasn’t sure how they were going to do this. I’m very glad that we weren’t seeing just another Ironman vs an armored villain. In fact, we didn’t see much Ironman at all in this movie. For me, that was a breath of fresh air. To an extent. I feel that Don Cheadle should have had more screen time as James Rhodes. War Machine / Iron Patriot was barely present at all, and I’m still torn on the whole Iron Patriot thing. It bothered me with comic continuity, but I accepted it.
Gwenneth Paltrow was wonderful as usual. And although we couldn’t actually call her “Rescue” I think there was a nice homage there. Pepper Potts kind of freaked me out a little in the end too, as I saw the whole “Dark Phoenix” thing happening, and I still wonder how she emerged from the fire with only her under garments on. How do your clothes get burnt off (remember it is a 3000 degree celsius fire) and yet your bra and panties don’t get marred? Hmmmm.
RDJ was once again Tony Stark. Glad to see the emotional strain he’s gone through as well as his obsession with Ironman. I feel that his role in this movie was most realistic of the 3 (4) movies.
I’m also glad to see that Jon Favreau was back as Happy Hogan, though for a minor role, and Stan Lee’s cameo was in my mind the worst of all his cameos, but still fun. (Keep in mind, I don’t really think that he’s had a bad cameo, but this one was not his best). Yinsen was also a pleasant surprise in the beginning flashback.
Other than the Mandarin, which we will get to in a second, the other comic book villain to make an appearance was Coldblood. Eric Savin was Killian’s right hand man, and I thought he was intimidating to say the least. Still, my comic book fan self was irritated slightly. It was almost as if they combined Coldblood and Radioactive Man into something else. Another thing that Ironman movies do best is Amalgamate characters. Regardless of the lack of truth to the comic world, it did not detract from the movie, and James Badge Dale played the part well.
And now onto the more controversial roles… Ty Simpkins plays Harley, a child sidekick of sorts to Stark. Many people have had an issue with the way Tony treats him in this movie, but I did not. Remember, Stark is stressed, and a child with a billion questions would get on anyone’s nerves. I think that Simpkins did an amazing job and has a promising future as an actor. Here is my first Speculation: I believe that Harley was just a nickname. Since we already know that Guardians of the Galaxy will take place in the future, I’m wondering if this “Harley” is really going to end up being Starlord or Nova. It is just too much of a setup to not be the case.
Ben Kingsley as the Mandarin… Okay, so they say that he wasn’t the real Mandarin, and only an actor. I’m not buying it. I believe that he really was the Mandarin. Why would Killian and his AIM scientists continue to call him the Master instead of Trevor if this were actually the case? They wouldn’t. Killian is in charge of AIM. There is no reason for this to be. Also, keep in mind if he were just an actor, would he really shoot someone live on TV? Not buying it. Speculation #2: I think it was all a twisted cover up, and that he really was the Mandarin. Also, we know now that Avengers 2 will have a subtitle, and that Thanos is not the main villain for that movie. Could we be looking at Avengers: Masters of Evil? Hmmm. Master is what they called him. Mandarin was a master of evil. It would be a welcome thing to see.
Now Guy Pearce as Aldrich Killian. Pearce is by far one of my favorite actors. He knows how to properly execute any role, and he did so again in this movie. So was Killian really Mandarin? I doubt it, like I said. Aside from that, it didn’t matter. He really was the driving force in this movie. Sure he seemed indestructable at times, but that was part of it, and it worked well.
Finally, Ironman (Ironmen)… The Mark 42 armor was almost useless in my mind. I know it was just a prototype, but what did it do? Tony remote controlled all of the suits of armor from a headpiece, so that remote capability tied in to Jarvis should have been considered the Mark 42.
All in all, the action, plot and suspense of this movie was perhaps the best of the three. I’m still partial to Ironman 1. I feel that the first was still the best, but I believe this came in a close second, while the second movie fell behind more. I do recommend this breath of fresh air. I think criticism coming from people is because they are used to what Ironman movies have offered. Shane Black took this in an entirely different direction, and it worked. Sometimes change is better, and in this case it was. Ironman 3 gets 8 out of 10 stars in my book. I think that there is a lot that has been unrevealed with my speculations, and that once some of that is explained (if at all) then this will be appreciated more.
Ironman loves rocking out to great music, so it is only fitting that he have some songs to honor his heroism. Below is a list of songs I have found that mention or are themed after him. If there are any others, please comment below.
Ironman (by Black Sabbath): Although this wasn’t written about the character, fans around the world constantly mention this song in referring to Ironman. Then suddenly, it was featured in the first Ironman movie. Now it is a staple. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9LjbMVXj0F8
Prelude 970519 (by Pete Townshend): The album itself is called “Iron Man.” Kind of a wierd one, but I love Townshend’s stuff, so here it is. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F9P6X_eeGEE
Who’s The One (By Winger): Wow, this band takes me back. There is only one line in here that mentions him, but the name is capitalized in the print version, meaning it is talking about an Ironman. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1jPsU4DkjSs
Ironman (by Ghostface Killa): This is the title of his debut solo album, and while it may seem at first that this has nothing to do with the character, the rapper voiced a villain in the Ironman animated series. This album was done in tribute to Tony Stark and his alter ego. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2iTkwxh5xcY
Theme Song From Ironman short (in The Marvel SuperHeroes): This animated hour consisted of many different characters, and Ironman got his own few episodes. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S-Lx9eEox2A
Ironman Theme Song (From Marvel Action Hour): This was a great cartoon in the 1990s. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=go3PEcZKLI4
Ironman Armored Adventures Theme Song: A CGI animated series in the 2000’s. It was a fresh take on the character and portrayed him as a teenager. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bxzDTt0RT7U
Ironman Anime Theme Song: Even Japan did their Ironman story in animation, and it is probably one of my favorite Ironman incarnations. Check out the series if you get a chance. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vzOmdkqYO9w
The Invincible Ironman Theme Song: I have no idea how Lionsgate films didn’t have them take this down, but the entire animated movie is up on youtube. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S-GCB5pLhfk
There you have it folks. There were a few other mentions I found during searches, but they didn’t seem relevant enough to include. Ironman (Tony Stark) is played by Robert Downey Jr in The Avengers movie.