Review: Avengers Age Of Ultron
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.
Review: Thor The Dark World
Review by Rick Pipito, with input by Dan Pipito
It’s Star Wars meets Lord of the Rings in another epic Marvel movie. I could just tell you what I think of the film, and give it a rating, but then I wouldn’t be able to explain a few of the things I picked up and speculate on it. If you want my rating, and no spoilers, then skip to the last paragraph; otherwise, you’ve been warned… There are Major SPOILERS ahead.
The characters are a great starting point. We’re already sold on Loki and Thor. Hiddleston and Hemsworth are these characters incarnate. I cannot (nor do I want to) see anyone else fill their shoes (at least for a very long time). Hemsworth’s commanding posture and voice mirror the pages from the comics, while Hiddleston’s smirks, his emotion, and sly comments are ones to make you cheer for the badguy. Aside from them, the rest of the cast performed as well as they. Christopher Eccleston’s Malekith was a wonderful choice for villain; especially with Kurse at his side. I particularly love how their “origins” (at least for how they look in the comics) was shown. I thought it was creative, and thrown in quick enough without focusing on it. Natalie Portman, Anthony Hopkins, and Renee Russo, as well as the Warriors Three were of an average performance (certainly not under or overwhelming, but decent). Jaimie Alexander as Lady Sif I felt was underused, but I’d assume she’d play a larger role against an enemy like Enchantress in the future. Idris Elba as Heimdall is always amazing, and although the portrayal of Erik Selvig was cheesy at best, it somehow worked.
The Plot was interesting and made the audience feel the seriousness of the situation at hand. It flowed well, and I don’t feel that there were any unnecessary nods or side steps. From the opening scene until the credits rolled, I was glued to what was happening, and didn’t miss a beat. My only problem is that I figured out the Loki not being dead from the moment it happened on the battlefield (this I’ll explain in my theories in a few paragraphs). I was also shocked during a few moments of the movie with things I wasn’t expecting, which was good. There was a perfect blend of humor and action as well.
Sound and Visuals: I have no complaints about the score of music. Even the visuals were great in most places, but there were a few spots where something didn’t look right. In the scene where the two jets are flying, as well as when the realms were aligning, something just felt off there. It almost looked fake, but for a mere second. It’s probably just me being nitpicky, but it was something I noticed. Also, the scene where Thor jumped from the balcony and shed his robe to fly off in the distance looked a little cartoony, but overall not bad. Keep in mind, this was a very visual effect heavy movie, so if these are my only complaints, then it isn’t really an issue beyond me being stubborn.
Easter Eggs and Continuity: The Avengers was referenced nonchalantly multiple times, so it is well established when this takes place. Stan Lee’s cameo was hilarious yet again (I love that man). The surprise of Loki’s illusion of Chris Evan’s Captain America was both exhilarating and funny. The Infinity gems are now pretty much established as part of the whole saga, obviously leading up to an infinity gem war with Thanos in Avengers 3. The Collector appearing in the mid credits was a lot of fun especially since it will lead right into guardians of the Galaxy. All in all, the film was full of them, and done well. Hell, even the end credit scene brought some closure to the story, and though it wasn’t needed, it sort of showed that some “cleaning up” needed to be done on earth. Not necessary, like I said, but welcome being there.
Overall feel and speculation: Thor the Dark World fit well, it stood equal to what the Avengers and prior movies already established, and it more than made up for some of the faults of Iron Man 3. So where do we go from here? Here are my thoughts…. Keep in mind, this is just speculation, but I think a semi intelligent deduction.
1) Loki DID die. Before he died on the battlefield, he told Kurse “I’ll see you in Hel.” Anyone familiar with the comics knows that this is HEL, not HELL. Asgardians die and go to Hel, which is run by Hela. In the comics, Hela and Loki were related. I think Loki was not fearing death. He had a plan. Remember, he is the god of mischief and trickery. He died, and in Hel, he made a deal with Hela. This deal was to allow him to return to life, but in exchange, he would give Hela a more powerful entity for her realm. So as he returned, he killed Odin. Hela gets the most powerful Asgardian, while Loki gets the throne he always wanted. BTW, I turned to Dan during the end when “Odin” was speaking to Thor. I could see from his stance, and his manner that this was in fact Loki; so when the reveal came, I wasn’t at all surprised, but pleased.
2) The gems. So far we have the Mind Gem (which was in Loki’s staff in avengers). This is in SHIELD’s possession. Then we have the Space Gem. I didn’t think the Tesseract was anything more than just a cosmic cube, but apparently now we know (from the mid credits scene) that it is a gem. It had the ability to open portals to anywhere in the universe. What does this mean? Well Red Skull just teleported away, as I previously assumed, and he isn’t dead. Neither are anyone else who was “vaporized” by it in Captain America The First Avenger. The Space Gem is in Asgard’s vaults. Finally there is the Aether from this movie. It was in fact the Soul Gem. Sure the colors are all off, but that doesn’t matter. It infected the Soul, and the soul was referenced by the Asgardians. The Collector mentioned the 6 gems. Three have been covered. Guardians of the Galaxy is rumored to be taking place in the future (at least part of it). This could explain the Time Gem, which leaves the Power Gem, and the Reality Gem. It will be interesting to see where this all fits.
3) Enchantress, Surtur, Hela… there is plenty of room for more Thor movies, and I’m sure we’ll see it.
4) Agents of SHIELD… okay, so this strays, but it’ll be interesting to see how this movie affects the series, which I believe will tie in around episode 8 of this season.
Final Rating: If I rated Thor a 7, then I have to give Thor 2: The Dark World 8 sCrypt Coffins out of 10. It was a better sequel, it opened up more comic mythology, and it stood as a sequel and standalone movie to ALL of the Marvel Universe movies. Intelligent, funny, and action packed, this goes up high on my list of Great comic book movies.
What did you think of Thor The Dark World? Do you have any predictions? Comment below, and thanks for checking out our review.
Some pretty cool Avengers related artwork
Veteran sCrypt Comics artist, Joe Parisi, just sent over some posters he did in his spare time. Ironman, The Hulk, Captain America, Thor & Nick Fury inspired art from the Marvel cinematic universe phase 1 are all here. Make sure to click on his name for his info and other work. Now to complete the art, Joe, we want to see the whole phase 1 completed. (Black Widow, Hawkeye, Loki, Red Skull, Abomination, IronMonger, Whiplash, and of course the son of coul.) 🙂
Review: What If The Alien Costume Had Possessed Spiderman?
Marvel Comics What If… Issue # 4 (Oct 1989)
When I was growing up, some of my favorite comics were the What If series by Marvel. The Watcher presented each story of “What If” by focusing on an event in the mainstream universe and presenting a hypothetical of what could have happened (or did in another universe). I recently picked up an issue at a garage sale, and it was perhaps one of the most interesting ones I have ever seen. “What If The Alien Costume Had Possessed Spiderman?” There will be SPOILERS in this review, so skip down to the last paragraph if you just want my rating.
The story begins with a brief list of events in the normal universe; about how Spiderman aqcuired the Black symbiote costume and eventually got rid of it, which attached itself to Eddie Brock as Venom. Well in this story, he never gets rid of it. When Peter Parker becomes more and more fatigued, he is forced to go to Curt Connors for help. The Doctor studies the symbiote and eventually puts him through a series of X-Rays and scans. This is where it all goes wrong.
Apparently the X-Rays cause the symbiote to become more like a parasite, and inseparable from the host. Night after night, Spiderman goes on a violent rampage as Venom until Venom decides it no longer needs its host. Across the country, The Avengers and Doctor Strange prepare to send the Hulk to another dimension. The rampaging beast has buried Banner’s mind deep within himself and can no longer be reasoned with. Venom/Spiderman shows up and stops it all from happening. Then the symbiote switches hosts to the HULK!?!?!
At this point I couldn’t believe it. I’d always imagined what would happen if the symbiote attached itself to someone with the Hulk’s power. Well now I know. Venom/Hulk takes off, leaving Peter Parker as an old withered man. Venom has drained his youth, and he soon dies from old age. The Avengers go on a massive search now for the Venom Hulk and it is Thor who finds him. One strike from his mighty Mjolnir hammer separates the symbiote from Banner. Bruce Banner hasn’t aged in the way that Peter Parker has, but instead is now cured of the Hulk. With the combined power of SPiderman and The Hulk, Venom begins an internal battle with the god of Thunder, as it has chosen its next host.
They go off into a cave to allow the symbiote enough time to completely bond to Thor. Meanwhile, two things are happening. Spiderman’s funeral passes, and Reed Richards is devising a plan to separate the alien without harming the host. The seemingly impossible task proves to be not so difficult with the mind of Mr. Fantastic at work. The inhuman known as Blackbolt displays the true power of his voice, and not only crumbles the entire historical site of Mount Rushmore, but knocks the symbiote off of Thor and renders it unconscious.
After all of that you would think they would just kill the alien, but instead they decide to imprison it in another dimension. That never happens. Blackcat shows up and does what should be done. She uses technology invented by Reed Richards to kill Venom once and for all. Keep in mind that this story takes place back when Peter Parker and Black Cat are dating, so she has close emotional ties to the villain. The downside to all of this is that in order to use the technology Reed invented, she had to steal the notes on it. A brief agreement with The Kingpin (for him to reconstruct the device) leaves her with the return promise of a life of crime for the Kingpin.
It is a tragic ending that works well for the story. I only wish that there would have been a little more hints as to what was going to happen after all of these events. It is not a mainstream universe story, so I can’t give it as high of a rating as I normally would, but for its creativity I rate it as a good 5 out of 10.
Avengers Week Post #3: Brotherly Love
Thor and Loki grew up as best friend brothers, but jealousy tore them apart. Now Loki will stop at nothing to torment Thor and destroy everything he cares about. Thor, the god of thunder, often needs the assistance of the Avengers to defeat Loki’s mischief. If Loki were to defeat Thor, you’d be sure that he would make a mockery of him. That is exactly what THOR AND LOKI: BLOOD BROTHERS tells in its story.
On September 13, 2011, the motion comic was released. Based on the storyline “Loki” by Robert Rodi & Esad Ribic, this dvd comes in four chapters. First off, I’ll say this… I can watch just about anything and not get bored. Although the artwork in this motion comic was outstanding and should be commended for that alone, the story was very slow and bland.
Loki has beaten his brother and chained him in a dungeon. There are cameos by other Marvel entities such as: Hela, Karnila, Sif, Odin and Balder, but that does nothing to make the story flow. The concept is intruiging, and I’m sure that the original comic was spectacular, but to translate it into something you want to watch doesn’t work… at least for me. I could read the book a lot faster and be more interested. A few times I caught myself dozing off, and forced myself awake in the hopes that something would happen to spark my interest. There is almost no action at all, and while I don’t believe a story needs this, it needs at least some exciting script to go along with it.
Don’t get me wrong. If you are an artist, then I recommend checking this out for the talent put into it, but otherwise you should probably forgoe this one. If you are like me, and want this just to complete your collection of comic book dvds, then make sure you have a few cups of coffee before watching this snooze fest. I give it a whopping 3 stars out of 10.
Thor is played by Chris Hemsworth, and Loki is played by Tom Hiddleston in Marvel’s The Avengers movie.