‘Sooner or later, different scares people…’
‘You can fire your arrows from the Tower of Babel, but you can never strike god…’
‘Oh, my dear Miss Everdeen. I thought we’d agreed never to lie to each other.’
Avengers vs Skynet…
The problem that director Joss Whedon faced when following up the inaugural Avengers movie is how to keep things fresh in the face of the series overall approaching double figures. To do this Whedon brings previously unexplored characters to the fore with Jeremy Renner’s Hawkeye and Scarlett Johansson’s Black Widow enjoying much more screen time and a fleshed out back story.
Also helping to bring a different feel to Age of Ultron are new faces Aaron Taylor-Johnson and Elizabeth Olsen as Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch respectively. I have been banging the Olsen drum for ages and whilst I would like to see her take on something more challenging she again impresses here.
Perhaps the biggest ace in the pack for the Avengers sequel however is villain Ultron. Masterfully voiced by James Spader, Ultron is part Pinocchio, part Frankenstein’s monster and part Terminator to create a memorable and powerful antagonist for the Avengers to tackle.
In terms of the returning cast Chris Evans and Chris Hemsworth improve in every instalment as Captain America and Thor as they have been allowed to grow into their roles gradually. While series favourites Robert Downey Jr and Mark Ruffalo take a bit more of a back seat in Age of Ultron, with Downey Jr seemingly coming to the end of his involvement in the Marvel universe.
It is very discouraging that Joss Whedon has decided to step down from the directing the third and final Avengers film Avengers: Infinity War as his talent in combining so many disparate characters into one finished article is unparalleled and with Ant-Man, Wasp, Doctor Strange, Scarlet Witch, Spider-Man, Falcon, Captain Marvel and maybe ever the Guardians of the Galaxy rumoured to appear it is difficult to see how Avengers: Age of Ultron will not be the last great Avengers movie.
Marvel takes a gigantic risk… and still remains triumphant.
The Warriors is one of those great films from the 70’s and 80’s that showed how Hollywood had no idea how to portray inner city gangs. Director Walter Hill opts for gangs consisting of mostly effeminate men prancing around in preposterous costumes and behaving like they have walked off the set of a musical. This is about as menacing as it sounds. Having said that though the premise that minor gang The Warriors are wrongly believed to have assassinated the leader of all the gangs in NYC resulting in a man hunt is pretty good and it makes for an entertaining spectacle. It has a video game feel to it as The Warriors have to keep getting on different trains and encountering different gangs, each one dressed more bizarrely than the next.
It is difficult for the actors to shine with such a campy script and all the characters can be pigeon holed into familiar character tropes such as ‘tough guy with a heart of gold’, ‘arrogant tough guy’ and ‘silent tough guy’ but the acting is relatively decent across the board.
I have to say that I was invested in The Warriors though. I wanted them to make it home and there are some genuinely good fight scenes along the way. A fun and entertaining flick.
Cast reunion for every actor to have ever played an x man…
Various Retired and Extremely Dangerous former agents are once again tempted out of retirement to recover a devastating weapon of mass destruction.
The great thing about RED is that it was more comedy than action flick. More mature than it’s uncouth teenage cousin The Expendables but still more fun. Unfortunately RED 2 is not as refreshing in as much as it gets bogged down too often in lengthy action sequences and complicated plot. There is one sequence featuring Byung-hun Lee and a glass fridge door that is pretty damn cool though. It is always a joy to see Helen Mirren and welcome addition Anthony Hopkins having such fun but I’m sad to say Bruce Willis’ performances are becoming more phoned in with every film. A nice easy watch but the ending is flat and predictable and not one you would want to watch more than once. Obviously the door is left open to complete the trilogy but it is difficult to imagine anyone caring enough to make that happen?