Monday, May 4, 2015
F This Movie! - Avengers: Age of Ultron
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Also discussed this episode: Listen Up Philip (2014), The Congress (2014), While We're Young (2015), Digging for Fire (2015), Raiders! (2015)
Posted by Patrick Bromley at 5:00 AM
Labels: 2015 movies, avengers, avengers age of ultron, captain america, comic book movies, iron man, joss whedon, marvel, marvel studios, podcast, robert downey jr., summer 2015, superhero movies, thor
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I'll preface all of my comments with the statement that I know I need to see itReplyDelete
again, as Patrick says the second time you see a movie you see it for what it is
and not what you thought it would be. Having said that, this movie reminds me A
LOT of The Dark Knight Rises, and I don't mean that in a positive way. There is
way too much going on, and all of the great character interaction and moments
from the first Avengers have been reduced by a substantial amount. They are
still there, but the whole movie feels like a sprint at top speed to get to the
next big scene. One thing that really stood out to me as I was watching it is
how much this movie is setting up Infinity War, and I feel it was at the expense
of the movie they were making. They were so caught up setting the pieces up for
those two films, as well as a few others coming soon, they forgot to make Age of
Ultron. And while all of this may sound like I'm trashing the movie, I'm not.
It's a good movie, it's very enjoyable. But I went in thinking it was going to
be quite possibly the best Marvel movie yet, and it doesn't even come close to
that. And part of that is on me, and my expectations. But I couldn't help
feeling let down sitting in my seat. I know Joss Whedon has a ton of fans that
are very passionate, and he is a very talented man. But after seeing this, I'm
not nearly as disappointed that he's moving on from the Avengers movies.
Frankly, I expect someone with his level of experience and ability to know when
he needs to scale things back. I would argue that you could completely cut The
Vision out of the movie and it would not affect the plot in any meaningful way,
and that is just bad writing, no matter how good the writer in question is. And
I will say, and this is coming from a huge Marvel fan, this was the first time I
really felt that the huge universe concept was hurting the film I was watching.
When tensions boil over and there is fighting between Avengers halfway through
the movie, I thought they were really doing a good job setting up Civil War, and
then all of that tension and animosity seem to go away completely by the end.
Are these the same characters who are going to be fighting each other in the
next film? I know you want your audience to be happy, but you need to be willing
to leave things in a negative place sometimes.
Again, I liked the movie. And
I'll probably like it a lot more the second time when I know what to expect, but
this was the first time I felt like Marvel was making the mistake that I think
DC is making with their films, they were worried about hitting a grand slam, and
they didn't stop to make sure they had all their men on base first. You still
have to make this movie a great movie if you want people to show up for the next
one. I know that they will because Marvel is huge right now, but you don't want
to start losing momentum building to the biggest project you've ever attempted.
Talking about Listen Up, Philip you mention those fonts, and every time I saw those posters I flashed onto late 1960s and early 1970s novel cover fonts. This 1970 cover for Muriel Spark's The Driver's Seat is kind of the perfect example:ReplyDelete
I've been meaning to see The Congress since it came out and your description of it makes me think I'll probably really like it, but now I'm worried that I won't get it because I haven't seen Training Day yet.ReplyDelete
Regarding Ultron, I didn't feel like there was too much setup for the other installments in the franchise, but I also don't know the comics at all and barely keep track of the MCU so any setup or references probably went straight over my head. Then again, I liked the movie but didn't love it and maybe I would have loved it if it had replaced the unnecessary world building with the things you mention like explaining the importance of the infinity stones and all that.
I just saw the movie (and will listen to the podcast shortly) and thought it all served one unifying theme -- the threat of Ultron -- very well.ReplyDelete
I don't care about whether this or that was clearly from the comics, setting anything up for later; regarding the Infinity Stones, as the movie stated, 4 of them have been found so far, and we've seen that in previous films.
I know nothing about anything regarding an Infinity War or Wars, because I haven't read those comics, which comes back to why I don't care of they match up or set up or anything else: these are not comic books. They're movies. They are what they are, and SHOULD be, as they are different mediums.
As a flick, I found it amazing and loved it unreservedly.
I actually think this movie is really great, and personally I think it surpasses the first Avengers if for no other reason than we don't have 30-40 minutes of bad movie in the beginning. We get thrown immediately into this fun action, it doesn't just put us back where the first one started, time has passed, and they have just been doing stuff. I don't think that the characters get short changed at all really, I mean every few minutes it seems there is another beat that comes straight out if the characters and out of the acting that makes you smile. Personally, I see this as Hawkeye, Black Widow, and the Hulks movie, and since the first Avengers was really Iron Man and Captain America's movie I think that's a good choice.ReplyDelete
Also, Ultron really isn't a great villain, but James Spader puts in such great work as the voice of Ultron and gives it a very specific feeling and character to a part that could have been incredibly wooden and awful. But that goes for the whole movie. It's so well acted by every one of the main characters. Everyone has made very specific choices about who they are and what they are doing and it makes for a really well made movie.
It's just non stop fun. It's really well acted, it's confident, it knows what it is and what it wants to be, and it's just fun, and to me that's exactly what the first wanted to be, but had to spend all this time putting the gang together that it can't just enjoy these characters the way AoU does.
AoU does really seen like the older brother to The Avengers
Also for various reasons I saw this movie twice in one day, which is something I've never done before. That's how much fun I had.Delete
I can't wait for the epic superhero crossover where Night Doug battles Dracu-Doug.ReplyDelete
Maybe the scene at the end of the credits will tease Crisis on Infinite Dougs!
Doug, Captain America's nightmare was the dance he owed Peggy but never got to do. From, like, the first Captain America film.ReplyDelete
I really liked the movie too. I come to these things with all sorts of baggage, and I was pretty sure this was going to be the Marvel movie that crossed the series into the realm of every other big, dumb, dark summer movie. I wasn't even sure I wanted to see it. Thankfully for me, I was wrong. It wasn't dark at all (as the boys point out in the podcast) and actually felt fun, which is what I want from Marvel heroes. Don't bother with modern comic books; THIS is the way to do The Avengers. The comics haven't been this much fun in years and years. Dare I say, the Marvel Cinematic Universe has become the only Marvel Universe worth checking out? I dare. Ephemeral? Absolutely--but then again, these stories are taken from disposable entertainment. As far as big-budget movies go, they have more substance than most, which is kind of amazing. Cluttered and potentially doomed to collapse under its own weight? Oh yeah. That's inevitable. But until that happens, I'm enjoying the ride.ReplyDelete
Great podcast as usual, but I have to make one correction. Despite claims on social media over the weekend, there is, in fact, several Scarlett Johansson inspired Black Widow action figures available although several are store exclusives at Toys R Us and Amazon. This doesn't include the Pop Vinyl or Minimate versions nor any of the previous Hasbro BW releases. Just sayin'...ReplyDelete
I haven't had a chance to listen to the podcast yet, but I will say that Age of Ultron is a mess. I feel like people are being way too easy on it. I went into it with an open mind, and moderate expactations and it left me cold. In my opinion the plot managed to be confusing and borderline nonexistent all at once. Said plot was stretched to a ridiculous length. The romance between Nat and Bruce felt shoehorned in, as well as attempts to humanize Hawkeye. Thor takes a bath in a cave for some reason? Everyone is standup comedian, which is a huge problem for me. I'm not opposed to humour, and I don't want Marvel to go the DC route, but Jesus fuck. How are we supposed to feel anything for these characters? The stakes should be high, and mid-battle everyone is laughing and cracking wise. Also, the movie has a giant Aaron Taylor Johnson problem. That guy is the worst. "Ima Quicksilver, I runna fast..heeey". Also, its way too fucking long. I'm done now.ReplyDelete
I agree with all of this, and will add that the fighting is every bit as obnoxious and confusing as Doug said. I don't think fast-cutting and CGI are inherently to blame for this, though it obviously helps make a bad situation worse. Somewhat weirdly, I would say for a model on how to use fast-cutting and CGI without ever losing spatial continuity, and creating action scenes that feel weighted and physical in a believable sense you should watch Speed Racer. I think the race scenes in that movie are awesome and that the Wachowskis handle physics of mechanical movement better there than any post-CG movie I can think of. A shame the lesson seems to have been lost in the time between that movie and Jupiter Ascending, which is nearly as big a mess action-wise as Age of Ultron was.Delete
Great podcast as usual. Glad you guys enjoyed it, maybe the missing spark was the fact that the market is flooded with these movies? Would it feel more special if you saw these characters every couple years instead of several times a year? I really enjoyed the reunion of the main actors from Godzilla (2014). Talk about some memorable characters, who could ever forget Ford and Elle Brody? #FordBrodyReplyDelete
Great analysis guys, and I think your struggle with how to feel about this movie is way more common than you think. A lot of reviewers probably won't know how to describe that dichotomy between liking it alot but unfairly judging it at the same time, so they'll just pick a side.ReplyDelete
As far as the market flooding of these movies, I sometimes wonder if it's not a film industry attempt to imitate the recent success of television. Audiences are starting to get used to watching a cast of characters play out episodically over a long period of time instead of a standalone original story. So the movies are basically making their franchises into episodes instead of standalones. I could be crazy, but it's like they're afraid film audiences have no interest in just spending two hours with something then being done with it.
Just got out of Age of Ultron I thought it was solid, I didn't think it was necessarily better or worse than the first one. In the first and third act I could feel the Kevin Feige notes. I thought Spader was great as Ultron. I just wish there was more of Vision he was an interesting character.ReplyDelete
I have not seen AOU yet, I thought I had but I was wrong, im sure someone will get that jokeReplyDelete
Any how on the CGI thing, Digital noise as said on the podcast, I also feel we are all a bit bored with big CGI movies, I heard a great saying somewhere I've forgot where but I think either King or Landis said "Just because you can have a hundred Werewolf's running across the celling doesn't mean you should" very on the money
Great podcast from Tickler and Dracu, Cheers
I think that this movie will excel when it's able to be viewed in the scope of the entire series. It seems like maybe, despite all its careful planning, Marvel realized that they needed to get to point B. I think that's a testament to how well they've been able to give us all the information necessary while feeling leisurely in the past, though.ReplyDelete
Something I find really interesting is the CGI gap. I've grown up on CGI. At 23, special effects have been pretty spectacular for most of my film-viewing life. Other than when it's just plain bad, I don't even think about it. Now, I love older movies so I can understand the sort of nostalgia for a time when effects had to remain creatively grounded in what was physically possible but the only time I ever hear complaints is from those that didn't grow up with it. Maybe it's less that there is too much CGI and more that there's a block that keeps you from getting swept away in the magic of it without remembering the man behind the curtain.