Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015)
April 30, 2015 7:14 AM - Subscribe

When Tony Stark tries to jumpstart a dormant peacekeeping program, things go awry and it is up to the Avengers to stop the villainous Ultron from enacting his terrible plans.

A pretty good film, but not as good as the first, IMO. Still --

Highlights: the jokes! The very very comic panel-like shot of the team in action at the beginning of the film, same goes for the team fighting Ultron's many robotic versions, Paul Bettany as the Vision, James Spader full stop, Hawkeye's bucolic farmhouse, Linda Cardellini obv, Andy Serkis, Julie Delpy as Nat's merciless instructor, the twins, and why hello, Thanos.

Lowlights: Maybe you overdid it egging the "let's give Hawkeye some depth" pudding (but at least he wasn't mind-controlled; he's not a fan), I must be the only one who didn't really care for the Bruce/Natasha lovefest and I am sorry for that, mind control again???, and generally it just felt like there was too much going on to be cohesive.

Nonetheless, B+, want to see again on a smaller screen because pretty sure this one requires a second viewing.
posted by Kitteh (233 comments total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
 
My strong feeling is that this could easily have been two solid 90-minute movies -- Strucker, Pietro and Natasha being the focus of the first, setting up Ultron for the second. I don't understand the need to overstuff movies like this -- well, I do, in a "the great unwashed demand bang for their buck" way. But while I had fun watching the movie, my feeling a couple days after is that it was just kind of a chaotic mess, with character beats crammed into a plot that moved wayyy too fast to make a lot of coherent sense.
posted by Shepherd at 7:40 AM on April 30, 2015 [2 favorites]


My biggest issue with this movie was Natasha lumping her sterility in with the reasons she's a monster. That was a bad weird conversation anyway, because it felt like Natasha was trying to equal Bruce on the super totally not normal scale so she could convince him that they should be together, which is not a good basis for a relationship.

It was too long (it felt like the Iron Man/Hulk battle scene would never end), and though there were some jokes, there weren't enough for me. Overall, I thought it was a giant weighty beef. Meh.
posted by minsies at 9:22 AM on April 30, 2015 [15 favorites]


I feel like the Bruce/Natasha love story was shoehorned in. It felt weird and stilted. And yeah, that whole sterilization bit...WHAT IS HAPPEN.
posted by Kitteh at 9:49 AM on April 30, 2015 [7 favorites]


I had no complaints with it. I think it's going to make a lot of money, and Ant-Man will suffer at the box office for not being tied into this movie at all. There's already been reports of a longer version of AoU being released when it hits DVD, and I'm willing to bet anything restored from the original 3 hour cut of this film will improve it. AoU is, to put it mildly, as cut to the bone as possible. No one in this film really gets a chance to breathe, it's the sort of screenplay that's printed in 4 colors on cheap paper after all. It's brusque and flashy, and in the end left me feeling that it doesn't need to be much more.
posted by Catblack at 9:49 AM on April 30, 2015 [1 favorite]


It's been said before but it needs to be said again - this movie needed more room to breathe. I didn't really understand Thor's subplot, and I've seen the Thor movies - goodness knows how others knew what was going on. I guess the pace was so quick people just forgot about it.

Really liked the fanboy debate at the end about putting Thor's hammer into an elevator!

I have a theory that Marvel movies with multiple heroes (e.g. Avengers 1/2, Guardians, Cap 2) have significantly worse third acts than those with singular heroes (e.g. Cap 1, Iron Man 1/3). If you have multiple heroes, you need to give everyone something to do that shows off their unique abilities but also contributes to the same overall goal, while making maximum explosions. As a result, we get the trademark Marvel 'big object falling to the ground' problem, which is easy and interesting to show, but not especially surprising or dramatic.

Although... Cap 1 had a crappy Act 3 as well. So maybe my theory doesn't work. Hmm.
posted by adrianhon at 10:45 AM on April 30, 2015 [1 favorite]


I have a theory that Marvel movies with multiple heroes (e.g. Avengers 1/2, Guardians, Cap 2) have significantly worse third acts than those with singular heroes

Man, Guardians. I really liked that movie, but it could have been better had they not opted to make the climax a Care Bear Stare
posted by Hoopo at 11:22 AM on April 30, 2015 [6 favorites]




Quite enjoyed this. I kind of lost track of the fighting in that boat scene but otherwise was able to keep up. Was never quite sure if Paul Bettany's character was makeup/prostethics or all cgi or some combination but I suppose a bit of uncanny valley fits that character.

Did all english language regions have an irish accent for the replacement suit voice (friday?)?
posted by manbagofmanifestdestiny at 1:24 PM on April 30, 2015


>Did all english language regions have an irish accent for the replacement suit voice (friday?)?

So I've read. Also, one of those personality chips he sorts through is labeled 'Jocasta'.
posted by Catblack at 1:54 PM on April 30, 2015 [4 favorites]


I thought Paul Bettany (who is an astoundingly attractive man) looked like Kryten from Red Dwarf. Did they spend so much money on Vision that he ended up looking so cheap?

Ah well, I had tons of fun. Had no problem with Bruce/Natasha (or the rampant Tony/Steve).
posted by Gin and Broadband at 2:29 PM on April 30, 2015


Is there shwarma?
posted by sammyo at 3:45 PM on April 30, 2015


My biggest complaint is that the technology-as-color-cubes trope is really tired. Well, that and no mad scientist genius would create a super-program and then bother writing an elaborate GUI for it that nobody else can use or understand. The thing doesn't even have labels and you just turn cogs and flick pistons because what?
posted by iamkimiam at 4:16 PM on April 30, 2015 [2 favorites]


I like The Thor best.
posted by turbid dahlia at 4:22 PM on April 30, 2015 [1 favorite]


Some Spoilers Ahead

mind control again

I felt Scarlet Witch's power was significantly different than the Loki staff power (though yes, the staff was used on Doctor Grow-a-Body). It seemed more like she could make the person she was using her power on see a vision that would inspire some particular type of emotion or behavior. It didn't just turn them into a puppet.

I agree that the pacing was a bit too frenetic. Apparently the script-as-written would've likely clocked in around 3 hours, which I would've been fine with. I'm sure that studio mooks' interference forced it to come in around the 90-100 minute mark.

Overall I liked it, though I noticed some weird logic. For example, if Ultron can fly, why didn't he chase Hawkeye's plane rather than grab Natasha out of the truck? And why did we return to the same place in Sokovia for the last act? You would think the Avengers/SHIELD would've garrisoned that castle. Lots of fights seem to have characters characters appear conveniently partway through, when it's convenient for the visual narrative. Like, what were you doing for the first part, sitting around on your ass? I suspect this was more editorial necessity due to runtime constraints.
posted by axiom at 4:38 PM on April 30, 2015 [1 favorite]


Spoilers.

I wanted to love it. And I think I do. But it's flawed.

I have also read that Whedon cut about 30 minutes. Breathing room - presumably what was lost - would have allowed the tension to build. There seemed to be a distinct under-use of Ultron. Spader was fantastic, very good casting; Ultron's animation and dialogue were beautiful, and there was plenty of Whedonny malice. But he got, what, 10 minutes' screen time, total, and barely anything about his plan or ideals or threatening. Loki got far more screentime, was better set up, and his motivations were crystal clear.

There were many times I just didn't know what was going on. Perhaps - because I went to a midnight screening, and was tired - I missed it. But. Black Widow getting captured: when did that happen? Anti-gravity devices positioned around the city to make it fly: when did that happen? Thor's mystery rock pool: What? And where did the vibranium go? It all happened so fast. I am getting old.

I did still like it. I will rewatch it. The flaws were mostly down to there being not enough of it. Unless we get a Director's Cut (based upon previous Marvel films, it's unlikely), we'll never know what was lost and whether that could have improved it.
posted by Quagkapi at 5:07 PM on April 30, 2015 [1 favorite]


Loki got far more screentime, was better set up, and his motivations were crystal clear.

Loki in.. which movie? He's kinda been in three movies so far, which I think is one reason Avengers1 worked so well - the "big bad" was basically Loki, who'd had an entire (solo hero) film to be introduced.
posted by coriolisdave at 6:45 PM on April 30, 2015


Is there shwarma?

There's a brief scene after the credits begin, but nothing at the end except a note that "The Avengers will return"

Initial thoughts: lots of fun, a tad too much going, but it Joss was juggling those plates very well, so it was a joy to watch him do that. Loved the Hawkeye bit, and Nat with Bruce. The animation on Ultron sometimes looked a bit wooden, like it needed more time to render. Very annoyed about no Pepper and especially Jane. Action really well done. Bit dark at times, suspect it was just the theater. Looking firward to seeing again.

And yeah, that whole sterilization bit...WHAT IS HAPPEN.

I got the impression she mentioned the sterilization to let Bruce know that kids wouldn't be a problem and that the entire program which trained her to kill sort of made her a monster too. It was interesting to see Nat chasing after Bruce so hardcore, good to see a different side. Love that Hawkeye had a family hidden away, great touch. Also fantastic that he made the choice to get out of the game.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:12 PM on April 30, 2015 [6 favorites]


Also loved that a large part of the action was about saving civilians in the third act. I couldn't help but compare it to Man of Steel's reckless destruction.

Also, that bit with the Scarlet Witch flying in at the end? That originally intended for Captain Marvel, but got changed.


The scene of dead Pietro's body seemed like Joss insisting he's dead and daring anyone to bring him back.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:24 PM on April 30, 2015 [4 favorites]


WHO THE FUCK CALLED HAWKGUY HAVING ULTIMATE!CLINT'S BACKSTORY

NOBODY

I'm not even mad, I'm giggling in disbelief, 'cause NOBODY CALLED THAT

And of course I spent the rest of movie going "OH FUCK OH FUCK THE WIFE AND KIDS ARE GOING TO DIE HORRIBLY" because in Ultimateverse the wife and kids die horribly because Ultimateverse

"Oh thank fuck it was Pietro. Sorry Pietro, you were a cutie"
posted by nicebookrack at 8:34 PM on April 30, 2015 [15 favorites]


P.S. JARVISion lifting Mjolnir THANK YOU FANDOM JESUS I CAN DIE NOW

or my phone can, the battery is dying because I was text-screaming at my sole Marvel Nerd Friend during the credits, now I'm at 10% and I have to drive home

I need more Marvel Nerd Friends
also some soothing tea
I love y'all Metafilter
posted by nicebookrack at 8:37 PM on April 30, 2015 [9 favorites]


Oh look, Tony Stark is having an emotional moment of character development in a barn, how Iron Man 3.
posted by Catblack at 8:48 PM on April 30, 2015 [8 favorites]


I really liked this actually. It helped that Den of Geek was really down on it in a way that was utterly wrong (like, the things it criticised were what was good about this movie). I think it did struggle from too many characteritis and yet again from what exactly is the villains planitis (neither Loki nor Ultron's plan's really make any kind of sense). But I liked the Banner Natasha romance (that sterilisation comment is Natasha's self hatred, the feeling of being created to be an assasin, to the point of being cut off from motherhood. It's not meant to be a comment on sterile women, it's a comment on Natasha's feelings about herself.), I liked Tony's arc, I didn't mind that once again Thor and the Cap didn't have an arc at all. I was quite happy that Hawkeye didn't die, because that seemed to be very deliberately foreshadowed.

I thought the action scenes were coherent and made sense in plot terms, perhaps more than the first film, and there was some fairly inventive stuff there. I liked how creepy Ultron was, and how clearly insane he was, and I liked the reveal of the Vision who I had absolutely forgotten would be appearing in this film. I really liked how strong a character the Vision was given he had only a bit of dialogue to work with, and that terrific reveal with the hammer is just really, really good story telling. Like, really really good.

I do wish the villain's plan had made more sense. Apparently he wanted to bring down the avengers from the middle rather than just kill them, which he seemed to capable of? Like, they all collapse from the Witch's attack and nothing really comes from it? The only effective part of the plan seemed to be making Hulk go mad, which was basically what Loki did in the previous film. Seeing the hulk actually attacking a city was quite nice, but I think it's good that they appear to be shuffling up the dramatis personae for the next film, because it was essentially the same thing as before.
posted by Cannon Fodder at 12:40 AM on May 1, 2015 [3 favorites]


I loved this movie. It really felt like a great comic book to me, and the mix of big action and soft moments made me a happy, happy fan.

I enjoyed the Natasha / Bruce romance more than I expected to. The two of them are so cute / damaged / steamy together! It also helps that the movie did a great job of making Natasha a romantic subject, rather than object, which is something I very much don’t take for granted. She initiates the romance, her thoughts and motivations are foregrounded throughout, and she is the one who fucks it up in the end.

I liked the theme of legacy woven through the story as well — Tony Stark’s mechanical children, Hawkeye’s loving family, the new Avengers. All kinds of different ways to create and nurture (or not) the people who will be there after you’re gone.

And, yeah, the attention to collateral damage was great, contrasting the disastrous Hulk vs. Iron Man fight with the final battle, which is half about evacuating the city. In the twins' plot line too -- Wanda and Pietro were nearly victims of a larger battle that didn't concern them, that's how they became the Avenger's enemies (another kind of legacy). That concern for the cities affected by big Avengers fights also combines well with watching Daredevil, which deals with the aftereffects of the Battle of New York, among other things.

Also, this movie paid off Tony’s Avengers 1 PTSD in a way that made more sense to me than the conclusion of Iron Man 3. It’s hard to imagine him ever really giving up on MOAR TECHNOLOGY as the solution to all his fears and worries.

I guess I agree that movie felt hyper-compressed at times, but perhaps that doesn’t bother me because I can imagine how much fun fandom will have filling in all the little details.
posted by Kilter at 4:26 AM on May 1, 2015 [2 favorites]


Vision saving Wanda 💚 💚 💚
posted by almostmanda at 5:49 AM on May 1, 2015 [8 favorites]


I enjoyed this film a lot. Joss had a LOT to try and shoe-horn in, action/plot wise, while still trying to give the movie heart and the characters development. This movie needed more room to breathe, definitely, but I feel that it could have very, very easy devolved into an incoherent mess. There were aspects that were confusing (Thor's subplot. What was up with the pool, precisely? What was up with his strange bacchanal fever-dream? Was it a vision of Asgard under Loki's rule? It's very obvious that a bunch was cut there to keep the running time), but the overall plot held together. Which I think is no small feat, and probably gave Whedon a semi-breakdown.

Bruce & Natasha: I love the IDEA of this. I loved the bantering at the party early on in the film. But it felt a bit rushed, and wasn't allowed much room to breathe or grow organically. I never got the sense that Nat was saying she was a monster because she could not have children; I thought she was saying the situation was monstrous that led to her becoming who she is. That feels that she must be a monster to be sprung from such a monstrous organization. What else could such a place create?

Poor Bruce. Talk about a death toll in this film! Bruce alone did way more damage than Loki did in NYC. Who knows how many people 'died' in the final act. But Ruffalo did a hell of a job with the little he was given. His face when Natasha is talking to him in the bedroom was heartbreaking. The way he tried to get her to sneak away with him later on in the film (before being shoved into a pit, whoops).

I liked Wanda quite a bit. I do worry she's been given TOO many powers. That opens up so many future plotholes in the 'well, why didn't they just have the Scarlett Witch do this thing?' variety. Don't really care about her brother or his death. I'm sure he'll be back; he probably walked it off.

The Vision was goofy looking. Also, is JARVIS no more??? Do we now have FRIDAY? Does that stand for something like JARVIS does, or is it a reference to 'my girl friday?'
posted by Windigo at 5:58 AM on May 1, 2015 [3 favorites]


Also, this film confirms my belief that Tony is always one small step away from being a villain.
posted by Windigo at 5:59 AM on May 1, 2015 [14 favorites]


For a movie that felt choppy and was complaining about cuts, what was the point of putting Natasha in a cell? It made even less sense then the rest of Ultron's plans.

I also am completely over ensemble hero battles against hordes of identical mooks. Ultron's dialogue was great but as soon as he went into a fight things got pretty boring.
posted by xiw at 5:59 AM on May 1, 2015 [4 favorites]


For a movie that felt choppy and was complaining about cuts, what was the point of putting Natasha in a cell? It made even less sense then the rest of Ultron's plans.

Well that actually made a certain amount of sense to me. Ultron likes an audience: after all he took a certain level of glee in that final fight. I guess that's the answer to my final question: he wanted the Avengers to last long enough so he could defeat them. A sort of Jokeresque mentality there. It probably needed a bit more time to flesh that out though.
posted by Cannon Fodder at 6:11 AM on May 1, 2015


I really like that they portray HULK as a cranky toddler who should go down for their nap.
It works so well.
posted by Just this guy, y'know at 7:08 AM on May 1, 2015 [9 favorites]


Also, Thor and the Vision are worthy of the hammer, but not Captain America? Does his choice to remain fighting make him worthy?

Really want to know if Black Widow could wield it. And since the Vision was born yesterday (heh) will he become unworthy over time?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:51 AM on May 1, 2015 [3 favorites]


Also, is JARVIS no more??? Do we now have FRIDAY? Does that stand for something like JARVIS does, or is it a reference to 'my girl friday?'

Yes, yes, yes, and also yes. The storage device Tony loads the new suit AI from is labeled F.R.I.D.A.Y., so I'll assume it stands for Friendly Robotic Irish Data Assistant, Y'all.

The Vision was goofy looking.

TBH, I've been waiting for Marvel's movies to reach the point where they started cracking into characters whose costumes are just irreducibly goofy, to the point that you can't just throw in some black leather or bandoliers or generic mil-spec texturing to ground it. Somehow, the purple/green/yellow Silver Age Vision costume still ended up having a certain level of gravitas, even though it's a live-action character design that I couldn't have even conceived of seeing in a major motion picture five years ago. They even kept the unnecessary yellow cape!

I think the ultimate test of this concept would be if they ever brought Jack of Hearts into the MCU. Dude dresses weirder than a Japanese RPG character.

Also, Thor and the Vision are worthy of the hammer, but not Captain America?

I think the Vision being able to wield Mjolnir is more a function of him having an Infinity Stone embedded in his forehead, which would seem to override the worthy/not worthy logic of Odin's enchantment. Either that, or it's because he's a machine, just like the elevator.
posted by Strange Interlude at 8:07 AM on May 1, 2015 [4 favorites]


I do think it was more a clarity of purpose. Thor and Vision are warriors and believe in fighting for what's right. Cap was having some second thoughts there.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:12 AM on May 1, 2015 [2 favorites]


It's also a case of worthiness being defined by what ODIN considers 'worthy' correct? Since it's his enchantment?
posted by Windigo at 8:57 AM on May 1, 2015 [2 favorites]


Also, Movie Vision is essentially Adam Warlock so he can do whatever he wants in my book.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 3:17 PM on May 1, 2015 [3 favorites]


I just saw it. It was good. Too many of these punching movies are just all punches and while there were a lot of punches I found myself actually caring about the characters. Hawkeye's house & kids was probably the most ridiculous thing in the film but at least it gave all the characters a little space to actual exist as hypothetical people for a few minutes.

Also, how can there be two movie Quicksilvers? Argh.
posted by GuyZero at 3:32 PM on May 1, 2015 [1 favorite]


Well, there aren't anymore! Though i did like both versions
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 3:34 PM on May 1, 2015 [2 favorites]


I guess another problem I had with the Bruce/Natasha storyline was that it felt obligatory in the sense of "well, we've got a woman on the team so naturally she has to fall in love with one of the men". But she doesn't! She is just awesome as her male counterparts that her presence doesn't have to equate romance!
posted by Kitteh at 3:38 PM on May 1, 2015 [8 favorites]


Oh come on, I liked Eurotrash Quicksilver. I'd take this one over the other one. How can he not come back? Heroes dying in a comic movie? Noooooooooooooooooooo

ugh, fine, SPOLIER
posted by GuyZero at 3:38 PM on May 1, 2015 [4 favorites]


problem I had with the Bruce/Natasha storyline

A Marvel film passing the Bechdel Test? Not likely.
posted by GuyZero at 3:39 PM on May 1, 2015 [2 favorites]


A Marvel film passing the Bechdel Test? Not likely.

Yeah, I know.

And while I like Evan Peters' fun turn at Quicksilver, Aaron Taylor-Johnson's take felt a bit more right.
posted by Kitteh at 3:48 PM on May 1, 2015 [2 favorites]


Really? I thought the Quicksilvers were switched at birth and cast for the wrong movies.

I could have done with 100% less Maximoffs - they felt just a bit too Poochie for me and ultimately brought nothing to the table besides a death and way too many cleavage shots.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 4:00 PM on May 1, 2015 [4 favorites]


The Onion reviews Avengers: Age of Ultron – "A movie that suffers from far too many scenes in which things other than superheroes are visible on-screen... There are over 7,000 licensed Marvel superheroes out there, and every last one of them should be in this film... All I'm asking is to never have to look at anything that isn't a superhero. It's filmmaking 101."
posted by koeselitz at 4:11 PM on May 1, 2015 [11 favorites]


Honestly, I find the constant fault finding of Black Widow to littling and the reduction of Scarlet Witch to "way too many cleavage shots" just bizarre.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 4:34 PM on May 1, 2015 [3 favorites]


I'm reducing both the twins. What did the Maximoffs bring to the table? Quicksilver's job was to soak up the required Joss Death and Scarlet Witch's was to do the thing the staff could already do. Both could have been skipped easily. If they needed more heroes to fight the big fight at the end, call in War Machine and Falcon earlier. If they needed doubt to creep into Tony's mind, just have him go wonky when he picks up the staff. Were they there so Ultron had someone to talk to? Have him take Klaw under his wing.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 5:39 PM on May 1, 2015 [1 favorite]


A Marvel film passing the Bechdel Test? Not likely.

Nat talks to Laura (Hawkeye's wife) and there's also a flashback when Nat talks to Madame B (Julie Delpy), her trainer. It passes. Barely, but that's what the Bechdel test is - a very low bar.
posted by crossoverman at 8:55 PM on May 1, 2015 [3 favorites]


Quicksilver's job was to soak up the required Joss Death and Scarlet Witch's was to do the thing the staff could already do.

The scene where Hawkeye tells Scarlet Witch she can hide or she can go outside and be an Avenger is one of the best moments of the film - and important.
posted by crossoverman at 9:01 PM on May 1, 2015 [20 favorites]


* I thought it was pretty good for being overstuffed, and a weird killer robot plot, and a weird "we're just gonna lift up this chunk o' city" plot. Other than that, I had a good time.
* I think Thor and Cap had arcs. Thor's was to figure out the Infinity Stone thing, and Cap's was to learn how to deal with swearing. *snerk*
* I actually liked the unexpected romance of Natasha and Bruce. Given how he was the Avenger she was MOST terrified of in the first movie, I loved how in this one she was the lion tamer to his lion. Wasn't afraid, was doing her best to get him to kick in. Aw, the end though. Wonder what they'll do about that if there aren't any Hulk movies or Black Widow movies (still angry there's going to be a fucking ant-man but not Black Widow movie).
* Nthing that Tony's always bordering on supervillian. Also, what was the point of smashing up all of his robots when he just makes more robots? Dude. You must have infinite moneyz.
* Missed Pepper and Jane and the guys having no idea where their girlfriends are is dumb, but (a) movie overstuffed already and (b) if they had been in it, they would have just been playing Girlfriends because lord knows there wasn't time for anything else.
* I wasn't that into the Maximoffs as "villains" (that was a little weird), but they grew on me a little. Didn't see that one coming. I wonder if there was any kind of scene with them and Tony that was cut, given their issues with him.
* Hawkeye's pondering shooting Pietro moment. Hee.
* Also, Hawkeye's refusal to be brainwashed again, and his speech to Wanda, including "I'm just a guy with an arrow, wtf am I doing here" moment.
* Do we know that Hawkeye quit Avenging or is he just on paternity leave for the moment? His wife does approve of him Avenging, after all. Also, love how Natasha apparently hangs around the house enough for the kids to like her.
* THE HAMMER LIFTING. Bwah. Adorable.
* Spader was his usual amusing self. He had so many little priceless human-y moments in this.
* War Machine! War Machine dropping his line at the party repeatedly! And Iron Eagle as a new recruit!
* The party in general, I'm glad we saw that before shit went down.
* I love all the Whedon moments of humor.
* Please let there be a secret door. Yay.
* Cap and Natasha quietly contemplating the view from a floating chunk of land.
* Poor Hulk after Wanda got him. Poor, poor guy.
* Did enjoy the Science Bros moments, though, even though Bruce was all "You made a murderbot." TOTALLY DID.
* Oh, sure, you're gonna ask the billionaire mad scientist to "fix your tractor."
* I haven't caught up with SHIELD in a few episodes (been super busy), just wondering if the Avengers and SHIELD (or this end of SHIELD, or the other end of SHIELD) will ever find out about the new HQ/new orgs/each other.
posted by jenfullmoon at 10:54 PM on May 1, 2015 [5 favorites]


Random question outta nowhere: does anyone know if there is an official trope name about the thing where everyone can manage to have conversations over magical comms that never go out and get better reception in space than your iPhone?
posted by jenfullmoon at 10:56 PM on May 1, 2015 [4 favorites]


It's a major plot hole that Ultron didn't jam their comms first thing, actually.
posted by Catblack at 2:42 AM on May 2, 2015 [9 favorites]


* Oh, sure, you're gonna ask the billionaire mad scientist to "fix your tractor."


But we got Tony saying 'Hello dear' when he walked up to it.

GET IT

JOHN DEERE.

/will see myself out
posted by Windigo at 6:57 AM on May 2, 2015 [17 favorites]


I guess another problem I had with the Bruce/Natasha storyline was that it felt obligatory in the sense of "well, we've got a woman on the team so naturally she has to fall in love with one of the men".

Yes this. I ship Nat and her own badassedness only. Also not down with the sterilization talk--felt like another one of those clunky comics lines written by a dude who has no idea what goes on inside the heads of actual women.

It was the required roller coaster ride and I was happy to see the meta diss of the Superman movie where we blow up Manhattan again and tying that back to the first Avengers movie and Tony Stark, weapons dealer, was nice. I think we set up Civil War pretty well, and also Thor made me interested in his next movie, which was unexpected. I liked the additional depth to Clint and his bestie ship with Nat. Tony is still a dick and as happy as I am to have the Vision, I don't like that his repeating his stupid experiment that led to Ultron paid off this time. I like Scarlet Witch, especially the pep talk with Clint, Quicksilver was good but I was glad he was the one who got fridged, and Cap was pretty solid. Yay, the new team has two black guys, two white women, a white guy, and an android, so it's still increasing its diversity. Overall good and fun, though as usual, I expect it to fall apart if I analyze it too closely (vibranium engines picked up the city WHA?).
posted by immlass at 8:11 AM on May 2, 2015 [5 favorites]


Favorite line from the movie (probably imperfectly remembered) is from Hawkeye's wife: "Honey, you know I support your avenging."
posted by paper chromatographologist at 3:39 PM on May 2, 2015 [17 favorites]


Captain America can totally lift the hammer but caught himself and stopped. To preserve the team dynamic.
posted by paper chromatographologist at 3:43 PM on May 2, 2015 [20 favorites]


I liked that Nat and Clint are not an item. A man and a woman can be very important to each other and not be romantically linked. This is not a problem limited to movies - I get so annoyed with friends and coworkers who see something romantic in all female / make relationships.
posted by double bubble at 5:32 PM on May 2, 2015 [18 favorites]


I just felt that the whole romance subplot was so forced, from Natasha's super-anvilicious "My BEST FRIEND suck it, Natasha/Clint shippers would be a cherished memory" to the aforementioned awful discussion of her sterilization to the fact that it seems like a huge Hulk management flaw that only Natasha can calm him down.

As someone who knows nothing about the comics, I also found it very frustrating that Wanda's powers seemed to evolve from mind games to fireballs and melting things and disintegrating things. It just really seemed like it was whatever the plot needed at the moment, rather than anything definitive. "She's weird" covered too much ground.

I'm not really buying the line of argument that 3 hours would have salvaged this film. The whole thing was overstuffed from the basic premise.

And finally, I know this might be a super-minor thing to lose your shit over, but I totally lost my shit over the caption that the ship was "Off the coast of Africa." Hey Joss, Africa isn't a country! That never would have read "Off the coast of Europe" or "Off the coast of North America." Augh! Just make up another fictionalized country name for that, too, if you can't be bothered to find a coastal African country on the map! Augh!
posted by TwoStride at 5:44 PM on May 2, 2015 [6 favorites]


...and that terrific reveal with the hammer is just really, really good story telling. Like, really really good.

I totally agree. It was set up nicely with Cap being able to jiggle it (foreshadows and establishes the idea). Then it resolved a plot issue where they needed a way to verify that the new guy is a good guy that the audience and the characters will all believe. And I didn't see it coming. Well done.
posted by double bubble at 6:07 PM on May 2, 2015 [10 favorites]


My wife and I were pretty sure that the film only passes the Bechdel Test if the Vision doesn't count as a man: Cho talks to Wanda about the Vision right?
posted by gerryblog at 6:12 PM on May 2, 2015


Not only that, but 'the coast of Africa' seemed like it was supposed to be Wakanda, and the fact that they totally demolished a Wakandan city would probably be a point of contention later on.

The sterile monster scene would have been so much better if they a) had put more of the emphasis on the reason why Natasha wants to run away with Bruce is because she wants to run away, period - she's using Bruce as an excuse and b) They'd phrased things differently so there was less emphasis on her sterility and more on her killing people, killing oh so many people, wow Black Widow has killed a lot of people.

Because, I totally believe that Natasha would second guess whether she's good enough to be in the Avengers, and she does think that she's a monster. They just bungled the scene really badly.

I also disliked her insisting that the Hulk couldn't hurt her - that's not true, and we know Natasha knows that's not true. What is true is that she's willing to take that chance.

Cap also seemed a bit off from Cap 2, but I guess that's what happens with a team movie.

I really enjoyed Hawkeye in this, though it was really weird to see Clint Barton as the avenger with the best relationship skills. The 'none of this shit makes any sense and I'm totally outmatched, but I do what I gotta do because it's my job' is totally Clint, though.
posted by dinty_moore at 6:37 PM on May 2, 2015 [8 favorites]


I enjoyed it, but thought it was much weaker than the original. I thought mainly it suffered from:

1. Lack of internal contrast. The film was very monotone for me, felt much more like a collection of city-destroying set-pieces that were very samey. Would have enjoyed more contrast in the type and style of actions scenes. Additionally, it was kinda exhausting, whole thing felt like a perpetual climax, and the quiet scenes in Hawkeye's barn etc felt very tacked on. The characterisations of the team weren't really propelling the plot - except for Tony's hubris, but I felt that was done much more clumsily than has been dealt with previous.

2. The score. Terrible, generic. Silvestri did a surprisingly good job with the first one and this was such bland oatmeal compared to the first.

3. I haven't seen anyone else discuss this yet, but i got a really off neo-imperialist vibe through-out the movie. Oh yeah, the Avenger's just got to whatever country/city, they and SHIELD don't need permission, they just completely wreck the joint and then piss off again. Oh wait it's okay, Tony's gonna pay for some band-aids. The US is there as saviour, other countries are just a canvas. The eastern european cliches about Craplakistan or whatever it was called were appalling and would have seemed trite in the mid nineties. Culturally, I thought it was really, really tone deaf, and there was more than one moment where I was like "typical fucking americans, let's go invade Iraq, too, Avengers". Africa, eastern europe etc deserve way better.

I dunno, I only saw winter soldier earlier this year and - having found the first Cap America a bit of snooze fest - was pleasantly surprised by how well put together it was. This was a step back from that, I thought. The characters need more room to breathe, it felt quite rote at several points.
posted by smoke at 8:02 PM on May 2, 2015 [9 favorites]


I fucking loved Ultron. I spent most of the movie waiting for him to show up again. It's too bad that Vision got all of him instead of keeping one contained somewhere. (Why does a murder-bot need such a nice ass?)

This was fun. Loads of fun.

The SHIELD sidesteps were a nice touch. Fury says he's not head of anything and Cap'n says that's what SHIELD is supposed to be when one of the Twins asks if the rescuers were SHIELD.

So does this mean Banner, Iron Man, and Hawkeye are sitting the next one out?

And, yes, Vision is correct. Humans are doomed.
Also, Ultron's line about throwing up in his mouth if he could. Great line.
And, Ultron really listening to the Twins as they aired their grievances. Great touch.

Super-plus-good. Would watch again. Watched again. Needed more Ultron.
posted by Ik ben afgesneden at 8:22 PM on May 2, 2015


And, I really loved Ultron's speech about people creating the things that destroy them, including those smaller whatchamacallits--oh yeah, almost forgot--children. Sadly, this speech also applied to Ultron.

Damnit, I really liked Ultron.
posted by Ik ben afgesneden at 9:26 PM on May 2, 2015 [4 favorites]


I liked the first shot of Ultron in the church in Sokovia, sitting on the chair with the shawl draped over him, because it's the closest we'll get to seeing DOOM in a Marvel Studios movie so long as Fox has the Fantastic Four rights and I'm positive that was intentional.
posted by jason_steakums at 9:49 PM on May 2, 2015 [6 favorites]




I'm a little worried about Thanos seeming kind of bland after all the buildup, actually. Ultimately he's just a more powerful villain to punch unless they do something unexpected. Ultron had a good thematic resonance with Stark and really felt like a natural turn in Stark's story, and Loki had an emotional attachment to Thor, tons of charisma, and the benefit of going first, so Thanos needs something more than foreshadowing and vast cosmic power to really work well. If Gamora was on the Avengers, sure, they've got history, but then it would be a bit like the Avengers stealing the spotlight in someone else's story since all the setup for that was in GotG.

I kinda wish the next Avengers movies were sticking to Earth and exploring the characters and the changing world and the idea of being an Avenger a bit more instead of facing the cosmic big bad, but it's almost to the point that the movies aren't going to be able to effectively explore that stuff as much as AoS and the Netflix shows have the potential to, since they can do more and smaller stories. One of the things that makes big superhero team books work is the smaller stories in between the big events, and conflicts that are sometimes more about personal stakes than they are about the end of the world. Like, I loved Clint's moment with Wanda, about how if she steps out there it's as an Avenger, but that kind of thing - where being an Avenger means something and it's about having the courage to be your best self no matter what's in your past and fight alongside gods no matter how much you think you pale in comparison - is a Big Deal in Avengers comics, and the aspirational nature of the Avengers is a key ingredient in Avengers stories and sets it apart from teams like the Justice League, but it barely gets a moment in movies this big. I think that's something that these movies have been missing so far - the characters are Avengers out of necessity and and a sense of duty, sure, but there's no sense of what being an Avenger means to them beyond that.
posted by jason_steakums at 11:00 PM on May 2, 2015 [5 favorites]


I saw it earlier this evening. I enjoyed it, mostly, but it was little bits of good stuff with a lot of iffy stuff in-between. I never got to the goosebumps level with any of it, which is something the MCU movies have been previously able to get me to do with good characterization and storytelling. This was too much stuff crammed in with no good tendons to hold all the meat together. There are fan writers out there making interesting connections and bringing some stuff forward that I like, but it feels like much harder work than it usually is.
posted by PussKillian at 11:07 PM on May 2, 2015 [1 favorite]


I liked that we had two heroes humblebragging about, and getting competitive about, exactly how awesome their girlfriends are. It makes a nice contrast to some weird casual throwaway misogyny in Guardians of the Galaxy.
posted by Pronoiac at 11:28 PM on May 2, 2015 [5 favorites]


All they needed was one small throwaway line from Stark about getting some code from, or basing his method on a paper by, Hank Pym and brick would have been shat. Takes two seconds of screen time and bam, you've got a tie in to what is most likely going to be the least performing Marvel movie to date.

Of course I was disappointed the Daredevil adaptation(s) didn't have young Matt Murdock holding 4 small turtles when he was blinded. ;)
posted by Catblack at 11:35 PM on May 2, 2015 [1 favorite]


Someone needs to do a fanvid of this movie with "Welcome to Heartbreak". There's a number of parallels.
posted by Small Dollar at 11:51 PM on May 2, 2015 [1 favorite]


When Tony Stark tries to jumpstart a dormant peacekeeping program

Umm...... Nope. I know that was the rumour (and a solid rumour) but that didn't happen.
posted by Mezentian at 3:09 AM on May 3, 2015


I kinda wish the next Avengers movies were sticking to Earth and exploring the characters and the changing world and the idea of being an Avenger a bit more

They're not doing Civil War (read Cap and Stark really coming to blows over their new world and what it means) first? I thought Ultron was coming after that.

Anyway, shocking no one who knows me, I enjoyed the movie a lot. I do agree that it was edited down to the bone and I'm both curious to see what the bluray puts back and expect it'll play better with a bit of fat back in.

The romance between Natasha and Banner didn't throw me. It did feel like a weak spot, but generally the actors sold it well. It felt like something most likely to benefit from readding cut stuff.... But while talking about the movie with a friend the best fix presented itself:

A FUCKING BLACK WIDOW SOLO(ish) MOVIE PUT OUT A YEAR OR TWO AGO THAT IS BASICALLY A ROMCOM STARRING HER AND BANNER.

Anyway, yeah. It was fun.

PS. Someone hire Colbie Smulders to shoot robots in the face as a full time gig and not a bit part
posted by sparkletone at 3:39 AM on May 3, 2015 [1 favorite]


Oh, also: The sterility thing. I thought it was very clunky as presented but to me... They're talking about normalcy and the possibility of it. She's not saying she's a monster like Banner feels he is because she can't pregnant. He says, "I CAN'T EVER HAVE THE THINGS EVERYONE (stereotypically) ASPIRES TO." And she says, "Yeah, well that was taken from me too and we both still deserve to be happy. We make each other happy."

A related thread runs through a bunch of Cap and Hawkeye's stuff in the movie too.

(But yeah, that could be done way better.)

PS. Cut the Prima Nocte joke that I don't think was in a version of that scene they previewed a while ago? I forget.
posted by sparkletone at 3:45 AM on May 3, 2015 [5 favorites]


Why does a murder-bot need such a nice ass

Because Tony Stark.
posted by dinty_moore at 4:33 AM on May 3, 2015 [5 favorites]


The Prima Nocte was totally in the preview.
No one blinked.
posted by Mezentian at 4:44 AM on May 3, 2015 [1 favorite]


Ah, I must be misremembering. For some reason I remembered the line as being some blithe thing about Stark being "fair but cruel" or some such. Ugh though. That was more jarring to me than anything else.
posted by sparkletone at 4:57 AM on May 3, 2015 [1 favorite]


I may be misremembering.

But it seems like a Tony thing to say.
As the "mewling quim" was Loki.
posted by Mezentian at 5:17 AM on May 3, 2015


For some reason I remembered the line as being some blithe thing about Stark being "fair but cruel" or some such.

The first version of the clip released had "fair but cruel" - then the "prima nocte" version was released later and is obviously in the film. It's a gross line, but it's Tony Stark.
posted by crossoverman at 5:29 AM on May 3, 2015 [1 favorite]


It is a throwaway.
Of all the film's problems, people are stuck on one character line?
posted by Mezentian at 5:56 AM on May 3, 2015


I'm reducing both the twins.

Sure, but only one was reduced by some bizarre noticing that a woman has breasts.

What did the Maximoffs bring to the table?

Enhanced villains for the heroes to play off against. I totally get wanting to reduced the number of characters in the film, it does feel a bit stuffed, but I think Joss handles it very well. But I think having multiple multiple villains, who are working together, added a different and better group dynamic that gave heroes something new to contend with and justified getting their asses kicked a little, which builds character. The later switch to the good side by the twins highlights just how nutty Ultron really was and muddies the good guy/bad guy bright light into something that I suspect will an issue with Civil War.

Quicksilver's job was to soak up the required Joss Death and Scarlet Witch's was to do the thing the staff could already do.

I'll disagree with you there, as the staff was merely good at causing the heroes to argue and fit. The Witch's powers more subtle, they brought the heroes inner issues into play, causing Tony to act in a really messed up way that drove the movie's them. Even Wanda was surprised at where he was going.

Sure, the staff could have used, but the staff isn't that interesting. Far better to have actually characters playing off each other.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 5:57 AM on May 3, 2015


WAAAAAIT.
Was just watching Daily Show and I may have squeed:
"... INVADERS create AVENGERS".

INVADERS.

Oh, if only.
IF. ONLY.
posted by Mezentian at 6:07 AM on May 3, 2015 [3 favorites]


Of all the film's problems, people are stuck on one character line?

I think I feel differently about the number/severity of the movie's problems than many do. But that said:

I bring it up because "mewling quim" didn't throw me at all but this did? I'm not sure why. Maybe because Loki is a villain and Stark .... ........ Mostly isn't. Not that way anyway. Loki sees most beings as beneath him, of course he'd be that kind of gross about women. Tony spends a shitload of time (relatively speaking) in this movie talking about how his life depends on Pepper doing what she does off screen and how she's BETTER THAN ALL OTHER LADIES. SHUT UP, THOR.

It's not a joke that's aimed in the direction it should be (cf: Amy Schumer's recent Friday Night Lights sketch which is) but also Pepper'd smack him hard enough to make Hulk wince if she heard that joke. Good thing Gwenyth wasn't available.

I'm not hung up on it but most things people have registered as problems with this movie weren't for me. When there's one I think definitely IS then I'm going to focus on it a bit more. I did still, again, very much have a great time with this, but that was a weird, big sour note in the middle of a scene I adored otherwise.
posted by sparkletone at 6:10 AM on May 3, 2015 [3 favorites]


Sure, but only one was reduced by some bizarre noticing that a woman has breasts.

There's a difference between noting that a woman has breasts and noting that the camera shots seem to be set up to linger on them at very odd and unnecessary times.

Natasha seemed to have broken her zipper, too.
posted by dinty_moore at 6:12 AM on May 3, 2015 [3 favorites]


Loki sees most beings as beneath him, of course he'd be that kind of gross about women.

I don't see the line about being gross at all, but about Stark being smart and historical, and flippant. And certainly not carrying out this desires.

But, hey, we all bring different readings to the film. #INVADERS!

Natasha seemed to have broken her zipper, too.

COMICS!
(And by which I mean, in comparison, her zipper was not broken).
posted by Mezentian at 6:22 AM on May 3, 2015


I rewatched last night, and concentrated harder, and definitely didn't micro-nap, and enjoyed the ride a lot more. My biggest problem remains that Ultron was criminally under-used.

coriolisdave: Loki in.. which movie?

Right. All the more reason to give the Bad more time, here.

Brandon Blatcher: Also loved that a large part of the action was about saving civilians in the third act. I couldn't help but compare it to Man of Steel's reckless destruction.

Would like to +1 this. On the rewatch, it's remarkable how much concentration is given to explicitly saving civilians, which was really great. Snyder's take makes me feel a bit ill, in comparison.
posted by Quagkapi at 6:37 AM on May 3, 2015 [2 favorites]


Yeah, but in comparison to the Avengers and Cap2, it was pretty noticeable. I don't know if it was actually zipped up higher in the first avengers, or if there were fewer scenes in the first Avengers where Natasha is bending over with her arms forward.

In general, I liked the costuming for Natasha and Wanda (especially compared to Hawkeye's), but the direction plus the costuming did add some boob emphasis at weird times. I've got no issues with either of them having sex appeal - Natasha should have sex appeal, for one, but the boob shots mostly happened during action sequences, when they were woefully out of place.
posted by dinty_moore at 6:44 AM on May 3, 2015


I enjoyed it, but not necessarily as much as I enjoyed the first one and I think that's because the first was a much tighter film. AoU felt much more like a ride down a bumpy road with great scenery to distract you from the rougher ride. Whedon successfully led me down the path of expecting Hawkeye to die (HE'S BEING CHARACTERIZED TOO MUCH, LOOK AT THE CHILDREN), so the Quicksilver death was a surprise. I'll confess, I did enjoy the breezy laidback teenage Quicksilver of X-Men over this version, but he wasn't a terrible version. I do wonder if they were restricted in the level of their slo-mo shots out of fear of duplicating too much of the other performance (as, afterall, those were among the best scenes for Quicksilver, particularly when he tries to grab Thor's Hammer). Likewise, I felt that watching Quicksilver run fast was also reduced due to the Flash offering much of the same perspective on a weekly basis.

I also felt as if a fair bit of backstory for the twins and their country was left out and only belatedly provided. Why were they okay with Hydra after we're told they were the only ones to "survive" the experimentation? Based on the level of experimentation Hydra was performing on "specials/enhanced" from Agents of Shield, it's as if concentration camp survivors had fond memories of Dr. Mengele. Likewise, while the Twins hatred for Stark is based off of his weapon dealing past (which we are told later after quite a bit of time of wondering why they hate him so much), it doesn't explain why the people of the city are ticked off at the peacekeeping robots that are branded with the Avengers' logo. Do they know they're Stark tech, so the country hates Tony, too? Are they the victims of Hydra propaganda?

I agree with others that Ultron was never quite provided the time to really breath as the villain. He has an awful plan, which begins at first with what amounts to a personal vendetta against the Avengers and Tony, but to me, it came across initially as if someone just flipped a switch to "HATE" and his wrath wasn't satisfactorily explained by the flashes of video in the moment of self awareness. Loki had a lot better motivation and higher stakes in the outcome of his plan. Ultron was almost a one dimensional villain that served really to exist to create action scenes and develop the relationship among the Avengers.

Also, the pool of sight or whatever. In the first trailer, we saw a woman stepping into it. The second we saw in the movie I was completely distracted by the obvious deletion of this element of the movie. And, what gives? Natalie Portman doesn't even get a cameo, but the older white male dude gets to appear in every Avenger film? At least Pepper had a peripheral presence in the first movie, but Jane's place in the world is turning into a running joke of being name dropped so people won't complain she's completely ignored but...that's about it.

I enjoyed the movie, but it wasn't perfect and I can't decide if it's because the movie tried to do too much, or if it was simply edited down from a level that did accomplish what it's desired goal was.
posted by Atreides at 6:51 AM on May 3, 2015 [6 favorites]


Not only that, but 'the coast of Africa' seemed like it was supposed to be Wakanda, and the fact that they totally demolished a Wakandan city would probably be a point of contention later on.

Claw had stolen the vibranium from Wakanda. He wouldn't stash it there as well. But yeah, that would have been much clearer if the movie used something, anything, better than "coast of Africa".
posted by kmz at 7:43 AM on May 3, 2015 [3 favorites]


I'm sorry, I love y'all and I will do my best to be considerate of any criticism about women in this movie or the MCU in general... But Natasha's outfit didn't change in the cleavage department compared to past movies. However, she got TRON AS HELL at some point recently and that was almost as cool as Colbie Smulders emptying a clip into a robot. Even if Fury did the killing blow there, both were improvements.
posted by sparkletone at 8:25 AM on May 3, 2015 [1 favorite]


There's a difference between noting that a woman has breasts and noting that the camera shots seem to be set up to linger on them at very odd and unnecessary times.

I honestly didn't see it as pandering in any way, it's just female anatomy. Certain shots in certain clothing will just give emphasis to various body parts. People just see things differently and I'm happy to drop it.

But I was a bit surprised at Cap's tight shirt in scenes at the farm. Kept thinking Chris Evans lost some bet with Wheadon and had to wear that shirt.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 9:25 AM on May 3, 2015 [1 favorite]


musta lost the same bet for the lovingly tight shots of cap's ass in the first one.
posted by logicpunk at 11:14 AM on May 3, 2015 [3 favorites]


the older white male dude gets to appear in every Avenger film?

Are you referring to Stan Lee or Stellan Skarsgard? If it's the former I don't know what to say, but if it's the latter I assume he's just cheaper than Natalie Portman (and/or she had other scheduling constraints). Honestly they could have skipped having him in this movie altogether and it would have been fine. He added basically nothing to the weird Thor Takes a Bath subplot, but there was so little there to begin with that I suspect it was heavily edited.
posted by axiom at 11:21 AM on May 3, 2015 [2 favorites]


Maybe if he had gotten into the bath with Thor?

That entire subplot was probably a lead up to Thor 3, but wasn't needed here. But still kinda neat.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 11:49 AM on May 3, 2015


I assume the weirdly tight Cap shirt was to emphasize his super human-ness, while Clint is just an average human. So when his wife talks about supporting his avenging and all but he's just not like the rest of them we all look at Cap and go holy geez no you're not, Clint!

But then again the weirdly tight shirts were also there in Winter Soldier, so who knows.
posted by lilac girl at 3:53 PM on May 3, 2015 [1 favorite]


I definitely noticed the Black Widow's Tron outfit. I hoped they'd explain why it made any sense to have an outfit that glowed- I mean, does it DO something? It must. Is that why she was able to survive being treated as an auger in the Hulk-throws-BW forest scene? (Was it the Hulk? Anyway, I can't figure out how she didn't end up fundamentally damaged.)

The problem I had with the Witch's outfit is that she kept reminding me too much of Melisandre in Game of Thrones. I wish they'd done more with the mind-fuck element in this movie.
posted by small_ruminant at 5:51 PM on May 3, 2015


Also, I read something about how Black Widow is actually way older than she looks due to Abusive Childhood Handwaviium, which made her and Banner seem way cuter to me. She was adorable during the flirting-at-the-bar scene.
posted by small_ruminant at 6:04 PM on May 3, 2015 [1 favorite]


I had totally forgotten that Don Cheadle plays War Machine, and have been watching a lot of House of Lies on Netflix lately so at first I was wondering what Marty Kaan was doing at Tony Stark's party.

I'm in agreement with many others that this was a mess, narratively speaking. Not sure why Ultron needed a new body if he was going to destroy the world, and it seems like one could create a more straightforward WMD with that much vibranium.

Anyway, I didn't feel like I wasted the price of the ticket. It was a good blockbuster, but not as good as The first one, or Winter Soldier IMO.
posted by sevenyearlurk at 8:41 PM on May 3, 2015 [1 favorite]


Heh. I had the same WTF moment with seeing Marty Kaan (such a crazy fun character) at the party.
posted by Ik ben afgesneden at 8:59 PM on May 3, 2015


Thor's mystery rock pool: What?

Almost certainly a version of Mimisbrunnr, Mimir's Well. Also called the Well of Memory or the Well of Wisdom; Odin plucked out his eye as the price of a drink from it.

Where did I learn this? The same place I learned much of my knowledge of Norse gods: the Almighty Johnsons.
posted by scalefree at 9:54 PM on May 3, 2015 [5 favorites]


Thor's mystery rock pool party in the Playboy grotto was an extended scene, because there was a woman there in the trailer, but it was cut out.

The Almighty Johnsons... I have seen one episode, but it is amazing.

plus the costuming did add some boob emphasis at weird times

As a heterosexual male with a "hollywood crush" on ScarJo, I didn't notice.
I did notice Evans' oddly perky nipples though.
posted by Mezentian at 3:40 AM on May 4, 2015


I liked Robert Downy Jr's reading of the little little *yay* after finding the secret door.
posted by angrycat at 3:58 AM on May 4, 2015 [12 favorites]


On the rewatch, it's remarkable how much concentration is given to explicitly saving civilians, which was really great. Snyder's take makes me feel a bit ill, in comparison.

Saw it again and yes, saving civilians is a specific mission.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 4:10 AM on May 4, 2015




To me the issue vs Man Of Steel is that there's been a lot of deconstruction/reconstruction of DC's heroes over the last few years - well, uh, ok, since The Dark Knight Returns in 1986 - where they're recast not as the goody-goodies from before that but as crazy "heroes" fighting only slightly crazier villains.

Man Of Steel was straight in that vein - the question is not whether Superman could inhale a tornado, but would Superman be willing to kill a villain who refuses to stop? Of course, a single movie doesn't exactly sum up the entire history of the character as well as the deconstruction and reconstruction so it just ends up being a bleak punchfest.

I don't hold out a lot of hope for Supes Vs Bats - it is going to be yet another grimdark smashfest. It's going to be the closest thing we're going to get to a Warhammer 40K movie.
posted by GuyZero at 9:58 AM on May 4, 2015 [1 favorite]


So I guess Joss Whedon deleted his twitter due to online harassment and death threats over Age of Ultron.

Sigh.
posted by Windigo at 1:49 PM on May 4, 2015


Seriously?!?!
posted by double bubble at 2:10 PM on May 4, 2015


He's deleted the Twitter feed, but it's not exactly sure why. He has been sounding exhausted and fed up in Age of Ultron interviews though.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 2:16 PM on May 4, 2015 [1 favorite]




Thanks for that link, twists and turns - exactly, and really well-put.

There's a good interview with Whedon about the film at the start of this Empire podcast (via).

He mentions DVD extras, that the full cut was 3 hrs 15 mins, what was cut, and even Norns in Thor's rock pool of mystery.

"They threw out the baby with the pond water" by cutting it, he says. It really sounds like he had to fight to keep stuff. But it doesn't sound like we're getting an extended cut.
posted by Quagkapi at 4:20 PM on May 4, 2015 [1 favorite]


Also, Movie Vision is essentially Adam Warlock so he can do whatever he wants in my book.

Oh wow. I totally missed that. I'd been wondering whether the Infinity War movies would have some sort of Adam Warlock character. The original Infinity Gauntlet story is huge and cosmic and throws in a ton of Marvel heroes, but it's not really an Avengers story. It's more like an Adam Warlock story told in a Silver Surfer comic book.

It gets uglier and more imperialistic as I think about it, but in the moment, "How fast can we buy this building?" was one of my favorite lines.

I thought Whedon did a pretty good job with The Flash Problem. I never had a moment where I was wondering why Quicksilver didn't just take care of the situation before anyone else had time to react, and there where a couple good scenes where he did just that (going to grab a gun rather than waste time with a conversation; just going ahead and unplugging Vision while everyone else was just arguing). The scale of the action at the end made it believable that his superspeed couldn't just solve everything.

The Superman Problem (is this battle something Thor could just do by himself?) was a bigger issue. In the first scene, it seemed like Thor could have just charged in and grabbed that scepter he wanted all by himself just fine without the Avengers, with maybe a little recon help from SHIELD or Stark. It wasn't clear why Thor didn't just throw his hammer at all the robots in the first scene with Ultron at the party. Then he just gets sent away for a while. And then it seemed like he and the Hulk ought to have been carving a much bigger swath out of the robots in the final battle. (This was kind of a problem in the first Avengers movie too. The guy from the first Thor movie who carved a path though Frost Giants and their huge monster ought to have had a much bigger role smiting aliens and their big monsters.)

When Ultron's shiny new body destroyed the old one while talking to Natasha, I thought sure it was made of vibranium, which would have made Ultron a much more Thor/Hulk/Vision-worthy opponent in the final battle. Not enough time, I guess.

I liked the first shot of Ultron in the church in Sokovia, sitting on the chair with the shawl draped over him, because it's the closest we'll get to seeing DOOM in a Marvel Studios movie so long as Fox has the Fantastic Four rights and I'm positive that was intentional.

That was actually a nod to Ultron's first comic book appearance as the enigmatic Crimson Cowl.
posted by straight at 6:02 PM on May 4, 2015 [1 favorite]


It wasn't clear why Thor didn't just throw his hammer at all the robots in the first scene with Ultron at the party.

Or why doesn't he just pound the hammer on the ground and knock everyone down (like in the first scene). Over and over and over and over.
posted by double bubble at 7:05 PM on May 4, 2015


I think I missed something related to Banner and his part in creating Ultron. He starts out against it - and then next you see him 100% engaged with the development. And no one seems to hold him accountable - everyone takes their anger out on Tony.
posted by double bubble at 7:08 PM on May 4, 2015 [2 favorites]


I think he just got sucked into Tony's excitement? And SCIENCE!

Least that's what I told myself.
posted by Windigo at 8:45 PM on May 4, 2015




Y'all have all good points, so I'm not going to repeat them, but here something ridiculous.

Clint pulls a Harry Potter on his son.

"You were named after the two greatest superheroes. One is your Aunt Nat, because she would totally kick my ass if I didn't, and the other was this guy I met before you were born. He might have died, I don't know, people keep coming back to life all the goddamn time, but his name was Pietro. Now go to school and don't worry, because you're like a superhero. Or something."

"You couldn't name me Steve?"
posted by Katemonkey at 12:27 AM on May 5, 2015 [5 favorites]


I thought it was a lot better than I expected, but I basically expected it to be godawful, so that isn't saying much? I really liked that a significant portion of the action was about getting civilians out, because it always bothers me that that isn't a thing. The one-liners were funny, but they often seemed like they were there for their own sake and they didn't really have much to do with the characters who said them: the language gag especially relies on the whole "Steve is old" thing that really fails to grasp any of the nuance of his character that he gets in his solo films.

The sterility-monster thing was absolute shit, and the rape joke was awful; between this and that thing where he decided to start telling everyone how to do feminism correctly a while back I feel like he should get some award for Worst Ally Ever and I'm super fucking glad that Marvel fired him or he quit or whatever.

My headcanon for the Avengers movies in general is that they're told from an unreliable narration from the POV of Tony Stark, which I think explains why the solution to Ultron is a... better Ultron; the hackneyed-ness of the romance is because he thinks that's how it would work, etc. This means that he's either eavesdropping on all the conversations he's not in or making them up, which explains why Thor just kind of fucks off for no reason at the end: he wasn't privy to the conversation where he actually explains what's going on to Cap.

I have a lot of fantasies about the world where Tony actually died in Avengers 1 and the rest of the Iron Man movies are about War Machine and Rescue. They're nice dreams.

I did start jumping when they revealed the lineup for the new team, though. I love Cap and Nat's friendship so much. I love Hawkeye and Nat's friendship too; I think I was unable to really care much about the weirdness of Banner/Nat because I was so relieved she wasn't getting with Hawkeye.

It's weird seeing Hawkeye be the only together person on the team, since I'm used to Matt Fraction's take on him.
posted by NoraReed at 4:47 AM on May 5, 2015 [3 favorites]


The sterility-monster thing was absolute shit, and the rape joke was awful; between this and that thing where he decided to start telling everyone how to do feminism correctly a while back I feel like he should get some award for Worst Ally Ever and I'm super fucking glad that Marvel fired him or he quit or whatever.

I missed the rape joke? I just want to comment on the "sterility monster" thing. This is clearly how Natasha sees herself, after reliving her past, her being turned into a monster. Note that both she and Banner have similar feelings about their inferiority. I admit it'd be nice if the script had taken the time to go "obviously being infertile doesn't make you a monster!" but I thought it was pretty clear that Natasha was not, in fact, a monster because of her infertility or anything else.
posted by Cannon Fodder at 4:53 AM on May 5, 2015 [2 favorites]


The thing that seemed so clunky about the sterility thing to me is that Nat has never before expressed any interest in children, and the flashbacks also showed that in addition to being sterilized, she was conditioned to shoot some random person tied up in the chair. I can believe that she has regrets about not being able to have children, but it sort of comes out of nowhere, so it ends up feeling shoehorned in. Her having regrets about being inured to killing people would let her do the "I'm a monster too" thing, and still be consistent with her previous characterization.

The Prima Nocte thing was the rape joke, I think, and I sort of winced when Tony said it.

The "Steve doesn't swear" thing came back a few too many times, and stopped being funny.

Other than that I enjoyed the movie a lot. I like how The Vision agrees with Ultron that Humanity Is Fucked. Their moment in the woods at the end was great characterization for both of them. And the emphasis on saving civilians was really great.

I am also embarrassed that I fell for all the "Clint is going to die" red herrings. In retrospect it was foreshadowed too much. Joss doesn't hint that he's going to kill someone, he just kills them at their moment of greatest triumph with no warning (Wash was a leaf on the wind, Coulson got the drop on Loki).
posted by Elementary Penguin at 5:23 AM on May 5, 2015 [3 favorites]


The dialog was definitely clunky in that scene. But I agree that she doesn't think she is a monster because she is sterile. She thinks she is a monster because they turned her into a killing machine by removing any chance at any other life.
posted by double bubble at 5:25 AM on May 5, 2015


Another thing I really liked was, at the end, when The Hulk is on the Quinjet and runs away, he calms down, sadly looks at Nat, turns off the comms and flies away, but he doesn't turn back into Bruce. I have always been a fan of the more intelligent versions of The Hulk, rather than the screaming mindless Id Monster version. I would love for him to return our of the blue in Avengers 3, and someone be all, "It's the Hulk", and for him to turn and say, "Actually, I prefer Dr. Banner," and then still punch the hell out of Thanos or whatever.
posted by Elementary Penguin at 5:31 AM on May 5, 2015 [4 favorites]


And maybe the clunkiness of that particular line where Nat says she is a monster is on purpose. She doesn't really get Bruce's pain - which she proves when she pushes him off the edge of that hole.
posted by double bubble at 6:01 AM on May 5, 2015 [2 favorites]


The Prima Nocte thing was the rape joke, I think, and I sort of winced when Tony said it.

Me too. I took it as a sign of Tony's cluelessness about where the line is.
posted by double bubble at 6:03 AM on May 5, 2015


I wonder if that line was part of the script or ad-libbed? I know he gets to ad lib a lot. Not that that it makes any difference in the end.
posted by Windigo at 6:07 AM on May 5, 2015 [1 favorite]


I would now love a film - a Black widow film - where she goes off to hunt down Banner and somehow the Winter Soldier ends up along for the ride. I want lots of deadpan Russian angst.
posted by Windigo at 6:09 AM on May 5, 2015 [3 favorites]


I am holding out for a Planet Hulk movie that ties into Guardians of the Galaxy.
posted by Elementary Penguin at 6:12 AM on May 5, 2015 [1 favorite]


(comic and CA:TWS spoilers below)

Black Widow and the Winter Soldier are great together in the comics; I love the parts where they team up with Falcon to do Steve's job while he's dead. It's especially great when they adopt a strategy that just involves dropping Bucky into nests of bad guys and then taking him out when he's done. "Problem? Drop Bucky on it."
posted by NoraReed at 6:38 AM on May 5, 2015 [6 favorites]


I was really hoping for a split-second shot of Bucky in the Nat flashbacks, at least. I was also thinking that it would have made more sense for Cap's nightmare to have something more to do with Cap 2 - either accidentally propping up Hydra or Bucky angst - but I don't have an issue with Cap wondering if he could ever not be fighting something. Dude's been a fighter his entire life. When do you know when to stop?
posted by dinty_moore at 6:47 AM on May 5, 2015 [2 favorites]


This way, Whedon never gets his fuckup hands on Bucky Barnes, and for that I thank the gods. He's so bad at writing Steve I don't even want to imagine how he'd screw that up
posted by NoraReed at 6:49 AM on May 5, 2015 [5 favorites]


The language thing doesn't really make sense even considering that Steve is old - Cap2 Steve seems more like the sort to remind you that dockhands and soldiers cursed back then, too. A super easy fix that would have had the same effect would be if Steve said a sufficiently old timey curse and then everyone else spend the rest of the movie mocking him for it. It's still a LOL!old joke, but at least it's one that makes sense.
posted by dinty_moore at 6:56 AM on May 5, 2015 [3 favorites]


I get from people's discussion why they don't like the sterility thing, but while I was watching the movie it seemed clear to me that Natasha was responding to Bruce's lament that he could never have a family because he was a monster by saying, "It's OK. They made me into a monster too. And they also took away my option of having children." She's telling Bruce that she's a monster and she wouldn't expect to have a family with him, not that she's a monster because she can't have children.
posted by straight at 7:36 AM on May 5, 2015 [6 favorites]


The language thing doesn't really make sense even considering that Steve is old

Steve would definitely have become completely inured to swearing doing WW2. The only way that bit makes sense is if his instinct is to scold soldiers for swearing when a lady is present (or listening on the comms).
posted by straight at 7:40 AM on May 5, 2015


straight: "She's telling Bruce that she's a monster and she wouldn't expect to have a family with him, not that she's a monster because she can't have children."

That was my read of it as well, but I can understand the other interpretation, and why it is so upsetting.

I think the language thing was a "Steve is a goody-goody" thing, not a "Steve is old thing". I suspect he admonished his USO co-stars for their salty language in the dressing room as well.
posted by Rock Steady at 7:46 AM on May 5, 2015 [2 favorites]


I think I missed something related to Banner and his part in creating Ultron. He starts out against it - and then next you see him 100% engaged with the development. And no one seems to hold him accountable - everyone takes their anger out on Tony.

Tony's always the center of attention, while Banner is usually trying to hide. So yeah, of it makes sense that people focus on Tony. Tony focuses on Tony!

The language thing doesn't really make sense even considering that Steve is old

Eh, he's the original boy scout and just generally doesn't curse or approve of it.

The Superman Problem (is this battle something Thor could just do by himself?) was a bigger issue.

It's always going to be an issue in some respect. For instance, if there's an Iron Legion, why doesn't every Avenger have some version of an Iron Man suit? If nothing else, it would offer some basic protection. Same goes for the Falcon. Imagine Hawkeye with those wings, he'd be unstoppable. But it's fantasy fiction and if the creators do a good enough job, we shrug and enjoy it.


Not sure why Ultron needed a new body if he was going to destroy the world, and it seems like one could create a more straightforward WMD with that much vibranium.

He didn't need one, he just wanted a new body, so he could evolve. Yeah, he had issues. He was an alien AI that wasn't quite conscious, then Stark and Banner managed to give him that, but with no parental direction. Ultron is basically a baby with destructive tools. Jarvis at least had time to be "raised" by Stark, so it makes sense that he can become the Vision, a champion of life.

Remember folks, AIs need parents!
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:58 AM on May 5, 2015 [4 favorites]


Eh, he's the original boy scout and just generally doesn't curse or approve of it.

I think the language thing was a "Steve is a goody-goody" thing, not a "Steve is old thing".


That's the thing! In the individual Cap movies, at least, Steve's a good person, but he's not a cartoonish boy scout. His intro in Cap1 is him picking a fight in a movie theater. His intro in Cap2 is him picking up Sam trolling a random dude. Whether or not he curses, I don't think he would have an issue with other people cursing - cursing at someone, definitely (Cap does not abide catcallers), cursing in the middle of a firefight, eh. But even if he did, he'd couch his disapproval in something a little less schoolmarm-y than 'language'. Part of this is just working with a group, but the Cap stand alone movies have a much more interesting characterization for Steve than just 'boy scout'.

Empire's interview (all this taken from the podcast linked above, I think) seems to indicate that Joss was actively not trying to include stuff from the individual films, and I'm not quite sure how well that works. I don't know that many people who are going to see AoU who haven't seen at least some of the other phase 2 films. Also, it explains why there was no Coulson's alive reveal, which I was wondering about.
posted by dinty_moore at 8:31 AM on May 5, 2015 [3 favorites]


In my head, Steve's "Language!" reprimand is something he used to say to the Howling Commandos when Peggy was around and while he's stopped calling Natasha "ma'am," he's still not used to people swearing around her and the other SHIELD ladies.
posted by straight at 8:44 AM on May 5, 2015


Ah, Joss was forced to include the Thor in the memory pool stuff, in order to keep the farmhouse stuff.

Le Sigh. Don't ruin your golden egg Marvel!
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 9:55 AM on May 5, 2015 [1 favorite]


That CBR article pulls a strange conclusion from the Empire podcast Quagkapi linked above. The way Whedon describes it, he wanted a more in-depth memory pool sequence as well as the farm stuff. After the memory pool didn't test well (Because I guess having the Sexiest Man Alivetm shirtless and soaking wet is bad for business), the studio told him he had to go with the shortened memory pool we got or the farm stuff would have to go.
posted by Uncle Ira at 11:16 AM on May 5, 2015 [1 favorite]


They just announced Martin Freeman (Sherlock, Fargo, Hobbit) is going to be in Captain America: Civil War. Curious who he'll play, also wondering if they have a 'tumblr fan favorites' play book and are about to announce Mads Mikkelsen next. Freeman is a great actor though, so should be fun.
posted by Windigo at 11:55 AM on May 5, 2015


Windigo: "urious who he'll play"

I could see him as a Henry Gyrich type government official.
posted by Rock Steady at 12:21 PM on May 5, 2015 [1 favorite]


Oooooooo that seems totally possible.
posted by Windigo at 12:41 PM on May 5, 2015


2. The score. Terrible, generic. Silvestri did a surprisingly good job with the first one and this was such bland oatmeal compared to the first.

I KNOW, RIGHT?! I was so disappointed, Brian Tyler is typically fantastic for crazy action movies (Iron Man 3, a couple of Fasts and Furiouses, that sort of stuff).
posted by everybody had matching towels at 12:55 PM on May 5, 2015


I was confused by the title....didn't seem like much of an Age of Ultron. Like, a Couple Weeks of Ultron, at best.

I also didn't like Ultron's quips and snarky attitude, seemed too similar to Tony. Which was probably intentional (drive home that he was made by Tony or something) but it really didn't work for me. It was both eyeroll-y and made Ultron seem like a less serious threat.

I did really like the focus on saving civilians at the end.
posted by everybody had matching towels at 1:10 PM on May 5, 2015 [2 favorites]


I'm really curious to see how Civil War plays out, though. There don't seem to be enough superheroes in the MCU to make the Superhero Registration Act necessary. I guess we will add Ant Man and Spider-Man by the end of Captain America 3, but even so, that's like less than 10 costumed freaks total. I wonder if, as with Age of Ultron, the plot will be almost completely different from the run of the comics with the same name.
posted by Rock Steady at 1:13 PM on May 5, 2015


Snarky, quip-tastic characters are a Whedon trademark. That's why I liked Ultron. He wasn't dour or pompous. He's a villain you could hang with and have a beer.
posted by Ik ben afgesneden at 1:21 PM on May 5, 2015 [3 favorites]


There don't seem to be enough superheroes in the MCU to make the Superhero Registration Act necessary.

A superhero battles have trashed harlem, New York, at town in the southwest, Slovkia and lord knows what else I'm missing. Don't think of the movie version as needing to match the comics in anything other than the name, with Cap and Tony on different sides.

You don't need an arm of enhanced characters for a Superhero Registration Act. You just need a few that have trashed cities all over the globe and caused thousands of death.

But if feels an army is needed, well Agents of Shield has been building to that.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 1:27 PM on May 5, 2015 [2 favorites]


You don't need an army of enhanced characters for a Superhero Registration Act. You just need a few that have trashed cities all over the globe and caused thousands of death.

"I have an army."

"We have a Hulk."
posted by radwolf76 at 2:44 PM on May 5, 2015


And to pile on: I believe the MCU includes Agents of Shield too, in which case the world is already littered with super people.
posted by paper chromatographologist at 3:18 PM on May 5, 2015


The MCU does indeed include AoS. Even if iy didn't, there will still be enough enhanced to do a super hero story. Hell, adding more people might make it too complicated. Age of Ultron was almost over stuffed.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 3:50 PM on May 5, 2015


I don't think all of the powered people necessarily need facetime, we just need to know that there's a decent number of powered people out there - which the MCU is barreling towards, so I don't think there will be an issue.

I've been thinking about Joss's decision to approach Avengers 2 with the assumption that the audience has seen nothing else from the MCU (except maybe Avengers 1) is approaching an old issue with complex serial media - and the common issue with these huge old comic universes. There's a tension between continuity and accessibility, and solving the issue by ignoring major changes that happened in side continuities (Natasha taking time to find herself, Phil Coulson being alive) is pretty unsatisfying for those who are watching the other movies and TV shows. But the other choices - alienate the larger audience by referencing that movie that came out five years ago, or not really allow for drastic changes to ever happen are pretty unsatisfying choices, too.
posted by dinty_moore at 6:59 PM on May 5, 2015 [4 favorites]


By pretty much any rational measure, the Avengers have to know Coulson is alive. He hasn't exactly been keeping himself hidden.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:40 PM on May 5, 2015


But if that's true (and it probably is by this point, unless they want to stretch and leave that thematically relevant revelation for Civil War), that's a pretty unsatisfying conclusion to that plot thread. The Avengers find out that the guy who brought them all together (mostly through his death) is not actually dead - and technically not faking his death, but really only by technicality at this point. He was brought back to life by the strange alien goo that seems to be pretty harmful and has a history of driving people crazy. This was done while SHIELD was also Hydra and doing some weird experiments on people. And now Coulson is running SHIELD - the organization a third of the Avengers took down because they were infiltrated by Hydra and didn't even realize it. So what was their response?

Nothing, apparently. Because if anything happened, it happened offscreen and not alluded to again. That's pretty weak.

And with any sort of long form storytelling there will be threads dropped, but this was a pretty big plot point that fizzled out. When it was announced that Phil was actually alive, the two main reactions I remembered seeing were wondering how they were going to explain away his death and what would happen when the Avengers found out. But if they have a reveal scene or allude to an earlier reveal scene in Age of Ultron, they would have had to explain more of what happened in Cap2 and Agents of SHIELD for it to make sense to those who missed the movie/tv show.

Shared universes are hard, man.
posted by dinty_moore at 8:50 PM on May 5, 2015 [3 favorites]




And now Coulson is running SHIELD - the organization a third of the Avengers took down because they were infiltrated by Hydra and didn't even realize it. So what was their response?

Them doing nothing about Coulson isn't a total stretch in my mind. Natasha has to know, Maria Hill knows, Fury knows etc, so they've probably vouched for him. I can easily imagine conversations off screen about finding out and what he's up to, but the three mentioned saying "let it go for now" and then following up any protests with examples of the various good things Coulson's team has done.

It would be nice if Avengers acknowledged that in AoE, but I can understand Joss wanting to keep things as simple as possible in movie that's bursting at the seams.

Whedon says he wasn't chased off Twitter by anyone.

Yeah, Whedon is clearly a bit exhausted at this point. Twitter isn't exactly a relaxing place to hang out on, especially if you're trying to regroup your creative juices. So disappearing from it makes a lot of sense. Who hasn't contemplated ditching all their social media for a peaceful weekend or year.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 5:50 AM on May 6, 2015


I'm not sure why I see these things any more, since I hate them. It's mostly keeping up social contacts with people who's desire for film ends at the three hour video game cutscene I just had the displeasure to sit through.

Fucking dreadful, awful, pedestrian shit from stem to stern. Awful paper thin characters, a plot that manages to be idiotic and convoluted at the same time, terrible direction, dialogue, plotting, cinematography, and anything else that might be called "film work". The whole point of these fucking things are the fight scenes (well, actually, it's tickling the scrotums of fanboys by letting them remember their favorite moments from the comics by putting a simulacrum of it on screen, but I digress), and the fight scenes are mostly incoherent.

At least I'm free of it until next year, since everyone I know agrees that Ant Man looks terrible, and I won't likely be dragged to see it.
posted by codacorolla at 8:12 PM on May 6, 2015 [2 favorites]


I can think of movies I've so thoroughly not enjoyed watching that I'd write about them that way. I struggle to think of any I've paid to see willingly or not in a long, long, long, long time.

Better luck with avoiding Phase 3, I guess.
posted by sparkletone at 2:57 AM on May 7, 2015 [1 favorite]


Ant-Man didn't look that great in the first trailer, but the second one makes it look much more fun.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 4:55 AM on May 7, 2015


The fuller trailer has done a much better job of convincing me to go see it, which is saying something, as I originally was of the mind, "Ant-Man? WHY DO THEY KEEP HARPING THIS STUPID SOUNDING FRANCHISE?" I was iffy about Guardians until the first trailer, too, though, and I loved that one. I don't think I'll love Ant-Man, but it could be enjoyable.
posted by Atreides at 6:53 AM on May 7, 2015


Yeah, I though Guardians was a bold move, but these days actually committing to a Black Widow movie would be incredibly bold for the company.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:44 AM on May 7, 2015


But it seems like a Tony thing to say.
As the "mewling quim" was Loki.


In a "too smart for the room" way, perhaps. Would the average audience member even know what Prima Nicta means? I had to go home after the movie and look up "mewling quim" and I ended up thinking it was just a Norse god way of saying the "c" word, a word which probably wouldn't have gotten past the MPAA people. I did know what Prima Nicta meant and actually gasped in the theater when I heard it. I dunno, it just seems out of bounds for Stark to be joking about basically raping a woman, and the filmmakers to get away with it because the reference probably went over most people's heads.

Ant Man looks terrible
Is Ant-Man supposed to be taken seriously as a superhero? Is he really in the same league with Iron Man, Thor, Captain America, and Hulk? The trailer I saw just seemed like a big joke and I almost felt bad for Paul Rudd.

committing to a Black Widow movie would be incredibly bold for the company

Yeah, especially since one of their marquee actors and an also-ran thought it'd be cool to call her a slut in interviews. Then, despite the PR blowback, the also-ran doubled down on the shaming in a subsequent interview. The company might want to get a handle on that.
posted by fuse theorem at 9:23 AM on May 7, 2015 [4 favorites]


I dunno, it just seems out of bounds for Stark to be joking about basically raping a woman, and the filmmakers to get away with it because the reference probably went over most people's heads.

Neither that nor mewling quim went over my head, but I'm a history nerd. This time I didn't gasp, thought, because: Whedon. We established last time that this was where his humor lived so I wasn't nearly as surprised to see it again.
posted by immlass at 9:30 AM on May 7, 2015


I missed the 'mewling quim' but thanks to the glory of Braveheart was informed on our most recent topic. I think there's a superficial level of understanding of prima nicta where people boil it down to, "sleep with the bride," but it doesn't cross the threshold of the watcher's mind that really equates to, "rape the bride." So instead of gasping in horror at the idea of Tony Stark raping every new bride of Asgard, it's chuckle, chuckle, that Tomcat Tony sexing it up with the lady vikings!
posted by Atreides at 11:48 AM on May 7, 2015


I think there's a superficial level of understanding of prima nicta where people boil it down to, "sleep with the bride," but it doesn't cross the threshold of the watcher's mind that really equates to, "rape the bride." So instead of gasping in horror at the idea of Tony Stark raping every new bride of Asgard, it's chuckle, chuckle, that Tomcat Tony sexing it up with the lady vikings!

I don't agree with that read at all. People with a basic understanding of high school Spanish or Latin would get that "prima" probably means "first". Someone presuming the right to have sex with the (likely virgin) bride before the groom does sounds like a rapist to me unless it's also assumed that the bride automatically gives her consent. (And I guess that's assuming the bride consents to the marriage to begin with; how does that work with Norse gods?)

Whatever, given the frat boy attitude and behavior of Tony Stark to begin with, IMO it's a particularly poor joke to be making right now in light of a current problem on U.S. college campuses. I just don't think it was a joke that needed to be made or one that added anything good to the storyline.
posted by fuse theorem at 12:33 PM on May 7, 2015


I just saw it for the second time today and, while that joke is a problem, overall I think it was good! I also liked that saving normal people was such a priority for the heroes, and the many touches of Whedon humor throughout.
posted by JHarris at 4:59 PM on May 7, 2015


Hey guys, wanna read SOMETHING INFURIATING?

Guess why we probably won't ever see a Black Widow movie? It's because Electra, Catwoman and Supergirl all bombed at the box office, so a Sony exec thinks female-led superheroes don't work.
posted by JHarris at 11:28 PM on May 7, 2015


Guess why we probably won't ever see a Black Widow movie? It's because Electra, Catwoman and Supergirl all bombed at the box office, so a Sony exec thinks female-led superheroes don't work.

Everyone knows that, don't we?

Anyway, counterpoint: Captain Marvel.
(Which I assume will be great, despite my severe misgivings about Captain America: Civil War, which is looking like it could be more over-stuffed than AoU. Kinda wishing the non-Avenger movies were standalone, AoS aside.)

Also, counterpoint: Agent Carter... which is getting a second series.

I don't think Black Widow would make a great movie, I think she'd work better on TV in a limited series.
posted by Mezentian at 4:09 AM on May 8, 2015 [1 favorite]


As an aside, there's a great Lil Avengers parody doing the rounds (and a Star Wars one) if you haven't seen them.
posted by Mezentian at 4:48 AM on May 8, 2015


Guess why we probably won't ever see a Black Widow movie? It's because Electra, Catwoman and Supergirl all bombed at the box office, so a Sony exec thinks female-led superheroes don't work.

Ladies: Officially more difficult to market than Ant-Man and a talking raccoon combined.

I've literally had people make the same argument to me here on metafilter. I have no idea what the logic is behind that, but it's surprisingly popular. The only thing I can think of is that dudes forget the dozens and dozens of male-led superhero films that flopped because, let's face it, they're pretty forgettable.
posted by dinty_moore at 5:44 AM on May 8, 2015 [7 favorites]


The only thing I can think of is that dudes forget the dozens and dozens of male-led superhero films that flopped because, let's face it, they're pretty forgettable.

Batman and Robin was not forgettable!
Awful, yes.

Let us be honest:
Electra and Catwoman were awful and deserved to fail (but I loved Supergirl as a kid).
Kids don't care about gender.
And, kids don't care about origins. I'm watching Justice League (the cartoon, not the shit filum-pilot), and people as "complex" as John Stewart, Martian Manhunter, Hawkgirl, Blackhawks are just there.
Character comes out through story.
Hollywood seems to struggle with that.

On the other side: Salt, Lucy, Hunger Games et al have all proved the gender issues doesn't matter.
It's not even in the marketing.
It is in the delivery.

Marvel, thus far, have proved that if they deliver it, people will come.
(DC not so much, and who knows about Valiant and Image).
Purely in terms of "Diversity!", Marvel is well placed to break the celluloid ceiling, because the amount of goodwill they have is amazing.

But if Marvel delivers a good Black Widow or Captain Marvel film, how will that affect the bean-counters?
I have no idea, and maybe the guy behind Dredd can explain it, but in 2015 I don't think we can continue to blame the failure of Elektra or Catwoman, because they were poorly considered trend-riders.And probably films by committee. And shit.

Between now and Wonder Woman I think the landscape will be vastly changed, and Hollywood will reflect that because Hollywood likes money.

If doesn't, there might be a structural problem (although looking at superhero films in a vacuum is an issue in itself), but I am not sure it is an issue that exists in the wider media environment any more.

Of course, my peak comic reading days were Roger Stern's excellent Avengers era (Wasp and Captain Marvel FTW, Dr Druid sucks) and Claremont's X-Men, so strong female characters seem natural to me.

But, then, in those days, you didn't have people with agendas looking at every single line written and declaring X was misogynistic (BW's sterilised line) because they read it differently than intended. Or bring baggage.

But I ramble.
posted by Mezentian at 8:26 AM on May 8, 2015


Joining the discussion here late, hopefully I'm not retreading much old ground. Aside from the stuff that infuriated me on an overinvested fan level, and my total rage at how poorly everything about Natasha's storyline was handled, I thought this movie was incoherent. And that just really disappointed me, because I wanted to have fun, and there was stuff I enjoyed as I was watching, but the whole way through I couldn't stop thinking that I just really expected a better film from Whedon than this, no matter what character nonsense he pulled that I disagreed with.

For me, there's just an empty void at the center of this film because I can't see how anyone in the movie had any real agency. When you look a little more closely at the plot and at the characters, it all falls apart and there's really no sense that anyone's acting so much as they are constantly reacting or being manipulated.

It was like stuff was just...happening. Like, let's walk it back, see how this whole mess started. They take out the HYDRA base to recover the scepter. Strucker decides "welp, we're fucked, Wanda just--I don't know, fuck their shit up. Just do some mind mojo and fuck their shit up in a totally unspecified way whose consequences I can in no way anticipate or comprehend." So Wanda mindwhammies Tony with all his worst fears, and the scepter does the rest. Tony, from this point on, has little in the way of agency. Tony was doing just fine before Wanda fucked with him. Sure he had some basic plans for Ultron, but he wasn't apparently doing much of anything with them aside from tinkering, and he had no reason to think his AI would go insane given that his prior forays into AI led to the supremely wonderful JARVIS. And never mind that: the way Ultron's creation is presented in the movie is basically like it happened via scepter-induced lab accident. Tony and Bruce leave some code compiling and then, whoops! It turns evil. Because of the scepter/mind stone I guess. Which, way to go, Thor. Shoulda kept an eye on the humans and not let them mess with technology beyond their ken.

Bruce is similarly lacking in agency, because he's manipulated into Hulking out by Wanda, and from that point on Bruce is just looking for an opportunity to bail. Steve's just there. Being Cap, still quietly dealing with his shit, but otherwise not doing much of anything in this movie. Thor ran off to be in his own space fantasy movie halfway through and is mostly around to exposit about infinity gems and Vision. Natasha...ahahaha. Ha. The best take possible on Natasha is that the choice she is actively making in this movie is to be vulnerable, to go after a relationship that she wants, but that doesn't drive much if any of the movie's plot. Hawkeye gets some background and a nice motivational speech, and that's it.

And Wanda, who's ostensibly set so much of the plot of this movie in motion? Well, she's motivated by the desire for revenge against Tony/the Avengers, and she apparently thought she signed up for experimentation with SHIELD and/or a SHIELD affiliate. But that doesn't explain why she was apparently cool with the murder of innocent people via Hulk, and it doesn't clarify how much intention was behind her mental manipulations. She was manipulated by Strucker and then by Ultron, and then she chose to ally herself with the Avengers, and this is all fine but the movie just...forgets that a goodly half of this movie's death and destruction is on her. Wanda needed to be the locus of this story in order to make it halfway coherent, but she wasn't.

Ultron is basically the only character who's acting and doing stuff that moves the plot forward, but given that he's essentially a walking lab accident with daddy issues, this still leaves the movie with an empty core of why is any of this stuff even happening? It's not really Tony's fault, he had his head fucked with. The movie tries to tell us, no, it's Tony's fault because he would have created Ultron anyway, but uh. The last time we saw Tony Stark, he blew up all his Iron Man suits. Iron Man 3 was 2.5 hours worth of showing us that Tony was done with dealing with his trauma via expensive suits of armor. Tony essentially had to be triggered and manipulated into creating Ultron, and there was no indication in movie or out of it that this would have happened without Wanda's intervention or that scepter. And then we find out that Wanda didn't know any of this would happen either, and that she wasn't down with genocide, so it wasn't really her fault either. So, I mean, Ultron is no one's fault! He's just this thing, happening, for no real reason! No reason other than a magical scepter anyway.

So I think that's why at the end of the movie, I was left wondering, well what the fuck was any of that even for? There were ways to do this plot that wouldn't have left such an empty void at the center of it, but Age of Ultron wasn't it.
posted by yasaman at 11:02 AM on May 8, 2015 [6 favorites]


When you look a little more closely at the plot and at the characters, it all falls apart and there's really no sense that anyone's acting so much as they are constantly reacting or being manipulated.

"You're all just puppets, tangled in strings"

Ultron is basically the only character who's acting and doing stuff that moves the plot forward

"There are no strings on me"

Except from the stinger, it seems clear that even the real boy is still someone's puppet, or at very least. a pawn. And we're about to see the chessboard flipped over out of frustration.
posted by radwolf76 at 12:12 PM on May 8, 2015


It was like stuff was just...happening. Like, let's walk it back, see how this whole mess started. They take out the HYDRA base to recover the scepter. Strucker decides "welp, we're fucked, Wanda just--I don't know, fuck their shit up. Just do some mind mojo and fuck their shit up in a totally unspecified way whose consequences I can in no way anticipate or comprehend."

No, Strucker ordered the troops to hold off the Avengers, he would go and surrender and hopefully that would satisfy the Avengers while Dr. List and the Avengers got away. But then the twins decided to attack on their own.

So Wanda mindwhammies Tony with all his worst fears, and the scepter does the rest. Tony, from this point on, has little in the way of agency. Tony was doing just fine before Wanda fucked with him.

I'm not sure the scepter does anything.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 12:29 PM on May 8, 2015


and this is all fine but the movie just...forgets that a goodly half of this movie's death and destruction is on her.

Hawkeye did a whole speech about it doesn't matter. Which one can argue with or see that he was simply trying to get Wanda into gear during battle. But Black Widow was an assassin and now she's an Avenger, so it's not as if everyone is a boyscott. Hulk has definitely caused some deaths too.

The movie tries to tell us, no, it's Tony's fault because he would have created Ultron anyway, but uh.

He was trying to create Ultron, but didn't have quite the smarts or power. The scepter, which Wanda manipulated him into desiring, did that.

I think you forgot a few details from the movie.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 12:37 PM on May 8, 2015


I'm not sure the scepter does anything.

Wasn't the scepter and/or the mind gem in it the source of the AI that led to Ultron? Or was that pulled from elsewhere in the HYDRA base? Maybe I misunderstood all the technobabble going on in that scene.

If Ultron was supposed to be Thanos's puppet/pawn, that didn't come across clearly to me at all. In contrast, Loki as Thanos's puppet/pawn was very clear in the first Avengers. If this movie was all Infinity Wars set up, I guess I'll take some of my criticisms back, but I still feel like everyone's motivations and agency were half-baked. Maybe Whedon's longer cut of the film fixes some of that.
posted by yasaman at 12:37 PM on May 8, 2015 [1 favorite]


But, then, in those days, you didn't have people with agendas looking at every single line written and declaring X was misogynistic (BW's sterilised line) because they read it differently than intended.

I think you may mean "actual women I know IRL on the internet didn't express their opinions about things that made their eyes roll in my hearing" maybe. I'm 47 and I'm here to tell you that I've been having those discussion since I was in college back in the 80s about dumb stuff in movies and comics. Just not always with the sort of dude who thinks me talking about what I, a woman, like and dislike about the way women are portrayed in movies is some kind of "agenda".

Also, when people "read [a line] differently than intended", that may just reflect the writer's inability to make his intentions clear in the script. I certainly am willing to grant that it was ham-handed writing/editing here but it was still a dumbass thing to have put in the movie. Not just because of sterilization, either. What makes Bruce is a monster is what he did to himself and continues to do, but what Natasha suggests makes her a monster is something she had done to her. Character agency, not just for male characters!
posted by immlass at 12:40 PM on May 8, 2015 [5 favorites]


Wasn't the scepter and/or the mind gem in it the source of the AI that led to Ultron?

I think it was combination of Jarvis, Bruce and Tony running programs to try and make an actual AI. Some variation on the testing managed to make computer in the scepter sentient and there you go, Ultron.

So Tony, Bruce and Wanda share blame here.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 12:41 PM on May 8, 2015


What makes Bruce is a monster is what he did to himself

I think you could argue that becoming Hulkified was an accident and not what he intended to happen.
posted by GuyZero at 12:56 PM on May 8, 2015


So Tony, Bruce and Wanda share blame here.

I get that was the movie's intention, it just didn't entirely work for me for a number of reasons. With Tony it was like Iron Man 3 never happened and he never had the "I can't invent myself into feeling secure, the suits are a crutch" revelation that was part of the point of that movie. And it was like The Winter Soldier movie never happened, where yet another variation of Skynet nearly laid waste to millions in the name of "security" (Zola's algorithm and the helicarriers). Which I guess is at least in part thanks to the nature of the sprawling MCU, and which was otherwise the point of Wanda, to push the reset button on Tony's character development and take him back to his worst fears/impulses. An exterior force doing that to Tony feels like a cop out though. It would have worked better if we had seen Tony working on Ultron before the whole deal with the HYDRA base/Wanda messing with his head.

Bruce being Tony's science bro enabler could have used a touch more development, but whatever, I don't have as much of an issue with that. It does read as in character for him. But man, I really needed more from Wanda than what we got in the movie. She kicked off so much of the plot while remaining something of a cipher. The moment with Hawkeye was great, it just wasn't enough, because we never heard much from Wanda herself. I'm assuming a lot of stuff involving the twins is on the cutting room floor.
posted by yasaman at 1:11 PM on May 8, 2015 [1 favorite]


So Wanda mindwhammies Tony with all his worst fears, and the scepter does the rest. Tony, from this point on, has little in the way of agency.

Actually no, I saw the movie a second time last night (before enduring the cinematic purgatory of STRANDED IN SPACE) and have come to realize that Scarlett Witch (that is her hero name, right?) doesn't actually control anyone's minds. She gives people visions, which, if they're her enemies, are visions of their worst fears. That's why arms dealer guy isn't afraid of her, because his only fear (so he claims) are cuttlefish.

Tony Stark got a strong vision of what he imagines will happen when the aliens come back. That scene shows what he's really afraid of. It does influence him, sure, but that's like being twitchy for a while after you open your car door and find HUNDREDS OF SPIDERS. He has a damn good reason to be afraid.

What really influences him is himself, his own fears, after he's shown vividly, viscerally, what's he's imagined as probably coming up (that being, the Invasion of the Great Grape Ape).
posted by JHarris at 2:37 PM on May 8, 2015 [1 favorite]


what Natasha suggests makes her a monster is something she had done to her

She was under a lot of pressure, but she made the decision to pull the trigger and become the murderer and assassin they wanted her to be. She's more of a self-made monster than Bruce.
posted by straight at 3:15 PM on May 8, 2015


I think you could argue that becoming Hulkified was an accident and not what he intended to happen.

She was under a lot of pressure, but she made the decision to pull the trigger and become the murderer and assassin they wanted her to be. She's more of a self-made monster than Bruce.

Juxtaposing these two statements, what I see is that the adult scientists with an advanced degree experimenting with things he shouldn't have been is somehow less responsible for his own mutation than the brainwashed adolescent assassin raised in a creche full of murderous teenagers is for her (perceived--I certainly don't feel that way about sterilization) mutilation--the alternative to which is probably death. Harsh.
posted by immlass at 3:43 PM on May 8, 2015 [2 favorites]


1. Bruce Banner is responsible for making himself into a monster. He didn't accidentally get bitten by something or get covered by goo or anything - he experimented on himself. He didn't mean to make himself in to the hulk, sure, but he was so sure he was right that he didn't care about the consequences. In a better version of Age of Ultron, that probably would have been remarked on, because experiments gone awry are definitely on topic here.

2. Shooting people while brainwashed isn't what makes Natasha a monster (though Natasha probably holds herself accountable for at least some of that). Sterility isn't what makes Natasha a monster. It's what she's done, what she's willing to do after she left the Red Room behind that definer her - as a monster or otherwise. People were talking upthread about how her pushing Banner and making him into the Hulk was proof that she didn't understand what he was going through, but I don't think that's right. I think she can care for Bruce deeply, understand exactly how much it hurts him to become the Hulk, understand exactly how much guilt he will feel about every bit of senseless violence that happens while he's green, and she will still be able to do that to him because it is what needed to be done at that point, and that's exactly the sort of person she thinks she has to be.

It's something that gets across in Cap2 pretty well - that Natasha has done some horrible things believing that it was for the greater good. Only, now she's found out that the organization she was working for was not-so-great, and she was still doing those things. She straight up says that she doesn't think she's capable of being a hero - she's only capable of being what she was made to be, despite her best efforts otherwise. And how much responsibility she bears for her actions is a good question, but I can totally believe that she thinks she is responsible for what she has done.
posted by dinty_moore at 4:40 PM on May 8, 2015 [11 favorites]


So yeah, Joss's decision to gloss over what happened in the other films in order to make it a lot more palatable to the mass audience really did hurt the overall characterization of most of the core Avengers. I mean, thinking about the end of Cap 2 and then seeing Natasha slip back into being Black Widow without any sort of comment is really fucking depressing. Did she try to be someone else, then come to the conclusion that she wasn't capable of that? Is she only going back because the world is in danger, and hoping to slip back out? Does she see herself as changed - more independent, maybe, than she used to be?

I need fanfic about this right now, because I don't trust the MCU proper to give me any answers.
posted by dinty_moore at 4:50 PM on May 8, 2015 [3 favorites]


I am not sure anyone saw the same movie I did.
posted by Mezentian at 6:38 AM on May 9, 2015


I mean, thinking about the end of Cap 2 and then seeing Natasha slip back into being Black Widow without any sort of comment is really fucking depressing.

Uh why wouldn't BW be BW after Winter Soldier?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:08 AM on May 9, 2015


From the end of Winter Soldier:

Steve: You going with [Fury]?
Natasha (Emphatically): No.
Steve: And you're not staying here.
Natasha. No. I burned all my old covers, gotta figure out a new one.
Steve: That might take a while.
Natasha (smiling): I'm counting on it.


That's probably as close to an explicit "I'm taking some time off to find myself, don't follow me" as you'd get from her. Especially coupled with the theme of identity that ran through Winter Soldier.
posted by dinty_moore at 7:32 AM on May 9, 2015


"Black Widow" isn't her cover. She's saying she needs to find a new place to live when she's not working.
posted by straight at 7:37 AM on May 9, 2015


She wanted to just do her job (as Black Widow), she'd have been blowing up Hydra with Fury. She explicitly and emphatically says that she's not interested in that. Which is what makes it a little jarring that the next time we see her, she's blowing up Hydra. Can she have decided to come back after her Sabbatical? Sure - and was inevitable that she would from a Doylist perspective. But it made me wonder how she feels about being back.

As far as Natasha is concerned, she is her covers. Or, at least, that's what she has been. That scene in the car with Steve, where she says her identity is a matter of circumstance? We are who we pretend to be, so be careful who you pretend to be and all that. She's saying that she's blown through all of her old identities, gotta find a new one.
posted by dinty_moore at 7:53 AM on May 9, 2015 [2 favorites]


The Avengers gathered to find the scepter, which makes sense for BW to be there for. And looking for a relationship is getting a new identity.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:14 AM on May 9, 2015


Whatever she meant talking to Steve (and I still say "cover" refers to where she sleeps and hangs out between missions), her "You need us" speech to Congress in the previous scene rules out the idea that she's talking about retiring from Avenging.
posted by straight at 9:00 AM on May 9, 2015


Well, first of all, her job as of Winter Soldier isn't Avenging. It's being a spy for SHIELD. There's a whole part of the Avengers story that's missing, and it's on how the band got back together and became a recurring team. It's really unclear as to how long they've been going to missions together, and how being an Avenger is different from being a SHIELD agent. Maybe she thinks its a valid distinction to be made, and she doesn't see her role as an Avenger the same way.

Second - watching that scene in its entirety, it's clear that she's talking about why the US Government's perspective. She's giving their reasons why they won't put her away, not that what she thinks she should do next. The US Government thinks it needs massive secret spy agencies despite the massive amounts of issues they cause, and it's emphasized that it's the US Government's perspective because they let her walk away. She's not debating her use, she's calling them on their bullshit. And at the end, she explicitly says they'll know where to find her - in other words, she's not going underground again, the way she would have to be Black Widow (what use is a spy who is easily rooted out?).

If she really thought it was necessary for her go back to doing her job (as much as one can do their job when they've blown up their employer), very little of her arc in Winter Soldier makes sense. If she's talking about finding a place to stay, begging off spy shenanigans with Fury to find a two bedroom is pretty weak, and she certainly wouldn't sound happy about it taking too long (nobody is happy about apartment searches taking a long time). If she were really going to go make new covers in order to go back to doing her job the exact same way, it really takes away from her decision to put all of her dirty secrets on the internet. It also takes away from the impact of the Shield is Hydra revelation for her.

The more and more I think about where the various members of the Avengers left off in their respective solo films versus where they are in the Avengers AoU, the more it seems like it would be a better idea to apply comics handwave continuity to it.
posted by dinty_moore at 10:15 AM on May 9, 2015 [2 favorites]


Well, first of all, her job as of Winter Soldier isn't Avenging.

Maybe she has more than one job? Your insistence that her appearance in AoE doesn't make much sense to me. Part of the greatness if the opening is that we don't get lot of tedious exposition about where everyone has been. What's important is where they are now and why.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 10:55 AM on May 9, 2015


Got to love the power of a poorly written text (or series of them) to inspire endless confused debate about the simple notions of character development and plot details.
posted by codacorolla at 11:07 AM on May 9, 2015


If you did one thing with a group of people two years ago and then don't do it again, it's not really a job.

There wasn't a hint in any of the stand-alone movies that the Avengers team up wasn't a one time thing. The last time there was a hint that they might get back together was at the end of the montage of Avengers 1, where Tony was making floors for everyone. But there's never any hint in Iron Man, Cap 2 or Thor that those floors were ever used for anyone besides Bruce.

If you go from Avengers 1 to Age of Ultron, it's not really a problem, because you can fill in that maybe they got together to fight sometime between the movies. But having three films worth of the Avengers not mentioning each other (or even throwaway mentions on Agents of SHIELD) seems to indicate that the Avengers weren't a thing between 2012-2015. And if they were hanging out with each other off screen between films, the whole 'but why didn't they call each other for help' question is suddenly a lot more difficult to answer.

And it's not that it doesn't make sense, it's that it looks like a regression if it doesn't come with an explanation - the same way that Tony showing up to make robots is a regression from Iron Man 3. Any character development that might have happened in the individual movies was pretty much ignored.
posted by dinty_moore at 11:28 AM on May 9, 2015 [2 favorites]


Alrighty then, we'll agree to disagree
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 11:47 AM on May 9, 2015


Where was Falcon in the final battle? Fury and Hill come in the Helicarrier. War Machine flies in to help, too...but where was my man Falcon? He shows up in the end as a new Avenger alongside Rhodey, so it would have made sense.
posted by inturnaround at 9:48 AM on May 10, 2015 [1 favorite]


Yes, that was totally bizarre, especially when earlier in the film Falcon seemed to be happy not be part of the Avengers. Does his joining at the end of the film mean he and Cap have given up the search for Bucky? If so, there's a section of Tumblr howling in rage and pent up sexual frustration.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 10:12 AM on May 10, 2015 [1 favorite]


Just watched it last night, and man, the seemingly obligatory "entire cities being destroyed, but somehow with no real consequences." thing in summer blockbusters is starting to wear on me.
posted by jcreigh at 10:48 AM on May 10, 2015 [2 favorites]


I think we pick up the Bucky search in Civil War. He's a wild card and who the hell knows what damage he can do.

As for the destruction of cities without consequence, there was a nice Battle of New York memorial in AoU and it sets the machinations of The Kingpin into high gear in Daredevil. So where it can be addressed, it is. But these movies use civilians as props.
posted by inturnaround at 11:02 AM on May 10, 2015


Where was Falcon in the final battle?

Which leads me to think which niche does Falcon fill on the team? There's already three guys that can fly with tech (Iron Man, War Machine, Vision) and two veterans (Cap and Rhodes). The only thing I can think of is he'll be the "regular" guy like Hawkeye was.
posted by FJT at 11:36 AM on May 10, 2015


Which leads me to think which niche does Falcon fill on the team?

Two black guys on one team, with distinctly different personalities. Let me enjoy this Christmas miracle before one of them is killed off!
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 11:42 AM on May 10, 2015 [3 favorites]


Which leads me to think which niche does Falcon fill on the team?

Sam's critical to this. He's the only person there with any significant quantity of emotional intelligence on a team with Actual Robot Vision LeJarvis, Literally WWII-Sized PTSD Man, War Orphan, Pining Vengeful Superspy and...well, okay, Rhodey's actually a pretty well-adjusted guy.
posted by kagredon at 1:36 PM on May 10, 2015 [1 favorite]


Other thoughts:

I was really intrigued by Bruce/Natasha, and in retrospect was (am) way more on that ship than I ever wanted to be, but the execution didn't work for me. The early scenes were great, but the post-shower scene reads like a 3 AM first draft and the whole thing and both characters needed more room to breathe, in general.

(I am actually baffled by how much this is bothering me. I might even write fic. I never do that! I'm too lazy! I blame Johansson and Ruffalo for being too goddamn compelling.)

I sort of liked that Vision had an odd Silver-Agey old-fashionedness look about him in contrast with the more modern/realistic aesthetic that's prevailed in the MCU. It fit better, IMO, then the "realistic" tack they took with the Maximoffs, who looked like a throwback to the early-00s X-Men movies. In a bad way.
posted by kagredon at 1:47 PM on May 10, 2015 [1 favorite]


also did this movie come from a parallel universe where IM3 never came out, because if you're going to give 70% of the character development to Tony Stark, at least make it have continuity with what came before
posted by kagredon at 2:01 PM on May 10, 2015 [3 favorites]


I really hope Falcon was busy getting a therapy program staffed with new characters for the new SHIELD because they need it
posted by NoraReed at 9:24 PM on May 10, 2015 [1 favorite]


I would pay good cash money for a film that was just 90 minutes of everyone's therapy sessions with Doc Samson


lord knows I've bought it in comic-book form before
posted by kagredon at 9:57 PM on May 10, 2015 [1 favorite]


someone's written the Sweets Gets A Job For SHIELD fanfic crossover right
posted by NoraReed at 10:05 PM on May 10, 2015 [1 favorite]


...also am I the only person who interpreted Steve's "language" comments as him trying to make a joke?

I can believe I am the only person who turned that joke interpretation into sad trash angst but I have to think I wasn't alone in reading it as a joke on his part
posted by kagredon at 10:54 PM on May 10, 2015 [1 favorite]


the seemingly obligatory "entire cities being destroyed, but somehow with no real consequences." thing in summer blockbusters is starting to wear on me.

There were consequences. Avengers died trying to save the people of Sokovia. The whole point about the South African battle is that Hulk is pretty damn dangerous (and feeds into Civil War).


Which leads me to think which niche does Falcon fill on the team?

He talks to a bird.
Look, Falcon has always been pretty boss. Since the 1970s (Snap Wilson aside).
He was in the Avengers with Black Panther, Wonder Man and Thor, and he held his own.
He's no Stingray, man.
No Stingray.
And Mighty Avengers is pretty boss, if you haven't read it.


I would pay good cash money for a film that was just 90 minutes of everyone's therapy sessions with Doc Samson

Eh. I had my hopes up when SHIELD was getting a therapist in.
I am fine with what we got, but I was totally expecting Doc Samson.
posted by Mezentian at 2:47 AM on May 11, 2015


Sam Wilson is obviously going to be the glue that holds the team together, since he's reasonable and personable and balanced and refreshingly normal, especially when put next to people like Nat and Steve.

also we will get a far better romantic subplot in Civil War when he and Steve make out. please. THEY WOULD BE SO GOOD TOGETHER
posted by NoraReed at 3:03 AM on May 11, 2015 [1 favorite]


We're clearly getting Wanda/The Vision, right? They had a little meet-cute moment during the final battle, so I assume it is inevitable.
posted by Elementary Penguin at 3:26 AM on May 11, 2015 [2 favorites]


also we will get a far better romantic subplot in Civil War when he and Steve make out. please. THEY WOULD BE SO GOOD TOGETHER

NOT CANON.
posted by Mezentian at 4:04 AM on May 11, 2015


yeah that "on your left" scene in Winter Soldier was super heterosexual
posted by NoraReed at 4:10 AM on May 11, 2015 [4 favorites]


A movie where Captain America fights his preconceived 1940's notion of sexuality and finally admits to himself (and eventually the world) that he has always been attracted to men would be the best thing.
That is the whole movie. There is no villain except his deeply ingrained prejudices.
There is no punching of anything, (Except maybe some walls or a punchbag as he works out his emotions)

Also it could tie in wonderfully with Agent Carter, fantasy sequences where she daydream about what her life as Mrs Steve Rogers would have been like, just dripping with dramatic irony.

Oh man, I've never wanted a movie more.
CAPTAIN AMERICA : CIVIL PARTNERSHIP (or something better)
posted by Just this guy, y'know at 5:03 AM on May 11, 2015 [2 favorites]


Count me among the "liked it despite problems and clunkiness" crowd. Love the look and characterization of Vision, and the notion that he's returning is reassuring.

But I had to leave, like, the instant the credits started and apparently I missed a Thanos scene? Anybody want to summarize?
posted by CheesesOfBrazil at 9:24 AM on May 11, 2015


I missed a Thanos scene? Anybody want to summarize?

It was really short, and if you're not into the comics made little impression. But here's a summary.
posted by TwoStride at 9:30 AM on May 11, 2015


CAPTAIN AMERICA : CIVIL PARTNERSHIP (or something better)

I think you meant CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL UNION.
posted by straight at 9:54 AM on May 11, 2015 [4 favorites]


There were consequences. Avengers died trying to save the people of Sokovia. The whole point about the South African battle is that Hulk is pretty damn dangerous (and feeds into Civil War).

My interpretation of the South African Hulk battle is that we were supposed to believe that the Hulk didn't kill anyone. For example, the movie takes pains to let you know that the skyscraper Stark and Hulk collapse was empty of people. But given the general level of carnage, I just find it hard to buy that nobody died.

Alternatively, if my take is wrong, and the Hulk canonically straight-up killed some civilians, then I feel like the rest of the Avengers (including Banner) didn't react anywhere near as strongly as they should have.

And then there's the whole Sokovia thing: Again, my take was that we were supposed to believe that the Avengers saved almost everybody. But given that an entire part of the city got destroyed, I can't really buy that. That leaves hundreds or thousands of people killed by a robot that Tony Stark built, with no hint that he will be held responsible in any way.

Basically, if I was a regular joe living in the MCU, I would not at all be convinced that the Avengers were the good guys. But maybe that's what Civil War will be about? (I haven't read the comics...)
posted by jcreigh at 7:18 PM on May 11, 2015 [1 favorite]


Hawkeye flat out told the Scarlet Witch that her actions in starting all this didn't matter. So that's thing.

I'm sure people died in the Hulk attack and later battles. That's obvious and will probably lead to some blowback down the road.

The big point is the team tried to save people and prevent damage, along with help clean up.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:27 PM on May 11, 2015


"CAPTAIN AMERICA : CIVIL PARTNERSHIP (or something better)

I think you meant CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL UNION
"

I did mean that. They are called Civil Partnerships in the UK though.
(Although now there is full marriage equality as well, so yay)
posted by Just this guy, y'know at 2:37 AM on May 12, 2015


In other news, remember that cool scene where Black Widow drives out of the quinjet on a Motorbike on her way to rescue Captain America?

Now you can buy the toy of it!

But... it doesn't come with Black Widow!

Seriously, Hasbro are just straight up trolling now.
posted by Just this guy, y'know at 2:46 AM on May 12, 2015 [3 favorites]


God forbid they even put her on the packaging. Scarlett Johannsen is damn good actress who is no slouch in the beauty department. I can't fathom the meetings that decided it would be a good idea to not use her.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 4:25 AM on May 12, 2015


"The city is flying and we're fighting an army of robots. And I have a bow and arrow. Nothing makes sense."

I'm with you there Hawkeye but it was still a fun 2+ hours of hanging out with attractive people who run around a lot and punch robots.
posted by octothorpe at 7:46 PM on May 13, 2015 [2 favorites]


There were many leavening moments like that in the movie. Really were my favorite parts.
posted by JHarris at 8:25 PM on May 13, 2015


That line was the only point at which Hawkeye was anything like the Hawkguy I know and love. But then he got all mentor-y and it was a good speech I guess (though one that would've been better delivered by Widow) and like I get that his characterization is very different in the movies but I just love Hawkguy so much that I want him to be like that on the screen. I love fuckup Hawkguy.
posted by NoraReed at 8:30 PM on May 13, 2015 [2 favorites]


I kept on hoping he'd look out on the robots and destruction and say 'Okay, this looks bad'
posted by dinty_moore at 8:54 PM on May 13, 2015 [3 favorites]


This was a major step down from the incredible fun and wittiness of the first Avengers for me. Too much fast-moving-camera fighting and special effects and seriousness and not enough teasing (except Captain America's language bit I guess) and heart. The Avenger's death at the end, while sad, wasn't really meaningful to me, and I felt a bit like it was a Whedon move of killing someone off to exact a price and make the fight mean something. I thought that worked with Coulson in the first movie but not here.

I don't know. The first one was AMAZING, but this one was less kinship and schwarma and more smashing and Avengers running off to be by themselves.
posted by onlyconnect at 9:44 AM on May 14, 2015


NoraReed - yes! That is what I said to my non-comic-reading co-watcher afterwards. I was happy with Moar Hawkeye, and loved that he had an age-appropriate spouse, but it was also a little - where's Lucky?
posted by Gin and Broadband at 11:56 PM on May 14, 2015 [1 favorite]


CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL UNION
Well he did say when he went into the ice a different man came out.

I went to see the film so I could continue with Agents of Shield but all it did was make me want to watch more of The Blacklist.
posted by fullerine at 1:23 PM on May 15, 2015


The Almost-Villains of the Marvel Universe
The difference between the second Avengers and the ten movies that came before it, then, is that, for the first time in the narratively ambitious network of filaments that is the Marvel Cinematic Universe, an individual story has bothered to present a legitimately terrifying villain. Or: a villain with the legitimate potential to terrify. Age of Ultron takes its themes and story to the brink of serious terror and then walks back from that brink as soon as it looks over the edge. Which leads to a question that should linger through the rest of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, now nearing the end of Phase two (of three): are these villains here to frighten us? Raise the stakes? Cause havoc and distress, the way that villains do? Or are they just narrative devices, like, you could argue, the whole of the MCU? What are these villains for? <>
posted by the man of twists and turns at 10:19 PM on May 15, 2015


Peter Watts, AI. eh-eye, references Ex Machina.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 7:55 PM on May 19, 2015




oh, Cap can almos liffda hamma - NOPE. Cap. Can. Lift. The. Hammer. He chooses not to, because he's a leader, and he has to lead women and men who are super-geniuses and gods. It's why his switch flipped once the Vision lifted it, trust Tony!

Mistake. This is the beginning of Tony's Villain Arc.

The scene of dead Pietro's body seemed like Joss insisting he's dead and daring anyone to bring him back.

Quicksilver is an X-Man. He is either fighting the X-Men as a conflicted anti-hero, fighting with the X-Men as an actual hero, or dead and waiting to be brought back to life to either fight with or against the X-Men. Whedon understands this, and reconciliation with the X-Universe or not, Pietro should have had a placard tied around his neck that reads "I ATEN'T DEAD."

but where was my man Falcon?

Tracing leads, hitting the pavement, shaking the tree. A gentle man asking gentle questions of frightened people, and kicking the everloving ass of those who seek to frighten them. A smart Avenger rather than a powerful one, compassionate rather than cruel. Excellent addition to the team!
posted by Slap*Happy at 10:25 PM on June 6, 2015 [1 favorite]




I already thought Ultron was humorous, but plugging in random Spader lines from other media just takes it to whole 'nother level. More please!
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:19 AM on October 11, 2015




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