Joss Whedon

The Avengers (2012)

Hulk Smash Loki

The Avengers (2012)

Director:

Joss Whedon

Starring:

Robert Downey Jr.

Chris Evans

Scarlett Johansson

Mark Ruffalo

Chris Hemsworth

Jeremy Renner

Samuel L. Jackson

Clark Gregg

Cobie Smulders

Stellan Skarsgård

Tom Hiddleston

Gwyneth Paltrow

Plot:

Earth’s mightiest heroes must come together and learn to fight as a team if they are going to stop the mischievous Loki and his alien army from enslaving humanity.

Review:

After forever in the ice Captain America, Chris Evans, has been found. Which works out beautifully because Loki, Tom Hiddleston, has come to Earth to exact his revenge against Thor, Chris Hemsworth. Naturally, Tony Stark aka Iron Man, Robert Downey Jr., is pulled into things because he’s super smart and they need his help. To round things out a bit we get Black Widow, Scarlett Johansson, and Hawkeye, Jeremy Renner, who both work for S.H.I.E.L.D. to join because they know the system the best, plus, you know, they’re super good at what they do.

It was truly incredible that they were able to get all of these characters in one movie and not once did I feel like someone was slighted with screen time. They each had their moment to shine, they each had their own thing, and it all came together seamlessly. The fact that they did that with the first Avengers movie speaks to the quality of writers working on this film.

Iron Man still very much has his issues, he’s got his attitude, he desperately needs to speak to a professional, and yet he doesn’t because he’s good. For some reason Pepper, Gwyneth Paltrow, is wearing cut off blue jean shorts the first time she appears on screen which is not like anything she’s ever worn before and is kind of weird, but apparently they didn’t want her to be taller than Tony and…yeah it was stupid, but whatever.

Captain America is very much a man out of his time and is very easily pulled into saving the Earth because it’s the one thing he’s familiar with. His skill set transfers well and even though he clashes with Tony I don’t think he feels that they’re too serious clashes. While Tony reacts to him in a very juvenile way that really shows his short comings.

Bruce Banner aka The Hulk, Mark Ruffalo, is a harder sell. He doesn’t want to hulk out because he’s finally figured out how to control the monster inside, however, he’s a good man and does want to help save the world. When he’s assured they don’t want his green alter ego he joins them. His interactions with Tony are fun, they’re both super geeks, though, he is worlds more mature than Tony. I feel like if they’d done a movie together they would have worked fine together until Tony pushed him too far and The Hulk beat the ever living shit out of him.

Black Widow and Hawkeye are honestly just there because they’re the best S.H.I.E.L.D. agents. They’re really good at their jobs but I wouldn’t really call them superheroes. This movie really started the poor Black Widow fight scenes, there are so many quick cuts and close ups you honestly have no idea what’s going on and it’s disappointing to watch. Hawkeye is…well he’s a great shot, clearly smart, but I don’t really have anything else to add regarding him.

What I find interesting about the movie is you can pinpoint the exact moment when the general public’s opinion of The Hulk completely changed. He went from a character that people were bored with and didn’t really care about anymore to treating Loki like a rag doll and calling him a puny god. All of sudden people were again talking about another standalone movie for him, which thankfully Marvel has not done. In my opinion, The Hulk works as a great supporting character, but doesn’t work as well on his own.

We were introduced to another female character, Maria Hill, Cobie Smulders, that kicks a lot of ass, is basically S.H.I.E.L.D.S. second in command, and is promptly shoved aside and mostly forgotten. That makes how many characters now? Sure Black Widow has been in a lot of movies, but she is almost always a side character and about as interesting as a pile of rocks. What about Lady Sif? Agent Maria Hill? Jane Foster, Natalie Portman’s character in the Thor movies? Thank goodness Agent Carter, Hayley Atwell, got her own TV show, as short lived as it was.

The Avengers struck the perfect tone, there was just enough comedy to lighten up the potentially Earth ending consequences. The characters were each given their moment to shine, Tony proved that he can rise to the occasion and make the hard decisions without whining about it, he also proved that he can set his ego aside and acknowledge when someone else knows more than he does. It was really a great moment of growth for him, I just wish it lasted. Cap was, as always, incredibly amazing even while clearly struggling with his new surroundings. Thor needed a haircut and wash, it was too long and stringy. Mark Ruffalo was a much different Hulk than Edward Norton, but he filled the role well and worked better with everyone else than Norton could have done. It was a great movie and set the bar high for the following movies.

4.5/5

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Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Seasons 4 & 5


Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Seasons 4 & 5

Network:

ABC

Creator:

Maurissa Tancharoen

Jed Whedon

Joss Whedon

Starring:

Clark Gregg

Ming-Na Wen

Chloe Bennett

Ian De Caestecker

Elizabeth Henstridge

Henry Simmons

Natalia Cordova-Buckley

Jeff Ward

Plot:

The missions of the Strategic Homeland Intervention, Enforcement and Logistics Division.

Review:

I dropped Shield three episodes into season 4. Later I heard so many people talking about how amazing it was and how the last two seasons were the best and after watching several other superhero shows I decided to go back and give it another shot.

First off, I have to disagree about Season 4, it was very much more of the same for me. The virtual world they were in was interesting, but went on way too long. I never warmed up to the Ghostrider arc.

Season 4 overall, was alright, but didn’t do much for me. It just kept dragging out the relationship drama more and the big bad never seemed to be beat, but they were fighting it forever. It was draining. Just when you thought there was a resolution, they’d discover some new connection, or their “solution” would have all kinds of bad consequences.

Finally they beat it, take a breath, and then disappear. I was all prepared to drop Shield again, but the Season 4 finale had me deciding to try out at least the first episode of 5, which then had me watching the entire season.

Season 5 was, for me, when things finally got good. I love time travel, I love space, and Fitz, Iain De Caestecker, as a mercenary is something I never knew I needed in my life until now. The first half was fun, though, by the end it had gotten increasingly darker as more revelations about the future were made. They finally get back home and things just get horrible.

It was back to the constantly trying to fight an inevitable conclusion that finally wasn’t resolved until the last episode. It’s one thing to hint at something throughout a season, but having it basically be the focus for entire episodes is just draining. I just wanted it to be over. I wanted Fitz and Simmons, Elizabeth Henstridge, to be together and not fighting to survive the destruction of the world. I wanted Deke, Jeff Ward, to stop being a love sick puppy and go back to being a Dollar Store Starlord. I wanted Daisy, Chloe Bennett, to just be gone. And please, everyone, just get off of Yoyo, Natalia Cordova-Buckley, back. She made a hard decision that needed to be made and most of the team *cough* Daisy *cough* were being absolute hypocritical assholes about it.

The ending had me in tears. Not because Phil, Clark Gregg, was leaving, even though he’s one of the best characters, but because they fucking killed Fitz. But then, they didn’t. There’s a second one floating in space waiting for them to find him, because of course there is, but that’s honestly the only reason I’m going to watch the next season. I’m really hoping for a less world ending season and more of a focus on smaller things. Leave the world to the Avengers, please.

2/5

Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015)

The-Avengers-2

Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015)

Director:

Joss Whedon

Starring:

Robert Downey Jr.

Chris Evans

Chris Hemsworth

Mark Ruffalo

Scarlett Johansson

Jeremy Renner

Plot:

When Tony Stark and Bruce Banner try to jump-start a dormant peacekeeping program called Ultron, things go horribly wrong and it’s up to Earth’s Mightiest Heroes to stop the villainous Ultron from enacting his terrible plans.

Review:

Am I getting too old for Marvel movies? Please god noooooooo!!!!! The very idea is horrible and makes me sad, but apart from Guardians of the Galaxy the last 3 Marvel movies I haven’t loved, honestly I don’t even like Iron Man 3.

With Avengers I feel like Whedon was given this list of things that had to be done in this movie to set up the next ones and didn’t get to tell a full story. This movie felt like filler more than a true addition to the series.

I didn’t like the beginning, you were thrown into the middle of a battle, which is fine, but the explanation as to why wasn’t very satisfying. The action was hardly perceivable with all the quick cuts and I wonder if they were trying to cut time by doing that.

The middle and end were much better but still not as satisfying as I was hoping for. Ultron was a some what interesting villain in that you got to see what would happen if you gave a smart teenager with daddy issues lots of power.

The Prophet was cool, though Thor’s explanation as to why he must be created was hardly more than him saying, “Because.”

I thought they did a poor job showing the Avengers as a team and friends. I think the Captain America language ribbing was supposed to help with that, but it wasn’t enough to convey teamwork and one comment too much and reached annoying.

All in all, I was disappointed. It was an alright movie but not close to the best Marvel movie.

3/5

Much Ado About Nothing (2012)

much ado about nothing

Director:

Joss Whedon

Starring:

Amy Acker

Alexis Denisof

Nathan Fillion

Clark Gregg

Reed Diamond

Plot:

A modern retelling of Shakespeare’s classic comedy about two pairs of lovers with different takes on romance and a way with words.

Review:

I have to be in a certain type of mood to watch this kind of movie and receive it well. Not only was it black and white but it was full on Shakespeare. I actually like black and white movies but understanding Shakespeare does not come naturally. That being said Much Ado About Nothing is my favorite play of his, that I’ve read.

Bonus for Joss Whedon and his entourage.

3.5