Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015)

Avengers: Age of Ultron is, for better or worse, the culmination of Marvel Studios’ approach to commercial cinema. By this stage, their much-discussed directorial departures – Patty Jenkins from Thor: The Dark World, Edgar Wright from Ant-Man – and the homogeneity of their output make it clear that this is about as far from auteurist…

Scarlett Johansson in Lucy (2014)

Unpacking 2014’s Blockbusters

If you want to talk about the experience of the average moviegoer in 2014, you need to talk about blockbusters. Boyhood might be the recipient of cascades of praise from critics and award bodies alike at the moment, and stands a solid chance of picking up the Best Picture at the Academy Awards. And yet,…

Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)

Guardians of the Galaxy promises the kind of irreverent disdain for blockbuster norms that founded the Marvel Studios juggernaut, way back when they handed the reins to Mr. Favreau and Mr. Downey Jr. It features an unapologetically weird crew of intergalactic outlaws – green-skinned princesses and rocket-wielding raccoons – in an unapologetically weird universe mined…