Blu Ray Review – Fan4stic (Fantastic Four)


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How would one dare to review a movie called Fan4stic after watching it in theaters? How could have one ever dared watch this movie in theater? It is simply beyond my comprehension.

It took me 30 minutes to finish one and a half hour movie. Fantastic Four Reboot is not bad if you watch it thinking that you are watching a documentary called ‘what not to do when making a superhero movie.’ This movie is a in your face parody of what could have been a billion dollar hit if the same was made in the 90s.

It really takes a man’s job to cast a team of actors who are best in the industry, Kate Mara who had just returned from her brilliant stint on House of Cards, Michael B. Jordan who went ahead and gave a brilliant performance in Creed and Miles Teller to name a few. I never had a problem with a black Human Torch. The problem was this is not the Human Torch I was looking forward to. Such cheap CGI!! The entire movie seems to have been shot in a studio and no matter what part you skip the story still remains the same.

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Every superhero movie these days is divided in three parts, the part where they get powers, the part where they learn to deal with and the part where they win the conflict within. Fantastic Four reboot is one streamlined movie with no such conflict or storyline. It just starts and ends. The actions scenes are very bland and the climatic fight scene is just The Thing pushing Victor Doomashev back in the particle reactor.

In short Fan4stic is a movie with bad script, bad storytelling and bad example on how to make a comic book movie. Only if Fox had not been so much egoistic and have let the franchise slip to Marvel we could have been the luckiest nerds in the history.

6 New Comic Book Animated Shows (And 2 Revived) – I want to see on TV


 

We live in a golden era of Comic book movies and TV shows coming to life. For someone who grew up watching animated shows, I still believe that it is the best medium to tell a story. Animated shows have a power of storytelling that no other medium has. Spanning a number of episodes, these shows build a story layer by layer. Animation is cheaper compared to TV or movies and hence uses graphics and action sequences in a much elaborate way.

Over time and time animation has given us some great ones like Kevin Conroy as Batman, Mark Hamill as Joker and Clancy Brown as Lex Luthor. My last favorites, Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes and Young Justice were axed by their respective networks because the executives thought that it was too mature for their audience. Over time and time I have been wishing for more animated shows and here are some that I want to watch.

Marvel Max – Made for a network like Netflix or HBO, Marvel Max can elaborate adventures of Punisher, Daredevil, Luke Cage and have an opportunity to introduce new characters like Moon Kinght, Ghostrider, Blade in the process. The opportunities with this show is unlimited and so are the number of stories they can go with.

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Teen Titans v2 – The current Teen Titans is so dumb and stupid that even the kids of this era are refusing it to watch. What we need is a Teen Titans animated show on the lines of Young Justice. We all know the origin of the classic Teen Titans team. This show will give a chance to introduce new members and departure of some old ones.

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Fantastic Four – It’s been a while that we have seen anything decent related to Fantastic Four on TV. Marvel’s first family is a house of strong characters in terms of both heroes and villains. A new Fantastic Four show is the best way for Marvel to show Fox who is the boss. A more source material friendly style of storytelling can follow Hickman’s brilliant run on the family before he started working on Secret Wars.

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Adventures of Superman & Wonder Woman – its canon, Clark and Diana are a couple in DC universe, so why wait? We have an amazing opportunity to tell adventures of this power couple while introducing their friends in every episode. Just like Batman: Brave and the Bold we will get a cool show loyal to DC’s new 52 run.

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Wolverine – Remember Wolverine and the X-Men and how it was canceled just after a season. It was the best thing to exist on TV in those days and it went off for no reason. Why I want a Wolverine animated show, is because he is one of the most well-known characters in X Universe. A Wolverine animated show will tell us his origin story while introducing his life as an X Man. We will get a chance to meet his friends and enemies, most importantly Deadpool, Taskmaster, Omega Red and The Hulk.

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New Avengers – One of the best episodes on Avengers: EMH was the one that told us the origin story of New Avengers team. What if Marvel could plan a spin off series about the team. Who wouldn’t love to hear banters between Wolverine and Spider-Man?

Apart from these shows there are two shows that were canceled the moment it started to go interesting. If there is some way to revive them then I’ll be the happiest man on this planet.

Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes – I am still waiting for Season 3 and 4 of this series. The Galactus finale was too rushed and was without purpose. After Secret Invasion they could have gone on the Civil War route while slowly foreshadowing the coming of Thanos, followed by a grand finale where Galactus comes to satisfy his hunger. Come on Marvel you can do this.

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Young Justice – There are still question left unanswered. I am still waiting for the big bad to show up. I still need to know what the big plan was. Is that too much to ask? I guess not.

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I know my hopes are high but a fanboy can only wish. Who knew that one day you’ll be watching Batman and Superman fighting on screen. It could have been just a dream a few years back.

Review – Marvel & Netflix’s Jessica Jones: Season 1


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After massive success of Marvel’s Daredevil, Jessica Jones was their second collaboration with Netflix. Based on Brian Michael Bendis’ much acclaimed run Alias, Jessica Jones follows a story of an ex crime fighting vigilante running from her dark past.

The show had a very impressive starcast with Krysten Ritter as Jessica Jones, ex Doctor Who alumnus, David Tennant as villainous Killgrave and Mike Colter as Luke Cage.

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Jessica Jones arrived in times when TV was already cluttered with 8 TV shows based on comic books and superheroes. Most of these TV shows were made to target a specific genre of audience. Jessica Jones, although was not. The show aimed to showcase a more mature side of Marvel Universe did the same with brilliance and style and brought something unique to the table

Jessica Jones is very different than any superhero shows that have ever existed on TV. If Daredevil set a mythology for Hell’s Kitchen, then Jessica Jones was aimed more on a personal story. The strong noir flavour and an adult-orientated take on the comicbook genre was something that made it way mature than expected. There are raw sex scenes, brutal violence and lots of swearing. It also deals with adult themes such as murder, rape and child abuse. These issues are handled in a very compelling way and the storyline is powered by intelligent dark humour.

After a failed stint at superheroics led her to suffer from PTSD, she retired and became a private investigator, using her powers (super-strength, super-stamina and super-leaping) to solve mysteries.  She comes across liars, cheaters, addicts and murders on a daily basis and is now using her powers to enhance her detective skills.

Krysten Ritter has looks of an anime character, her brooding eyes, jet black hair makes her a look like a character who was born to play this role. Her compelling performance as an ex superhero suffering with PTSD and trauma and her being a whiskey-swilling, foul-mouthed and hot-tempered “mess of a woman” and Ritter plays the role in a very brilliant way. Like most of the Marvel characters Jessica Jones is an epitome of imperfection, she is a mess. Her life told in flashbacks. She’s one of those people saying that everybody that she cares about ends up hurt or dead. She is so broken that she doesn’t even care about fixing things for a long time, like the windows of her office.

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Every good comic book film/show is good because of that memorable villain who overshadows everything and gives the titular hero a run for their money. David Tennant plays the show’s big bad Kilgrave, who has the power to control the minds of other people. His persona is based in a way that before he appears on the screen you are already feeling his presence. As Kilgrave he brings a creepy charisma that compels you to hate him. His sick sense of humor makes you laugh. Tennant gives a truly sinister performance but adds enough subtle layers of humanity for you to have a shred of sympathy for him.

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As well as an outstanding heroine and villain combo, the show boasts great supporting characters. Carrie-Ann Moss’ (The Matrix) ruthless lawyer Jeri, Eka Darville’s (Empire) drug addict Malcom and Erin Moriarty’s(True Detective)  Kilgrave-victim Hope are all fascinating characters. So too is radio host Trish (Rachael Taylor), who shares a brilliant best-friend relationship with Jessica.

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And Mike Colter’s effortless portrayal of Luke Cage, who has red-hot chemistry with Jessica, will have you eagerly anticipating his own show in 2016. His presence adds a soul to what otherwise could have been a dark brooding war between hero and the antagonist. Luke’s presence humanizes Jessica and tells her that she is not alone in as a super powered in this world. There are moments between Luke and Jessica will take your breath away. Small doses of romance between them makes this show worth watching

Another brilliant addition to Marvel universe is Wil Traval’s cop Will Simpson, who has a very interesting arc. He plays officer Will Simpson who is actually Nuke in the comics. Jessica Jones goes through his origin story and how he changes from a charming ladykiller cop to a twisted supersoldier.

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At times and atleast in 3 episodes you feel like being forced to watch things that are just for the sake of adding extra episodes. But once it gains pace there is no stop. Daredevil and Jessica Jones have both been awesome, and hopefully Marvel’s other Netflix shows, Luke Cage and Iron Fist are equally just as good, before the team up Avengers-style in The Defenders.

Rating 9/10

 

7 Characters I want to see on DC’s Legends of Tomorrow


Legends of Tomorrow is a treat for fans who have always wanted to see some goofy comic book style action and storyline. While the story itself isn’t that great till now then idea and the Easter eggs that this show has been dropping is worth mentioning. With a number of appearances announces in future that includes future Green Arrow and Jonah Hex, here are a couple of characters I want to see on the show in future.

 

  1. Booster Gold – I mean come on, a time travel saga without the greatest hero never known is very much impossible and unacceptable. I would love to see Booster Gold following the team’s adventures as he is on a greater mission.Booster_Gold_Vol_2_43_Textless
  2. Hourman – The classic hourman is one of my favorite characters. Like Jonah Hex his appearance can be set in past. His storyline will be one hell of a memento style acid trip.
  3. Calendar Man – What makes Calendar Man so interesting is his style of committing crime. This can be beautifully incorporated in a show that is primarily about time travel.
  4. The Kents – So we cannot see Superman on DC TV but what about Thomas and Martha Kent? Why can’t we get to see them in a story set before little Kal-El came in their life. I would love to see a teenage romance story between this couple. superman-and-the-kents
  5. Shadow Thief  Now that TV shows are incorporating better graphics in each episode I would really love to see an episode on Shadow Thief. He has been such an interesting character and yet so underused. Legends of Tomorrow is the perfect place where he can menace this group of dysfunctional heroes.685853-justice_league_of_america_029_pg_23
  6. Vigilante – Vigilante was one of my favorite characters on animated Justice League series. I would like to see him as a part of a classic gun toting western story.543
  7. Thomas Wayne – Just like the Kents I would love to see Thomas Wayne. May be drop hints of him being this universe’s Batman in future. Won’t it be cool. I know it is a far away thought but imagine how cool it would be.Thomas_Wayne_JLFP_Altered_001

Top 10 Superhero Teams


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We all know that there’s a lot of Superhero Super Teams formed in the whole comic universe, but ever wonder which one is arguably the strongest? Better? The answer to that is no, no one is better than the rest of them, there all doing the same thing over and over again, they are just simply saving the world from terror , but it is up to you to rank them as your own.

Superhero Teams have been an incredibly large part of the superhero genre. Since of the inception of the first superhero team, The Justice League of America, comic fans have loved the interaction of their favorite heroes fighting evil. The following list based on fans pick for the top ten superhero teams. Each of the groups below takes into account the different incarnations and variations of those said teams, such as the Ultimate line of comics.

Here is a list of the TOP 10 superhero teams that was voted by fans in my opinion
1 – X-MEN
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The X-Men came about at a time of great strife and have long mirrored many of society’s issues about fearing those that are different then the rest of us. The X-Men take the top of the list due to many reasons. They have long been one of the most popular comics in history and have spawned a mountain of, “X-Titles.” Multiple cartoons, TV series, and now movies have made The X-Men a juggernaut in the world of comics.
2 –Justice League of America (JLA)
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The Justice League of America is comprised of the top superheroes of the DC universe. With a roster full of A-list powerhouses, the JLA is arguably the toughest superhero team in existence. The JLA has been a huge part of the DC universe and has been widely popular since its inception.
3 – Fantastic Four
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The Fantastic Four is the first of the superhero teams to bring about a real humanness to the genre. With real world problems surfacing in the comic, this first, “family” of superheroes has been an incredible force in comics. Movies, cartoons, and more make the FF not number four, but three.
4 – Avengers
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The Avengers assemble in position number four. There have been many different incarnations of the Avengers, such as the West Coast and Great Lakes avengers. With the latest comics The Ultimates and the New Avengers, The Avengers have rocketed to new heights. A movie is in the works based on The Ultimates and when it does, The Avengers will be knocking on the doors of numbers one through three.
5 – Teen Titans
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The Teen Titans have had a rocky past, but presently, they are enjoying great success. A hugely popular cartoon has made the Teen Titans a smash hit with younger audiences and the comic has had an impressive run on the charts and with comic book fans.

6 – Guardians of The Galaxy

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Guardians of the Galaxy has gone through a number of changes and is one of the most amazing teams of dysfunctional characters in comics. The current series lead by Star Lord is an amazing team with foul mouthed Rocket Raccoon, kind Groot, feared assasin Gamora and deadly Drax. Guardians of the galaxy has been part of some of the most popular cosmic adventures and has a cult following among Marvel fans.

7 – Justice Society of America (JSA)
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The Justice Society of America has recently seen a rebirth into the world of comics. With a group of superheroes thought of as has beens and second stringers, the JSA have quickly shown that it has what it takes in the world of comics. We can also thank the JSA for being the first superhero team comic book. The success that JSA had early on spurred on the other comic companies to follow suit. Thanks JSA.
8 –  League of Extraordinary Gentlemen
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League of Extraordinary Gentlemen broke the boundaries of what is a “superhero team.” Comprised of some of the most popular characters in literature. The series was brought to us by superstar writer Alan Moore. Although they haven’t been around a long time and the book has been plagued with issues between Moore and DC, it is still a great comic book team.
9 –  The Defenders
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The power cosmic, magic, brute strength and more make up this team equivalent to the superhero odd couple. The Defenders have a great history behind them and the latest incarnation of this superhero team has been widely accepted by fans. The Defenders are a rising star in the world of superhero teams.
10 – The Authority
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The Authority are one of the few superhero teams not from the big two, (Marvel and DC) but Wildstorm Publishing company, to make it onto the list. Although their might may have waned in recent years, The Authority is still ranked high on the list for how it has pushed the boundaries of comic books. The Authority is ultra violent, politically charged, and boasted the first openly gay couple. These items make The Authority controversial, talked about, and one of the top superhero teams of all time.
 

Review – Ant Man 2015


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Ant-Man is more than a comic book movie. It takes viewers on a thrill ride through the world of science fiction physics. The smaller the size of the movie is, compared to that the characters are complex, charismatic people, whose relationships go through ups and downs every now and then. These characters are so well written that they appear as convincing players in an otherworldly premise suspending our concept of reality, once we buy in, well-placed humorous references poke fun at the day-to-day environment we take for granted.

Created in 1962 by Stan Lee, Larry Lieber and Jack Kirby, Ant Man has been a B-List Marvel character even after being one of the founding members of The Avengers. In a failed attempt by Edgar Wright to bring the shrinking superhero to the big screen when he wrote a script for the project and further went on to develop the film for 8 years. Finally in 2014, he was set to direct Ant-Man for the now successful Marvel Studios. He left the project with a mutual agreement with Marvel Studios due to creative differences. Yes Man director Peyton Reed then took over. As Wright was adored by critics, many have wondered whether Ant-Man would turn out to be Marvel’s first failure due to his absence.

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Even with Peyton Reed calling the shots this movie feels like an Edgar Wright film. He and Joe Cornish are still credited with story and part of the screenplay (the latter shared with Adam McKay and Paul Rudd). And if you are a fan of Wright’s work, you’ll be able to pick his parts of the film out almost immediately.

The film is filled with Edgar Write trademark style. The movie has prominently used jump-cut scenes in a very humorous way. Something that is Edgar Write is known for, where he presents a part of the story in a series of staccato images that say what they need to say in a concise and exciting way. In my opinion, it’s a trait that proves his genius and a big part of what I love about his films.

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The film opens as Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) leaves prison after a three year sentence for a Robin Hood-like bit of computer theft. He wants to start a clean life so he can provide a good role model for his daughter Cassie (Abby Ryder Forston), but he’s not even able to keep a job at Baskin-Robbins due to his criminal record. He gets on a heist job with an old prison pal Luis (Michael Peña) and agrees for a job at home of an ex-military guy.

Paul Rudd is comes out as an awkwardly charming good guy with a witty sense of humor. He’s just weirdly adorable like a cross-over between Tony Stark and Peter Quill with more humility. Hank Pym though, is an ass. Which is not surprising considering he mostly is exasperating in comic books.

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Rudd’s co-stars are all equally on fine form as Michael Douglas and Evangeline Lilly both deliver solid performances as Hank Pym and Hope van Dyne. Oscar award winner Douglas fully commits to  the role as the secretive ex scientist Pym while Lilly’s ice queen van Dyne is as serious as her bob haircut. The film’s most dramatic scenes arise from the strained father-daughter relationship between the two which plays out very well.

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But it is Michael Pena who steals the movie with his crazy fast narratives. He plays Lang’s motor mouthed best bud Luis and steals almost every scene he’s in. The flashback scenes where he narrates the lines of others in his own wild words produce some of the films biggest laughs.

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And as expected from a Marvel movie, Ant-Man is a blend of action and comedy. When Ant-Man shrinks for the first time, he has to avoid death by bathwater, clubbers, a hoover and a rat in a visually stunning sequence.

After the huge city smashing destruction earlier in the year from Avengers: Age of Ultron (which is snarkily referenced by Hank Pym) there was a need for Marvel to scale back the stakes in order to keep things fresh. Ant-Man certainly brings something new to the table as, on the whole, it feels very different to anything else in the crowded comic-book movie market.

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Ant Man comes with its flaws but Marvel has tries its best to keep it grounded and more personal on every level. Next time when we see Ant Man in Captain America: Civil War it is going to be a whole new level of awesome.

8/10

Review: Avengers – Age of Ultron


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The most awaited sequel to mega blockbuster of 2012, Age of Ultron hit the theaters last week in theaters worldwide. Creating a sequel to a blockbuster as beloved and successful as The Avengers is something big for anyone to live upto. One of the reasons the film became such a massive hit because of the novelty of seeing these characters on screen for the first time ever on the big screen; something that was long thought to be impossible. After massive success of the first movie, the sequel would have to shake things up. Age of Ultron feels like writer/director Joss Whedon is constantly trying to outdo himself. For the most part, he is succeeds. The film is more ambitious, emotional, funnier, and darker than its predecessor. However, it’s also less coherent and streamlined. In an attempt to juggle so many characters and subplots, the film loses that magic of simplicity that made the first film so appealing.  Despite those misgivings, the film manages to still be a fun and engaging superhero epic that serves to kick off the summer movie season and serves as a proper farewell to Whedon from Marvel Cinematic Universe.

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For me Age of Ultron is a massive success but it fails to pull off everything with the grace and synergy. The movie is on a different scale unlike Avengers was. The movie is a massive balancing act, pulling in about a dozen important characters and trying to give them all something to do while also telling a cohesive, succinct narrative. The movie is a juggling act that Joss Whedon tries to maintain fairly well. While I was fairly satisfied while walking out of the theater the feeling was not as great as the first movie and there is where the problem is.

Most of the reviews are made comparing it with the first movie when they should not. Most of the reviews have complained about new characters, if there was a sequel without new characters there would still be complains. The movie outdoes the expectations that fans had after the announcement.

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Age of Ultron proves to be a massive entertainer from the beginning. It opens with an exciting, and an entertaining action sequence that reintroduces all of the characters and the dynamic they share as a team. The opening is right on point in nearly all aspects, and creates a sense of high energy and pacing that is never really lost. While there are slower moments in the movie (such as a mid-movie sequence at the Barton farm) the sense of energy is never halted because there’s always something happening that propels the story forward. Unlike with the opening act of the first Avengers film, which tended to lull in some segments as the team was pulled together, Age of Ultron quickly establishes an excellent sense of narrative pacing, and this is arguably one of the film’s greatest strengths.

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The movie shows a great pacing apart from action sequences. Joss Whedon and his team does their best to manage their time amongst the numerous threads that the plot weaves along with the way characters connect with each other. As a writer, Whedon manages to find a great way of doing this, incorporating minor details from previous Phase Two films to show that, yes, they were relevant, while also keeping the focus where it needs to be: the matters at hand, how the team operates, and how the characters evolve because of the ordeals they undergo.

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If The Avengers was about assembly, Avengers: Age of Ultron is about disassembly. The former played on their conflicting personalities while the latter plays on their fears and insecurities. Though Ultron may be the main antagonist of the picture, it’s our heroes who have themselves to fear. How can these people save the world when they can’t even save themselves? The internal struggle of these characters is trying to overcome their mistakes and pain. That is what raises the stakes in this film. The entire world is jeopardy, but it’s also a battle for the Avengers to save their souls.

The film is loaded with terrific action sequences. The Hulk vs Hulkbuster scene is everything you hoped it would be and more. Though there is a lot to take in from the set pieces, they never feel exhausting or overwhelming, despite it being clear Whedon is always trying to top what he accomplish in the first film. Though admittedly, it’s hard to feel sense of danger when you know these characters are going to be back for their individual movies including more Avengers sequels. As usual, each character gets their shining moment. The principal cast has grown into these roles to the point where they could pull them off in their sleep. A most notable improvement is Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner), who after being relegated to Loki’s henchman for most of the first film, gets an integral and dynamic role among the team. Not to mention that he gets some of the best lines in the film. I wouldn’t be surprised if he emerged as fan-favorite after all is said and done.

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New additions to the cast vary. Thankfully, Ultron works for the most part and is miles ahead of just about all of the villains in Marvel films so far (which isn’t that hard when you look at how these villains were written). He’s surprisingly more snarky than people would expect an angry, maniacal robot to be. But that imbues the character with a personality that is sorely lacking from the rogue gallery in MCU. Joss Whedon admitted that the initial cut of the film was much longer. It comes out clear at many places as origin story for Quicksilver and Wanda comes out in a very rushed manner. Their origin is touched upon but in a very rushed manner. The Maximoff twins begin to work as characters as the film progresses, but there were missed opportunities to get audiences behind them early on. The breakout character of the film is hands down the Vision (Paul Bettany). While I won’t spoil his origin here, the film will leave you wanting to see more of especially since he does a fantastic job of making an impact in his first appearance.

The movie works and proves that Marvel Cinematic Universe is not going anywhere. Age of Ultron succeeds in teasing future movies with its supporting cast. The movie is entertaining but at the same time worries me about execution of future Marvel movies. It sets up Civil War, Wakanda and most importantly Infinity War and suffers with the same problem that Amazing Spider-Man 2 and Iron Man 2 suffered but on a very small scale. The summer has started with a bang and Marvel is going to rule.

Rating 8.5/10

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