Avengers 2: Age of Ultron Review

This picture actually describes the movie Robert Downey, Jr. Tony Stark/Iron Man  Chris Evans  Steve Rogers/Captain America  Mark Ruffalo  Bruce Banner/The Hulk  Chris Hemsworth Thor  Scarlett Johansson Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow  Jeremy Renner Clint Barton/Hawkeye  Samuel L. Jackson Nick Fury  James Spader Ultron  Elizabeth Olsen Scarlet Witch  Aaron Taylor-Johnson Quicksilver  Paul Bettany The Vision  Don Cheadle Colonel James Rhodes/War Machine  Cobie Smulders  Maria Hill  Stellan Skarsgård  Erik Selvig  Written and Directed by Joss Whedon

This picture actually describes the movie
Robert Downey Jr.-Tony Stark/Iron Man
Chris Evans-Steve Rogers/Captain America
Mark Ruffalo-Bruce Banner/The Hulk
Chris Hemsworth-Thor
Scarlett Johansson-Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow
Jeremy Renner-Clint Barton/Hawkeye
Samuel L. Jackson-Nick Fury
James Spader-Ultron
Elizabeth Olsen-Scarlet Witch
Aaron Taylor Johnson-Quicksilver
Paul Bettany- Vision
Don Cheadle Colonel James Rhodes/War Machine
Cobie Smulders Maria Hill
Stellan Skarsgård Erik Selvig
Written and Directed by Joss Whedon

The New Characters are Scene Stealers

The first Avengers movie really succeeded expectations of world wide movie going audiences.  The excitement electrified the theater during the mid-credits scene after the purple alien looking Hulk (actually named Thanos) showed his face.  Iron Man 3, Thor 2: The Dark World, and Captain America 2: The Winter Solider teased audiences with specific references to upcoming Marvel movies and Avengers 2: Age of Ultron. Avengers 2: Age of Ultron isn’t the best Marvel phase 2 movie but it is a stellar blockbuster with lots of humor, cool new characters, and great action and special effects battles.

Avengers 2: Age of Ultron begins with the original Avengers destroying the final Hydra Base led by Baron Von Strucker, played by Thomas Kretschmann.  Strucker used Loki’s scepter, which has the Mind Gem in it, to create two new superpower villains, Quicksilver and Scarlett Witch aka Petro and Wanda Maximoff.  Iron Man and the Avengers take control of the scepter but the twins escape.  Iron Man and Bruce Banner discover the scepter holds a key to Artificial Intelligence so they use it to create a new peace keeping force called Ultron. Ultron rationalizes that humanity is violent by nature and needs to be destroyed.  Ultron allied with Quicksilver and Scarlett Witch start a global war to eradicate humanity with only the Avengers to save the world.

Age of Ultron is overall a great superhero movie.  It’s not as good as Captain America 2, Guardians of the Galaxy, or the first Avengers. The reason is the story is weaker than the three films mentioned above. It took an about fifty minutes to an hour for me really become emotionally invested in the movie.  The sequel has bigger action sequences, the team chemistry is more fluent with their banter and working together, and all of the avengers really have their moments to shine. Hawkeye has a bigger spot light shined on him in this film.   He might be the central player in the this film.  The Maximoffs, Ultron, and especially Vision are the movie’s scene stealers.

Quicksilver running toward Scarlett Witch

Quicksilver running toward Scarlett Witch

Quicksilver and Scarlett Witch are really portrayed and developed as characters in the movie. Quicksilver has this ignorance about his personality but is super protective towards his sister. The special effects used to zip around quickly are stunning. Scarlett Witch really has a central role as a catalyst in the movie.  Her ability to wrap people’s minds influences the plot from the first action.  She really torments the Avengers and makes the team doubt themselves.  Her powers are cool and hopefully she appears in Dr. Strange. Elizabeth Olson did say she would be in Captain America 3: Civil War.

Ultron is the best empathic villain ever to be portrayed in a superhero movie. Joss Whedon wrote the character in such a way that audiences will feel for him. His character has a pointview on humanity which people would agree with.  James Spader and Joss Whedon really nailed that observation of humanity with Ultron’s tone, dialogue, and his evil plan.  A minor spoiler is that Ultron shows empathy towards the Maximoffs twins.  He was a damn good replacement for Loki.  The Vision steals the spotlight in this film.

Paul Bettany as Vision.  My favorite character of the movie

Paul Bettany as Vision.
My favorite character of the movie

Jarvis becomes Vision but Vision is a separate independent thinking being with Jarvis’s knowledge and voice as his developmental template.  Ultron thinks he destroyed Jarvis but Jarvis survived.  Tony Stark, Bruce Banner, and Thor bring Vision to life to combat Ultron. Paul Bettany plays Vision and brings lots of humanistic qualities such as compassion, humor, and wisdom to Vision. Vision is so heroic and worthy that he can do something that no one has been able to do pertaining to a certain god.  Vision really stole the show because everybody automatically loves him after his paragraph of dialogue.

Age of Ultron has a few negative aspects. There two unnecessary character deaths in his movie, not going to say who, but future films would benefit with inclusion on these two characters.  The movie is also one long action spectacle that takes about an hour to become emotionally invested in the film. Joss Whedon never explained how Iron Man became Iron Man after he retired at the end of Iron Man 3.   These negative aspects do not take away from the film but it is the reason why Avengers is better than this one.

Overall, Avengers 2: Age of Ultron is a fun superhero film. The new characters and Hawkeye really have a predominant role in this film. I loved the ending of the film. Vision and Ultron were the best parts of the movie.  I will probably do a spoiler blog post on this movie.  Joss Whedon really made a great superhero movie that is a good sendoff for his final helm at a marvel film as far as we know. Avengers 2: Age of Ultron gets a 4.5/5.

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Godzilla Review (minor spoilers)

Godzilla_2014_Design_Concept_2_-_Collider

Godzilla Review

In 2009, Legendary Pictures and Warner Bros announced that they acquired the rights to reboot Godzilla. As a huge Godzilla fan, I was jumping for joy and was excited for the 2012 release date. Legendary and Warner Bros pushed the release date back several times because they wanted to get the story right. So does this movie live up to the summer movie hype? Well no, it’s a disappointment. It’s not a big disappointment like the Amazing Spider-man 2. It is disappointing to see Godzilla not be star of his own movie. However,  Godzilla will entertain you  for 2 hours, and the ending is super satisfying.

There are three big negatives of Godzilla. The first negative is that Bryan Cranston’s character dies, and he sets up the story.  His death happens in the first 30 minutes of the film but he has about 15 to 20 minutes of screen time. I felt emotionally connected to his character.  Secondly, Aarron Taylor Johnson’s story is the dead weight of the movie.  I don’t think he’s a bad actor. The story telling and his acting were not up to par compared to Ken Watanable’s or Bryan Cranston’s acting. My final big thing was the lack of Godzilla. Godzilla only has about 20 minutes of screen time. I felt we needed more Godzilla because it’s his movie. The movie is not titled Godzilla and his humans but Godzilla. Godzilla in a sequel needs to have more focus and screen time.  . Warner Brothers has a online clip of Elizabeth Olsen’s character running from one of the monsters but she suddenly stops because Godzilla appears in front of her and he’s ready for a fight.  She finds shelter and then the camera pans on Godzilla, then we cut to Aaron Taylor Johnson and the soldiers.  The same editing issue appears during the entire fight sequence between Godzilla and the other monsters, and the humans take up Godzilla’s screen time with the emphasis on them instead of being on him and his fight, because they rarely cut back to the fighting between the monsters until the end.  I did miss Godzilla’s theme from Akira Ifukube. I wish they had played it at the end of the movie

Godzilla had many positives about it. The visuals, camera shots, and special effects were superb. The writing for exposition was great for describing special effects, and Edward’s had a vision on how to set the tone of the movie. The themes of the movie were excellent, too. They ranged from government cover ups to man controlling nature. The film makers had a clear cut vision on how make the movie.

Ken Watanable, David Strathairn, Bryan Cranston make the human story relevant to the audience. Cranston is gold in this movie. He brings a great amount of emotional depth to his character.  I felt sad and pissed when he died. Watanable plays Dr. Serizawa, and Serizawa isn’t an asshole like he is in the first Godzilla movie. Edwards and Max Borenstein, (the screenwriter) did a great job of reinventing the character. He sees Godzilla as nature’s way of restoring order. I want him back for the sequel. His character has more story to be told. Strathairn plays the perfect military antagonist. He’s is a villain in the movie. He’s a scary villain because he thinks his way is right. He would rather nuke radioactive monsters than listen to his leading scientist, Dr. Serizawa. He reluctantly concedes to Serizawa’s opinion of letting Godzilla take care of the other monsters.

Finally, Godzilla is done right. Yes, Godzilla only has 20 minutes of screen time. He should have about 20 more because it’s his movie.  Godzilla is more of an emotional anti-hero in the movie. The producers, studios, director, and the writers made Godzilla right. He’s not a wimp that runs away from a fight like in the other American version.  He’s a little too fat and his belly jiggles when he stomps around. He  might have been eating too many big macs.  Godzilla is a bad ass when he gets his screen time. The fight scenes with the monster were done so perfectly. The last 20 minutes makes this movie worth watching again. The Mutos were intelligent monsters. They legitimately challenged Godzilla which is hard to do for any monster.  I felt emotionally connected to the other monsters and Godzilla. You will jump for joy at the other monster references from the Godzilla universe.

Overall Godzilla wasn’t the fantastical spectacle that I hoped it would be. It was a fun movie, kind of disappointing, but go see it. Despite its flaws there is something so satisfying about the ending that made people stand and cheer, even though Godzilla isn’t the main focus like he should and the humans are. The creators of the film got Godzilla so right;. It’s visually fantastic; the themes are similar to the 1954 Godzilla; and Godzilla is anti-hero. It was so satisfying to see Godzilla on the big screen kicking mother fucking ass (yea I said it). Godzilla gets a 3/5.

A three out of five movie isn’t a bad rating. It’s a three star movie. I encourage anybody who read this review to go see Godzilla.  I have several friends who are passionate Godzilla fans and deeply appreciates him as a pop fiction icon. They loved this movie.  I am happy to be in minority opinion about how good this Godzilla really is. Studios do listen to dissenting opinions because they want to make the best movie possible for everybody.  I hope Legendary Studios and Warner Bros do listen to critics and a few fans who let down by this Godzilla movie like me.   I still had fun and I loved seeing my childhood idol take back the big screen. Go see Godzilla and decide for yourself.

Godzilla, what did you think? Comment below and let me know.  We need Mothra in the sequel…so make it happen Godzilla fans. Take to social media and let them know we want Mothra.