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Spider-Man: Homecoming (Film Review)

Until I get ‘New to Comics’ back online, I’m going to be posting some stuff for that site on here if it’s particularly relevant or if I want to share it as soon as possible. So today, here’s my review of the sixteenth entry into the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Spider-Man: Homecoming

RELEASED: 7th July 2016
DIRECTED BY: Jon Watts
WRITTEN BY: John Francis Daley, Christopher Ford, Jonathan Goldstein, Chris McKenna, Erik Sommers & Jon Watts
PRODUCED BY: Kevin Feige & Amy Pascal
STARRING: Tom Holland, Michael Keaton, Jon Favreau, Marisa Tomei, Jacob Batalon, Laura Harrier, Zendaya, Tony Revolori, Logan Marshall-Green, Bokeem Woodbine, Michael Chernus, Donald Glover & Robert Downey Jr.

REVIEW: The main problem with Spider-Man: Homecoming is that the casual viewer may falsely believe that Sony was wholly responsible for making this film, what with their company names being plastered all over the opening and closing credits. Which, frankly, is a shame, because this film was made by Marvel Studios, and financed by Sony; and it would truly be a terrible thing if Sony got the credit for what is, to date, one of Marvel Studios’ best films.

In terms of story, the film is surprising on several levels. Firstly, it’s generally understood that the more writers you pump into a film, the messier it gets. That, paired with the fact that the whole storyline is seemingly stuffed into the above trailer, could give cause for concern. But having seen the movie, I can assure you that you don’t need to worry about either of those factors.

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The film follows Peter Parker (Tom Holland), the ‘Spider-Man from YouTube’, as he returns to everyday life several months after teaming up with his mentor, Tony Stark / Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.), to stop the renegade heroes in Captain America: Civil War. Armed with a new suit and a strong desire to join the Avengers, Peter struggles with the problems of high-school and attempts to try and impress Tony by taking on the Vulture and his gang of arms dealers.

While some may complain that Peter’s desire to be a superhero seems to come more from his adoration of Tony Stark than the guilt felt from failing his now deceased Uncle Ben (who only gets an indirect, unnamed mention), the film, for the most part, captures Spider-Man better than any film before it. The wit, the physicality, the youth and the crazy ideas embedded in the suit that riff off the early 60s comic-books. It’s all perfect. Even more importantly however, it captures Peter Parker better than any film before. While Toby Macguire and Andrew Garfield’s Peter Parkers leaned heavily into the angst of being a teenager and the despair at the death of a loved one (whether that be the aforementioned Uncle Ben or his long-deceased parents), Holland’s Peter actually looks and acts like a genuine teenager.

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Throughout the movie, he cycles through being hot-headed, fun-loving, socially awkward, and truly terrified in one particular scene that will make a lot of classic comic-book fans happy. He acts like a teenager actually would if he was thrust into this zany world of Norse Gods and giant green rage monsters. He’s still young, and he’s not perfect. He tries, he fails, he tries again. And although he may very rarely succeed (seriously, this Spider-Man is not the best super-hero, but it’s what the story’s aiming for and it works) his true heroism comes from his determination and his strong moral compass. Even though he is hopelessly outgunned by the Vulture, he’ll still stop to lecture him about the fact that “selling weapons to bad guys is wrong”.

But while the writing behind Peter’s character is fantastic, and Tom Holland’s performance is phenominal, it would of course be pointless without the rest of the cast alongside him. Not only does Homecoming give us the most age-appropriate Spider-Man and supporting cast, but also the most human. The film scraps the focuses of Spidey films gone by: Harry Osborn, Gwen Stacy and Mary-Jane Watson, in favour of hybrid characters, who are, for all intents and purposes, new and diverse, but with a hint of some classic characters like Liz Allan, Flash Thompson, Ned Leeds and Betty Brant mixed in.

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Each of the young actors playing these characters really hold their own, and make Peter’s high-school scenes seem like the most natural parts of the movie. His awkward interactions with Liz (Laura Harrier) highlight what it’s like to be a teenager and strengthen the struggles of being a super-hero. The deadpan humour from Michelle (Zendaya) brings a different, but welcome slice of comedy. And Flash Thompson (Tony Revolori) is a great foil to Peter; he’s such a wonderful arsehole. However, it’s the banter between Peter and his best buddy Ned (Jacob Batalon) that really humanises Peter. Their interactions ground Peter in his social circle, highlighting his nerdy tendencies and giving him someone to lean on that, for once, isn’t the obligatory girlfriend. Plus, he, like everyone else, gets a lot of opportunities to bring the laughs.

The comedy in the film should also be noted as a highlight of the MCU. While I’m sure there are other films that may have the odd joke that is better than anything in here, it’s the timing and pacing that makes this film a cut above the rest. Guardians Vol. 2 and Doctor Strange got stuck with the usual Marvel trope of trying too hard to be funny – sticking jokes where they don’t belong. But in Homecoming? Everything fits right into place and does so with it’s own natural voice, not unlike the best Marvel films, the second and third Captain Americas.

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Like the humour, the scale is also just right. The film is heavily embedded in the MCU, but gives us a far different perspective to the Iron Mans and the Thors that we’ve become so familiar with. It shows how these Avengers and aliens and Gods affect everyday working class people. It’s because of this that the Vulture feels like one of the few genuine Marvel villains; on top of a superb performance by Michael Keaton, the character doesn’t want to rule the world and isn’t at all crazy. He’s just a small business owner, who wants to look after his family. And when it comes to his clashes with Spider-Man, his professional outlook presents a intimidating threat to the overzealous and excitable Spider-Man, who is far more at home dealing with bank robbers and bike thieves.

Unfortunately, there are a few things that stop me from giving it five whole stars, and they are the following: The music (and I’m talking the actual soundtrack my Michael Giacchino), with the exception of the fanfare that covers the Marvel logo, is pretty forgettable. I could hum some tunes from Avengers Assemble and Iron Man 3 at you if you asked, but when it comes to this? I got nothing. And I just saw it last night.

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Also, in regards to up top, when I said Spider-Man was a pretty useless super-hero in this movie, it would have been nice to actually see him hold his own at least a little bit against the Vulture. I understand that there are several movies to up his experience level, but going forward, without a lot of training, it’s going to be kind of hard to believe this kid can hold his own against super-villains, let alone the aliens he’ll be facing in Avengers: Infinity War. But eh, that’s a problem for another day.

All-in-all, I give it:

4-5-stars

For being one of the best Marvel films, a real fun movie and potentially the best Spider-Man film. Don’t hold me to that though.

Oh and one more thing. Stay to the very end of the credits; the post-credit scene is hilarious.

 
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Posted by on July 14, 2017 in Comic Books, Film & TV

 

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Why are Netflix’s Defenders called ‘The Defenders’?

When it comes to the Marvel Cinematic Universe (and to a lesser extent, super-hero movies in general), I make it my mission to watch as much as possible. In the MCU, the only thing I’ve started and not finished so far is Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (I think I’m near the end of season two, but I don’t care enough to figure it out).

Marvel’s films and television (with S.H.I.E.L.D. being the exception), have high production values and for the most part, some quality storytelling. Of course, some of the films can feel a bit same old, same old at times, but they’re definitely, as a whole, progressing. Marvel is doing the best they can with the IP’s they have left, and as such, it’s (almost) always something I want to see.

The Netflix shows, if you haven’t been watching them, are especially good. The most recently, Luke Cage, premiered on the 30th. I spent my day watching it, and by 2am on the 1st, I had my review written up. You can read it here, if you’re so inclined.

Anyway, the next Netflix series due to be released is Iron Fist, which, as of today, we know will premiere on the 17th March next year.

After that, at some point we’ll be getting the Avengers-style team-up, The Defenders, along with another series of Daredevil, Jessica Jones, The Punisher and probably Luke Cage.

As I said, I’m very much looking forward to all of this. Not only am I a MCU fan, my favourite television recently has been the Netflix productions (not just Marvel, but House of Cards, The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, etc.).

But there is something that bothers me, being the fussy nerd that I am, and that’s the title.

Now, this isn’t just because traditionally in the comic books, these characters aren’t the Defenders* (if anything, they’re the New Avengers, minus a couple of members, but whatever). In the comic books, the original Defenders line-up looked something like this:

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Doctor Strange, the Hulk, the Silver Surfer and the Sub-Mariner. They would often be joined by various other assorted characters across the years.

It was a powerful and pretty bad-ass line-up, who, when they stopped fighting among themselves were perhaps one of the most powerful teams in the Marvel Universe (if not THE most powerful).

Of course, the problem here is that the Silver Surfer and (probably) Namor the Submariner were part of the many film distribution rights deals that Marvel made in the nineties to get some dollar. The Silver Surfer and Namor (again, probably; I can’t think off the top of my head but it may be Universeal) are, in movie-form, owned by Fox, and thus are untouchable for Marvel unless they buy back The Fantastic Four property.

So the name’s available. Why not use it? Right?

Because there is a much better name for Netflix’s ‘Defenders’ already on the table, and it actually makes sense in the context of the shows.

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In the comics, Luke Cage and Iron Fist have long been best friends. Mike Colter (who plays Luke Cage) even acknowledged the fact in a recent interview on BBC Radio 2. They have also long operated the business ‘Heroes for Hire’. The name is fairly self-explanatory. As heroes, they would hire themselves out to people who needed their help.

This isn’t really a spoiler, but in the Luke Cage series, the character even has references to his comic-book businesses. It’s even in Method Man’s rap towards the end of the series.

Now the reason it frustrates me that they’re using The Defenders rather than The Heroes For Hire, is that even if Daredevil and Jessica Jones were never members of the Heroes for Hire in the comic books, BOTH OF THEM ARE LITERALLY HEROES FOR HIRE!

So far, out of the three Netflix shows, Luke Cage is the only lead character who hasn’t undergone heroics after being hired for his services! The original hero for hire, thus far, is the only hero who hasn’t been up for hire. What’s that about?

Across the series, Luke is continually told that if he were to start a business, people would definitely pay for his services. Now, were we to assume that at the start of the crossover series he and Iron Fist were to meet and start up that business, you’ve got your show right there, with a name that actually fits the characters.

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But what about Jessica Jones and Daredevil?

Well, as I said, those two are the only characters who, so far, have actually been heroes for hire in the MCU/Netflix universe. Jessica Jones is a private investigator with super-powers. Tying her into Cage and Iron Fist’s business would be a piece of cake. They get hired for a case; either they need a P.I. and Luke calls on Jessica, or she’s ALSO been hired and they cross paths. It’s so simple to play this hero for hire angle that it’s annoying that it’s not what’s going down (I mean it might be, but I am of course speculating from the title).

Daredevil could come on in much the same way. Much of his own show see’s him donning his crimson costume AFTER he’s been hired to represent someone in court. Whatever it is that draws these heroes together could at some point hire Matt Murdock, and boom, you’ve hired another hero, Daredevil.

Four heroes, who have come together, after being hired. Heroes For Hire.

The only real reason they could be called the Defenders at this point is some weak-ass promotional material Marvel put out saying these guys and gal are the ‘Defenders of New York’. If people haven’t seen that; they might wonder why these characters are called The Defenders.

Call them Heroes For Hire, and people will get it. Know why? Because being ‘Heroes for Hire’ is what all these character fucking do.


I’ll leave you with that to mull over, and then just drop this trailer for a REAL Defender, Doctor Strange, right here, because how awesome is that jazzy Tron-esque soundtrack:

* Before anyone rants at me, I do acknowledge that some of these characters have been Defenders in the comics as well, but not as a team, all four of them together, and not in a way that makes as much sense as them being ‘Heroes for Hire’.

 
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Posted by on October 4, 2016 in Comic Books, Film & TV

 

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Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (Film Review)

A Warner Bros. Film, Directed by Zach Snyder

Released: 25th March 2016

Starring Ben Affleck, Henry Cavill, Jesse Eisenberg, Gal Gadot, Amy Adams, Jeremy Irons, Holly Hunter and Laurence Fishburne.

Review: What if Batman was real?

A figure so traumatised by a childhood event that he dresses up as a devilish creature and administers his own brand of ‘justice’ to those he feels deserves it. He would be brutal, unrelenting and focused; he would have a complete disregard for the lives of those he pursues.

This is definitely the case in this milestone superhero movie epic. Batman takes down criminals with a brutality akin to his fighting style in the Arkham Knight game and its predecessors.  His fight choreography is both beautiful and harsh. It works well, until the film gets to its titular battle, at which point all that brutality is focused on Superman. At which point you’re once again reminded just what you’re watching: Something unpleasant.

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At no point was this fight fun to watch

Batman v Superman was a film that held a lot of promise. It was meant to be, as Lex Luthor states “The greatest gladiator match in the history of the world”.

But in DC’s desire to match Marvel’s cinematic universe, it went too far; failing to focus on what the film actually should have been about. On paper, the idea that Superman, a godlike figure who could destroy the world if he wanted, would attract scrutiny from men like Batman and Lex Luthor, makes for a good film. But Zach Snyder ham-handedly throws in Justice League cameos and irrelevant dream sequences (one of which is somehow orchestrated by the Flash?) which add nothing to the plot and are more confusing than helpful.

Not only is it plagued with unnecessary storytelling, but the direction itself is something rather tragic. The film jumps about from Clark in Metropolis, to Bruce in Gotham, to Clark in the Africa, to Lex in Metropolis, to Bruce having another unnecessary dream, to Wonder Woman wandering around, to etc. etc. with no real time spent to trying to justify what’s going on. And if Snyder’s jumpy film-cutting hadn’t already put you off, all the laser-beams and explosions that completely blot out everything that’s going on will.

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Guest starring a troll from Lord of the Rings

The writing is also a mess. Whilst characters like Jeremy Iron’s Alfred and Laurence Fishburne’s Perry White offer humorous little breaks from the rather maddening plot-line and begin to bring the film back to reality, other characters like Ben Affleck’s Bruce Wayne and Jesse Eisenberg’s Lex Luthor stop that in its tracks, speaking in unnecessary and unbelievable grandiose styles that really don’t fit the piece.

And then there’s Wonder Woman, who doesn’t really say much. She’s suggested to be a mysterious bad-ass, but then barely features and has all her appearances drummed out by horrific rock theme-music.

wondy

Keep an eye out for W.W. rocking the 1910s garb with Chris Pine

The messiness of the film is at its most apparent right at the end, where they orchestrate the ‘Dawn of Justice’. Throughout the film, the Flash, Aquaman and Cyborg are seen ever so briefly, and at its conclusion, Bruce states that they must find the ‘others’ as he knows there is a greater threat coming than Superman or Doomsday.

Why is it Bruce deciding this? Because obviously he’s pretty much the main character. His Batman is efficient, his motivations drive the narrative and his quest is told in full. Meanwhile, poor Henry Cavill’s Clark Kent is naught but a side piece; a ragdoll for Batman to fling around after exposing him to Kryptonite.

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He’s had a pretty bad day

If you’re a fan of Superman, I’d warn you to stay away from this film. People thought Man of Steel was bad (although I for one quite liked it), but this film basically should have been advertised (if you’ll excuse my use of expletives) as ‘FUCK SUPERMAN’.


 

This review comes from my website in progress, newtocomics.com.

It’ll be filled with comic book suggestions, news, reviews and character bios to get you up to date. If that strikes your fancy, then follow me on Twitter for progress on when it goes live. And if it doesn’t strike your fancy, please do it anyway because it’s for my MA project and I’d love you forever.

 
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Posted by on March 26, 2016 in Comic Books, Film & TV

 

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Deadpool (Film Review)

I’m still working on my other site; newtocomics.com, but before it’s up, I thought I’d showcase some of the stuff that’s going on over there. First off, my ‘NewToComics’ review of Deadpool.

Release Date: 12th February, 2016

A 20th Century Fox Film, Directed by Tim Miller

Starring: Ryan Reynolds, Morena Baccarino, Ed Skrein, T. J. Miller, Gina Carano, Brianna Hildebrand and Stefan Kapičić

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Review: If you scan the internet following the release of Deadpool, you’ll be faced with countless articles about how it has changed the comic-book film industry by successfully releasing a R-Rated film which toys with continuity as much as it wants whilst still adhering to the much coveted cinematic universes that everyone is chasing after.

Whilst this is untrue, as it ignores the earlier releases of films like Kick-Ass and Super, it tells you one thing you should know; Deadpool is a hugely popular and very enjoyable movie.

Currently ranking in the top ten of a lot of comic-movie ranking lists, Deadpool tells the story of Wade Wilson; a former soldier who is confronted by the fact he has terminal cancer. Approached by a shady government type, Wilson undergoes a procedure that awakens his mutant gene; granting him a healing factor to rival Wolverine’s and a face that, in his own words, is completely “unfuckable”. But when his ‘creator’, the sinister typical British villain, Ajax, kidnaps his girlfriend, Wilson must don a superhero suit, and slice his way through Ajax’s grunts so that he can get revenge.

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If we’re honest, in terms of storytelling, the plot doesn’t really break any boundaries. If you reorganise the non-linear film, you’ll see that it is your basic ‘guy gets powers, fights bad-guys, saves girl’ story. This is highlighted particularly by the villains; neither of whom ooze personality, but this film isn’t about them.

No, the beauty of Deadpool comes from the title character himself. For those of you unfamiliar with Deadpool, he is known as the ‘Merc with a mouth’ due to his capacity for non-stop witty banter and crude jokes. It is probably one of the funniest comic films to date, with near every line the character utters having some sort of joke or hidden meaning in it. Does it always work? Of course not. But that’s true of most comedies. But with his ability to break the fourth wall and talk to the audience directly, Deadpool gives us something a bit different; whether that be commenting on his own film’s lacking budget or the smoothness of Hugh Jackman’s testicles; it which makes for interesting confrontations with established X-Man Colossus, and his protege Negasonic Teenage Warhead (the latter of whom was chosen entirely because of her name).

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It’s hard to believe that this is Director Tim Miller’s first big-screen outing, because on top of the hilarity brought on by Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick’s script, the film also has beautiful choreography, a great sound track, and is beautifully well-paced. He’s been given great tools to work with, and he’s utilized all of them well.

Ryan Reynolds has spent around a decade campaigning to make this film made; whether to see Deadpool in a film or to correct his previous failings in the previous films X-Men Origins: Wolverine and Green Lantern (both of which also get little in-jokes) and the result is one of the most enjoyable, comic-accurate and nonsensical characters ever to hit the big screen.

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(Although, that probably depends on your sense of humor, my hairdresser, for one, wasn’t a fan of all the swearing, so be prepared for that).

 
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Posted by on March 24, 2016 in Comic Books, Film & TV

 

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Film Review – Avengers: Age of Ultron

A Marvel Studios Film, Directed by Joss Whedon.

Released: 1st May 2015

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

Some Notes on my viewing experience: I was never going to enjoy Avengers: Age of Ultron as much as I wanted to for a number of reasons.

The first and foremost was the insane amount of commercials and marketing surrounding the film. On one hand, I can appreciate companies need to reiterate that they are not just flogging the same sort of film that we’ve seen countless times before. But on the other hand, this is The Avengers. As several commercials have said; the summer’s greatest heroes are back. This didn’t need to be sold. It was a sure success even if it turned out to be terrible. But this film may have finally been what I needed to encourage me to stop watching trailers; I’m a man with little self-control; I’m not very good with money, I drink, I smoke; I’m just generally a bit useless. So when a company offers me a glimpse at something I’m excited about, I’m going to watch the hell out of it. And that really backfired on this film. Apart from three rather insignificant plot points, I knew exactly what was going to happen every step of the way throughout the film. Not that it was predictable by any means; there are loads of twists and turns and surprises, but having seen various things online, I anticipated them all. If you’ve got to this stage without looking at any promotional material, I commend you, and if you’ve already started and are tempted to watch more, then I warn you now: don’t.

Another warning I would offer is to not see the film in 3D. Age of Ultron is a beauty to behold, but frankly, from the get go, there’s a lot going on. The film dives right into the action, as the Avengers set out of squash Hydra once and for all, and finish cleaning up the various messes they have made. There are some beautifully choreographed fight scenes, and every character gets a chance in the spotlight. But when you’ve got Captain America somersaulting around, Hawkeye and Black Widow gunning down villains, Iron Man blasting lasers, Thor zapping people with lightning and the Hulk lumbering about tearing things to pieces, trying to keep up really starts to hurt your eyes (and I have perfect vision, for the record).

But that’s enough complaining, frankly, because truth-be-told, those are both things that could have been avoided.

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Review [MINOR SPOILERS TO FOLLOW]: Joss Whedon expertly ties together the various strands from all the Marvel franchises into an interesting interwoven plot as the Avengers finally begin to finish clearing up the various messes they have made since the first film. Defeating Hydra, the Avengers are faced with the new evil of artificial intelligence, as Chitauri tech infects Tony Stark and Bruce Banner’s work to create the titular Ultron; a peacekeeping initiative who decrees the only way to peace is through humanity’s extinction. In their quest to defeat Ultron, the Avengers come to blows with one another and outside forces like Quicksilver and the Scarlet Witch, all the while, a new hero, the Vision, ascends to the battlefield.

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What’s great about this entry is that although Captain America, Thor and Iron Man do spend a lot of time in the spotlight, it is the other Avengers that really shine. Black Widow continues her gradual evolution to a place where the audience is really touched by her tragic back-story, whilst Hawkeye is shown to have a sense of humor and a heart that is more important to the team than just his bow and arrows. Meanwhile, Quicksilver and the Scarlet Witch manage to undergo interesting characters arcs that, whilst cementing them as some of my favorite characters in the film, didn’t take up too much time, avoiding putting off any potential naysayers. Even the Hulk, who can’t even speak, showed true depth of character, especially at the climax of the film.

The only characters who could have perhaps of done with more screen-time were War Machine, the Vision and the Falcon (the last of whom I really would have loved to see more of), but in a film so packed with characters, that was understandable, especially as it becomes clear at the end that we will be seeing a lot more of them, as all three characters join the new Avengers roster. But the problem with the Vision is although he was visually spectacular, to non-comic-fans (like my housemate) his whole story could seem rather bizarre. His powers aren’t explained at all; he just shows up, starts phasing through things and shooting lasers out of his head. Although I understood perfectly, having read far more comics in my lifetime than necessary, I could see how things like this left the otherwise great story with some plot-holes to pick at. For instance:

Why can a ‘mind gem’ shoot rays of light? What’s the point in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. if Nick Fury still has people loyal to him and his own mother-freakin’ Helicarrier? Why would Ultron Prime make his drones look cooler (and closer to the source material) than he is? And perhaps most important of all, why is Tony Stark’s armor now Irish? (Not that there’s anything wrong with that last one; but we agreed it seemed a tad out of place)

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Yes, those were some of the stupider ones I picked, but to these and more questions, the answers seemed to vary between ‘there isn’t any point’ and ‘because why not?’, which isn’t exactly what we as an audience were looking for.

But at this stage, in such a rapidly expanding universe, there are going to be a lot of plot holes and plot leaks to come, so just sit back and enjoy the ride, because Age of Ultron is both visually stimulating and awesomely exciting.

Plus Iron Man vs. the Hulk? Amazing.

 

 
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Posted by on April 24, 2015 in Comic Books, Film & TV

 

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Avengers: Age of Over-Saturation [Update]

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I was perhaps a bit hasty when I made my last post, thinking that at 11 TV spots, Marvel would stop releasing new clips. I was wrong. We’re now on TV spot 23. Not only that, but one of the main facets of the film that had been kept secret has now ALSO been released.

I mean, at this stage, what’s the point? If I didn’t live in Britain and still had to wait another week for this, I’d be tearing my hair out at how over-the-top Marvel  have gone with something that really didn’t need all that much hyping.

So here, ten days after my initial post, I’m going to amend my guess at the plot one last time before I see the film this evening. Tomorrow, I’ll follow through with a review, without spoiling the film (I read a review yesterday that spent four paragraphs going through the basic plot of the films opening; pretty sure you’re not meant to do that).

Here we go (obviously, potential spoilers ahead):

I’m still pretty confident with the majority of this first section:

  • The film starts with The Avengers as a unit; they’ve been together some amount of time since the end of The Winter Soldier, acting as a fill-in for S.H.I.E.L.D., funded by Iron Man and led by Captain America.
  • Together they stage an attack on a Hydra cell in Europe, and in the process come into conflict with Quicksilver and the Scarlet Witch, who have been empowered by Baron Strucker.
  • The Avengers take down most of the cell, and reclaim Loki’s staff from the first film. Black Widow reveals a deeper relationship with Bruce Banner as she calms the Hulk. Meanwhile, the twins escape.
  • The team regroup at the Avengers tower, after struggling with what they have just faced. However, they are one step closer to ending all the problems they have collectively caused over the years and going their separate ways.
  • Inviting War Machine and some other friends to the tower, Tony holds a party. As things begin to die down,Ultron (the combined brainchild of Tony and Bruce, now empowered by the scepter) reveals himself, and exclaims that the only way to achieve the peace they have all dreamed of is to wipe-out mankind.
  • After taking down his original form, Ultron’s A.I. escapes, but not before wiping out J.A.R.V.I.S. Rebuilding himself multiple times, he crosses the Atlantic and seeks out the twins, who are hateful of the Avengers due to Stark’s weapons having been the cause of their family’s death.

This next section is where some minor additions can be put in, but not much in the way of changes, unfortunately:

  • The team come to blows, as they now realize they cannot trust Tony, despite the fact he funds the whole operation. Eventually, they set aside their differences and reunite to go find Ultron.
  • The Avengers track Ultron and the twins down to somewhere around Africa, where Ultron has come to collect a metal known as Vibranium from a man named Ulysses Klaue (played by Andy Serkis as set up for Black Panther). They engage them once again, as the Scarlet Witch reveals the true extent of her powers, altering the minds of several of the team.
  • Whilst Captain America and Black Widow see their pasts, Tony see’s the destruction of the Avengers, and the Hulk is driven into a mad rage. Activating a fail-safe, Tony summons his Hulk-buster armor to the scene, and engages the Hulk in Johannesburg.
  • Ultron and the twins defeat the rest of the Avengers, and Ultron plans to launch his gathered nuclear arsenal at the world, but is stopped by the secret intervention of what remains of J.A.R.V.I.S…
  • Now scattered and in disarray, the Avengers retreat to Hawkeye‘s family cabin where they must once more put aside their differences. Cap and Tony enter a heated argument, seeding Steve’s next film, Civil War.
  • Whilst the other Avengers are at Hawkeye’s cabin, Thor has returned to Asgard, to seek more answers in regards to the Infinity Stones that are continuing to plague him and his friends; the Cube, the Scepter, the Aether and the Orb.
  • The team are brought together once again by Nick Fury, who insists they are humanity’s only chance of surviving Ultron.
  • Meanwhile, the twins come to blows with Ultron, when they realize the true extent of his plans.

What with this clip having now been shown, the content is less speculation so much as the location; it could well happen before the Avengers go to fight Ultron and the twins, but this seems like a safe bet:

  • Reuniting at Stark tower, the team reassembles, as J.A.R.V.I.S. manifests himself in a physical body that the team have recovered from Ultron, code-named: The Vision, who engages Thor as he struggles to come to terms with his new physicality.
  • The Avengers team-up with the twins, as Ultron plans to raise a city into the sky, and hurl it back at Earth as a weapon. Boarding the floating city, the Avengers engage Ultron’s army of… Ultrons.
  • Eventually, they win, obviously, as the Vision returns and kills his father/mentor/brother/whatever that is Ultron.

A potential death? Quicksilver, as a means of cementing Scarlet Witch’s allegiance to the Avengers.

  • The Avengers have saved the day, but realize they can no longer trust each other. Iron Man leaves the team, as does Thor, who must return to Asgard to halt the upcoming Ragnarok. Oh, and the Hulk’s probably lost in space when Ultron raises the city or something.
  • Without their main players, Captain America forms a new team of Avengers, consisting of Hawkeye, Quicksilver, Scarlet Witch, with Black Widow and the Vision as possibilities. Black Panther is also a possibility, although I doubt it.
  • Finally, in the mid-credits scene, Thanos tires of his lackey’s constantly failing him, steps up off of his throne and recovers his ‘Infinity’ Gauntlet, exclaiming that he will just recover the stones himself in preparation for Infinity War.

Which is kind of boring really, the leaked fake Spider-Man ending wasn’t great, but it was a bit more fun. Oh well, Civil War isn’t too far off…

 
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Posted by on April 23, 2015 in Comic Books, Film & TV

 

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Avengers: Age of Over-saturation

I’m allowing myself a break from my screenplay assignment for two reasons: the first being I’ve already written four drafts, and I need to move onto other things, and the second being I have Avengers: Age of Ultron constantly on my mind.

You all know the story, but here it is anyway, as narrated my Mr. Samuel L. Jackson:

All those (three) years ago, it was necessary to hype up such a thing as the Avengers. Sure, it was always going to do pretty well, but then nothing like this had ever really been done before. There were the X-Men and the Fantastic Four, but they built all their characters up in their own films, it wasn’t an ensemble piece like Avengers Assemble.

Now here we are, three years on, and the Avengers are reassembling to fight Ultron, a villain of their own making. But just like the market is getting slowly over-saturated with super-hero movies and television shows, our screens are way past saturation point with commercials and advertisements. The first Avengers film guaranteed that people would go see the second even if there was pretty much no marketing done for it, beyond a little info-drop about when it would be released.

But despite this, we’ve already had countless previews thrown at us, to the extent that, by the end of this post, I believe I can pretty accurately lay down the plot of the film. Fortunately for me, I live in Britain, so I only have to wait nine days or so, unlike all you unlucky Americans who have to wait until May.

So, obviously, if you’re adverse to trailers, look away, and if you’re worried I may be right (which at this stage shouldn’t be hard, considering we’ve all probably seen a good half of the film in two-minute snippets) then again, look away, because here goes nothing!

So first, we’ve got the main trailers:

In those alone, you get a pretty hefty look at the film. And then you’ve got the TV spots, which are packed with details:

Already, that’s a lot of info. Although it has neglected a lot of details about Paul Bettany’s Vision character. But as if all those weren’t enough, there are clips as well:

I’ll admit I hadn’t seen all of that second one before. I can’t say Im a fan of the way Ultron’s lips move; looks too cartoon-y. I always thought that was the worst part of the Transformers franchise as well (y’know, apart from the abominable plot), but I digress.

After all that, then there’s still all the promotional material like the Audi adverts. But frankly, I can’t be bothered with all those. I’d say this bulk is more than enough.

So, what have we got so far?

Going off those videos and any promotional interviews, we know the following:

  • The film starts with The Avengers as a unit; they’ve been together some amount of time since the end of The Winter Soldier, acting as a fill-in for S.H.I.E.L.D. and funded by Iron Man.
  • Together they stage an attack on a Hydra cell in Europe, and in the process come into conflict with Quicksilver and the Scarlet Witch, who have been empowered by Baron Strucker.
  • The Avengers take down most of the cell, and reclaim Loki’s staff from the first film. Black Widow reveals a deeper relationship with Bruce Banner as she calms the Hulk. Meanwhile, the twins escape.
  • The team regroup at the Avengers tower, after struggling with what they have just faced. However, they are one step closer to ending all the problems they have collectively caused over the years and going their separate ways.
  • Inviting War Machine and some other friends to the tower, Tony holds a party. As things begin to die down, Ultron (the combined brainchild of Tony and Bruce, now empowered by the scepter) reveals himself, and exclaims that the only way to achieve the peace they have all dreamed of is to wipe-out mankind.
  • After taking down his original form, Ultron’s A.I. escapes, but not before wiping out J.A.R.V.I.S. Rebuilding himself, he crosses the Atlantic and seeks out the twins, who are hateful of the Avengers due to their standing as a representation of American power.

Another potential death here could be that of Rhodey, seeing as he doesn’t appear in anymore promotional material.

  • The team come to blows, as they now realize they cannot trust Tony, despite the fact he funds the whole operation. Eventually, they set aside their differences and reunite to go find Ultron.
  • The Avengers track Ultron and the twins down to somewhere around Africa, where Ultron has come to collect a metal known as Vibranium from a man named Ulysses Klaue (played by Andy Serkis). They engage them once again, as the Scarlet Witch reveals the true extent of her powers, altering the minds of several of the team.
  • Whilst Captain America and Black Widow see their pasts, Tony see’s the destruction of the Avengers, and the Hulk is driven into a mad rage. Activating a fail-safe, Tony summons his Hulk-buster armor to the scene, and engages the Hulk in Johannesburg.
  • Now scattered and in disarray, the Avengers retreat to a cabin (possibly owned by Hawkeye‘s family) where they must once more put aside their differences. Cap and Tony enter a heated argument, seeding Steve’s next film, Civil War.
  • Whilst the other Avengers are at Hawkeye’s cabin, Thor has returned to Asgard, to seek out his own solutions, and perhaps confront Loki/Odin.
  • The team are brought together once again by Nick Fury, who insists they are humanity’s only chance of surviving Ultron.
  • Meanwhile, the twins come to blows with Ultron, when they realise the true extent of his plans.

This next part is pure speculation, but I’m not sure where else it would fit in.

  • Reuniting at Stark tower, the team reassembles, as J.A.R.V.I.S. manifests himself in a physical body, code-named: The Vision.
  • Thor returns, and engages the Vision, whom he sees only as an agent of Ultron, and drives him off.
  • Now mostly reunited, the Avengers team-up with the twins, as Ultron plans to raise a city into the sky, and hurl it back at Earth as a weapon. Boarding the floating city, the Avengers engage Ultron’s army of… Ultrons.
  • Eventually, they win, obviously, as the Vision returns and kills his father/mentor/brother/whatever that is Ultron.

Another potential death? Quicksilver, as a means of cementing Scarlet Witch’s allegiance to the Avengers.

  • The Avengers have saved the day, but realise they can no longer trust each other. Iron Man leaves the team, as does Thor, who must return to Asgard to halt the upcoming Ragnarok. Oh, and the Hulk’s probably lost in space when Ultron raises the city.
  • Without their main players, Captain America forms a new team of Avengers, consisting of Hawkeye, Quicksilver, Scarlet Witch, with Black Widow and the Vision as possibilities. Black Panther is also a possibility, although I doubt it.

So yeah. That happened. Or will happened. I’ll tell you in a week and a half. I’m kind of curious to see how I did, but also kind of annoyed that there’s this much out there.

I’m sure Joss Whedon will have found a way to stick a whole load of extra material in there, but as a person with no self-control, it is rather annoying that I’ve watched all this stuff. It’s probably why I drink and smoke so much. In my future I see gambling problems, getting in with the mob, and dying young. But at least before that happens, I’ll be able to tell my killers that I accurately predicted a film, and perhaps they’ll let me hang around as an informant.

I’ll tell you how that goes too. Assuming I survive the experience.

 
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Posted by on April 14, 2015 in Comic Books, Film & TV

 

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