This is the first Marvel release where you needed to watch a couple previous releases to have some clue of what's going on if you're only watching the MCU (aka the Marvel Cinematic Universe). And if you're already a Marvel fanchild, you've got a clue who and what Ultron is.
As the middle of the Avengers trilogy, it's obvious Joss Whedon is following the George Lucas trilogy pattern, which Whedon freely admits in interviews for this film. This means a certain bittersweet ending instead of "Hot damn! We won! Let's have shawarma."
No one ends up encased in carbonite like The Empire Strikes Back, but four of the team, well, to quote the fabulous Professor River Song of a totally non-related franchise...
1) Linda Cardellini! No, I'm not spoiling it more than that. Go see the damn movie.
2) Vision! Okay, that's not really a secret if you know your Marvel history. Holding Scarlet Witch! Also, not a secret 'cause history. But they've always been one of my favorite super couples.
3) Switching Ultron creator from Hank Pym to Tony Stark. I admit I wasn't sure how I felt about this when I first heard it. I also admit that I was a little peeved that Ant-Man (Hank Pym) and Wasp (Janet Van Dyne Pym) weren't involved in the first movie.
But let's face it, you can't cram fifty-plus years of history into ten hours of film. I should have trusted Joss as a writer. This worked well with Tony's ego and his fears after the Chitauri invasion.
I'm slightly mollified that Hank and Janet make appearances in Ant-Man later this summer. Let's face it, Michael Douglas can do charming and batshit crazy very well in same performance which fits Pym to a T.
4) The Infinity Gems. If you've been paying attention to the eleven movies that have been released so far (including Guardians of the Galaxy), those little buggers keep popping up.
5) Team switch-up at the end. I think this is where many of the nay-sayers are peeved, but I'm not. The Avengers has always had a rotating cast in the books, starting with the Hulk leaving shortly after Captain America joined the team. I loved that War Machine, Falcon, Scarlet Witch and Vision are officially members in that last official scene. Just in time for Avengers 2.5, the unofficial name of Captain America: Civil War.
1) Quicksilver. AAARRRGGGHHH! Marvel went through all that negotiation with 20th Century Fox to get the rights back, only to whack him. Are you people out of your ever-lovin', freakin' minds!
2) I don't know if I can take too much more Josh Brolin/Thanos teasing.
Overall, this movie is the first real stab at a richer, more complex Marvel Universe, And I loved it! 9.5 stars!
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