Avengers: Age of Ultron is as good as the first one, in my opinion. It's fast paced, funny, and feels like a rollercoaster ride, which I imagine is exactly what Joss Whedon was aiming for. For me as a fan of the other Marvel movies and the Agents of SHIELD series, there was enough continuity to keep me happy without confusing the hell out of people who aren't familiar with the MCU. One of the group I saw it with hadn't even seen the first Avengers movie and could follow it, even though Loki's glowstick of doom and those Hydra scunners are big parts of the plot. What was amazing was how like fanfiction it felt. You may remember when Firefly was playing, it struck some people as fanfiction-esque, kind of like how all the scenes on the ship were a bit like 'behind the scenes' on the Millennium Falcon, with all the cosy dinners in the kitchen and so forth. Well, some of the sub-plots and secrets and backstory in this film are like fanfiction for the Avengers series. And that's a good thing IMHO, although the backstory for Widow got on my nerves a little, which is as much as I can say without spoiling anyone. Age of Ultron lacks the shiny first time charm of the first Avengers movie, and the sheer darkness of Captain America: Winter Soldier (which is the best MCU film for my money, so far), plus it's obvious that it's the Empire Strikes Back of the Avengers series, in the sense that there's a lot of setting up for the future going on. Regardless of all that, it's great craic and a worthy sequel. A near-perfect popcorn movie.
A Little Chaos is good too, but not great. The story is a candied apple with the odd razor blade in it. It's about a bereaved gardener in pre-revolutionary France being hired to design a wild garden in Versailles. She's played by Kate Winslet and the director is Alan Rickman who also stars as the King. The costumes and sets are lovely, some of the acting is great which is not surprising considering the cast, and it's all very uplifting. But, oh my god, the script. If it were a story on AO3, I would be leaving feedback along the lines of 'Great story, but have you considered more showing and less telling?' Don't tell me how you're feeling about the other character, show me! The dialogue is so clunky in places that it honestly came across as though it was badly translated in parts. And the fact is that our heroine doesn't introduce much wildness into anything. I liked the film, don't get me wrong, but it needed to be more gritty to be better. Dangerous Liaisons and The Last of the Mohicans are much better films set in the same period. This one is worth seeing but not worth seeing twice.(This entry was originally posted at http://tehomet.dreamwidth.org/34611.html)