Today in Movie History: May 1

May has been the month of blockbusters since the 70s, as school lets out for the summer and Hollywood eagerly profits from budding young minds in need of watching stuff blow up. Memorial Day used to be the official start of blockbuster season, but that changed with 1999’s The Mummy, and summer creep has driven big releases up sooner and sooner. (*cough-cough* The Fate of the Furious...) Even so, you can usually find the year’s pacesetter in May, and lately the word “pacesetter” means Marvel.

We have a pair of them today,  neither of which is exceptional, but both of which demonstrate how far the comic-book giant has come since the dark days when David Hasselhoff played Nick Fury. The better of the two is Avengers: Age of Ultron, generally considered a second-tier MCU entry, but still brimming with great set pieces and a witty villain in James Spader’s titular robot. The weaker… well let’s just say that stand-alone Wolverine movies have taken a big step up from X-Men Origins: Wolverine, a hot mess of a picture held together by solid casting and some interesting concepts. Age of Ultron opened today in 2015, X-Men Origins: Wolverine opened today in 2009.

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