AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON REVIEW.
Look let’s get this out of the way: this movie will already make all the money in the world by the end of the month, and we’re on track to see ELEVEN more Marvel movies by the end of 2019. Does my opinion really matter? Probably not, but screw it, it’s fun to nitpick and geek out any which way.
So the Avengers (Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, Hulk, Black Widow, and Hawkeye) start the movie off storming a secret HYDRA base to get back Loki’s sceptre from the last movie and dealing with the fallout from Captain America: The Winter Soldier. Tony Stark gets a bizarre premonition (or mind warp) from newcomer Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen, the GOOD Olsen actress) and moves forward with his Ultron program. It’s an artificial intelligence meant to preserve peace using Tony’s Iron Man suits, but once activated it defines “peace” as complete annihilation of the human species.
So once again the Avengers have to deal with a world ending threat, but this time they are partially responsible for creating the threat, namely Tony among them. This is what I really love about these Marvel movies: they’ve established a rich history and backstory among these characters while carefully fleshing out their personalities across various films and cross overs. So when Tony makes his murder bot, it makes sense why he was trying to build such a thing, and more importantly not admit that he’s responsible for creating a monster.
If you’ve been following all of these Marvel movies and TV shows (and you really should…except the first half of season 1 of Agents of SHIELD, that’s legitimately bullshit), you get a lot of payoff for events that occurred in the past films while setting the scene for multiple films to come. Not only that, you get a couple of new surprises including a new Avenger being played by Paul Bettany (the voice of JARVIS, the computer assisting Iron Man in the past few movies) who has one of the best scenes in the movie that doesn’t involve a super hero smackdown.
Now I get why people dismiss these Marvel movies as big, spectacular wrestling matches with lasers, lightning, and super human punching, but that’s also unfair. We have had action films for years have poor fight choreography and crappy chase scenes and accept them for other reasons (The Dark Knight stands among those films). But the Avengers movies under Joss Whedon pack a lot of eye candy for action aficionados while also giving you a reason to give a shit about these characters. You feel concern for them, not necessarily if they would physically survive the ordeal but if their relationships with their friends can make the journey as well.
But if you’re looking for crazy fight scenes, well obviously you won’t be disappointed. This film is chock full of great fights and chases complete with quippy one liners to keep the humor train going. It’s the antithesis to Man of Steel’s “serious” take on super heroes by keeping you entertained and not allowing your brain to focus on the wonton destruction.
But once the dust settles, Avengers still one ups Man of Steel by acknowledging that…yes, people did die. People are angry at the Avengers and for good reason. More importantly, thr Avengers go out of their way to SAVE people; unlike Superman being too busy punching a giant dubstep machine while people die horribly and he refuses to acknowledge all the goddamn destruction he caused and no I will not stop ragging on Man of Steel, especially as some people STILL don’t see the difference between it and the Avengers.
Hell the final climactic battle is given an additional level of stakes by featuring clear scenes of the Avengers going out of their way to save as many civilians as they can despite the mockery of James Spader’s Ultron. You feel like rooting for the heroes because they’re actually acting like heroes, not simply punching everything into the ground.
And as far as the new cast is concerned, James Spader made a wonderful villain in Ultron. Namely because he was such a prick. Not this robotic sounding “all humans must die” sort of way but more of a dark reflection of Tony Stark. A point that gets brought up multiple times in the movie to Ultron’s rage.
And Elizabeth Olsen and Sam Taylor Johnson do great work as super powered twins, Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver. I really dug both of their Eastern European accents while they kept the facade up throughout the film. And another cool aspect was a budding relationship between Black Widow and Hulk (seriously), but Scarlet Johansen and Mark Ruffalo demonstrate great chemistry in their scenes to sell you on this idea. Finally Jeremy Renner ad Hawkeye is given far more to do by being ironically the only character who doesn’t get his brains scrambled by Scarlet Witch, they establish why this mortal is necessary to the team through a fun surprise halfway through the film.
So surprise surprise I dug the movie. But I do still won’t give it my highest rating due to one glaring flaw: the action is shockingly over packed. As in so over packed I didn’t realize the movie was over two and half hours long. It does get a little draining towards the end, not of boredom mind you, but by being overwhelmed with stimuli. Then again I compare the feeling more to the long Lord of the Rings film rather than the interminable bullshit of the Hobbit films, if you get my analogy.
Regardless, I was highly entertained and I’m still not tired of Marvel movies even while I’m facing down 11 more of these things in thee next few years (expect this to happen to Star Wars, the latest Disney aquisition). So I’m giving this a high…