It’s time for a Death Battllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllle! First, if you haven’t seen it already, the official release…
And now, our reactions. ^_^
Well, I’ve let my thoughts on the movie sit and stew for a couple of days, so now I feel ready to talk about the eleventh movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Avengers: Age of Ultron. I should warn right away, though, that if you have not seen the movie, there are massive spoilers ahead, so if you don’t wanna have the movie ruined for you, skip to where I have labelled ‘Spoilers End Here’ to get my overall thoughts on the movie. For now, let’s run down the plot of the film.
So the movie kicks off with the Avengers going to Sokovia, a fictional country in eastern Europe. Remember that mid-credits scene at the end of Captain America: The Winter Soldier, where we found out Baron Strucker was using Loki’s Scepter (likely procured due to Hydra’s infiltration of S.H.I.E.L.D.) to enhance human beings? Well, apparently, in between these two movies, the Avengers realized that Hydra had it, and have been going through the process of finding hidden bases and clearing them out in the hunt for the scepter. However, while the operation goes well, save for Hawkeye taking a bad hit, and they wind up apprehending Strucker, the two Enhanced, the twins Pietro and Wanda Maximoff, not only escape, but Wanda uses her powers to feed Iron Man a vision of the future. In it, Tony sees the Chitauri return and the Avengers are all killed because he couldn’t do enough to save them. As such, he’s encouraged not only to take the scepter, but to examine it and, after he and Bruce find an artificial intelligence inside the gem of the scepter, try to use it to finish work on Tony’s Ultron program. Basically, a first line of defense against external threats to the world that wouldn’t necessarily require a second one. Meanwhile, Doctor Helen Cho repairs the damage done to Clint’s side with synthetic tissue. Remember this, it’ll be important later.
Unfortunately for the Avengers, during a victory party they’re hosting, which features appearances by Rhodey (who has gone back to being War Machine instead of the more PC branded Iron Patriot), Sam Wilson (who is still on the trail of Bucky following Captain America: The Winter Soldier), and quite possibly the best damn Stan Lee cameo EVER, Ultron comes online and is a bit…confused. After a quick search through the database and a conversation with J.A.R.V.I.S., though, he’s lead to believe that, for his mission to save the world to be successful, humanity needs to be eliminated. Specifically, those who want to protect the world but don’t want it to change. As such, he seemingly destroys J.A.R.V.I.S. and takes control of the Iron Legion, pitting them against the unprepared Avengers. Even after the Avengers manage to come out on top, it’s clear that Ultron is a massive threat, made worse when he escapes through the internet. He kills Strucker and regroups with Wanda and Pietro, and they plan to get rid of the Avengers. Luckily, said Avengers manage to figure out that he’s going to pay Ulysses Klaue a visit, who apparently smuggles vibranium (the metal used to make Captain America’s shield) out of the fictional country of Wakanda (which, if you’ve never heard of, you will in the Black Panther movie). However, while Iron Man is able to destroy Ultron’s newer, tougher body, he nonetheless escapes again, this time with the vibranium. To make matters worse, all of the team but Hawkeye are trapped in nightmarish visions from Wanda, which have caused the Hulk to go berserk in Johannesburg. Luckily, Bruce helped Tony build something to help contain him should he go out of control: The MK XLIV modular exo-skeleton, AKA V.E.R.O.N.I.C.A., or as comic fans know it better as, the Hulkbuster. While Tony DOES eventually bring Hulk down, though, the damage done to the city is pretty bad, and backlash against the Avengers is also bad.
Deciding to hide out somewhere and regroup (the team is still pretty shaken from their visions), Hawkeye takes them to his place: A farm house in the middle of nowhere, where Clint lives with his wife and children…and if you’re like me, you’re more than a little surprised by that. It seems only Black Widow knew about them, as S.H.I.E.L.D. tries to keep the families of their agents in safe locations and the knowledge of them known only by a select few. The team tries their best to recover from their mental trauma, with Thor going to meet with Eric Selvig to learn about his visions of Ragnarok and the Infinity Stones, Bruce and Natasha confiding in each other about their tragic lives and a possible desire to escape everything and make a new life together (they’d been showing less than subtle hints of a mutual attraction for a while now), and Steve and Tony doing what they’re mostly known for doing nowadays in the comics: Arguing. lol Well, okay, Nick Fury also shows up (was he just hiding in that barn this whole time?) to help get the team back on their feet, and they learn that, while Ultron has been going after launch codes for various weapons of mass destruction around the world, someone or something has been constantly altering the codes, keeping Ultron out. Instead, they eventually figure out the next phase of Ultron’s plan: To create a new body made of vibranium and synthetic tissue. As such, he’s used Loki’s scepter to take control of Helen Cho and is using her to make said body. He even cracks open the gem in Loki’s scepter, revealing, you guessed it, an Infinity Stone, which he embeds in the new body’s forehead. However, as he begins to download himself into this body, Wanda is able to peer into his mind, realizing what his ultimate goal is: Essentially, he’s going to enact an Armageddon-level attack on the world with the intent of forcing what survivors are left to evolve into a stronger race, though it’s entirely likely that there may not BE any survivors. As such, the twins decide to leave him and, as the Avengers arrive to take the body before Ultron can finish downloading himself, come to their aid, as well as help keep the civilians in the area from getting hurt. Unfortunately, Ultron again escapes, and has captured Black Widow along the way.
You may have noticed one thing about the film already that can be a problem: The overall structure. Most movies follow a basic three act structure. As far as I can tell, Age of Ultron more or less has a four or five act structure, which can be off-putting for some people. Regardless, the team regroups at Avengers Tower, where Tony and Bruce are at work. Tony realized that the one rotating the launch codes and keeping Ultron at bay all along was actually J.A.R.V.I.S., who survived the attack on him and went into hiding. As such, they’ve decided to reconfigure J.A.R.V.I.S.’s program and put him in the body Ultron built. This leads to a fight between the six present at the tower, and when I say a fight, I mean they literally come to blows, until Thor arrives and uses lightning stored in Mjölnir to awaken the body. Apparently, it was in his vision of things to come, and that the Mind Stone is the source of Ultron’s AI, the twins’ powers, and was what was powering Loki’s scepter. The power of the Mind Stone, combined with Thor’s lightning, the new vibranium and synthetic body, and J.A.R.V.I.S.’s program, brings to life a whole new being called The Vision. Vision makes it clear that he doesn’t WANT to kill Ultron, but because of what he’s planning, there’s no other choice. He has to be stopped before he annihilates humanity. Luckily, Natasha managed to get a message out to Clint, and they figure out that Ultron is hiding right back at where the movie started: Sokovia.
Arriving on the scene, and evacuating as many people as possible, the Avengers confront Ultron, who reveals his ultimate move: He uses a machine made out of vibranium to physically lift a huge portion of the land out of the ground and into the sky. Once it’s high enough, he’ll drop it with enough force to wipe out humanity. He’s also built an army of robots to contend with the Avengers, with himself in an upgraded vibranium body. However, while it is possible to blow the machine up before it can hit the Earth, there’s still people left in the city that will die if they do. Thankfully, Fury arrives with a helicarrier, a skeleton crew of S.H.I.E.L.D. agents, and War Machine to evacuate anyone still left in the city. Bruce manages to save Natasha, and the two regroup with the others, as they assemble to stop Ultron from activating the drop mechanism. Vision cuts him off from the internet, and they crack his most powerful body, causing him and his army to retreat. Wanda stays with the control panel to keep it clear, while the others go about helping evacuate the civilians and destroying all of Ultron’s bodies before they can escape, as if even one of them gets away, Ultron will survive and do this all over again. However, in the midst of the chaos, Ultron steals a jet and tries to gun down Hawkeye as he saves a child, only for Pietro to save him at the cost of his own life. In a rage, Wanda finds Ultron and destroys his primary body, which allows one drone to crawl over and activate the machine. Luckily, they all manage to get away at the last minute as Iron Man and Thor destroy the machine, blowing the landmass apart, as Vision tracks down and destroys the last Ultron body, ending the threat for good. However, fearing for Natasha’s safety, Hulk takes Ultron’s jet and flies away in stealth mode, deciding to go into hiding alone.
In the aftermath of the battle, Fury sets up a new base for the Avengers in upstate New York, since…y’know, having a giant tower in the middle of NYC makes you and everyone around you a massive target. Cho, Selvig, and Maria Hill all set up shop there, as well as the rest of Fury’s agents. Clint decides to retire from the team to be with his family, and Thor opts to return to Asgard, hoping to learn more about his visions as he believes someone is manipulating events to set up for something bigger than they’ve ever dealt with. Finally, Tony decides to take his leave of the team as well, which just leaves Captain America and Black Widow. Thankfully, though, it seems they’ll have a few new recruits, as Steve prepares to train Falcon, War Machine, Vision, and Wanda as the Scarlet Witch as the new team of Avengers. However, they may need more than that, as the Infinity Gauntlet is taken by Thanos, who proclaims “…Fine. I’ll do it myself.”
…SO, let’s get character stuff outta the way. First off, let’s talk about Tony Stark. This movie continues to delve into his PTSD following the first Avengers movie. He’s not having attacks like in Iron Man 3, but you can nonetheless tell how affected he is by what happened. Every decision, every move, everything he does in this movie, you can tell that he’s motivated by the fear of watching his friends be killed by the returning Chitauri. And what’s worse is that, as irrational as he comes off, as often as he makes decisions that are clearly not thought out that well, he’s right to be afraid. We know that this is all leading to Thanos looking to obtain the Infinity Stones, and where is one of them right now? On Earth. Worse, they’ve already earned his rage once. If he comes back with the rest of his army at their front door, AND the Infinity Stones, it’ll be a slaughter. They only won last time because of a conveniently placed off switch for the portal that let the Chitauri through. If it wasn’t for that, they would’ve eventually been exhausted, overwhelmed, and obliterated. Granted, the nuke kinda helped too, but something tells me that Thanos’ army will be prepared for that next time. So as much as what he does earns the ire of his now ex-team at times, you nonetheless understand what he’s going through and want to continue to root for him. Plus, y’know, he’s Iron Man and he’s a badass. And, as always, his snark levels are high for this. Oh, and the Hulkbuster being named V.E.R.O.N.I.C.A.? Apparently, that’s an inside joke. Veronica, as in opposite of Betty, like Betty Ross, the Hulk’s ex……..Not sure what to do with this information, especially considering that Bruce Banner actually helped build the thing. lol
Speaking of Bruce, I don’t know what happened between the first Avengers movie and Age of Ultron, but Bruce seems to have gone from having control of himself and acceptance of being the Hulk…to constantly having to keep himself as restrained as possible and being hesitant to releasing the Hulk. Seriously, what the hell happened there? Is there story we’re missing? I mean, I know there was a prequel comic to Age of Ultron that helps fill in when they got back together and started hunting Hydra, but if that’s where this development happened, I gotta call foul. Like, I get that it’s probably more compelling story for him, but it just doesn’t make a lot of sense. Still, I will give it this much: Seeing him leave on his own in the end is sad. His decision to keep Natasha from getting hurt by being around him is tragic……although, it would be MORE tragic for me personally, if this wasn’t a complete rehash of Oz leaving Willow in Buffy The Vampire Slayer. Even Joss Whedon describing the Hulk as a werewolf makes it clear he’s falling back on that story heavily here. Hell, Willow and Natasha are even both redheads!
If Hulk’s story throughout this movie was sad, though, Black Widow’s is HEARTBREAKING. I’m not gonna lie, and N. Harmonik can attest to this since we went to see the movie together, when Natasha explained that, as part of her initiation as a Russian spy, she had to be sterilized, I was on the verge of tears. I’m not much for crying. I’ve never really had a problem being emotional, but tears requires some doing. So yeah, while Joss loses points with me for retreading ground I watched him tread over 15 years ago, he nonetheless makes it back here, as does Scarlet Johansson for really selling this scene. There’s something about her subtle yet strong delivery that makes me wanna weep for her. And for Nat to go through all of this and wind up alone in the end, it’s all the more horrible. Still, as one should expect from Black Widow, she takes the worst that this movie can throw at her and powers through like a boss……Seriously, though, how many movies does this character and the actress playing her have to steal before Marvel Studios finally green-lights a Black Widow solo movie? Honestly, I’m not asking for the moon here, I just want a frigging Black Widow movie. lol
Captain America’s personal journey in this movie is probably the least compelling of the group, but it’s nonetheless something that plays into his overall character arc throughout these movies. Steve Rogers is a soldier, built for war, but when the war’s over, he’s not sure what to do with his life. The love of his life is on death’s doorstep, nearly everyone he knew in his old life is dead, his best friend is missing, and he’s a man out of his own time. By the end, we see signs that he’s accepted his life as a soldier with no possibility of a ‘normal’ life, but one has to wonder. Still, like Black Widow, while he might get put down by these things, he will not allow himself to stay down. Cap fights like a man possessed in this movie, pushing himself as hard as we’ve ever seen. He’s also got a device on his arm that lets him recall his shield, which is handy since, with some of the enemies in this movie, his shield doesn’t so much bounce off of them as it does STICK into them. There’s a running gag throughout the movie wherein he chided Iron Man for his language early on and people keep teasing him over it, and while it’s funny, I think they maybe pushed it a little too far. But most of all, no matter how bad things get, he refuses to give up or give in, continuing to be the symbol of everything we should aspire to be, to the point where, during a scene where the team all try lifting Thor’s hammer, he actually manages to budge it, showing he’s well on his way to proving himself worthy of Mjölnir.
Speaking of the God of Thunder, Thor’s story in this movie is actually something I wanna get into later. Suffice to say, beyond the pacing and act structure of this movie, there’s one other problem this movie has. For now, though, it seems like some of the stuff regarding his arc in this movie may have been cut for time. There was talk that Loki was gonna be in this movie, which I imagine would’ve been in the visions (because otherwise, how else would you even get him in here?), and a scene of a woman stepping into the pool that Thor enters at one point in one of the trailers, but neither occurred in the movie. One other running bit in the movie is, again, when everyone tried to lift Mjölnir and failed, though you could see a look of concern on his face when Steve budged it. Then comes The Vision, who is somehow able to lift it with ease, much to Thor’s stunned amazement. However, by the end, while Steve and Tony are trying to comfort him over it (in a rather amusing manner), we see that Thor’s alright with it, and uses the fact that Mjölnir deemed Vision worthy as proof that the Mind Stone is safe with him.
And that brings us to The Vision…who I absolutely loved in this movie. His overall power-set is a bit different in this movie from how he is in the comics, but I’m fine with that. And while he sounds like J.A.R.V.I.S., and even has maybe a tiny hint of his old personality, he’s clearly something wholly different, born from the sum of his parts into something completely new. His cape is probably justified in the movie due to having been created through Thor’s lightning, feeling a connection to him. He also has an interesting relation to Ultron. Despite Ultron having tried to eliminate him as J.A.R.V.I.S., he doesn’t want to destroy him. He sees Ultron as a unique being, whether he counts as alive or not. But, ultimately, he doesn’t have a choice. To him, Ultron is less-so evil than he is a rabid dog: He doesn’t WANT to kill him, but at this point, it’s the only humane option left. And while the team is at first distrusting of him, when he rallies them all together and even lifts Mjölnir, there’s no question in their minds from then on that he’s not only on their side, but he may be the only one who can save the world.
Let’s talk next about the twins, Wanda and Pietro…who, for some reason or another, are never, at any point in this movie, referred to as Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver. I dunno, maybe it’s a rights thing. Speaking of, because Fox owns the cinematic rights to the X-Men and Mutants, Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver are obviously very different in this movie. They’re ‘Enhanced’, humans that were given powers through the Mind Stone in Loki’s Scepter, who had volunteered to such a process as a means of eventually getting revenge on Tony Stark, as his weapons were used to destroy their home, their family, and left them hidden under a bed for two days with what turned out to be a dud, waiting to die. As such, when Ultron plans to eliminate the Avengers, they’re all to happy to join his cause, but once they find out what he’s really after, they immediately realize their error and switch sides. Plus, after spending some time with the team, they quickly begin to learn that they’re good people and start integrating themselves into the group, becoming Avengers themselves.
While I still prefer the version of this character from X-Men Days of Future Past overall, I really liked this Quicksilver from pretty much his first scene. He’s snarky, cocksure, and full of energy. He doesn’t like staying in one place for very long, unless it involves protecting Wanda (because he’s technically the older brother by being born twelve minutes earlier than her, a fact he likes to point out). When he first meets Hawkeye, he develops a rivalry with him that, by the time they’re working on the same side, develops more into an annoying brother sibling rivalry type of thing. And, I’m not gonna lie, watching him sacrifice himself to save Clint and the child he was protecting was heart-wrenching. As I told several people, I had a feeling someone was gonna die in this movie and have it be for real (a lot of the Marvel movies like to do fake-out deaths), but I wasn’t expecting it to be him. And seeing that Clint named his newborn son Nathaniel Pietro Barton really brought it home that they’d developed a tight connection, and that his sacrifice would always be remembered. Personally, I kinda want a memorial for him in the new Avengers facility.
Regarding Scarlet Witch…….Okay, here’s where I’m honestly finding myself having to tread lightly, so bear with me here. I really like this character, and I’m SO glad that we got another woman on the team. Plus, after she had a little Heroic BSOD and got a pep talk from Hawkeye, which I’ll talk about in a sec, she bounced back and became BADASS. She was clearing Ultron robots out like a fucking demon, and when Ultron killed Quicksilver, she got her revenge by literally ripping his ‘heart’ out of his chest. Having said that, beyond her relationship with Pietro, I don’t really think I would consider this character all that faithful to her comic book counterpart. She’s a good character, she just doesn’t feel like Wanda. Honestly, with the changes to personality and powers, she feels similar to, ironically enough, Jean Grey. But regardless, that doesn’t devalue her as a character, just let it be known for comic book purists, you’re probably not gonna be 100% satisfied with this portrayal.
And then there’s Hawkeye……who has my favourite damned scene in the entire movie, when he says to Wanda during her breakdown, and I quote, “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, because the city is flying…okay, the city is flying, we are fighting an army of robots, and I have a bow and arrow. None of this makes sense, but I’m going back out there because it’s my job. Okay? And I can’t do my job and babysit. It doesn’t matter what you did or where you were. If you go out there, you fight. And you fight to kill. Stay in here, you’re good. I’ll send your brother to come find you. But if you step out that door, you are an Avenger.” In that one scene, they completely redeemed him not getting a lot of character time in the first Avengers movie. That and including his family. That being said, if they kill off his family like in the Ultimate Universe just to bring Clint back for Infinity War, I’m NOT going to be happy.
And last of all, let’s talk about Ultron. I actually thought the idea to make his personality seem like a dark reflection of Tony’s worked out great. He’s got a lot of the same snark levels and actually beats him to the punch of certain jokes. It also gives him a character trait wherein he more or less has daddy issues with Stark, and actually cuts off a man’s arm for comparing the two. But one thing I find very interesting about him, though, is how he interacts with Wanda and Pietro. He seems to legitimately care for the two, despite the likelihood that his plan might kill them, although it’s possible he’s not mentally registering that fact. He even comes off as somewhat hurt by their betrayal. Even in the end, when he’d inadvertently killed Pietro and was confronted by a vengeful Wanda, all he could do was tell her that, if she stayed, she’d die. In that moment, her safety still mattered to him. One has to wonder if Vision was correct about him, that he wasn’t really evil, just wrong and dangerous, and simply went too far in his misguided quest. And whereas Vision looks to him with pity, Ultron likewise feels disappointment in how Vision turns out, seeing him as a puppet. There’s a reason the original teaser trailer used lyrics from “I’ve Got No Strings”, and why he sings it during his escape. Ultron doesn’t want to simply be a puppet under anyone’s control. He wants to be his own individual with his own free will…which one can see as ironic and a little hypocritical for someone who builds his own legion of robots that respond to his will, but again, that can be seen as further enforcement of how he’s unwilling or unable to see his own mistakes. His last words to Vision were “You’re unbearably naive.” But, really, while that might be true, the same reflects on himself. Likewise, Vision’s retort that he was literally born yesterday also can be applied to Ultron, since he’s only got him beat by a couple of days. He’s quite literally a child. If he’d simply given himself more time to think things out, to learn about the world and how it works, and to learn about himself and his own emotions, he might’ve turned out differently.
So, before I wrap this up, let’s talk about one aspect of this movie that, while I personally don’t mind too much, is nonetheless a problem: All the advertisement for the Phase 3 movies. Look, I’m just gonna say it, and I don’t care who gets pissed with this one, but Iron Man 2 SUCKED. Why did it suck? Because the actual plot took a backseat to being a 2 hour commercial for the Avengers, which we were gonna see anyway. This movie’s plot didn’t necessarily take a backseat to being a 2 1/2 hour commercial for Phase 3, but it was still pretty blatant. Thor’s visions are setting up for Thor: Ragnarok. Captain America and Iron Man’s issues in this movie are setting up for Avengers: Civil Wa-…Oh, I’m sorry, Captain America: Civil War. I got confused because I looked at the cast for the movie and saw a lot of the Avengers on there. Wakanda’s mention is to set up for Black Panther. The mid-credits scene is setting up Infinity War, but I guess the mid-credits scene is always where we see advertisement for the next movie, and that’s okay. But seriously guys, we’re already gonna go see these movies, you didn’t have to do this.
Spoilers End Here
Anyway, with all that said, my overall opinion is that the movie is really great. It’s got a couple of problems that maybe hold it down a bit, but I think the pros outweigh the cons. That said, if you didn’t like the first one, this one’s probably not gonna sell ya. So yeah, definitely for fans of this franchise, but the plus side is, those that are fans of this franchise will likely love this movie. Those are my thoughts, but hey, feel free to leave your own. Ja né!
Tags: Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Age of Ultron, Anthony Mackie, Avengers, Avengers movie, Avengers: Age of Ultron, Baron Strucker, Black Widow, Bruce Banner, Captain America, Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth, Clint Barton, Disney, Don Cheadle, Elizabeth Olsen, Falcon, Hawkeye, Hulk, Iron Man, James Rhodes, James Spader, Jeremy Renner, Joss Whedon, Jyger's Rant, Mark Ruffalo, Marvel Cinematic Universe, Marvel Comics, Marvel Studios, Natasha Romanoff, Nick Fury, Paul Bettany, Pietro Maximoff, Quicksilver, Review, Robert Downey Jr., S.H.I.E.L.D., Sam Wilson, Samuel L. Jackson, Scarlet Witch, Scarlett Johansson, Stan Lee, Steve Rogers, Thomas Kretschmann, Thor, Tony Stark, Ultron, Vision, Wanda Maximoff, War Machine
I’ve recently posed the same scenario to a few people, just out of curiosity: Let’s say Marvel came up to you and asked who you felt 10 must-have characters are that need to survive Secret Wars and exist in the new Marvel Universe. Who would be on your list and why? The reason I ask this is because…well, let’s face it, after Secret Wars is over, and the Marvel Universe is rebooted, things will be VERY different, and it’s entirely possible that not everyone in the Marvel Universe that we know and love now will make it into the new one. And frankly, it’s not just who gets in, but which version of what characters get in. For example, let’s say Tony Stark makes it through to the post-Secret Wars universe, which he probably will. It could be any version of Tony throughout history and across the Multiverse, or a brand new take on the character. Hell, it could be a complete cut and paste of Robert Downey Jr.’s take on the character…which I’d actually be perfectly okay with, by the way. But yeah, point is, there’s no way to know, and a lot of people could potentially be losing some of their favourite characters with this reboot. As such, I’ve decided to list the 10 characters I feel need to survive Secret Wars, though I should note that I won’t be including any that are currently part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, as I would imagine their positions are secure. So yeah, thankfully, I don’t see Carol Danvers going anywhere anytime soon. ^_^ So, let’s start off with the one that you all probably know I couldn’t stand to have the Marvel Universe be without…
…Yeah, I have a confession to make: For many years, Stephanie Brown has been my favourite superhero. While I wouldn’t say that she’s been usurped, if there was ever a hero in a position to possibly do so, it’s Kamala. She’s simultaneously able to reach out to a minority group, AND be extremely relatable to lots of people: She’s a geek, she writes fanfiction, she has trouble relating to her family, standard teen issues, non-standard teen issues (see aforementioned family), a good sense of humour, a love of superheroes, and a desire to be like them. Plus, while she isn’t always the most successful heroine at her job, she nonetheless keeps trying, learning new ways to use her powers and getting better at being a superhero, thus earning the praise of Wolverine and Spider-Man. She’s a very inspiring hero as a result. It’s really no wonder the trade paperback for issues 1 through 5 did as well as it did, ranking #2 on the New York Times Best Seller list. And frankly, we know that Marvel is always looking for ways to make money, so keeping Kamala around as Ms. Marvel is a must. Failing a solo book, however, she should at least be on a team, possibly a new version of the Young Avengers, or even a sort of Young Inhumans book.
Honestly, I attribute the Ultimate Universe surviving for as long as it did to its Spider-Man books, and to be perfectly frank, I loved how they handled the death of Ultimate Peter Parker (or DID he?), and the rise of Miles Morales as his successor. Much like another entrant on this list, Miles takes a lot of what works about Peter’s character and goes in a somewhat different direction with it, but nonetheless in a way that works. He’s actually younger and more awkward than his predecessor was when he first got started, and his powers are just different enough that he’s a very unique Spider-Man. Plus, hey, we gotta keep SOMETHING from the Ultimate Universe around…although it’s a pity that it seems we’ll probably never get resolution on whether the Peter that he teamed with recently was the real thing or a clone. As for what to do with him…well, there’s a few options. One is that he could replace mainstream Peter as Spider-Man for the most part, with Peter acting as a mentor/occasional partner in action. Two, they could both operate as Spider-Man, working both as partners and with Miles working with my aforementioned Young Avengers idea. Or three, there IS seemingly an opening for the role of Scarlet Spider, with Kaine’s apparent death (still not 100% sure about that, but whatever), that Miles could fill in. But speaking of Multiverse Spiders…
Like with Miles, Spider-Gwen is able to take elements of what makes mainstream Peter’s character work and pull it in a new direction. In this case, it’s taking those elements and applying them to a character we sort of already know, but isn’t EXACTLY the same. As such, she’s a wonderful blend of the familiar and the fresh. However, here’s where there could be a problem. You see, as far as I can tell, all the worlds left in the Multiverse are getting merged together into Battleworld for Secret Wars, and that, following the event, Battleworld will be transformed into the new Earth of the new Marvel Universe. I’m not 100% sure where that leaves Gwen and her radically different world, where characters we know and love have a lot about them that are different (Daredevil actually WORKS for Kingpin). And true, I could say the same for the Ultimate Universe, but this one is far more fresh and new to the reader, with a lot of possibilities left undiscovered and unrealized. It’d be a shame to toss it all aside. That’s why I’m hoping that this world at least remains part of its own universe, and that we don’t see the COMPLETE collapse of the Multiverse. Plus, say she was made part of the main Marvel Universe. What would we call her? I know her book is called Spider-Gwen, as is she by fans, but I think calling herself that in canon would kinda compromise the whole secret identity thing. lol
Of all the people that aren’t in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, this is probably the one that’s the biggest no-brainer in terms of who will be making it into the new universe. And let’s be honest, you and I both know Logan’s coming back. As I’ve mentioned before, though, I hope we aren’t put in the same position we were in with the character prior to his losing his healing factor. I mean, he can have it, that’s fine, but there needs to be a limitation to it. He can’t be INVINCIBLE. Otherwise, you eventually lose interest in reading about him, because he can shrug off anything villains throw at him. Sure, just because he’s able to recover from anything doesn’t mean he’ll always win, but it certainly increases his overall success rate. And it’s not like he shouldn’t be able to win, it’s that we should have some tangible threat/concern-level so that it’s not a given that he’ll come out on top. That way, we can feel all the better for him when he does.
Another member of the X-Men, and like Wolverine, I just can’t see the new Marvel Universe without Storm. She’s just been too important a character for too long for her to just completely vanish. She’s also one of the most powerful Marvel Superheroes, to the point where I’ve often wondered why she only spent a VERY short tenure with the Avengers. Granted, I think that she’s currently best served as the leader of the all-female Adjectiveless X-Men, but there’s nothing saying she can’t pull double duty. Hopefully, A-Force does in fact stick around post-Secret Wars, and Storm can be one of the primary members.
…Yeah, as I’ve made clear on a number of occasions, I’m a big fan of the Southern Belle known as Rogue. As both a high-profile X-Man and a founding member of the Uncanny Avengers, she has proven to be a force to be reckoned with, no matter who she’s fighting. One touch is literally all she needs to turn the tide of battle. Her touch can even be lethal, though…let’s face it, with most of us, it’s worth the risk. Honestly, though, I kinda wish they hadn’t undone her getting past that by merging her with Wonder Man, and I hope this can be fixed later. And frankly, while we’re on the subject of wishes, I wish that Rogue could appear in the MCU in her more badass self, because if Fox ain’t gonna do it, I know Marvel Studios would be more than happy to. ^_^
I felt compelled to put in at least one villain. Granted, with the next new Spider-Man reboot on the way, I would imagine Green Goblin will eventually play a role, but it’s not set in stone just yet. And because Norman Osborn’s Green Goblin persona is one of the most scheming, conniving, and morally bankrupt villains in all of Marvel, who has not only had a number of memorable encounters with his arch-nemesis Spider-Man but with the Avengers as a whole, I feel that he’s a must among villains to make it into the new Marvel Universe.
Admittedly, this is one that could very easily turn out to be in the MCU, as rumours are afloat that she may appear in AKA Jessica Jones, but since nothing’s finalized yet, and it wouldn’t be a huge role, I feel justified placing Spider-Woman here. She’s an integral part of the Marvel Universe, having worked for the Avengers, the Secret Avengers, S.H.I.E.L.D., S.W.O.R.D., the Spider Army, the Lady Liberators, and even HYDRA for a time. In short, she’s had long-term interactions and relationships with multiple characters across the Marvel Universe, to the point where it would feel odd to see her not present in the new one, like it were incomplete. Besides, she just recently decided to pursue a whole new solo career in a new Batgirl of Burnside-esque costume. I’m sure plenty of people would love to see where that takes her.
As I’ve mentioned before, I’m left wondering why the hell this character ISN’T part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but I digress. To be completely honest, I actually like She-Hulk a lot more than the Hulk. And no, it’s not because she’s a woman…though that helps. lol I guess I just find the relation between the Jennifer and She-Hulk personas more interesting, her civilian job allows her a unique perspective of the Marvel Universe and the people in it, and…well, Bruce Banner in the comics has become kind of a dick lately. It’s actually weird seeing him behave like that in the comics, and then in the movies, he’s potentially shacking up with Black Widow. And yeah, I will admit that She-Hulk being a super strong, super sexy woman helps, but what helps a lot more, and I really mean this, is that she’s super strong, super sexy, AND super smart, meaning she has the complete package.
Again, this is someone who could very easily turn out to be in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but he isn’t yet, so no guarantees about his status post-Secret Wars. I think what I like most about Flash Thompson being Agent Venom is that here is a guy who used to be a colossal dickhole to Peter, who enlisted in the military, lost his legs in a heroic fashion, and has evolved into someone you could easily see becoming a competent anti-hero who has even joined the ranks of the Secret Avengers and the Guardians of the Galaxy (which, btw, I hope to see happen someday in the movies). And again, it’s familiar powers and a familiar character, but done in a different way. Love it.
Anyway, that’s it for now. Next time, I’ll talk about what superhero teams I’d like to see in the post-Secret Wars Marvel Universe, and who I’d like to see on each one. Ja né!
Tags: Agent Venom, Anna Marie, Avengers, Bruce Banner, Flash Thompson, Green Goblin, Guardians of the Galaxy, Gwen Stacy, Gwen Stacy: The Insert-Cool-Sounding-Adjective-Here Spider-Woman, Hulk, HYDRA, Inhumans, James Howlett, Jennifer Walters, Jessica Drew, Kamala Khan, Lady Liberators, Logan, Marvel, Marvel Cinematic Universe, Marvel Comics, Marvel Studios, Marvel Universe, MCU, Miles Morales, Ms. Marvel, Norman Osborn, Ororo Munroe, Peter Parker, Rogue, S.H.I.E.L.D., S.W.O.R.D., Secret Avengers, Secret Wars, She-Hulk, Spider Army, Spider-Gwen, Spider-man, Spider-Woman, Storm, Ultimate Peter Parker, Ultimate Universe, Wolverine, X-Men, Young Avengers
Yep, it’s still my birthday, and having listed my 10 favourite DC heroes, it’s now time to list my favourite Marvel heroes. And I think I’d like to start of with THIS guy, just so I can get my issues over, done with, and outta the way first thing so that I may end on a happier note…
………*sighs, putting down the fedora* Okay, here’s the REAL truth. You wanna know why it is that I’m so bothered by the writing of Spider-Man these days? The deal with Mephisto, the back-tracking of his character, the refusal to let him grow up, and now the Superior Spider-Man nonsense, all just to name the biggest problems. It’s not just because it’s really crappy writing, even though it is. It’s not just because it makes me feel afraid to get into any Marvel character since they could do the same with them, and I still do feel that at times. No, at the core of it, it’s a really simple issue: The Amazing Spider-Man was my hero, right along with Batman. They were both brilliant heroes who fought for the good of mankind, even when it felt like the whole world could be against them at times…and now, my image of Peter Parker will ALWAYS be marked by what he did in One More Day, until such time happens as the deal with Mephisto is reversed, which considering recent events, probably isn’t happening.
And while I generally tend to side with my comic book loving idol, Linkara, here’s a point where I disagree with him: Spider-Man isn’t dead. Why? Because rather than just kill the mainstream Peter Parker and be done with it, they instead have opted to keep him on constant life-support as to continuously wail on his balls over and over and over again. And it is sickening to those of us who are hoping to see Pete somehow emerge from all these events with his dignity restored, but considering he’s now made deals with the devil, been brain-swapped with Doc Ock, been unknowingly raped by his Aunt, and now been beaten by Doc Ock in the landscape of his own mind, if Peter DOES return, any kind of dignity he ever had is long since gone.
ANYWAY, rant over…for now. As for my favourite interpretations of the character, while the pacing of the 90’s Spider-Man cartoon could be insanely fast in some episodes, it was still a good show overall and represented Peter pretty well. Likewise, I really liked the Tobey Maguire movies too, albeit there were a few moments I might wanna change up. Also, while the Ultimate Universe can be very up and down, I will say that if nothing else, Ultimate Peter Parker went out a badass hero in those comics, and his replacement, Miles Morales, has been pretty awesome too.
…Yeah, without a doubt, Rogue is my favourite Marvel hottie. Mind you, it’s impossible to touch her and not wind up in a hospital at best, but still plenty to admire about the girl. Strong, smart, beautiful, and a desire to do real good in the world, even when it’s prejudiced against her and her kind. She now serves on both the X-Men and the Uncanny Avengers. Probably my favourite take of her was on the old X-Men animated series, though the problem with that show back then was that if you missed a single episode, you were frakked. lol
I AM IRON MA-Why does everyone associate that song with the character? Seriously, they’re not even close to being the same character. Anyway, Tony Stark is one of the five founding members of the Avengers, and has long since been one of the major characters of the Marvel Universe. While his every move hasn’t exactly been very heroic (the Superhuman Registration Act, for example), he’s since gone to great lengths to redeem himself and rebuild his reputation and his standing with his fellow heroes all the way from the bottom to the very top. As for my favourite portrayal of Iron Man, gotta go with Robert Downey, Jr. While the plot of the Iron Man movies have occasionally been swing and miss, Rob pretty much OWNS the role.
ADAMANTIUM RAGE!!! Wolverine is frigging awesome, albeit kinda psychotic on a number of occasions. Still, you can’t help but feel bad for Logan sometimes. His past is a never-ending spiral of pain and sorrow, he’s doomed to outlive everyone around him, and again, for some reason, the Marvel civilians are still assholes toward mutants. And yet, despite all that, he’s still a badass saving both ordinary humans and mutants from the worst scum of the universe as a member of both the X-Men and the Uncanny Avengers. Plus, probably one of the best and most famous Canadian superheroes. ^_^ And with all due respect to Hugh Jackman, my favourite interpretation of the character is from the old cartoon.
And another mutant, and possibly one of the most powerful X-Men ever. Storm has always been frigging awesome in how she can command the weather however she sees fit. She now acts as co-leader with Wolverine. Hard to pin down a favourite interpretation of the character, since I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a bad one, so take from that what you will.
Say it with me now, HULK SMASH!!! Hulk is freaking awesome. Another of the founding members of the Avengers, Hulk might be lacking in self-control and can be a problem for the good guys, but when he’s on their side, it’s officially a bad day to be a bad guy. What’s funny is that his abilities are actually quite similar to Golden Age Superman: Uncanny leaping ability, insane amounts of strength, and virtually indestructible. In fact, if I may be so bold, his physical strength may be even greater than Superman’s. Again, hard to pick out a favourite version, but the one in Avengers is pretty awesome.
Former assassin turned heroine and member of the Avengers, Natasha Romanoff is too awesome for words. Again, this is based generally off the version in Iron Man 2 and Avengers, but she was amazing, even managing to outwit the trickster Loki. Not too thrilled with her choice of weapons, a pair of revolvers. But that’s the old-school Batman fan in me, and I guess in a world like the one she’s in, without powers, you kinda need some equalizers.
The God of Thunder and son of the Asgard God, Odin, Thor is another Marvel Superhero with power approaching that of Superman’s. In fact, the two have fought on two occasions. During the first bout, Thor managed to best Superman, but the second battle didn’t go so well with the God of Thunder. Still, one could have a FAR worse win/loss record against the Man of Steel. And I know, I sound like a broken record, but Avengers interpretation for the win. lol
Okay, real simple. Take everything that’s awesome about the Hulk. Now slim him down considerably, but still musclebound and retaining his abilities. Now make him a hot chick. Thus, She-Hulk is born, and she is AMAZING. ^_^ Kinda stuck for a favourite version of her, and before anyone brings up Age of Ultron, if anyone believes the people killed in this comic are really dead, please slap yourself. HARD. lol
Okay, I’m a proud Canadian, and even I love Captain America. In much the same way that Superman embodies hope in the DC universe, so too does Steve Rogers in Marvel. Given the superhuman serum because of how dedicated he was to protecting peace, freedom, and justice, Captain America fights not for himself, but for others. And again, my favourite interpretation of the character is probably from the Avengers movie, though I REALLY loved his cameos in the Spider-Man cartoon. Also, just gonna throw this out there, Captain America and Thor fighting legions of the undead, best part of the otherwise shitty Ultimatum. ^_^
So I don’t ever wanna hear that I got nothing good to say about Marvel superheroes, okay? I just listed my 10 favourites. lol Anyway, that’s it for me, and it is now officially time I went to bed, so I am outta here. Ja né!
Tags: Amazing Spider-Man, Avengers, Black Widow, Bruce Banner, Captain America, Comics, Iron Man, Jennifer Walters, Marvel, Marvel Comic, Marvel Comics, Marvel Super Heroes, Marvel Universe, Natasha Romanoff, Ororo Munroe, Peter Parker, Rogue, She-Hulk, Spider-man, Steve Rogers, Storm, Superhero, The Incredible Hulk, Thor, Thor Odinson, Tony Stark, Uncanny Avengers, Wolverine, X-Men