Thor: Ragnarok Review

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The MCU has been consistently been getting better as the phases go by. Captain America 2 was better than 1 and 3 was better than 2. Thor 2 was better than 1 and now this latest Thor film has arrived and is the best film in the trilogy. It’s a very fast paced film with a lot of action and hype throughout. It also does a great job of showing how great of a fighter Thor is with or without his hammer. It’s going to be hard for the next Thor film to top this one.

The film starts off with Thor seemingly being held captive by Surtur. Of course, the whole thing is basically just a ruse to get information. That shouldn’t come as much of a surprise since think we all found it highly unlikely that Thor can be bound by mere chains. Unfortunately Thor has not stopped Ragnarok by defeating Surtur as the true source of despair shows up. Hela is the goddess of death and her abilities are the real deal as she easily beats Thor and Loki. Thor is going to have to form his own team to defeat her.

The heroes definitely get around in this film as Thor goes to Earth, Surtur’s Domain, Asgard, and the Grandmaster’s planet. It’s fun to see all of the different locales as they all worked quite well. The weakest one design-wise would be Grand Master’s HQ, but the arena looked quite good. Earth may win out since it was great to have a Dr.Strange cameo. He looked really good in that scene and they’re definitely building him up to be one of the team’s power hitters. He’s also one of my favorite Avengers in the MCU so I’m ready to see him get more of a role. He’ll have to keep his list handy since a lot of threats are certainly coming to Earth in the near future.

Thor has a lot of fun in this film as he openly mocks the villains and just tries to enjoy everything he does. He’s a good lead and this is probably the best that he’s been portrayed. He’s a lot wiser than he used to be while still keeping his strength. This is Thor as a leader in addition to being a warrior and it makes him a more complete character. Seeing him fight off an army at the end without his hammer was definitely impressive. It’ll be very hard for me to get used to his new hairstyle though. I’m going to miss the old one until it grows back, but it’s not the worst redesign I’ve seen as it’s still miles above the Joker.

Going back to Thor having fun though, it keeps showing how Marvel is just good at writing comedy. The Iron-Man films have always been pretty fun as the humor is just handled well and this film does a great job with it as well. It’s not forced and most of the jokes land. The only film I can think of in the MCU that failed at being even remotely funny was Guardians of the Galaxy 2. Age of Ultron could be really forced at times, but it was still entertaining, it would just throw you our of the movie for a second. As DC is trying to emulate Marvel with their current movies, hopefully they’ve been taking notes. Wonder Woman wasn’t funny and Justice League’s jokes don’t really seem to be working, but it’s possible they’ll turn it around in the film or by the sequel. It takes time to be funny and writing jokes has always been the hardest part of developing a script if you ask me. That’s why it’s not really a problem as long as the jokes aren’t downright terrible, but if there are a bunch in the movie, then you want them to be good. Again, Thor: Ragnarok did a really good job with this.

Loki was a fun ally to have around. Naturally you can’t trust him at all and the film’s pretty self aware on that, but at least it meant Thor didn’t have to be alone the whole time. It’s always good to have at least one companion on a journey. He didn’t look quite as impressive as usual though since everyone he meets ends up beating him up quite badly. He really took his lumps in this film but always manages to keep his confidence. I’d really be on board with him finally being an ally, not a hero as that’ll never happen, but someone who helps out once in a while and doesn’t try to destroy the world.

Now I’ve never been the biggest Hulk fan. He’s a decently good character and all, but I typically just like him in his more intelligent depictions. The only exceptions are some of the really old Stan Lee era comics where he was pretty sympathetic. The film has a good portrayal of him. He’s not too annoying or anything and can put up a good fight. The writer seems to definitely know who he thinks is the stronger fighter (Thor or Hulk) and I tend to agree with him. Brute strength is great and all, but when you’re about as strong and have a variety of other techniques at your disposal, it’s game set and match. Surprisingly the film gives Hulk a backseat role for the entire climax as he doesn’t get to face off against Hela or anything, but it’s a good way to ensure he doesn’t steal the show or get humiliated in front of his fans. It was not what I expected from his role, but it worked well enough.

Unfortunately, this is probably Bruce Banner’s worst portrayal. He’s really slow on the uptake and panics about everything. He is constantly in a state of shock and just holding everyone back. You almost can’t help but wish for the Hulk to return and maybe this is why Hulk wants to stay out 24/7. It’s also interesting how each side can’t remember anything after they turn so for Bruce it’s like 2 years passed in an instant. That’s actually pretty tragic so I should feel more sympathetic for Bruce…but I don’t. I miss his self assured/over confident version from the first Avengers film. I will always look to that as the definitive Bruce Banner portrayal. The only other one that’s close is from the Indestructible Hulk mini series.

Valkyrie is the main heroine of the film and fulfills the role pretty well. She actually doesn’t get on board with the heroes until near the end of the film so her role isn’t huge or anything but she’s pretty tough. Balancing fighting and drinking is tough but she manages to pull it off. I can’t say that I was a huge fan of hers since her backstory basically involves being a traitor and turning evil. You’re sort of supposed to look past all of that, but it’s a little tricky and I think she would have worked better as a villain like Loki who occasionally helps the heroes. I give the film major props for not going for a romance angle here though. I’m sure the writers were pressured by Hollywood into doing this, but they refused.

Heimdall has his own filler subplot where he beats up a bunch of minions and helps guard the Asgardian survivors. He’s a good character even if he doesn’t get much of a role here. He’s the kind of character who makes more of an impact if you’ve seen the first two films. Since this is the 3rd one, there’s no excuse not too. I miss his classic armor, but his new Bishop redesign works quite well and he lasted quite a while considering how outnumbered he was.

Hela is the main villain and also the best character of the film. She’s a great villain because her goal isn’t crazy or just evil. It’s a pretty rational goal as taking over the multiverse makes sense to prove your supremacy. I can get behind that and I can also buy into her taking over Asgard since it is hers by birthright. She looks extremely impressive in all of her fights. I would have liked a longer round 1 fight with Thor and Loki but seeing them fight while on the light speed tunnel was certainly entertaining. I’m also glad that Thor didn’t back up when they all started hyping her up. As long as you stay on Hela’s good side you’re okay since she doesn’t seem to be in the habit of randomly destroying her minions for no reason. She may very well be the best villain in the whole Marvel Cinematic Universe at this point although I’m expecting big things from Thanos.

Scourge is her right hand man and he gets his own emotional character arc. He starts off as the guy that everyone pushes around and eventually levels up to janitor. I liked him well enough at the beginning I guess, but he’s just not my kind of character. He’s one of the weak links, but his actual scenes aren’t bad so it’s not like he hurts the film. I just didn’t care enough about him to be sympathetic. Surtur appears for a bit and gets his own fight scene, but he’s definitely not as impressive as he was in the comics. Everyone basically uses him the whole time and I have to wonder what his ultimate plan is. He better appear in Thor 4 or I’m going to have to remember him as the villain to have the worst plan in the MCU. He may not have thought it over very carefully.

The Grandmaster was interesting and way better than the Collector. It helps that his actor makes the character pretty entertaining as opposed to simply being quirky. There’s a big difference between the two and you always want to be the former as opposed to the latter. He’s definitely a villain through and through but tries to hide his evil intent through jokes. Hey, if Spiderman can do it for the heroes, why not have a villain with that gimmick as well? It does make sense after all and he was a fun guy to have around. I wouldn’t mind seeing him again.

Korg is one of the quirky supporting characters from the Arena. While I didn’t find his voice quite as hilarious as by theater seemed too (They laughed at just about every one of his lines) it did work pretty well for the character. It’s been a while since we got a very to the point character who speaks softly but always manages to keep everyone in check. Definitely the best portrayal of Korg in all of Marvel. Stan (The Man) Lee also shows up to clean shop. His cameo may be quick, but he really sets the tone in his appearance and also shows that he fears no one. You have to have nerves of steel to have his job after all.

Ragnarok’s soundtrack is absolutely great. The themes are all very sci-fi and fast paced. They help to amplify the fight scenes and make the whole film better. Good music helps make a scene more memorable so as you would expect it also has the same effect on the movie as a whole. Most films don’t insert a big song when a fight scene starts. It’s a popular trope in anime but that’s about it despite this being a fantastic way of building up energy for the scene. Well, Thor pulls it off for both the first and last fight. The last fight in particular is handled extremely well as Thor gets one last vision of a certain character and then unlocks his true power. Aside from maybe Avengers and even that is close, Thor definitely has the best soundtrack in the MCU and is high up there for all of Marvel’s theater films.

The action and effects are certainly on point. The monsters of the fire world certainly looked very impressive and it made for a very good opening fight. Surtur’s design was modernized for the new age and while he was rather skinny I still liked it well enough. Hela’s fight scenes were solid as well and her costume was very faithful to the comics. Thor’s style of combat with his electricity will remind you a lot of Cole McGrath or Starkiller and it’s certainly the most efficient way to fight. When you’re using electricity to enhance your range and strength, it is very hard to dodge or counter that. Now that Thor can fight at this level the only Avenger who can reasonably give him a good fight would be Dr. Strange. I don’t think the others could keep up.

Naturally the film has a scene after the credits so make sure you stick around. There are 2 scenes, but the first one is really the only one you need to worry about. It’s easily one of the best post movie scenes in the MCU as we finally have a significant plot development here which works as a great tease for Infinity War. It’s hard to imagine that the big crossover film is so close, but it is certainly approaching fast. It’s also why it makes sense to beef up the Avengers roster since they’re going to need all the help they can get. I’m not sure how some of the street level fighters will be useful, but maybe they can at least distract the villains with one liners while the real fighters take them down.

Now, there is a little plot hax at the end. It’s nothing major but the final fight’s outcome should have been reversed. On one side we have a giant opponent who is extremely slow and can only attack in a straight line. On the other we have a very nimble fighter who can move quite fast and also has a lot of durability. All the character needed to do was move just a little bit and that would have worked as a dodge. I mean, the planet may not be too stable so surviving some intense energy would still have to happen, but I think the character could pull it off. At the very least, losing due to ring out would have been preferable. I’m trying to keep this review spoiler free so I’ll keep that part vague.

I’d like to say that I’ve covered everything, but with a film this big there will always be something that I’ve missed. As far as the MCU films go, It’s easily top 5. Avengers is better and I’ll also give Civil War the edge but this very well could be the third best film. Age of Ultron gives it a run for its money, but I dare say that Thor beats both Winter Soldier and Spider-Man Homecoming. Either way, it confirms that Thor is certainly top 5 and we’ll see how long it can stay there if Marvel keeps raising the bar. I’m still hoping they go all out with Infinity War and have just about everyone appear. Bring in the old villains, Agents of Shield, even throw the Netflix crew a bone with a portrait on the wall or some kind of cameo. Make this the big event that it should be.

Overall, The film was just about perfect. There’s not much to really say about the film in the negatives department. It did pretty well with keeping the power levels consistent. Not perfect, but basically no film is. I felt bad for the poor dragon who fought Thor, but at least the film didn’t destroy Fenfir as in my head canon he can certainly survive a fall. That was nice. Thor himself has also come a long way since the older films and makes a few speeches about what it means to be a hero. The action scenes are first rate and the graphics are quite good. The film’s also just a lot of fun the whole time and has a ton of replay value. It’s not everyday that you get a film as satisfying as this one. I teetered between an 8 or a 9 for this film for a while, but at the end of the day I think it definitely earns the extra star.

Overall 9/10

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The Huntsman: Winter’s War Review

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It’s time to look at the sequel that leaves you feeling a little puzzled. Why did the Huntsman get his own film? I don’t fully understand! Anyway, this film does have some really good action scenes and the plot is also more interesting than the first film. That being said, a really forced romance between the two leads holds this film back quite a lot. I dare say that it would have been pretty good without that, but the romance goes on for so long and takes away from so many scenes that I have to lower the score. Regardless, it is certainly better than the last film that I just reviewed.

The film starts off with a flashback to show us Eric’s origin before he was the legendary Huntsman. He grew up under the rule of Queen Freya and was forced to participate in her wars. It was the only life that he knew though so he worked hard and made it to the top of the ranks. Unfortunately, he broke Freya’s most important rule by falling for another warrior named Sara. As Freya realized that any romance was doomed to an untimely end, she decided to destroy them. To their credit, Eric and Sara put up a pretty good fight. They were heavily outnumbered, but took down a majority of the troops. Unfortunately, Sara was eliminated from behind and Eric was forced to beat a hasty retreat.

It made for a pretty epic opening to the film. The fight scenes were well handled and we got a glimpse of Freya’s true power. This whole scene would be very important later on when you keep Ravenna’s illusion magic in mind. The film then jumps quite a few years into the future as the story now takes place after the Snow White film. The Queen has fallen ill thanks to the magic mirror that she stole from the villain and it was sent away. The problem is that the foot soldiers were all killed off and Queen Freya managed to get her hands on it. I have to say that this was pretty sloppy of the heroes. What did they really expect was going to happen when they left to transport the most dangerous weapon in the kingdom? Eric is tasked with going to find it, but a pair of Dwarves tag around to bring the writing down a few pegs. Also, Sara shows up so Eric has to ask himself some tough questions. Did she really die or did he just use that as an excuse to escape with his life?

As mentioned before, the film squanders its positives by including a lot of negatives. The Dwarves are a good example of that. We get 4 of them to appear as main characters and they spend the entire film making fun of each other only to suddenly turn it into a romance at the very end. It’s poorly handled during the entire film and it’s just annoying after a while. I wouldn’t mind the insults so much if it wasn’t obvious that they were going to get together. As it stands, it’s just a little hard to watch. The film didn’t do a good job with the romance in general though. Eric and Sara’s plot is about as bad.

It follows the same formula so the writer must be a fan of it. Sara spends a lot of time insulting Eric for falling for a simple illusion and leaving her to die. She constantly says stuff like “We can’t be together” or “I’m through” only for the two characters to make up 10 minutes later to the point where we can get whole minutes of them making it up to each other. It was terrible and Eric’s overconfidence actually pays off in this case as he suspected they’d be back together.

As for the positives, the film’s action scenes kept getting better and better. Aside from the opening fight, we also got a battle with Ravenna and Freya. It was nice to see Ice vs vague Dark abilities and any fight with one of the Queens wrecking the heroes was cool as well. Ravenna really didn’t think any of this through though as she could have made it to the top if she didn’t insist on attacking Freya’s people. The film does make the villains a little overpowered though and the heroes really shouldn’t stand a chance. By merging with the mirror, Ravenna gained super strength, speed, and even high speed regeneration. Add to this the fact that she can manipulate the shadows to attack everyone around her and you have a fairly unbeatable enemy.

The effects for these action scenes were also very solid. The film definitely seemed to have a reasonably high budget and it’s easy to make fight scenes with large groups boring like in Warcraft, but this film pulled it off. It was actually a lot more interesting than the Snow White film and the core plot here is fairly solid. I would have liked to have seen Snow White show up herself to defend the kingdom, but I suppose she’s busy recovering from the evil mirror she had in her room. Again…that wasn’t a smart play.

Queen Ravenna is a great villain and probably the best character in the film. Her presence captures the room in every scene that she is in. Ravenna has the disposition of a final boss and when she showed up it was rather unexpected so that was great to see. Freya is essentially a more sinister version of Elsa. Her situation and backstory are fairly similar. Freya certainly didn’t take things as well though and became a total villain, but perhaps Elsa would have as well if her sister was evil. Freya did stand up for her wards in the end though and while her goals were a lot more extreme, at least she was trying to protect her people in her own way. She was a good villain as well.

I already talked about how bad the Dwarves were so lets ignore them. Eric isn’t a bad main character I suppose. Overconfidence is a good trait and he’s capable in a fight. He may be a little too dramatic at times, but he’s a solid lead. His one character flaw is the same with Sara’s, the romance angle. It was just unnecessary. Sara is very similar to Eric as she’s also overconfident and talks a good game. Unfortunately, she can’t back it up quite as well as she loses several times in the film. The one time she looked good was a moment where I have to question the power levels. Still, it happened so that was a good moment for her.

Okay, here’s the moment that I’m talking about. Some guys break into a bar to attack Eric. Eric talks pretty big the whole time as he’s forced into the fight and then he loses instantly. Luckily, Sara shows up and takes them all down. Okay…Sara must be way stronger than Eric then right? No, she never looks all that impressive again so you have to wonder what happened. The actual scene was pretty great though and the most epic part of the movie. The power levels may have been a little wacky, but I’ll take the hype.

Overall, The Winter War is a reasonably solid sequel that is held back by the romance and some annoying characters, but what else is new? Hollywood likes to throw in romance and some crude characters to get the ball rolling, but it tends to have to opposite effect. It’s a shame since the fight scenes actually are really good and the effects are top notch. If you check this film out, it’ll definitely be for the action. That being said, I simply can’t recommend it because of the film’s failings. If you want a better action film, check out the latest Tron film. That one has a lot of action and is heavily underrated.

Overall 5/10

Red Dawn (2012) Review

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Looks like it’s time for round 2 for Red Dawn. The original got a reboot and now we can see if America could put up a better fight with the modern technology that we have at our disposal. Spoiler alert….America doesn’t fare all that well. While it’s a decent film for the most part, I can’t say that Red Dawn is really my style and the premise is completely unbelievable, although I’ll get into that in a second.

The main characters are enjoying the city life and having fun when the film starts off. Matt ends up losing his team the game, but he gave it his all and that’s what counts. His brother Jed is finally back from being abroad at war and it’s a good thing that he is. See, Korea and Russia have launched an attack against the US of A and we lost big time. The kids must now form a band called the Wolverines and strike back at the oppressors with their experience in warfare and combat. Can they really liberate the greatest country in the world?

Well, let’s go back to the premise since that’s the part that I can’t buy into. See, America is the greatest country in the world and no one can stop us. We have friendly ties with several countries like France and Great Britain, but even if they wouldn’t help us through such an attack, we’d be okay. Would they help us if we got invaded by Korea? I like to think so since it was an unprovoked attack and they would want to get in on the action and spoils of war before the enemies came after them.

Back to the America is for winners part. Apparently, all it takes is a well placed super EMP to take us out of the picture. Without our tech, America simply isn’t very tough and we were defeated in roughly a day. That’s….embarrassing to be honest. America loves its tech, but we also have the best defenses for it and they can’t be permanantely shut off so easily. Moreover, the enemies have closed circuit technology so that they can communicate…and we don’t? Booooooo. America is prepared for all eventualities and we wouldn’t have lost.

At most, they could maybe take a state or two, not 42. We would quickly win them back, turn our tech back, and then nuke the place. America cannot be defeated and we quickly proved this in World War II. Once America got involved, it was essentially Game Over for the enemies. So, this film really feels like propaganda from the enemy. I had this thought during the original one as well and it makes you wonder how this film got into theaters. Freedom of speech and films of course, but we don’t want the American people to get the wrong idea or for the enemies to take this as a challenge to attack. While not as politically controversial as that comedy film about Korea recently, this one’s still not quite as patriotic as you would hope.

There are still patriotic themes of course as the kids take out quite a few enemy soldiers and continue to blow up their bases. It shows that we will never give up and Americans will always have their freedom, but that should have been applied to the whole country, which is why we shouldn’t have lost. America fights hard and they fight to win. That’s how it’s always been and the only way to take us out is with Global Destruction. A mutual nuclear attack would do the trick and then it would be game over.

Naturally, this film is pretty dark given the serious themes that are at play the whole time. Characters drop off one after the other and the heroes are put in many tricky circumstances with people that they can’t always trust. It’s a film that will keep you interested from start to finish, but not one that is really fun to watch. It is fairly realistic as people go through these situations in other countries and in our past, but that’s part of the reason why it turns out to be a film that you won’t find very enjoyable.

There is a twist at the end to keep things real and all films need a twist of some sort nowadays. It’s expected and it adds more drama for the sequel. The event in question definitely comes suddenly and the film did a good job of not being obvious about it although the foreshadowing did start to get a little iffy as the heroes were having too much of a good time. You have to have nerves of steel at that point since everyone is dying so you learn to be able to get decently happy very quickly since you don’t know how long the peace will last. Still, they should have kept moving.

Jed’s a really good main character and the film does a good job of making him likable. The main gripe with him is just how much beer the guy drinks. It certainly won’t help him when he’s out in a firefight. Luckily, the guy has a lot of experience in the field and he really ends up helping the team a lot. Without him, it’s safe to say that the heroes may have been a little out of their league. Matt is not nearly as good. I really didn’t like his character from start to finish. His first appearance has him crumbling during the end of a football game and it seems like he barely cares. He just heads out to have fun with his girlfriend and really acting like one of those throwaway characters from any film or show. He’s the kind of guy that you just don’t like and the film tries to correct that later on, but it’s too little too late. He abandons the team and disobeys orders when he feels like it without any real remorse.

Most of the other characters are here to remind us that this is serious business and not for the faint of heart. The guy who lacked will power steals the food and betrays the heroes to the enemy. The surest way to tell who isn’t a real American is to find the guy who betrays you to the other country. That’s just sad and I’m pretty sure that the guy didn’t live through the experience. The other characters are typically all right or a little on the not cool side. Matt’s girlfriend certainly did not help him become likable and I thought that she was a bit much the whole time. Jed’s friend was much better as she was more reserved and dedicated to the cause.

The writing seemed to be decent as there was only one piece of unnecessary language that I noticed, but I saw this on TV so they helped the film out a little by covering this area. I don’t know how much or how little they cut, but that’s always nice of them. The film was over in a flash and felt way under 2 hours. That’s probably a good thing as short and sweet has actually been working out quite well lately. If you’re as good as Man of Steel or Avengers, then go for as long as possible. Otherwise, go for a shorter route.

Overall, This Red Dawn is better than the first version. The main character is easily the best person in the film and he puts the other guys to shame. It’s too bad that Matt couldn’t be quite as good. The film is pretty careful in terms of violence and while a lot of things happen to the heroes, it’s never as intense as in the original. That being said, the premise is still as unbelievable as ever. America simply doesn’t lose like that and this is the kind of film that shouldn’t be given a theater release without some kind of propaganda video before it to pump us up. At the very least, we should have had an epilogue about how we ultimately won the war and crushed everyone. It was neat to see the Marines and they actually looked impressive in this version, but they sure tried to be as unlikable as possible at times. If you like war films where the underdogs have to fight against large odds check this out. If you want a lighter film where America owns the world, check out The Avengers! Now that film shows us the determination and skill of The American people!

Overall 4/10

Avengers: Age of Ultron Review

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The first Avengers film was one of the greatest movies of all time. I knew that it would be extremely difficult for this film to match up to it. Still, I had high hopes when I walked into the theater and I was ready for anything that the film could throw at me. Would it be able to live up to the hype or would it ultimately crumble and make me go re watch Man of Steel? Also, what happened to Thanos? In the first film, it ended with him getting ready to attack Earth or at least think about it..yet he isn’t in the trailers so what happened. Behind the scenes drama? These questions at the ready…I saw the film!

The Avengers may have split up after they saved the world from the invasion, but they are back together to reclaim Loki’s scepter. After embarking on many missions to find it, they finally find it at a Hydra base. It seems like peace has finally returned and the Avengers can disband once more, but that is when Ultron strikes. Ultron wishes to destroy the human race and the Avengers must now deal with their toughest threat yet!

There is certainly a lot to say about this film so let’s launch right into it! The tone is identical to that of the first film, which is a great thing. There is a nice balance of humor and action in this film, which makes for a very enjoyable watch. Replay value is not a problem either as I could easily watch this film again tomorrow. There is so much action that you will likely notice extra details each time you watch the film.

Following up on that, the writing for the film is excellent. Avengers: Age of Ultron has numerous jokes throughout the film and with bad or even average writing, it would have gotten old very quickly. As it stands, the jokes come at good times in the film and you’ll be sure to laugh a few/lot of times throughout the film. It can be a little iffy to see the heroes joking during life threatening situations, but I suppose that it takes their mind off of what is happening. I would be upset if the heroes were joking around after someone had been killed or if a friend was in mortal peril, but they typically control themselves in those situations. The film even puts some twists on old jokes from the first title by switching things around a little.

As for the soundtrack, it is essentially the same as the first film. I only noticed one new theme, which played during a somber scene. It was a good theme and the soundtrack holds up just as well as in the 1st film. Admittedly, I would have liked some more new tunes, but for those of us who haven’t seen the first film since 2012, it was likely very nostalgic. I’ve seen the original film around a half dozen times at this point so I am very familiar with the music at this point.

Since there is a lot of action, the visuals need to look very good. I can safely say that they are convincing and I have no real issue with them. This film has more energy blasts than usual, which is great since those really make this feel like more of a comic book film. A certain triple attack towards the end looks really sweet as a result. The only time that the CGI may look a little iffy is the Cap vs Ultron scene during the daytime, but it may just be because he looks so lifelike that it ends up being a little out of place. If anything, you can think of that as a positive since it was so realistic.

Time to look at the main characters. Captain America was my favorite Avenger here so let’s look at him first. He is the noble hero that we would expect him to be and I thought that his portrayal was fairly spot on. From his point of view, I can see why he would disagree with Tony Stark on the A.I. issue. While the captain may have overreacted a little after Ultron struck, it was understandable that he would be upset since his history with secrets hasn’t been a good one. A running joke in the film arises from a scene where Captain America reprimands Tony for using a swear word. That was cool because while it was played for laughs, it was nice to see. Superman and Captain America are two characters who I have always imagined to not use such language. The way that the joke ends could have been better though. Either way, fans of the first Avenger will be pleased with how he looks here. Captain America shows off his fighting skills throughout the film and he makes for a very good leader.

Tony Stark is naturally as charismatic as ever and he is my second favorite Avenger. His heart was in the right place for project Ultron, but messing with A.I. programs never seems to end well for our heroes. I was wondering how Iron Man’s role would be since he blew up his armors in Iron Man 3, but that doesn’t seem to be a problem. He just continued to build since then and it makes sense since Tony would never give up on robotics forever. It’s his life after all. He gets a lot of great scenes and Iron Man has shown that he still has what it takes to be the leader if Steve Rogers ever decided to give up the position. With Captain America: Civil War coming up, that could happen sooner than expected.

Thor rounds out the main three and he is still the power hitter here. It is nice to see his strength displayed as he takes on dozens of opponents throughout the film. His combo attacks with Captain America prove to be very effective and having someone who’s Hulk level in strength with the ability to fly is extremely handy. His reaction times are also given their due credit as he manages to counter-throw an opponent who had rushed him. Thor has also grown more competitive as he is consistently trying to outdo Tony Stark and the others. Some friendly competition is always fun and it shows that Thor is really getting close to the team.

As for Bruce Banner, I was thrilled with his role in the first film. I thought that it was perfect and that Bruce Banner’s portrayal was the definitive version of the character. I don’t think that he looked quite as good here and he would actually be my least favorite member of the team. What happened to him being able to control the Hulk? It seems like a rather big plot hole here as the Hulk needs to be calmed down by the Black Widow every time and then he is left as an emotional wreck for a little while. It seems to really contradict the first film. He doesn’t get to act rebellious or get nice banter like in the first film, which hurt his portrayal here because that is why I liked him a lot. I really think that Whedon messed up here, but Banner still had his moments. He just wasn’t the hero that I remembered from the first film.

Black Widow has upgraded her tech for this film so that she is ready for the Ultron onslaught. She looks good in the film as she helps out a lot in many key scenes. Widow gets shaken up at one point, but due to the visions it was understandable. How she copes with it is really my issue. The plot between Bruce and Widow really came out of the blue and I don’t think that it was necessary here at all. Widow just acted out of character when he was around, but the ending of the film seems to have rectified that. She is more likable than Bruce here, but I think she could have been better.

Hawkeye ends up being the best Avenger after the big three and his role here was fun. Hawkeye fans will likely be worried at the beginning since he is taken out of action rather easily, but things go up from there. We get to see how professional he is and why he is the lead archer. Hawkeye means business here and he deals a lot of damage to Ultron’s army, but he still knows how to make a nice wisecrack. He certainly gets a lot of character development here and that is sure to help Hawkeye’s character throughout his future appearances as well.

Age of Ultron had a nice amount of guest stars, which was cool. Some of them you may be aware of and others not so much. I won’t mention any names, but each of the big three get a supporting character who gets a decent role in this film. Nick Fury and Maria Hill are also here of course and they contribute. It makes you wonder how this film will affect the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. show. It’ll be fun to see how that handles this event. The ending is fun and leaves a lot of potential for future installments. Also, you’ll want to stick around for the end credits scene. It’s rather short, but still really good and gets you set up for Avengers 3.
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Still, I’m getting ahead of myself. Now, let’s look at some of the other characters to appear in the film. First up, we’ve got Quicksilver. After his solid role in X-Men Days of Future Past, it was going to be tough for this version to match up. Luckily, I can say that the character was still fun and his speed was handled well for the most part. He’s rather unlikable for the first half of the film, but he does have some solid moments. It’s easy to root for him as the film goes on and even the accent grew on me. His speed is something that the Avengers didn’t really have an answer for and film writers have to be very careful with it since plot hax can ensue. Some did occur of course, but not too much.

Scarlet Witch has interesting hex powers involving probability, which can be tough to show so the film decided to take a solid approach to this issue. They mainly focused on her telekinesis and telepathy. By using these abilities effectively, she can emit energy and create barriers. I much prefer this to her hex abilities so I’m fine with the change. She’s a better character than I expected and I look forward to seeing her become one of the heavy hitters on the team. I would already say that she could take on Captain America and possibly Iron Man. Her abilities should definitely not be underestimated. I don’t care for her in the comics, but the film version was good so I can safely say that this is one of those rare times where the comics were surpassed. I also did like how the film borrowed from the horror playbook during the scene where Scarlet Witch takes on Captain America. We get a Paranormal Activity stutter step as Scarlet Witch demonically backs up and closes the door. It’s hard to describe, but if you have watched a lot of horror films, you will know what I am talking about here.

Ultron is the main villain here so there should naturally be a lot to say about him. His portrayal will likely be controversial and some will like it while others won’t. As an Ultron adaption, I think you will be disappointed. He is nothing like the cold, calculating machine that we are used too. So, if you are to like him, you will just need to think of him as an original villain. With the…intriguing design, that should make things easier. The film decides to give him Tony Stark’s personality so he is a fun villain, he just isn’t Ultron. As this “new” villain, I liked the portrayal. He has some witty banter to be sure and who doesn’t like a good “eradicate the humans” plan right? His strategy was sound and once again it shows how easy planet busting can be. Just wait until Thanos arrives on Earth someday, the stakes will really get high! Ultron was a little weaker than I expected and I’ll get into this a little more in a second, but he was strong enough to still be a fun villain. Loki was probably still more fun, but Ultron was more of a threat, which is a fair trade off.

All right, we’ve looked at the characters and a lot of the positives to the film. So, let’s look at some questionable moments. One scene that I disagree with is Thor’s hammer being lifted. The actual scene is a fairly important one so I won’t mention who does it. You’ll know what I’m talking about once you see the movie, but I completely disagree with the film. There’s no way that this character should be able to pick up the hammer unless Captain America can. After all, being worthy is something that I can certainly agree with. I don’t agree with technicalities that can sidestep the enchantment…simply isn’t possible if you ask me.

Age of Ultron has a lot of action and it is one of the reasons why it is so much fun. The film starts off with a bang in the epic intro scene and the film rarely lets up as more and more action scenes appear. While this is an overwhelming positive as you will never get bored, most of the action scenes are simply action scenes. Like the first film, the Avengers are dealing with armies and no real 1 on 1 fights occur. When some appear, they are fairly short since the villains can’t handle the heroes. There is a point where Ultron is actually defeating Thor handily, but Ultron had been getting served by Iron Man earlier so I still wouldn’t say that he was immensely powerful. I’m assuming that Thor was simply caught off guard. Ultron didn’t get his iconic power up here so he was only a little more durable than the average machine. I’m assuming that Avengers 3 will finally have the big fights that I’ve been looking forward too so that will be fun. I can see some people listing this as a negative since the climax is very similar to the first film’s, but who doesn’t like a nice invasion battle? It gives the heroes a lot to do.

The 1 on 1 fight that we did get was the Iron Man vs Hulk battle. It was a fun fight and while I still prefer Iron Man’s standard gear for combat, the Hulkbuster looks powerful. I’d say that Hulk is still portrayed as the strongest Avenger by a longshot, but with this new armor, Iron Man can now fight alongside Thor for the second spot. The other Avengers are going to need to keep on improving or they will be left in the dust before long.

I won’t say his name for the fans who don’t know about this character, but a certain other android appears besides Ultron. His abilities are certainly potent and I’m glad that the film kept most of them in. The only one that they didn’t show will likely be shown in a future film. I’m not a huge fan of the character here as his personality isn’t really my style, but he’ll be a good ally to have on the team. His abilities will definitely make him a powerful ally and maybe he’ll grow on me. There’s certainly a lot of time for that since he just joined.

I just finished seeing this film about an hour or two ago so I’m trying to make sure that I get down all of the major points that I wanted to discuss before wrapping up the review. With a film like this, you can’t really get all of your thoughts down on a review so I at least want the big ones to be there. It was a lot of fun and I highly recommend watching a big movie like this one on opening day or the night before opening day at least once for the sheer experience. It is a lot of fun to watch such an exciting film with other fans who are hyped for it as well.

A minor thing, but Quicksilver is probably a little too fast in this film. At the speed that he is going, I don’t think that Hawkeye’s attack should have surprised him or that Captain America could have even hit him. Even when Quicksilver tried to grab the hammer, he should have been able to have escaped since it would have pulled him very slowly even considering the speed of the throw. That being said, he is a speedster so I would always find some plot hax there. The film handled it better than most and the plot hax in general wasn’t that bad. Your usual action hero moments at times where humans dodge lots of point blank energy attacks, but no scenes that stuck out in particular, which was great.

The film seems to be rather unchanged from the trailers, which is good. Unfortunately, one of the changes was the scene where Iron Man is trying to pick up Thor’s hammer. I preferred his old line about ruling firmly, yet in a fair way. I also seem to recall Bruce Banner being in a straight jacket or at least something that resembled that kind of gear more than what was in the film, but I’m less sure about that so it really could have just been a trick of the eyes. A lot of things are set up here for future films so you’ll definitely want to continue watching the solo films to get a feel for what will happen next.

All right, I think that’s a good amount of reviewing for now. I made sure to keep this review spoiler free so if you have a question relating to a topic that has spoilers, feel free to drop a comment since I made sure to avoid those topics in the review. Although, I hinted at some because I wanted to mention my take on them so I merely left out the names when necessary. I highly doubt that any film will be able to come anywhere close to this one from this year’s roster, but it will be nice to see them give their best shot. It is too bad that Whedon won’t be around for the next Avengers film, but I trust that it will be excellent as well.
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Overall, Avengers:Age of Ultron was a great follow up to the first film. The first Avengers will always be my favorite Marvel film, but this one is the second best in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. It possesses just about all of the same qualities as the first title while having even more action. The only real negative would probably be the plot between Bruce Banner and Black Widow. The hammer scene along with many of the other things that I noted aren’t really negatives so much as things that I noticed. I still find it a little ironic that the Ultron minions had a more accurate design compared to the comic Ultron than the main body, but it helps that point I made earlier about looking at Ultron as a different villain. It was tough deciding between an 8 and a 9 to be honest, but this is the kind of film that really doesn’t come by all that often. I believe that it earned the 9. Granted, I typically score films a little more generously when I just finished watching one in theaters so you may want to take that into account. (I got the full IMAX 3D experience, which was incredible!) Still, I think that I’ll be able to stand by this rating and I will certainly be watching this film more times before Avengers 3. I probably won’t see it quite as much as the first one, but still more than most. If you haven’t seen this film yet, I highly recommend checking it out as the earliest opportunity!

Overall 9/10