Avengers: Age of Ultron, Yay! Ex Machina, Meh…

So, saw a few movies lately and haven’t reported in.

Seen Avengers: Age of Ultron three times now.  Yes, three.  Dork.  Nerd.  Yes.  But it’s pretty good.  Darker than the first and bearing the weight of the, I dunno, 20 or so Marvel movies down the line that it apparently needs to set up.  Lots more character development of the secondaries, like Black Widow and Hawkeye, which is nice.  Action is packed, Ultron is a baddie with all of Tony Stark’s character flaws…and then there’s the motherfuckin’ Vision.  One of my favorite, esoteric characters from my comic book childhood.  And really, really well done.

So, yeah, Avengers 2 rocked it.  Not quite as fun as the first, but a solid summer movie nonetheless.  Can’t wait for the whole thing to fall apart, which Whedon sets up nicely, in Captain America: Civil War, next summer.  Looks pretty terrific.  And I, for one, can’t wait for the slate of Marvel movies:  Ant-Man, Dr. Strange, Black Panther, Captain Marvel, The Inhumans.  Jeez.  My inner 10-year-old is on a sugar high!

Next, Deb and I saw Ex Machina the other day at the Tivoli, a great olde tyme theater on The Loop in St. Louis.  Big screen.  REAL frakkin’ butter on the popcorn.  Anyway, I’ve been intrigued with the premise of this movie for  while.  Eccentric techno-billionaire brings an employee to his secret, isolated home/research center after the employee wins a lottery.  Ostensibly to hang out with said eccentric techno-billionaire.  Ahhh, but all is not as it seems (is it ever?).

Eccentric techno-billionaire is working on artificial intelligence in the form of a female android and needs an objective person to test the AI to see if it passes the Turing Test–the test designed to see if an AI can pass for a human.  Anyhoo, the movie starts with a pretty trite premise, but I hoped it would spin it off into something different and interesting.

Nope.  It pretty much unfolds exactly as you’d think, and you can sort of see the entire movie spread before you in the first 15 minutes or so.  At the very end, though, it veers off in a drastically different direction, not one that you’d have guessed, but not one that exactly feels right, either.

All I can say is that the point of the movie seems to be that 1) people suck, 2) people who make artificial people suck, and 3) the artificial people made by people who suck also, indeed, suck.

Disappointing.  Really the best thing about the movie was listening to the people approach the box office for tickets and mangle, hysterically, pronouncing “Machina.”  Oi vey!


About John F.D. Taff

John F.D. Taff is a writer, published author, raconteur and wrangler of angry stoats. He has more than 80 short stories and 7 novels published. He lives in the great, unspoiled vastness of the Midwest. He has a tremendous wife named Debbie, three pugs, Sadie, Tovah and Muriel, and three great kids--Harry, Sam and Molly. View all posts by John F.D. Taff

4 responses to “Avengers: Age of Ultron, Yay! Ex Machina, Meh…

  • Jeanette A.

    I totally agree with you on Age of Ultron, I thought it was incredibly fun! Although I do disagree with you on Ex Machina. I thought, even thought the plot itself was a simple one, that the performances of the actors really made the humanity of the film shine. I’m right there with you on the ending. It was not the ending I wanted. It made sense, but it had no hopefulness to it and felt very unfulfilling.

  • John F.D. Taff

    Me, too. Not a huge Star Wars fan (Trek!), but it’d be nice to see a good one after the last three.

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