Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Avengers 2

This weekend was a hyped boxing match, NBA/NHL playoffs and a horsey race. It was also the opening of Avengers 2. I wonder what was the bigger and better event. Yeah it wasn’t really a question.  It was Avengers 2.
Friday my special lady and I went to see it. Then Sunday I took the dual gribblies to go see it. After two viewings it is a damn good time.
I’ll skim the plot for those who haven’t seen it yet.
Hydra mop-up duty. Loki’s staff found. A.I. created by Stark. This is Ultron. Ultron wants Avengers gone and recruits Wanda and Pietro Maximoff to help.
A confrontation between Avengers, Ultron and non-mutant twins. Avengers have issues to squash. Ultron plan comes to fruition. Vision is created. Final confrontation between Avengers and Ultron killbot army...and scene.

That is the quick version. There is a lot going on in the 2 ½ hour movie. There is the main Ultron/Avengers story. They also end all the Hydra shenanigans. There is the ground work laid for the follow-up Thor, Captain American and future Avengers film. There is the introduction of Wakanda for the Black Panther film and the introduction of who is probably going to be the antagonist. There is continued building of the Marvel universe in the movies (or MCU for you” must shorten everything”  nerds). A descent amount of character development, well in terms of a big action movie. The building of an Avengers second class. You could even see a potential jumping off point for a Hulk standalone.  All this and 3 ¾  action set pieces as well. This movie starts and really doesn’t let you go. I does have a manic pace at times, but it slows down just enough before ramping up again.
The only two issues I had were minor. The Hulk vs. Iron-Man fight at times was just a blur. I’m not sure if that was intentional to drive home the frantic craziness of the fight, or to cover up computer effects, or maybe it was a combination of both. It isn’t a huge issues, but every now and then it made watching an epic confrontation a bit confusing.
The other issue is that at times this felt like the first Avengers without the team building. What do I mean? Well….team gets together, charismatic villain, team falls apart, important item comes to light, team gets their act together, awesome grand battle against overwhelming odds set in urban area, sacrifice, explosion and scene. Sure this isn’t awful, but it was a bit noticeable and will annoy a percentage of people. So I thought I’d throw it out if you are part of that percentage and are reading this.
Avengers 2 is a damn fun film! Is it better than the first movie? That is a tough call. The story is a bit darker. Well maybe a bit more grey and not so much darker than the first movie. I did like that more. The opening and closing action sequences are insanely awesome! Is it better though? I am going to go out  and say yes. Yes I find the story, action and characters and story better than the first film.
Now look away for you few who haven’t seen this movie.
I’m  going to gush over some of the events.
Go see this before looking any further.
Giving Hawkeye a bigger role here was a great call. He is  the “everyman” of this group and it worked so well in this movie. His interaction with Quicksilver during the final battle is great. His motivational speech to Wanda (pre-Scarlet Witch) during the end battle was so awesome! Strangely it is one of my favorite parts in a movie full of great action.
The opening and closing action sequences are insane. The little battle vignettes are awesome: Cap throwing his motorcycle at a jeep, Hawkeye bunker buster, the bigger and better Hulk bunker buster, Iron-Man taking down a citadel, Thor and Caps’s shield wiping out a row of guys and a tank Hawkeye and Black Widow driving through the ranks of goons, Hulk snacking on a robot head, Black Widow with a Hulk mount, Thor hitting Cap’s shield like a baseball through numerous Ultron bots, the final team-up to melt Ultron’s face is a live action comic splash page, Vision and his head laser beam and phase punching through bad guys.
Speaking of Vision, I was and still am not a huge fan. However, that did not make it any less cool to see the green and red robot doing stuff. Having him be able to wield Mjolnir had my inner nerd all in a tizzy with a Luke Skywalker-esqe “That’s impossible!” cry. However, in movie terms in makes for a really great moment and helps unify the team to the cause.
Scarlet Witch’s powers are different and better. In the comics the probability hexes she throws are a bit nebulous. Here they just give her telekinesis, mind control and throwing red doom bolts. If you’re a Scarlet Witch purist, then this must bother you to no end. My response is…you are a Scarlet Witch fan? Really? The fact they kept her abilities just mind powers and red wispy energy bolts is so much easier and better.
The Hulkbuster armor named Veronica is really cool. Hooray an Archie reference! The fight (sans blurry) is next level bonkers! Rapid pile driving punched to Hulk’s face while yelling “Go to sleep. Go to sleep. Go to sleep. Go to sleep.” is fantastic. An elevator as a weapon is a delight. Hulk spitting out a tooth a look of angry derision and Stark uttering a squeaking  “I’m sorry.” is fantastic stuff!
“I adore you………..but I really need the other guy.”
S.H.I.E.L.D. and Warmachine to the rescue!
Ultron.  One of my favorite Avenger’s villains. Then again I’m partial to killbots. He was just likeable and charasmatic enough to make him a perfect antagonist. You don’t want him to win…..but a deep dark part of you does. That is what makes a good bad guy. Well that and being a viable threat while in a kick-ass outfit! Ultron filled all those requirements. Ultron is a viable threat to the team able to mix it up with everyone, well except the Hulk. Looks like he lost that fight.  James Spader was actually a really good choice for the voice. I was skeptical at first, but he worked. He had great lines, was a threat and had a really damn fine villainous plan. Plus in the end the last robot standing has the trademark Ultron head. That was a nice touch.
Quick aside:
I’m totally fine with the lack of Hank Pym and him not creating the movie Ultron. Screw that wife beating gets taller guy! I never cared for Hank Pym and am glad he hasn’t been tossed into the Marvel films yet. Giant-Man, Ant-Man, Yellowjacket, Goliath or any other version of him is poo.
The Mad Titan cameo!
The best and worst part was the final scene. We get Cap and Widow getting ready to train a new back of Avengers; Warmachine, Vision, Falcon and Scarlet Witch. That is in itself pretty cool. Then after the little roll call scene, Captain America utters that battle cry I (and the majority of the theater based on the verbal response) want to hear. We get the Avengers part and cut to black before Assemble! A real kick to the nuts to have that dangled out there. It did do that one bit about leaving the audience always wanting more. Congrats! It did!
Avengers 2: The Age of Ultron, is a damned good movie. Easily one of the best to date! A thousand times better than an over hyped boxing match, any amount of hockey and basketball playoffs and ponies running in a circle for the weekend.

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