2015 in Movies

I saw a few movies in 2015, though I’m quickly running out of time to review them before the end of the year. My solution? Review all the movies I saw in 2015 in Tweet-sized reviews. 140 characters or less.

  1. Age of Ultron
    Vastly underwhelming sequel with the same plot as the original that left me feeling like I would never see another Marvel movie. 2/5
  2. Black Mass
    A movie with fantastic actors yet a pretty terrible plot. Should’ve been an hour longer because I think they forgot an ending. 3/5
  3. Furious 7
    I’m not ashamed to admit that this dumb movie about cars falling from the sky and bromance, made me cry in the theatres. 4/5
  4. Inside Out
    This movie sets out to do something more complex than any other Pixar movie. Eh plot. It mostly works, even if it’s not my favorite. 4/5
  5. Irrational Man
    I’m a sucker for Joaquin Phoenix and Emma Stone. This movie is up my alley, dark humor, romance, philosophy, poison. 4/5
  6. Jurassic World
    Oh my god. This movie was fun. Silly, stupid, turn off your brain fun. I clapped during the middle of the movie, that’s how fun it is. 5/5
  7. Mad Max: Fury Road
    Mad Max is probably my top movie for the year. Furiosa is probably my second favorite character of the year. What a lovely day. 5/5
  8. Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation
    Tom Cruise movies are still a lot of fun to watch. Somehow the Mission Impossible franchise is still stylish, clever, fun every time. 4/5
  9. Spectre
    A disappointing final film for Daniel Craig’s 007. It’s a weird movie. Not full camp, but can’t take it seriously. Worst use of Waltz. 3/5
  10. The Martian
    Over-the-top pop science flick. Matt Damon’s perfect as cocky scientist who we mostly view in solitude. Really funny too. 4/5
  11. Trumbo
    Opposite problem than Black Mass. Great story, really interesting biopic, but Bryan Cranston is the only one who appears to care. 3/5
  12. Star Wars: The Force Awakens
    Easily in Top 3 Star Wars movies. Dumb, retro plot structure, but Rey, Finn, and Poe are so great it hardly matters. Star Wars is back. 5/5
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Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015)

I’m glad I saw the second Avengers movie, but I also feel like I’ve seen my last Marvel comic-book-movie. Superhero fatigue is a very real thing for me; for most franchises there is an end in sight, yet the superhero movie genre is a wheel that seems to keep on spinning. Toby Maguire will be Spiderman for three movies, Andrew Garfield will be Spiderman for two movies, and somebody else will be Spiderman in the Avengers and countless movies beyond—the Spiderman wheels will keep on spinning, and it only ends when you hop off that ride. If Avengers: Age of Ultron  (AOU) is the last superhero ride I take, I’ll be okay with that.

See, AOU is a very middling experience. Its highs remind me why I see comic-book-movies. When a Marvel movie is good, it makes you laugh, it makes you want to cheer, things feel right, and you leave the movie theatre—not just satisfied—but ready to watch again. However, the lows of AOU remind me why I stayed home for the Captain America and Thor sequels. Yes, it’s partially superhero fatigue, but beyond that AOU gives me this feeling of “I’ve seen this before,” so the movie is fatiguing in its own right.

There are a few things that feel outright insulting, like how the second Avengers movie ends in the exact same way as the first. The Chitauri and the endless hordes of Ultron-bots presented the same amount of challenge in each of the film’s climaxes. It’s basically a videogame. There aren’t stakes per se, or any hint of tension, the waves of robots just keep coming and each of the Avengers will do what they do to endless hordes. Cap will throw his shield, Natasha will use her guns, Thor his hammer, and Ironman will use those damn hand-cannons that I can’t stand anymore (I swear, I’m so done with their high-pitched whines). Black Widow being turned into Bruce Banner’s love interest and basically, a tool to calm down the Hulk; I mean what happened there? In the last Avengers movie she had things under control and kicked ass—in this movie she says “Beep beep” out loud while driving a motorcycle, has to be rescued from a cage by Bruce Banner, and has a crisis about her inability to have children. All the while, I’m just never that excited by what’s going down in AOU.

The movie is called Age of Ultron, but if I had to guess, I think Ultron lives for all of two or three weeks tops—less an era and more like a flash-pan-reign. Ultron, while a screen-stealing villain, was never defined well enough for me too care that much about him. Stark and Banner invent him via montage, he’s born, and he’s immediately evil and I never, ever understood his motivations other than “I will not allow myself to be Tony Stark’s puppet.” He’s not that interesting, and in the end, not that frightening—he turns into a character who sees the Hulk coming to kill him and says “Oh, come on!” The same character that’s threating to wipe out humanity should not also be comic relief; it makes the threat feel empty.

In the end, I guess I can sum up my feelings like this: I’m glad I saw AOU, as one final Avengers romp, but if I had cut myself off after the first Avengers, I think I would have been a happier person. Instead I came along for one last ride in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and while it was fun at times, it was mostly bumpy.