The Avengers: Age of Ultron Review

19 05 2015

Ultron_Group

First of all, sorry about the late review. I’ve assembled (zing!) twice now in the theaters to see this popcorn blockbuster known as Age of Ultron, but life happens, and it’s not like anyone was waiting for my opinion anyway. BUT, I do want to talk about this latest entry. Ultron is less straightforward than the first Avengers film, but that’s actually a good thing in my view. I like that they created their own greatest fear (pointed out by Ultron), and also the whole twin subplot. In addition, we got everything most people want in these movies. More heroes and villains? Check. Easter eggs and crazy action scenes, including that sweet slow-mo sequence around the “key”? Double check.

That’s not to say this was a perfect movie. The weakest parts of this and most current Marvel movies were the awkward setups for another movie. Hey look, Asgard is going to pot for some reason. Don’t really care now. Go fight Ultron. I’m going to watch the next Thor movie, Marvel. Just quit reminding me that there are more movies with these characters, because that really takes the tension out of this one.  Please just make a solid, standalone movie, preferably one without a random cave sequence with a side character (steps down from soapbox).

In other news, Black Widow has no idea who she likes. I mean, first Avengers, who is she paired with? That’s right class, Hawkeye. And remember how she flirts and kisses Bruce Banner in Captain America: The Winter Soldier? Oh wait, that was Captain America. Anyway, if you accept this left-field mood swing (who HASN’T had this happen in a relationship? Sorry, bitter.), it’s not too unbearable. Call me whatever you want, but the scenes with their awkward flirty banter dragged on too long for my tastes.

James Spader Ultron poster

Don’t get on his Black List.

The original magic of seeing all the separate heroes in one movie is gone, but honestly there’s no way that could be replicated. Perhaps the new Avengers at the end will help in the next one? I actually enjoyed how we could jump straight into their team fighting a massive battle in the first scene. And, despite what I said about Thor’s visions, the Avengers’ fearful dreams caused by Scarlet Witch’s manipulations were a brilliant way to deepen each character, while still advancing the plot. I’m looking forward to more of the new recruits, but it will be depressing if we don’t get to watch the originals’ fun dynamic anymore.

James Spader and Elizabeth Olsen were my standout favorites. Elizabeth Olsen (thankfully not the twins) hasn’t been in a lot of big movies, and that actually helped her character’s innocence in a way. She and Quicksilver were convincing along their personal journeys. James Spader basically played Robot James Spader, and that’s a good thing. Some comic book purists apparently took issue with him not being as menacing as in the comics, but he DID nearly destroy the entire Earth, right? Not too shabby, all while being zany in a creepy way. Look, when have we ever been worried that the villain will win in these movies? There’s way too many more movies to make. Finally Vision was interesting, but I have no idea where they’re going with his character, especially after a random god reference. Don’t expect him to help out in any solo movies soon- he’s way too powerful.

Elizabeth Olsen

I seem to remember Quicksilver from a separate movie universe…

Hawkeye also got some great moments with meta one-liners and self-deprecating humor (We’re fighting an army of robots, and I’ve got a bow. None of this makes sense.)  Speaking of humor, the jokes never stopped dropping. Some worked, and some didn’t, but nothing was as painful as say, Transformers’ idea of humor. For example, the hammer lift sequence was a genuinely funny moment that played off each character in a natural way. And of course Robert Downey Jr. starred as his rich, funny self.

Overall, there were tons of eye-candy, action scenes, humor and just about every Marvel character that’s been in this universe (besides Loki). There were so many random story lines and characters (literally) flying around I’m surprised it wasn’t a complete mess, but I guess that’s a testament to Josh Whedon. Unfortunately, yes, this is his last entry in the Marvel Movie Universe (sigh). Will he jump over to DC? Who knows, but it’s going to be hard to match his style of film-making next two Avengers, since it seemed to complement the theme and tone so well. Either way, he’s given audiences the two of the more enjoyable blockbusters of the last few years, and that’s worth some revelry.

If only this had happened.

If only this had happened.





“YHWH” – Person of Interest Finale Review (Season 4, Episode 22)

6 05 2015

POI banner

Another Person of Interest finale, another game-changing ending. Dominic and Elias’ war finally ends in a deadly way. The Machine is all but destroyed, reduced to a miniscule fragment of itself. Samaritan takes out Control and all her cronies. Reese shoots half the kneecaps in New York City.

The “Correction” reveal was the cornerstone that explained how this episode (and kind of the entire season) fit stogether. The “Correction” wasn’t a massive terrorist attack, but a way to draw all the major rival players out and take them down at once. Samaritan may not have started the Dominic vs. Elias gang war, but it certainly exploited it. Not to mention how it also allowed Samaritan to neatly take out Control and her crew (RIP, Grice!). These all came off as genuine surprises, because most people had been expecting this to be the end of Samaritan and the beginning of Control working more on The Machine’s side. It looked like she had the upper hand, and gosh it was exquisite seeing her taunt Greer as he supposedly was beaten. Also, way to go away from the norm and not have Samaritan’s big plan be a large-scale attack. All signs were pointing to it, but instead we got a neat surgical strike on everyone Samaritan deemed to be a cause of wrong (except Team Machine of course).

I couldn’t believe it when both crime heavyweights got KO’d at the end. Obviously, we weren’t done when they were put into the police car next to each other (poor choice). When Elias’ henchman rams the car and flips it, I was surprised but satisfied. When they both stumbled out of the car, and then got sniped, my jaw  dropped. Dominic (Winston Duke) was an excellent rival to Elias (Enrico Colantoni), and their turf war this season was a highlight. He made a great villain for season 4, and there was definitely still some potential there, such as if he really had been in Harold’s class in 2 Pi R. But Elias? I refuse to believe he’s gone until proven otherwise. He certainly got hit in a less-lethal area than poor Dominic. If he did get killed there, the show’s going to have a big hole that won’t be filled in the criminal world.

Besides being a nonstop thrill ride with show-altering twists, this hour featured a heck of a lot of characters from Person of Interest’s rich lineup. Everyone from season 4 was here- Iris, Harper, Dominic, Elias, Grice, Control, etc., and then the writers even brought back the random POI Caleb from season 2. They all fit because they had a role in the drama. It’s not usual to have that many characters in one episode, so it was a fun event, even if half of them got gunned down. The Machine itself finally became a true character here, with an oddly emotional conversation with Harold as it lay dying. Dang, POI, stop making my eyes foggy.

So what’s next? Team Machine is basically in the same position as last year, only a little worse. The Machine will have to be carried around and eventually rebuilt, but will it be the same? How will they still get numbers? Maybe we’ll get even more serialized in Season 5. Will Control ever come out of the deep, dark hole she’s about to go into? Are any of their cover identities intact?  And don’t forget Shaw- will they find her, and will she be with Samaritan now? And who’s the sniper dude? All I can say is, there better be a new season.

Root Michael Emerson Machine POI Finale

Computer Club just got more intense.

Points of Interest:

1. “Detective Fusco, and you’re under arrest jackass!” – best line goes to Fusco

2. Finch: “Are you out of your mind?”    Root: “When has that ever been relevant?”

3. This show always uses songs perfectly to set the mood, and Pink Floyd’s “Welcome to the Machine” was no exception.

4. The entire ending sequence was cool and dark enough to be a series ending, but I’m hoping we’ll get a bit more closure than that if POI is renewed this fall.There’s still a bit of ground to cover.

5. Person of Interest‘s finales simply do not disappoint. Period. Bring on next season CBS!

Final Score:

POI five bear