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PODCAST: Film Focus Episode 36 – Theme Songs In Superhero Films

Howdy ladies and gents of the internet, as some of you may have seen, last year I started a film podcast entitled Film Focus and on this podcast, I talk about various topics in film and reviews as well on a biweekly basis. As for the latest episode, it was actually done a few weeks ago and the topic was on theme songs in superhero films.

Anyway here’s the episode 36:

In this episode, I cover theme songs in superhero films and their importance not only to the characters they represent but also how they enhance the overall film experience when you have memorable themes. So from the John Williams Superman theme to Danny Elfman’s Spider-Man theme to the recent theme from Batman V Superman/Wonder Woman by Junkie XL, I cover some of the most recognisable and less notable themes that I feel should be talked about. Now I should have uploaded this podcast episode weeks ago but I got super busy and then forgot until now. Scheduling around work has become a tad complicated and tedious. Hopefully, the latest episode will be done soon.

As I mentioned before I’ll cover a different topic or review in each episode and since I don’t have much in the way of listeners or promotion, I’m here to spread the word about my podcast. 🙂

You can find my main site on Soundcloud here: https://soundcloud.com/film_focus

Or if you’re on iTunes subscribe and rate me on there: https://itunes.apple.com/gb/podcast/film-focus/id1114233892?mt=2

So if you have some spare time on your hands and would like to listen to the ramblings of a passionate/strange man then please check it out, and share it with your friends if you can. Also, you have any feedback or if you’d be interested in joining on future episodes be sure to let me know, until next time, laters! 😀

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Posted by on August 31, 2017 in Film Reviews, Films, Media, Reviews

 

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PODCAST: Film Focus Episode 16 – Sausage Party Review

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Howdy ladies and gents of the internet, as some of you may have seen, back in April I started a film podcast entitled Film Focus and on this podcast I talk about various topics in film and reviews as well. after another week off because of a bust time with work and a wedding I’m back with my first review since Suicide Squad in the form of Sausage Party.

Anyway here’s the 16th episode:

So you have the option of reading my smaller review I did earlier on today or you could listen to the better and extended cut of my thoughts on the film where I go a little more in-depth with the story and characters.

As I said before in each episode I’ll cover a different topic and since I don’t have much in the way of listeners or promotion, I’m here to spread the word about my podcast. 🙂

You can find my main site on Soundcloud here: https://soundcloud.com/film_focus

Or if you’re on iTunes subscribe and rate me on there: https://itunes.apple.com/gb/podcast/film-focus/id1114233892?mt=2

So if you have some spare time on your hands and would like to listen to the ramblings of a passionate/strange man then please check it out, and share it with your friends if you can. Also you have any feedback or if you’d be interested in joining on future episodes be sure to let me know, until next time, laters! 😀

 
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Posted by on September 6, 2016 in Films, Media

 

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PODCAST: Film Focus Episode 15 – Is It Too Late For A Black Widow Film?

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Howdy ladies and gents of the internet, as some of you may have seen, back in April I started a film podcast entitled Film Focus and on this podcast I talk about various topics in film and reviews as well. I was actually meant to make this post available last week but was super busy with work, but hey better late then never right?

Anyway here’s the 15th episode:

This is a topic of conversation I’ve wanted to talk about for some time now, Black Widow has become one of the most notable and well-received characters in the MCU since 2012’s The Avengers (I mean she was good in Iron Man 2, but I think more people took notice of her afterwards), and these days talk of her getting a solo film is something that always comes up every so often because a lot of fans want it, but unless Marvel Studios are still finding the right means to make it happen or just don’t care, a lot of people are left wondering if it’ll ever happen. And with the ever-changing nature of Hollywood and the cinematic film landscape, the longer Marvel leaves this, the less interested people will become, so I thought I’d just share my thoughts on the matter and hopefully start up some discussions.

As I said before in each episode I’ll cover a different topic and since I don’t have much in the way of listeners or promotion, I’m here to spread the word about my podcast. 🙂

You can find my main site on Soundcloud here: https://soundcloud.com/film_focus

Or if you’re on iTunes subscribe and rate me on there: https://itunes.apple.com/gb/podcast/film-focus/id1114233892?mt=2

So if you have some spare time on your hands and would like to listen to the ramblings of a passionate/strange man then please check it out, and share it with your friends if you can. Also you have any feedback or if you’d be interested in joining on future episodes be sure to let me know, until next time, laters! 😀

 
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Posted by on August 26, 2016 in Films, Media

 

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PODCAST: Film Focus Episode 7 – Anticipation vs Payoff in Film

Howdy people of the internet, as some of you may have seen, not too long ago I started a film podcast entitled Film Focus! This week’s episode is a good few days late for a various reasons, but let’s just say I wanted to wait til Friday when I was meant to go to the cinema, but then I had to go to the hospital, so I’m only getting my stuff uploaded today. 😛

Anyway here’s the seventh episode:

As you can see from the title, this week’s top of conversation is on the anticipation of films versus the payoff, and I get into the pros and cons of each and also give my own accounts of experiencing both. This was a subject matter that I’ve wanted to talk about for a while and while it is a little subjective, I hope that it at least gets people thinking and talking about it.

As I said before in each episode I’ll cover a different topic and since I don’t have much in the way of listeners or promotion, I’m here to spread the word about my podcast. 🙂

You can find my main site on Soundcloud here: https://soundcloud.com/film_focus

Or if you’re on iTunes subscribe and rate me on there: https://itunes.apple.com/gb/podcast/film-focus/id1114233892?mt=2

So if you have some spare time on your hands and would like to listen to the ramblings of a passionate/strange man then please check it out, and share it with your friends if you can. Also you have any feedback or if you’d be interested in joining on future episodes be sure to let me know, until next time, laters! 😀

 
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Posted by on June 25, 2016 in Films, Media

 

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Superhero Themes in Film – Do They Still Matter?

Howdy ladies and gents, time for another superhero-related post. This is a subject matter I’ve wanted to talk about for almost two years now, With superheroes being one of the most popular genres of film in modern times, the topic of theme songs have come up in discussions in online videos and comment sections I’ve seen across several websites. And there have been discussions about which popular themes are the best or why newer films don’t try harder with to have more memorable main themes. So with all that in mind I wanted to focus on the subject of superhero themes are whether they still have relevance today.

With superheroes, in most adaptations they have a theme song (sometimes referred to as a main theme) which you associate with the hero as much as you do their name, costume or catchphrase. These themes will either play in the opening or ending credits of a film or TV show or will appear during the film in a heroic/iconic moment.

What Are The Popular Themes?

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Its should come as no suprise that most notable themes come from the most popular superheroes of all time, Batman and Superman. Besides the fact that they’ll be sharing a film next year (which is still strange to wrap my head around), long before their epic meeting, they had separate films with quite iconic themes that can be recognised even by general film fans. The most famous of the two is the “Theme from Superman (Main Title)” from the godly John Williams and the “Batman Theme” from the amazing Danny Elfman. Just have a listen below:

With the Superman theme I think it transcends the film it is part of, this is honestly one of the most recognisable pieces of music in film and you don’t even need a visual aid to know what it is. I think that is the beauty of John Williams; the fact that he can craft such incredibly, uplifting, beastly and memorable music that can stand the test of time. I hate to gush on about this theme, but it honestly gives me goosebumps because it’s that badass.

When it comes to Batman’s theme, it feels approach for the Dark Knight. It is dark, mysterious, its loud and bombastic, yet soft, quiet and it swells and then explodes. I think the reason why this theme is so popular is because it just feels like it belong within the realm of Batman and has the right tone and gives you something fun, atmospheric and really cool. Elfman creates something so special that feels so perfect, but I think why I appreciate this theme so much is because it was the inspiration for the intro theme for Batman: The Animated Series which is still til this day, one of my all-time favourite themes to anything ever.

But the themes don’t end there. Have look below.

Main Theme From The Dark Knight Trilogy

We also have the main theme from The Dark Knight Trilogy too. Now while this film series doesn’t have an official track that says ‘Main Theme’, the song that’s pretty much the key theme throughout this film series is “Molossus” introduced in Batman Begins. That theme is dramatic, aggressive and so intimidating, its like the badass theme to end all badass themes, and Hans Zimmer and James Newton Howard did such a good job.

Main Theme From Man of Steel

And then of course there’s the main theme from Man of Steel known as “What Are You Going To Do When You Are Not Saving The World?” This theme is pretty famous because it was in trailers and pretty much helped sell this new incarnation of Superman. I think it may be the most epic superhero theme in existence as its so quiet and calm, and yet it builds and builds and then explodes into this beastly theme that makes you shiver and get all giddy about the epicness you’re listening to. While I didn’t love Man of Steel, I cannot deny the badassery of this theme.

Ignored Main Themes

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Main Theme Spider-Man

Now some may wonder why I’ve put one of the most popular superhero themes in the ignored segment, and it is simple. This theme isn’t talked about or recognised nearly as much as the ones mentioned above. I think it is no mistake that Danny Elfman was brought on to do another superhero theme after what he did with Batman in the late 80’s, here he crafts a theme that is eery, mysterious, heroic and badass. This theme oozes of charisma, beauty and awesomeness in an indescribable manner, and while I prefer the instrumentation of the Spider-Man 2 version, there is no denying the epicness of this song.

Main Theme From The Avengers

Much like Spider-Man’s theme, this theme is pretty awesome and yet doesn’t get nearly as much love as it should. “The Avengers” by Alan Silvestri is the definition of a good theme song. It has a classic sound to it, and it’s so uplifting, magical and heroic, but it is towards the latter half around 1:05 into the song where it turns badass and grows into orchestrated awesomeness. When this theme comes into play in Avengers and the team are seen together for the fist time on-screen it is a special and epic moment and music just elevates it to another level. This track is short but it has a sense of epicness that cannot be denied.

Main Theme From X-Men

While this particular track is pretty long, it has the main theme right at the beginning and towards the very end of the track. John Ottman was the first composer to leave an impression on the X-Men films series and it wasn’t until Henry Jackman came around that I heard another soundtrack that stood out, that being said Ottman’s theme from X-Men 2 still kicks ass. It’s intense, dramatic and awesome, and this theme must be pretty notable as they brought it back for X-Men: Days of Future Past (which made me SO happy).

Main Theme From Iron Man 3

The Iron Man films up until this point hadn’t had an official main theme, but in 2013 we got given “Iron Man 3” by Brian Tyler. Now with Tyler his soundtracks tend to be a bit hit or miss, but this was definitely a hit as he finally gave Iron Man a theme that was dramatic, hard-hitting and epic. The inclusions of the angelic backing vocals and something that sounds like a hammer hitting metal, it is just so beastly. Make no mistake, Iron Man 3 as a film has its problems for sure, but this track really is something special. I will say that I prefer Can You Dig It as it is way more sassy, jazzy and feels like it belongs in a 1960’s spy show.

Main Theme From Ant-Man

Ant-Man may not be universally loved by fans, but I liked it and one of my favourite aspects of the film was the soundtrack by Christophe Beck and “Theme from Ant-Man” is just awesome. This theme is sassy, bombastic and it just has such a nice sense of style and identity. Beck is another one of those composers that’s a bit up and down with his soundtrack compositions but this theme is kick ass.

Main Theme From Batman Forever

I think I may lose a lot of people by including this track, but screw it! Batman Forever may be the starting point for the decline in quality for the Batman films in the 90’s, but Forever, I still kind of like it and the theme song is definitely a big part of that. “Main Titles & Fan Fare” by Elliot Goldenthal has such a sense dramatic flare, charisma, style and its over-the-top but because of the nature of Forever as a film, this theme sounds just right.

So Do Themes Matter?

So now for the big question; do superhero themes matter? I would say yes for sure. It’s always nice to have music to associate with your favourite superheroes and while that’s been available in cartoons and certain live-action shows for a while now, I think it is just as important in films so you have another key aspect that makes your protagonist more memorable. Now for current superhero films they aren’t a requirement as fans and critics aren’t that fussed and will give a pass to a superhero film if the story, characters and presentation are top-notch. That being said, it was around 2012 when some people started saying that the. With big films like Batman V Superman and Captain America: Civil War coming out next year there will need to be theme songs or key tracks in the soundtrack to enhance the action on-screen or I think some fans and critics will feel robbed. And then in the future we’ll see the like of Wonder Woman, Marvel’s Spider-Man, Justice League and Avengers Infinity War parts 1 & 2 and those will be films that will require themes and soundtracks that are interesting, dramatic and memorable or I believe it will be a wasted opportunity.

So that’s my feelings on this subject, hopefully you’ve found this informative and like what I’ve had to say and share. But now I pass it over to you, what do you think of superhero themes in film and do you think they’re still relevant? Please be sure to comment below and let me know. Until next time, laters! 😀

 
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Posted by on August 28, 2015 in Films, Media, Music

 

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Avengers: Age of Ultron SPOILER-HEAVY Review/Discussion

Howdy ladies and gentlemen of the internet, if you’re a big comic book fan or film fan in general chances are you would have seen the recent beast of a film by the name of Avengers: Age of Ultron, and if you haven’t yet you should. There is so much going on in this film and that it would be impossible for me to not do a long spoiler-based discussion on the film, so after seeing it three times I believe is it time to talk about it in a great deal of detail. So if you haven’t seen the film read my spoiler-free review, then come back here. Alrighty then for those of you still here, let’s get started.

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Now before I get into this I just want to clarify a two things:

  1. The following thoughts are just the opinion of an avid film/comic book fan
  2. I am not a blind fan boy, if a film has issues I will not pretend like they don’t exist and will bring them to light if necessary

So with that in mind I am going to talk about what worked, what didn’t and what could have been improved (though the latter will technically be attached to what didn’t work because most of those points collide with each other).

What Worked In Age of Ultron

As a Whole, turned out Great

Avengers: Age of Ultron was always going to have a lot going up against it. Firstly it had to out do the first Avengers film which was a pretty damn good film and is regarded to be one of the best comic book films ever. Secondly it also had to fend off the great Phase Two films from 2014; Captain America: The Winter Soldier and Guardians of the Galaxy. Thirdly it had to take the already established characters and bring in a new villain and three additional characters. And finally the film had to take several storylines and set up for future films and make it work in one cohesive manner.

In the end I believe Joss Whedon, the writers and everyone involved in this project did a good job at making it work. This film represents everything that you like about the first film, but introduces a lot of new and interesting elements that work very well too. The film moves at a breakneck speed and continues to evolve these characters and the world of the MCU.

Hawkeye

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I think the main thing I took away from Age of Ultron the first time and again on my subsequent viewings was how awesome Hawkeye was. After being Loki’s puppet for the majority of the last film, this time round he gets so much love. He has a lot of the best scenes, great dialogue and really is the core of the Avengers team. Even though he is just human with a bow and arrow, he’s aware of his limitations and makes do with the skills that he has. Whether he is making a great speech about the ridiculous nature of battle with Scarlet Witch, chilling with his teammates or talking to himself about taking out Quicksilver, he comes across a totally cool, fun and relatable person, and anyone who has dismissed him before should be pleased with the way he was handled here. Oh and the fact that he had a hidden family stashed away in a farmhouse off the grid was the biggest surprise ever! I thought it was a trick or dream sequence, but it WAS real, totally unexpected and add a big layer or depth to him, he’s not just a fighter, he’s a family man and has something to fight for beyond his teammates.

Character Moments

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One of the key elements of this film that I think were better than the previous film was the character interaction and quieter moments between the Avengers team members. As great as the action sequences were, some most entertaining parts involved the characters just talking to each other. For the established characters it was about them just enjoying each other’s company and cracking jokes, but it was also about seeing how far they’ve come and learning more about their insecurities and trust issues (especially after their encounters with Scarlet Witch). Whether it is conversations between Vision and Ultron or watching Tony and Steve debating over different ideals while chopping wood, it is all good stuff. I think the best character moments (besides Vision and Ultron’s conversation near the end of the film) is the relationship between Black Widow and Bruce Banner/Hulk. Both of them are troubled and hurt individuals, they find each other, they flirt with the idea of being together, but in one scene we see how they tragically wouldn’t be able to make things work out. Banner fear’s that the Hulk would still be threat and that he wouldn’t be able to have children, and then Widow drops a bomb; she’s been sterilized so she can’t have children. Damn, that’s some heavy stuff there. Add on top of that the wonderful interaction that Hulk and Widow have on the battlefield and when she used the lullaby to turn the Hulk back to Banner, they are soft and beautiful. Oh and that last scene when Hulk leaves Widow and flies off into the unknown on his own, it’s very special and on top of everything they’ve been through together already, it just adds to drama their characters and their potential relationship.

The Humour

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Humour has always been half the fun of a Marvel Studios film and while it hasn’t always worked, in The Avengers it was one of the best parts of the film and here it is no exception. The jokes are witty, quick and work both verbally and physically. Whether it is all of the men trying to pick up Thor’s hammer, Quicksilver getting shot in the arm after the police are told to ceasefire, Ultron referring to Cap’s Vibranium shield as a frisbee, Tony Stark getting giddy over a secret door or Vision picking up Thor’s hammer in a casual manner, there is plenty to make you laugh. The jokes feel a little less forced than some of the previous films and it works because it’s used in the midst of dangerous situations or adds to the character interactions.

Vision

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Even though this character is only in the film for a short time, he leaves a very big impression. Vision is a combination of JARVIS and Ultron, but is his own entity and from the time he is introduced he’s very interesting. He’s calm, assertive, intelligent and articulate. There’s something very clean and pure about him, but it is the way interacts with characters that makes him brilliant, whether he’s speaking with the Avengers or talking with Ultron (which are some of the best moments in the film), the guy is just really awesome. It also helps that he pick up and use Thor’s hammer and is a complete badass in battle flying around dismantling robots and shooting head lasers. Paul Bettany should be noted for his lovely performance in this film, Bettany as JARVIS has been one of my favourite minor characters in the MCU films (much like Agent Coulson before he got killed in Avengers) and to see him evolve into a physical being where can interact with the Avengers.

Ultron

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While Ultron doesn’t have the same kind of charm, likeability and elegance that Loki has, the guy is clearly the best villain the MCU has had in a while (besides Winter Soldier). Ultron wasn’t just another typical evil villain looking to take over the world, he wanted to purify it by evolving the human race and taking out those who didn’t fit into his grand design of a perfect world. It also helps that he was smart, quite funny, big-headed and could go into a temper tantrum like a child at anytime. Oh and Spader’s voice work, excellent, I really helps elevate a character if the right voice is behind it.

The Ties to the MCU

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This is just a small point but I really liked the sense of continuity in this film as it ties in nicely with not only The Avengers but also some of the previous Phase Two films. Seeing the film the first time, I just got so happy at the party seeing not only Rhodey, but also Sam Wilson as well. Both of these guys are some of my favourite side characters and to see them conversing and interacting with characters beyond the solo films is delightful, funny and again adds to the continuity. Also having War Machine coming in and fighting with Iron Man when dispatching the Ultron drones was awesome, those two haven’t been together on-screen since Iron Man 2, so its nice. And of course there’s Thor’s vision about the Infinity Stones/Gems and the mid-end credits scene with Thanos and the Infinity Gauntlet which not only ties this film with Captain America 1, Avengers 1, Thor 2 and Guardians of the Galaxy. Oh and with Andy Serkis’ Ulysses Klaw (who was great by the way), we’ve gotten a piece of the puzzle from the upcoming Black Panther which will happen in a few years. SO MUCH REFERENCING!

Action

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Straight from the beginning of the film this film straps you in for this action thrill ride and never let’s go. I mean the introduction of the film jumps right into an action sequence which shows not only how well these heroes work individually but also as a unit. It is incredibly well-choreographed and features that awesome slow-mo shot of the team together from the third trailer. Some of the fight sequences feel like they are ripped straight from the pages of the comic books, it’s that accurate. And it is not just the team together that have the best scenes, Thor happens to get a lot of love in this film and has the best fights I’ve seen him in since Avengers 1, possibly even Thor 1. Also Captain America’s strength from Winter Soldier has carried over to this film and its put to good use. It seems like Cap and Thor have a good connection as they seem to seem up a lot and do cool combo attacks too. Everyone has their moments to shine, Black Widow is cool, Hulk is a beast, Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch are lovely, and the list goes on. I have to say one of my favourite moments was seeing Iron Man, Thor and Vision are striking Ultron down together, it was pure badassery. Though, I believe the slow motion battle sequence where the Avengers defend that one spot against the Ultron drones has to be the best in the entire film. The way it is crafted is done with such care, style, beauty and it is pure fan service to the fans.

What Didn’t Work/What Could Have Been Improved

A Bit Too Much Going On

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I think this has been the main point/problem with Avengers: Age of Ultron, that there is just a bit too much going on. I have to say on your first viewing the film it can be a bit overwhelming. There are a great deal of plots to follow with the Twins, Ultron, Ulysses Klaw and the Vibranium, Black Widow and Bruce Banner’s relationship, Thor’s quest to learn about the Infinity Stones, the creation of Vision, etc… It can be a bit much and since there will be specific stories you get invested in you will either end up get engaged only to switch to something else or get stuck with something that doesn’t interest you or have a piece of story that feels like it detracts from the main narrative. While Joss Whedon did well to balance out all this ambitious amount stories and didn’t make a complete mess of things like Spider-Man 3, Iron Man 2 or The Amazing Spider-Man, the film has clearly suffered from an oversized plot which needed to be much more straightforward. If certain characters were removed and things were streamlined then the film would have flowed a lot better, though personally I wouldn’t know what to take out because I liked everything for the most part.

Time Devoted to the Twins

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I really liked the inclusion of Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch, they added a lot of interesting elements to the film with their powers, close sibling relationship and their reasoning for joining Ultron and then later converting to the side of the Avengers. That being said at the same time, if handled differently they could have been removed and it would have given more screen time to other characters or helped streamline the plot. It kind of feels like they’re around just to show off their powers and eventually join the other heroes. I wish there had been more screen time given to their characters to see more of their close bond, maybe see flashbacks when they were children or when they were being experimented on by Strucker or using their powers for the first time. Just small things like that would have helped.

Ultron’s Evolution

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With Ultron I was hoping to see more of how he came into being, saw the world, grew to see its problems and then decide that things needed to change and turn evil. The jump from his creation to him having a plan to take out the Avengers and make humanity evolve or be destroyed was pretty damn quick and I believe a little more time spent with him, giving him some more development and screen time would have done wonders. Also I wanted to mention his physical transformation, I was hoping to see more of a gradual transformation and more bodies, maybe even see him take one body and get morphed/upgraded in a machine, but no, we go from one body to the next pretty swiftly which was a little disheartening.

Action Sequences

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As much as I loved the action in this film which was gorgeous and kick ass, at the same time this time it felt like it had a little less “wow” factor to it. I’m not the only one to say this, some other have mentioned that the action this time round, while really good, there wasn’t as many memorable scenes/sequences as the first Avengers or like Winter Soldier where there was a lot of cool hand to hand combat which blew my mind. And while the action is usually very clean, wonderfully framed and pretty, the CGI looked a little inconsistent, some of the action was done with a few too many quick cuts and sometimes the shots seemed a bit too zoomed in, but that’s nitpicking for sure.

Repetition From Avengers

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One of the other major complaints that’s come from this film is that it rehashes a lot of elements from the last film, mainly the final act where the Avengers go up against a villain with an army. Just switch the Chitauri with robots and the final fight is almost exactly the same. I give this film credit for raising the stakes and creating a more life-threatening situation with Ultron taking a piece of the earth and using it like a meteor to crush the rest of the world below. But besides that it is essentially the Avengers, trying to save civilians and fighting an army.

No Big Continuity Related to Iron Man 3 and Thor 2

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I think this was something that a good few fans and critics brought up around the time the film was released early to the press and here in the UK. Winter Soldier is clearly the most referenced film in Phase Two with its use of Falcon, the mentions of the hunt for Bucky and Baron Strucker saying he worked for S.H.I.E.L.D. when Cap said he worked for Hydra. But beyond that Iron Man 3 continuity feels non-existent, besides having Rhodey around, there is nothing to be found about the film, no mention of Tony’s anxiety attacks or why he started building suits again after he blew most of them up and had no lab to work in. And Thor’s last film feels invisible, besides seeing the Aether in his vision and a mentioning of Jane and the convergence, his film feels like it has had little consequence going ahead in this film.

Other Notable Points

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There are just a few other things I wanted to mention like:

  1. Baron Von Strucker: When I saw Strucker at the end of Winter Soldier I thought he would have a substantial role in this film, and while he was fine and the same time I thought he was incredibly underutilized and could have been featured more many in some flashbacks or addition scenes with the twins.
  2. Doing More With Scarlet Witches Visions: Besides what was done with Tony Stark and Black Widow, the other members of the team members’ visions weren’t that damaging or extreme. Widow relived the dark days of her past and Stark saw his worst fear, those scenes were handled well. But I wish we’d seen a little more and done things that were psychologically more damaging for the team.

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In conclusion Avengers: Age of Ultron is a bloody good follow-up to avengers and while it didn’t turn out like a lot of people had hoped, when you think about it could have turned out a lot worse. The first Avengers film came out at a time when comic book films were really starting to become a big deal, but they were not as frequent or as popular as they are now. The MCU was also very different too, The Avengers was the first of its kind as since then, the world has expanded and there is more characters populating it, and since the MCU is all connected there is a certain expectation from the fans to see how one film affects another. Age of Ultron does suffer from being part of a larger world and with the multiple plot points things can get a little messy. That being said, again this film is still a good time, it is hilarious, action-packed, full of fan service and character development and the most important fact is that it is fun. The film is entertaining and at the end of the day that is all you need a film to be right?

So what did you think of Avengers: Age of Ultron? Is it the film you hoped for or not? And do you agree with any of my points or not? Whatever your thoughts are be sure to leave them below and I’ll see ya on the next blog post yo! 😀

 
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Posted by on May 5, 2015 in Film Reviews, Films, Media, Reviews

 

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Avengers: Age of Ultron Review (NO SPOILERS)

Howdy ladies and gents, time to talk the film I’ve been waiting to see for AGES, this is big one, my most anticipated film of 2015, of course I’m talking about Avengers: Age of Ultron. If you’ve read this blog you know that: 1) I’m a big fan of Marvel and 2) That I REALLY loved The Avengers back in 2012, so the wait for this film has been super painful to endure, but luckily I got to see it yesterday in IMAX and I am ready to pass judgement. So please, sit back, chill out and read my non-spoiler review.

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So plot for this film can be summarised as the following:

“When Tony Stark tries to jumpstart a dormant peacekeeping program, things go awry and The Avengers 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 team to stop him from enacting his terrible plans, and soon uneasy alliances and unexpected action pave the way for a global adventure.”

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Now I will say that this film is not without some problems and potential nitpicks, but the good totally outweighs the bad and it really is about personal preference. Your experience and enjoyment of this film will be dependent on you as the viewer and what you choose to take away from the film. With that being said I would like to talk about what I liked about the plot.

I thought the plot overall was very enjoyable. The film that deals with cause and effect, the corruption of artificial intelligence, tampering with unknown power, dealing with one’s insecurities and the bonds between people, and it is all handled in a very dark, twisted, humourous and human way. For those worrying that the film would be too dark, be at ease as there is plenty of humour in this film and balances out perfectly with the more serious aspects of the story too. In addition to that this film is full of fan service, it pretty much gives you more of the same but with new, exciting and different scenarios. There was a very global scale to this film as the Avengers travelled to different parts of the world together and individually to find answers, stop the bad guys and save the world, it just makes the stakes feel higher and let you know that this is not an isolated incident and involves the lives of many people across the world. Another thing I appreciated about the film was the use of other characters from previous films crossing over into this one, it is not only great for fans to see these characters acknowledged again beyond the solo films, but it also gives a better sense of cohesion and continuity in this cinematic universe. I won’t say who shows up but needless to say the use of certain characters is definitely humourous and satisfying. So is there anything I didn’t like, well yes there was. This film had a lot going on with the numerous plot lines taking place and while for he most part it was executed well, I feel like some of them could have been handled better or been cut out entirely, plus I do miss the streamlined stories of some of the previous MCU films too. And there is an argument to be made that this film rehashed a few elements from the last Avengers film too, but in the grand scheme of things this will be stuff that only fanboys and harsh critics will pick up on.

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As for the cast they are all very good and what I loved so much is that with the extra layers given to them thanks to the script, we get to see more sides to them, and learn more about their personalities and see them interact.

Let’s start with Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark/Iron Man, RDJ is still awesome and does well in this role. It’s like Joss Whedon found a way to bring back the funny and cocky aspects of the character, while also continuing to mature him and see how he feels responsible for the team and the world, and show how his insecurities bring about the dangers that follow. Chris Evans is great as Steve Rogers/Captain America, this time round Cap is more settled into present times, he’s focused and has that leader-like quality about him. It was nice to see his character evolve and grow a bit more, and when him and Tony butted heads, it was great. Evans and RDJ have such good on-screen chemistry. Chris Hemsworth as Thor was awesome, I’ve always loved this character and in this film they’ve given him his best material since the last Avengers film, here he is funny, awkward and totally badass. We discover more secrets about him, also see him battle in the most coolest way in the MCU so far, and we also see that he has great banter/competition with Tony Stark.

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Mark Ruffalo is once again really good as Bruce Banner/Hulk. Banner is still just as witty and fun as he was in the last film, but he is definitely a little more on edge with his powers and troubled by what his future holds, as not only part of the team but also with personal relationships. It is also interesting to see how the Hulk was humanised quite well in this film and really makes me curious as to how they will handle him in a future solo film. Scarlett Johansson is still great as Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow, besides being absurdly gorgeous, this woman finds new ways to kick ass and look like a force to be reckoned with. But beyond that we learn more about her past, and see a more different side to her in regards to her relationship with Banner/Hulk. Ruffalo and Johansson have really good chemistry together. And Jeremy Renner as Clint Barton/Hawkeye was awesome! Anyone dissatisfied with the character’s treatment last time will be very happy with this film as Hawkeye gets a lot of love here as he’s more dominant in the action, story and humour, plus he has some of my favourite lines in the whole film.

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Now let’s talk about the new villain, Ultron played by James Spader. I thought Ultron was going to be super serious, but this film really did flesh him out and gave him more personality and human traits, it made him a little easier to relate to but also understand how his mind works. I loved how he could be totally calm and collected one moment and then freak out in another. Spader did quite well with this role and gave us the most memorable villain in the MCU since Loki. Then there’s the twins Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver played by Elizabeth Olsen and Aaron Johnson. I thought they were both really good, adding new flavours to the MCU and creating interesting situations for the Avengers to deal with. I bought the sibling-like nature and they worked well together and individually. Paul Bettany as  J.A.R.V.I.S. and Vision was really good. Bettany does well to transition from a computer AI program to a fleshed out humanoid character, it gives his performance some variation and I really liked how Vision was handled, the dude was really intriguing and cool. Olsen was wonderful as this creepy yet vulnerable individual with strange powers and Johnson was totally cool, cocky and aggressive as the overly protective sibling. I liked the depiction of their powers as they looked cool and lead to some really great action scenes. Samuel L. Jackson return as Nick Fury and does a nice job and Cobie Smulders as Maria Hill is just a good as I remember her being too. Oh and Andy Serkis was totally awesome as Ulysses Klaue offering a humourous, smart and devious supporting role. Thomas Kretschmann as Baron Wolfgang von Strucker was pretty good but I wish he had been used a lot more and lastly Don Cheadle as Colonel James Rhodes was awesome, I liked his interaction with the other team members and was glad to see that he had some good screen time.

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When it comes to the presentation it is pretty damn impressive. Visually this film has some of the best action to come of the MCU with awesome fight sequences, good CGI and comic book referenced material too. Whether it is the Avengers team fighting together or seeing Captain America go up against Ultron or seeing Quicksilver running around messing stuff up, it is all so cool and it is pure fan service for the fans as there are a good few moments that made me smile with glee thinking, “Yes, this is the Avengers I wanted to see in live action.” I will say that sometimes the action does get a bit too chaotic and some of the action is hard to follow either because it moves too fast or is zoomed in too close, but that’s nitpicking. And the soundtrack handled by Brian Tyler and Danny Elfman is awesome, I’m not sure if it quite outdoes the previous soundtrack by Alan Silvestri, but it does include parts of the themes from previous MCU films and has plenty of powerful, heroic and beautiful moments, plus they kept the Avengers theme intact and it still sounds gorgeous.

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In conclusion is Avengers: Age of Ultron pretty damn cool. While there are a few stumbles a long the way and there is some magic from the first film that arguably could not be recaptured this time round, make no mistake, this film gives fans what they want while delivering new and intriguing mysteries to be discovered. And at the end of the day the film is fun and when a film like this really entertains me there’s not much to complain about. 🙂

Rating: 8.5/10

So what did you think of Avengers: Age of Ultron? Do you feel this sequel leaves up to the hype or not? Also how do you think it more compares to not only the prequel but the other MCU films? Whatever your thoughts are be sure to leave them below and I’ll see ya on the next blog post yo! 😀

 
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Posted by on April 24, 2015 in Film Reviews, Films, Media, Reviews

 

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QUICK REVIEW: Avengers: Age of Ultron Trailer #3

Howdy ladies and gents, time for another film trailer review and I thought I would be waiting until tomorrow to review this one, but apparently the third trailer for Avengers: Age of Ultron dropped so I have to talk about it. So with a great first trailer was amazing and the second was decent, so what’s Marvel going to show that’ll outdo the last trailers? Well read on and find!

Check it out here:

So my thoughts are seeing this trailer? Well fuck me, seems like there is still more good stuff that Marvel haven’t shown us in these trailers and it’s awesome!

Now I’m not going to talk too much about this trailer because I have business elsewhere, but I will try and be as descriptive as possible.

This trailer shows off a lot of shots that’s been shown in previous trailers (which is good because too much new footage always takes away from the final film), though there was a heck of a lot more material like:

  • More Ultron dialogue
  • Scenes of the Avengers kicking ass
  • Extra snippets of Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch
  • Some of that trademark Marvel humour
  • VISION!

In a way there is a bit too much to talk about however I will try to touch upon things as a whole and what small things that stuck out to me. Well this trailer definitely continues to show of the epic scale of the film with all of the different locations and crazy action sequences which makes it feel like a bigger adventure than before. That being said there are a lot of character moments with people together whether it is Tony Stark and Steve Rogers or Black Widow and Bruce Banner or Ultron hanging with Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch, and believe those intimate moments will be pivotal to the drama and character development in this film.

In addition to that I knew that Ultron was going to wreck shop, but he really seems like he going to let the Avengers have it. He’s throwing his drones around to destroy the place and give our heroes grief, and while Loki had his army of Chitauri, Ultron and his posse look like they’re just here to end human existence. It is like Marvel’s version of Skynet taking over with an army of Terminators built of Vibranium (well, at least Ultron is).

But there are a lot of things to talk about with this trailer that grabbed my interest like:

  • SOMEONE LOOKS POSSESSED: This is a quick shot, but it looks like Scarlet Witch is controlling the mind of Black Widow. Looks super creepy, and I wonder what she’ll make Widow do. It also makes me wonder if this is the same kind of magic that makes Hulk fight Iron Man.
  • BANNER & ROMANOFF: Sticking with Black Widow, what’s going on between her and Bruce Banner? There has been a lot of talk about their relationship, and there have been hints in previous trailers, but this scene looks very intimate with them getting very close. That is kissing distance yo. Is there anything romantic involved?
  • YOU’RE TOO SLOW!: It is a quick shot, but there’s a scene where Quicksilver knocks Cap on his ass and it is awesome. It is interesting that when Quicksilver hits him it is in slow motion, but after Cap falls to the ground things return to normal. So this leads me to assume that there will be a combination of fast shots and slow mo ones?
  • THAT TRADEMARK HUMOUR: While the last few trailers have been mainly devoid of humour and more serious (with the exception of the first extended trailer), but here there is a few funny moments. Whether it is Widow telling Stark that he failed with the Ultron program or Thor egging on Ultron to throw more at them, only to have a million robots thrown at them with Cap saying “You had to ask?” This is some good stuff and I can’t wait for the humour again.
  • STARK & BANNER DISCUSS FAILURE & ULTRON: At one point we hear how Stark wanted to create a suit of armour around to world to protect it but failed and made something else. A crazy AI hellbent on destroying humanity.
  • FIGHTING AGAINST THE ODDS: The heroes fight pretty much a never-ending mass of robots, everyone is beating the crap out of the Ultron drones. Hulk is definitely throwing down and if you look you can see Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch fighting alongside the Avengers which is cool. What I like is the fact that the heroes are pushed into a corner and there are in a tight little circle where it is literally a “fight or die” situation.
  • VISION!: Sure you only see him for a hot second at the end of the trailer and he doesn’t say or do anything beyond opening his eyes, but man he looks cool and i can’t wait to see more.

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In conclusion the third trailer for Avengers: Age of Ultron is pretty damn sweet. So much new footage and fan service in this trailer that I’m getting giddy just thinking about it. My hype for this film is just at the peak of life and I need the film in my system now, just give it to me Marvel! 😛

So what do you think of this trailer for Avengers: Age of Ultron? Does it make you feel the hype more or less than before? Whatever your thoughts are be sure to leave them below and I’ll see ya on the next blog post yo! 😀

 
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Posted by on March 4, 2015 in Films, Media, Reviews

 

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Rewatching Films At The Cinema

Howdy ladies and gents of the internet, how are you all doing today? I just wanted to do a blog post on something that I like to do from time to time which is rewatching films in the cinema.

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There is something wonderful, fun and kind magical about watching a film on a projector in room full of other people who are sharing the same/different emotional responses. Most big film fans are all about this kind of thing. If you like a film a lot, then you’ll want to check it out again right? Multiple viewings of films in the cinema is something that people do for many reasons whether it is to show support for their favourite films or for bragging purposes or just because they’re obsessed.

I love getting the chance to a film more than once in the cinema, however it wasn’t always like that for me.

As a child to my mid/late teens, going to the cinema used to be reserved for special events like birthdays, major film releases or family outings (going with my dad and sister). So unless my dad was taking me or I was out with my friends, then the cinema was not a very regular thing. But all that changed in 2008. Now before that year I had watched a few films more than once in the cinema, but I never had the money or desire to see any of them more than twice… But then May of 2008 came around and I saw Iron Man, and honestly that film changed my world. Now I had seen many comic book films, but that film was the first film that seemed like a comic book come to life, but with a great sense of realism, like it could exist in our world. It was so much fun and that was the main factor that grabbed me. So I watched it two more times which made Iron Man the first film I saw three times. It was totally bizarre to me to be sitting in the cinema watched the film again for the third time, but that’s how obsessed I was with the film.

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Then after 2008 I ended up watching a good few films more than once on numerous occasions. In 2009 I ended up watching the J.J. Abrams Star Trek three times as well, that film really left impression on me, as a person who grew up seeing the different Star Trek incarnations on TV and seeing it become a more action-oriented sci-fi adventure, it was a surprise, a bloody delightful surprise. The following year was the major turning point for me as watching films started to become an addiction. The brilliant Toy Story 3 came out in the summer of 2010, and it made me shed manly time each time that I saw it during the final scene. I didn’t think I would cry the third time, but somehow that film was still able to get the better of me. But even more hardcore was my viewing experience came from watching Inception. Christopher Nolan was a director I had come to respect from his work on Batman Begins, The Dark Knight and Memento, so I was hyped for Inception, but the end result was so much more. The film had action, thriller and sci-fi elements all in one place with lovely execution and an amazing soundtrack. The film captured my soul and I watched it again, THREE MORE TIMES. People thought me insane for watching the film that many times, however, I loved the film that much I just had to see it again (that it took me three times to fully understand the film lol).

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From there I took things one step beyond. From 2011-2013 I ended up seeing a lot of films on three occasions Rise of the Planet of the Apes, The Dark Knight Rises (that may have been four times) and Man of Steel (though that was accidental), and in 2012 I saw The Avengers four times (much love for Marvel Studios as you may be able to tell). But my biggest repeat viewing comes from 2011 when I saw Thor, FIVE TIMES! Now that may seem quite absurd considering that it is one of the lesser liked films of the MCU and because there are better films that I’ve listed beforehand, however, I do love Thor, but seeing it in the cinema that many times was accidental. I saw it with my friends, then once again with my sister, then with another friend, then with my family and then finally with my uncle. It was just a case of going with the flow which resulted in a lot of time with the god of thunder, but it was hella fun so I’m not complaining.

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So why did I make this blog post? Well I just wanted to share with you some of my crazier cinematic adventures and show you how much I love going to the cinema. Now as you may have noticed a lot of those films happen to be superhero-based and that’s mainly due to the fact that they’ve proven to be the most entertaining and rewarding experiences for me. That and films of the sci-fi genre too. I can easily say that without my Cineworld Unlimited Card I would not have seen as many films as I have over the last six years. Getting to see good films in the cinema more than once is a good feeling and I’m looking forward to 2015’s future films like Avengers 2, Star Wars, Spectre and Mad Max 4 to name a few.

So do you like to rewatch films in the cinema and if so what’s the most amount of times you’ve seen a film in the cinema? Please let me know in the comments below and I’ll see ya on the next blog post, laters! 🙂

 
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Posted by on February 26, 2015 in Films, Life, Media

 

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Avengers: Age of Ultron Trailer #2 Quick Review

Howdy ladies and gents, time to talk the big trailer that dropped on the internet last night, the trailer in question is second one for Avengers: Age of Ultron. Now the first trailer was amazing! and I think it is safe to say that most people, especially the fans, lost their minds. So with this next trailer coming out, the hype was building pretty high for sure. So how does this trailer fare? Read on and find out.

Check it out here:

So my thoughts are seeing this trailer? It goes a little something like this: “Nice, I want this film to come faster.”

To be honest this trailer didn’t blow me away, however,  it did have some stellar moments of action and it did give me a little more to speculate about and I know that I want to see this film just a little more than before.

So what happened in the trailer? Well it was primarily a lot of the same stuff we saw in the teaser. Stuff like:

  • Ultron’s first appearance all mashed up and broken in Stark Tower
  • Ultron’s drones flying around
  • Thor grabbing Tony Stark by the throat
  • Hulk and Black Widow touching hands

You know stuff like that. But we do learn some new details from some minor details in certain individual scenes. So firstly we hear that Stark believes that the world needs more than just the Avengers, and because of that mindset I feel like that is the reason why he creates Ultron. Also when Ultron makes his appearance in front of the Avengers crew some of his drones fly out afterward. Then there’s other nice little moments like seeing Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch very close together or seeing Bruce Banner’s eyes turn green in a room alone or the moment that stands out is the one woman in that cave alone. Some have speculated that this is linked to the moment in the last trailer where Thor is in that pool of water in the cave alone and some have also said that this woman in question could be Shuri, sister of Black Panther or a more far-fetched person Hela, goddess of death (because of the connection to Asgard). You also have Thor saying that Stark is messing with things out of his control, a short of a possibly younger Black Widow, an operating desk, Iron Man dropping in getting ready to start some action and Hulk attacking the police.

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Other cool things involves Andy Serkis with a gun, Captain America going up against one of Ultron’s drones, Thor being electrocuted and Ultron shooting some crazy red beam of death. And then of course there’s Iron Man’s Hulkbuster going up against Hulk and it looks amazing. This fight seems like it is going to be rough as hell. Tony doesn’t seem to be holding back as he smashes Hulk’s head through the ground, but Hulk aint holding back either as he hits pretty hard as well. The one that gets me curious is the fact that the area around Hulk’s eyes look red which makes me wonder if he’s just hurt or if he’s under mind control by someone like Ultron or Scarlett Witch (like people have theorized online already).

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The best thing about this trailer is that it did not show too much and that is the key factor. Too often these days film studios feel the need to through everything into their film trailers and by the time you see the film there is nothing left to show. Some people love to see a lot in trailers, but there are some (me included) that likes trailers to leave a little to the imagination and find out what happens in the full film, this Avengers trailer has done well.

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In conclusion the second trailer for Avengers: Age of Ultron basically just builds on the foundation of what we saw in the teaser trailer and while it doesn’t show much new or outdo the last trailer, it does badass Hulkbuster Vs. Hulk action and a few new interesting shots that will cause speculation within the fan community. I’m still hyped for this film and I want the next few months to speed up, NOW!

So what do you think of the teaser trailer for Avengers: Age of Ultron? Does it make you feel the hype more or less than before? Whatever your thoughts are be sure to leave them below and I’ll see ya on the next blog post yo! 😀

 
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Posted by on January 13, 2015 in Films, Media, Reviews

 

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