First things first, there is an awful lot of damned punctuation in that headline.
Secondly, yes, I know I said Lethal Weapon 2 was going to be the debut title for this thing, but then the MCU gave me a blockbuster sequel that fit the criteria so here we are.
What's the criteria you may ask?
First Among Sequels will look exclusively at "first" sequels or 2's.
And while Avengers: Age of Ultron stretches this criteria to the breaking point, it is technically the second movie in the Avengers franchise.
So here we are.
We've discussed ad nauseum the effect Avengers 181 had on me as a wee Geek. It was the title that set me on the patch of collectordom. It made me an Avengers collector for 15 years. Good or bad, I read the adventures of Earth's Mightiest each month.
Essentially Avengers 181 made me the target market for the MCU.
So, with the wife and kids in tow, I headed out on Sunday to see the next chapter.
What a chapter.
We get Ultron, Scarlet Witch, Quicksilver and the Vision.
We get Hawkeye's family.
We get a Banner/Black Widow romance.
We get Falcon, War Machine, Fury, Hill, Hulkbuster Armor, a reference to Black Panther and a Helicarrier.
Hell, we even got Heimdall.
So, did we get a great movie?
Did we get a good movie?
Over the course of ten (10!!) movies and a couple of TV shows, we've had time to get to know these characters and their universe. We've also had time to develop specific expectations for these movies.
Age of Ultron seems to suffer a bit under the weight of the MCU. It's a fun Avengers movie, but the required table setting and/or Easter egg planting can be a bit jarring.
Fury shows up, once on his own and once with a Helicarrier. Isn't everyone supposed to think he's dead?
Agents of SHIELD (periods be damned) has done a lot of the heavy lifting for the MCU's goal of replacing mutants with Inhumans. That work begins to bear fruit in Age of Ultron with the introduction of Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch. However, when the cavalry arrives, none of the Agents of SHIELD are onboard.
Not even The Cavalry.
The 11-year-old in me was so geeked to see Ultron and the Vision on the screen. So were my 11-year-old sons.
Paul Bettany was a perfect choice to play the Vision. He gave the character gravitas that he needs to serve as the soul of the team.
What can I say about James Spader's Ultron? It was James Spader's Ultron. I enjoyed it immensely. Ultron's voice was never Spader's in my head, but now that I've heard it, well, it is now.
And yes, there was a mid-credits stinger to set up Infinity War, but it wouldn't be an MCU movie if there wasn't, now would it.
Truth be told, I enjoyed Age of Ultron a lot. I didn't love it as much as the first Avengers movie, but it was a solid second chapter. I'm not even sure that its fair to compare the two movies. The Avengers was the first time we'd seen all of the heroes on the screen at the same time. It was a once in a lifetime moment.
You never forget your first time.
That doesn't mean the second time can be fun.
Age of Ultron is a lot of fun.
Assemble the family and go see it.