joonscribble: (MoranSorted)
[personal profile] joonscribble
I figured I should catch up on the last couple of Marvel movies I'd missed to prep myself for Captain America 3: Civil War. And judging by the reviews of Cap 3, it sounds like that was a wise choice since that movie's got a bundle of characters from Age of Ultron and Ant-Man.

I have a confession to make: I didn't like the first Avengers movie. I defintely liked parts of it. But as an overall film it dragged for me and I had really wanted the film to focus more on character relationships (e.g. Thor and Loki) than just give us things smashing together. So, I went into Age of Ultron feeling a little resigned that it might be more of the same. And actually this movie, I think, was trying to do more character studies with the separate visions everyone had under Scarlet Witch's influence as well as the reveal about Clint's secret family and why Tony created Ultron in the first place. I'll start with Tony because his was the character I had the most difficulty grappling with the further the movie went on. His early vision of all his friends dying and Steve specifically saying he could have done more is a vision that makes so much sense in the context of Tony's PTSD and his general history of not having the family he wanted. It's also ties in so heavily to the Stark legacy which Tony is trying to change. So this moment spear-heading his decision to create Ultron all made sense. I wasn't even mad when it all went predictably sideways and unleashed unholy terror upon the world.

However, I did start to feel slightly annoyed at the general lack of apology coming from Tony. He doesn't need to throw himself down at anyone's feet but it grated me just a bit that he'd still make somewhat insulting quips toward other people's suggestions about how to handle Ultron when he was the very cause of this nightmare. Also, I think everyone else had the right to be a bit pissed off that Tony did this without really consulting anyone. Particularly since the sceptre and its power is unknown to him and that's kind of Thor's area. I don't know. I didn't necessarily want Tony to go completely mea culpa but he can't expect the team to just go with whatever his next plans are when he locked the team out of the very thing that's caused all the problems. I also see how this whole Ultron debacle is what'll set Tony up for his stance in Civil War. And granted, he makes a very good point that there needs to be more overview of their actions. However, he speaks as someone who has in the past royally messed up by accident so it makes sense that he feels he may need a governing body to control him. This is contrast to Steve, who above all I think trusts his own moral compass to know when he's doing something Right and not what a government as deemed right.

So moving onto Steve for a second. The vision he got was interesting. I wasn't completely clear if everyone's was automatically what they feared the most or what they found the most painful. But in either context, I think Steve's vision makes sense. I've always liked how the Marvel films that involve Captain America place him as a man who struggles with what his life means if he's not fighting. Events of the 2nd Cap movie made you wonder if Steve is a man so out of time that if he could just go back to the 1940s, things might be okay. But his vision seems to suggest it's not the time issue, it's a peace time issue. He looked kind of at a loss when dream!Peggy told him the war was over and he could come home and have that dance with her. And while that was a nice fantasy, I think a part of Steve wonders if he could be the person he was before he went into the ice, if given the chance. What the writers do with Steve feels like a better version of what I think writers are sometimes trying to do with Matt Murdock in that they are both men fighting with the idea of a higher cause but each conflict pulls them potentially further away from the very things they're trying to protect. It's just that Steve deals with it by going toward the things he values while Matt runs away.

The Bruce/Natasha thing....I wasn't sure about it. I'm still not sure about it. I liked their pairing but I wasn't really on board the personal conflicts it stirred up for each of them. Mainly because Bruce's was obvious and Natasha's was also obvious and kind of cliched for me. The way they tied that off just felt so motivated by Mark Ruffalo's contract running out in that it didn't really make sense to me on a character level.

And I'm sad we lost JARVIS. We have FRIDAY now which is fine. But I'll miss JARVIS in his pure form as he's now integrated into Vision.

So my overall feelings of Age of Ultron was that I liked it more than the first Avengers movie but after seeing it, I'm a bit nervous about how much those loose ends will have to get tied up in Captain America: Civil War, which makes that film a 3rd Avengers movie rather than a Cap movie. But I'll hold out on those thoughts until I actually see it.

Many people I know gave me the impression that I should lower my expectations for Ant-Man. And to those people, I say, why would you say that? This movie was so much fun! Most of that was thanks to Paul Rudd who was awesome in this role. He was such a great blend of lighthearted comedy and semi-seriousness that never went too far. I also liked how the tone of the movie remained pretty light, despite some fairly large stakes. Also, the small scale nature of the hero and villain, at times, made it so that entire cities didn't have to fall during their fights which I appreciated. Yes, some buildings got destroyed but actually, a lot of those explosions were planned so that also felt nice after watching the Avengers having to literally drop an entire city. Also on a continuity level, they set it up subtly of why Ant-Man would be on Team Cap for Civil War, given Hank Pym's distrust of the Stark family.

I thought that the fact Ant-Man shrinks would make for kind of a lame superhero. Man, was I wrong. I really liked how the movie integrated just how useful Ant-Man's ability to shrink and grow in rapid succession could be helpful. It also made for some pretty fun action sequences. My favorite was when he and Yellowjacket were stuck in the briefcase and still fighting. The shots of how it looked inside the case versus how it looked on the outside to regular sized people was pretty great. As was the final fight in Cassie's, Scott's daughter, room. When her Thomas the Tank Engine became supersized, I nearly spat up the water I was drinking. I also liked that Paxton, the stepfather to Cassie, didn't end sidelined into being a complete asshole. You totally understand his dislike for Scott coming from a place of wanting to do what was best for Cassie and Maggie, rather than a pure Alpha Male move.

The only thing that annoyed me about the movie was Hope Van Dyne getting consistently side-lined by her dad about putting on the Ant-Man suit. I totally understand his paternalistic attitude (he is her dad) but that felt only resolved somewhat in the mid-credits scene of her getting her mother's old Wasp suit. It would have been nice if she could have had more of a chance to show off her own stuff rather than be there to prop up Scott all the time. But that was a minor issue in what was otherwise a fun movie.
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