The Avengers: Age of Ultron Trailer #2

Official Synopsis: When Tony Stark tries to jumpstart a dormant peacekeeping program, things go awry and Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, including Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, The Incredible Hulk, Black Widow and Hawkeye, are put to the ultimate test as the fate of the planet hangs in the balance. As the villainous Ultron emerges, it is up to The Avengers to stop him from enacting his terrible plans, and soon uneasy alliances and unexpected action pave the way for an epic and unique global adventure.

Oh man, oh man, oh man. Just when I thought I couldn’t get any more pumped for this movie, Marvel goes and releases this trailer.  I think so far, Marvel has done a decent job of not giving too much of the story away in this and the first trailer.  Instead, the focus has been on the action and sheer magnitude of desperation and destruction faced by the superhero team.  In the beginning, we see civilians being escorted to safety (Hawkeye can be seen towards the upper right hand corner).  With Tony’s hulkbuster armor revealed last trailer, more of the fight between Iron Man and the Hulk is shown.  It looks like the Scarlet Witch may have something to do with Hulk’s rampage.  If you look at his eyes around the 1:20 mark, they have a red color instead of the normal cheery green glow.

Black Widow will seemingly get her history fleshed out more as well.  There is a scene with a young Natasha getting forced onto a medical table not quite halfway through the trailer.  I think Black Widow may be the one to bring the Hulk out of his berserker rage.  Quicksilver and the Scarlet Witch aren’t as prominent this time around.  And one character that is still not seen is the Vision.  I guess Marvel is reserving his reveal until you see the movie, which I suppose is a good thing.  They shouldn’t give away their big reveals in the trailers.  Andy Sarkis has another second in this trailer but still no clue who he plays.  There is rumor that he’s playing Ulysses Klaw, a Black Panther villain.  Given his look is similar and Black Panther was announced as part of Marvel’s Phase Three, it’s not completely unfounded.

A few other points of interest I found was the woman by the pool.  I’m not sure who she is, but if the Avengers are heading to Wakanda (Black Panther’s fictional home country in Africa), she may be some Wakandian.  Also, there is a woman behind Thor, around 1:03, that I’m not sure who she is either.  I didn’t notice it right away, but there is a slow version of “There Are No Strings On Me” playing in between other pieces of music.  They are really playing up the Ultron-is-free-from-his-creaters vibe.

The Avengers: Age of Ultron hits US theaters May 1, 2015.  Joss Whedon returns as director, and sees the return of Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth, Mark Ruffalo, Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy Renner, Samuel L. Jackson, Cobie Smulders, and Paul Bettany, along with The Avengers newcomers James Spader as Ultron, Elizabeth Olsen as the Scarlet Witch, and Aaron Taylor-Johnson as Quicksilver.

The Avengers: Age of Ultron movie poster

The Avengers: Age of Ultron Trailer #1

Official Synopsis: When Tony Stark tries to jumpstart a dormant peacekeeping program, things go awry and Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, including Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, The Incredible Hulk, Black Widow and Hawkeye, are put to the ultimate test as the fate of the planet hangs in the balance. As the villainous Ultron emerges, it is up to The Avengers to stop him from enacting his terrible plans, and soon uneasy alliances and unexpected action pave the way for an epic and unique global adventure.

I don’t even know where to begin with this.  It may be the Marvel fan boy in me, but I cannot contain my hype for Age of Ultron after watching this trailer.  Ever since it was revealed James Spader was cast as the voice of Ultron, I was sold. If you want to see an example of why Spader is perfect as the villain, check him out as Raymond ‘Red’ Reddington in the show The Blacklist.  As Ultron, he adds just the right amount of malice in his voice and comes across as a truly menacing figure.

Speaking of Ultron, he looks amazing!  I’m most interested to see how he creates his body from Tony Stark’s old armer.  Towards the beginning we see how him as pieces rigged together, which gives an awesome Frankenstein’s monster feel.  But the real money shot is that of him at the end.  I don’t know what it was, but I like that his face moves like a human’s (it’s static in the comics).  When I first saw it, shivers went down my spine.

Although this trailer is the length of a full trailer, it is only an extended teaser trailer because it doesn’t give anything away about the story.  However, it does give us a simple look at the characters and overview.  We get a decent glimpse of Quicksilver’s powers in action but the Scarlet Witch’s powers still aren’t displayed fully.  In the comics she has reality-altering powers, so it will be interesting how that is adapted to fit into Marvel’s more “grounded” powers.

Just like in The Avengers, there is some hero vs hero action.  It should be exciting to see what makes the Hulk and Thor attack Stark.  Either way, the result looks to be explosive.

Oh, and how about Cap’s shield at the end?

The Avengers: Age of Ultron hits US theaters May 1, 2015.  Joss Whedon returns as director, and sees the return of Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth, Mark Ruffalo, Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy Renner, Samuel L. Jackson, Cobie Smulders, and Paul Bettany, along with The Avengers newcomers James Spader as Ultron, Elizabeth Olsen as the Scarlet Witch, and Aaron Taylor-Johnson as Quicksilver.

The Avengers: Age of Ultron movie poster

Captain America: The Winter Soldier Review

Captain America: The Winter Soldier movie posterSynopsis
Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) is trying to integrate into the modern world after being frozen since World War II. To occupy his time, he takes on missions for SHIELD. When director of SHIELD Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) is attacked by a mysterious assailant known as the Winter Soldier (Sebastian Stan), Steve must confront an enemy from his past, an enemy he thought was long forgotten.

Review
Oh Marvel, you clever people. Few studios can continuously churn out movies the way you do and maintain such a high quality. Captain America: The Winter Soldier continues Marvel’s excellent Phase 2 slate of movies by stepping on the accelerator and never slowing down. Add equal parts action, spy thriller, and character development, with a great reveal and an explosive ending that leaves the Marvel Cinematic Universe with a new status-quo, and you’ve got yourself a movie that not only excels as a superhero movie, but an action and spy thriller as well.

The movie starts with Cap going on a mission to free SHIELD agents kidnapped when their ship is hijacked by pirates (which introduced Batroc the Leaper, played by former UFC Welterweight Champion Georges St-Pierre, into the Cinematic Universe). This scene shows much about how Cap thinks about the world, about how soldiers should trust each other, and sows seeds of his doubt about working for such a secretive organization such as SHIELD. It was the first look at his mindset and the rest of the movie does great to build off what is seen in this first scene (well technically second but the first was the opening scene so it doesn’t count).

The action only continues to grow from there. All the action set pieces are huge and look amazing. Every action sequence is filled to the brim with explosions and/or hand-to-hand combat, all of which are extremely well choreographed. The scenes with the Winter Soldier were especially exhilarating. Going back to the opening scene and the ship infiltration scene I mentioned, it is clearly obvious Cap has a significant strength advantage over, well, pretty much everyone else. What’s great about the Winter Soldier is he gives Cap an adversary that not only had a personal connection with him, but also could match Cap blow for blow.

Cap’s fighting style has evolved much since he donned his shield back in The First Avenger. In that film he wasn’t using it much since he was just starting. And in The Avengers, he was throwing his shield around and using his military combat training, but his fighting style still wasn’t yet that developed. But in this movie, we get to see what Cap is truly capable of as a man in peak physical condition. He is very acrobatic, leaping around his enemies and parkouring around his environment and utilizing his shield more offensively and effectively.

I was surprised how much screen time Agent Sitwell has. I always thought he was just a SHIELD agent that Marvel could throw in to give the audience a familiar face. That’s changed. He has a significant role this time around. I’ve always felt Maximiliano Hernandez did great with the part, so it was cool to see him in a more expanded role. On the flip side, I was hoping Agent 13, aka Sharon Carter aka Peggy Carter’s daughter (although that part wasn’t explained in the movie), played by Emily VanCamp, would have more screen time. I guess there were enough new characters introduced that someone had to go on the backseat. Hopefully she will have a larger role in Captain America 3.

Marvel has done well to develop strong villains in their movies, most of whom have some sort of personal relationship with the hero. The villain here, more than just the Winter Soldier, has a close relationship with Cap. I was taken aback when they showed their true colors and revealed themselves. Not only was the reveal executed effectively, but they had a deep motivation to their actions.

As I said before, the action in The Winter Soldier is huge and spectacular. However, there was one problem: it was hard to see it with the camera shaking so much! The shaky-cam can be used as an interesting effect, but when it is used all the time, it becomes jarring and irritating and is one of my movie pet peeves. I would have loved to see the fight between Cap and The Winter Soldier in all its glory, especially because it was clear a lot of effort went into making it exhilarating.

From the first explosive scene, you know right away you are in for a wild ride. Even during the non-action scenes, Captain America: The Winter Soldier keeps you interested in what is happening on screen. The action set pieces are huge and impressive, with some well choreographed hand-to-hand fights thrown in for good measure. Caps style has really grown since he first picked up his shield and he shows what a super soldier is capable of. Sitwell had a larger part than anticipated, which is welcome since I have always enjoyed the character. The reveal of the villain is well done and even took me somewhat by surprise. Even if you pick it up from the trailer, it isn’t exactly what you think. As cool as the action was, it was shot using the shaky-cam effect, making the awesome action sequences difficult to watch. Without a doubt, Captain America: The Winter Soldier has left the Marvel Cinematic Universe drastically changed and I can’t wait to see how the pieces are picked up in The Avengers: Age of Ultron.

Rating
4/5

Also check out my reviews for the other films in Marvel’s Phase 2: Iron Man 3, Thor: The Dark World, and Guardians of the Galaxy.

Trailer

Cast & Crew
Anthony Russo – Director
Joe Russo – Director
Christopher Markus – Screenplay
Stephen McFeely – Screenplay
Ed Brubaker – Story
Henry Jackman – Composer

Chris Evans – Steve Rogers/Captain America
Scarlett Johansson – Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow
Samuel L. Jackson – Nick Fury
Robert Redford – Alexander Pierce
Anthony Mackie – Sam Wilson/Falcon
Sebastian Stan – Winter Soldier
Frank Grillo – Brock Rumlow
Callan Mulvey – Jack Rollins
Cobie Smulders – Maria Hill
Maximiliano Hernandez – Jasper Sitwell
Emily VanCamp – Sharon Carter/Agent 13
Hayley Atwell – Peggy Carter
Jenny Agutter – Councilwoman Hawley
Bernard White – Councilman Singh
Dale Coffman – Councilman Rockwell
Chin Han – Councilman Yen
Georges St-Pierre – Batroc

Captain America: The Winter Soldier Trailer #2

Official Synopsis: After the cataclysmic events in New York with The Avengers, Marvel’s “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” finds Steve Rogers, aka Captain America, living quietly in Washington, D.C. and trying to adjust to the modern world. But when a S.H.I.E.L.D. colleague comes under attack, Steve becomes embroiled in a web of intrigue that threatens to put the world at risk. Joining forces with the Black Widow, Captain America struggles to expose the ever-widening conspiracy while fighting off professional assassins sent to silence him at every turn. When the full scope of the villainous plot is revealed, Captain America and the Black Widow enlist the help of a new ally, the Falcon. However, they soon find themselves up against an unexpected and formidable enemy—the Winter Soldier.

Once again we get a Captain America trailer filled to the brim with action.  I do like how they aren’t giving too much away, but one thing is obvious: SHIELD has security issues.  After Loki mind controlled several SHIELD agents then later used them to attack the Helicarrier in The Avengers, you would think they would have gotten their act together, but apparently not.  Although, I have a feeling that this time there will be an internal instigator.  The villain Crossbones, played by Frank Grillo, appears in the first trailer as a SHIELD agent and Robert Redford’s Alexander Pierce, a senior SHIELD member, makes the comment “To build a better world sometimes means tearing the old one down, and that makes enemies.”  This line has been featured prominently in both trailers and I think he may be referring to SHIELD itself.  So my theory is that Pierce hires the Winter Soldier (Sebastian Stan) to kill Nick Fury so he can take over SHIELD and bring the organization into a new administration of sorts.

There was one line that stood out to me from Fury, and that was “Looks like you’re giving the orders now, Captain.”  I can’t tell if this is simply Fury’s sarcasm or if they are setting up to have Rogers take over SHIELD by the end of the film.  It may just me nothing, but if Rogers does become the director of SHIELD, that would be a great place to leave SHIELD before The Avengers: Age of Ultron.  Rogers had a short stint as SHIELD director in the comics, so it wouldn’t be too far fetched.

Still no Emily VanCamp as Agent 13/Sharon Carter, or at least in the US trailer.  In the UK trailer down below, she appears for a moment.  Cobie Smulders doesn’t appear as Maria Hill at all in either trailer.  Crossbones, accept from the opening scene in the first trailer and the new UK trailer, doesn’t have much trailer time.  I was hoping the second trailer would show is more of the supporting cast.

Captain America: The Winter Soldier, directed by Anthony and Joe Russo, will be in theaters on April 4, 2014 and stars Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, Anthony Mackie, Samuel L. Jackson, Sebastian Stan, Robert Redford, Frank Grillo, Emily VanCamp, and Cobie Smulders.

Captain America: The Winter Soldier

Captain America: The Winter Soldier Trailer

Synopsis: After the cataclysmic events in New York with The Avengers, Marvel’s “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” finds Steve Rogers, aka Captain America, living quietly in Washington, D.C. and trying to adjust to the modern world. But when a S.H.I.E.L.D. colleague comes under attack, Steve becomes embroiled in a web of intrigue that threatens to put the world at risk. Joining forces with the Black Widow, Captain America struggles to expose the ever-widening conspiracy while fighting off professional assassins sent to silence him at every turn. When the full scope of the villainous plot is revealed, Captain America and the Black Widow enlist the help of a new ally, the Falcon. However, they soon find themselves up against an unexpected and formidable enemy—the Winter Soldier.

I say this after pretty much every Marvel trailer I see, but man i can’t wait for this movie!

The first movie poster was released earlier this week, and now we have the trailer.  The action looks awesome, especially what happens in the elevator scene.  I like Cap’s new outfit, it is very similar to his recent outfit from a few years ago.

Steve Rogers SHIELD Agent Costume captain-america-new-costume1

Although it does seem he will get the new outfit somewhere along the way, since there were several quick seconds towards the end that featured his red and blue costume from The Avengers.  We also get to see Anthony Mackie as The Falcon and Sebastian Stan as the Winter Soldier.  The Winter Soldier looks down right intimidating.  And when he catches the shield?  Hooboy, I got chills!  I was hoping to see some of Emily VanCamp as Sharon Carter (AKA Agent 13), but maybe in the next trailer.

More of SHIELD is shown, too.  From the Helicarrier shipyard-like thing, to more of the higher personnel, such as Robert Redford as Alexander Pierce, a senior SHIELD member.  With Cap working for SHIELD, maybe we get to see more of how it operates and their relationship to the World Council seen in The Avengers.

Captain America: The Winter Soldier, directed by Anthony and Joe Russo, hits theaters April 4, 2014 and stars Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, Anthony Mackie, Samuel L. Jackson, Sebastian Stan, Tobert Redford, Emily VanCamp, and Cobie Smulders.

Lightning Review: The Losers

The Losers movie posterSynopsis
When a special-ops group is double-crossed, they go after the rogue CIA agent Max (Jason Patric) who left them out to dry. Clay (Jeffrey Dean Morgan), Jensen (Chris Evans), Roque (Idris Elba), Pooch (Columbus Short), and Cougar (Óscar Jaenada) meet Aisha (Zoe Saldana), who offers to help the team get revenge, but she has her own reasons for going after Max.

Review
With a strong cast, The Losers had great potential, but unfortunately, it didn’t quite meet all the expectations.  The strongest component of The Losers is the dialog between the characters and the way they played off each other, especially in one-on-one situations. Evans’ was the comedic backbone of the cast, just like when he played Johnny Storm in Fantastic Four, and his performance was the best of the film. I was a little let down by Elba’s performance. Normally he is a pretty strong actor, even in his supporting roles, but it just wasn’t there this time around. They tried to make Patric’s villain comical, but Patric didn’t have the chops to pull it off. However, he did have a funny jab at the cliché where the villain nods his head and the henchmen seems to know exactly what he wants. The Losers is a fun movie that has a strong comedic foundation with Evans, but the rest of the cast can’t stand with him, hindering what could have been an awesome action comedy.

Rating
3/5