Avengers: Age of Ultron: Movie Review

I’m a man who likes seeds. I also really enjoy great character performance.

(minimal spoilers ahead)

Director: Joss Whedon, Writer: Joss Whedon, Stan Lee, Jack Kirby, Runtime: 141m, Cast & crew(<link)

Seeds. In the MCU, seeds are what fans crave just as much as “easter eggs”. Though I didn’t see many eggs like Cap’s shield in the first two Ironman movies. The seeds however, are very upfront and yet still underlying need I say the first words Ultron says to Scarlet Witch in the curch or the way she looks at The Vision. EACH. AND. EVERY. TIME (Yea. It was very much there folks. Read your comics). The way this movie is benefitted by the seeds: it sets up, Civil War, Thor: Ragnarok (That might be wrong), Black Panther, and what could possibly be the next Avengers and/or Hulk movie. Which if J.Whedon has any say, it’s not Planet Hulk. The way it does a disservice to the film is that it comes off Ironman 2 -ish in the sense that the movie is more of a bridge to more, rather than a movie of its own doing. In Ironman 2 it basically set up Thor,  Captain America: the first avenger and explains a bit of Incredible Hulk. Those are seeds. It’s great but having to pave way or set up other films takes a toll on a film intended to be a sequel to one of Hollywood’s massive franchises… ever. I felt that once it got to its inevitable end, I said that’s it? which also isn’t a bad thing. I just felt he ws obviously beaten just too easily for my liking. Seeds are awesome.

avengers-age-of-ultron-collageWhedon really knows how to write. I’m curious to know if the announcement of the future to the MCU had any affect on what was intended to be in this movie. He crafted such a brilliant tale of heroes and with the help of his D.O.P., really continued that comic book look and feel. Not everything is as vibrant  looking as it was with its predecessor. I did find its definitely better on a second watch as you can really appreciate it instead of getting lost with the excitement the film naturally brought….  but better in imax.  Since I am somewhat discussing his writing…. what the hell was up with Hawkeye?!? I feel for Renner to do the film, it was deliberately done to give him an over arching story. But the parts with him and his “wife” took me out if the film. Probably because I know how most of his life plays out thanks to Bendis’ Avengers run. But something about it seemed forced vs organic which was a shame given all Whedon has accomplished since joining Marvel. Though Hawkeye’s best moment is the bit with Scarlet around the end.

Age if Ultron comes at you fast. But it works both in favour and does this film a disservice. Comic book movies, namely Marvel, have been known to give a crap about their films.  When casting of RDJ hit media outlets it was their way of saying we care about acting, we care about the story, we simply care about our product. Since that particular casting, the other names to the roles has been stellar since. In James Spader, we have a talent with a voice that instantly captivates. My real first encounter with him was on “The Office” and even from that show (Thank you Netflix) I could see why he was special. I believe I was watching that show as they announced he was casted. His voice a covers a range and it is aptly suited for cold, dry, sarcastic and even terrifying dialogue (of Ultron) to really come across. The best feeling is that this allows for Ultron to be menacing still yet like a child. Like a child who has grown up and held on to his id personality. I can honestly say  (unless said in another review) that not since Darth Vader or that Matt Damon look a like in Breaking Bad, have I felt a fear of what a character might do. The voice acting was really superb and deserves at least one nomination, at the very least, at the MTV movie awards; or the Scream awards. This said, for me, The character really needed a scene of him just observing life. To see if there was a reason to end humanity (If you will indulge me a moment. ..or.skip to the next paragraph) it would have been excellent if they had like Ultron looking at children playing and then an incident led to him on his twisted view on life. I get why it played out the Manner it did though

It’s pretty interesting how they have handled Captain America since his first outing (read into that as you see fit). From a real 1940s Brooklyn kid to a leader amongst gods and men. He didn’t have a stand out performance but his presence is felt and I definitely saw some seeds for civil war when it came to him and Tony.

Tony. RDJ. Love em both. Especially RDJ for walking out of that interview. However I feel like he genuinely pissed me off when Rhodes was getting a wee bit of screen time as War Machine. And all of a sudden its a close up of RDJ and I was like: “honestly … how many frames per second of a contract did thus guy sign?!?” I know he is the poster child but in many ways it’s annoying to have him be the center of attention even in posters. I don’t see the avengers as a band. I see them as a team. And teams don’t always need their star player. Sometimes they need the unsung hero to make the hail Mary play.. you know to lay down on a wire and let the other guy crawl over you.

Black widow seemed to have a bigger role. Even tho she was sidelined by her little bundle of joy. Which I thought the camera team and story handled it perfectly with hiding it. Notice she is shot mostly in close ups in the end, and she exits the story in a believable way. Nicely done again Joss.

Vision. Holy. His look, acting, costume design… so much is right with him. The art direction dept. Just got it right in so many ways. It’s gonna be interesting to see what develops with his character, especially in his last scene.

Hawkeye… I said that already.

Banner. Is sorta the unsung hero of the group who sadly gets to live out his worst nightmare(well sad for him, fun for us). Time will tell how he’s handled next. Maybe(a tad bit of spoiling) an avenger-less hulk film? Just saying, I would read a comic that delves into that aspect of the hulks MCU story.

The way Scarlet Witch is handled was superior to what I would have thought possible. However her brother… wasn’t. Felt like a total waste on him or overall, just handled incorrectly. They should have a dedicated more of the Ultimates (Ultimates 2 to be exact) story line with him. Though I think with him, the reason for his lacking is more legal than anything.

Well.. I think we have reached the end. What a grand way to start the summer movie season. I think i just found a way to start reading comics again.

Bottom line : I was in love with the performance of Spader, loved it more in imax. It’s a tremendous story but it does have a lacking effort in areas.

  • Overall rating of the movie: 8 out of 10,
  • Cinematography: 8.5 out of 10,
  • Editing: 8 out of 10,
  • Audio: 10 out of 10,
  • Acting: 8.9 out of 10,
  • Theatres or wait for the blu-ray? Great in Imax. Definitely worth picking up. Hopefully theres a lot of bits stuff and deleted scene as a lot was left on the cutting room floor.THAT’S IT! Cheers: “To Peace”. Your eLEWsive Thought Provided by: the “LEW System”

– Xavier – @CoolyoNgeLEW

Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters Review

 Director: Tommy Wirkola Written by: Tommy Wirkola & Dante Harper, run time: 88 mins.

Well, going into this movie, I kind of went against my usual plan and expected something. I don’t know why, but I did. As you can see in the trailer, it seems action packed, but sadly, it’s not. I expected to see Crank 3 (there’s already two crank movies) with quite a bit of gore. Not to say that there isn’t any gore, I just hoped for more.

The plot starts off with the well known story (I remember having a book as a child and the drawings scared the crap outta me…. I was like 3, let me be) of a boy and a girl being taken in by a witch, who wanted to fatten up the children on candy and then cook them and have them as a meal. I’m pretty sure they ended up being eaten, but for the sake of this movie, the little boy and girl OBVIOUSLY survive and then seem to seek revenge/retribution on all witches. To me, I’ve seen almost every twist, except for one, very early in the movie. There’s really only so much you can be surprised by, to be honest, with the expanding of a childhood (German) classic.

The movie’s biggest flaw, is (*SPOILER*), they introduced a likely ailment to Hanzel, but then totally abandon the idea in the 2nd act right up to the end fight. Which in doing so, loses all emotional tie to what they were trying to achieve.

What I did enjoy was the artistic look of Edward. I’ve recently seen this show called “Face Off” where they show how prosthetic costumes are made and what not. Cool show, if I must say. But anyway, the character could have been completely CGI, but for the most part, it was all suit and “robotics” and if it wasn’t, then that’s pretty damn good CGI (though it could be argued that it’s not). Making this character a prosthetic one, along with practically all of the witches, helped ground the movie and separate it from a lot of movies made now that heavily use CGI.

RATING: 2.5

Rating:

  • Overall rating of the movie: 2.5 out of 5,
  • Cinematography: 3 out of 5,
  • Editing: 3.5 out of 5,
  • Audio: 3 out of 5,
  • Acting: 2.5 out of 5,
  • Theatres or wait for the blu-ray?  Rental unless this becomes a franchise or you really love this thing.

THAT’S IT! Cheers: “To Peace” and May the Force be with you!

– Xavier – @CoolyoNgeLEW

The Avengers Movie Review

WOW… UM SIMPLY WOW. This movie rocks on all cylinders, Joss Whedon, PLEASE for the love of God stay on to make this movie’s future sequels. I WILL TRY NOT TO SPOIL TOO MUCH!!

Robert Downey Jr. Robert Downey Jr.
Chris Evans Chris Evans
Mark Ruffalo Mark Ruffalo
Chris Hemsworth Chris Hemsworth
Scarlett Johansson Scarlett Johansson
Jeremy Renner Jeremy Renner
Tom Hiddleston Tom Hiddleston
Clark Gregg Clark Gregg
Cobie Smulders Cobie Smulders
Stellan Skarsgård Stellan Skarsgård
Samuel L. Jackson Samuel L. Jackson
Gwyneth Paltrow Gwyneth Paltrow
Paul Bettany Paul Bettany
Jarvis (voice)
Alexis Denisof Alexis Denisof
Tina Benko Tina Benko
NASA Scientist

Director: Joss Whedon

Writer: Zak Penn and Joss Whedon (story) Joss Whedon (screenplay)

Every penny that was put in to this movie, which according to IMDB, is estimated at  $220,000,000–YEA THAT MUCH.

Joss Whedon directed this movie as well as wrote it (along with Zak Penn) and, as I’ve said previously with Cabin In the Woods, he really knows how to write. His expertise in character dialogue is second to none. He uses a lot of quick wit & exciting banter between all the cast, and not one character overshadows another. He’s a writer who has written for Marvel before in various comics, so he understands and respects the material and for the most part–thanks in part to the acting, all the characters are spot on with their delivery. “I’m not big on inside jokes…. I like people who’ve never seen the Avengers, to have as much fun as people who have been waiting for this movie their whole lives.”-Joss Whedon. That statement is so true about this movie. There’s a rule at Marvel Comics: Treat every issue as if it were someone’s first ever issue. The writers there all have to abide by that, and if you are a writer, I bet you can imagine how much of a challenge it is to do that on a monthly or even sometimes a weekly basis.

HULK: New actor, Mark Ruffalo portrays both Bruce Banner and the hulk in this movie. His take on it was more witty and determined, as Bruce, like he knew his role from the start. He is MY favourite hero for his brute strength and I’ll have you know, there isn’t much left out to show how strong he is. I WILL SAY however, I don’t like the new hulk design because in the Ed Norton film, he had more of a realistic body build. Instead of just muscle he had RIPPED, DEFINED muscle, and this one reminded me of the bad Ang Lee hulk movie. Basically, Ed Norton is a better Bruce on looks alone, Mark… well not so much. I didn’t like how they made him a bit more barbaric at times either, but we are yet again in a “reboot” phase for this character in a way. This though, is by far the best hulk we have ever seen, and I know I’ve contradicted myself a few times, but it’s a love hate thing.

Iron Man: If you ever felt he was just a dude in s suit, who early on [*SPOILER*] Captain America, thinks just the same thing, then you are SURELY MISTAKEN. He is used probably the most, but in recent comic history, this is about right since he is basically the brains of missions. Tony Stark is EVERYWHERE in this movie, and his witty banter with EVERY hero in this movie is dead on to his arrogance. Spider-Man is like that in a way, constantly making jokes, this is the kind of  Spider-Man I’d like to see one day. Basically, his role was improved upon to be more of a hero, but otherwise still the same old Stark

Thor: SORRY LADIES…no shirt off here, but he probably has the best entrance to this story, outside of Hulk where it was being constantly teased to the audience. He had a lot of the charm that he has in the comics in this film. His origin movie focused a lot more of the moral, but this time he is all action.

Captain America: THIS IS BY FAR HIS BEST SHOWING. I thought Chris did an amazing job in “Captain America: The First Avenger” but they got his role down pat in this movie. He was a leader, a tactician, a soldier, brave, out of touch with the times and very American (p.s. stay after the credits… just look at cap and think about it while keeping in mind where Bush sent troops). Chris Evans is an under rated actor, and even though most (critics) don’t take comic book movies serious, watching this should make you see all, if not  just the “Big Three” (Iron Man, Thor & Captain America) as good an actor as any.

Nick Fury:  Sam has done this role a total of 4 times previously (of course we aren’t counting his face being used to revamp Nick Fury in the Ultimate Marvel Universe where most of these films have been based on), but this is the first time we see him as a man who knows what must be done sees what’s he’s being told, but says that isn’t the smarter way of doing things. Basically we see why he’s the head of  S.H.I.E.L.D. and why Sam Jackson is still the most bad ass of all actors.

Black widow: Scarlett has never been more than a pretty face to me. She has both good and bad moments in this film, but more so good than bad. Her best scenes come from the first half of the movie, I’m not a fan of Black Widow so moving on.

Hawkeye: The archer was introduced during the “Thor” film, and I’m sure to many, was a highlight to the film. He has a “secondary” role, but was much like the bad ass that was seen in the”Ultimates”  (you really need to read these two volumes, it’s by far the best “Avengers” story you will ever read in your entire life). When the second half of the movie rolls out, you will know what I’m talking about.

Loki: Tom Hiddleston really understands how to use his face to drive a scene. I thought he had the best skill outside of Anthony Hopkins in the Thor movie. He may not have been the single best actor in this movie, but he definitely isn’t overshadowed by anyone else’s performance (this is, I’m sure, in part to great direction). He was on the verge of being a villain in Thor, but here he is CLEARLY someone that has lost his way, holds a jealous grudge towards his adoptive brother, and, just like in the comics, a very evil villain who likes to show off for sport.

In many recent years Marvel comics has had many brand cross over books from: Civil War, Secret Invasion & most recently, Fear Itself.  Seeing this movie reminded me of a lot of those movies and given a few tweaks here and there, I think its very possible to see the crossover stories on the big screen. I sure as hell hope if any story gets made, Civil War and World War Hulk gets done.

LASTLY, the camera work for this film is amazing, the use of the depth 3-D helps the movie in so many ways. I know many don’t like 3-D, but that’s in part to many not understanding it.Don Cheadle said it best, “Look, it’s me. I’m here. Deal with it. Let’s move on.” – Iron Man 2 – Rhodes. Many need to adapt those words to the use of 3-D. There is minimal shaky camera work in the movie, it mostly pretty clear minus maybe two fight scenes, though one is due to lighting which is why it’s not as great. I don’t know if this is my favourite thing about this movie, but I love  the fact that it is a full circle movie, everything brought up is then somehow mentioned again in a fresh new way. There are two “after credits scenes”, so be sure to stay and watch.

  • Overall rating of the movie: 4.8 out of 5,
  • Cinematography: 4.5 out of 5,
  • Editing: 4.5 out of 5,
  • Audio: 4 out of 5,
  • Acting: 4 out of 5,
  • Theatres or wait for the blu-ray? Theatre in the best way you can (like Imax or something). Then blu ray, save up for a 3-D t.v. then buy the blu-ray 3-D version.

THAT’S IT! Cheers: “To Peace” and May the Force be with you!

– Xavier – @CoolyoNgeLEW