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 thought I posted this, but I just found it in the draft articles. Sorry for the delay, but it goes back a few weeks to before our prior poll. This was our most interesting comic book character battle to date. Wanda Maximoff, The Scarlet Witch, was in Marvel’s corner, and while I expected her to be a heavy hitter, she fell flat with no votes. Another whom I thought would have been a heavy hitter was our favorite Oz resident, The Wicked Witch of the West, but Hungry Tiger Press was disappointed as well with no votes.
As expected, Sabrina The Teenage Witch did nothing for Archie Comics. Now here is where it gets interesting. Zatanna from DC Comics was evenly matched by a fan suggestion of Evil-Lyn by Mattel. The latter of the two was a great add by the way, so thanks always for fan input.
Finally, we come to the winners bracket, and it is a tie for first place. Capstone Press brought Malificent (from Sleeping Beauty) into the fight, and while she took a long distance lead over those below her, she could not defeat my own creation, sCrypt Comics’ Madame Callisto. This was a pleasant surprise, as I didn’t think she’d stand a chance against such a plethora of sorcerous women. If you are unfamiliar with Madame Callisto, then I highly recommend you check out the “Flesh And Leftovers” series of novels.
Again, thank you for voting and commenting, and stay tuned for our next comic book battle…
It’s time for us to have a poll involving some of the women in comics. This battle brings us the following female masters of magic: Zatanna (DC Comics), Scarlet Witch (Marvel Comics), Madame Callisto (sCrypt Comics), The Wicked Witch Of The West (Hungry Tiger Press), Malificent (Capstone Press Publications), Sabrina The Teenage Witch (Archie Comics). Below, I will write a brief summary of each witch and then there will be a poll. Please vote for your favorite, or add someone whom you think would be fitting in this battle.
First up is DC’s Zatanna Zatara is from a family of skilled magicians. She began her career as a stage illusionist, but discovered her magical abilities when her father went missing. She is a valued member of the Justice League, and was once a guardian to the world’s greatest wizard. Zatanna has to speak her magical spells backwards or write them in blood in order for them to be cast, but no one knows the full extent of her capabilities. She has even gone so far as to ressurect an entire city from ruins, wipe memories clean and command the elements. Her first appearance was in Hawkman vol 1 #4 in 1964.
Wanda Maximoff is Marvel’s Scarlet Witch. The twin sister of Quicksilver and daughter of Magneto has proven herself worthy to both good and evil. By casting hexes, she can alter the probability of things making the impossible possible. Her chaos magic and reality altering spells enable her to be one of the most formidable mutants in the universe. She even resurrected a friend from the dead at one point, as well as held resistance against the powerful Phoenix force. Her first appearance was in X-Men #4 in 1964.
The Wicked Witch of The West had a prominent role in Hungry Tiger Press’ Oz comics. Most of us are familiar with her story, and know that she is as evil as she is wicked. She uses a broom to fly and has a golden cap, which is used to command an army of winged monkeys. The limits to her magics and potions are unknown, but she has been known to stop time, conjure fire, cast sleeping spells, and force people to dance until they die. Her first appearance was in L. Frank Baum’s “The Wonderful Wizard Of Oz” in 1900.
Madame Callisto (aka Lenore the Seer) is a key player in the first trilogy of novels from the sCrypt Comics universe. She has lived for thousands of years with the curse of vampirism, but has played it to her advantage. As a wielder of the voodoo magic known as macumba, she commands legions of brainwashed zombi to do her beckon call. With the ability to see the future, taking her by surprise would be an extremely difficult task. Her first appearance was in “Flesh and Leftovers” the novel. First graphic appearance was in “Flesh And Leftovers: Zombie Incidents” in 2010.
Malificent’s name literally means “doing evil or harm.” With horns of the devil upon her head and a pet crow named diablo, she is one of the most powerful sorceressess in the universe. She has the ability to change her form into a giant black dragon, as well as casting spells decades in advance, hurl lightning bolts, and create walls of thickets just to name a few. This evil fairy has been seen in graphic novel form by Capstone Press Publications. Her first appearance was in Disney’s Sleeping Beauty in 1959 (which is based off of a story from the late 1800s.)
Sabrina Spellman, the Teenage Witch, might be thought laughable to some, but she shouldn’t be taken lightly. She is the daughter of a human and a warlock, who is forbidden to tell others about her abilities. She uses them to help others in times of need, but has used them for her own selfish desires as well. Armed with a vast array of magical powers, the ability to time travel, and disguise herself by shapeshifting, Sabrina could hold her own against a lot of the world’s most powerful magic. Her first appearance was in Archie comics’ Archie’s Mad House #22 in 1962.
Remember to vote and spread the word. Feel free to add your own comments or female characters who have appeared in comics that fit this poll. Enjoy!