There’s still a huge misconception around comics and graphic novels. I didn’t grow up reading Marvel or DC but I spent a significant part of my childhood obsessing over anime so I know how it feels to be dismissed for a “childish” interest in watching “cartoons” all the time. I think movies have been doing a pretty good job at dispelling the myth to show that comics are just as capable of creating compelling story lines as traditional novels.
I was lucky enough to score tickets to the premiere of the latest Marvel film, Avengers: Age of Ultron. I’d been to one movie premiere in the past and it was for a horrible movie so I was a little skeptical as to what this would be like, even if it was The Avengers. We rocked up a little earlier than I would have liked but as it turns out a queue had already started forming to enter the area. On one end of the spectrum you had the big fans who had rocked up in costume or in Marvel themed items on clothing, on the other you had what I can only hazard to be celebrities of some kind dressed in evening gowns and tuxedos. I think there were a lot more regularly dressed people than either of those two groups so Robert and I blended in sufficiently. Getting inside now, there was free-flowing champagne and heaps of really cool replicas (?) of props of the film including:
Hulkbuster! We actually had to line up for this photo but luckily it didn’t take too long. Look how small I am! (Saying before you think it). I managed to stay away from any spoilers or hints about the plot of the movie, so I was definitely intrigued by this super upgrade of an Iron Man suit. I think it’s possibly one of the highly anticipated aspect of the film following the leak of the Hulkbuster vs Hulk clip.
There was even a game to represent the scene, where you had to go head-to-head with a friend to see who was stronger. Robert unfortunately didn’t let me win.
There was still some time left until the film which would kick off at 6 pm, but we decided to enter our cinema hall early to secure good seats. This is kind of where my visual documenting ended though because (obviously) we had to surrender all audio-visual recording equipment since the film isn’t out in many parts of the world yet, let alone Australia. We ended up getting some great middle row seats and to our surprise there was also complimentary popcorn and drinks! Not that it stopped us from getting another super large box of popcorn. As the movie was 3D we also got given some 3D glasses, slightly different to the nerdy Asian glasses you usually get.
Anyway, so I guess the big question is how was the movie? It was incredible, but I mean what did you expect? I actually think I preferred this one to the first movie. Not just because there were bigger and better explosions or more robots but because the tone was a lot darker and more serious. There’s some flashbacks and a good bit of looking into the past for most of the main characters which I think is useful for people like me who didn’t grow up reading Marvel. Maybe even for the non-avid fans too because the movie has deviated from the comics quite significantly. Ultimately, you get a really good feel for the characters despite there being an even bigger cast. The first Avengers movie felt a bit too slapstick for me, which isn’t to say this second one doesn’t have a number of funny dumb jokes either. You may have to watch some of the older Marvel movies though because I’d forgotten a lot of what had happened in the previous films and didn’t understand why [spoiler] [spoiler] [spoiler] happened.
I also really enjoyed the new casting particularly James Spader and Paul Bettany who voice Ultron and VIsion respectively. It was actually Robert who pointed it out, I’m not amazing at picking out voice actors but once it clicked it all kind of made sense. Apparently, James Spader (of Boston Legal and The Blacklist) gave such a compelling performance while shooting that it was hard for the other actors to focus on where they should be looking (well and truly above James Spader since Ultron is massive) because they couldn’t stop looking at him. I wish he did more mainstream films! Paul Bettany is a good fit too, I haven’t seen him since his albino monk Silas days or as a figment of Russell Crowe’s imagination in A Beautiful Mind.
There’s a pre-screening for the movie this evening I believe on top of the big midnight release. Do catch it, I can’t recommend Avengers: Age of Ultron enough. I think if people just give it a chance it’ll really resonate as an all-ages movie because I can truly imagine every family member of mine enjoying it, from my kid brothers who want to both be Iron Man, to my grandfather who probably remembers having to buy the comics for my dad.