From Inhumans #14
Art by KrisRs - online web page
Avengers Age of Ultron at $626 Million
But falls short of first film box office opening
In three days Age of Ultron has rocketed to a $626,656,000 worldwide gross - only The Avengers, Furious 7, Harry Potter & the Half-blood Prince and Harry Potter Ghostly Hallows Part 2 have had a better worldwide opening.
The sequel to the $1.518 billion earning The Avengers from 2012 has opened with a fantastic $187.7 million in the USA, which is the second-best opening in the domestic market ever, but falls short of the first film's $207 million dollar domestic opening weekend record, which is ranked number one for any films opening in the USA market.
Let's complain about Avengers: Age of Ultron
It repeats too much of the first film
Joss Whedon's sequel to his record-breaking first film The Avengers is a solid, well-packaged superhero film. However, the story is strained in places and hard to follow in other places for those not already familiar with the comic book storylines and characters.
Suffering from the over packed feel of too many major characters taking up screen time, the movie is also hurt by being an obvious vehicle to ease the transition from an Iron-Man dominated Avengers into a different group for the inevitable Avengers III. For example, at the end Whedon seems to wipe the board clean by having Stark sort've announcing a retirement, Thor flying away with other matters on his mind, and Hulk secretly escaping, guilty and worried because Bruce Banner now has to face off against the infatuation of Black Widow (Scarlet Johansson) and her ability to freak him out by touching his hand.
A bigger complaint are the repetitions from the first film. Instead of the galactic army sweeping down from a hole in the sky to attack the Avengers, there is a sameness of Ultron's robotic armies that swarm over a floating city to attack the Avengers. The man-to-man street fighting repeats the chaotic visual activity from the first film, and there is the deja vu of seeing some of the same superhero moves repeated onscreen, such as Tony Stark once again lifting a damaged airship, Hawkeye's endless arrow supply and his jamming an arrow into the forehead of an invader in an identical fashion as was seen in Avengers I.
These are minor things but they add up to the realization that in too many places you're being sold the same screen writing and directing all over again, patched in from the first film, and quite possibly present only because film companies so often pursue the idea that a sequel should just repeat the big-hit first film, except on a bigger and more spectacular scale. Whedon is not-performing a head-fake like that in Age of Ultron, as there is a legitimate effort to explore the ramifications of Stark's peace-keeping technology and how it can all go completely wrong (and produce one of the film's best items, James Spader's Ultron, powered by a self-aware artificial intelligence that decides that the best way to save the earth is to replace the inhabitants.)
Finally there's the final observation, which isn't a complaint, that the same undercurrent of paranoia in Age of Ultron is consistent with other Marvel superhero films. Probably a reflection of the times, much like adventure and spy films of the 1970s reflected the malaise and cynicism of that era.
In Praise of the Avengers Age of Ultron
Whedon delivers respectable follow-up to the first film
The special effects are state of the art and so is the superhero dramatics. Bruce Banner and Black Widow strike up an interesting demi-romance, and Hawkeye is explored in a way that reveals his secret life of rural living and this intrigues Tony Stark and sends him into ruminations about the completely absent Pepper Potts and what kind of future they might have if he takes off the Iron-man suit.
Whedon is not exactly cutting a new slice of cake here, as sudden retreats into the country are standard thriller-movie (especially spy movie) fodder and a way to drop the tension, pull the hero out of the technological threats of the modern world so that it can be upped again shortly thereafter.
This works perfectly well for Whedon's tale as does all the other plot machinery which seems to always keep the Avengers no more than a scant five minutes way from the next fight.
The fighting is inevitable because Ultron, a Tony Stark creation by way of Jarvis and a mothballed AI technology project, becomes a self-analyzing Frankenstein monster that can replicate himself and use internet networks to stay one step ahead of Earth's Mightiest Heroes. James Spader's Ultron isn't mindlessly bent upon standard super villain quest for destruction, but rather to fix all of earth's problems with a master-solution: destroy the people and force what's left to evolve into something worthy of approval (whether that means Ultron's approval or Disney/Marvel's is the unknown question).
Quick-paced and chock-full of the trademark Marvel wise-cracking, Whedon pushes out a little bit of space to introduce Quicksilver and Scarlett Witch and lets the situation with Ultron provide more background to fill in their back story. The Vision is also thrown into the mix and plays a crucial role.
The tale is punctuated with sections of exhilarating superhero violence (the kind with gigantic powers but little actual bloodshed) and since the main villains are non-human robots, the heroes can beat them to pieces with the same abandon used on the alien invaders from Avengers I. It's not a video game catharsis of killing zombies, but it's not that far removed.
Whedon has made a solid superhero movie and an essential chapter in the Disney/Marvel exploding catalog of cinema of comic book films.
Art by by Mike Deodato - Colors by Mauricio Zani Zago
Mike Allred Pinball Vision & Doc Doom
House of M - 2 of 8
Frank Cho Savage Wolverine #5
A League of One - Wonder Woman
From the Graphic novel by Christopher Moeller
More Wonder Woman
John Byrne X-Men Portfolio Wolverine
More John Byrne
Asterix - Bill Sienkiewicz
More Bill Sienkiewicz
Convergence: Justice League #1
Simon Bisley - Batman
Frank Cho - Wolverine
More Frank Cho
Jim Lee art - Batman 2001
Barbie - Amanda Conner 1995
Barbie #59, November 1995, cover by Amanda Conner and Jeff Albrecht
Veronica as Wonder Woman
Dan Parent artwork
Art by Francesco Francavilla
Art by Alejandro Xermanico
"The choices they have made with the next two movies basically puts the entire fate of the DC Comics Cinematic Universe (DCCU) in the hands of its next two films."
Online article at Forbes Magazine
"I won’t regurgitate the whole Hollywood Reporter piece that dropped yesterday morning that discussed some behind-the-scenes gossip about the overall state of the DC Comics franchise, but the crux of it is that the DC Comics ship isn’t exactly sailing smoothly. The films on the horizon aren’t as explicitly unified as the Marvel films have been up to this point, with no singular voice (such as Marvel’s Kevin Feige) guiding the ship and thus a lot of initial chaos with screenplays being tossed on a whim and competing writers for the same movie. The alleged good news is that the films being planned are allegedly (accidentally?) more filmmaker-controlled as opposed to producer-controlled. With the caveat that we haven’t seen any of these DC films outside of Man Of Steel and I have no idea if the likes of Suicide Squad or Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice will be any good (and the stuff we’re hearing about Wonder Woman is head-smashingly depressing), it is not necessarily a bad thing that Warner Bros./Time Warner Entertainment is going about their superhero universe at least a little bit differently than the Walt Disney/Marvel one. But it should also be noted that their strategy carries a higher degree of immediate risk as well as immediate reward. The choices they have made with the next two movies basically puts the entire fate of the DC Comics Cinematic Universe (DCCU) in the hands of its next two films."
"Superman vs. Batman? DC's Real Battle Is How to Create Its Superhero Universe"
Article at Hollywood Reporter on the developing momentum of the DCU movies:
"...with the stakes very high, Wall Street and Hollywood are asking: Can all the cooks in the studio's kitchen create films featuring Batman, Wonder Woman and even Aquaman and the Flash to rival the nearly $7 billion in global box office Disney's Marvel Studios has generated from nine films since 2008, including Iron Man, Thor and Guardians of the Galaxy? Plus, the May 1 release of Avengers: Age of Ultron is sure to bring in another $1 billion."
Frank Brunner cover - Red Sonja #13
George Perez - Wonder Woman and Power Girl
Splash page art to Brave and the Bold #7
Wonder Woman Secret Origins #6
Terry Dodson art - Poison Ivy & Harley Quinn
"Never Bug A Giant!"
Art by Don Heck. More Don Heck
Art by Andy Brase - online art page
Sensation Comics #12
Wonder Woman Sensation Comics #12 Cover art by Emanuela Lupacchino
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