MARVELlous reviews: Avengers – Age of Ultron & Daredevil

daredevilWell, it has been a marvellous couple of weeks. Not only have we had the release of the second Avengers film, but I have also discovered Netflix (yes, I am a late adopter I know!) and by virtue of that, Daredevil. As regular readers will know, I am a Marvel fan girl and have been pretty much since the first Avengers. But not all of the product that the behemoth that is Marvel studios puts out meets with my approval. However, this week, I am all about the love. So here we go…

Avengers: Age of Ultron

As stated, the first Avengers film was really the turning point with me. I had enjoyed some of the preceding movies (Iron Man, Thor) but been non-plussed on some others like Captain America. But, the double punch of Joss Whedon’s brilliantly hilarious script and direction, combined with Tom Hiddleston’s career making, and scene stealing, turn as villain Loki, was enough to render me a hard core Marvel fan. So what of this next outing? To be honest, the trailers – while featuring lots of smashy smashy action and James Spader sounding ominous as Ultron – were under par for me, mainly because, until the last one at least, they didn’t bring the funny. And the funny is what I love about these movies. The funny and the characters. And there didn’t seem to be enough time devoted to either in the trailers.

Colour me surprised then when, within three minutes of the movie starting, I was giggling like a school girl – and kept doing so regularly for the next two and a half hours. If anything, this Avengers may be even funnier than the previous outing – with not only zingy one liners but also unexpected – and hilarious – almost under the breath replies. Mr Whedon had his humour dial turned to 11 for this one for sure. I had to – of course – see it a second time – both to compare the 2D and 3D experience (honestly, I don’t think you lose too much in just 2D), but to catch the things I missed the first time (watch out for what is happening in the background when Stark is at Nexus in Sweden). Sure, Ultron as the villain here doesn’t quite have Loki’s style and panache, but he makes a very formidable foe for our group of superheroes, and also lets the odd amusing one liner fly as well. And really, you can’t go wrong with James Spader behind the microphone.

This film also had more heart than the previous outing – both in terms of a little bit of love going on – as well as some unexpected family dynamics (which rounds out one character really well) and of course the various bromances. Banner and Stark’s is the best example of the latter – honestly, I could watch them fiddling around in the lab and bantering all day. I believe the hastag #sciencebros has been trending on Twitter about these guys, and I love it. But there is great character and relationship development for everyone, which isn’t an easy task given how many players there are already – plus the addition of a few more this time. Kudos to Whedon for getting us to care so quickly about newcomers Scarlet Witch (possibly my favourite new Avenger) and Quicksilver. Sure, Quicksilver may not have been QUITE as cool as the X Men version, but he more than held his own.

I have only two minor quibbles about this film. The first is a consistent problem in all Marvel films of late, and relates to the apparently mandatory requirement to have as much smashy smashy destruction as possible – often levelling entire cities. Sure, they did it very creatively in the third act here, but I would argue that smaller scale smashy smashy would be both novel and just as fun to watch. The second quibble is a feminist one – shocker. Sure, it’s great that Black Widow is just as awesome as she was in Captain America: The Winter Soldier, and that she has a new gal pal Avenger in the form of Scarlet Witch. But was it REALLY necessary for them both, at some point during the movie, to be physically carried out of danger by another Avenger? Um, no, it really wasn’t. But thanks Hollywood for reminding us women that we can’t really hold out own in a shoot out as much as might like to.

But really, these are mere specks on what is a spectacular cinematic landscape. There is so much more to rave about here (Paul Bettany! The hammer! Andy Serkis!), but I will leave it to you to go and experience it yourselves. And you really should. 5 M&Ms from me.

Daredevil

For those of you who read Daredevil and think ‘that god awful time Ben Affleck tried to be a super hero’, worry not – this is a whole new thing, albeit based on the same comic. I have to say, I haven’t been a massive fan of Marvel’s small screen outings. Agents of Shield lost my interest about half way through (though I hear it is worth persevering with), and I have watched the first Agent Carter but haven’t gone back for more yet. But, Daredevil (on Netflix) had me from the get go.

The premise is a clever one – a young boy loses his eyesight in a chemical spill but gains extra sensory abilities – and decides to become a masked vigilante dealing with the evil doers in his neighbourhood of Hells Kitchen. And suffice to say there are a large number of evil doers. By day, he is a defence attorney – so the show will appeal to both fans of superheroes and fans of legal procedurals, of which I am both. Also, Princess Bride fans, the consistent use of the black mask will give you Westley flashbacks for sure – Daredevil is just like Westley, except instead of sword fighting he impales people on sharp objects. (Watch out too for the AMAZING scene in a hallway at the end of episode two).

The cast here is superb – seeing Charlie Cox, who was so excellent in Stardust but kind of dropped off the radar after that, kicking butt here, is freaking awesome. Rosario Dawson gives good potential romantic interest/could be a kick butt assistant vibes as well, and the duo of Deborah Ann Woll and Elden Hensen as Daredevil’s legal partners in crime provide much needed humour and heart. I am only four episodes into this show, but something tells me that I will devour the remaining seven with supersonic speed. Get thee to Netflix, get thee there now (FYI – it is free for the first month in NZ – and worth signing up just for this and the Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt – which is equal parts hilarious and bat shit crazy).

Have a MARVELlous day (sorry, once I find a pun I like the words ‘flogging’ and ‘dead horse’ come to mind 😉

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One thought on “MARVELlous reviews: Avengers – Age of Ultron & Daredevil

  1. I enjoyed the Avengers film too, but not worth 5 M and Ms IMHO. When you create the monster who destroys the lives of thousands of people, it’s hard to be impressed when you simply clean up the mess you made.

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