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Review: Avengers: Age of Ultron

Avengers: Age of Ultron is like a new episode of the biggest, most expensive TV show of all time. It’s not the event that the first movie was, and it might not be as Earth-shattering as I expected, but Age of Ultron is nonetheless a fun, exciting and action-packed movie starring all of our favorite superheroes. And therein lies my biggest complaint, which is really a non-complaint.

There’s a familiarity to Age of Ultron that leads to contentment. The movie doesn’t really give us anything new to get excited about, instead delivering just another solid chapter in this ongoing saga.

Movie Rating: 8/10 – Very Good.

I liken Age of Ultron to a TV show because that’s exactly what it felt like while I was watching. I may have been in a packed movie theater, and it’s been three years since the last episode, but Ultron was definitely the ‘monster-of-the-week’ in the latest episode of The Avengers. All of our favorite characters are back, their friendly, comfortable banter is exactly what we’d expect, and everything is more or less tied up in a nice, tidy bow by the end. Lessons are learned, a little romance is slipped in, and now we just sit back and wait for the next episode.

I don’t think I’ve ever felt this way with any movie sequel before. It’s a weird feeling.

But the episodic feel doesn’t keep the movie from being entertaining. It’s an exciting film from beginning to end. In the big picture sense, the movie is amazing. But when you step back and really think about all the moving parts, it’s not without some flaws. Director Joss Whedon juggles a few too many characters, so that some get a lot of attention — like Hawkeye, in some standout moments — while others are little more than props — like Thor, who spends most of his time dropping hints about future movies.

The new characters are a mixed bag. The titular villain, Ultron, is too entertaining to be menacing. That’s an odd way to describe a super villain, but it’s exactly how actor James Spader pulls it off.

I like Age of Ultron, a lot. It’s not as good at the first Avengers film, largely because the spectacle has worn off, but also for a lot of little reasons. Yet overall, it’s another exciting film in my favorite franchise of all time, despite those little reasons.

Join me after the jump for my full, detailed review. And there will be SPOILERS!

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And Just Like That, I’m Totally in Favor of Marvel’s New Inhuman Policy

There has been a lot of talk about the Inhumans recently, and for good reason. For one thing, they’re going to get their own big budget movie in 2018 as part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. For another thing, there has long been a rumor that Marvel wants to reposition the Inhumans in their comic book universe to take over for the X-Men, because FOX Studios owns the rights to the X-Men movies, and Marvel wants to find a way around that.

For the longest time, I thought this was a ridiculous idea. I’ve never been an Inhumans fan, and I thought it was just silly for Marvel to force them down our throats just to get their way and spite FOX.

But after watching the mid-season finale for Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and reading Axis #7, my normally curmudgeony mind has been altered! It’s as if I’ve personally undergone comic book Terrigenesis!

Even Blackbolt cheered when Skye shot that guy!

Consider me completely on board with Marvel’s new Inhumans policies and plans. I’m a huge fan of the X-Men, but right now, they are old news. The Inhumans are the way to go, and I can’t wait to see all of Marvel’s plans come to fruition!

What the heck am I talking about? Join me after the jump to see what I mean! Oh, and SPOILERS for Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Axis and Avengers: Age of Ultron!

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X-Men: Days of Future Past Tries Really Hard, One Last Time, to Get Us to Like Quicksilver

The final trailer for X-Men: Days of Future Past landed on the Internet today, and it include an extended sequence of Quicksilver in action. From everything I’ve heard about his limited role in this film, I’m fairly certain FOX is just playing up Quicksilver as much as possible to get ahead of Avengers 2. From Day One, FOX has really tried to stick it to Marvel using Quicksilver.

See for yourself.

From what I’ve read online, Quicksilver is only going to be used to help break Magneto out of prison, as you can see in that trailer. They’re not even going to reference the fact that, in the comics, Quicksilver is Magneto’s son. His parentage not going to come up in the movie. He has this one scene and then I believe he’s out of the film.

But as you can see, he’s the focal point of the final trailer.

Though something tells me that Avengers: Age of Ultron is going to win out in the end.

Personally, I think Days of Future Past could be a lot of fun, but it also looks like a lot of…everything. There’s so much stuff going on in this trailer. Dozens of new mutants, complicated time travel, Sentinels, Iceman, the joining of the two X-franchises; part of me fears this is all just going to be a hot mess.

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Review: All-New X-Factor #5

Well glue forks to my hands and call me Wolverine, I actually liked this issue of All-New X-Factor! I’ve been pretty hard on the series so far, but I really felt that Peter David’s writing and characters were finally starting to gel in this issue. Yes, he still has them rush off to face the next big, elaborate bad guy, but the first issue is all about slowing down the pace and letting us get to know who these characters are and why they’re doing what they’re doing. That is fundamental to appreciating fiction. You can’t just throw a bunch of superheroes onto a team together and have them fight bad guys.

X-Factor #5

Yet that’s exactly what PAD did for the start of All-New X-Factor, but he’s finally getting into the substance of why these characters are together and what motivates them to be a part of this series and this team. It’s a definite step in the right direction.

Comic Rating: 7/10 – Good.

The problem with All-New X-Factor is that it doesn’t have a soul. There doesn’t seem to be any greater purpose to the comic or any larger story that PAD is trying to tell. From issue #1, it’s felt like generic superhero mediocrity. It’s as if Marvel really wanted to relaunch X-Factor but didn’t have any good ideas, so PAD just grabbed a bunch of random X-characters and threw them together on a team. Not that any of this has really been fixed in the new issue. But at least with with All-New X-Factor #5, I’m finally starting to see what this endeavor means for these characters and why they’re putting up with it.

In a lot of ways, I definitely think PAD has a good idea on his hands; several, in fact. First there’s the idea of the first corporately-owned superhero team operating in the Marvel Universe. What does that mean for all involved and for the MU as a whole? Second, and more importantly, is the idea that these characters have all been down this road before, and they know this isn’t how such things are done. What do the superheroes themselves think when they’re randomly put together on a team? Unfortunately, five issues in, I don’t think PAD has really focused on either of those ideas very well. He really seems content to just tell random stories about his random X-heroes fighting random bad guys. That’s disappointing. I think PAD either needs to start focusing on the characters and their individual journeys or he needs to reveal the larger Serval Industries plot, because random fights against the Magus or whoever aren’t going to sell comics in this day and age.

All-New X-Factor finally delivers a worthwhile issue, but it’s not without the same faults that continue to plague this series. Join me after the jump for the full synopsis and more review.

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Just When We Thought Quicksilver Might Look Normal

Listen, moviemakers of the world, Quicksilver’s white hair is not that important of a character trait! I know he has white/silver hair in the comics, but there’s nothing about his character, his powers or his potential stories that require the white/silver hair in live action adaptations. Especially when it looks ridiculous!

None of the above is intrinsic to a live action adaptation

We already know that Quicksilver in X-Men: Days of Future Past is going to look hideous.

But for a brief moment, we thought Quicksilver in Avengers: Age of Ultron would look pretty cool. Remember those concept art pieces that Marvel debuted next week?

Well some shutterbugs at the official filming in Italy have snapped some live action pictures of actors Aaron Taylor-Johnson and Elizabeth Olsen as Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch. Forget the Quicksilver concept art, because he looks nothing like the image, and instead looks really, really bogus. Mostly. I guess I still prefer this Avengers look to the X-Men version, but man, it’s harsh.

Click after the jump to see the SPOILER images.

 

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