May 8, 2015

Avengers: Age of Ultron Link Roundup (Ongoing) – UPDATED

Now that Avengers: Age of Ultron is finally here, and I’ve seen it (twice), I can start reading about it until my eyeballs fall out. This page will have an an ongoing list of links to some of what I’ve read that I found interesting.

Me and The Avengers movie.

Personally I prefer The Avengers. Have I mentioned that lately?

UPDATED 5/11/15 (new links after the break; you can tell they’re new because they say NEW LINK.)

As you know, I frickin’ LOVED The Avengers, the first one. To say that Avengers: Age of Ultron isn’t quite as good as the first film is like saying I’m shorter than Shaquille O’Neal. Or, to ever-so-slightly borrow a joke from the movie, that this blog post will be shorter than a Eugene O’Neill play. Bottom line: it was a lot of fun, Joss Whedon did a nice job of balancing all of the myriad demands of a film with a ton of characters and future Marvel Cinematic Universe movies to promote, and I’ve already seen the movie twice and would gladly see it again.

As expected with a summer blockbuster, especially a follow-up to a film as great as The Avengers, the Interwebs are filled with articles and blog posts and charts and click-bait about all things Ultron. I went on Rotten Tomatoes planning to read a few reviews. I got as far as one before being sucked into a rabbit hole (maybe I should say tesseract instead) of Age of Ultron related topics.

Oh, the obligatory Spoiler Alert from this point forward. I’m not going to bother watching what I say about the movie, although this isn’t a review and odds are I won’t reveal anything particularly important. But if you haven’t seen the movie yet and prefer to do so without knowing anything about what happens, stop reading now. Then come back. Don’t worry. We’ll wait.

AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON LINKS (ONGOING LIST)

So yes, Age of Ultron has a Eugene O’Neill joke. It also apparently has a rape joke, at least according to feministing.com. I hesitated to post this here because I’m… what’s the word I’m looking for… oh, right, a coward. (Apologies to Tina Fey, from whom I stole that line.) I also don’t like to use words like “rape” on this site; I imagine it’s bad for traffic. But the feministing.com post does explain what “prima nocta” means, and I didn’t know.

NEW LINK (very spoilery): Mashable has an article titled 17 ways Joss Whedon subverts Marvel and the Avengers in ‘Age of Ultron’. I’m not sure I’d go so far as to say “subverts”, but the piece does highlight several of the really good lines of dialogue from the film. Many spoilers obviously.

NEW LINK: The Mary Sue writes about why Joss Whedon left Twitter. This shouldn’t be such a big deal, but apparently people were calling for Whedon’s head, literally, and that’s just f**ked up. I’ve been harassed on Twitter, called out in comments sections of articles I wrote for various outlets (including one in which I was accused of racism, and because of the way the editor changed the story after the fact, it made me look like bad, which was frustrating), and the most scary was when someone emailed me directly. Luckily they didn’t seem to know where I lived. But think about it. I’m not Joss Whedon. (Sorry to disappoint you.) Joss Whedon is very famous and has written and directed what will probably be the highest-grossing film of 2015. Not everyone is going to like said film. That’s fine. But, as Guardians of the Galaxy writer/director James Gunn points out in a wonderful Facebook post, not liking somebody’s movie doesn’t give you free reign to virtually assault him or her. This is true in general, not just with movies, and not just with celebrities. As Mr. Gunn eloquently wrote:

My plea to all of you – and this is nothing new – is that we all try to be a little kinder, on the Internet and elsewhere. And, honestly, that includes being kind to the people who are tweeting this nonsense.

You should read the whole thing, because it includes Gunn pointing out that he himself used to be a very angry guy, and relates a nice tale about a time he engaged with someone on Twitter who didn’t like something he had done in a movie, but the guy/gal was polite about it, and therefore it made Gunn think differently about his work. H/T to The Mary Sue for the link.

Apparently there has been a lack of Black Widow merchandise available for purchase. This seems odd to me, but as far as I can tell it is indeed true. Why? Because boys don’t play with girl toys, sayeth the Interwebs, speaking on behalf of toy makers. I don’t know if this is the reason, but it’s as good a reason as any. Personally I can’t understand why they wouldn’t make action figures (yes, I know they’re dolls but NO THEY AREN’T THEY’RE ACTION FIGURES SO SHUT UP) out of the Black Widow, Scarlet Witch, and Maria Hill. GeekMom.com has a nice write up titled “Let’s Talk About Black Widow In ‘Avengers: Age of Ultron‘” that covers this issue, as well as other, arguably deeper issues about Natasha Romanoff, aka The Black Widow, “deftly portrayed by Scarlett Johansson”, as GeekMom’s Cindy White puts it.

The lack of Black Widow merchandise is confusing, and Mark Ruffalo tweeted about it:

He said “pretty please”.

Clark Gregg, the Son of Coul, also spoke out about this.

On a related note, criticism of the lack of a Black Widow solo film seems off-base to me. If you want to get on anyone, ask Warner Bros./DC why it took them this long to announce a Wonder Woman movie. Black Widow is a cool character, but Wonder Woman is a freakin’ icon. She was on the cover of the first issue of Ms. Magazine, for Stan’s sake. It took The Avengers movie being a worldwide smash-hit for WB/DC to wake up and decide to get one of the most recognizable superheroes in the world onto the big screen.

This next link is a big spoiler, although in a way it isn’t. Like I said before, if you really don’t want to know anything about the movie before you see it, don’t read this. It’s about Ultron, brilliantly voiced and motion-captured by the always terrific James Spader.

IGN made a video and list of every Avenger ever, which is super handy for those of us who are really nerdy and actually own Avengers comic books in which the team consists of Doctor Druid, She-Hulk, Captain Marvel (the Monica Rambeau version, who later changed her name to Photon, and then Spectrum), Tigra, and Mr. Fantastic. I think that was it, but I could be wrong. Notice that there are no big Avenger names on this list — no Thor, no Captain America, no Iron Man. The Avengers line-up has changed a lot over the years, which for me was part of the fun of the comic. The upper left-hand corner of the cover of every issue of The Avengers featured headshots of whoever happened to be an active member at the time. As a kid, this was the sort of thing that only added to my comic book reading enjoyment.

This person is insane. In case you don’t want to click the link, it’s a video of a guy who injected himself with who knows what in an attempt to have arms as muscular as The Incredible Hulk. I couldn’t watch it, and don’t know the details beyond the basics, which are that what he did was very unhealthy and could have really hurt him.

Here are all the reviews from “Top Critics” at RottenTomatoes.com.

Here is the review from The Mary Sue, a site that covers nerdy stuff from a feminist perspective. (I think that’s an accurate description. I like The Mary Sue’s articles and writers a lot and don’t want to pigeonhole them into a particular ideology. That said, I think I’m correct. If not, leave me a comment and I’ll make a change.)

Back to Black Widow: I respectfully disagree with this piece from The Daily Beast that takes issue with the way The Black Widow is portrayed, not only in the current movie but in the Marvel Cinematic Universe in general. I don’t see what the author of the article sees, which is that Black Widow’s character is somehow defined by her possible desire for a family. More specifically, when she tells Bruce Banner (aka The Hulk, played by Mark Ruffalo) that he’s “not the only monster on the team”, I believe she’s referring to the fact that she’s killed a lot of people, something she said in The Avengers — “I’ve got red in my ledger”. I will admit that I squirmed slightly at the idea that she had been sterilized, but this makes sense in the context of the character’s backstory (trained in a very creepy way from childhood to be a spy and assassin), and is presented as a terrible thing that was DONE TO HER against her will. The main thing I disagree with (again, respectfully — I also write for The Daily Beast) is the interpretation that when she refers to herself as a “monster” she is linking that to an inability to produce offspring. I did find a potential romance between her and Banner to be a bit odd, but that is a common Hulk storyline (can a guy who “turns into an enormous green rage monster” ever have anything resembling a romantic relationship), and until Scarlet Witch switches over to the good guys, there aren’t any other women around. So if you’re writing a movie and you want that particular bit of story business to happen, it has be The Black Widow. Personally I would’ve preferred that they brought back Betty Ross, but she seems to have been forgotten, and frankly I don’t know where they would have worked her in. This is a movie in which a LOT happens. (Some of the commenters on the Beast story seem to agree with me.)

If you want a run-down on the Infinity Stones/Gems that will be the focus of the NEXT Avengers film (part 1 arrives in 2018), here’s some info from Entertainment Weekly.

Entertainment Weekly also has an update about what’s next for the Marvel Cinematic Universe, specifically Captain America: Civil War. The movie will have a lot of characters in it, including Paul Rudd’s Ant-Man.

I could literally talk about this movie all day, and tomorrow as well. And the next day. And so on. I’ll post more links as I find them.

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