• Tag Archives Avengers
  • Canister X Movie Review #96: Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015)

    Click Here to Order from Amazon.com
    Click Here to Order from Amazon.com
    Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015)
    Written by Joss Whedon
    Directed by Joss Whedon
    Runtime 141 min.
    5 out of 5

    In an effort to protect the world from future alien attacks, Tony Stark uses the artificial intelligence inside the gem of Loki’s scepter to complete his Ultron program. It works but, unfortunately, the now-sentient Ultron AI has taken it upon itself to destroy the human race.

     

    Time for the Avengers to assemble.

     

    Recruiting the Maximoff twins, Ultron uses them to take on the Avengers while he attends to building a robot army. Soon the Avengers are taken out and must re-assemble if there is any hope they can stop Ultron before his plan of global destruction comes to pass.

     

    With the fate of the planet hanging in the balance, can the Avengers stand against a seemingly unstoppable foe?

     

    Sequels are tricky business, especially when creating a sequel to not only a quality film, but one that was a hit at the box office. Usually, sequels pale in comparison to their predecessors, but now and then—and more often than not in the superhero genre—the sequels outshine the original and Avengers: Age of Ultron did just that. As good as the first Avengers was, Age of Ultron is better.

     

    I don’t want to give away any plot points to those who haven’t seen it yet, so these are more my thoughts instead of notions on specifics of the film.

     

    One of my greatest fears for this movie was its giant cast. Not only did the standard Avengers team return—Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, Black Widow, Hawkeye, Hulk, Nick Fury, Maria Hill—but it was greatly added to with the addition of War Machine, Quicksilver, Scarlet Witch, Vision and, sorta, Falcon. All these characters could have quickly made the movie go the way of Spider-Man 3, but instead more or less equal screen time was given to the majority of the cast, with supporting roles coming in to do their job without making the film feel overly crowded.

     

    On the acting front, the main Avengers team have really come into their own, the actors having now portrayed their characters a minimum of three times prior to this movie and it really shows through. There’s an air of comfort about who they’re playing and each one has made the character their own while also staying true to that character’s comic book roots. Even the humor in the movie was fitting and not once did it feel forced or cheesy or slapstick. Most of the humor was off-the-cuff comments, which made the team more human and relatable.

     

    Ultron was a terrific bad guy. He was smart, dangerous, evil, but at the same time had a humanity to him that helped connect him with the audience. He wasn’t just some evil robot and that’s it. He was also a formidable foe for the Avengers and it did take the entire team to take him down.

     

    The addition of Vision worked well and was a good progression of the Jarvis character. He had a specific purpose in this movie and fulfilled it to a T. I’m curious to see what role he plays either in the stand-alone Marvel movies or in the upcoming Avengers: Infinity War flicks.

     

    On a fanboy note, there were some amazing iconic superhero action shots in this flick, the kind that makes you gush and squeal (yes, I’m that nerdy). There is one particular moment—you’ll know it when you see it—where I was just, like, “Wow, oh wow.” And the action on the whole was well done, with each character fighting according to their skillset.

     

    Going to have go back for a second outing to the theatre on this one and, of course, will be adding it to my personal movie collection when it comes out.

     

    Highly recommended.


  • Canister X Movie Review #89: Ultimate Avengers 2: Rise of the Panther (2006)

    Click Here to Order from Amazon.com
    Click Here to Order from Amazon.com
    Ultimate Avengers 2: Rise of the Panther (2006)
    Written by Greg Johnson
    Directed by Will Meugniot and Richard Sebast
    Runtime 73 min.
    4 out of 5

    Picking up pretty much right where Ultimate Avengers left off, Ultimate Avengers 2 starts off in Wakanda and the kingdom falls under attack from Herr Kleiser, who kills the king and sends the prince, T’Challa, into action by taking up the mantle of the Black Panther. Black Panther then heads to the city to find Captain America. The Avengers are assembled and head to Wakanda to stop the Chitauri threat, resuming their battle from the first movie.

     

    I liked the first movie a bit better, but probably because it was the birth of the Avengers vs them in full swing but that’s just me: I like origin stuff. Ultimate Avengers 2, however, is still a solid flick and falls right in line with its predecessor. (Always recommend watching these two back-to-back if you have the time, and with a little-over-an-hour runtime each, that’s definitely doable.)

    The battles in this flick are awesome and showcase some all-out superhero-vs-alien mayhem. Like the first, each character gets their moment to shine and it’s like being reacquainted with old friends.

    I love the depiction of the Avengers in this. Everyone is their stereotypical selves, something that they captured in the live action movie, but, to me, got even more right in this flick. Totally adds to it.

    Like the first, the art direction is top notch. Everyone matches the way they looked in the first movie, giving it that sense of continuity. They had the same voice talent as the first for this as well. I love it when animated flicks keep the cast consistent outing-to-outing.

    Watching this flick along with the first makes it a good final act to a stellar movie, but can also stand just fine on its own.

    Glad I have it as part of my superhero movie collection.

    Recommended.


  • Canister X Movie Review #88: Ultimate Avengers: The Movie (2006)

    Click Here to Order from Amazon.com
    Click Here to Order from Amazon.com
    Ultimate Avengers: The Movie (2006)
    Written by Greg Johnson
    Directed by Curt Geda and Steven E. Gordon
    Runtime 71 min.
    4 out of 5

    In World War II, the Nazis tried to launch an intercontinental missile and was thwarted by Captain America, but at great cost: Captain America fell into icy waters and was presumed dead. Some sixty years later, he was found and revived by S.H.I.E.L.D., who ends up convincing him to join their fight against the alien Chitauri. When the Chitauri attack, S.H.I.E.L.D. implements Project Avenger and begins assembling together Earth’s Mightiest Heroes to take on the Chitauri and put a stop to them once and for all.

     

    This ensemble flick is one of the greats and is a solid introduction for the uninitiated to the Avengers—Captain America, Iron Man, Thor, Black Widow, Giant Man, Wasp and Hulk—all led by Nick Fury.

    It’s evenly paced, exciting, and gives each member of the team enough screen time to give them a chance to lock in with the viewer and make that viewer-character connection before moving on to the next guy.

    Marvel’s direct-to-video efforts have been lacking and haven’t been that great because they’ve been very busy—albeit very successfully—focusing their efforts on bringing their heroes to the big screen. Ultimate Avengers and its sequel are the major exceptions to their animated shortcomings and this movie is every bit as good as their live action counterparts. I also think that’s the secret to making a good animated movie: treat it with the same care and seriousness as a live action film and you’ll hit it out of the ballpark every time. It works in Japanese animation. No reason why it wouldn’t work here in the West.

    This movie was good start to finish. Had a story that spanned decades, and made you care about what was going on from first frame to last.

    You have multiple plotlines going on, ranging from the Avengers dealing with the Chitauri to Bruce Banner trying to find a cure for the Hulk, to Captain America trying to find his place in the world. The amazing thing is they fit all these plotlines into a very short runtime (just over an hour).

    The art direction was superb and I enjoyed how everyone looked in this, especially Hulk. (For me, he’s one of those guys that don’t always come out well.)

    While there’s a pretty good dose of violence in this movie, it’s much more kid-friendly than the majority of DC’s animated features and is safe for kids (depending on your household rules for this sort of thing). Personally, I let my kids watch it but don’t let them watch the DC movies.

    Whether a Marvel fan, an Avengers fan, or a superhero fan in general, Ultimate Avengers is a fantastic flick worth watching many times over. What’s cool is it’s basically part one of two and goes right into its sequel, Ultimate Avengers 2: Rise of the Panther, without missing a beat, so if you have both, you’re in for a doubly-good time.

    Recommended.


  • Canister X Movie Review #47: Iron Man 3 (2013)

    Click Here to Order from Amazon.com
    Click Here to Order from Amazon.com
    Iron Man 3 (2013)
    Written by Drew Pearce and Shane Black
    Directed by Shane Black
    Runtime 130 min.
    3.5 out of 5

    An evil mastermind terrorist known as the Mandarin (Ben Kingsley) is wreaking havoc via a rash of bombings, holding the world in his grip. Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.) gets on the case and discovers the bombings are initiated by people exposed to the Extremis program, something Stark Industries could’ve had ties to a long time ago, but chose not to. Turns out those Tony Stark knew back then are neck-deep involved with what’s going on now, have re-entered his life, and are making things complicated.

    While trying to pinpoint the location of the Mandarin, Iron Man aka Tony is also dealing with the aftermath of the Chitauri invasion of New York in The Avengers. Having trouble sleeping, he’s been spending all his time constructing various Iron Man armors to help himself cope. This brings tension to his relationship with Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow), who he’s now living with and is dedicated to.

    Upon discovering the location of the Mandarin and his true identity, Iron Man and his almost-sidekick the Iron Patriot aka War Machine aka Col. James “Rhodey” Rhodes (Don Cheadle) head up against a battalion of Extremis-infected warriors and must pull out all the stops to put an end to their reign of terror. The problem is these Extremis soldiers are so powerful that victory doesn’t seem likely.

    Can Iron Man prevail against an army as strong as he is?

     

    I’m not sure what to make of this movie. Sure, it was entertaining and the storyline was fine. I like the idea of making it a direct follow up to The Avengers, and showing how Tony Stark’s world—never mind the rest of the world—had been affected by the Chitauri invasion and the presence of the other Avengers.

    This flick was loaded with solid action, tough bad guys, cool tech, guns and everything else that makes an Iron Man movie a lot of fun. I just wasn’t sold on the presentation. This might be harsh, but this flick came off as the Batman Forever of the Iron Man movies. I’m all for humor in even the most serious of movies, but it seemed the jokes were either too forced or too slapstick to make me take this flick seriously. And that’s the secret with superhero movies: they need to take themselves seriously—even if they’re meant to be a comedy—otherwise they’ll never work. There was an awful lot of getting in and out of the Iron Man suits in this film, both by Tony and Rhodey, never mind Pepper getting a shot at wearing it, the President, the Extremis guy—there were so many suit changes that the novelty of watching someone don the Iron Man armor was quickly spent after the first three times.

    This film was not directed by Jon Favreau, which might have had something to do with it. Just seems this movie was weighed down with not enough Iron Man and a storyline—which was solid in and of itself—that moved slowly. I realize Tony’s aftermath and post-traumatic stress from The Avengers was the focus, but the same goal could’ve been accomplished had there been more Iron Man. I don’t necessarily mean more action—as action-filled movies that are nothing but explosions start to finish get boring after a while—but perhaps him having a love/hate relationship with the suit because being in it nearly killed him at the end of The Avengers, or maybe take the robo-injections to summon the suit to a new level because he’s trying to make himself super to be on par with guys like Captain America or Thor and have him deal with that?

    The extra scene at the end of the credits with Dr. Bruce Banner (Mark Ruffalo) picked up on the bromance from The Avengers. A nice touch. Didn’t move the Marvel Cinematic Universe forward in any way, but was nice nevertheless.

    If you’re a Marvel movie completist, then by all means, check it out. Likewise, pick up the Blu-ray when it comes out to complete your set. For me, I think I’m going to have watch it again and perhaps I’ll warm up to it a bit more. I felt let down when I watched the first Spider-Man in 2002, but got more into it with subsequent viewings. Iron Man 3 might be one of those movies.

    Just think they could’ve done a lot more with it.


  • Look, Up on the Screen! The Big Book of Superhero Movie Reviews

    Superheroes have invaded film more in the past decade and a half than they have in their entire history. From major blockbusters like Man of Steel and The Dark Knight Trilogy, to DC Entertainment’s line of fantastic direct-to-video animated films, to other super-flicks like The Incredibles, superheroes are enjoying a major resurgence in popular culture and fans have now entered a golden era of superhero cinema.

    Lifelong superhero fan and author A.P. Fuchs has made it his mission to see every superhero movie that’s been brought to screen. Collected here are his first one hundred reviews, covering the major blockbusters of today to the lesser-known super flicks of yesterday along with everything in between.

    Reviewing such classics as the original Christopher Reeve Superman films to the jaw-dropping Marvel Phase One series that include Iron Man 1 and 2, The Incredible Hulk, Thor, Captain America and The Avengers, to the movies that arguably started the current age of superhero cinema: The X-Men franchise, he’s got this amazing genre covered. Also included are a multitude of animated features, superhero movies that didn’t quite hit at the box office, pulp heroes and more.

    Look, Up on the Screen! is a collection of reviews for the serious superhero filmgoer from a diehard fan who’s seen nearly all of what the superhero motion picture field has to offer. Whether your theatre is at the cineplex or in your own home, this is one collection that’s a must-add to your bookshelf of behind-the-scenes goodies, movie guides, superhero film novelizations and graphic novels.

    Available as a paperback at:

    Amazon.com
    Amazon.ca
    Amazon.co.uk
    Barnes and Noble
    Other On-line Retailers

    Available as an eBook at:

    Amazon Kindle
    Drivethru Fiction
    Smashwords