Avengers: Age of Ultron

Avengers Age of Ultron

I missed this at the cinema back in May, as I took too long trying to convince people to go see it with me. So as soon as I saw the DVD released on Monday, I snapped it up like a snappy thing, and this afternoon finally sat down to see what I missed five months ago.

Ohmygod, it was just so awesome! While I was a little confused at the start, it nevertheless turned out to be a really great action movie, and definitely worthy of its place on the shelf alongside the, what, ten other movies in the MCU now? Yeah, it was a really good ride. As to its relationship to its predecessor – man, that’s like asking a parent which of their children they prefer. There are reasons to like both films, you can’t say one was better than the other. Sure, the first Avengers movie felt a lot more polished, but I feel most of its appeal comes from the continued bafflement that arises out of the fact that Marvel actually managed to pull an Avengers movie off.

We start with some great action as the gang storm a secret HYDRA base, where experiments are being done on the two “miracles”, Pietro and Wanda Maximoff. Yes, they’re actually mutants, and no, nothing is made of the fact Magneto is their father – the ongoing studio spat between Marvel and Fox seems to be causing some serious issues in the source material, but anyway. The Avengers escape with Loki’s staff (unfortunately, Loki himself doesn’t make an appearance), and Iron Man begins to use the power within to create a legion of soldiers that can help protect the world. Something goes wrong, and he winds up creating the villain hell-bent on destroying the world instead – he creates Ultron. The big robot escapes to eastern Europe, where he finds Pietro and Wanda, and all sorts of crazy starts going down when they realise he’s after the huge deposits of vibranium (the metal from whence Captain America’s shield is made) in Wakanda (sadly, no Black Panther, either), and when they attempt to stop him, Wanda/Scarlet Witch messes with everybody’s mind, and the mission is an unmitigated failure – particularly when Hulk basically goes on a rampage that not even Iron Man in the Hulkbuster armour can contain.

When everything looks shot to hell, Hawkeye steps up by taking them all to his home in the country (who knew?), where Nick Fury reappears. He manages to reunite the gang in their darkest hour, and they head off to Seoul to stop Ultron attempting to create a human body for himself. As Ultron begins to upload his consciousness into this body, Scarlet Witch reads his mind and discovers his plans for world destruction, which prompts the twins to turn on him. As the Avengers arrive, they all band together to stop him, and manage to gain the synthetic body, though Ultron captures Black Widow.

Iron Man threatens the unity of the group once again when he uploads JARVIS into this synthetic body, but while both Quicksilver and Captain America attempt to stop him, Thor intervenes and manages to awaken the android – it’s Vision! Turns out he has been empowered with one of the infinity stones, and the fact that Vision can lift Thor’s hammer seems to settle the argument as to who’s side he’s on. The team then head back to eastern Europe to confront Ultron and rescue Black Widow, but all hell breaks loose when Ultron uses the vibranium to make a machine that tears most of the city from the earth: the idea being, he’ll raise it high enough that, when it crashes back down to earth, the shockwave will destroy everything across the planet.

A massive set-piece battle ensues, and while the good guys manage to evacuate the people from the city with the arrival of Nick Fury in the helicarrier, Quicksilver is apparently killed in the process. This makes Scarlet Witch mad, and she annihilates Ultron’s army of copies, before tearing the heart out of his main body. Unfortunately, one of the drones manages to drop the city, and it takes Iron Man and Thor to basically overload the system and make it detonate while still in the air. Scarlet Witch is saved by Vision, and apart from Quicksilver’s death, it seems all ends reasonably well. The film ends with Captain America and Black Widow addressing Falcon, War Machine, Vision and Scarlet Witch as a new team. Interesting!

The fact that I’d intended that summary to be a paragraph, and it turned into four, kinda shows just how much is going on in this movie. There is a lot of action, but there’s also a lot of character development, as we see strands from each other movie pulled together in new and interesting ways that was as much of a pleasure to see as lots of stuff blowing up. We get a particularly interesting insight into Black Widow’s past and training, which almost makes me think there’ll be no Black Widow standalone movie, though of course, having appeared in about half of the Marvel movies, an origin story would kinda be awkward. Unless there was so much background here to make us want to explore it more? Who knows. She’s a really awesome character though, and while there are some awkward moments with Bruce Banner (I feel a bit like the romance there is a bit too forces), she’s generally pretty amazing.

Captain America: Civil War is the next movie slated for the MCU timeline, which seems a little weird as Iron Man and Captain America, while having their disagreements as per, end this movie on pretty strong ground once more. So it’ll be interesting to see how the animosity builds between the two – unless that was why they ended on such strong ground here? Hm.

At any rate, this was a really great film that I enjoyed immensely. Ultron was hilarious, it’s great to see the gang back together of course, and I’m definitely excited to see where they go next.

Marvel-lous!

Captain America The Winter Soldier

So I watched The Winter Soldier today, that turned out to be a pretty great film in the end! Something that continues to please me about the MCU films is just how good the sequels are. So many films get unnecessary – even embarassing – sequels, it’s good to see these proper continuation-style stories. I’m no longer a big comic reader, having burned myself in the past buying £100s per month, but The Winter Soldier is one of those classic storylines, like the Age of Apocalypse or Civil War (oh, hey, wait a second!)

It was categorically awesome to see the Falcon enter into the universe at last, though this film drops so many exciting bits and pieces into the mix that there were some really exciting reveals here! As ridiculous as it sounds, however, I was actually more interested by the mid-credits scene, where we get our first look at both Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch, who are of course set to star in the upcoming Avengers sequel, Age of Ultron. Exciting times there. While we probably won’t actually get a House of M movie, I’m still excited to see Magneto’s kids enter the MCU (oh, sorry Fox, that’s right, they aren’t supposed to have that tie anymore, are they…bah!)

Now, I love a good chase sequence. That whole thing with Fury in the hummer was just awesome, I have to say! One of many fantastic set-pieces in the film, many of which unfortunately run far too shortly, if I’m honest. Cap’s escape from the Triskelion was great, but could also have used some more. The finale was really excellent, though. How I wish that really had been Jenny Agutter kicking ass, instead of a disguised Natasha…

Anyway! Really good movie, looking forward to next year’s Civil War now – especially if we might actually get Spider-man in this one!

Marvel Legendary Villains

I also had a game with Marvel Legendary: Villains today – aptly enough, against Nick Fury. It was a bit of a peeve for me that there isn’t too much variety among the villains you can play in this game – the ‘regular’ core box feels like it has a broader base to choose from. At any rate, this was the first time in a long time where I’ve lost a game of Legendary – I didn’t seem to have the right mix of villains coming out, and Nick Fury’s effect on a Command Strike really whipped me. However, it was still a good game.

To round out what is quite the Marvel-centric day, here’s Felicia and Ryon Day playing Lego Marvel Super Heroes in their own inimitable style:

I do so love Geek & Sundry, and Co-Optitude, while it isn’t something that I thought I should like, not being a video gamer and all, this whole series is actually pretty damn great! Definitely worth watching, and investigate some of the other stuff on the channel!