Granted that she and Hulk are both social outcast types who view themselves as cold, sterile monsters capable only of killing and destruction, but is there anything forecasting their romance in the Marvel lore beyond that possible bonding ground? Halfway through the movie we get to meet Hawkeye’s formerly nonexistent wife and kids, because apparently he wasn’t sophisticated enough a character as the lone wolf marksman with a mysterious past. It sure makes Scarlett’s choice a lot easier.
Nick Fury might have entered at one point and most everyone in the theater applauded to see yet another familiar face, though his five-minute presence would be as disposable in the long run as the Stan Lee cameo, the one or two shots featuring War Machine, and the random Asian scientist they added for whatever reason. Thor seems fairly detached from all the proceedings, going off on a separate adventure entirely and rejoining the fray every now and then to force-lightning something. Quicksilver’s only reason for being in the movie is to make some cool slow-motion sequences and die at the end in a barrage of gunfire that should realistically blow him to pieces but merely stains his costume with a lot of red spots; his sacrificial demise is about as moving as Jazz’s in the first Transformers. Hence the only truly important heroes we’re left with are Iron Man, Hulk, Black Widow, Captain A-swearica, and this new purple guy “Vision”, who shows up as the wise and noble counterpart to Ultron, talks with the voice of JARVIS, and dramatically hands Thor’s hammer back to him in one of Whedon’s most squandered ideas for a scene. What could have been a subtle and potent symbol of Vision’s worthiness to wield the power of Thor comes across as shallow and forced because we’ve only known the character for a brief three minutes, there’s no proof of his goodness aside from his own testimony, and the other actors try too hard to sell the drama by putting on looks of shock and awe.
Having harped on Ultron’s faults for more than two pages now, I still can’t in good conscience discourage any of its target viewers from going to see it. If you’re looking for a twisty, intelligent, well-focused story, you’re better off just re-watching The Winter Soldier, which had much superior action to boot, and even the simple band of five in Guardians of the Galaxy exhibited clearer character progression than these smaller-scale guardians, but if all you want to see is a bunch of professional badarses smashing hundreds of robots to pieces for the greater good of humanity and cracking jokes about it in the process, Avengers 2 will probably satisfy that desire. I could nitpick about the camera being more herky-jerky and close-up than in the first film, but by and large the action is very impressively staged and Whedon still throws in a couple long spinning shots that are obvious throwbacks to the greatness of Avengers 1. I also appreciated many of the comedic visuals sown throughout the lighter moments, such as Thor boasting in the industrial base of how he’s impervious to the witch’s enchantments while the camera smoothly pans left to a totally out-of-place Asgardian hall. Even though I didn’t buy the spontaneity of their relationship, I liked Black Widow pushing Banner off the cliff because she “needed the other guy”, I liked the eerie Black Swan-reminiscent glimpses into Black Widow’s past, I liked that Jeremy Renner had the gall to call Black Widow a “slut” in an interview, and I liked that so many people blew up on Renner for describing a nonexistent character with arguably slutty characteristics as a slut, because apparently you just can’t call anybody a slut or a whore anymore because that’s sexist against women according to people who aren’t sexists at all.
Overall I enjoyed myself at Avengers: Age of Extinction, but as my friend laconically summed the movie up, it’s just the same damn thing all over. If you’re 17 or older, go watch Ex Machina instead. If you’re not 17 or older, get someone who is to watch Ex Machina with you and he’ll thank you for it later. Full review of that forthcoming.
Fant4stic – On the one hand, I really liked Miles Teller in Whiplash. On the other hand, the story looks terribly generic, blue-screen backdrops are strewn all over the place, and no one wants another Fantastic Four movie.San Andreas – Appropriately enough, a trailer about a CGI city falling apart priming me for another movie about CGI cities falling apart.
Jurassic Park 4 – Why is the T.Rex’s head always out of frame? Why is Star Lord riding a motorcycle through the jungle alongside the friendly velociraptors? Why was this even made?Mission Impossible 5? – The motorcycle chase scenes look pretty cool, but we already saw those in the second movie, and the hand-to-hand fight scenes just seem so oooordinary to me after experiencing both Raid movies and Ip Man, but that’s the price you pay for watching foreign action films. What is Alec Baldwin doing here?
Aloha – Actually an Ex Machina trailer, because the Avengers crowd would have no interest in seeing this whatsoever. I had to watch this a couple times to figure out what’s going on. Bradley Cooper works for the Air Force, I think, and he has Emma Stone in his back pocket but still wants to reunite with his ex Rachel McAdams, who broke up with him because he was a “workaholic” and was starring in way too many movies. John Krasinski and Danny McBride probably provide comic relief, Alec Baldwin yells at people just like in real life, Cameron Crowe directs, and Bill Murray is a wise and elderly speaker of truths about life. It’ll probably try to make us cry.No Escape – Owen Wilson and his family go to an unspecified Asian country to reboot their lives and land themselves right in the thick of a warzone. Lots of people will get shot by military-style assault weapons of war in this tonally strange action-disaster-drama movie hybrid from Progressive producer Harvey Weinstein.
I’ll See You In My Dreams – If you liked The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, you’ll love I’ll See You In My Dreams.