Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015)

Captain America: Civil War is just around the corner, having its theatrical release on May 6. In the whole Marvel universe, Captain America’s movies has got me intrigued the most.  Its not saying I don’t enjoy the others also but you know, less so. I’m on the record since its one of my earlier reviews to have really liked The Avengers as many people are, but the one thing I didn’t agree on was Loki was a good villain. Even though I still had a lot of fun, somehow it is not enough that I’ve had the desire to see it again, oddly, now that I think about it.  Agree to disagree, right? You can read the review HERE, if you’d like.  Regardless, in preparation for Civil War, I decided to catch up with both the Marvel movies, I missed last year.  I’m guessing it’ll open up or set the stage of this movie and I think in the trailer I spot Antman, so I’m going to give that one a go soon also.

Let’s check this out! 🙂

Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015)

avengers age of ultron

Director: Joss Whedon

Cast: Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Mark Ruffalo, Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy Renner, James Spader, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Elisabeth Olsen, Paul Bettany, Samuel L. Jackson, Don Cheadle

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 plans.-IMDB

The market is completely saturated with superhero movies nowadays.  Its why I didn’t care enough to go see Avengers: Age of Ultron in theatres.  And why I didn’t see all those other ones including TV series.   Thinking about it, I took a nice one year break (most of 2015) from it.  Maybe there was like one or two older ones but I skipped most of the new stuff and its helped to maybe feel more into the mood of seeing it.  Plus, The Avengers did so well that I wasn’t sure how Age of Ultron would do. It turns out Avengers: Age of Ultron is better in some ways than The Avengers. Thinking back and reading the review I wrote for it, its missing a lot of components that I felt was lacking in the first one the more I thought about the movie and Age of Ultron remedied it quite a bit. I won’t go into talking about the story components quite so much because to me, superhero movies are pretty formulaic and simple.  They are entertainingly predictable and that’s okay because we want our superheroes to come out on top.  We’re there to watch them struggle in taking down those pesky villains who just keep on coming around and causing destruction, but no matter what, they usually manage to take it down even if it comes with a few consequences.

 

Avengers Age of Ultron

One of the first issues I had with The Avengers was that they were a six person team, except Black Widow and Hawkeye always got cast in the background a lot seeing as they never got their own movies like the other four.  Of course, Black Widow also did get a little more attention and she was then in Captain America: Winter Soldier so it made up for her lack of importance, in a way.  But Hawkeye almost always was neglected and to me, I liked his character the best. Its nice to see that in Age of Ultron his lack of importance is remarked on and remedied.  In Age of Ultron, he turns into something of a glue to the team and he knows that.  It elevates the loyalty and trust he has to this team that he literally fights life and death on any mission. We got to see the two sides of him: Hawkeye and Clint Barton.

Avengers: Age of Ultron

What Marvel does do best is to create a superhero that is not only an action film with spectacular CGI effects and all those crazy larger than life action scenes focusing on Avengers as a team and fighting those villains and getting out of trouble.  The team dynamic is still there even under all their bantering and different views.  Age of Ultron also managed to give a better balance in the importance of the character and really show their weakness and the fears they have turning them maybe more human but also giving them their own stories.  Much to my expectation, the difference between what Tony Stark and Captain America start diverging and with Thor, who floats in and out of scenes links us to what the next Avengers will probably about and what all this means in that mid-credits cut scene.  However, despite the heavy bits of the movie when the plot of flowing and danger is surrounding them and all those action scenes, there are still lots of moments tucked in between to give the audience a little laugh.  That is the heart of Marvel: knowing when to let the audience just remember that this is a superhero movie and a fun one with a little humor.

Avengers: Age of Ultron

Since we’re talking about the cast, its hard to not lead into the involvement of the new Avengers in the twin siblings that are known as Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch.  I personally like Aaron Taylor-Johnson and Elizabeth Olsen quite a bit.  I think they both have the acting needed to do this and their careers will do well.  But then, I kind of like Aaron Taylor-Johnson as Kick-Ass and its hard to be like, “oh, but he’s also Quicksilver? Now you’re confusing me.” But, I like them and these two characters a lot and well…let’s keep this spoiler-free even if the majority of you have seen it. On that note, I can’t wait to see Scarlet Witch in Civil War.

Avengers: Age of Ultron

The last bit I want to touch on is the villain.  I’ve always had an issue with villains in superhero movies, except The Dark Knight trilogy. Like that dude in Thor: The Dark World comes to mind.  I can’t even remember his name because he was so non-existent.  I didn’t think Loki was a good villain even if some of you might think he was in The Avengers.  Now, we come to Ultron.  I mean, he’s AI, a robot and can pretty much infect the grid by implanting himself, at least thats what I understood.  I want to say Ultron was successful and I don’t know, villainous.  He is villainous but was he ever a villain that made you fear for the superheroes life even if you knew they would come out on top, even just slightly? He didn’t.  Ultron is entertaining and even a little goofy and c’mon, not even the character design was scary after he found that robot to fit himself into.  I mean, the first broken version in the trailers was a little bit more effective but this one, not one little bit. He reminded me of the villain in Robots, a fantastic animated film that you should see if you haven’t. But then, he wasn’t scary but I guess the excitement is in the vibranium making the planet fly and then the superheroes swooping in to save yet another nearly impossible day, right?

Before I enter into more spoiler territory, I’m going to end this write-up.  Overall, Avengers: Age of Ultron was fun and entertaining. That’s what I’d expect. The action and humor was good.  The story was cool.  The characters, old and new Avengers and the sequence of events were nicely developed.  Its nothing groundbreaking but I think I liked this one more just for Hawkeye having a bigger part and the addition of Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch. We spend a little more time learning about the characters that didn’t get their own movies pretty much and that is great. I liked it quite a bit. 🙂

Have you seen Avengers: Age of Ultron? What did you think of it?

Three Quick Reviews: Less Than Zero, Youth in Revolt, Limitless

As most of you have seen, I’ve been taking it easy with the whole posting world.  One reason is that its hit me that I’ve been really tired so I’m trying to find a balance between everything I post to kind of not slack off on the quality of the context but slow down the frequency of posting, especially now that I’ve start up a second blog.  However, I do want this one to keep one of its main focus on movies so no worries, I will get back to it. Plus, I have a few theatre visits planned so because of slowing down, I had a few movies hanging out in my drafts and I realize the best way to approach this is to do quick reviews 🙂 I promise to not do this frequently but sometimes, its quite refreshing 😉

Lets get it going…

LESS THAN ZERO (1987)

less than zero

Director: Marek Kanievska

Cast: Andrew McCarthy, Jami Gertz, Robert Downey Jr., James Spader

Clay(Andrew McCarthy) heads off to college leaving his two best friends behind as they both carry on with their lives.  His ex-girlfriend Blair (Jami Gertz) decides to stay behind and pursue her career as a model while Julian asks his dad to open his own business.  When Clay comes back home for the holiday as his ex-girlfriend’s request, he realizes that things aren’t as smooth as he had expected for his friends.  Julian is now a drug addict who has lost all his father’s money and owes even another rich kid drug dealer money. Putting his own troubles aside, he tries to help with Julian’s situation before its too late.

less than zero

After watching Pretty in Pink, I have gained a fondness for Andrew McCarthy.  He has a weird vibe in his movies but the boyfriend told me that he heard that this one was good so I gave this one a shot.  I didn’t know that Robert Downey Jr. was in this.  Let me just clarify that I’m only a fan of his newer movies so that gave me a little bit of doubt.  Surprisingly, I thought this was a well-made movie that had a strong message about the danger of drug addiction with youth. The most notable performance goes out to Robert Downey Jr.  I never thought I’d say this about his earlier works but he did a very convincing role.

As I was reading, this is supposed to be loosely based on a book with the same title but I’ve never read it so I can’t compare.

Have you read the novel? Have you seen Less Than Zero? What do you think about it? Are you a Robert Downey Jr. fan?  

YOUTH IN REVOLT (2006)

youth in revolt poster

Director: Miguel Arteta

Cast: Michael Cera, Portia Doubleday, Jean Smart, Zach Galifianakis, Steve Buscemi, Ari Graynor, Justin Long, Ray Liotta

When Nick Twisp’s mother, Estelle (Jean Smart) moves out to the country to live in a trailer while her boyfriend (Zach Galifianakis) hides away from sailors that he cons money from. There he meets a girl, Sheeni Saunders (Portia Doubleday) that he falls in love with completely.  Any hideaway comes to an end and when he has to leave, he promises Sheeni that he will find a way to get back to her.  With Sheeni’s smartness and his absolute desire to get back to her, Nick tries to find a balance between himself and a slowly develop completely bad alter personality called Francois to give himself courage to be a rebel.

youth in revolt sheeni nick

As I sat through Youth in Revolt, the only thing that ran through my mind was that it was weird.  Its a good weird though because it made me curious about what else would happen.  Honestly, the more fun parts of this was when Nick channeled Francois into his life.  It turned into his own journey to be more courageous and figure out how to be who he had to be.

Youth in Revolt

Although, I wasn’t sure about Sheeni’s intentions, Nick’s desires to be with her had some pretty cute elements to it along with some pretty funny dorky ones as well. Plus, there are many stars before they did some bigger movies in their career here.

What do you think about Youth in Revolt? Have you seen it?

LIMITLESS (2011)

Limitless

Director: Neil Burger

Cast: Bradley Cooper, Abbie Cornish, Robert De Niro

Eddie Morra (Bradley Cooper), a uninspired writer whose girlfriend (Abbie Cornish) just left him, tries this experimental drug called NZT which unlocks 100% of the brain’s capacity.  This allows him to not only finish his book but also learn things at quick pace which he uses in financial investments.  Thats when Carl Van Loon (Robert De Niro), a powerful  and cunning energy business man uses him to settle a deal that he is trying to land.  As the drugs unknown effects start taking a toll on him, there are also others who have learnt about this drug and want to have their hands on its limited supply putting Eddie in danger on multiple fronts.

Limitless eddie

The premise for this was a good one.  I think it had a really decent idea but the execution fell short.  The script could have been stronger but what it does have is one of the better roles that I’ve seen of Bradley Cooper.  I personally have mixed feelings about him but so far, aside from my hatred for The Hangover, he’s been involved in decent movies. I haven’t seen Silver Linings Playbook so that doesn’t count.  As ridiculous and predictable as some of the events are, it has a pretty intriguing beginning to set up how the movie was heading and right away, it wasn’t a movie that you needed to really over think the details too much if you intend to enjoy it.  And I didn’t, so I actually found it alright.  It could have been better but lets not be too picky sometimes 😉

What do you think about Bradley Cooper? What are your thoughts on Limitless?