Suggested by iKnowledge Scarlet Witch has tremendous magical abilities to the point where she can even be compared to someone like Dr. Strange. That being said, she is not ready to take on Jolyne. Jolyne’s Stand is far too quick and powerful for this fighter. There will be no time to cast any spells and even if Scarlet Witch can dish a few out, they would not be able to land. Jolyne Kujo wins.
Suggested by iKnowledge Scarlet Witch has tremendous magical abilities to the point where she can even be compared to someone like Dr. Strange. That being said, she is not ready to take on Jolyne. Jolyne’s Stand is far too quick and powerful for this fighter. There will be no time to cast any spells and even if Scarlet Witch can dish a few out, they would not be able to land. Jolyne Kujo wins.
WandaVision is the first of the big Marvel TV shows to come out. One of the big hooks for these is unlike the previous shows such as Agents of Shield or the various Netflix properties, this one would be plucking some rather big characters straight out of the movies and into TV format. As a result you can expect more big events and for scenarios that actually impact future films. WandaVision definitely delivers on this as the events feel quite massive and you can bet that the films will feel an impact here. I did have some issues with the show’s pacing but lets dive in.
The show starts by introducing us to Wanda and Vision who appear to be living in a rather old era. It’s like something out of I Love Lucy or I Dream of Genie with the two getting involved in some wacky adventures. Each episode plunges us 10 years forward in time or at least with what the show is paying homage to but in real time it’s just the next day. Something doesn’t seem right though, why are the characters stuck in what appears to be an alternate world? Something just doesn’t seem right here.
Most of the show is about this mystery. The first 3 episodes keep this up and then in episode 4 is when we finally start to crack the puzzle. As a result it makes things rather interesting for a review since that is about a third of the way through the show. The actual plot twists are at the halfway point so would that be a spoiler? Since the hook of the show is figuring out what is happening I would say it is so I’ll try avoiding those plot threads for the most part.
So, the intro episodes for me are the weak links. The show isn’t quite as funny as it thinks it is with the various homages. It’s fun noticing what shows the series is going for but the issue is that it isn’t quite as good as any of those. The Office certainly made better use of the Mockumentary style, The Brady Bunch seemed to be more entertaining and likewise in each era. I think the issue is that the show was trying very hard to be as wacky and intense as possible to simulate these shows but as a result it doesn’t feel natural.
So I wasn’t big on the old time parts. The whole time I was always looking forward to the meanwhile plots as we see what everyone else is doing. Also, you can start to piece together what the plot is very quickly even if it takes the characters in universe a little extra time to pick up the pieces. The show is at its best when it is fully embracing the twists. The final two episodes are definitely the highlight of the show for that reason. It’s certainly nice to see the characters in a slice of life setting but it would have worked best in modern day.
I was satisfied with the various twists and explanation of what is going on though. It all makes sense and you can also see why it would be hard to intervene at this point since the Avengers aren’t in the best shape at this point in time. Iron Man’s not really in the picture, Cap’s gone, and Thor may be in space right now. You’d have to hope that someone like Ant Man is around and the odds of him even hearing about this event are slim to none.
For the characters, Vision is probably the worst one here. I really can’t cut him any slack. The guy moves as fast as molasses once he finds out more and more information so you can’t help but feel like he’s partially responsible for what is going on. The second he realized that something was wrong you would figure that he would quickly act or do something to help out. Instead he just drags the whole thing out as long as possible well past the point where you will lose patience with the guy. At the end of the day, his acting can help save lives so the longer he doesn’t do anything, the worse it gets. He had to be the most frustrating character in the show without question.
Meanwhile Wanda definitely has a lot to do here of course. Without going into details, you can see how her character has changed drastically even when you just see flashbacks in the show to her younger days. Her powers have gotten quite a lot of respect in the movies so we already knew that she was quite powerful. This whole show is really setting up that she will only get stronger from here. Power corrupts so this is rather dangerous and her actions in the show don’t exactly make her a beacon of hope.
All right, time for a quick pair of spoiler paragraphs. Skip these two if you haven’t seen the show yet but it’s time to dive into some of the bigger items here. All right, so it turns out that Scarlet Witch was holding everyone here against their will. She went from being a morally dubious character to a flat out villain and it’s not really something you might have guessed initially. The show did set her up as being suspicious as early as episode 2 to be honest but it’s all rather gradual. She seems rather insane and spiteful but you may write that off as just being fed up at the villains until it’s too late. I think she is going to make for a very interesting villain. Someone who isn’t quite pure evil yet but is quickly going there. Based on the end credits scene in the show I think she is going to be absolutely psychotic in short order. She does seem to be set off pretty easily and in a way this whole show could be considered as a super villain origin story.
In that sense you can see why the government wanted to wipe her out. Hayward and Monica represent two extremes in the army. Monica is insistent on treating Wanda like a victim who is only holding everyone hostage and threatening to murder her because she’s unstable at the moment. Hayward doesn’t want to try any negotiating and believes just shooting Wanda is the easiest way to do this. As a result both of them seem really unreasonable. I think you’re meant to be on Monica’s side as Hayward starts going so extreme that he even tries to shoot kids straight up. As a premise you do need to take Wanda down for sure, but there should be lots of ways without destroying her. Her durability is still that of a human’s if you can attack before her shield’s up. I do think peace is out of the question once she has hundreds of hostages the way that she does though. With her power said to be even stronger than the Sorcerer Supreme by the end, Strange may actually need some help in dealing with her. I can see why her powers are greater though, if you think about it, she essentially altered reality for an entire town and created new life forms complete with true super powers. That means she can conceivably do something similar like creating the original Avengers to fight Dr. Strange. There are so many exciting possibilities here and needless to say they all spell bad news for Agatha as well since she’s really at Wanda’s mercy right now.
Okay, spoilers are over now so back to our regularly scheduled program. We have some supporting characters from the old days like Darcy. She’s good at trying to crack the case although she does give the government a lot of grief whenever she helps. She definitely reminds them that she is doing this because she has to and not because she wants to. Monica also gets a fairly big role in the show and looks good. While I do think she needs to look at things in less of a “peace at all costs” approach, at least she is trying to reach out to Wanda. She probably just needed more of a plan though but we are setting up some fun things for her character in the future.
Inside of the dome we also have some supporting characters like Wanda’s kids. I’m not a big kids person but they could have been more annoying I suppose. At least they have powers which is pretty cool. That definitely separates them from the average kids at least since they can now defend themselves. You also have some neighbors like Agatha and I’m sure the instant that name is mentioned a lot of people will have various ideas on how that would play out.
Then the show has a really solid climax which was nice to see. We’re definitely at a point where shows can even look like movies now so I’m glad to see this show embracing that. No reason to shy away from big comic fights now. You can just get straight into the action and we get a prolonged battle from multiple sides which was fun. Things are definitely starting to get high tier by the end and magical battles are always fun. There’s just a whole lot you can do with that.
So WandaVision is a show where I’d say it really turned up once the action got going. Not necessarily fight scenes but once we got less of a focus on the old TV show motif and more into the actual plot. I admit that at times it felt like those scenes were straight up filler that were just holding the big plots up. The TV shows are a big focus of WandaVision so taking them out would effectively be changing the show but I think they could have had less scenes for it. Maybe it was just the execution that was off for me but that’s really the only thing that holds the show back from going further.
In a way the show was going for a low key horror vibe despite the classic show settings because you can see that something is off the whole time. So, if the show had committed to this more fully I think that could have been interesting. Grab a Stranger Things vibe or something with each question leading to more mysteries. You would need to retool the plot a bit but for example, Vision realizes he is in a world created by the Grand Master and none of it is real or he’s in a simulation. He confronts Wanda but even she isn’t real and he’s in Mephisto’s lair. Something like that would have been really scary but those are just alternate paths. I feel like the shows were sort of stuck in the middle so while you had that feeling of unease, it wasn’t quite enough to keep you compelled.
The writing is on point though so whenever the show is in the modern setting then it’s pretty interesting. I always like seeing a lot of government scenes so the moments with Hayward and the team were always fun. He may go all in but at least the guy did his best in commanding the troops. At the end of the day it doesn’t matter how many average humans you have though, it’s not going to do much at all against a true magic user.
Overall, WandaVision is a fun show. At only 9 episodes it is definitely over in a flash and can feel like an extended movie. It’s a fun thing about having the show format since you can cover a lot more ground than a film ever could. The first half of the show is a little slow and they didn’t have to do the dog like that by the end. Beyond that the second half turns up though. There are a bunch of twists and turns here so while you may understand the main plot and get most of the twists early on, ideally at least a few can throw you for a loop. I wasn’t expecting the after credits scene after all which was really solid. I can’t wait to see where that one goes since we should get more action out of it. I’d definitely recommend checking this title out and we’ll see how the rest of the shows fare coming up. Oh yeah there was also a song that shows up in the show which was pretty catchy.
Suggested by Sonic Loki is often known as one of Marvel’s greatest spellcasters but Scarlet Witch has certainly surpassed him. Not only are her abilities strong enough to now take on Phoenix hosts, but her abilities are specifically effective against other sorcerers. Loki’s spells would keep on getting reversed in this battle and while he is physically stronger than Wanda, it will be nearly impossible to approach her. Scarlet Witch wins.
Suggested by Sonic Manthing is a pretty interesting character. He does feel like a watered down Swamp Thing for the most part but that doesn’t mean he’s weak. Still, Scarlet Witch won’t really have a problem with him. Her magical abilities far exceed any of Manthing’s moves and so she is in perfect position to score a decisive win here. A quick fire spell would deal massive damage and she can also fire off some solid normal energy blasts to have the same effect. Either way there’s no stopping her. Scarlet Witch wins.
Suggested by Sonic Baron Zemo doesn’t really have any powers which means he will be in big trouble for this fight. Scarlet Witch has her mastery over magic which is very handy for a battle like this. She can just take Zemo out with a single blast. He does have his anti magic amulet he got once which will offer some protection but it’s no good after a point. Scarlet Witch’s abilities will be too much for any amulet to hope to block. That is why Baron will ultimately suffer defeat in this round. Scarlet Witch wins.
The Captain America trilogy ends on a high note as Civil War escalates the series to another level. I was certainly not expecting the film to take down either one of the two Avenger titles, but it manages to jump over Age of Ultron, making it the best Marvel film right behind The Avengers. While it does not manage to quite capture the level of intensity and depth that Batman V Superman showed, Civil War is easily one of the greatest live action films of all time and a title that I recommend to everyone. Whether you are a comic book fan or not, there is plenty to enjoy here. So much so that it will be difficult to capture all of my thoughts in this review, but I shall do my best so prepare for a long one. On that note, let’s get to work!
The film starts off with a fight against some terrorists led by Crossbones. Captain America and his team of Avengers manage to defeat this group, but in the process a building full of innocent civilians is destroyed by the last ditch effort of Crossbones. Scarlet Witch attempted to keep the blast contained, but couldn’t do so long enough which leads to the media wondering if the Avengers have been given too much power. They want the Avengers to become a public group that works under the United Nations. Captain America is opposed to this because the Avengers will lose their right to act without permission. Furthermore, when his old pal Bucky is framed for being the cause of another large explosion which takes the life of Wakanda’s king, Captain America is forced to go against the law to protect him.
Meanwhile, Tony Stark meets up with a lady who blames the death of her son on the Avengers. The events in Age of Ultron had a lot of fatalities during the final fight, but hearing a personal story about one hits Stark a lot more personally than any statistic would. This is what gets Tony to believe that working under the United Nations as a controlled entity is the best course of action. He doesn’t see eye to eye with Captain America and as Steve (Captain America’s alter ego for my non comic book readers) is forced to go against the government, Tony has to fight him. Neither one will back down as they are both confident that they are making the right choice here.
In the background, we have some other plots going on as well. Zemo is stirring up a lot of trouble in the background as he learns the hypnotic words to control Winter Soldier (AKA, Bucky) and keeps widening the rift between the Avengers. Meanwhile, Scarlet Witch feels personally responsible for the lives lost at the beginning of the film and is having a hard time coping with what happened. Being placed under house arrest certainly doesn’t help with this either. Finally, we have the Black Panther, who is working to avenge his father. He blames his father’s death on the Winter Soldier due to evidence showing that he was responsible for the situation. The Panther won’t stop until he is dead so Captain America will have to try extra hard to save him.
All right…where to start with this review. Let’s go through the negatives first since there really aren’t many of them as you may expect considering the positive tone of the film. It’s a 9 star title so the positives easily outweigh the negatives. One weak point in the film is…you guessed it, the extremely unnecessary romance with Sharon Carter and Captain America. You can’t even call it a romance if we’re being honest folks. They just randomly kiss as they say goodbye to each other and that’s the end of that plot. As I’ve mentioned in the past, you simply can’t develop a proper romance in the span of 30 minutes and especially when these two characters are only on screen together for maybe 15-20 minutes tops. If you want a romance done right, it’s got to be gradual like Tsubasa. It’s a super minor thing that certainly doesn’t hurt the film, but this scene really comes out of left field.
There’s a little language in the film. It’s not super excessive or anything, but worth making a slight note. It was certainly out of character for Spider-Man of all people to say the s word. I remember the good ole days of him being a nice kid in the comics who wouldn’t even dream of swearing. His portrayal is great overall though, but he is the result of several power inconsistencies…I’ll get to that in his section though. Is that it for the negatives? If we’re being a little picky I’d say that the soundtrack was pretty forgettable and underwhelming, but I typically don’t expect live action films to really sound that good. Hannah and Man of Steel are really the exceptions to the rule along witih a handful of other titles. Now let’s get to the positives!
For starters, the fight scenes are great like you would expect. In a day and age where hand to hand fight scenes can be a little dicey at times (Instantly going for the eyes) the fights here are handled well. Crossbones vs Captain America was a great way to start off the film and any fight with the Black Panther was exceptional as well. Naturally, this only gets better when you add in the super powers from the meta human fights. The battle between both teams at the airport is definitely the highlight of the film and easily the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s best fight yet! Even before the fight starts, one of the best moments in the film was when Iron Man’s allies slowly started popping up and Captain America was outnumbered by around 5-1. You know that Cap isn’t on his own, but even then it’s just such an imposing scene. Cap would have had no shot against that group and Iron Man’s plan was quite sound. The thing is, great minds think alike and Cap has enough friends to ensure that he’s never alone against such an army.
After thinking on it a lot, I have to say that my favorite character was Black Panther. Yes, Iron Man, Captain America, and Spider-Man lost out this time. The film really handled Black Panther perfectly. He comes across as very reasonable and it certainly makes sense that he would want to avenge his father. Whenever the Avengers would get in his way, Black Panther would be forced to fight them, but he never hesitated. He stood firm in his mission and never wavered while at the same time, he kept a cool head. He certainly didn’t lose his cool as much as Cap or Iron Man and in the end he was the first one to really get away from all of the violence and make the hero call. (Sparing a villain’s life) During the final fight, you can’t say the same for Iron Man. Physically, Black Panther was able to hold his own against Winter Soldier and Captain America. In fact, I’d say that he had the edge over Bucky, but I doubt he would have defeated Captain America. The design for his suit was also really good.
Next we have the other big guest star of the film Spider-Man! So….I was mixed on his portrayal. As Spider-Man he was great. He had a lot of witty banter during the fight which has always been his trademark and his webbing was also very strong as it was always meant to be. In today’s cartoons and comics everyone breaks through it with ease, but in the old comics even the Hulk couldn’t snap them right away. As for the part of his portrayal that I was iffy about….well, I don’t think the actor works very well as Peter Parker. He’s too young and I think that the director made him talk with a higher pitched voice than usual to make him sound even younger. When he first appeared, it almost felt like a parody. His intro was the kind of moment where I could picture everyone laughing out loud. It just felt off. It also helps that the new Aunt May looks nothing like Aunt May and is still one of the more mind boggling changes. At least she encouraged Peter to fight back against the bullies though so I like her up beat attitude here. I like to think that she already knows about him being Spider-Man by the way. I’m calling it right now, she’ll reveal that in the upcoming Spider-Man film.
Aside from Peter Parker seeming a bit off, I think Spider Man’s power level was very inconsistent.
Let’s get real here folks, The Avengers are lightweights without Thor and Hulk around. Spider-Man’s worth more than the whole group put together. Maybe Vision could put up a decent fight, but Scarlet Witch, Black Widow, Winter Soldier, Black Panther, and Captain America would get speedblitzed. Iron Man and War Machine would be overwhelmed as their suits are ripped apart and Hawkeye wouldn’t land a single shot. Spider-Man’s gone toe to toe with Superman in the past and he’s had some very intense fights with Thor back in the day. To have him lose here is a cheaper cop-out than buying a slice at 7-11 instead of Europa because you didn’t feel like walking the extra block.
He’d look good in some moments and then he’d be treated like a joke the next. Here’s an example, at the airport fight, he is able to catch and repel Winter Soldier’s punch with no effort and even starts to twist it off until he is interrupted. Captain America was previously unable to stop Winter Soldier’s blow with both hands and he was flung through an elevator. So…Spider-Man’s stronger than Cap right? Well, you’d be wrong because Captain America completely humiliates him when they fight and overpowers him twice physically during the battle. That makes absolutely no sense and I was tempted to yell something from the audience like “Boooo” “Nerf alert!!” or something along those lines. I restrained myself though for the good of the movie experience.
Another iffy moment is the fact that he seemed to completely not have a spider sense here. I wouldn’t blame Marvel if they decided to get rid of it though because the ability is way too good. Still, without a mention of removing it, I will have to label it as a plot hole. There’s no way Ant Man can sneak up on Spider-Man because Spider Sense prevents such an event from ever happening. It is literally impossible to sneak up on Spider-Man without some kind of power to get past his ability or if you’re Venom and have compromised the ability by actually being Spider-Man for a bit. Every time Spider-Man got hit by a sneak attack I would wince a little on the inside. Still, aside from being treated as a bit of a joke during some parts of the fight, it was a satisfying portrayal overall. It’s great to finally see Spider-Man alongside the Avengers. This is something that fans have wanted to see for many years and now I’m eagerly awaiting the big dream team of Iron Man, Spider-Man, and Cyclops against Thanos. Make is happen Marvel!
Let’s talk about the Avengers now. I’ve never really cared for Vision in any form of media so we’ll start with him. He’s somehow managed to become even more annoying than he was in Age of Ultron. He pretends to be Scarlet Witch’s friend until we find out that he’s under orders to keep her confined. If he was a true friend he probably would have mentioned something like that. He also attempts a long-shot at blasting someone from a super far distance which backfires quickly. He’s one of the strongest Avengers, but seems to forget that most of the time and actually doesn’t contribute almost at all during the airport fight. Powerful or not, Vision is simply not likable.
His fellow Age of Ultron member was solid though. Scarlet Witch gets a lot of screen time in this film so she can finally develop more of a personality. Her abilities are certainly very potent and as she grows more confident, we can expect more out of her. One good scene in particular is when she materializes an energy shield behind her while she gets the poison gas out of a building. Being able to multi task like that is critical in a fight since she’ll need to have a shield up at all times as her defense is rather low. By the end of the film she has learned to be more independent and sure of herself. She has a promising future in this cinematic universe.
I’ve never been a big fan of Black Widow although her character can vary quite a bit throughout the Marvel franchise. The movies have been one of her worst portrayals in my opinion while she tends to look a lot better in the Avengers Assemble cartoon and the Punisher animated film. She was fairly reasonable here though and while she seems to have fallen to the very bottom of the hero totem pole (I’d say that this film confirms that Hawkeye can defeat her in a fight) she is still a good hand to hand fighter.
Falcon’s role in this film is small even though he appears quite a lot. He’s the guy that Captain America can always count on, but the main problem is that he’s still very weak in the end. He basically has part of an Iron Man suit, but it leaves him very vurlnable. His character’s fairly likable though. We’ve also got Ant-Man who pitches in during some key moments. I admit that I haven’t watched Ant Man enough times to really remember the actor’s face. I knew he was Ant Man based on the trailers and plot, but he felt so out of place in this film. I mean that in a good way by the way. It would be like seeing Sandler walk into the battlefield against Thanos in the Infinity Gauntlet. Ant Man’s actor strikes me as a total comedy character and I suppose that it works quite well for Ant Man. There’s really a lot that you can do with size shifting abilities. It’s not the most glamorous power, but it is effective. As for turning huge…I think that’s overrated. If you get hit by an opponent who is that slow, then it’s time for an upgrade.
I’m not really a fan of War Machine here though. It’s not because of the fact that he’s super pro registration because I was on Team Iron Man myself, but it’s why he wants to join. It feels like he’s putting the army before the team (Again…see Iron Man 2 for reference) and that’s why it’s always a little tough to trust teammates who have connections to other groups. If only SHIELD and Agent Coulson were still alive to help sort things out eh? They probably could have helped the heroes go underground as another option. Hawkeye’s role is very small, but very good as well. It was cool to see him break into the Avengers base and he did a good job during the action scenes. He’s a likable member and definitely another guy that Cap can trust.
Time to talk about the real main characters of the film. I was on Team Iron Man coming into the film by the way and I left on that side as well. It’s not a black and white debate and I’ve always been opposed to registration. In the comics, Iron Man’s team was completely wrong. The Registration act was much worse than the equivalent that we see in the film so that’s one big change. Either way, I’m still against any agreement with the government, but I have to stay on Team Iron Man because I can’t stand Winter Soldier. More on that in a little while.
Back to Iron Man. I think that his decision to quickly go along with the documents because he was shown a picture of someone who died during one of the fights is a little forced/rushed and out of character. We needed the conflict somehow though and this is Iron Man, he would definitely start bending the rules and reshaping the agreement after it was signed. Captain America asks Tony what would happen if they saw a bad situation and weren’t given permission to act. I’m fairly confident that Tony would act anyway and the Avengers would be in agreement. Ultimately, this would lead to even more bad consequences for the team so in that sense Cap is right. They may as well just not sign. Especially due to the fact that the government always turns out to be evil in media and this film is no exception. You can also tell that Iron Man is getting a lot older though and you have to wonder how long he can keep this up. Perhaps age has dulled his reasoning, but his fighting skills are still top notch when necessary. Towards the end of the film, Iron Man goes into a fight without holding back. You can draw a lot of parallels to Batman V Superman in those moments.
Needless to say, Iron Man wasn’t taking any prisoners. Obviously, I’m always technically on the side of saving the murderer since we can’t take justice into our own hands. So, Iron Man should lose, but I’m still rooting for him in the moment. It’s like when you like a bad guy and root for him/her over the heroes. They’re evil, but at that point they are simply a lot more interesting than the heroes. I can appreciate a character who has the fortitude to make the right call because it’s incredibly difficult to make that call. So, as a viewer I’m okay with seeing the villain get destroyed depending on the reason and the method, but I’ll still be fine with another hero saving him/her because it’s the right thing to do. I just won’t be rooting for that character at the moment. An example is from the show Yugioh Zexal. The main villain murdered all of the main character’s friends, but at the end the hero tries to save him anyway and even says that they could be friends. That’s……..very forgiving and I know for a fact that I couldn’t make that call. It’s a good call (Well, saying that they’re friends is wayyyyy to disrespectful to his friend’s memories if you ask me) but if there was another character trying to destroy the main villain, then I’d be on his side. It’s like how I was on Black Panther’s side when he went to destroy the Winter Soldier. Thus, I was pretty pleased with Iron Man’s portrayal here. He even tried to be reasonable at the end until that became impossible.
Captain America makes for a great lead as you would expect. He’s a great hero and tries to always do the right thing. He’s in a bad spot since all of his friends are choosing a side. He also had to go during the initial meeting due to an emergency which was tricky since it meant that everyone chose sides while he was gone. The film did adapt his famous line from the comics about how even if everyone tells you that something wrong is something right, then you have a duty to resist. When told to move, you should plant your feet down and say “No, you move.” It was a great quote of Cap’s so it was good to see it used in the film. While I was always against Cap, he was constantly making hero calls and ultimately he is just trying to help a friend. Bucky was mind controlled into doing awful things so it wasn’t really him. Cap doesn’t want him to have to die for things that were not under his control.
He also doesn’t lose sight of the innocents in the crossfire either. He sticks up for Scarlet Witch the entire film and even goes easy on his opponents like Spider-Man. He’s careful to avoid hurting anyone too seriously and his move at the very, very end of the film was great as well. It’s really impossible not to like the guy and he’s one of the best characters in the film. I do think that his strength can be inconsistent as the expense of other characters, but I’m glad that he looks very powerful here.
As for the Winter Soldier, I really dislike the character. Sure, he was mind controlled, but he doesn’t seem very remorseful about what he has done either. He shows no regret and never resists the mind control all that much. I’d say that it’s because it is in his nature. “I won’t kill anyone” Winter Soldier says right before he drops someone to instant death, but Captain America quickly saves the guy before the murder can occur. Bucky was willing to destroy that guy and he goes all out against just about everyone. He’s constantly looking to deal a mortal blow or at least a very serious one if it will let him escape. There’s no way that I can consider this guy to be a hero or even a slightly likable character. That’s why I couldn’t be on Cap’s team. This is just impossible to like at all. Protecting him is the right move, but I don’t have to like it.
As far as the villains are concerned, there are really only two this time around and both of them are fairly minor. We have Crossbones who makes for a good intro villain for the heroes to fight. He puts up a pretty good fight against Cap and actually manages to bring in a draw by the end. Baron Zemo never gets to be in his costume which is a shame, but he does a good job of masterminding the whole film. It would have been awesome if he had actually committed a certain plan that was hinted at. It would have made for a great final fight, but his true ace was just about as good. General Ross also had his own plans in motion, but he was really not that smart. He kept overplaying his hand. Once he got half of the team to sign the document, he should have taken it slowly. Instead, he placed some individuals in a max prison with very inhumane conditions. It’s almost like he wants the heroes to turn against him. If he tried to arrest Iron Man, then a civil war would have really broken out.
Naturally, I won’t say what happened in the after-credit scenes, but needless to say they were not quite as good as I had hoped. The first one was decent since it gave the film a little closure and I definitely like the option here. The characters in the first scene are in a much better position now. As for the second scene, it is very anti climactic and sad when you think about it. The film could have made it a lot more epic and exciting with a quick shape-shift or an Infinity Gem locked inside of a chest or something. You should stick around to watch the first one, but there’s really no need to stick around for the second I’m afraid.
Part of why Civil War is so good is because it is able to balance the serious and light moments rather well. It’s a very upbeat film, but it still gets serious once in a while for something grim to happen, but not for it to be overly grim. I was worried when Zemo confronted a Hydra agent that we were going to get a super violent moment, but it was fairly tame and I’m glad that the Hydra guy stood firm. This event was a lot different from the comics of course, but it was cool to see the film adapt as much as possible and throw in references/moments when possible. The big Captain America vs Iron Man visual made it in of course and there were several more homages that I’ll let you find out through watching it.
Unfortunately, Civil War followed The Amazing Spider Man 2 in the sense that moments from the trailer were not present in the film. “YOU JUST STARTED A WAR!” remember that line? It’s not in the film. “I was wrong about you….we were all wrong about you.” That’s not in the film either. It’s a shame because those two moments were important in the trailers because they showed that things had reached a certain moment of no turning back. Instead, the lines were pure click bait. The film is still very satisfying on the civil war angle and the ending was a lot more decisive than I had imagined, but it’s still too bad that some trailer scenes weren’t present in the end. I feel like a trailer should always have all of its content be in the film.
All right, we’re near the end now. Aside from power level inconsistencies hurting the film’s logic, I’ve depicted how Civil War was just about perfect. Well, why did it lose to Batman V Superman? Here’s why Batman V Superman was the better film. The soundtrack was infinitely better than Captain America, the latter of which had no significant themes of note. Batman V Superman’s fights were significantly better. Cap’s were amazing though and Marvel’s best, but they simply can’t come close to DC’s. Third, as interesting and engaging as Captain America was, Batman V Superman just obliterated it there. The film has you at the edge of your seat for most of it. Granted, as a much bigger DC fan than Marvel, that will almost always be the case since Batman and Superman make for very engaging leads even when they aren’t written as well as they could be. (Batman lacking in intelligence and Superman being a pushover) So, Civil War was great, but I feel like it loses to Batman V Superman in just about every way. Civil War does beat it with having less unlikable characters and no random bathtub scene though.
Be warned though that Civil War’s ending is a little intense. It was so intense in fact that nobody clapped when the credits started rolling and I had to personally start it all off. I think everyone was in shock or something, but I can’t blame them. It takes a while to get used to these things. After all, Civil War was a thrill a minute and there was never a dull moment during the entire movie. The closest scene to being boring would be the very first one, but it still wasn’t that bad. The pacing is quite excellent for this film. I was the only one who clapped after the final extra credit scene as well, but it was pretty underwhelming so I don’t blame the audience for the silence this time.
Overall, Captain America is a great film though and no live action film will be able to defeat it for a very long time. In the near future, the only films that may have a shot are Infinity Gauntlet Part 1 (Which I think will actually lose unless Thanos gets his big fight) and Justice League. (Which I’m also a little skeptical of) If you haven’t seen this film yet then I highly recommend that you check it out ASAP. Even if you somehow don’t know who Captain America, Iron Man, and Spider-Man are, you’ll be in for a treat. Considering how well the team fight went, I’m ready to see a full blown Avengers vs Justice League fight in 20 years. Hey, nobody thought that we’d ever get Spider-Man and the Avengers. Given time, I’m sure that a crossover film is bound to happen! Of course, we’d need Thor and Hulk this time around to keep the fight from being too one sided
This was actually a pretty tough match. On the surface, I intially thought that Scarlet Witch had the edge here. Her magic is extremely formidable as one can easily see from her various comic feats. When given enough time, Scarlet Witch’s magic is near infinite, but Rinoa won’t give her time to focus. Rinoa’s limit break greatly increases her abilities and this includes her speed. In a close range battle, Rinoa easily wins and while she may lose a long range battle, she wouldn’t get blown out due to her strong Meteor spell among other great options. I think that Rinoa’s versatility in combat is what really wins the day for her. Rinoa Heartilly wins.
The Avengers are known as Earth’s Mightiest Heroes and considering that the Justice League don’t exist in Marvel, I must agree. The Avengers have always been a team of powerhouses who could tackle any threat. That being said, this volume occurs when the team is actually not looking too powerful so they must use their quips and wit to outsmart the foes who stand in their way. It is an interesting concept, but the volume isn’t quite up to taking on the average Avenger collection thanks to its high standards. Still makes for a fun read of course.
There were around 10 issues in this collection, which is a reasonable amount. The first few issues deal with the Sons of Serpent organization. While they may appear to be extremely weak on the surface, they are powerful when in great numbers. They manage to capture Captain America so the rest of the Avengers are pressured into supporting the political views of the enemies. It’s always intriguing to see politics addressed in comics, but they made sure to not get too involved with those issues. I’m sure that the Avengers won’t underestimate the group again after this!
The next two issues featured The Living Laser! This guy was typically an Iron Man villain, but this time he decided to take on the Avengers because of his feelings for the Wasp. Little did he know that Heart, not feelings, wins battles. He was outmatched from the start even though he nearly finished off the Avengers for good. After that was a two part adventure featuring the Ultroids. They weren’t exactly Ultron, but these androids were still decently powerful and they could copy the abilities of the foes that they defeated through their technology. They managed to cream the Avengers for a while, but they overestimated themselves, which doomed the villains.
Finally, a three part epic involving the famous Hercules arrived. He was tricked by the Enchantress into attacking the Avengers and then he helped them out against Namor. That was a decently fun trilogy although it is always sad to see the heroes mind controlled so easily. Their strength of will should suffice to keep them safe from danger and harm. Ah well, at least Hercules realized what was up with some help and then stuck around to help the team when they were in a jam. I still consider him to be a watered down Thor who is not quite as impressive physically or mentally, but Hercules is still stronger than the rest of the cast at the moment so that’s always a plus.
We start to see why Hank Pym isn’t one of the greatest heroes in this collection. While he has some good moments like talking back to Hawkeye and taking charge, he’s definitely not very nice to the Wasp. When she’s in danger he gets riled up of course, but he basically tells her to leave when she was trying to help him with an experiment. He certainly doesn’t have a whole lot of tact and I can see why they drifted apart. The Wasp is a decent character here, but she’s still not close to how she was in later years as she can still be a bit of a flirt.
The Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver are good heroes here and they are finally confident in the fact that they are Avengers. They had some iffy moments down the line, but they now know their place on the team. With two of the stronger team members back with the Avengers, they helped to give the heroes some much needed muscle. Hawkeye does a lot of trash talking for the team and he’s always got an arrow at the ready. It’s scary to think that he’s actually one of the tougher members on board, but that’s simply what the Avengers had been reduced too in this era. He’s always a fun character to have around.
Captain America is the best Avenger so I was sad to see him go. I know that he eventually comes back, but it must have been tough for fans of the team to see the final member of the big three leave. With only the B list heroes on board, The Avengers really needed him to stick around. As far as the villains go, The Living Laser was one of the only ones that I recognized. He looked pretty bad here as he was just attacking people to get the Wasp to like him. He had some good dialogue, but such a petty reason for being a villain definitely ensures that I wouldn’t care for him as a villain. That’s just very shallow.
Namor was a neat guest star and he looked fairly impressive as he held his own against Hercules. Hercules is certainly stronger of course, but Namor found the Cosmic Cube and that helped him out a lot. I didn’t expect to see such a powerful cosmic item come into play either so the final issue really raised the stakes on the adventure. Namor’s still antagonistic here, but you can’t blame him for being fed up with the humans since they constantly attack his home. So long as Atlantis is under the sea, humans will never leave it alone so it is an endless fight.
The Black Widow has a subplot where she tries to join the Avengers once more, but Giant Man doesn’t trust her and she doesn’t give the heroes much reason too. She ultimately takes on a mission from S.H.I.E.L.D. which puts a damper on her plans and I guess that her plot will likely continue more in future issues. I don’t remember her really appearing in volume 5, but she may have been around briefly. This old version of her was certainly very different from her modern incarnation.
If I had one critique for the collection, it would just be that the stakes are typically very low. It’s hard to get very excited about some of the issues and some more well known characters would have been nice to have. The plot in X-Men was more interesting for me and the characters may have actually been slightly better although the writing here beats that of the X-Men’s. It’s still a fun comic that you will be able to coast through, but you won’t be as invested as you typically would be in one of these classic Marvel issues.
As always, the art is quite good for the Avengers collection. The classic designs for the characters are always fun to look at and the fight scenes are engaging. Quicksilver’s speed here looks more impressive than it did in other instants and we are finally starting to get to the point where his speed is at in the modern days. He’ll never be quite as fast as someone like the Flash, but this is still a nice start. The writing is also quite good as the heroes trade good one liners with the villains. We really don’t see dialogue like this anymore, which is too bad. It’s one of the reasons why comics were so awesome in the first place after all. The burns were certainly real.
Overall, This was a good collection of the Avengers, but it just wasn’t as exciting as it could have been with Captain America missing some issues and Iron Man/Thor not being around. I always miss the big three when they’re not together as they are The Avengers for me. I recently reviewed volume 5 so I’m already okay on that front. I’ve still got another Marvel Masterworks coming up, but after that one, it could be gone for a while. The series has been a fun way to read up on the old series though so I won’t be forgetting about it anytime soon. If you’re a fan of the classic Marvel stories, this is definitely the comic for you. It’s still a solid action title that makes for a good read.
After watching the Age of Ultron, I felt like I needed to read the Rage of Ultron! I didn’t think that I would be reading it anytime soon, but fate presented itself when I came across it. I was ready for intensity and supposedly this comic was even better than the Age of Ultron comic. Knowing that it was only a matter of time until things got intense…I launched myself into the book!
The story really has two parts. The intro has Ultron attack the Avengers and the original roster manages to barely defeat him when the heroes launch him into space. Many years later, Ultron lands on Titan and infects the planet. He is now one with the multiverse…or at least the planet..and his first order of business is to take out The Avengers! The new roster has never seen something as fierce as Ultron so it is safe to say that the heroes could be outmatched. Can they really beat Ultron?
It was fun to see a version of the old team appear back in the day. We got to see how heroic the classic Captain America was and the original members were just so good. As for when the roster was, that’s an interesting question. Some things just didn’t seem to add up. How could Iron Man still be in one of his most basic armors when Yellowjacket was already around and Hawkeye was in a slightly more modern gear? The eras seemed to be a little mixed up. The author has said that Rage of Ultron is canon and I’ve seen an article that questions how this could be.
Quite a few places are wondering about this and you will as well as soon as you read the comic. I don’t really see how it could be canon to be honest. It just doesn’t work and it is best to read the comic as a what if/AU. Still, whether it is canon or not, it’s still fun to see Ultron back in biz and fight the new roster of Avengers. I don’t have any real experience seeing Falcon’s team so it is nice to meet the heroes. This may not exactly be a powerhouse of a team, but I suppose that they get the job done. Although, they don’t do extremely well against the legend that is Ultron.
There’s one scene that will also have you asking questions, but with different circumstances. At one point, Spiderman webs away the hammer from Thor and then saves Falcon. How did Spiderman just push the hammer like that? He is virtually lifting the hammer since he’s lifting it through his webbing and it seems like another exception to the rule that I don’t necessarily buy. I am glad that Spiderman got his props here and he looked quite good, but it was still an odd moment. I don’t think that the comic was trying to say that he was worthy or anything like that because it was incredibly brief. I think the author just figured that it was okay to yank the hammer away so long as Spiderman didn’t actually lift it, but I am not so sure about that.
The comic deals with the tricky issue of whether A.I. programs have souls or not and how the Avengers should handle them. Is it ethical to destroy them? Well, I don’t believe that A.I. programs can ever develop souls. I don’t think that it is possible and it is why I’ve never had much of a problem with heroes destroying robots. That being said, I think that pain receptors are where it is time to draw the line. Once a robot/android can feel pain, then I think that simply arresting them is the best bet. There’s a prison for every villain and I’m sure that there is even one, which can keep Ultron contained.
That being said, Hank Pym is certainly not going to agree with that notion. Ever since the Ultron event, Pym has been determined to rid the world of such machines. He ruthlessly executes them and Vision is outraged by this. The other Avengers are also upset and trade insults and threats with Ant Man. Ant Man talks tough, but he wouldn’t stand a chance and it is hard to root for him. I really didn’t like Pym here. He ultimately crumbles and doesn’t resist Ultron when it counts and he makes more than a few questionable calls. Pym is likable in some comics and is unlikable in others. It seems to really depend on the title and this just wasn’t one of his better moments. The relationship between him and Ultron is explored a lot, but it still doesn’t do wonders for Pym.
There is a character who is worse than Pym though and that is Starfox. He is still a black spot in the hero community and I don’t see why the Avengers even bother with him. His methods of using people should be highly illegal. He may be an immortal, but that shouldn’t stop the heroes from putting him behind bars. His first scene is really just there to remind us why he is such a bad character and even his big moment at the end is pretty cheesy. I don’t think that it should have worked to be honest. This is one fighter that I could have done without.
As for Ultron, he is a little more emotional than you might have expected here. He’s not cracking jokes or anything like in the movie, but he still doesn’t feel like the cold and calculating monster that we have come to know. Pym’s first plan only works because of Ultron’s emotions. Pym pretends to be injured so Ultron flies over to gloat and that’s when he is stuck in the rocket with no way out. In the second battle…emotions are the main reason as to why he was ultimately defeated. Both defeats were ones that I couldn’t really buy.
Still, his power was accurately portrayed. He was able to hold Thor and Iron Man with one hand each and he bested both of them with minimal effort. That’s the Ultron that I have come to expect and he starts to take over the Galaxy with ease. He even overwhelms tech that was built on Titan in a matter of moments. Ultron went a little farther with the mind games than he typically does, but overall, I did like Ultron as a villain here. This certainly won’t rank in his top 5-10 incarnations, but power levels are one of the most important things and his design was also great. Ultron came out swinging and he is not a force to be forgotten.
Whether Ultron stayed true to character or not, the writing for the comic was pretty good. There are the usual puns that make you wonder how seriously the Avengers are taking the end of the world, but beyond that, it was good to see them discuss robot ethics and Ultron’s talks with Pym were always amusing. I’m not too crazy about how the inner monologues were thrown onto the screen with the rest of the dialogue though as it could be a little hard to follow. I would typically just read all of the monologues on the page and then read the actual character panels. I am glad that we have monologue though as it is always good to hear what the characters are actually thinking.
The art is fairly unique. It’s not quite as good as the art for the upcoming All New All Different Avengers series, but we still get some really fun action scenes. I feel like this art works best for the energy blasts and fights. For the characters, they can look a little off at times. Giant Man’s eyes always seem to be pitch black or half closed. I think the artist may not have been too used to drawing them. Beyond that, the art is still solid. The extra detail works better than it does for most titles like Kingdom Come or Marvels. Some scenes just look better than others and it is all in how you look at it.
Overall, Rage of Ultron was a very interesting Avenger comic. It was certainly a lot of fun and I enjoyed reading it from start to finish. It is very short so you will be able to power through it in a very short amount of time. It took an interesting approach and I don’t think that it succeeded with Ultron or Pym. Its validity as being in canon is also up for dispute thanks to how it is handled. The important thing is that the art makes for good fight scenes and there is a decent amount of action here. This can help you to directly compare the classic Avengers to the new ones so that you can decide which group was better. It is interesting to see Quicksilver don a uniform that is similar to his Days of Future Past attire. Another move that I don’t really agree with as I prefer his new outfits, but he gave it a whirl I suppose. There were certainly quite a few minor things that I mentioned here, but there are no real big negatives that should hurt the experience of reading this comic. You’ll have a fun time reading it and now you will be prepared to watch The Age of Ultron in the theater!
With Age of Ultron among us, what better time than now to check out some of the original Avenger comics? It is always interesting to see this Avengers roster as it is a little under powered compared to the average team. This means that the Avengers will have to rely on their wit if they are going to save the planet. There are no particularly great comics here as the team is mainly up against lightweights, but the issues have the typical Marvel charm that we have come to expect.
The Avengers consist of Hawkeye, Scarlet Witch, and Quicksilver when the story starts. Hercules is helping them out for a little while because he is in the mood. Captain America is dealing with his own issues and Ant Man/Wasp are pursuing their own objectives. The roster is quickly buffed after the first pair of issues, but the starting line up may have been the weakest Avengers team in history.
No worries though, they only had to deal with Diablo and the tricky Dragon Man. It is neat to look back at Dragon Man and see how he has changed. This is one character who certainly got a lot of development even if it wasn’t all good. I miss the days when he was more of a fighter who would just mow down anyone who tried to get in his way. Landing hits on Hercules is fairly impressive as well. Diablo is definitely not interesting though. I have never been a fan of the guy and I am not starting now. His chemical abilities are not very good so his personality was Diablo’s only chance and it wasn’t quite enough.
After that, we had a few more adventures, but the threats weren’t very serious for the most part. The team banded together with the original three Avengers (Iron Man, Thor, and Captain America) to take on the Mandarin, Living Laser, Executioner, Enchantress, and a few more villains in a fun annual. The heroes were more than capable of taking out the villains there, but it was fun to see the true Avengers once more. I gotta say that Ultimo was given a little too much hype this time though. There’s no way that one blast would be enough to vaporize Thor. It didn’t, but Thor implied that he may not survive such an attack. The Mandarin also chops hard enough to make Cap worried about his shield surviving the blows. It is cool to see how much more respect these villains got back in the day compared to nowadays where they wouldn’t be considered as serious threats.
Another fun pair of comics was when the Avengers set out to rescue the Black Widow and had to tangle with the Red Guardian. He’s essentially a Russian version of Captain America. He looked surprisingly good in the fight as he was actually able to match up against the Avenger in an even fight. Granted that Cap was already weakened from beating up a lot of minions. The Red Guardian saw the light in the end and exited the comic as a decent villain. I definitely wouldn’t mind seeing him again.
Magneto also showed up to recruit Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch, but his plot hasn’t really ended yet. The Avengers are hot on his trail, but they had to quickly stop to help Hercules stop a titan who had taken down all of the gods on Mount Olympus. It sounds like a great feat, but it just makes the gods look bad. Apparently, they have no guards by the legendary fire, which keeps them all alive. (An extreme deadly weakness if you ask me) It’s a good thing that Hercules had the Avengers to aid him as the fight may not have ended well otherwise.
Captain America’s portrayal is decent, but his fans won’t be very pleased. He struggles with a lot of doubts on whether the team really needs him or not and he even opts to burn down his bridges as he leaves. It reminds me of the time where he insulted the Avengers before running off. Is it just me or did Captain America quit the team a lot back in the day? Ah well, he still looks really good when in combat as one of the original Avengers would be expected to be. Thor and Iron Man get smaller roles as they only appear as guest stars in one issue, but they both look great. It must have been sad for readers to see them go back in the day since the Avengers really aren’t the same without them.
Hawkeye still gets his burns in and he is a fun Avenger. He really talks tough even though he typically cannot back it up. Hawkeye has always been an enjoyable Avenger. Hercules is around a lot, but he isn’t quite as likable. He is just a watered down version of Thor. I don’t think that he has developed into his own character yet and he makes the opposite choice when faced with the same situation as Thor. Hercules chooses his planet over Earth and I don’t think that this was a good call.
As for the Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver…they’re all right. This was before the Scarlet Witch became a heavy hitter so she doesn’t look very tough, but she tries to keep the heroes alert and ready for anything. Quicksilver is still really mad at all humans and he doesn’t hesitate to remind us of this whenever possible. Towards the end, he makes the wrong call and it reminds us why you cannot always trust a villain who has allegedly switched sides. It is too bad though since he did have his moments. At times, he acts like Hawkeye and we always need another hot head. His speed is also a useful asset even though the Whirlwind showed him up.
Ant Man looks good as well. This was during the end of his Goliath days and I much prefer that form to his more popular one. It is fun to see Giant Man be considered as a very powerful force since he never looks impressive in the current comics. The Wasp doesn’t look too good though as she is constantly flirting and making remarks about the guys. I really don’t know what the writers were thinking here, but their plans did not work out. She became a much better character in the modern era comics, but until then…she was simply not written well.
The art is solid as you would expect. Once in a while, a face may look a little off, but these pages were drawn the hard way so you have to allow for such things. On the whole, the comics still look great and I’ll always love this retro style. Viewing the characters in their original states is a lot of fun and things were certainly very different back then. It will be cool to see how Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver act when compared to these issues. The writing in the issues is also very good, but we would expect nothing less from Merry Marvel. I actually do miss the nicknames and fun letter boxes throughout the comics. I know that some comics like Squirrel Girl still do this, but it’s more of a homage than anything else. (This is why Homages can be so great!)
Overall, This was a good volume in the Avengers series. It was not quite as exciting as the usual collection since I was not a huge fan of the roster. Hercules is the power hitter of the group and he isn’t even on the team officially. Because of this, the team mostly faces a lot of light weights like the Whirlwind. Magneto is tough, but we haven’t had the big fight with him just yet. So, the collection may not be incredibly exciting, but we can’t have world breaking threats every issue right? Perhaps a break for low level crimes is just what we needed to lower the stakes before sending them right back up. This is still a must read for all Avenger fans as it is a well written comic that is a fun read from start to finish. At around 270 pages, the collection is also of sizable length so you won’t be finishing it in one go. More value for your purchase right? I shall likely be reading another Avengers collection soon, but until then…be prepared for a rather large collection in the near future!