Sunday, May 31, 2015

Should the MCU Introduce a Team of Teen Superheroes?

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So DC seems to be moving forward with a live-action Teen Titans TV series which will focus on a group of young heroes led by Dick Grayson, aka Nightwing.  And that is in addition to the live-action Static Shock TV series that DC is also producing for online distribution.  This—along with binge-watching both Ultimate Spider-Man: Web Warriors and the first season of Young Justice in the last couple weeks—all got me thinking:  should Marvel jump on the young hero bandwagon by introducing a team of young superheroes into the MCU through either a TV series or a movie?

Unfortunately, Marvel doesn’t have too many options as far as popular young superheroes—mostly because they have never fully embraced the young sidekick idea.  In fact, the only easily-recognizable young sidekick from Marvel Comics (for me, anyways) is Bucky, who is a teenager in the original comics.  However, that’s not to say that Marvel does not have any teenaged superheroes or teams of teenagers.

Saturday, May 30, 2015

The Weekly MCU Review for May 30

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A Terrible Pun

Another week, and more MCU news!  Daredevil casting Elektra, Ant-Man advertising ramping up, and tons of other non-MCU news.  Put some ketchup on your eggs, and catch-up (*ducks*) on your Marvel news!

Friday, May 29, 2015

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 1, Episode 2, "0-8-4" RETRO-REVIEW (SPOILERS)

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After a decent pilot episode, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. returns for an “explosive” second episode, which expands on a key concept for the series and plants seeds for future developments of the season.  The episode throws in a lot of campiness, especially with Coulson, and it is clear that they are still trying to work out the tone for the series—serious or funny.  Ultimately, I suppose this reflects the theme of the episode:  the team is still trying to get its legs and become a true team.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Is There a War going on between Marvel Studios and Marvel TV? A Response to ScreenRant

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Note:  This isn't intended as troll-fodder and clickbait; it's intended as a response to troll-fodder and clickbait.  That is kind of is troll-fodder and clickbait is a mostly-unintended side effect!

Is there a war going on between Marvel Television and Marvel Studios, as ScreenRant’s Anthony Ocasio suggests?  I’m going to go out on a limb here and say “no,” because among other things Marvel Television is a division of Marvel Studios!  To say that there’s a war going on between Marvel TV and Marvel Studios would be like saying that there’s a war going on between the United States and Florida because they don’t agree on everything.  The people at the one might not like the way that the parent company is handling their department, but that is far from a “war.”  If Marvel Studios had a problem with their Marvel TV division, they would really only have themselves to blame.

But if that’s the case, why aren’t there any references to the TV shows in the movies?  That’s a very good question, but there is no simple answer.  I have a couple of thoughts to share, but I would love to hear your thoughts on the matter, as well.

Team Compositions in the MCU

A not-so-effective team!
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I read a quote from a comic book creator recently about the importance of not making a character too powerful:  the stronger the character is, the greater its weakness must be to compensate.  Think of it like an MMORPG (“Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game”):  certain types of players have certain stats elevated and other stats weakened.  In combat, no one character type is naturally stronger against all the others.  Here’s an example:

The game I know best is Runescape.  When I played there were three standard character types in terms of combat:  Warrior, Archer, and Mage.  The Warrior’s armor is naturally stronger against the Archer’s arrows but provides very little protection against magical attacks.  The Archer’s armor is naturally stronger against magic but weak against melee weapons, particularly blunt instruments.  The Mage can immobilize the Warrior, but the Archer’s arrows cut right through the Mage’s robes.  That is why smart players do not take on major threats by themselves; they join teams consisting of multiple players whose weaknesses are nullified by each other’s strengths.  No one character can do it all by himself.

This is a long way around to saying that when you look at the various teams in the MCU, you begin to recognize patterns.  Every team we have seen already or know we will see in the future has at least one character that fits most of the “character types” below.  Here are the types of characters I’ve identified, along with a brief description and list of MCU characters that fit the description on the teams we’ve met already or will meet soon.  In terms of teams, I will be using the original Avengers, the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. team from season 1, the Guardians of the Galaxy, and the Defenders (Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, and Iron Fist).

At the end I’m also going to talk about a prospective team for the “Secret Warriors” teased in the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. season finale as well as about the Avengers team following Avengers: Age of Ultron.  There will be a spoiler warning before the Age of Ultron discussion.  Don’t look if you haven’t seen the movie, because it may spoil the ending!

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 1, Episode 1, "Pilot" RETRO-REVIEW (SPOILERS)

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Over the summer, I’m going to go back and review all of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. season 1 (and hopefully the first half of season 2).  First up is the “Pilot” (1x01).

The first thing to get out of the way regarding this episode is that it really gets a bad rap.  If you read ScreenRant, you may remember that in their “‘Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.’ Easy Viewing & Catch-Up Guide to Season2” they completely ignored the “Pilot” and instead suggested “The Hub” (1x07) as the “Real Pilot.”  That episode is certainly a good one—I’ll be reviewing it 3 weeks from today.  However, if we ignore the “[Real] Pilot” we will miss a lot of huge foreshadowing for future events in season 1—and even season 2—along with the beginning of a season-long pattern which they have followed for both seasons.  Don’t believe me?  Read on to see why the “Pilot” is so important.

Warning:  There will be spoilers for the entire series in each of my “Retro-Reviews.”

Monday, May 25, 2015

Daredevil Season 1, Episode 7, "Stick" REVIEW (SPOILERS)

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Daredevil season 1, episode 7, “Stick”:  The episode when they start world-building and planting seeds for the future of Daredevil.  It’s a good thing they picked Daredevil up for a second season; otherwise this episode would not make any sense!  As it is, this gives us an excellent lead-in for the future of Daredevil while not distracting from the present conflict.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

The Weekly MCU Review for May 23

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A Terrible Pun

Another week, and more MCU news!  Captain America: Civil War news, DCTVU and DCMU, and even some Fant4stic.  Put some ketchup on your eggs, and catch-up (*ducks*) on your Marvel news!

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Looking Ahead to Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 3

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The Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. season finale has had a little over a week to digest, and I think it’s about time to start looking ahead!  There’s another season coming up in the fall!  What all can we determine about season 3 of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. at this early stage?  Not a lot, but there are a few things we can speculate on after the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. season 2 finale.  Let’s take a look.

First, here is the synopsis they released for Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. season 3:

Director Phil Coulson (Clark Gregg) embarks on a deadly new secret mission to protect the world from new threats in the wake of SHIELD’s wars with Hydra and a rogue faction of Inhumans.

Returning “SHIELD” cast members include Clark Gregg as Phil Coulson, Ming-Na Wen as Melinda May, Brett Dalton as Grant Ward, Chloe Bennet as Skye, Iain De Caestecker as Leo Fitz, Elizabeth Henstridge as Jemma Simmons, Nick Blood as Lance Hunter and Adrianne Palicki as Bobbi Morse.

“Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD” will keep its 9 p.m. Tuesday night time slot in the fall. “Agent Carter” will again fill in “SHIELD’s” midseason hiatus in the same time slot.

 Warning:  There are going to be spoilers for the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. season 2 finale (obviously).

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 2 Recap (SPOILERS)

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So now that the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. season 2 finale has had a chance to sink in a bit, I’m going to start a short mini-series looking back at season 2 and ahead to season 3.  Up first is a recap of everything that happened in season 2.  Hold onto your hats, because there was a lot that happened!

Monday, May 18, 2015

Daredevil Season 1, Episode 6, "Condemned" REVIEW (SPOILERS)

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“Condemned,” Daredevil episode 1x06, brings one character’s arc to a surprisingly satisfying conclusion while increasing the stakes for all of the other characters to a much higher level.  Though it might not have as much action as some of the other episodes, the amount of character development packed into this episode is astounding.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

The Weekly MCU Review for May 16

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A Terrible Pun

Another week, and more MCU news!  Avengers: Age of Ultron, Captain America: Civil War, and the TV up-fronts.  Put some ketchup on your eggs, and catch-up (*ducks*) on your Marvel news!

Thursday, May 14, 2015


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Warning:  This post contains MAJOR SPOILERS for Avengers: Age of Ultron.  As in:  this could totally ruin the ending for you if you haven’t seen it yet.  Don’t continue reading unless you’ve already watched the movie.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. season 2, episodes 21-22, "S.O.S." REVIEW (SPOILERS)

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Last night’s explosive Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. season finale was easily one of my favorite episodes yet.  All of the plot threads we’ve been following for this season—and especially this half-season—received fair treatment.  All of the regular characters had a satisfying arc and a satisfying lead-in for next season.  As far as the action is concerned, they did not hold onto any of their effects budget; I felt like they left it all on the table.  The reveal of the “big bad” of the season was shocking and unexpected, and really made the conflict personal.  Ultimately, it was a reminder that you never really know a character: some characters we considered villains turned out to be misguided heroes, while some characters we considered to be heroes turned out to be villains.  All in all, I think I enjoyed this season finale more than the season 1 finale for two reasons:  there were more unexpected plot twists and we got to see more of a huge super-powered fight.

This episode is amazing, and you should definitely watch it for yourself.  So don't read the rest of my review until you are finished watching it.  SPOILERS ahead!

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 2, Episodes 21-22, "S.O.S. Parts 1 and 2" EXPECTATIONS

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Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. returns tonight with “S.O.S. Parts 1 and 2” (2x21-22) at 9:00 PM Eastern/Pacific.  What do we expect from tonight's episodes?
What happened in the last episode, “Scars”?

We learned that Theta Protocol was “Coulson repairs the original helicarrier for Fury and saves the day,” and because of that Gonzales’ group is willing to merge with Coulson’s into a single S.H.I.E.L.D. with Coulson as Director under the auspices of Gonzales’ Board.  Mack objected to Coulson serving as Director of S.H.I.E.L.D. and elected to quit.  The new S.H.I.E.L.D. faced its first real challenge when Raina had a vision of a Kree Doomsday Device which led her and Gordon to the Iliad, where Gonzales has been keeping said Kree Weapon of Inhuman Destruction in his cargo hold.  After having 2 Inhumans appear on their ship, S.H.I.E.L.D. decided they needed to confront the Inhumans and find out more about them.  Coulson sent Skye and Lincoln back to Afterlife to arrange a sit-down between Coulson and Jiaying.  Gonzales and May objected to Coulson serving as the S.H.I.E.L.D. representative, and Gonzales went in his place.  Meanwhile, Raina had a vision of S.H.I.E.L.D. attacking Afterlife after Jiaying meets with them, but none of the Inhumans would believe her, so they locked her up.  Jiaying handed Cal (who drank his chemicals) over to S.H.I.E.L.D.  Gonzales “offered” to meet with the Inhumans and Index them so S.H.I.E.L.D. could keep them in line, leading Jiaying to kill Gonzales with a Diviner-metal-infused Terrigen Crystal and claim that S.H.I.E.L.D. tried to kill her.  Oh, and Kara abducted Bobbi and took her to Ward.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Daredevil Season 1, Episode 5, "World on Fire" REVIEW (SPOILERS)

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Daredevil season 1, episode 5, “World on Fire,” picks up right where the previous episode left off after Matt’s battle against the Russians to rescue Claire.  You will remember that the Russians discovered Claire’s identity and captured her to get information on Matt.  He tracked them down and rescued her, though she was savagely beaten before he arrived.  Afterwards, he brought her back to his apartment.  The episode also continues Vladimir’s story arc from the previous episode.  In so doing, the episode demonstrates one of the benefits of Netflix TV over movies:  it can take the time to allow a story arc to build.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

What's Going on with S.H.I.E.L.D. and the Inhumans?

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So Jiaying decided to start a war between the Inhumans and S.H.I.E.L.D.  Does that make her the “big bad” of the season?  I don’t think so.  I don’t think Jiaying’s goal here is to destroy S.H.I.E.L.D. or take over the world or anything so dramatic.  I suspect that she wants to show S.H.I.E.L.D. that the Inhumans are not to be trifled with, that they are not a group that S.H.I.E.L.D. can—or should try to—control.

Simply put, I think Jiaying is scared of S.H.I.E.L.D.  I think she’s acting out of character, acting out of fear.  She said as much to Gonzales:  “Fear drives us to do things we would otherwise never do.”  If she were not afraid of S.H.I.E.L.D.—of their Indexing and of their intentions toward her people—she probably would not have killed Gonzales and incited war between their peoples.  And I think the fear runs both ways.  S.H.I.E.L.D. is just as frightened of the Inhumans as the Inhumans are of S.H.I.E.L.D.  This makes me wonder if there is a possibility for the war to conclude without both groups being destroyed.

So how possible is that?

The first thing we need is to understand both sides’ fears.

Saturday, May 9, 2015

The Weekly MCU Review for May 9

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A Terrible Pun
Another week, and more MCU news!  Avengers: Age of Ultron, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Suicide Squad, and more.  Put some ketchup on your eggs, and catch-up (*ducks*) on your Marvel news!

Friday, May 8, 2015

New Feature: A Guest Post

SPOILER WARNING for Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. “Scars” (2x20)!

Today, a guest post from the recently departed:


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Are you planning your first meeting with the leader of a highly secretive race consisting of the super enhanced descendents of a group of alien test subjects whose civilization predates your own by millennia?  Do you want advice to ensure that your meeting goes smoothly—and doesn’t end with their highly xenophobic leader turning you to stone as part of a plot to incite war between your peoples?  Well, you’re in luck!

My name is Robert Gonzales and I used to be a leader of the Strategic Homeland Intervention, Enforcement, and Logistics Division (“S.H.I.E.L.D.” for short; you may have heard of our TV show).  However, my meeting with a leader of the Inhumans—that highly secretive race consisting of the super enhanced descendents of a group of alien test subjects whose civilization predates my own by millennia—did not go well.  So I’m here from beyond the grave to tell you how you can learn from my mistakes with…

Thursday, May 7, 2015

How Long Should Age of Ultron Have Been?

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Avengers: Age of Ultron came out this past Friday, and it was an incredible movie.  There are a lot of good things to say about it—most of which I said in my spoiler review—and no matter how much I say, I always think of more.  I loved how much of Hawkeye we got to see.  All of the new heroes were interesting and compelling.  Ultron wasn’t quite the villain Loki is, but he was still very unforgettable.  The team dynamics were fun to see—especially getting to see the Avengers in battle together at the beginning of the movie.  The final fight scene with all of the Avengers was amazing!

However, with all of the good things this movie had going for it, there was one significant drawback:  the length of the movie.  Avengers: Age of Ultron is 2 hours and 21 minutes long.  And it should have been LONGER!

That’s not the kind of thing that you hear very often:  “This movie should have been longer.”  A lot of times people walk out of a movie complaining that “that was 2 hours of my life I’m never getting back.”  And with some movies that is correct.  However, some movies feel like they need to be longer so that there is more time for character development and for all of the different—and important (that’s the key here)—plots.  Age of Ultron is one of those.  There are so many characters and so many different vital subplots (both for the movie and the future of the shared universe) running around that it feels like we needed more time for the movie to really delve into them and give them their due.

In other words, #AoUDirectorsCut

Warning:  SPOILERS ahead.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. season 2, episode 20, "Scars" REVIEW (SPOILERS)

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All I can say about last night’s episode of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is “wow.”  This show is absolutely living up to its “spy-thriller” billing as the twists and turns continue to come.  Because this episode came right after the Avengers: Age of Ultron U.S. premiere—and considering how much of a lead-in last week’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. episode provided for the movie—I was expecting the episode to tie in a lot more to the events of the movie.  While that was the case to some degree (and if you haven’t seen the movie yet, there are a couple of minor spoilers in “Scars”), in reality the episode really separated itself from Avengers: Age of Ultron.  In fact, I almost wonder if we aren’t seeing the actual first shots of the Marvel Civil War right here.  This week’s episode is the last one before the season finale, and after this episode it is clear that the Marvel Universe—or at least this section of the Marvel Universe—is going to be changed forever by the season finale.  Whether it will be good change or bad remains to be seen.

As a heads up, this review will contain spoilers for the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. episode “Scars” (duh) as well as Avengers: Age of Ultron.  You have been warned.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. season 2, episode 20, "Scars" EXPECTATIONS

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Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. returns tonight with “Scars” (2x20) at 9:00 PM Eastern/Pacific.  What do we expect from tonight's episode?

What happened in the last episode, “The Dirty Half Dozen”?
Coulson and his original team infiltrated List’s Arctic base to rescue Deathlok and Lincoln.  Skye did some badass fighting, both with her powers and without.  The team succeeded in rescuing the prisoners, though List escaped to rendezvous with Strucker in Sokovia.  Coulson also gathered information on Loki’s Scepter, Strucker’s base in Sokovia, and the Twins, all of which he transmitted to Maria Hill (explaining how she had all that information for Cap in Avengers: Age of Ultron).  They brought Lincoln and Skye back to the Playground, and Gonzales was a little too happy to have them on his base.  Oh, and [SPOILER] Hydra is no longer a credible threat following the events of Age of Ultron.

Monday, May 4, 2015

Daredevil Season 1, Episode 4, "In the Blood" REVIEW (SPOILERS)

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In the fourth episode, “In the Blood,” the villains get their own episode, and the episode is all the more tragic for it.  We grow to care for one group of Kingpin’s business partners, and that makes their eventual fate all the more heart-wrenching for us to watch.  And this is one of the best elements of this series:  It makes us care about the villains we’re supposed to hate.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

The AoU Lead-In to AoS

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Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. provided a solid lead-in to Avengers: Age of Ultron with its episode last Tuesday, “The Dirty Half Dozen” (2x19).   In that episode, Coulson’s original team went on a mission to infiltrate Dr. List’s Arctic Hydra base.  While there, Coulson downloaded information on Loki’s Scepter, Strucker’s base, and the Maximoff Twins from the Hydra computers.  After the mission, Coulson contacted Maria Hill and sent all of his information to her, telling her that it is “Time to send in the Avengers.”  Conveniently, this leads almost directly into the events of Age of Ultron (and explains how Hill conveniently had all that information about the Twins!).  That is one of the benefits of a cross-platform, interconnected, shared universe:  one medium can lead into another, providing background information and showing events which would only be told in the other.  When you think about it, without “The Dirty Half Dozen,” Age of Ultron would have needed at least a couple minutes of (less interesting) exposition to explain how they knew where to find Loki’s Scepter!

Of course, one of the challenges of a cross-platform interconnected shared universe is that what happens in one medium can have serious ramifications for the others.  We saw this last year when the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. team had to clean up the results of the Convergence (Thor: The Dark World) in what was the least-interesting Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. tie-in episode yet.  More to the point, the fall of S.H.I.E.L.D. in Captain America: The Winter Soldier after it was revealed that the organization had been infiltrated by Hydra had a massive affect on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.  The show couldn’t possibly ignore the fact that the movie had done away with its very organization.  This changed the course of the series permanently.

Caution:  SPOILERS Ahead!

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Avengers: Age of Ultron SPOILERS Review

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This weekend—at long last—saw the American premiere of Avengers: Age of Ultron.  Earth’s Mightiest Heroes teamed up again, first to finally end the Hydra threat by cutting off the (as of now) top Head of Hydra, Baron Strucker, and then to combat the “mad A.I.,” Ultron.  Along the way, the heroes are pulled apart and forced to reunite.  They are tested and tried, and eventually come out on top, but not without great personal costs.  Having seen it twice now, here is my (spoiler) review.

The Weekly MCU Review - 5/2/2015

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A Terrible Pun
This is something new that I'm going to start this week:  a recap of the past week, including links to my articles, along with other articles that I found interesting.  Check it out, and leave a comment!

Here it is:  The Weekly MCU Review!  Put some ketchup on your eggs, and catch-up (*ducks*) on your Marvel news!

Mostly MCU Reviews

My articles from the week

First up, my list of all the players for the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D./Age of Ultrontie-in episode, “The Dirty Half Dozen”.  How did you think my analysis jived with what happened in the episode?

Daredevil episode 1x03, “Rabbit in a Snowstorm” review.  What do you think of the news that Daredevil has been renewed?

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. episode 2x19, “The Dirty Half Dozen” expectations and review.  What did you think of the episode?

They are going to be deciding whether or not to renew Agent Carter for season two very soon, and here’s why I think they should renew it.  What are your reasons for renewing it (or not renewing it)?

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. did a lot to lead into the events of Avengers: Age of Ultron.  Here is my analysis.  Did you like how they used Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. to set up Age of Ultron?

Avengers: Age of Ultron expectations and reviews—non-spoiler and spoiler (pending).

Friday, May 1, 2015

Avengers: Age of Ultron NON-Spoiler Review

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I just got home from seeing Avengers: Age of Ultron and thought I would sit down and write up a quick non-spoiler review.

Simply put, this movie is awesome!  I don’t think it’s quite on the same level at Captain America: The Winter Soldier in terms of plot twists and storytelling, but it is still up there with the upper echelon of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.  The various fight scenes are awesome in how they pair the characters up so we see a lot of different combinations fighting together.  Everyone gets a couple of good lines, but Hawkeye seems to get the most.  There are three different “money shots” scattered throughout the movie—shots that can and should be posters or motion posters (a la the Avengers standing in a circle while the theme plays for The Avengers).  The first happens within the first five minutes of the movie; the second is maybe thirty minutes from the end, and the last is right before the credits.  Definitely keep your eye out for those epic team shots—though it’s pretty hard to miss them!

The AoS Lead-In to AoU

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It’s Avengers: Age of Ultron Day in America!  Who’s excited?  I know I’m excited!  I’ll be going to see the movie this afternoon right after lunch, so you can expect a quick non-spoiler review later in the afternoon/early evening.  I will try to publish a more detailed spoiler review some time tomorrow or Sunday (depending on if/when I can see it again this weekend).  But before seeing the movie, I thought it would be a good idea to go over the immediate build-up to the events of Age of Ultron.  I talked about some of it in my TL;DW (“Too Long; Didn’t Watch”) article last week [], and then again in my review of “The Dirty Half Dozen” (2x19) and Age of Ultron expectations post this week. However, in case you did not get to see “The Dirty Half Dozen,” here is my breakdown of exactly how Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. leads directly into the events of Age of Ultron.  There will be SPOILERS for Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., but not for Age of Ultron; just wild speculation.