Avengers: Age of Ultron

avengers-assemble“The city is flying, we’re fighting robots – and I have a bow and arrow. None of this makes sense.” Correction, Hawkeye, none of this should make sense. But it does. A superfast whiz-kid, a telekinetic enchantress, a synthesized A.I. Throw in a tidal wave of robot drones and you’d think the film would tip over from the massive weight of its characters. Amazingly, writer-director Joss Whedon keeps everything grounded, even when the plot calls for many, many things to soar simultaneously. Age of Ultron is a funnier, darker, and far more action-packed film than its predecessor, but not necessarily a better one. Still, there’s plenty of things to marvel at in this worthy sequel.
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Marvel Phase Two

With Marvel having laid the groundwork for their cinematic universe, they were now free to branch out and go bigger. As if they hadn’t already. So what comes next? More importantly, what becomes of these characters in the wake of The Avengers? Such is the question that Marvel had to answer moving forward. While it’s tough to not root for another superhero mash-up, Marvel reminds us that these characters are individuals with their own stories to tell. This is Phase Two. Continue reading

The Avengers

the-avengers-2012“The idea was to bring together a group of remarkable people to see if they could become something more.” Not a bad idea after all. The Avengers was the culmination of Marvel’s long-gestating Phase One and perhaps their most ambitious risk by far. It wasn’t a question of should they, but could they? Could Marvel weave these individual characters into a larger narrative without compromising who they are? More importantly, could you keep them grounded once the high-flying spectacle kicked into overdrive? Director Joss Whedon had a lot to live up to, and he rose to the occasion. An event film for the ages, The Avengers delivered on the promise Marvel made in back in 2006 and left us desperately wanting more. Continue reading

Looking Back on Marvel’s Phase One

Marvel Studios has come a long way since 2008 and they are showing no signs of slowing down. In their plan to ensure world dominance, Marvel has chosen to not only introduce their expansive library of characters, but to also combine them into a larger narrative. Iron Man would be the first, ushering in a new era of comic book movies that culminated in the holy grail of superhero mash-ups, The Avengers. Now, with Age of Ultron hitting theaters this week, I’m taking a look back on how far we’ve come in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, starting, of course, with Phase One. Continue reading