Friday's post). It was also more of what you liked from the first Avengers film, introducing several new characters, and moving the larger Marvel movies arc forward while also telling a complete story. If we're talking weaknesses, they lie in the former. I found the Infinity War stuff mostly intrusive and am already sick of the infinity gems showing up and getting their flash-tos every "episode". Probably because I have no love for, or interest in, the original Gauntlet stories. The time spent on that would have been used to buff up Ultron's characterization, as I don't think his Oedipal complex or screwy apocalyptic logic were set up very well. Murderbot shows up, is crazy, destroys stuff. Obviously, there's a lot more to it, but it sometimes felt like there were missing scenes where Ultron came to certain realizations. I'm also a little disappointed at how they changed (read: made generic) the Scarlet Witch's powers, but I understand it. The movie does a lot of things very well, however. Joss Whedon seems to understand the comic book format very well, and adapts not just the characters and story to the big screen, but the source medium's quirks as well. He knows how to isolate action moments, as if they were in separate panels. He uses slow motion to create living tableaux, or "splash pages". And he understands what made Marvel great, i.e. the mix of epic and mundane - of big super-powered fights and quiet character moments - the angst of the reformed monsters trying to do the right thing, and the sheer joy of working within a shared universe (there are a LOT of cameos and guest-stars in this one). And he understands how team books work. The focus is definitely on the Avengers who don't have their own movies, with Hawkeye finally coming across as a real person (and though his back story is entirely different, as an echo of the character I love from the comics). Whedon obviously brings his patented writing technique to bear, a technique best expressed by Quicksilver's quip "You didn't see that coming?", which usually manages to surprise, shock and/or delight. Especially important for old dogs like me who know where things are going because they know their comics lore. And of course, it looks awesome.
A month ago, at the improv qualifiers, I smoked my good friend Torn at a Doctor Who trivia challenge. We both knew it wouldn't be a fair fight, so I'm not really boasting about the 16 to 1 victory. As part of the stunt, Torn ended the geek-off with another challenge - that he could beat me fair and square at STAR TREK trivia, and that we would square off during the provincial improv tournament. That was last weekend, and after the all-stars match which we both coached, we met in the cafeteria before a small group of curious onlookers, and did just that. We used the old Starfleet Academy Entrance Exams from 1996, and I'd made cards with categories on them matched to each chapter. Our quizmaster Miguel read out the questions, our only choice whether we wanted one from TOS or one from TNG. Now, Torn is the guy who owns a Starfleet uniform and has a van with NCC-1701 written on the side, but have you READ the first three years of this blog? He may be a super-fan, but I've just got a head for trivia. 8-1 sucka! I shan't need to prove myself this way again, I hope.