Avengers 2: Age of Ultron

Avengers: Age of Ultron – Official Final Trailer

In a matter of weeks Disney/Marvel is set to release another juggernaut on the world.  Ultron.  A movie that’s going to dominate the box office, internet chat, social media, and pretty much the world for most of the summer.  That’s right, Avengers: Age of Ultron, which opens May 1, 2015 is about to make mountains-o-cash for Disney and its shareholders.

I wasn’t a huge fan of the first Avengers.  It displayed a knack for action and destruction, but I found the plot line of Loki hiring aliens to do the dirty work of a god pretty weak.  But, I’ve made it quite clear over the years that I’m not even a mild fan of the genre.  That being said, I’ve enjoyed many superhero movies but it’s just not a genre I can really get into.  I thought Man of Steel was great . . . and I think I’m alone on that island because most comic fans absolutely hated it.  So that tells you how closely my comic tastes match with those who are really into the genre.

Not very closely.

Granted, this story line looks much more interesting to me than the Loki shenanigans, so maybe I’ll check it out.

© 2015-2020, Neal Ulen. All rights reserved.
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  1. The whole series tries to strike a balance between Thor and company as gods or as aliens. They’ve shifted them into the category of ‘beings mistaken for gods by primitive humanity.’ I find it more palatable than the comic series, which straight played Thor and his pantheon as divine.

    My anticipation of this new installment is for how it departs from the classic story of AI death machines. I contend that Star Trek’s Borg, Marvel’s Ultron, and many others, borrow heavily from Fred Saberhagen’s Berserker series. But Saberhagen’s stories were brilliant. Each one explored some different aspect of the relationship between sentient beings and the sentient automatons that technological, warring societies may be destined to create.

    To some extent, they also borrow from the recent (and inexplicable) fascination with zombies. While the consciousness of Ultron will have it’s own voice and it’s own visual, he will undoubtedly be accompanied by an army of high tech zombies.

    In that sense, I see Loki’s Army a little differently. The visuals were high tech zombies, each with their own flying jet ski. Their sounds were uncomplicated. No communication between them was displayed. They could fire weapons and engage in combat, but they were otherwise just zombies.

    Use of the zombie meme in a movie is cinematic cowardice.

    1. It’s interesting that in one post you ran the gamut from gods, to (super)heroes, to zombies. I have particular (and not so popular) opinions about the last two . . . that I shall avoid for now. 🙂 Suffice it to say that I don’t get the zombie movement either. I enjoy the Walking Dead, and that’s about it.

      My argument against the original Avengers is that Loki is a god, and the god of mischief. His depiction in the Thor movies is less a god of mischief, and more a god of emo. As if the writers are saying “Oh, that poor Loki is just misunderstood, let’s cut him a break when all is said and done.” Resorting to using an army of aliens (zombies per your interpretation) is hardly mischievous…and hardly diefic. The most interesting antagonists are of the ambiguous kind. I don’t find Loki that ambiguous, because his behavior is just shtick to veil his evil. That’s not particularly mischievous either. But it seems the writers thing the audience is too thick to figure that out.

      I prefer the interpretation of some superheroes as aliens, instead of gods or superheroes. This is why Man of Steel worked for me. Kal-El IS an alien (who happens to look exactly like a human I guess). There’s no getting around it, and Zack Snyder didn’t try to get around it.

      Yeah, I know I crossed the no-man’s land between Marvel and DC there.

      1. I can’t connect with the Walking Dead. I remember an episode of Frasier, where he tries to play a prank on a coworker, His dad predicts that it will fail because he just pranked Frasier, and, he shouts, “BECAUSE THERE’S NO SUCH THING AS ZOMBIES.” I keep hoping someone will shout that out to a gathering of screen writers.

        I think that Loki’s characterization is calculated to provide a foil for Thor and is directed at Thor’s particular character flaw. That is his naive loyalty to his father’s dream of Loki’s redemption. The root of that meme is derived from the Biblical story of the prodigal son.

        To play Loki straight would be to cast him as the Raven, the trickster of NW Native American tribal religions. His whole nature as a trickster is bound up in creation stories. But we don’t have those available to us in the Marvel universe. I think that they correctly showed him to be a character capable of concealing his deceptive nature. This gives them something to reveal over the life of the character, about all of them.

        I loved Hulks’s rag doll smack down in response to Loki’s rant of divinity. It played against Thor’s comments on the subject, “Where I come from magic and technology are one and the same.” A character made worthy of divinity by self sacrifice does not regard himself as a god. His evil foil boasts of his divinity while grabbing for power that he does not deserve.

        Within this context, Loki forges alliance that he knows are essential to defeat Thor and Asgard, and his Super Friends. (Where the no-man’s land borders on Hanna-Barbera World.) Without Thor’s naivete and Loki’s angst, there is no axis of story.

        I think the Zombie character is nothing more than a writer’s crutch which has somehow come to be fashionable among the Twittering smart phone users currently filling the theaters. It comes in cycles.

        Some psychologists have written on the topic of Nazi soldiers as manifestations of Zombies. More broadly defined, the Orcs and Goblins of the LotR qualify as well. The Manchurian candidate, Mummys, they’re all over the place.

        In fact, in Jewish mythology there was the legend of Gollum, a killer composed of earth and motivated by magic would rise up to take vengeance against oppressors of Jewish communities. Theories about the character include making use of the lore to cover retaliation by these communities. This may have been the earliest prototype of the Zombie character. JRR’s use of the name confirms Rabbinical writings among his source material.

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