All original written content is (c) 2015 Mike Pascale. Visual content is (c) its respective owners. Bru-Hed is a trademark of All Ages Media and Mike Pascale.
NEWBIES: If this is your first trip here (welcome!), here’s the QT on what these reviews are.
THIS WEEK: The long-awaited sequel to one of the greatest comic-book/superhero movies ever made finally hits theaters like the Hulk on steroids. (The multiplex where I saw it had it on five different screens, including 3D DFX–many were sold out.) The Avengers deal with an AI gone bad (notice a theme? I just reviewed Ex Machina) in the form of a giant nasty Stark robot who wants to bring to life his “vision” of exterminating the human race. Big fights ensue. Stark gets snarky. Thor hammers. Cap leads. Black Widow kicks butt and shows hers off. Hawkeye shoots arrows. Hulk smashes. (A lot.) Plus Quicksilver and Scarlett Witch. Fanboy funfest!
Written and directed by Joss Whedon. Characters created by Jack Kirby and Stan Lee (credited, but not in that order, of course. The guy that’s alive always gets top billing).
- Same cast: Chris Evans, Robert Downey Jr., Chris Helmsworth, Scarlett Johansson, Mark Ruffalo and Jeremy Renner. Also Elizabeth Olsen as Scarlet Witch and Aaron Taylor-Johnson as Quicksilver. Plus a couple very cool surprises, including several old friends from past films. (Sorry, THOR fans, no Loki.) You can find out who on the imdb.com database, but it may spoil some of it for you as some folks don’t show up till half or more the way thru the film.
- Surprise! Lots of action, explosions, punches, smashing and cool poses. Everything you expected, just more of it. Battle between “Hulkbuster” Iron Man and the un-jolly green giant especially a blast, pun intended.
- James Spader (THE BLACKLIST) as the voice of Ultron was the perfect casting. Same with Jarvis (Paul Bettany). Spader is one of the best casting choices ever. What’s not to love about an anti-Stark snarking bot?
- Another surprise: special effects! Though the opening scene actually looked a bit wonky, the rest of the film looked top-notch awesome. Hulk especially looked very good. (MIKE: True, nothing that large could move that quickly due to physics, but we really don’t care, do we? The anatomy was mostly very accurate compared to previous Hulk movies. And the likeness to Mark Ruffalo was well done and well-balanced–looked enough like him but also like the Hulk should.)
- If you like to see buildings busted and cars crushed, this is probably your best bet of the year. Godzilla could even be envious.
- Stan Lee’s cameo is brief but hilarious! One of my top five.
- TWO red-hot scarlets for the price of one! Johansson, though preggers during some of the shooting, is shown in her usual tight-as-skin, boobs-and-buns-hugging leather, and Olsen shows that she is hotter than her more famous/infamous sisters. Nice bra, too!
- You will believe a city can fly.
- Calming the Hulk down to change back to Banner is a lot tougher than it looks. But cool to see it done in real time.
- Tie-in with the AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D. TV show. And a bunch of comics old and new. (Listen for names of places and people.)
- Some insights into Cap and Black Widow’s pasts, Iron Man’s psyche, and Thor’s world events (that I’m guessing lead into his next flick). Cap’s call for Iron Man’s language at the very beginning was right on character. What a square! (MIKE: No, he’s just that much better because he doesn’t need to swear.)
- We get less Stark/Iron Man and Thor, and more Banner/Hulk and Barton/Hawkeye. Nice way to flesh out the characters more. We see a side of Hawkeye that many didn’t know existed (including fanboy Pascale).
- The button after the main credits is a must-see, especially for fans of a certain artist. (Sorry, no spoilers!)
- FROM MIKE: As usual, lots of great artists and writers are credited at the end. But blink and you’ll miss ‘em.
- The plot is very linear and straightforward, even more so than the first one. There are some hints at intrigue and future stuff, in-jokes/references, a lot of tech and info on some mystical-powered items, but otherwise it’s just one big “stop the bad guy” mission. If you want plot twists, pull some pages out of a mystery novel and make a pretzel.
- If you have one of the most popular catch phrases in comics, SAY IT. The whole thing. Don’t be cute or sneaky about it; otherwise it’s just frustrating and lame. (See Sam Raimi’s SPIDER-MAN and TERMINATOR 2 for how to do it right.)
- NO END OF CREDITS BUTTON. You get a brief one after the main titles and that’s it. Gotta be the first time for a Marvel film. WHY? Too many people staying the theater preventing clean-up for the next showing? Dumb bummer.
- Speaking of credits, there are so many peeps involved in this thing that there are two columns of names rolling at once and they race by so quickly, I couldn’t read half of the ones I was looking for. (I guess that’s why there’s imdb.com.)
- Someone cool dies. I think I can understand why but they really didn’t need to. Could have been a good asset and fun to watch in future films.
- Reality bites: Considering the damage caused by the team (directly or indirectly), even Warren Buffett, let alone Tony Stark, would be on food stamps after paying the cities back and settling all the obvious lawsuits!
- FROM MIKE: The new uniforms/costumes. Scarlet Witch looks more like the Scarlet Streetwalker (a good thing to Bru, of course) and is immediately dated (her “hex power” is replaced by a type of energy-repulsor blast). Quicksilver’s outfit has a nod to the comics version but only as a shirt, and comes off more gray than blue–without his trademark hair style. One other character’s uni is very cool though, despite being noticeably different from his John Buscema design but I won’t say who it is.
- The problem when the Hulk is on your team is that sometimes you have to ignore the obvious. Before the climactic battle scene, Hulk could have wiped out half the bad guys with one giant hand slap. And he could have crushed Ultron with one punch. But then it wouldn’t have been as fun of a battle–or as long of a movie.
- Ultron’s face, while a nice design and expressive for the actor, is nowhere near as scary or menacing as the comics version. (MIKE: Again, thanks to John Buscema’s brilliant design.)
I still like the first AVENGERS (and GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY) better, but this will be a necessary addition to any Marvel or superhero fan’s collection. The DVD should have a ton of cool extras and behind-the-scenes stuff to make it worthy of yer dough. (At least it better!) But you gotta, gotta, gotta see it on the big screen to appreciate the power and punches! (I didn’t see it in 3D or IMAX so I can’t comment, but I’m sure they looked awesome.) Avengers Assemble again!
P.S.: Pascale has drawn most of the team at one time or the other. Time for a commission to commemorate the flick, fans! Or how about YOU or a pal/loved one as one of the characters? He’ll do it. Just ask Craig here!
DISCLAIMER: The opinions expressed herein are not necessarily those of Wednesday’s Heroes, Mike Pascale, Marvel Studios, S.H.I.E.L.D., Hydra, Joss Whedon, Buffy, the Serenity crew, streetwalkers, teenagers, speedsters, whizzers, flashes, witches, Warlocks, purple titans, vibranium miners or anyone else in comics or movies. The next Avengers is the INFINITY WAR, which Bru thinks has battling Japanese cars.