Day Eleven: 11/19 down!
Just doing some catch-up, we've watched the movies just haven't had time to write the blogs!
Avengers: Age of Ultron
Antonio: Like the first Avengers film, this movie has plenty of iconic moments, but for the sake of time I will choose just one. The Hulkbuster fight is so goddamn fun and is such major wish fulfillment, it wins hands down for me.
Literally every line spoken by Ultron is phenomenal so I have to include one as an honorary mention...
Spoken by Ultron (Portrayed by James Spader): "Elchhh...Captain America, gods righteous man...Pretending you could live without a war...I can't physically throw up in my mouth, but.."
Also this line is too good to not mention...
Spoken by Hawkeye (Portrayed by Jeremy Renner): "Hey, look at me. It's your fault, it's everyone's fault, who cares. Are you up for this? Are you? Look, I just need to know cause the city is flying. Ok, look, the city is flying, we're fighting an army of robots, and I have a bow and arrow. None of this makes sense."
Baron Wolfgang Von Strucker
Antonio: When we saw Strucker at the end of Winter Soldier I was pretty excited to see what Marvel would do with the character. Well, he was fun for the 50 seconds of screen time he had, I guess...
Antonio: Where Loki stumbled, Ultron struts, he is the perfect foil to the dysfunctional Avengers. He is as unstable as Banner, as powerful as Thor and with the bravado of Tony. Spader absolutely conquers every scene he's in despite being largely CGI. The effects team have brought so much life to what is essentially a lifeless character. He is, without a doubt one of my favorite Marvel villains.
Final Ranking: TBD
I have a bit of bias when it comes to Age of Ultron due to my love for the titular villain, but I will say, there's some very unfortunate sexism in this film, which isn't all that surprising (but no less dog-shit) considering its director.
Okay lets see...
1. The HYDRA facility we see being raided in the beginning of the film is the same location we are shown during the ACS for The Winter Soldier.
2. The HYDRA soldiers defending the base are outfitted with re-purposed Chitauri tech, giving them enhanced strength and durability.
3. Hawkeye is wearing a long coat that pays homage to the classic purple costume he wears in the comics.
4. The Hulk is wearing new stretchable purple shorts, designed by Tony, this is both a reference to The Hulk's signature purple pants from the comics, but also the unstable molecules used to make The Fantastic Four's costumes, though it's never mentioned by name what material Stark used.
5. Captain America is wearing a variant of the suit he wore in The Winter Soldier, now decorated with his signature Red, White and Blue accents, it also comes equipped with a magnetic grip for his SHIELD, allowing him to summon it to him from short distances, courtesy again of Stark.
6. In the MCU, Wanda and Pietro Maximoff are from Sokovia, a fictional country in Southeastern Europe. Due to HYDRA's influence and lack of contact with the outside world, they largely see The Avengers as threats, not helped by their country being bombed using Stark Tech missiles during some earlier conflict with the United States.
7. Tony is now wearing the Mark 43 which seems to be nearly identical to the 42 but with a reversed color scheme. He only uses the modular armor-up feature once or twice in the film, though he does active it's "Sentry Mode" during the opening scene.
8. Tony unveils the new Iron Legion, non-combatant peace-keeping androids. These are not suits, and are thus Tony's first full attempt at an android.
9. In the MCU, HYDRA used the power of Loki's scepter to give the twins (Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver) their powers, in the comics, the two are the children of Magneto and developed their powers due to the X-Gene, this was later retconned, the new origin being that there powers were gifted to them by The High Evolutionary.
10. In the comics, the twins are also from Southeastern Europe, and are actually Romani.
11. Baron Wolfgang Von Strucker is a Captain America villain dating back to his WWII days in the comics. In the comics he used a gauntlet called The Satan Claw to siphon the life force of others, granting him longevity.
12. Thor and Cap do a combo move while fighting off the HYDRA goons where Thor strikes Cap's shield with his hammer, causing a wave of energy to cascade from it. This is a technique they learned in the first Avengers movie by accident during their forest fight.
13. The Avengers use newly redesigned Quinjets designed by Stark as SHIELD has fallen.
14. In the secret HYDRA laboratory we see android proto-types that strike a visual resemblance to Ultron's head in the comics. We also see the corpse of a Chitauri Leviathan as well as Loki's scepter.
15. After being mentally corrupted by Wanda, Tony has a vision of The Avengers future, he sees his team laying dead on what appears to be Thanos's throne room shown in Guardians of the Galaxy and the first Avengers ACS. He also sees a massive Chitauri invasion force headed to earth.
16. The Avengers are now operating out of Avengers Tower which has been rebuilt after the Battle of New York. Maria Hill serves as their operations specialist and Helen Cho is their onboard physician due to her advanced knowledge of medical science.
17. In the comics Helen Cho is the mother of Amadeus Cho, one of the smartest characters in the Marvel Universe and a close friend of Bruce Banner.
18. Tony and Banner discuss using what appears to be an extremely advanced AI inside the scepter's gem, merged with Jarvis to create "Ultron" Tony's peace keeping initiative, an AI that could monitor earth for extra terrestrial defense. He claims he imagines: "A suit of armor around the world". In Iron Man 2 we established that Tony feels like earth is safe under his protection and that that protection is his responsibility alone. In Iron Man 3 we established that his anxiety and PTSD brought on by his encounter with the Chitauri have made him 1. desire to retire and 2. want to prevent any sort of invasion from ever happening again. Ultron is the next logical step.
19. In the comics Ultron was an invention of Hank Pym's, designed as simply an attempt to create artificial life. Ultron's brain was patterned after maps of his own brain but due to Pym's unstable mental state, Ultron too suffered from psychosis, causing him to go rogue.
20. In the film it is implied that Ultron is patterned after Tony's personality though it's unclear how or why, he shares Tony's sense of humor and bravado and even seems to share the same idioms.
21. In addition to the core Avengers and the tower-staff, also in attendance at the After-Party scene are James Rhodes and Sam Wilson. Sam mentions to Cap that he is still chasing leads on The Winter Soldier and Rhodey reveals he is back in action as War Machine.
23. During a conversation with Maria Hill, Tony reveals that Pepper is absent as she is busy running Stark Industries and Thor reveals Jane is absent as she is busy studying the Convergence.
24. Steve invites some veterans who are potentially old war-buddies of his.
25. After the festivities the main group joke around about lifting Thor's hammer, not believing in the blessing that only allows "He be Worthy" to lift it. While no one is able to lift Mjolnir, Steve does manage to make it move, giving Thor a moment of panic. In the comic event Fear Itself, Steve does lift Mjolnir.
26. Ultron's initial form is made from a cobbled together Iron Legion body, its face has been corroded by acid as it was attacked during the aid in Sokovia. This is both done for dramatic effect and also to hint at him being a corruption of Iron Man.
27. Ultron invites the twins to meet him in a church in Sokovia, he is draped in a red cloak, this is a reference to his time as The Crimson Cowl in the comics when he put together a new Masters of Evil without revealing his identity.
28. Ultron murders Strucker, thus ending his exceedingly short MCU Career and taking out one of the last chain of commands in HYDRA.
29. The Avengers learn that Ultron hopes to use Vibranium as part of his global-extinction plan. This scene confirms that Vibranium is an export of Wakanda. Tony and Steve remark that it was used to create his shield and that they thought the US Government had access to the last remaining portions of it.
30. Tony is able to get info on an old arms dealer he met with, back in his times as an arms developer, named Ulysses Klaw who has a brand on his neck identifying him as a thief by Wakandan government.
31. Klaw is a long-time Black Panther villain in the comics. In the comics he uses Vibranium to power a sonic emitter gun that later becomes a prosthetic replacement for his hand.
32. Ultron finds Klaw in South Africa, where he is ferrying a ships worth of Vibranium. After he remarks to Ultron that he reminds him of Stark, Ultron cuts his arm off, thus foreshadowing his future as a cyborg and fulfilling the MCU ESB running gag.
33. Scarlet Witch causes almost all of the Avengers to experience hallucinations, failing only to induce one in Clint Barton as he sees her coming, remarking that "He's done the whole mind control thing before", a reference to his time as Loki's puppet in the first Avengers.
34. In the visions we see Steve grapple with the notion that life has passed him by and that without war he is lost. We see Natasha relive her time in the Red Room, the KGB training center for the other Black Widows. We see Thor at a dystopic party in what appears to be Hel, as mentioned by Heimdall who claims Thor is a "Destroyer" who has brought about the end for Asgard. Heimdall has also gone blind and when Thor questions further, his electrical abilities seemingly overpower him, killing other attendees against his will.
35. Bruce arguably gets the worst of the mind-manipulations as he's forced to transform into The Hulk in a fit of rage. It's worth noting in the earlier versions of the film, they intended this Hulk to be gray, as the Hulk often appears in different shades in the comics to insinuate different personality traits. In the final version he is green though has a more sickly hue.
36. In order to prevent The Hulk from destroying Johannesburg, Iron Man activates Veronica, a satellite orbiting earth that deploys the MK 44 Iron Man suit, also known as The Hulkbuster. The Hulkbuster has appeared in many variations in the comics, Tony also has Thorbuster, Phoenixbuster and Galactusbuster suits in the comics.
37. The name Veronica is a reference to Betty and Veronica, Betty being Betty Ross, Bruce Banner's old love interest.
38. After their resounding defeat at the hand of Ultron and the twins, Clint Barton takes the Avengers to his "Safe House", a farm house where he lives with his wife and kids. Something he had Fury keep off the books, so not even HYDRA would be aware of it. This is a reference to the Ultimates comics where Clint also has a secret family, though they are all murdered by Black Widow who was a traitor in that continuity. His wife is also named Laura in these comics.
39. While at the Barton farm, Nick Fury reappears, revealing to Tony that Maria Hill has been working for him as his eyes and ears since her start with Stark.
40. Ultron goes to Helen Cho for her to use her bio-matter cradle to create a new body, one made from Vibranium infused tissue. He claims human's are so unimaginative, using the most powerful metal to "make a frisbee". He doesn't have access to Wakanda's vast knowledge as his view of the world is crafted through the internet, and Wakanda is up until to this point still isolated.
41. Ultron cracks open Loki's scepter revealing that the Mind Stone is what powers it, he uses this yellow stone to serve as the brain for his new body. His "Vision" of the new world.
42. The Vision in the comics as also created by Ultron but was not meant as a new body, instead he was designed to appear as a superhero, hence the colorful costume, in order to infiltrate the Avengers and destroy them from inside. This backfired when he developed a conscience and joined The Avengers instead.
43. Black Widow jumps from a Quinjet, making her the fourth Avenger to jump from a plane.
44. Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch defect from Ultron, much like how they defected from Magneto in the comics, also in order to join The Avengers.
45. Iron Man and Bruce Banner use a reconstituted Jarvis to overwrite Vision's programming, allowing him to become a new being. Thus explaining why Vision has Jarvis's voice. Vision is also played by Paul Bettany, who has voiced Jarvis since Iron Man(2008).
46. It's worth noting in the comics that Vision's brain patterns were taken from Simon Williams, aka Wonder Man, and that Jarvis is a human butler to the Avengers, not an AI.
47. Vision is able to lift Mjolnir, its unclear if this is due to his inorganic nature or if he is truly worthy. He could also just be literally powerful enough to lift the hammer despite it's enhancements due to his connection to an Infinity Stone.
48. Helen Cho refers to The Mind Stone as a gem, in the comics they are known as The Infinity Gems as they appear as jewels where in the MCU they are The Infinity Stones as they are calcified ingots of power.
49. Thor meets with Erik Selvig to find the Waters of Sight, in which he uses to go on a vision quest. In his vision he sees The Vision awakening, he sees the five of the six infinity stones. He releases there is a bigger game at play. At the end of the film he leaves via the Bifrost in order to figure out who is behind this.
50. Quicksilver's athletic gear is a reference to his blue and white lightning bolt ladened tights from the comics. Scarlet Witch's goth aesthetic is a reference to her appearance in the animated series: X-Men Evolution.
51. The destruction of Sokovia is a major theme in Captain America: Civil War, so keep that in mind.
52. Nick Fury returns with the "64" Helicarrier from the first Avengers film. This Helicarrier was decommissioned by the time of The Winter Soldier and thus wasn't destroyed when SHIELD fell.
53. The technical officer who deploys the "Bus" hover transports is the same SHIELD officer who refused to activate Insight in The Winter Soldier.
54. Iron Man debuts the Mk 45 during the Battle of Sokovia. This armor is visibly more sleek and has a new AI as Jarvis has been absorbed into Vision. The new AI is named Friday and was created for the film.
55. War Machine shows up during the final fight, aiding the relief effort, he is wearing the War Machine MK 2 which is the same build as The Iron Patriot, but repainted with the class black and grey.
56. Vision uses his density shifting abilities very little in this movie. Mainly to phase his hand through several Ultron units. It's also worth noting Vision manifests his clothes, it's unclear if these are tangible matter or just visual projections as he doesn't seem to manifest anything used physically by others.
57. During the epilogue we are introduced to the New Avengers facility in upstate New York, this compound feels like a reference to the Avengers Mansion which was the original home to the team in the comics.
58. In addition to the new digs, we are also introduced to the New Avengers themselves, Lead by Captain America and Black Widow, the new recruits are: Scarlet Witch, War Machine, Falcon and The Vision. Scarlet Witch and Falcon even get new costumes, though Wanda's doesn't make an appearance past this scene.
59. Clint renames his newborn son, Nathaniel Pietro Barton, his first name dedicated to Natasha, his middle name dedicated to Quicksilver, who gave his life to save Hawkeye during the Battle of Sokovia.
60. Steve's last words before the screen cuts to black are: "Avengers-", he is about to say "Avengers Assemble", this is the iconic battle cry for the team in the comics, usually spoken by Captain America but it varies line-up to line-up, it still has yet to be spoken on screen.
Avengers: Age of Ultron is not a perfect film by any degree, it's hard to capture the same lightning of seeing the Avengers assembled together for the first time, however, I do think this comes very close to the joy of the first film, while suffering from possibly too many cooks in the kitchen.
Final Score: TBD
After the Credits:
Where The Avengers had possibly the best ACS of the MCU, Age of Ultron has maybe one of its worst. Well, let's see what we thought at least...
Antonio: This scene is like...objectively cool...but like...It doesn't really have any story value, it just felt kinda tacked on...I am so glad Infinity War looks to be adding more depth to Thanos.
Final Score: TBD
These are gonna be a bit late, probably for the rest of the blogs, but I still intend to get them out before Thursday night! Up next, the MCU's smallest superhero: Antman (2015)
See you all tomorrow!
The Age of Grodd is coming.