With the hype at an all time high Joss Whedon and Marvel had to… MoreWith the hype at an all time high Joss Whedon and Marvel had to deliver big time. Judging by my score I think that you think I'm going to say that it did. Maybe it did, but I can certainly see where it didn't.
For me this movie delivered. It gave me exactly what I wanted but I most certainly heard a lot of confused chatter at the end of the film from casual movie goers. Perhaps the complex tale that Marvel is weaving might be starting to overwhelm some of its audience. I heard more than a few people who were either underwhelmed by the final or scene or outright confused about what direction they were going in next. If the box office is to be believed from the onset there already appears to be a teeny tiny drop off. Maybe its possible that things could be finally starting to wear on the unstoppable juggernaut that has been Marvel Studios.
Let's forget the doom and gloom and lets talk about a truly great superhero movie. As I said, Age of Ultron met my high expectations it did what the first film did and topped it. Not only that it added deeper character elements that were missing from the first. They bravely spit right in the eye of everyone who naysayed Jeremy Renner's "Hawkeye" by making him a figure point in this film. Often times he is the glue that holds the team together and is involved in several crucial moments.
When I say that Age Of Ultron topped the first movie I mean it. The scope is almost too much to handle. The film is a roller coaster ride with EPIC lengthy battles sandwiching really good "people in a room talking things out" moments. There are a bevy of cameos from other Marvel films and a few really great debuts as well. There are also a LOT of dropped hints pertaining to future Marvel films as well.
No one real performance stands out except for James Spader as Ultron. From the few out of context scenes I saw I wasn't overly impressed but seeing it all come together on screen was a thing to behold. Spader handled menacing about as well as anyone plus walked a tight rope balancing lunacy and the whit of his creator Tony Stark.
If people are having a hard time following things though Age Of Ultron only makes it worse. A lot of seeds have been planted for the future and unless you have your scorecard handy it might be tough to follow them all. This isn't going to be a problem for me but I can see it becoming an issue for others considering the sheer amount of Marvel films being released between now and the next Avengers film.
Ultimately if you are a Marvel super fan and you have been following along since the start you will find nothing but happiness in Age Of Ultron. If you are not then you will still likely have a good time even if you have no idea what is going on. At the end of the day even without context Joss Whedon and company still put on a tremendous show that will keep your eyes glued to screen for 2 and a half hours.
If you are a DC comics fan that wants to know how it is that Marvel… MoreIf you are a DC comics fan that wants to know how it is that Marvel continues to the rake in cash and the critical praise for each and every release it hands the public, then I suggest you start by watching the sequel to "Captain America: The First Avenger". While it is definitely not the best best jumping off point for someone who wants to dip their toes into the Marvel Cinematic Universe "The Winter Solider" will show you exactly why Marvel has been so successful.
For Marvel's first phase of films (that culminated with The Avengers) they made a series of straight up blockbuster superhero origin stories. But now that Marvel has moved into Phase II they are just turning out movies that are solely in the same vein as the others that came before.
Captain America: The Winter Solider is a superhero film, but it is also equal parts espionage thriller. Marvel is starting to bend genres around their superhero films and they are doing it to GREAT effect.
Since waking up in the present Steve Rogers (Captain America) has had a bad feeling about working with Nick Fury and SHIELD, and while the events in this movie prove Cap right, they are also led down a path that even Fury himself didn't see before it was too late. It all comes to a head when Cap realizes than an old enemy is still lurking in the shadows and when he faces off with the Winter Solider as well (Sebastian Stan).
As always Marvel mixes together a perfect blend of seriousness with levity, and with all due respect to The Avengers.....The Winter Soldier might be one of the coolest thrill ride actions movies EVER. From the fights, to the car chases, and the explosions...everything was paced out perfectly and were just visually stunning.
Cap isn't alone either. We get to know Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) a lot more, and we even get to see some character development for Sam Jackson's Nick Fury. Anthony Mackie joins the superhero squad as Falcon and even though he i a little too sidekick-ish at points he is super charming and lends a lot of humor to the proceedings along with kicking some ass.
The story shakes the MCU to it's core and will also rapidly transform the ABC show Agents of SHIELD so in the cannon of this movie universe it will have last repercussions, but even if you forget all of that Captain America: The Winter Solider is a very good movie standing all on its own and maybe the best Marvel movie to date. It's going to take another watch or two before I can rank it in there with the first Iron Man or The Avengers but The Winter Solider is most definitely a high point for Marvel Studios!