Tag Archives: comics

Avengers 2: Ultron

I really didn’t like Avengers 2 – it was pointless in the grander scheme of the story, and uninteresting as a movie by itself. As a movie, it was entertaining and worth a watch – especially the early scenes, but afterwards its shortcomings just made me angry.

Soft spoilers below.

While I like many of Whedon’s works, his flaws were on display here. Ultron was an unthreatening villain styled like a comical cartoon character. Now I like James Spader, but the kind of demented personality he gives Ultron doesn’t make sense within the movie, and undercuts his gravitas. The villains and potential villains end up just adding to the already overcrowded pantheon, and the countless Ultron robots are basically cannon-fodder for CGI beatdowns.

Whedon attempts to develop the characters, but is hamfisted about it (Black Widow apparently flirts with a different character in each movie!) and the character interactions were pretty weak.

TV Roundup Fall 2015

My favourite shows this season:

Scream Queens – I love this self-aware over-the-top caricature of the teen slasher genre. It’s satirical and parodies familiar tropes and motifs but obviously loves them too, keeping you guessing as to what’s going on, and alluding to classics of the genre. Jamie Lee Curtis is very clearly enjoying and relishing her role as the calculating, ambitious, sexually voracious Dean, and Emma Thompson captures the dichotomy of a needy girl badly treated by her moronic Preppie boyfriend, and a monstrous, Machiavellian bully with an unending stream of hilarious put-downs. There are fantastic side characters too, Denise the wacky security guard is amazing, and I love Abigail Breslin’s put-upon weak-link of the clique “Chanel Number Five”.

Supergirl – It’s probably aimed at a tween audience and has some cringey chunks of pop-feminism, but Melissa Benoist carries the show with her charm, playing an awkward character finding her way in life, professionally, personally, and in the shadow of her more famous cousin.

iZombie Season 2 – I really loved the first season, which adapted a supernatural comic book into a police procedural (which seems a completely random thing to do, other than the fact that police procedurals keep audiences), with some charming characters, a weird side of gore, some unexpectedly dark turns, and a great underlying storyline. Rose Ivers mugs a little bit for the personalities her character Live Moore (and that’s not the most on-the-nose name) takes on, but the fun she has with the role is infectious.

Gotham Season 2 – I don’t usually watch crime shows, but this mixes with police procedural and pulls in lots of colorful comic-book-like characters. The storyline is interesting – especially this season with an overarching villain, and Gordon’s character is easy to cheer for (even when he bends the rules or goes too far). The Penguin gets less screen time, though he’s still a great character.

Daredevil TV

The Daredevil TV series on Netflix was an amazing superhero drama, much smaller in scope than the big-screen Avengers pyrotechnics (though with nods to them) and more personal.

It’s a gritty, realistic take on the origin story of the blind superhero, tangling with organised crime in New York and ultimately the not-so-supervillain, the Kingpin. But the standout is how fleshed out the characters are, and not only Foggy, or their secretary Karen, but the villains as well, each with their own angle and perspective, each with their part to play in the storyline.

And the plot is great – the battle goes back and forth, through both sides investigating the other, through the media and with the law, with setbacks and triumphs.

Spiderman 2 and Others

While it sounds like Andrew Garfield is out as Spiderman (according to those leaked emails describing how he snubbed the Sony head), I never grew comfortable with him having seen the Tobey McGuire films seemingly so recently. On the other had I really like Emma Stone’s down-to-earth schtick.

Anyway, Spiderman 2 is a mess, with too much crammed into it and too little that matters. The treatment of Stone’s character’s pivotal moment seemed tacked onto a movie already overstuffed with superficial CGI sound and fury.

A Million Ways to Die in the West was okay – the modern sensibility was refreshing in a way, but the jokes were a bit flat.

How to Train Your Dragon 2 was an able sequel to the first movie.

Walk of Shame was a romantic comedy that wasn’t as terrible as it could have been. There were some nice cringey situations but the ending was weak.

Transcendence was a predictable sci-fi flick about nanotechnology that featured underdeveloped characters.

Occulus is a horror film over two time periods starring Karen Gillam. Unfortunately I disliked the ending, and the it’s not easy to make much of the reality/delusion problem.

Sin City 2

I had been waiting many, many years for Sin City 2 and it was pretty good, though I really don’t like the couple of gruesome scenes it contained. I also didn’t like what happened to Jessica Alba’s character – I suppose this story is intended to close off one of the main elements of Sin City, it must have been in a later graphic novel.

Powers Boothe was amazing as Roarke and Eva Green never lets you down as the aggressive femme fatale.

Guardians of the Galaxy

Guardians of the Galaxy received high praise when it was released, and I agree that its humour, light touch, music, visual design, and sense of fun were very enjoyable. However I found many of the characters rather underdeveloped and the storyline relatively straightforward. Perhaps what I want is just more movies in this colorful setting.

X-Men Days of Future Past

This reboot-by-stealth X-Men goes from strength-to-strength: First Class was an excellent movie that put the characters’ personalities at the fore, Days of Future Past lives up to it.

The storyline is a bit more convoluted than necessary, but the crux is about averting the assassination of a weapons designer (who hunts and experiments on mutants) by a mutant. The weapons designer’s death leads to the widespread deployment of the infamous Sentinels, who are responsible for some brutal fight scenes.

The actors are all fantastic, though I wish Peter Dinklage had a larger role. The storyline is clever, the writing is funny, and the action-scenes interesting and well-directed – Quicksilver’s kitchen scene is a standout, plus the ways Blink uses her portal-creation power are all very creative. However I was confused by the early scenes of the Sentinels adapting to combat their opponents’ powers, as this wasn’t totally clear.