Avengers – Age of Ultron

Avengers - Age of Ultron
Avengers – Age of Ultron is the next Avengers assemble movie, featuring the main superheroes.

This time they’re fighting a super computer program wanting to rule the world.

The regulars are back (Tony Stark/Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr), Capt. America (Chris Evans), The Hulk (Mark Ruffalo), Black Widow (Scarlet Johansen), Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) and Nick Fury (Samuel L Jackson) along with some new additions.

The super computer they must verse is a growing A.I. called Ultron. He was supposed to be defence program but soon outgrows his parameters. Why defend the world when you can rule it?

The main story is the fight against Ultron. He has two main sidekicks, Pietro/Quicksilver (Aaron Taylor-Johnson – Godzilla) and the Wanda/Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen), now Quicksilver and Wanda are brother and sister.

Ultron knobbles Stark’s computer JARVIS (voiced by Paul Bettany) and makes Vision and android to serve him, then also drones out of the equipment to create an armada to launch his war.

As action movies go, this has it all. The effects are fabulous and a visual feast. However for substance I struggled. In the last movie Capt America – The Winter Soldier, the agency SHIELD was dismantled. I thought this was a huge mistake, and looking at this offering, I haven’t changed my mind.

Without SHIELD, I felt these guys had no focus point. There’s no law or rules, they do what they want because they want to. True freedom isn’t doing whatever you want all the time. There has to be guidelines. The movie makes it seems governments are a bad idea and only fester evil intentions. Life is about variety, there’s good and bad in everything.

It was very confusing with some of the constant name changes. Also with multiple heroes, it felt very overcrowded and it was more like how many characters can you squeeze into a movie? (Thankfully it wasn’t a mini!)

I really miss SHIELD terribly. I loved it as it was in the first Avengers Assemble, for me that was a good overview of a world agency dedicated to world safety, yes it had its flaws, but what doesn’t? Why build something up and then destroy it? (I still don’t know how there can be a TV show Agents of SHIELD, it should be renamed Agents of… what?)

6/10 is the mark I’m giving this. Far too predictable but a good action movie with good CGI. I’m sure they’ll be a new line of toys or merchandise to follow!

Image reproduced from Ganool Movie.
Trailer reproduced from Legendary.

TV: Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.:- “End of the Beginning”

review

J. August Richards as the tragic villain, Deathlok.

After a long and mostly disappointing season, The End of the Beginning is the first episode of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. that sets the stage for the finale. With only a few episodes remaining after this, the stakes are being raised significantly- as is the sense of mystery. The End of the Beginning is thankfully one of the show’s stronger episodes so far; it features some well-shot (if brief) action sequences and some genuinely compelling plot revelations. The episode begins with the S.H.I.E.L.D. teammates led by Agent Coulson (Clark Gregg) separating and searching multiple locations for the Clairvoyant: the mysterious antagonist who’s been pulling strings behind the scenes for most of the season. The team’s splitting up allows the show to re-introduce Agent Hand (Saffron Burrows) as well as make a passing reference to the events of Captain America: The Winter Soldier; the 2014 movie that is supposed to be taking place in the same continuity as Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.. It is not long before one of the teams is attacked by Mike Petersen (J. August Richards), their former teammate now calling himself “Deathlok” (a reference to a Marvel Comics supervillain of the same name). It is only when the Clairvoyant is seemingly found that the situation begins to unravel. Before long, Coulson and his teammates are left with no one to trust.

Since the S.H.I.E.L.D. organisation was first introduced to the world outside of comicbooks in 2008’s Iron Man, they have been a compelling background presence in many Marvel superhero movies. Appearing in Iron Man 2, Thor and The Avengers, the organisation has always been portrayed as extremely powerful and morally questionable. Like a science fiction-drenched equivalent of the CIA or MI6, S.H.I.E.L.D. has typically been portrayed as doing whatever was necessary to protect ordinary people from extraordinary threats. In The Avengers, S.H.I.E.L.D. attempts to nuke New York City because they believe that it may save the rest of the world. The announcement of a spinoff TV show starring agents of this organisation not long after The Avengers held great promise; a chance to show the darker, morally greyer side of the world of superhuman heroes – a very intriguing premise for a television programme. Instead, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. was a show comprised of the bland adventures of “witty”, “quirky”, two-dimensional characters. The audience did not even get the opportunity to watch these misfits slowly become a tight unit of comrades, and then into something of a family (in the manner of similar shows like Fringe or Warehouse 13) because the characters were written as a dysfunctional family from the pilot onwards. Outside of Ward (Brett Dalton) beginning to engage in casual sex with May (Ming-Na Wen), none of the characters developed in significant ways. Even Skye (Chloe Bennett), the “audience surrogate” character is given precious little to do after she served her initial purpose of bringing the team together.

The End of the Beginning is really the first time in the show’s short and sad history that it begins to feel like the show that it should have been from the beginning. The characters hunt down a dangerous superhuman, there are shocking revelations and red herrings and twists, the agents are paranoid and unsure who is friend or foe. Not only is this great television, it is exactly what espionage-centric TV is supposed to be like. Apparently, it took almost the entire run of the TV show for the writers and creators to realize what kind of project Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. was always supposed to be. Whilst the show has improved in quality gradually over time, this is the first episode that really feels like what was promised when the show was green-lit. What really saves this episode is the cameos from recognisable talent. Bill Paxton returns as the always-amusing Agent Garrett, as does BJ Britt’s Agent Triplet (whose possible romance with Elizabeth Henstridge’s Simmons appears to be developing into a major plot point). J August Richards remains a compelling tragic antagonist as Deathlok, who now looks like a fully-fledged comicbook supervillain. Special praise should be given to Brad Dourif, who manages a chilling and very effective performance whilst barely saying or doing anything but sit in a chair. It is a testament to Dourif’s expressive face that he manages to be terrifying whilst only using his eyes.

Not that the episode is perfect. Its pace and tone are as uneven as usual, the cinematography remains bland and lifeless and the one exciting action sequence in the episode, the attack by Deathlok, is over before it begins. This is, however, a massive step up in quality for this maligned show. Unfortunately, for Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., a massive step up in quality simply means that it is now as good as every other genre procedural show on TV. In other words, not good enough.

Image from io9.com

Captain America – The Winter Soldier

Captain America - The Winter Soldier
Captain America – Winter Soldier was an entertaining movie. It all began with a run in the park, meeting a paramedic. Playing catch up as Steve Rogers/Capt America (Chris Evans) can jog 33 miles in 13 minutes!

Steve has a list of things to do as he‘s been frozen for over 50 years! However, it isn’t long when he is called in for duty. A ship is going off course, it’s owned by his agency SHIELD. Have pirates invaded the ship? He doesn’t need a parachute and can jump from the plane to the ship, using his amazing shield to protect himself.
He’s teamed up with agent Natasha Romanoff (Scarlett Johansson). Who wants to find him a date.

A battle starts as they engage the enemies holding SHIELD personnel hostage. When Natasha uses the mission to download Intel off the ship’s computer than save hostages, Steve guesses something is up.

After a meeting with his boss, Steve meets up with his former sweetheart Peggy, who’s now an old woman. There’s an entire exhibition about Capt America and his old uniform is preserved. He sees pictures of his former best friend Bucky Barnes (Sebastian Stan). He meets up with the paramedic he met at the park, who holds meetings for people to talk about their feelings.

Director Fury (Samuel L Jackson) looks into the matter Steve raised and asks for a Project Insight to be delayed, he’s soon targeted for assassination! He has a very cool van packed with some very cool technology!

Steve has a neighbour, who he fancies but the interlude is cut short. Director Fury is hiding out at Steve’s apartment! Before they can really talk, the flat is subject to gunfire. Director Fury is hit. He hands Steve a USB, tells him to trust no one. Steve’s neighbour breaks in and reveals she’s a SHEILD agent assigned to protect him. Steve goes after the hit man, who has a metal arm and wears some type of gas mask. After an epic fight, he escapes.

The Secretary of the State (Robert Redford) takes over the agency and when Steve won’t tell him what happened, he declares Captain America a threat, forcing him to go on the run and be a fugitive.

This movie packs a wallop and a half. Witty dialogue, surprise twist and great CGI. I just love all the actors in their roles and there’s no short of thrills. I love the banter between Steve and Natasha, and they have many good interactions.
The fight scenes were astounding. Natasha must have the coolest mobile phone! Moreover, one of the shock twists at the end was mind-blowing.

The only things I didn’t like was, it preachy at certain times.
Stockpiling weapons = fear.
Rich people = megalomaniac.

In addition, some of the twists do seem to be questioning the SHIELD agency itself. As there is a weekly TV series on called the Agents of SHEILD, casting shadows on the very organisation that powers this show, could cause damage.

Surely, the audience have to believe in SHIELD as our saviour that’s why it was created in the first place! The old adage of not befouling your own house springs to mind.

I’m giving this 8/10 as a result.

Spoiler alert!
(You have the see this movie just for Jenny Agutter’s fight scene!)

Image reproduced from Edgecastcdn
Trailer reproduced from Marvel Entertainment.