Avengers Age Of Ultron review

It’s like a comic book mosaic

Alright so I have finally seen Age Of Ultron, one of my most anticipated movies of 2015 and well… I had a blast watching it, I loved it and my initial reaction is that I think it’s better than The Avengers, Age Of Ultron is a result of years of planning and production and represents the MCU at its’ best.

It’s one of the most action packed, possibly the funniest and one of the most eventful films in the MCU. The Avengers are assembled once again out of necessity, this time to fight a different threat altogether in the evolving, self replicating AI – Ultron, born from an experiment Bruce Banner and Stark embark on. Ultron of course takes the exterminate humanity as all evil AIs’ do in movies but Ultron is interestingly… complex, yes he wants to wipe out everything but he has his reasons, which almost make sense in a twisted, god complex way, wanting to save humanity by wiping it out.

And of course he’s at odds with the Avengers, who are also at odds with each other and some of the inner group conflict in the movie was quite good, first of all with Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch being tasked by Ultron to attack The Avengers. We learn they have their reasons for hating Stark, as his weaponry was used against their home and home country and they’re great additions to the overall cast, Elizabeth Olsen and Aaron Taylor Johnson fit brilliantly in their roles and bring some youth and an added element to The Avengers. Maybe people thought they felt a bit shoehorned in but I really enjoyed them in it, Quicksilvers action scenes were great and seeing Scarlet Witch in action was awesome, as a truly superpowered character, Thor is the God of thunder and there’s The Hulk… but neither of them can disintegrate things, so yeah.

Age Of Ultron just flows really well and has one of the tightest plots in the MCU, the film flew by for me and everything fit in perfectly, even Thors’ side story with his visions of Ragnarok (Thor The Dark world preview anyone?) and I think the plot stands as being more fleshed out and of course bigger in scope than The Avengers. Loki is a great villain but Ultron is just bigger in scope, with a genius level intellect, in the movie he’s in dozens if not hundreds of replicated bodies and his ultimate endgame was a well thought plan to not just destroy a local area or City but you know, cause an extinction level event. That in itself just speaks to the scope of Age Of Ultron which managed the vast amount of characters it had excellently, with poise and great use of screentime, seeing more depth to characters was great as well, finding out Hawkeye had a secret family was unintentionally family but showed a more human side to him.

While Black Widow and Bruces’ relationship coming to the forefront was a nice emotional touch to a generally emotional movie, the film doesn’t pull any punches and while you may not think The Avengers are in grave peril through most of the movie, there is a character death and a “aw… really?” moment with Quicksilvers’ death. Aaron Taylor Johnson brought life and enthusiasm to the character and it was a shame to see him go (though hopefully not permanently), the action in the film is top notch and tops a lot of the MCU with some excellent shots in particular, The Avengers fighting Ultrons’ and Vision fighting Ultron come to mind. Paul Bettany was great as Vision as well and brought a nice, classy touch to the film, not forgetting James Spader of course as Ultron, with a vibrant, enthusiastic and lively performance. And the writing is fantastic, each character feels like themselves, you have Cody Rhodes/War Machine with his dry humour, similar to Hawkeyes’, Tony Stark being his cocky, fast thinking self, Captain America being a warrior for morality and so on, seeing the characters all interact and banter with each other was great and the dialogue added some normalcy to what is a big superhero movie. Ultron is ironically one of the strongest and weakest parts of the movie, providing some great scenes, great lines and being a big part of the action but his personality almost drew away from his menacing side, even though he kills a few people in the movie and ultimately he is defeated a bit ‘easily’.

That being said, the writing for Age Of Ultron was great, pretty much on par if not arguably better than Guardians Of the Galaxy and the characterization was just as good, the action was fantastic and the plot was tight, flowing seamlessly from scene to scene and visually, the film is also great. Despite criticisms of Black widows’ role – which are hugely exaggerated of course and the feeling of being ‘there’ and seeing ‘that’, Age Of Ultron does what it does and is brilliant at just being a big superhero movie, one of Marvels’ best movies to date.

9/10

. New additions to the cast are great, the film manages to not feel cluttered

. Plot flows really well, great pacing and it’s entertaining from start to finish

. Added depth to The Avengers and other characters

. Continual humour may draw away from some tension and Ultron was defeated a bit easily

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Pixels trailer #2

Alright so Pixels has a new trailer out and it looks like a lot of fun, I found out about the film a few months ago actually but never talked about it, it should be a blast for any 80s’ babies that grew up with video games or you know, any avid gamers that are fans of classic games. It’s also not a typical Adam Sandler comedy, although he’s a big character in the film.

The plot centres around a special task force of expert arcade game players assembled to save earth, fighting against video game characters after Nasa sent a rocket into space in 1982, containing examples of human life and culture in hopes of contacting extra-terrestrial life (which actually happened in real life). But in the context of the movie some higher life form takes the message wrong and sends video game characters to earth to destroy it.

So the film does look like it’ll be quite a bit of fun, seeing video game characters trying to destroy earth in itself is a hilarious concept and the premise is something different, with video game characters and all. The humour does seem a bit crude but not to the level of traditional Adam Sandler movies – though I personally don’t dislike Sandlers’ comedy, I know it’s not for everyone. The cast for Pixels is also pretty good with Adam Sandler, a new up and coming comedy actor in Josh Gad, Peter Dinklage in a funny looking role, Kevin James, Michelle Monaghan, Sean Bean, Brian Cox and Ashley Benson.

I enjoy films like this because they know what they are and they don’t take themselves seriously, allowing for humour to flourish, coupling what’s usually a serious, apocalyptic sci-fi sub genre of the alien invasion with cute looking video game characters like Pac-Man. I have a feeling it’ll be quite the enjoyable film and it should fit quite nicely into summer as a family film, though anyone of any age I imagine, will be able to go and watch it, especially people that grew up playing the games featured in the film.

The Maze Runner Scorch Trials first trailer

So we now have our first look at Scorch Trials, sequel to the generally well received Young Adult dystopian movie The Maze Runner, one of my favourite films of 2014 and one of my favourite YA films overall, the ending was so-so but it was very entertaining thriller.

Anyway Scorch Trials kicks off where the last film left off with a few of the kids escaping the maze and coming to realize the earth is practically a massive desert now, that and a virus infected humanity and more confusing things happened (I haven’t read the books) but yeah. The Maze was totally just a test to pick out strong, intelligent youths from a selected group and their next adventure is the ‘scorch trial’ and dang, Littlefinger is in the film, nice.

We learn that the main characters maze wasn’t the only maze and the people orchestrating the maze trials did the same thing with what looks to be a few dozen other teenagers. Though Thomas is once again, doubting and doesn’t trust the people that have been running the trials, we see bodies being wheeled away and a laboratory with what looks like genetically modified creatures (possible Greaver babies?) and the group escapes, into ‘the scorch’. The scorch being the outside, desertified world, scorched by the sun for some reason and action galore, Scorch Trials looks to have a very different feel to it, that of conspiracy thriller with a lot more action than Maze Runner.

In what some people would call a YA trope, the 2nd film in the YA trilogy kinda introduces us to the world at large, exposing the larger conspiracy going on, raising the stakes and takes us away from the initial introduction that the first film was and Scorch Trials seems to be a bit similar. I really like the direction the films are going in, I still know next to nothing from that trailer and I still have unanswered questions about The Maze Runner and I love it, I like going into films not knowing much and finding out as I watch, rather than seeing everything that happens over the course of 2, 3 or 4 trailers.

And yeah with this 2nd film there are some questions raised, why are all of these kids being selected and what for, re-population? Or is there some other reason for choosing them? Who exactly is this organization and why are they opposed to Wicked? Who are the good guys, this group or wicked? All questions that I’m sure will be answered only when I watch the film or read the books and that’s something refreshing, anyway Scorch Trials looks pretty good so far as an expansion of The Maze Runners’ universe with even more action, drama and an added conspiracy element to it. The film is set for release in September.

Arrow season 3 reviewed

Ah reviewing and re-capping a 7 month long series in a few minutes, in this case it’s something I’ve been looking forward to because this about one of my favourite shows on at the moment, Arrow. Which came back strong off of a very well received and solid 2nd season with a great villain in Deathstroke and an equally good conclusion, season 3 started off a bit slow, steadily picking up the pace and building up to the reveal of the seasons’ main villain in Ra’as al Ghul (traditionally a Batman villain but hey).

Season 3 also expanded the Arrow-Verse with quite a few added characters e.g. Ray Palmer, while continuing with Black Canarys’ arc and passing the mantle on from Sarah to Laurel as Sarah gets dramatically killed near the beginning, right from the off you could tell that we’d be getting a darker, grittier season for a show that’s already pretty dark and gritty. This season was also pivotal in setting up and linking with The Flashs’ first season and the crossovers were great. First of all I want to talk about the season finale a bit because it seems to have left quite a few fans sour, people think it felt a bit anti-climactic and that Ra’as was offed a bit too easily, that and Oliver riding off into a sunset (literally) with Felicity felt a bit forced.

And I would somewhat agree, Ra’as was an excellent villain and the torment he put Oliver through was all part of a genius masterminds’ plan, ultimately planning to get Oliver to be the next Ra’as and to leave behind Starling city, his friends and the Arrow mantle. But his final plan just felt a bit… strange, he seemed a bit too willing to allow Oliver to defeat him in the end and it was maybe a bit convenient that his plan also included Starling City, while as for Oliver leaving the Arrow persona, it’s understandable.

With the SCPD raiding the Arrow lair and changing the dynamic of Team Arrow as well as Ra’as dragging his persona through the dirt, it’s understandable that Oliver would want to start anew and that’s something I did quite enjoy about this season, the changing of dynamics. Team Arrow having to act and improvise to changing circumstances was great to watch, dealing with Sarahs’ death and Olivers’ death, as well as the threat of Ra’as, while later on in the season, they had to deal with the police as well. This season probably had the most significant deaths in the show thus far, all of which impacted the story and drove things along, which was good in the long run and yeah we did get a full 3 episodes or so without Oliver as he was being healed in Nanda Parbat. The episodes without Oliver were actually decent and Vinny Jones as Danny Brickwell made a menacing villain and it was pretty fun Laurel, Roy, Diggle improvise and do what they could without the Arrow. The suicide squad episode was one of the highlights of the whole season as was Flashs’ crossover on Arrow, as was the conclusion of the Brick plot arc, though the Cupid sub-plot wasn’t quite as good. Neither was Felicity at some points in the season, she seemed to overreact to everything and didn’t know where to trust or hate Oliver, I actually liked her more with Ray and they played off well with each other but that came to an abrupt end, Olly and Felicitys’ relationship is understandably complicated though.

Also Nanda Parbat, Maseo and Tatsu, the flashbacks this season told the story of Oliver, Maseo and Tatsu in Hong kong and… to be honest I didn’t exactly follow the plot that well, maybe as I’m trying to recount 7 months of TV in one go but yeah, the flashbacks were okay, not as thrilling as Olivers’ island flashbacks in seasons 1 and 2 though. The focus of this season was very divided, Starling City was never really the focal point like it was in season 2, aside the episodes immediately after Olivers’ death and a lot of time was spent focusing on the league, Ra’as and Nanda Parbat, seeing more of the leagues inner workings was quite interesting as was seeing the Lazarus pit itself.

Characterization this season was a strong point in my opinion, we saw Oliver ready and prepared to die (a few times as it turns out) for his city and loved ones, ultimately committing to having a relationship with Felicity and Felicity in two minds between Ray Palmer and Oliver. Ray was a great addition to the Arrow verse and brought some great comic relief and brought an iconic DC character life, while a character we were already familiar with in Nyssa had some depth added to her and you know what, ultimately her father’s kind of a dick, an evil dick and leader of a group of assassins but hey.Also Diggle had an interesting arc this season in becoming a father and butting heads with Oliver quite often, as did Roy every now and then, though he’ll hopefully be back and I can’t not talk about Malcolm and Thea of course, their dynamic is great to watch and Thea… Thea went through a lot in season 3. Initially not being in Starling City and coming back, dying, being reborn and even taking up the mantle of a vigilante for a bit, Malcolm Merlyn was also a bad… good guy, ultimately helping team arrow to defeat Ra’as, though he sort of brought the problem of Ra’as on them in the first place. He’s the bad guy you love to hate but he was pretty essential to the story this season, I’m sure he’ll be back to more straight laced e-vil in season 4.

It was a solid 3/4 of a season with a great villain, Oliver on the ropes and even out of commission at times and it was great to watch. And for me a lot of season 3 did work and worked quite well, the start was slow but it build up to a great mid-point and only got stronger from there on out, the finale wasn’t quite as good the season 1 or 2 but the ending not being great doesn’t undo the entire season for me anyway.

New TV shows I’ll be watching this fall

So it’s May, a busy month for TV, cancellations have come thick and fast, autumn TV schedules announced, mid-season premieres announced while the big TV networks all promote and push their new pilots for the upcoming TV season, a few of which look pretty good.

Anyway I wanted to list the… rather short list of new TV shows that I will be watching in just about 4 months time.

CBS – Supergirl

One of this autumns better looking shows, CBS has a potentially great show on its’ hands as we’ve seen in the trailer, with good management of the tone and solid acting, it could be very enjoyable, as fun and light as Flash in its’ lighter moments but as serious as Arrow in others (well that’s the hope anyway). Melissa Benoist seems like a great fit for Kara from what we’ve been shown.

Fox – Minority Report, Scream Queens

Ah Fox, always commissioning interesting shows… and ultimately cancelling most of them, I can’t see a long future for Minority Report sadly but I like the idea anyway, the film and novel are great and a continuation of the story in that world is something I’d happily watch.

Scream Queens on the other hand looks really interesting, it’s being described as Glee meets American Horror Story which is somewhat fitting as Ryan Murphy’s producing it, so it could be quite fun to watch, the cast is pretty good for it so far as well.

NBC – Heroes Reborn 

Heroes is of course something I’ll watch, I was a moderate fan of the show, loved season 1 and then… it started to go downhill but a rejuvenation of the idea with new actors and a new direction could take the show in a pretty cool direction. You could say Heroes paved the way for big budget superhero TV shows on mainstream TV, so it will be interesting to see how the show fares in a new TV landscape with Arrow, Flash, Supergirl and so on.

Angel From Hell is also a cool looking show I might check out.