REVIEW: Age of Ultron

My brain is full to overflowing with opinions on Marvel's newest offering. However, I don't like to rip, puff up, or spoil a movie for people who haven't seen it. So, allow me to give you a few spoiler-free thoughts on The Avengers: Age of Ultron.

If you follow us on Twitter, you may have seen my initial reaction after catching the film on Thursday night. The most concise and useful bit of information I can give you is that I'm looking forward to seeing it again and soon. That means I fully endorse the film for your watching pleasure. Your hard-earned entertainment dollar will absolutely be well spent. The film isn't perfect but it is definitely fun. So, let's talk about what you'll like...

The Humor

It's "on point" as the kids would have said 5-10 years ago. Age of Ultron is loaded with jokes and nearly every one of them hits its mark with a handful that absolutely crush. And the jokes come from every direction, not just Iron Man. Thor, Hawkeye, and even Ultron are in on the act. It's nice to see them take full advantage of the material Thor provides as the oddest-man-out in the room, rather than ignoring that he is a Norse demigod from an other-dimensional planetoid.


The nerds are going to love it because this thing is DENSE with plot seeds for the future and tons of Marvel easter eggs. But, at no point did it all feel distracting. The movie is definitely packed to the gills but I can't recall thinking they tried to do too much. Lots of supporting characters from the various franchises make small appearances, but they never feel like cheap cameos. It makes sense for them to be there. They actually serve the story and blend right in. The film takes for granted that we already know these people and moves on. There is no re-introduction which is actually kind of cool, keeps things moving, and adds to the mystique of the Marvel Cinematic Universe that they've built.

It Works

Well enough, anyway. At no point during the film did I question the logic of what was going on and, looking back at it, that is almost unfathomable. There are so many moving pieces in Age of Ultron, for it all to fit together and make sense is a huge credit to Joss and any other writers who worked on it. You want a storyline to seem natural and inevitable by the time you reach the end and that's what we get here. Plus, as always with Marvel, things are wrapped up nicely. The ending feels like an ending. Despite the fact that we know everything that's yet to come (and the movie doesn't hide from that) we still close another chapter and feel completely satisfied.

So what doesn't work? Well I'm not going to tell you. Go see the movie. Enjoy; without the burden of my opinions or anyone else's. Then we can all sit around and talk about it and analyze it a little too much. Like I said, it does have problems. I would even call one of them inexcusable. But, there is zero doubt in my mind that you are going to have a really good time watching it.

REVIEW: X-Men: Days of Future Past

The WSF boys are getting together for a creative meeting tonight and that's a big deal, but it really doesn't help fill the Notes column until after the meeting. So, why I don't give you some thoughts on the latest X-Men film, Days of Future Past.


So everybody just cool your jets on that one. It is, however, the second best and that's pretty darn good considering everything Bryan Singer and his writers were up against. X2 was obviously the top of this franchise. X2 is a lean, mean and nearly perfect bit of superhero storytelling; easily in the top three of all time, if not #1. It has balance, it has pace, it has the most genuine emotion I've seen from the genre, and it doesn't have to navigate through four films worth of garbage continuity in order to right the ship. X2 had one objective; to tell the best story it possibly could. Days of Future Past is juggling two casts, multiple timelines, and accounting for the sins of other movies that Singer had no part of. What they managed to accomplish with this film was no less impressive and was possibly more difficult than what Whedon had to contend with on The Avengers.


If there is one thing that Bryan Singer continues to do better than anyone else, it is how to interpret superpowers on the big screen. X2, Days of Future Past, and even Superman Returns have one huge set piece that almost define the films they're in. Nightcrawler's infiltration of and attack on the White House in X2 made my cranium explode and really opened our eyes as to what was possible. For Days of Future Past, it was Quicksilver in the kitchen. The creativity of these scenes, the visuals involved, the way he chooses to shoot them... I'm not sure to what degree Singer himself is responsible for this or the other members of his team, but the captain gets the credit and clearly his films continue to deliver the awe-inspiring moments. Continuing on that note...


He delivered the best scene in the movie, some of the funniest moments, and the character was just likable. Which is funny, because the Quicksilver of comics has always been one of the most consistently cranky and unlikable characters in the Marvel U. The big story here is the fallout this has on Marvel's decision to include a Quicksilver of their own in Avengers 2. If I'm Joss Whedon or Aaron Taylor-Johnson, I walk out of Days of Future Past thinking, "Well, craaaaaap." Fox's Quicksilver was first and he was really good. Even worse is the beauty and fun of that scene in the kitchen. You can't top it. It's a uniquely tough challenge that the Marvel gang has made for themselves.


Fassbender has gravity on screen. He makes everything feel real. A star among stars. You can't help but watch everything he does. Part of me wishes old Magneto had never existed, just so we could get more of the young version. (Also so he never ends up in that fancy half-cape and space-age helmet from the first two X films.)


It was nice to see James Marsden / Cyclops back in the fold. Not so much, furry Kelsey Grammer. Can we please erase X-Men: The Last Stand from our collective consciousness now? Ugh, what a waste. That third movie should have been Singer's mutant masterpiece. Instead, he leaves to make a much maligned Superman movie and we got stuck with flipping Brett Ratner.  Brett Ratner?!