Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015) Revisited

Director: Joss Whedon

Writer: Joss Whedon (Screenplay) Stan Lee, Jack Kirby, Joe Simon, Jim Starlin (Comics)

Starring: Robert Downey Jr, Chris Hemsworth, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy Renner, James Spader, Samuel L Jackson

 

Plot: When Tony Stark and Bruce Banner try to jump-start a dormant peacekeeping program called Ultron, things go horribly wrong and it’s up to Earth’s mightiest heroes to stop the villainous Ultron from enacting his terrible plan.


Tagline – A new age begins

Runtime: 2 Hours 21 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Action-Packed Sequel

 

Story: Avengers Age of Ultron starts as the full team, Iron Man (Downey Jr), Thor (Hemsworth) Hulk (Ruffalo), Captain America (Evans) Black Widow (Johansson) and Hawkeye (Renner) leading an assault on a secret Hydra base in search for Loki’s sceptre.

Tony recruits Bruce to help him use the sceptre to help create an artificial intelligence that could guard the Earth, making the Avengers be able to rest. When Ultron (Spader) takes control of what Tony is searching for, he becomes the latest enemy to the Avengers as he looks to bring world peace to the planet, using the Maximoff twins Pietro (Taylor-Johnson) and Wanda (Olsen) who has the ability to control their minds.

 

Thoughts on Avengers Age of Ultron

 

Characters – Tony Stark wants to create an artificial intelligence to defend Earth from visitors, he does this with Bruce without telling the rest of the team. He is desperate to find a way to save people however much of a risk is going to be, showing that is still struggling to work as a team. Bruce Banner is reluctantly helping Tony, hoping that once he creates this intelligence it would stop him needing to bring out the Hulk. Steve Rogers still believes he is doing the best for mankind, he will see the good in other people including the Maximoff twins who have sided with Ultron, he understands war can push people to the sides at first. Thor is sadly underused in this film because most of his story got cut from the film, most of his story involves him needing to stop the end of the world coming to his own world. Natasha gets a glimpse into the past she has been trying to forget and she has control over Hulk to return Bruce back into control. Hawkeye has been keeping a secret, this will show just what he is fighting for each time he becomes part of the Avengers. Nick Fury gives us the motivation that the team requires. Ultron is the artificial intelligence that Tony unleashes, he is designed to create peace, which in his eyes is complete destruction. Pietro is one of the twins, he has superspeed and like his sister Wanda who has he ability to control minds has been waiting for a chance to confront Tony for the death of their parents.

PerformancesRobert Downey Jr, Chris Evans, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Hemsworth, Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy Renner all return hitting the levels you would expect when they do get less screen time. We have James Spader mostly voicing the villain with his tone helping make him feel like the threat he is, while Aaron Taylor-Johnson and Elizabeth Olsen both add to the grand scale of this film.

StoryThe story follows how the Avengers are being tested with their action by wanting to experiment on things they have discovered, idea which only end up bringing a new self-created villain to the world. this story does show us how heroes could easily become villains with their actions which is something we haven’t looked at before, we have an artificial intelligence being the villain here shows how quickly it could spread to be a threat for everybody it come sin contact with and losing the human element can leave it make decision which is sees as the only option. Having the minor conflict between the Avengers is important because it does show the clash of beliefs they will be showing through the years together. This story does only build on just where everything will end up going after the action involved in this film too.

Action/Sci-FiThe action involved here is large scale battle sequences, chase sequences and most notable the final act fight which goes on for an age. The sci-fi side of the film turns to the idea of artificial intelligence become the new threat for the Avengers.

SettingsThe film shows us a couple of different settings which will see the heroes needing to save a city which is literally being lifted out of the ground to be used as a weapon.

Special EffectsThe effects in this film do for the most part seem flawless yet again, the ability to have scenes on these scales is unbelievable.


Scene of the Movie –
Chase sequences.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Thor needed more scene time.

Final ThoughtsThis is the second joint venture for the heroes and this time they must fight their own problems, it is entertaining and deserves the attention of the world building involved.

 

Overall: Entertaining as they come.

Rating

 

 

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Ant-Man and the Wasp (2018)

Director: Peyton Reed

Writer: Chris McKenna, Erick Sommers, Paul Rudd, Andrew Barrer, Gabriel Ferrari (Screenplay) Stan Lee, Larry Lieber, Jack Kirby (Comics)

Starring: Paul Rudd, Evangeline Lilly, Michael Pena, Walton Goggins, Hannah John-Kamen, Michelle Pfeiffer, Laurence Fishburne, Michael Douglas

 

Plot: As Scott Lang balances being both a Super Hero and a father, Hope van Dyne and Dr. Hank Pym present an urgent new mission that finds the Ant-Man fighting alongside The Wasp to uncover secrets from their past.


Tagline – Real heroes. Not actual size.

Runtime: 1 Hour 58 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Mostly Forgettable

 

Story: Ant-Man and the Wasp starts as we learn Scott (Rudd) is under house arrest after getting involved during Captain America Civil War, his time is nearly up and he has no communication with Hank (Douglas) or Hope (Lilly). After getting a message through the quantum realm Hank and Hope take Paul to help them locate Janet (Pfeiffer) who they believe is still alive in there.

The idea is to go in and save her, only weapons dealer Sonny Birch (Goggins) wants the equipment to sell on the market and the mysterious Ava (John-Kamen) wants the energy to save her life. What follows is the team coming together to get the best of both worlds.

 

Thoughts on Ant-Man and the Wasp

 

Characters – Scott Lang is no longer aloud to be Ant-Man under house arrest for his action, he has started a business and tries to entertain his daughter within the house. He gets information which could save Janet, Hank’s wife and must risk staying ahead of the FBI to help, his joke timing is very hit or miss though. Hope is now the Wasp, a flying superhero with the same size shaping abilities as Ant-Man, she is getting the equipment together for the rescue attempt and handles most of the best fighting from the good team. Hank wants to save his wife and is willing to put differences aside, Dr Foster is the former partner of Hank’s that has theories that could help. Ava is the deadliest villain, she is a young woman that was a victim of quantum effects making her life constant pain, she wants to end it, she has been a ghost for SHEILD for years now. Luis the most entertaining character in the film by far, he gets laughs in every scene, gives natural reaction to the situations and could easily have his own movie. Sonny Birch is a weapons dealer, generic as they come.

PerformancesPaul Rudd is fine in the leading role, he doesn’t seem to have the chemistry with the cast for the comedy though, not his fault, its more the character. Evangeline Lilly gets to have he good fight scenes showing off her character but the rest of solid enough. Douglas, Fishburne and Pfeiffer are ok, but they are mostly just trying to keep their names in big movies. Michael Pena is the scene stealer by a long way. Walton Goggins, well people said his character in Tomb Raider was generic, this is worse, he has nothing to work with. Hannah John-Kamen plays the most interesting character but struggles to make us either care or hate her character.

StoryThe story here takes place 2-years after the events of Captain America Civil War, Scott is paying for being involved in that fight and now Hank needs his help to save his long thought of lost wife. Them being criminals now doesn’t make this easy as they must operate in secret which brings the attentions of other people that want the technology. This story is set over 2 days, the 2 days before Scott has his house arrest finishing, which gives the film a race against time and needing to make sure Scott is in his home whenever the FBI turn up. The science does make this hard to follow in places and the tone of the story does fill mix, Scott and Luis are always hitting jokes, but most of the rest of the story feels like it should be a lot darker.

Action/Adventure/Sci-fiThe action is the basics to what we would have come to expect, the fights with ghost are the highlights of the action. The adventure is trying to keep ahead of the FBI even after there is no evidence he is leaving the house. The sci-fi side of the film can easily go over heads, because of all the scientific conversations.

SettingsThe film keeps the action in San Francisco which is fine, we know the iconic location there which get used at times through the film, it is the quantum realm which is the most beautiful and haunting places to visit.

Special EffectsThe effects for the film can’t be faulted in anyway, they look fantastic and the scaling abilities all work for the film.


Scene of the Movie –
End credits scene.

That Moment That Annoyed Me It felt like Scott was telling jokes, rather than being naturally funny, like Thor.

Final ThoughtsThis is largely forgettable from Marvel, not because it is bad, but because it follows Infinity War, which is the only film we want to see the next chapter of right now in this universe.

 

Overall: Pay check sequel for Disney.

Rating

 

 

Franchise Weekend – Spiderman 3 (2007)

Director: Sam Raimi

Writer: Sam Raimi, Ivan Raimi, Alvin Sargent (Screenplay) Stan Lee, Steve Ditko (Comic Book)

Starring: Tobey Maguire, Kirsten Dunst, James Franco, Thomas Haden Church, Toper Grace, Bryce Dallas Holland

 

Plot: A strange black entity from another world bonds with Peter Parker and causes inner turmoil as he contends with new villains, temptations, and revenge.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Good Ending to Trilogy

 

Story: Spider-Man 3 starts as Peter Parker (Maguire) now living with Mary Jane (Dunst) with the whole city loving the Spider-Man which leaves Peter on top of the world, but Mary Jane is struggling to fit in after a string of poor reviews on her performing. Meanwhile Flint Marko (Church) the man that killed Uncle Ben has escaped prison as he looks to make amends for his errors finds himself in the middle of an experiment that turns him into the sandman.

Peter has plenty of life questions to find answers in for through the film because he wants to ask Mary Jane to marry him, faces competition from Eddie Brock (Grace) trying to take his job at the newspaper and Harry (Franco) trying to get his revenge loses his memory leading to the friendship to become fresh.

What Peter doesn’t know is there is a creature from space known as Venom starts attaching itself to Peter, giving Spiderman a darker side the Peter must learn how to fight off to remain the hero the city knows and loves, once this is done Eddie becomes Venom figure.

 

Thoughts on Spider-Man 3

 

Characters – Peter is in the happiest part of his life, he is with Mary Jane, Spiderman is loved by the city and Harry has forgotten the vengeance he holds towards Peter. When Peter starts seeing his life come tumbling down around him once he gets infected by Venom he will face is toughest battle yet. Mary Jane has finally made it to the big stage but is being critically panned and without Peter’s support goes back to Harry, this is starting to become a one-dimensional character. Harry has been waiting for his chance to take out Peter but after it fails forgets his hate towards him until his memories return. Eddie Brock is a new rival photographer that wants to put Peter out of business but soon we learn the truth about him. Flint Marko is the man that really killed Uncle Ben and once he escapes from prison looks to make amends for his failures to his daughter but with new powers that make Peter need to fight him off. Gwen Stacy is a new love interest that could bring an end to Mary Jane and Peter.

PerformancesTobey Maguire doesn’t give as strong of a performance after the first two films but when you look at the reactions to everything Peter goes through you can see it in how he is acting. Kirsten Dunst does continue to slide in quality too but that is because the character continues to be written weakly.  James Franco does get to show a bigger range but also doesn’t get enough time for his character development to show his full talent. Thomas Haden Church does a good job here showing the pain his character feels through the film. Topher Grace does feel out of place at times in this film, he starts strong but slowly fades by the end.

StoryThe Peter Parker story arc is once again the most interesting part of the film as we see how he must face his own flaws to stop the problems in his life, he must learn the ups and downs of his actions.  The new enemies tests Spiderman to the next level as Sandman gives him a moral compass he needs to face while Venom shows who he could have become if he takes the wrong path but the battles are standard for the genre.

Action/AdventureThe action set pieces are bigger but are also fewer in number which makes them feel rewarding when we see the showdown.

SettingsWe do thankfully stay in New York for the setting which helps us show how the city has gotten used to the idea of Spiderman being there now.

Special EffectsThe effects were the most ambitious of the franchise, the Sandman was always going to be CGI and it does look weak now. When things are practical they work otherwise the weakness are clear.

Scene of the Movie – Sandman creation.

That Moment That Annoyed Me I wasn’t a fan of the CGI

Final ThoughtsThis is the most panned of the Spiderman films but I feel it is a fitting ending to the trilogy, yes, it is weaker but the truth is, that it is being ambitious with the villains Peter must take on and reflects the problems he would face if someone he loved knew the truth.

 

Overall: Good ending to the trilogy.

Rating

 

 

Franchise Weekend – Spiderman 2 (2004)

Director: Sam Raimi

Writer: Alfred Gough, Miles Millar, Michael Chabon, Alvin Sargent (Screenplay) Stan Lee, Steve Ditko (Comic Book)

Starring: Tobey Maguire, Kirsten Dunst, James Franco, Alfred Molina, Rosemary Harris, J.K. Simmons

 

Plot: Peter Parker is beset with troubles in his failing personal life as he battles a brilliant scientist named Doctor Otto Octavius.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Great Fun

 

Story: Spider-Man 2 starts with the beautiful opening credits that recap what happened in the first film, before we follow Peter Parker (Maguire) in his new roles as a pizza delivery boy. Peter is still struggling to be on time for the important moments of his life including college, times for being there for Mary Jane (Dunst) and Harry (Franco) who is still holding the grudge against Spiderman.

Harry now running Oscorp where he has Dr Otto Octavius (Molina) working on fusion energy technology but when an accident happens Otto becomes Doc Ock, who has 4 extra arms that control him as they take over the city.

 

Thoughts on Spider-Man 2

 

Characters – Peter Parker still finds himself running late to his important matters but he still finds time to fight crime even though Spiderman has become hated by his best friend. He must deal with his life crashing down around him now, his best friend hates his loyalty to Spiderman, Mary Jane has moved on and his powers are draining. He must overcome the difficult moments in life to defeat his latest enemy. Mary Jane has moved on from Peter and Harry but deep down she does still love Peter. Dr Otto Octavius does believe he can help change the world for the better but when he loses his love and becomes controlled by Doc Ock he wreaks havoc on the city.

PerformanceTobey Maguire once again brings us a performance worthy of leading any movie showing us in the early 2000’s he was one of the best in the industry. Kirsten Dunst is good enough but once again falls into the damsel in distress role taking away the talent we know she has. Alfred Molina is great as the villain here, he is filled with the emotionless actions but also feeling like he is smarter than everyone else in the film. James Franco is good but we are continuing to build his character up.

StoryThe story has two main parts, the first is looking at Peter Parker trying to balance his normal life or education, love and friendship with being Spiderman, giving himself the decision on whether to give up the Spiderman side of his life to be a better man or not. We also have a villain on the loose that wants to continue his experiments which could destroy the whole city. The conflict is strong through the story as having a superhero question his part in the battle which gives s edge of your seat viewing.

Action/AdventureThee action is toned down in places when you look at the number of sequences but the reality is they are much bigger sequences throughout the film that have increased peril for Spiderman to fight.

SettingsWe stay in New York which was always key to making this film the enjoyable experience we know it was going to be.

Special EffectsSeemingly remaining with practical effects with editing around them, this film does seem to feel like we are in a real-world city with real superheroes battling.

Scene of the Movie – Train sequence

That Moment That Annoyed Me I feel we need to start making Mary Jane stronger.

Final ThoughtsThis is a great continuation of the Spiderman evolution that was needed to keep things feeling fresh in the genre.

 

Overall: Enjoyable continuing Spiderman films

Rating

 

 

Franchise Weekend – Spiderman (2002)

Director: Sam Raimi

Writer: David Koepp (Screenplay) Stan Lee, Steve Ditko (Comic Book)

Starring: Tobey Maguire, Willem Dafoe, Kirsten Dunst, James Franco, Cliff Robertson, Rosemary Harris, J.K. Simmons

 

Plot: When bitten by a genetically modified spider, a nerdy, shy, and awkward high school student gains spider-like abilities that he eventually must use to fight evil as a superhero after tragedy befalls his family.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Truly Enjoyable Spiderman Movie

 

Story: Spider-Man starts as we meet high school student Peter Parker (Maguire), he only had one friend at school and that is over privileged Harry Osborn (Franco) and his high school crush Mary Jane (Dunst) attending a field trip at science laboratory where Peter gets bitten by one of the spiders.

The next day Peter finds himself stronger and more aware than ever, he has gained the spider skills, Peter uses his time to learn his abilities, but when his Uncle Ben (Robertson) becomes a victim of crime, Peter becomes Spiderman protecting New York City from the criminals.

With high school finished Peter and Harry move to New York, where they find jobs, but Peter has been fighting crime become front page news. Harry’s father Norman a CEO at Oscorp determined to make the most money unleashes the Green Goblin on the city, giving Spiderman his first opponent that will tests his abilities.

 

Thoughts on Spider-Man

 

Characters – Peter Parker is the socially awkward high school outcast, he does have the brains to become anything but when he gets bitten he becomes Spiderman where he starts to fight to protect his city after losing his Uncle. Norman Osborn is the career driven genius that will go to any lengths to be the leading developer in government technology, but when he loses his way, he goes out to stop anyone with his Green Goblin persona. Harry is Peter’s best friend and son of Norman, he watches how everything unfolds but also starts dating Mary Jane. Mary Jane is the high school crush of Peter, she does stick up for him as they share the same dreams.

PerformanceTobey Maguire is great in this leading role showing the innocence side of Peter but away from the high school age. Kirsten Dunst is a beautiful Mary Jane and while mostly the damsel in distress does give us a good performance. James Franco showed us all the potential he has started to show us in this role. Willem Dafoe enjoys the villainous role through the film and is easy one of the better conflicted villains in the universe.

StoryThis is an origin story for Spiderman that came out just when the superhero boom was starting up, it bought us a new hero to root for and one that was filled with the odd joke. We have the motivation for Peter to become Spiderman, a friendship which will become important through this franchise and a villain that is conflicted with why he is doing the things he is doing. It may well be a by the book origin story it does have enough darker moments to make us see the light in his actions.

Action/AdventureThe action fits the comic book genre perfectly with the adventure side of the film coming from just what Peter is learning of his new skills.

SettingsNew York City makes for the setting here, much like in the comics, it works because of the landscape that Spiderman will be taking on with his web slinging.

Special EffectsThe effects for this film show us that practical effects could still make an excellent film, the CGI feels very little.

Scene of the Movie – The parade.

That Moment That Annoyed Me You do feel like we needed more of the high school side of the film.

Final ThoughtsThis is an origin film that does hit the marks, a villain that can do enough damage but is never a true threat, learning the correct path and building a bigger picture for the whole franchise.

 

Overall: Easily one of the best origin stories.

Rating