Avengers: Age of Ultron
In many ways the Avengers: Age of Ultron is superior to its predecessor. The pace is much faster with almost no lag time. The character development is markedly improved in characters such as Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) and Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson). The action is once again spectacular. I’m sure you sense a big hairy but around the corner right about now, am I right? Before I loose anyone with any sort of nit picking or over analysis let me start by saying that I absolutely loved this film and the characters within it. I have enjoyed every Marvel movie to date but that doesn’t mean they are all perfect. Furthermore, just because a movie does have a few flaws does not mean that it’s a bad movie. People have become far too adverse to critique and I believe when it’s coming from a good place it should do nothing more than point out places that can be improved upon in future works. Now if I haven’t lost you with my overly explanatory intro let’s dive into this movie, positives first as always.
The Vision, I can’t say enough times how well done this character was (He’s also our Character of the Month for May). He was probably one of the most challenging characters to risk putting on screen but he steals every part he is in. A huge amount of that credit has to go to Paul Bettany, the unsung hero of all the Iron Man films as the voice of Tony Stark’s A.I. Jarvis. If only the movie had had more of him. That said the time spent on the Scarlet Witch was equally rewarding because in a lot of ways the movie was something of an origin story for her. We really got to see her journey from villain to hero over the course of the film. Elizabeth Olsen did a stunning job in the roll of another character that could have been a mess on screen. Equal props would definitely go to her twin sibling Quicksilver (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) but he didn’t get fleshed out as much as the Scarlet Witch, we’ll return to that in a moment.
The plot of the movie was solid, if a bit too similar in nature to the original Avengers. The narrative structure is virtually the same with the exception of the opening of the film. The Avengers turn against each other in the 2nd act and unify in the 3rd. Where this movie bested the original was in the 1st as Joss Whedon did not need to spend any time establishing how these characters came together. The movie really worked best when we got to see any of the Avengers, or side characters, from the universe interacting in battle or in the more subdued setting of a party at Avengers tower. Look for Stan Lee’s most hilarious cameo during this section of the film.
So now you are asking, where did it all go wrong? Well it didn’t! It was an overall enjoyable film which I may come to like more than the original. Only time will tell which one I end up watching more. That said you can end your journey here, content with the thought that all is right with the universe…or you can journey a little farther down the page for the whole truth, or at least my whole opinion.
The death of a character was something the Marvel movies really needed. How many movies could an audience go with super heroes in peril and no one taking any damage before the audience stopped believing anyone was actually in peril. This film finally took the risk of killing a character but my issue is who they killed. I already gave you fair warning so read on at your own risk. Killing Quicksilver comes off a bit suspicious and strange for a number of reasons. He was the least developed character in the film for one. Secondly, the audience had very little emotional attachment to him so when he bites the dust you aren’t really that shocked or hurt. Lastly, killing a character who previously appeared in X-Men: Days of Future Past seems a bit like Marvel was unwilling to compromise with Fox over the character. I don’t know the inner workings of the Marvel sanctum but I know they were frustrated that he showed up in an X-Men film prior to the Avengers sequel. Would they bite off their nose, or Quicksilver’s life in this instance, to spite their face though? On a positive note his death does further develop the Scarlet Witch’s origin story, which I hinted at earlier.
Up to this point you’ve probably noticed that I haven’t touched on Ultron (James Spader). Well that’s because he was probably the weakest part of the film. He just didn’t seem to fully materialize throughout the movie. Perhaps I’m a bit biased having enjoyed his comic book iteration but it just seemed like he was too much C.G.I. and not enough hurt and angry child. In the comics his dynamic with his creator is very much one of love and hate. He loves his creator as much as he hates him but in this film he just seemed rather one dimensional. The inter-family relationship between Ultron and the Avengers, since his son is the Vision, really adds another layer to any of his comic stories that was not present in this film.
I guess I should wrap this review up now before I lose the one person left reading it. The Hulk Buster Vs Hulk fight really lived up to my expectations and at the end of the day my ticket was worth it just to see Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr) punching Hulk (Mark Ruffalo) in the face while telling him to go to sleep. No film is without its flaws but this one doesn’t have too many and you will be entertained throughout. Go check it out so you can be up to speed when Captain America: Civil War rolls into theaters.