Tuesday, April 28, 2015


    Marvel has been hitting home runs for a few years now. There is a lot of hype and expectations riding on The Avengers: Age of Ultron. It has a large cast, familiar characters, and incredible fan base. Now we finally get to see if all of it is enough to strike more box office gold.

   The team is immediately together mopping up the events after Winter Soldier. Their hunt for Loki's missing scepter has concluded and they are enjoying some downtime. Stark and Banner begin attempting to create an artificial intelligence and accidentally release a great evil into the world. The team once again must save the world. New enemies become allies and old allies hope the Tony Stark is smart enough to create something that can save the world before it;s too late.

  James Spader is Ultron and he is magnificent. The right amount of attitude mixed with humor. I think die hard fans will appreciate the way Spader brings him to live though it is only his voice. The one flaw with Ultron is familiarity. If feels like we get a little of the same old same old. Large amounts of robots that look like Iron Man. They serve no purpose other that being fodder for the Avengers.

  The Vision is well known among comic fans, but will be new to the casual movie goer. The character is tough to translate into the semi-realistic world that Whedon created, but they do an amazing job. Paul Betany looks fantastic and the character it by far one of the coolest in the film.

  In the majority of his movies, it's Robert Downey Jr. who steals the show. He certainly holds his own, but this is kind of Hawkeye's movie. The character is fleshed out more and given something more to do. He shows slightly more humor and is given a bigger role on the team. We don't know what his future will become, but hopefully we see him back.

 Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch make their debut in this one. Their back stories are altered, but they play well into the story. The downside is they come at the expense of screen time of some of the bigger characters.

  In the end, the movie is filled with characters, Easter eggs, and teases of what's to come for the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The Avengers: Age of Ultron has a lot to live up to. The first one will always hold a special place. There is something about seeing all those characters together at once on screen that is magic. This go around, their is still magic. It's big, plot driven, and a lot of fun.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

A Furious Farewell

      It's been a long time coming. The Fast and Furious Franchise makes a lot of money. The last 3 films have truly been the best of the bunch, but with Paul Walker's untimely passing, no one knew what was next? The film was re written. The cast returned to filming. The final product is in theaters now. You can't help but feel sorry for the cast and crew, but this film truly embraces the idea of the show going on. Is it too much to overcome or a fitting tribute to someone gone too soon?

Dom and the crew thought they got their lives back. They defeated an international terrorist named Owen Shaw and came home with their freedom. But now, Shaw's brother, Deckard Shaw is out killing the crew one by one for revenge. Worse, a Somalian terrorist called Jakarde, and a shady government official called "Mr. Nobody" are both competing to steal a computer terrorism program called God's Eye, that can turn any technological device into a weapon. Dom must put the team together to stop Shaw,,retrieve the God's Eye program, and settle the score.

   Furious 7 requires some suspension of disbelief. Most of theses movies do, but more so here. The stunts are bigger and over the top, but these films have evolved. There is a real story and characters that we care about even beyond Walker's Brian O'Connor. The cast has incredible chemistry and you can tell they love to make these beyond profit. The stunts are fun and stuff in Abu Dhabi is some of the best.

  The film takes us to new places, but also takes us home in a sense. The house in California and Race Wars all feature. We also finally make it to Tokyo and deal with Haan's passing. The transition is seem less, but Lucas Black has little more than a cameo. The movie does wrap up loose ends and the biggest of which we will get to.

  The action is top notch. The fight between the Rock and Jason Statham is early and epic. It's got cars, exotic locations, a good story, new characters, old faces, and purpose. Furious 7 is more than just the latest chapter in the life of Dominic Toretto. It is the end of an era. One last ride. Paul Walker was there from the start. You can tell how hard they worked. He is in the film without being in the film. I felt like I knew where the rewrites came into play. There will probably be a Furious 8, but it will be without Paul Walker. So will every other installment. The film ties up loose ends as best they could. It has a few flaws, but it is a fitting tribute. The last scenes of the movie are beyond touching. CG or not. In the end, Furious 7 is worth one last ride.