Avengers: Age of Ultron

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For many people, Avengers: Age of Ultron isn’t just a movie, It’s an event. And why shouldn’t it be? The first Avengers film was somewhat of a movie miracle. There were many ways that film could’ve failed, but the finished product ended up being one of the greatest superhero films of all time. So as you can imagine, there’s alot of expectations for Age of Ultron to not only live up to it’s predecessor, but to surpass it. As huge fans of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, me and a few friends arrived at theatre on opening day with dozens of other fans to see the long awaited sequel. Now if you’re anything like me, I’m sure only one question matters to you. Did Age of Ultron achieve the impossible? In other words; Did it live up to the hype?

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In many respects, Age of Ultron delivers exactly what it promises. Tons of action, wonderful chemistry from the mane cast and a memorable villain. The fact that writer and director Joss Whedon, as well as the entire creative team at Marvel studios, were able to pull off a movie of this scale again is quite impressive.  However if I’m being honest, I do have a few problems with it that I’d like to get out of the way first. My biggest problem with the movie is the editing. The best way I can describe the editing is that it just feels a little loose, particularly whenever one scene would transition to another, at times it felt jarring, and I’m not sure why. However It’s not distracting enough for the average moviegoer to complain, and I have a suspicion some of this may’ve been intentional to emphasize just how insane and crazy some of the events that take place in the film are. One of the film’s key characters even gives the Avengers hallucinations, resulting in some pretty effective nightmare sequences. I grew to really enjoy the soundtrack for the first Avengers, but the sequel’s soundtrack is a little bland by comparison. That’s about all I have for the complaints, now onto the good, the great and the exceptional.

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As far as the characters are concerned, it’s a safe bet that you won’t find a more entertaining group than the Avengers. The team is just a joy to watch, thanks to their great chemistry. Each Avenger has a moment to shine, and I can almost guarantee that no two people will have the same favourite character (My personal favourites were The Vision and Ultron) Each of the recurring Avengers, including Iron Man, Thor, Captain America, Black Widow, The Hulk and Hawkeye all play important roles in the story. I’d say the two most prominent members this time around are Iron Man and Hulk, since they’re the ones that really get the plot started. Despite that, It’s Hawkeye who really steals the show here. (Yes, you read that right) Without giving too much away, Hawkeye becomes the heart of the movie, and his character is much more compelling here then he was in the first Avengers. There’s even a few moments where the film pokes fun at his minimal role in the first movie, which should please skeptics and also make fans happy, considering that Hawkeye is a fan favourite in the comics. The new characters are also handled very well. Two new Avengers, Quicksilver and Scarlet Whitch, make for welcome new additions to the team, even if they are a little underdeveloped by comparison to some of the other characters. Having said that, they still offer interesting arcs and their relationship with the heroes and villains is very interesting to watch. Joss Weadon is a very talented writer, and one of the areas he excels at is his comedy. Despite the darker tone, this movie can be no less then hysterical when it wants to be

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The one character I was most interested in seeing was Ultron himself. Ultron makes for a fantastic villain, and is so far the best that 2015 has to offer. He’s scary, smart, charming, and even humorous and manipulative. Just about everything you want in a villain, (much like Loki from the first film). You just can’t take your eyes off him when he’s on screen, and I’d definitely rank him as the second best villain featured in this franchise so far, right after Loki. And then there’s The Vision. The less I say about him the better, but trust me when I say he’s one of the film’s highlights, and Paul Bettany does a tremendous job with the role. (I’m also happy to report that the character is not entirely CGI, but is rather achieved with the actor wearing an extensive costume makeup. Some might not care either way, but I thought it was nice to have such a fantastical character be portrayed in a very old-school way.) There’s alot of cameos from the series that show up here, like War Machine and Falcon, and while the film doesn’t include every single character from the franchise, they were pretty close. The action featured is very good, and while it may not be as memorable as in the first film, there are still some stand out sequences that’ll thrill audiences, most notably the opening sequence where the Avengers storm a Hydra base on a snowy mountain and the Hulk vs Hulkbuster showdown around the middle of the film. Much like the first film, the action is well choreographed and exciting. There is a moment where the movie takes a break from all the fighting (When the Avengers go to their “Safe-house”) and becomes more quiet, allowing for some great character development as well. I’d say that’s where Age of Ultron improves upon it’s predecessor. It’s character development is much more engaging this time around, and I really cared for all the characters.

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Age of Ultron is probably Marvel’s most ambitious film to date. I laughed, I cheered and I had a great time watching the long awaited sequel. There were more than a few times where me and my friends (along with the rest of the audience) laughed and applauded throughout the movie. Does it have flaws? Yes. Is it better than the first Avengers? It doesn’t QUITE reach those heights. (in my opinion of course). But are any of the problems big enough to distract from the fun? Certainly not. Age of Ultron is a tremendously great time at the cinema and a satisfying new chapter in the Marvel Cinematic universe. This film gets a high recommendation from me and I’m already looking forward to seeing it again.

(SLIGHT SPOILER ALERT: And one last thing; if you stick around through the credits, there is a mid credits scene that features a certain mad Titan that fans won’t want to miss. but there is no post credit scene.)

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The Amazing Spider-Man 2

ASM2_DOM_IMAX_REAL3D_1SHEET-610x903 Spider-man is undoubtedly my favourite Superhero. Both Spider-Man and his villains have always felt very relatable because they come across as real people with real strengths and flaws. That being said, Reviewing The Amazing Spider-man 2 is difficult. It really is. There is so much that goes on in this film that I feel like I’m writing one review for three different movies. In some ways it’s better then it’s predecessor while in other ways it falls a little short, and in some ways it’s one of the best of the franchise while in other ways it could have been handled better…..ok…let’s do this.   Peter_Parker_and_Gwen_Stacy One of the film’s strongest, AND weakest points is the characters. Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone return as Peter Parker and Gwen Stacy and the two of them remain one of the most likeable and interesting couples I’ve seen in any movie. The two share a great chemistry and the scenes between them are where a lot of the heart of the film comes into play. Andrew is also a phenomenal Spider-man, managing to be comical and true to the character. There are many characters introduced in this film, and nearly all of them are great, but deserve more screen time. Max Dillon/Electro is by far the strongest villain in the movie. Like many of Spider-man’s foes, he’s portrayed as a sympathetic character, and it’s hard not to feel sorry for him, even when he’s annihilating Times Square. The only drawback is that there is so much going on in the film, that Electro disappears for quite a while during the movie’s second act, and when he reappears, it feels like an entirely different movie has been resurfaced. Andrew Garfield;Dane DeHaan Harry Osborn/The Green Goblin is also an interesting and rather complex character, but again,he is sadly not given enough screen time. It’s established that him and Peter Parker are close friends, and I did get that impression clearly, but it would have been nice to have seen a flashback of them as kids, or even a few extra moments of them bonding as best buds. Aleksei Sytsevich/The Rhino is in the movie as well, and out of all the villains, he gets the least amount of screen-time. Having said that, the scenes he does appear in do leave an impact, specifically near the ending. There are also many other characters (as well as a few fun cameos for the hardcore Spidey fans out there) that unfortunately get sidelined, such as aunt May, who’s wonderful in the scenes that she’s in, but is underused.   Fireman_Spider-Man As you can probably tell, the film’s biggest problem is that the amount of characters that seem to be fighting for screen time. Thankfully, what we DO get from the characters is greatness across the board. Everyone gives a great performance and everyone seems to be having a blast playing these characters. The story, while feeling a little unfocused at times, is paced very well, and the film never feels like it’s just dragging on. The best way to describe the films story without giving away spoilers is “ambitious”. A lot of risks are taken that for the most part pay off, and the film’s at it’s finest in the last half-hour. It’s intense, heartbreaking, and uplifting all at once. Many of the subjects the film tackles are heavy, but it’s not a dark movie. It’s tone is fairly similar to the Avengers, which balances out the light-hearted comedy alongside the action nicely. zuA7Njv Speaking of action, The action sequences in the film are breathtaking. From the Battle at Times Square, to the fight at the clock tower, they are all full of energy and for the first time since Avatar, I can fully recommend that you go see this movie in 3D. The 3D is surprisingly handled very well, and adds a lot more depth to the film’s visual look. Any scene that features Spider-man swinging through the city feels like your on a ride, and it is truly awesome. Hans Zimmer does the score (the same composer for Man of Steel, The Lion King and several other epic films) And while I did really enjoy the score for the first film, Zimmer manages to showcase some very memorable tracks, most notably Electro’s theme. Jamie-Foxx-as-Electro-faces-Spider-Man-in-The-Amazing-Spider-Man-2 The Amazing Spider-man 2 is certainly going to be a divisive movie. I can understand where a lot of the criticisms are coming from, the plot can be a bit of a mess at times, and the characters could have gotten more screen time, but in the end, the highly enjoyed the movie for it’s creativity, it’s amazing sense of humour, it’s spectacular action and it’s tremendous heart. The Amazing Spider-Man 2 is my favourite comic book movie of the year so far, and i highly recommend you go see it for yourself, and come up with your own conclusions. It is a good day to be a Spider-Man fan.