Category Archives: Marvel

“Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol. 2” a deeper look into the heroes

In my opinion, the first “Guardians of the Galaxy” film is the best entry of the MCU. It pokes fun at the superhero tropes that have become so familiar while offering some truly emotional moments (the death of Star-Lord’s mother, the death of Groot, the heroes joining together as a makeshift family after so many years of hurt). So I’m happy to say that it’s sequel still has that extra deeper layer that makes it more than just another forgettable superhero movie (sorry, Dr. Strange).

The film opens with the Guardians working for hire. Peter Quill aka Star-Lord (Chris Pratt), Drax (Dave Bautista), Gamora (Zoe Saldana), Rocket Raccoon (Bradley Cooper) and Baby Groot (Vin Diesel) all return and encounter a new threat to the galaxy that comes from a more personal place. While the first film had a rather bland villain, the sequel tackles an antagonist that reveals a personal connection to Star-Lord and in so doing draws in each of the Guardians. This emotional heft adds to the story.

Also along for the ride are a returning Yondu (Michael Rooker) in an expanded role, Peter’s long-lost father, Ego (Kurt Russell) and his assistant, Mantis (Pom Klementieff).

Writer/director James Gunn obviously has a close attachment to these characters and it shows as he gives each of them a deeper context. All of them must grapple with their past (Peter’s parentage, Gamora’s sister issues, Drax’s lost love, Rocket’s anger, Yondu’s regret) and the results are not clear-cut or easy to accept. They feel real, more real than a super soldier, a billionaire playboy or a thunder god. Perhaps we feel such a strong attachment to these characters and empathize with their journey more because they are so flawed and so similar to us.

Many critics say that the film is forgettable, but I wholeheartedly disagree. There are real stakes in the narrative beyond just life and death and that sticks with an audience. Themes of parentage, familial bonds and regret are tested and the characters emerge changed from their journeys. The growth in Peter especially from lost youth to surrogate father to baby Groot is great to witness. This makes these films deeper than the standard Avengers fare, where a viewer can generally miss an entry here and there, and be no worse the wear in the grand scheme of things because the characters do not change.

This is not to say that “Guardians 2” is perfect. There are pacing issues, some jokes that don’t pay off, a little too much going on, some relationships that needed to be beefed up to generate a stronger emotional impact, too many explosions and a villain twist at the end that is entirely predictable. The first film in general is stronger.

But this second entry does what any good sequel should do: elaborate on the first’s themes and delve deeper into the characters.

‘Captain America: Civil War’ a strong entry in MCU

It seems as though a new superhero movie is coming out every few weeks. Most of them pass by and out of memory just as quickly as they came, but there are a few superhero films that stand above the rest, that peak more interest than the normal reboot/sequel, and fans had circled “Civil War” on their calendar ever since it was announced.

Directed by Joe and Anthony Russo, the film features Steve Rogers/Captain America (Chris Evans) struggling to keep the Avengers together as the government cracks down on their exploits as civilian casualties pile up. Tony Stark/Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.) is in favor of registering with the United Nations and the proposed Sokovia accord, but Steve is not sure. When his friend Bucky/the Winter Soldier (Sebastian Stan) is implicated in a terrorist plot, the Avengers fracture between those siding with Captain America and maintaining their independence and those siding with Iron Man and starting public accountability.

Some of the action scenes are a bit nauseating as shaky cam takes over in place of actual dynamic action, but the set piece between the two rival teams of superheroes is one of the greatest in any superhero film; fun, interesting, action-packed and dramatic.

Marvel has always had a problem with maintaining dramatic stakes in its films. They are not going to kill off Iron Man or Captain America (they are worth billions of dollars) so how do you keep a movie engaging when there is literally no chance of your heroes biting the bullet? “Civil War” solves this issue by focusing on the relationship between Captain America and Iron Man. The characters may not die, but the relationship between them may come apart and the audience is kept interested by focusing on how Steve Rogers and Tony Stark develop as friends, turn enemies and how they will ultimately end.

Captain America is not a complex character. It is difficult to give him an internal dilemma and once he makes his decision in “Civil War”, there is not a lot going on internally. This is a detriment, but not a fatal one for the film. His actions serve as a counterpoint and seeing how far he is willing to go to maintain his friendship with Bucky and his independence is engaging enough.

And no MCU film has quite gone to the lengths of digging deep into the character’s soul a la Batman in Christopher Nolan’s “The Dark Knight” trilogy. Doubtless this is to keep the audience as wide as possible, but there are moments for “Civil War” to go a bit deeper, especially with Iron Man in particular. With Pepper Potts (Gwenyth Paltrow) out of his life, guilt plaguing him and his best friend leading a resistance against him, the film suggests the depths of his sorrow, but could go even deeper, perhaps hinting at his alcoholism as it does in the comics. It is a wasted opportunity to build some escalating themes into his character.

For those who enjoy the MCU films, “Captain America: Civil War” will be an enjoyable experience, one of the best of entries alongside “Avengers” and “Guardians of the Galaxy.” But for those who have issues with the previous MCU films, those issues (lack of deep character revelations, franchise-building, cluttering narratives, uninteresting villains- though that is better in this film) will find more to complain about to some degree.

But kudos to the studio for making “Civil War” more than just another superhero film. There’s heart, fun and dynamism here.

Are the X-Men the new preeminent superhero franchise?

Ever since the proliferation of the superhero genre, sequel-making and universe-building have overtaken movie studios. As rights are sold and potential franchises rise and fall, from the dust, three central pillars have emerged as the tentpoles of the superhero movement: Disney’s Marvel’s Cinematic Universe (Iron Man, Captain America, Thor), Warner Bros. DC Extended Universe (Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman) and Fox’s X-Men (Wolverine, Deadpool, Magneto- they also technically have the Fantastic Four, but no one likes them). There could also still be a case made for Sony, who have the rights to Spider-Man, but they have signed a deal with Marvel, and Spider-Man is now essentially part of the MCU.

It has been widely assumed for years that the MCU was the best that superhero films had to offer. Marvel stuck to a strong formula, building up their heroes in individual films before releasing team features. They utilized strong wit, relatable characters and easy-to-digest narratives to build their brand and it has worked, delivering billions of dollars in sales and strong critical response.

Meanwhile, the DCEU is still trying to get itself together. Attempting to differentiate itself from its Marvel cousin, their films are darker, more intense and full of characters right from the get-go. Unfortunately, audience and critical response has been more tepid. By trying to appeal to so many people while being different, the films are a mess of half-ideas, rushed plotlines and shallow characters. They feel more like board room projections, broken down into audience demographics, rather than singular visions made by committed storytellers, especially in comparison to Christopher Nolan’s preceding Dark Knight trilogy.

And in the background, Fox’s X-Men, one of the first franchises to start the superhero extravaganza, has lingered. Never the biggest in terms of box office, the critical and commercial response has ranged from great (X2: X-Men United (2003)) to terrible (X-Men Origins: Wolverine (2009)). And yet in the past few years, the landscape has started to change, and it’s worth proposing a new thought: Are the X-Men now the best superhero franchise out there?

Diehard MCU fans would likely guffaw at such a notion, but something is starting to seep into the MCU that wasn’t there before: blandness. While the quality of the films has not deteriorated, innovation has not been present either. “Doctor Strange” was far too similar to “Iron Man.” “Captain America: Civil War” was equally similar to being an Avengers film, which are also growing more and more alike. And the lack of stakes is starting to decrease the interest in the characters. Marvel is never going to kill Tony Stark or Steve Rogers. So putting them in more and more dangerous adventures is not really keeping us emotionally involved. It’s becoming more and more a case of been-there, done-that, and it’s starting to seem that while Marvel continues to excel at making decent movies, they are just making the same movie over and over again.

Meanwhile, Fox’s X-Men have been changing the formula towards what the DCEU was presumably trying to do: darker and edgier. But where the DCEU failed by trying to appeal to the same demographics, the X-Men have decided to ignore the “traditional” superhero audience. Here, they may have discovered something very interesting; while other studios continue to view the superhero audience as kids and parents, the kids who grew up watching the original “X-Men” (2000) and “Spider-Man” (2002) have actually grown up. They have stayed fans of superherodom, but being in their twenties and thirties, their palettes have evolved and mature films with mature themes are no longer a detractor for them. As one of those kids, I have witnessed the effects myself.

What started with “X-Men: First Class” in 2011, which featured spy drama and Nazi hunting continued with “The Wolverine” in 2013, which was set in a non-Western locale and bared the weight of the nuclear bombing of Nagasaki. And 2014’s “X-Men: Days of Future Past” delivered a thoroughly satisfying sci-fi rumination on genocide and transformational hope. But what really blew up the formula was last year’s “Deadpool.” Here was a hard R-rated flick complete with cursing, violence and sexuality. And not only did critics love it, audiences made it the highest grossing R-rated movie of all-time. This was definitive proof that superhero movies did not need to be “fun-for-the-whole-family” type of affairs; they could be badass, violent, mature films as well.

Sure, “X-Men: Apocalypse” was a bit of a disappointment following such a run of success, but a fall every now and then is inevitable. Just this year, the X-Men have dialed up the ante even more, delivering another massive, mature success with “Logan”, a film that carries more visceral emotion than any superhero film ever made. It is violent, it is dour, and yet it is a beautiful story harkening back to the Western, a true innovation for the genre.

And appearing alongside “Logan” is the equally surprising TV series “Legion.” The first TV show based on the X-Men since the various animated series back in the 1990s and early 2000s, “Legion” is confusing, disturbing and wonderfully strange. The viewer has no real idea of what is real, what is fake, who is a friend or enemy, even what is happening at any given moment. There’s never been a TV show like it. It seems to belong more in the real of student surrealist exploration and yet here it is, presented on basic cable, with millions of dollars backing it and a second season already confirmed. Marvel’s TV series, “Agents of S.H.E.L.D.”, on the other hand is a far inferior, kind of bland experience.

And down the pipeline, the X-Men are looking at a second Deadpool film, an X-Force film, another live-action TV show and a rumored X-Men film with the younger cast featuring Dark Phoenix, a bizarre, cataclysmic character given poor treatment in “X-Men 3.” With confirmation that future X-Men projects will stray away from the Xavier-Magneto relationship and with castmembers Hugh Jackman, Patrick Stewart and presumably Jennifer Lawrence, James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender calling it quits, the X-Men are literally transforming in front of our eyes. It is very exciting to see the franchise adapt towards something new, something interesting, something beyond just the standard “family-adventure” type of affair.

So have the X-Men become the preeminent superhero franchise today? That is up for debate. The MCU continues to be the biggest box office draw, and the DCEU may somehow pull themselves up and deliver on the promise of the Justice League (I’m not holding my breath on that one though).

But when it comes to the MCU versus X-Men, you really have to ask yourself; is it better to settle for standard fare that hits just enough of the right notes or is the occasional risk that sometimes falters, but really tries to be more than its genre, more deserving of your love?

‘Logan’ a haunting ending for Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine

To call “Logan” different from any other superhero movie would be a disservice. It shouldn’t even be considered a superhero movie at all. A tale this sorrowful and this bone-deep can only be considered a Western and set across the backdrop of the American West, that is exactly what it is.

Directed by James Mangold, “Logan” begins with the titular character (Hugh Jackman) in a rut. No mutants have been born in years. He works as an limo driver just to make small change. He cares for Charles Xavier who is ancient and suffering from some sort of mental deterioration. When a young girl, Laura (Dafne Keen), comes to him for help, Logan takes Charles’ advice and tries to deliver her to safety from a group of thugs known as the Reavers.

Both Jackman and Stewart have stated that this is their last hurrah in their famous roles and it’s easy to see why, as it gives both characters closure in highly dramatic ways. With a relationship that started in 2000’s original “X-Men”, the film completes the complex arc between them: teacher and student, captain and soldier and father and son. Charles has been trying to find Logan’s humanity throughout the course of nearly ten films and to help him feel joy and completeness once again. Is Logan more animal or man and can he ever recover from a lifetime of pain? The film finally answers that question. Indeed, the finale shows Logan literally fighting¬† with “himself.”

Filled with despair and longing, “Logan” is radically different than previous X-Men films, so much so that it is a tad disorienting. It is welcome in one way because it offers closure, something so few superhero films do anymore. This is definitively the end of the modern-day X-Men as we know them, a blistering monologue on the value of life in old age and the pain of regret. It is incredibly heavy stuff.

And it is incredibly well-timed. It is a film about inclusion, about accepting hope in a bleak world. Logan has to save the last remnants of mutantkind as they search to cross a border to a better world, eerily evoking current times and our need to be a haven for those struggling.

It is not a perfect movie, with some of the violence taken a bit too far and even drawing a few laughs for its over-the-topness. And the lack of any hope really drags on the viewer as I checked my watch a couple of times with just a few too many look-at-the-valley shots. It seems to revel in its misery too much.

I personally enjoy a bit of humor and fun in my X-Man movie, but there’s no denying the emotional power and beautiful story that Mangold and crew have made here.¬† It is a haunting journey of finding retribution in a world of despair, one that will linger with you for long after. Knowing the X-Men universe, death is never really permanent, but for Jackman and Stewart, their journey with these characters ends here, and it is solemnly graceful.

‘Doctor Strange’ a worthy addition to MCU

Another origin story. Another weak villain. Another redemptive hero. Another shallow love interest. Another Stan Lee cameo. Another post-credits scene. More CGI action. In spite of the continuing weaknesses of the Marvel Cinematic Universe films, “Doctor Strange” still manages to be a fun and enjoyable ride.

Stephen Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) is a cocky surgeon who crashes his car and irreparably damages bones in his hands. Searching for the ability to cure his ailment, he travels to a remote village across the world and meets the Ancient One (Tilda Swinton), who teaches him about the mystic arts and prepares him for a confrontation with a fallen student, Kaecilius (Mads Mikkelsen), who seeks to bring an evil demon to Earth.

Cumberbatch is strong as Doctor Strange, blending a good mix of pompousness with vulnerability. Tilda Swinton is also a very good Ancient One. Rachel McAdams has a needless role as a trophy girlfriend for the doctor, but she isn’t as grating as Natalie Portman or Gwenyth Paltrow in similar roles. And Mads Mikkelsen is pretty pedestrian as another bad guy who wants to destroy the world, blah blah blah.

The true star of the film are its special effects, with its bending buildings and parallel dimensions and magic and demons. It makes the film a visual feast and helps smooth over the fact that the story itself is pretty bland.

But at least the environment is different. The MCU now has wizards and magic and some pretty crazy science behind its latest hero. While Captain America’s films are espionage dramas and “Iron Man” is modern action and “Guardians” is 1980s sci-fi, “Doctor Strange” is psychadelic new age fantasy. So while its story is familiar, at least Marvel puts that story into different genres.

The series that will never end

We now live in an era when TV and movie sagas really have no ending. Even when you look at a final film, listed as the last installment, hyped as the end of an era, fans start asking as soon as the credits roll, “Okay, when’s the next one?”

Sequels are endless. Great movies get sequels (X-Men: Apocalypse). Terrible movies get sequels (TMNT: Out of the Shadows, Ice Age: Collision Course). Movies that don’t need sequels get sequels (My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2, Magic Mike 2). Popular movies from ten years ago get sequels (Zoolander 2, Jurassic World). Unpopular movies from ten years ago get sequels (Bridget Jones’ Baby). Movie franchises are brought back from the dead (Independence Day: Resurgence, Ghostbusters (2016)). Everything gets a sequel.

And TV is not any different now either. TV shows long dormant are rebooted. Just look at recent attempts at rebooting “The X-Files”, “Gilmore Girls”, “Full House”, “Arrested Development”, “24”, and “Heroes” to name a few. Those shows all ended years ago, but here are they, back again. Thankfully, these shows really just seem to be one-offs as none of them have really caught on with the fire that they once did, but that hasn’t stopped studios from making them.

One just has to wonder, will anything ever end anymore? Let’s look at some of the seemingly never-ending properties and come up with an expiration date, starting from soonest to latest.

X-Men (End Date: 2017)

The current iteration of X-Men movies, spanning from 2000 to the present, have given us 9 films, ten with “Logan” next year. But with Hugh Jackman saying that “Logan” will be his last go with the character of Wolverine, time seems to be closing on the heyday of Patrick Stewart, Ian McKellen, Jennifer Lawrence and Michael Fassbender. Now, having said that, there will be another “Deadpool” movie, but he doesn’t really fit into the X-Men mythos. And there will be more X-Men movies, but they will be rebooted with new casts and new characters. So take this one with a grain of salt.

PREDICTED ENDING: Wolverine and Charles Xavier have an emotional sendoff that culminates with Wolverine finding his humanity, completing his journey. The next film opens with an entirely new cast and a female Wolverine.

DCEU (End Date: 2022)

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Batman V. Superman was supposed to be the DC Extended Universe’s big, blockbuster hit. It did okay commercially and was pretty much a bomb critically. The same with “Suicide Squad.” Now “Wonder Woman” and “Justice League” will debut next year and that will be the true test for Warner Bros. If either or both of them bombs, it could spell the end for their hopes of taking on Disney’s MCU. They simply need to perform better. If next year is a dud, they may seriously have to reconsider their plans. Maybe this is just me being optimistic, but I see two more critical failures, two more box office mehs, and an early end to this colossal mistake.

PREDICTED ENDING: The entire Justice League takes on an army of aliens bent on destroying the Earth at all costs, probably with a giant blue laser that shoots into the sky, a gigantic hour-long fight ensues that levels a city, blah, blah, blah… There’s a teaser for a future film at the end of the credits that is never filmed.

Toy Story (End Date: 2025)

The “Toy Story” series should have ended with “Toy Store 3” in 2010. But now we have “Toy Story 4” coming in just about two years. Will there be anymore? I think there’ll be one more, but with Tom Hanks and Tim Allen certainly getting up there in years, that’s it. Without Woody and Buzz, I don’t think Disney makes anymore “Toy Story” films. But I’ve been wrong before.

PREDICTED ENDING: Buzz and Woody and the gang engage in a colorful journey through the scary world that tests their friendship and involves them coming to grips with maturation and inevitability. There are an equal number of tears as laughs.

Transformers (End Date: 2032)

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“Transformers” has made so much money and been so bad for so long that it may be tempting to think it is on the same level as the cockroach and the twinkie in terms of evolutionary survival. But fear not. “Transformers” is mortal. It can be slain. It just won’t be for a few years. It’s U.S. business is falling. It’s making less money. It’s really just made for the Chinese at this point. They will learn too, once the euphoria of the explosions has passed, they will sober up.

PREDICTED ENDING: Boom! Wham! Clink! PFFFFFHHH! Crash! Boom! Clank!

Fast and Furious (End Date: 2040)

There have now been eight “Fast and Furious” movies dating all the way back to 2001. With another two planned, the franchise is still a continuous moneymaker, despite the death of star Paul Walker. The appeal of fast cars, cool action and hot women won’t diminish anytime soon, so the franchise will probably continue to soldier on for the next few years, even as its stars leave. But as usually happens, when the big names go, quality suffers and the box office will slowly start to reflect that. Then they’ll try and reboot it later on with a whole new cast and some cameos by Vin Diesel and Michelle Rodriguez, but that won’t work.

PREDICTED ENDING: Ummmm…. I don’t know. I’ve never seen one of these movies. Car races?

Harry Potter (End Date: 2052)

Harry Potter seemed to be finished. All the books had been translated into movies and the story was complete. But that was so five years ago. Fast forward to the present and we now have a whole set of theme parks based on the stories, a new play about Harry and his son, Albus, and a new five-picture series set in the 1920s. So the wizarding world is back in full force and it shows no signs of stopping. “Fantastic Beasts” is doing well enough at the box office so plans should continue on their current course. Of course, the thing driving all of this is J.K. Rowling. By 2052, she will be in her 80s. She won’t have written for a few years, but once she leaves us, one of her kids or family members will publish some jotted notes about something to make some cash and that will be the last story… well, turned into a six-part movie series anyway.

PREDICTED ENDING: Harry is now 128 years old. He’s dumped Ginny and now shacks up with Hermione because that is the only sensible thing to do. Voldemort is back… again. It’s his clone or something so they have to fight, but never fear; there’s some convenient magic that helps Harry defeat him despite the fact that he is a far inferior wizard to the dark lord. Voldemort just can’t catch a break.

MCU (End Date: 2061)

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The Marvel Cinematic Universe just keeps going and going and going. It is now a behemoth of Hollywood. Even obscure characters like Doctor Strange, Ant-Man and the Guardians of the Galaxy produce hits. The name itself brings people to the theaters because they know an MCU movie is fun and easy to digest. Steven Spielberg has said that the superhero movie is like the Western and that it will come and go like that genre. Perhaps he’s right. This end date signifies pretty much the length of the Western’s popularity.

PREDICTED ENDING:All 134 superheroes fight a giant CGI army led by a generic villain whose name you won’t remember. The heroes beforehand will fight amongst themselves and disagree about… something. They’ll unite and fight the big baddie and defeat him with the power of teamwork. The movie will literally have so much awesomeness that all the supernerds who watch it die from euphoria, ending the superhero craze once and for all.

Star Trek (End Date: 2072)

Star Trek has endured through TV shows and movies and next generations and reboots. It’s not going anywhere anytime soon. The only thing that will make Star Trek irrelevant is when humanity actually catches up to it, technology-wise and humanity-wise. Technology-wise is actually not that far off. Humanity-wise is still a ways away. Go figure.

PREDICTED ENDING: The Enterprise journeys to a distant planet where the crew must… zzzzzzzz. Whoops, sorry. They meet the Klingons and start a series of negotiations over…. zzzzzzz.

James Bond (End Date: 2104)

James Bond has had dozens of films, 6 actors play him (soon to be seven) and has become the top-grossing film series of all-time. Is there an end to his film series? I do see one, but not for a long, long time. I mean, eventually, society will start to decay as global warming, mass populations and nuclear holocaust take its toll. Perhaps humanity’s last breath before extinction will be the 124th James Bond film. He will still be very suave.

PREDICTED ENDING: I mean, it’s the same movie every time. There’s women and cars and spy stuff and weapons and gadgets and catchy songs and opening stunt sequences and headline villains and on and on. It ends exactly as it started.

Star Wars (End Date: Infinity)

Was there ever any doubt? For a franchise that lasted through the 70s and 80s, through an incoherent special edition, through three absolutely horrendous prequel films and now with a new heavyweight company bankrolling a film a year, “Star Wars” is bigger today than when it first premiered. I don’t think anything can kill this franchise. Not the Great Recession. Not plagues and wars. Not George Lucas. It will be around forever and ever. Even when the human race is gone, it will be around. Small microscopic life forms right now are soaking up its cultural relevance and fan fetish, and it is influencing the genetic makeup of its DNA so that when it reaches evolutionary maturation in a few thousand years, it will continue the series.

PREDICTED ENDING: Luke’s great-great-great grandchild is an orphan on a desert planet. There’s a dark force rising. He or she is called forth by a droid who needs his help and then he or she discovers that it is imbued with the Force. Wait… that’s not an ending. That’s just another beginning.

 

‘Avengers: Age of Ultron’ a mediocre adventure

After the first Avengers (2012) film, expectations for the second outing by director and writer Joss Whedon were sky-high. There was no way anyone could fulfill such promises. And Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015) does not. That does not detract from a fun movie-going experience, but the film suffers from an overabundance of character obligations and franchise building.

Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.), eager to disband the Avengers and create a weapon that will truly save the world forever more, rashly builds the artificial intelligence system known as Ultron (voiced by James Spader). However, the design is flawed, and the now-sentient being seeks to destroy the world in order to save it from the scourge known as humanity. Fashioning himself a new metallic body and allying himself with newcomers Quicksilver (Aaron-Taylor Johnson) and Scarlett Witch (Elizabeth Olsen), he begins on a quest to destroy the Avengers and complete his mission. Only Thor (Chris Hemsworth), Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), Captain America (Chris Evans), Hulk (Mark Ruffalo), Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) and Iron Man can stop him.

The Marvel Cinematic Universe will never rival Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight Trilogy (2005-2012) for artistic grandeur or the X-Men film’s sociological themes, but it does create very sympathetic, internally flawed characters that audiences latch onto. No one goes to a Marvel film for the plot. They go to see their favorite heroes like Iron Man, Thor, Hulk or Black Widow. It is the joy of watching those characters interact with each other and work through their dilemmas, both internally and externally, that brings people to the theater and then combining that with some great action scenes.

But in looking at the whole of the film, there are a great number of flaws. The character of Ultron feels rushed and more emphasis could have been given to him over the course of the story. Handling so many characters each with their own story arc proves to be problematic at times. You can’t really relate to them since so much is going on. No sooner do you start to have a Captain America scene then we are rushed to an Quicksilver scene. The film is too similar to the original Avengers movie and needed to go deeper into the characters rather than repeat the lessons of a previous adventure.

If watching a film by Godard is the equivalent of eating fine French cuisine, watching a Marvel film is the equivalent of an all-you-can-eat buffet at a chain restaurant. It fills you up, tastes good, is very familiar and gives you a communal experience with friends and family. These films are not meant to be cinematic masterpieces, but high-concept escapism, and Age of Ultron delivers that. The formula needs to change for future adventures however, before things start to feel stale.