Avengers and the MCU

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Re: Avengers 2 Age of Ultron

Post by Dan » April 3rd, 2015, 10:29 pm

EricJ wrote: Think they killed Wanda off in the comics anyway, so the current canon isn't going to be much help.
Like most deaths in super hero comics, her apparent death didn't last.

Marvel has been doing some more reworking in the books to run parallel with the MCU as they recently did a bit in the AXIS storyline where it's discovered Magneto is not really Wanda and Pietro's father (this was done where a morally warped Wanda casts a spell to punish those of her blood and only Pietro was affected). Thereby in Marvel canon the twins aren't considered mutants any more.

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Re: Avengers 2 Age of Ultron

Post by Vernadyn » April 6th, 2015, 5:35 pm

This is a first world problem, but it can be time-consuming (and costly, unless you cheat and use Wikipedia) to keep up with the years and years of Marvel and DC lore. I read Whedon's Astonishing X-Men, and while I enjoyed it, there were events (involving Professor X and Emma Frost in particular) that probably would have made more sense if I had been an avid comics reader. Many see Mark Millar's Civil War as a landmark in Marvel comics, but I came to it cold and thus didn't really find it a story that could stand on its own very well. There were too many characters who just appeared without really doing much. (I much preferred Millar's Ultimates and Ultimates 2--probably partly because you didn't need to know a lot beforehand). I mean, I have maybe a dozen TPBs/hardcovers, but that's just a drop in a massive ocean.

At the end of this year, there will have been 12 MCU movies. So even though that seems like a lot, it still does provide an easier and less intimidating entry point for newcomers.

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Re: Avengers 2 Age of Ultron

Post by Randall » April 7th, 2015, 12:30 am

Marvel and DC lore gets extremely convoluted, which is understandable given the decades-long histories. DC has addressed this with numerous reboots, but that can only make things worse unless you actually do a fresh start (as with Marvel's Ultimate line).

BTW, Mark Millar is on record saying he hated writing Civil War, due to the impossible needs concerning crossovers and scheduling to make it all fit with the monthly Marvel output. He said it was a nightmare, and he'll never do a crossover event again.

For anyone actually keen on catching up on their Marvel reading, I recommend doing it digitally. Either the Marvel Comics Unlimited app or Scribd (which has books and comics from numerous publishers, but fewer Marvel Comics than the nearly-complete MCU service)are great deals, costing only a few dollars a month for unlimited reading.
Last edited by Randall on April 9th, 2015, 11:25 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Avengers 2 Age of Ultron

Post by Vernadyn » April 9th, 2015, 4:36 pm

Thanks for the advice, Randall! I already have Scribd, so I'll start there. Count me in as one of "those" people whose interest in comics was kindled by the movies. (OK, I was a fan of Calvin and Hobbes before, but that's a different kind of comic).

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Re: Avengers 2 Age of Ultron

Post by Ben » April 27th, 2015, 6:57 pm

Just a quick note to jump in and say that, yes, the excellent Iron Man Three theme seems to have become a character trait, as far as Avengers 2 goes!

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Re: Avengers 2 Age of Ultron

Post by Vernadyn » April 27th, 2015, 7:37 pm

Had a listen to the soundtrack, and Elfman does a great expansion on Silvestri's Avengers theme as well. The theme from Thor 2 makes an appearance, as does a subtle reference to Silvestri's Cap theme. Musical continuity at last!

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Re: Avengers 2 Age of Ultron

Post by Ben » April 28th, 2015, 8:12 pm

Did you not also hear the Iron Man Three theme? I'm sure that was it as the Hulkbuster comes flying up. There were also subtle hints at it during Tony's moments.

As for the film itself...

Well...

It's bigger and exponentially deeper, but it's just not, well, it's just not that much...fun.

There are a couple of sparks and one or two laugh out loud moments, but the interplay - mostly because there's so much going on - is just not there. It's also very talky, for long stretches, but the action is good even if the effects are not always up to the first and most of it all takes place in some Eastern European country that's probably for budget reasons (when they could have had a valid reason for Ultron to pick it just with an extra line of dialogue).

I can't say I enjoyed it as much as the first, or even the Captain America and Iron Man (first and third) stand-alones, and thought it was a bit superfluous in the grand scheme of things...it felt like treading water before Civil War starts up. There's not much "development" between the characters that wasn't underlying from the first team-up, and although some aspects are explored a little more, it's not like they couldn't intro these in the build up in Civil War.

It'll be interesting to see how Ant-Man fits into all this, since the momentum now really is on getting into Civil War and what comes after that, especially since Thanos is also apparently all up and ready to join the fray (in the mid-credit sting). Ultron himself is a bit of an off villain...Spader plays him quite sardonic, but some lines in the trailer didn't seem to be in the movie and some of his other lines didn't always work or come off as I think they were intended (Hawkeye could also be said to come off a little "weird" too, this time around).

There's no Spidey sting on the end (or any Loki in the movie), so it looks like that one that has been going around online is indeed a fake (which I called, since we've been told "there's a kid running around in a home-made Spidey suit", and the costume in the clip is a fully realized version as per the previous films), although I wouldn't put it past them adding *something* to the US prints and then to the international ones, like they did with the shawarma scene, which went out right from the start in the US but was then added to international prints two weeks later so people went again to see it.

I think there could be a danger of making something so unwieldy that it could collapse under its own weight, and certain logic didnt always make sense (I won't call them plot holes, just things that characters either say and then don't do, or things that happen without reason or keeping to the "rules"), while there are maybe a couple of missed opportunities for some extra bits of business here and there.

It's a good, well made movie, of course, but I was hoping for something a little fresher that might rival the best of them. In the end it's more of the same kind of carnage, city destroying mayhem that's become the (boring) norm, and with everything trying to top each sequence, the ultimate ending ending felt a bit rushed and not as conclusive as it felt it was going to be.

As for the music, both composers get their own screen credits, as well as their own score team credits at the end, which is unique. The blending of their work is invisible, though some Elfman is instantly recognisable, and the obvious Avengers theme is a big part of the bigger scenes (while I'm still sure it was Tyler's IM3 fanfare that was also referenced).

In all, a decent superhero movie which will make a ton of money simply because it is "new", but it's not actually that fresh and, it has to be said, that much "fun".

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Re: Avengers 2 Age of Ultron

Post by GeorgeC » April 28th, 2015, 10:34 pm

That's too bad... Yeah, that usually happens with film series. Great first film, diminishing returns afterwards.

I think the only two film series that I saw get better with the second film were Star Wars (The Empire Strikes Back) and Star Trek (The Wrath of Khan). The funny thing is that over thirty years later those two movies are STILL the high point of their respective series!

I will say this as an American...

Why in the heck are these films premiering overseas FIRST?!?!? That makes no sense to me!

I understand it's all international marketing, these companies being multinational but still these are American characters (largely created by native New Yorkers or people living in New York a the time).

It doesn't hurt my feelings that this happens but honestly it sometimes get my head scratching...

(There's that OTHER Avengers series but that's British... There was a joke made about that years ago... Maybe I'll get motivated and scan in the panel from the comic that has that joke. It was from a revamp of the origin of the JLA. The Flash suggested calling their new group The Avengers but another hero said it sounded 'too Steed and Emma Peel-ish' or words to that effect!)

********************************************

Saw Captain America again for the first time in years the other day... It feels like the first Superman movie in some ways to me. Not quite as good as I remembered but still some great action sequences and decent scripting in places... It's too bad they had to use the BEST Captain America story I've read as the basis for the first film!
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Re: Avengers 2 Age of Ultron

Post by EricJ » April 28th, 2015, 11:39 pm

Ben wrote:As for the film itself...
Well...
It's bigger and exponentially deeper, but it's just not, well, it's just not that much...fun.
Yeah, I hear ya (from way over in that other country where they get to see it FIRST). :x
I can think of a dozen reasons, half of them Spielberg's, for "Why not to let the same director do his own smash followup sequel", especially for a feel-good FX blockbuster--What you get from a director trying to top himself will be either loopy/self-indulgent, depressingly striving for "epic saga", or both. Fortunately, looks like Whedon wasn't that self-indulgent.
It'll be interesting to see how Ant-Man fits into all this, since the momentum now really is on getting into Civil War and what comes after that,
The whole point of Ant-Man (apart from the Black Panther/Dr. Strange stubbornness of "Well, c'mon, he was on the original team!") was that they were hoping Wright would have it done in time for Pym to invent Ultron, and, well...
So, while Ant-Man doesn't look too bad, think the one we get will be fairly standalone, whereas even the Guardians got to put in a plug for Thanos and the stones.

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Re: Avengers 2 Age of Ultron

Post by Randall » April 29th, 2015, 2:08 am

Age of Ultron always felt a little underwhelming to me, right from the initial peeks at Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver. But really, once you've teamed up the heroes in the first film, you've already played your best trick. Just as I don't think that Iron Man 2 is really all that worse than the first IM, it was always going to be hard to have everyone be amazed by the Avengers the second time around... especially with the same guy at the helm, not that I consider that a mistake.

Similarly, I like to read origin stories in the comics, but ongoing series can become tedious, unless there's a great writer.

Still, reviews for Ultron are mostly positive, and I'm sure I'll enjoy it.

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Re: Avengers 2 Age of Ultron

Post by Vernadyn » April 29th, 2015, 3:09 am

Ben wrote:Did you not also hear the Iron Man Three theme?
Oh yes, I heard Tyler's Iron Man theme prominently in about half a dozen of the tracks (including one of Elfman's). I was just noting the other themes I heard in addition to that one.

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Re: Avengers 2 Age of Ultron

Post by Ben » April 29th, 2015, 6:23 am

Good! Just as long as I wasn't hearing things! ;)

Guys...what's with the "we get to see it first" crap!? The darn movie was MADE OVER HERE! I saw many names in there that I knew (and Rand knows one of 'em too!). As a result, we had the world premiere here last week in London!

As we know, the real reason is probably to do with marketing and piracy and the fact that international returns will likely surpass the domestic US take but, honestly, enough with the griping!

Do you know how many times we have to wait to see movies over here - usually weeks, sometimes months, occasionally a YEAR after the American debut? It's actually nice to be able to go and see something like this "first", although my preference would just be a global release date.

In the past we know that domestic prints were re-used overseas, hence why with Disney's animated releases while you guys saw Mermaid, Beast and Aladdin in 89, 91 and 92, we had to wait until the Octobers of 90, 92 and 93! Nightmare Before Christmas in 93? Bah...we had to wait until Halloween 1994! I remember seeing the Disneyland parade for Hercules in the spring of 98 even though the actual film woildnt come to us until the fall of that year!

The advent of digital distribution was supposed to have ended that, since there are no more physical prints (on top of the wait, sometimes the copies were awful, having been run and run in America...you could tell Disney had no hopes for Treasure Planet, which was as beaten up as any archive print of an old movie that I've ever run), but it's sadly still the same today...Pixar releases usually come so late that I just get the US Blu-ray that arrives around the same time. Disney's November releases (most recently The Muppets, Big Hero 6, Into The Woods, etc) we never get until early the next year.

There are obviously many reasons as to why we're seeing Ultron a bit earlier, from piracy issues, an attempt to drum up word of mouth to make the US opening even bigger, a way to get Europeans to rush to it "ahead" of their American cousins (as for me, Tuesday night is cheap ticket night at my local, so it was always going to be last night or next Tuesday for me!), to simply repaying the country where the film was actually physically made and premiered...

But...yeah...for the sake of a week...please shut the front door! ;)

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Re: Avengers 2 Age of Ultron

Post by EricJ » April 29th, 2015, 10:50 am

Randall wrote:Age of Ultron always felt a little underwhelming to me, right from the initial peeks at Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver. But really, once you've teamed up the heroes in the first film, you've already played your best trick. Just as I don't think that Iron Man 2 is really all that worse than the first IM, it was always going to be hard to have everyone be amazed by the Avengers the second time around... especially with the same guy at the helm, not that I consider that a mistake.
IM2 was another example of a director making mistakes trying to top himself with more "epic" ambitions, and forgetting the appeal of the first film:
Like Raimi with Spiderman 2 trying to go for the "Spidey No More" comic plot, and gave us two whiny hours of Poor Peter trying to pay his rent, Favreau tried to homage the "Demon in a Bottle" plot, and had Stark back to acting like a spoiled rockstar-slash-drunken-jerk. (Not that getting a different director for IM3 exactly helped things any.)

I always liked Scarlet Witch since my first exposure to the Avengers was reading the West Coast spinoff, but seemed like the MCU had no idea what her powers were, basically thought "Well, she's like Jean Grey", and used her to mess with the heroes' heads as the central subplot to get the characters back and arguing again. That was my worry watching the final trailers, and from the "no fun" reviews, I'm guessing I'm not far off.
Oh well, the Curse of the Middle Movie. :?

(And yeah, we all know the foreign opening is to recoup a heavy budget with a bigger opening, but some of us take it in heavy stride. At least they didn't set the danged plot in London or Paris this time, like every other action sequel.)

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Re: Avengers 2 Age of Ultron

Post by EricJ » April 29th, 2015, 10:51 am

GeorgeC wrote:I think the only two film series that I saw get better with the second film were Star Wars (The Empire Strikes Back) and Star Trek (The Wrath of Khan). The funny thing is that over thirty years later those two movies are STILL the high point of their respective series!
(And worth noting that they didn't have the same director.)

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Re: Avengers 2 Age of Ultron

Post by Ben » April 29th, 2015, 11:28 am

EricJ wrote:At least they didn't set the danged plot in London or Paris this time
No, they decided to go with some nondescript country instead.

The main plot is still not set in America...it's all somewhere in Eastern Europe, as mentioned before, which doesn't help it all feel a bit "cheap". What doesn't help is that these other locations are never really defined, so at times I had to keep reminding myself where we were!

The more I keep thinking about it, I'm not sure how "good" it was. Disjointed is the word that comes to mind, even if it is an achievement.

As for Scarlet Witch...her powers seem to shift about...one minute she's manipulating minds, then she's manipulating the environment, all with a wave of her hands. It's never really explained how and why (apparently there's a bit more explanation in this week's SHIELD but that doesn't air until Friday night here, stupidly) but Quicksilver is better handled, though not as good a X-Men's version.

Minor spoiler hint:
click to reveal content
Shouldn't be a problem going forward, though...
I think that's the overall thing I would take away from Ultron: for all the stuff that's going on there's not *one thing* that you haven't seen in a bunch of other movies before.

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