My thoughts on what’s probably the years biggest movie so far. This is Avengers: Age of Ultron and there will be spoilers.
I’ll reiterate that I don’t really read comics and besides a few Spider-Man cartoons, almost all my Marvel knowledge comes from the movies. Let’s talk about the first Avengers since I never covered that before. I saw it on a whim as I wasn’t hyped for it. At the time I had only seen Iron Man so I missed a lot. There was some good comedy and the action. That said, I think it had a lot of problems and it wasn’t very well-executed. The action climax and helicarrier scenes felt way too long and I had a hard time believing these few characters could hold off the invasion. Yeah, I know they have a Hulk, but still. There was a lot of missed potential and lackluster parts all over. Still, I had fun with it but I acknowledge it’s a stupid comic movie. It was a big risk by the studio that paid off and now everybody wants to do it. It’s not something I can watch over and over again, but good first try.
I stayed as far away from trailers and spoilers as possible for Age of Ultron. I went in pretty fresh but someone I know stated it “sucked” so I went in hoping it wouldn’t. Unfortunately, I trust the guy and he was kind of right.
Film opens with a huge CGI-filled battle where the Avengers are trying to recover Loki’s staff from Hydra. Tony breaks in and sees that they have one of those whale things from the last Avengers.
He also sees that there’s a bunch of technology including inactive robots. Instead of destroying the place or taking all the stuff so it can’t fall under the wrong hands, he just leaves with the staff. And guess what? All this stuff ends up in the wrong hands…
I could be jumping the gun on this but the whole movie was Tony’s fault and not just for the above. I can attribute most of what he does to “because he’s Tony”. It’s within character but at the same time he doesn’t learn anything or face any consequences for his actions. Captain America: Civil War’s coming up so if that follows up on this, fine. Problem is that at the end of this film, he and Steve are talking like they’re cool so the war might be for something else.
As for character, that’s one of the stronger points of the film. Again, my knowledge of these guys come purely from these films and from what I can tell, the characters are for the most part consistent within this universe. Whenever they say something, it’s dialogue that I’d expect them to say. The better parts of this film mostly comes from the character interactions and dialogue. Nobody at my theater was “whooping” at any of the action but they did laugh at the comedic moments of which there are many. When they’re hanging out after the party, I could’ve watched two and a half hours of that. They’re fun characters and their interactions always make for a good time.
Going off characters, I’ll start with Ultron. The only good thing about him was James Spader’s performance. He was probably one of the better Marvel movie villains, but that’s not saying much. He’s still not a very compelling character. I’ve talked a little about the villains in other posts, mainly that they’re there to be bad and that’s it. There’s no reason or character depth for us to understand why they do what they do or if there is a reason it’s shallow and generic. Loki’s a favorite of mine because he’s a good character that’s fun to watch with understandable motivations. He’s a terrible villain though. Did he do anything in Avengers? He wasn’t even a threat. Hulk slams him into the floor and he’s absent for the rest of the action climax. Loki redeemed himself in Thor: The Dark World but probably because he wasn’t a villain in that. With Ultron, he has motivations but he’s missing character. They tried to play with the idea that he adopted Tony’s personality and is a warped version of him. That didn’t really come back at all nor was it used for anything but comic relief. I would think that it’d be him and Tony having a final showdown where they’d have a conversation and Tony learns something, but no. A lot of this movie has Ultron sitting on his butt. What a missed opportunity. Destroying the world to reset it is nothing new so his plan’s as generic as they come. It’s also very dated and there wasn’t anything new done to it.
Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver are here and I didn’t care about them either. I don’t even think their real names were mentioned more than once in passing much less their aliases. I question if they were even in the movie for more than 15 minutes not counting fight scenes. I saw X-Men: Days of Future Past and that Quicksilver scored a lot of points with people despite not being in it much. I wanted to see how Marvel Studios would top that and… they didn’t, at least not for me. Even if X-Men’s Quicksilver was written out for being overpowered, everyone remembers him. Nothing this Quicksilver did really went above and beyond. He’s a bit overconfident, protective of his sister, and snarky, but that’s it. I did hear some reactions like “Oh, no” in the theater when he died, but I didn’t care. What can you really say about the guy? I wouldn’t be surprised if he comes back because no good guy dies in this universe.
Not much to say about Scarlet Witch either. She doubts herself during the action climax but that felt tacked on because it’s not like she felt any risk when she messed with the Avengers’ minds. I liked that these two were victims of Stark Industries giving them a reason to hate Tony. Problem is that it’s completely dropped. I don’t think these two ever shared a single line of dialogue with Tony. This could’ve gone in an interesting direction, but nah. They just join the good guys because the plot needs them to. Scarlet Witch does tell Captain America “what would Tony do” when they recover the stasis pod with Vision’s body in it, but how does she know him so well? And how would she know based on what Ultron thinks that he’s a crazier Tony? I don’t mind seeing more of her if they can expand on the character but there wasn’t much here.
Vision… I can barely talk about him. It’s nice to see Jarvis’ actor in the flesh but besides him holding and wielding Thor’s hammer, so? He only shows up right before the action climax to prove that Tony was right all along. We’re definitely going to see more of this guy so perhaps I’ll have more to say later.
Apparently Black Widow has a thing for Hulk which came out of nowhere. While they tried to tie it back to the first Avengers, seeing this made me feel like I missed a few movies. If he left with her instead of Tony at the end of Avengers, I’d buy it more. I think back to her interactions with Captain America in The Winter Soldier. It seemed like they became good friends over time and though he doubted her, we see him trust her by the end. That’s not romance to any degree, but it was built up very well due to the time they spent with each other. Didn’t feel that way here.
They gave a lot of focus to Hawkeye which was nice and not nice. It felt like a big apology for what little Hawkeye we got in the past. He got a lot of good lines and you get his perspective on his “normalness” compared to the other Avengers. It seemed like they were setting him up to die and I’m surprised he didn’t. I think they should’ve just killed him off. After all this new focus, I would’ve cared if Hawkeye died because he has the most to lose. His dying wouldn’t matter anyway because we all know he’d be back. The focus on him isn’t a negative but in such a bloated movie, I could’ve done without it or hand it to the twins or Ultron.
Everybody knows about the Hulkbuster fight. It was cool, but did we need to see that? Ultron’s plan was to have Scarlet Witch distract the Avengers by making them hallucinate about their fears. When she gets to Bruce, they just cut to him rampaging as the Hulk. How did she do that? Her powers aren’t clearly defined, but there’s no indication that she could do… what she did. If she has mind control abilities, why didn’t she use them on the others? I’m thinking the writers didn’t know how to make a Hulk and Tony fight happen either, so instead of showing us on screen, they didn’t show us offscreen. It would’ve been better to give Bruce a hallucination like the others so we can understand him better. Maybe have that tie in with the romance subplot? But we gotta have that big fight so kids will ask their parents for a Hulkbuster. Yes, I bought the Lego set but still…
In what timespan did this movie take place? It didn’t feel longer than a week or two but it seemed at least that long. It must’ve taken one forever for Ultron to be able to rig that land mass meteor with rockets and stuff. I get the feeling that the Avengers wouldn’t let him roam around freely even if they didn’t have the means to stop him and it does seem like they actively tried to engage him when they could. I know. I know. It’s a movie about comics. But that meteor…
So instead of alien soldiers that conveniently get defeated because you blow up one ship, we get robot soldiers all of which are simply defeated. You’d think Ultron would be smart enough to leave a robot somewhere else in reserve for a worst case scenario, but when the plot needs a villain to be stupid, he’s stupid. Instead, all his guys are defeated and Ultron gets ambiguously defeated offscreen. I get that if we’re going to have an Avengers movie, the bad guy(s) need to be Avengers-level, but I’m tired of the “army” they have to fight. I don’t know what else they can have them team up against but I hope less is more when it comes to bad guys for the next Avengers. For all I’m complaining about the action, I have to say that it’s very well done. Unlike the first Avengers where it was the first time these heroes gathered and they fought more independently, this movie has them doing team combo moves which were really cool. It really shows that they’ve grown closer as a team and can work well together. This was a nice touch.
Last thing I’ll talk about is Thanos. I’m tired of waiting for him… Iron Man came out in 2008. That was seven years ago. If things go as planned, Thanos will finally matter in 2018/19. Ten years worth of buildup… He better be worth it. I know nothing about Thanos and after all these movies, I still know nothing about him except he’s bad. Perhaps he’s the villain I’m waiting for in that he alone is a huge threat requiring all the Avengers and has strong motivations that make for a good villain. This is wishful thinking at this point but we’ll see. At the end of this movie, he gets the power glove. It’s a shame nobody exclusively watching these films knows what that thing is. He says “he’ll do it himself”, but we won’t be seeing him for a looong time, so what’s the point? And going off that, I’m tired of seeing “BLANK” will return. What’s the point of that? We know they will… Now, if the solo movies of lesser heroes won’t have that, sure. Right now, is anyone questioning if the Avengers of all things won’t return?
You’re going to see it. Doesn’t matter what I have to say. I definitely don’t hate this movie and I’m sure if I watched the first Avengers again, I could poke at it just as much as this one. It’s more that it’s painfully average and while it has its moments, the film doesn’t break much ground with such a dated story we’ve all seen. I was a bit disappointed, but what was good was good and I didn’t walk out mad, just underwhelmed. The character interactions and comedy are the strong points. The action scenes have some gems I look forward to seeing again. I think I had a better time at Guardians of the Galaxy despite its flaws and I still think Captain America: The Winter Soldier should be what Marvel Studios should try topping every time. I heard the physical release will be longer so maybe that’ll change my mind. Either way, I’m more excited for the next Thor and Captain America. I can’t straight recommend this movie, but between Age of Ultron and The Age of Adaline, definitely watch this.