I saw Avengers: Age Of Ultron this past Sunday. Brilliant! A movie with so many important characters and so much action and CGI runs a real risk of becoming a hot mess. Like a great symphony conductor, Joss Whedon kept this film moving, hit all of the right notes, and gave just about every character at least one moment to shine. Movies with large ensemble casts need just the right pacing and attention to detail to pull this off. Being a big Hawkeye fan, I was floored that he played such a pivotal role in the film and enjoyed so many amazing moments. Jeremy Renner did a superb job capturing Hawkeye’s core conceit–the “normal dude” among godlike beings–normal being a relative thing in this case.
Seeing Age of Ultron marks a good time to go back and assess my top three superhero films of recent memory, and just to add a bit of spice, I will throw in my bottom three as well!
Guardians Of The Galaxy. Guardians masterfully blends sci-fi and superheroes and only gets better with repeated viewings.
Iron Man. The first Iron Man film remains the best as Robert Downey, Jr. forges the role he was born to play.
Captain America: The Winter Soldier. I loved the first Cap movie, but Winter Soldier establishes Captain America as Marvel’s paragon of what’s best in a hero.
Honorable Mention: Thor. Chris Hemsworth is The God of Thunder, and his chemistry with Natalie Portman (Jane Foster) flows so naturally it adds a lovely bit of romance to the rollicking action.
X-Men: The Last Stand. Everything Joss Whedon did right in Age Of Ultron, Brett Ratner did wrong in this hot mess–uneven script, key action occurring off-screen, and not enough special moments for characters.
Superman Returns. Watch this one up to the point where Supes saves the space-plane, then turn if off and put in the original Superman with Chris Reeves and Brando–it’s Supes vs. a bad real estate scheme in both films.
Dishonorable Mention: Fantastic 4: Rise Of The Silver Surfer. Significant divergences from the comic book versions of Dr. Doom, Galactus, and the Surfer himself helped ruin this poorly paced film for me.