Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015)

Sweet.

That’s all I can say: sweet.

Really. I’m literally just back from this movie. I’ve had time to process it and go through all my thoughts and emotions and what-not, but the one word that keeps coming to mind is: sweet. Sweet, sweet, sweet, sweet, sweet.

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This is a sweet movie, with sweet acting and sweet dialogue and sweet action and drama and comedy and thrills. The kind of movie that should have been a classic summer blockbuster except that, for financial reasons, we got it in the spring. This makes for a strong climax to Marvel’s Phase 2, except Ant-Man is technically still part of it, so I guess that movie will be the post-climactic climax of Phase 2.

But this is a good way to finish things up, and set up the next one. If you enjoyed the other Phase 2 movies, you won’t be surprised to hear that you’ll probably like this one. Avengers: Age of Ultron might not have the political edge of Captain America: The Winter Soldier, nor is it a laid-back funfest like Guardians of the Galaxy, but it lives up to the quality standard set by those movies. Marvel is on a roll right now, and it shows no signs of letting up.

Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015)

Speaking of climaxes, this one arguably has the strongest, most epic third act of any Marvel movie to date. I don’t want to spoil anything, but it’s definitely on a different level from anything Marvel has done so far. It’s closer to the scale and scope and level of destruction of something like The Dark Knight Rises or Man of Steel (it technically surpasses both of them in terms of collateral damage), but isn’t nearly as grimdark as either.

I also enjoyed the much teased Hulk vs. Hulkbuster fight the trailers have played up, and it was handled well, both in terms of choreography (it’s nice to get a proper, destructive, citywide superhero battle once in a while) and in terms of how both characters are treated and how the story justifies this battle. Well done, movie; well done.

Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015)

This is a Joss Whedon film, so as you’d expect, there’s a certain amount of substance eclipsed by a slightly greater amount of snark and comedy. The audience I was with seemed to be enjoying themselves, with three or four big laugh-out-loud moments, but in terms of intelligence, this film lies somewhere between the first Avengers and The Winter Soldier.

It’s more concerned with character dynamics and dramedy and action than it is with bringing up anything too political or doing anything especially philosophical or dark. And frankly, while I don’t want these movies to start copying Christopher Nolan or anything, it probably could have erred just a little more in that direction. These elements exist in the movie, but mostly to inform the characters and their motivations rather than to be discussed, and given the direction Marvel plans to head in with its cinematic universe—Civil War in particular comes to mind—it probably could have used at least a little more darkness and weightiness.

Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015)

This film isn’t shallow, but nor is it especially deep, and as this franchise continues, it should begin to introduce more depth or risk going stale. I know a few reviewers and at least one civilian who thought it was “more of the same”, though I’d still say it was better overall than the previous Avengers movie and trumps it on most levels.

I’d also say that while new characters Pietro and Wanda Maximoff, AKA Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch are welcome additions and are handled well, this film focuses much more on its central cast, and thus they feel more like they exist only for the sake of the plot and to expand the roster, and they don’t really come into their own in this movie.

Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015)

HYDRA’s Baron von Strucker, who first appeared in a teaser during the Winter Soldier credits, is pretty much a throwaway character here, and while this is more of a nitpick, I don’t particularly like it when sequels take a hook from a previous entry and proceed to do almost nothing with it. It feels like potential is being squandered and possible future story directions wasted, all for the sake of a few funny lines and a slightly “safer” and more predictable story.

It’s almost like Marvel is aware that it has too many characters and plotlines to play with and is overly concerned with losing control of them, so anything that’s too “serious” or “interesting” is ruthlessly cut out, and few risks are taken. I also feel that, even though this film is almost two and a half hours long, that there was still a fair bit left on the cutting room floor (or didn’t make it to the script when it should have), as certain things like “backstory” or “the villains are doing X” or “this is how people are reacting to Y” are told to us rather than shown. It makes the film feel a bit smaller, and a little less dramatic than it should have been.

Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015)

But these are mostly just nitpicks; Age of Ultron is still a strong and enjoyable movie. The pacing is excellent, and the film doesn’t waste any time before jumping into the action or setting up character arcs or introducing its villain. And while the film lacks a certain amount of tension and is more exciting in some places than others, there’s not much in the way of padding. If anything, I wish more was added in, although the film does manage to set up more of the Marvel movie universe than previous entries: the upcoming Black Panther gets a namedrop of the country of Wakanda, and arch-villain Ulysses Klaw (played by Andy Serkis) makes a small but welcome appearance.

The movie also has real and genuine warmth. Whedon is interested in the lives and relationships of his characters, and they feel like real people who like each other, occasionally fall out and even fight, but who can all work and play together as a team and as a family. Every single cast member is perfect and has grown into their roles like comfortable clothes, and they all have great chemistry with each other. It’s clear that everyone working on this film likes and respects each other as well as the source material, and that comes across to the audience.

Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015)

I haven’t mentioned the title character yet, but Ultron is great, and arguably the most menacing and dangerous villain the movies have featured to date. James Spader is perfectly cast as this super-intelligent and psychotic artificial lifeform, who’s delusional and even childlike at times, but always several steps ahead of the heroes and more than capable of engaging them in hand-to-hand and snark-to-Stark combat. While his motivations and plans aren’t quite fully fleshed out, he’s still driven, powerful, and ruthless enough to serve as a more than worthy foe of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, and I enjoyed every second he was onscreen.

Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015)

So if you liked the previous Marvel movies, I can safely say that you’ll enjoy this film. If you didn’t… you probably won’t. It’s a lot of what you’ve seen before, only done better and on a bigger scale, and with a fairly natural feel. I did and I do though, and while this movie isn’t exactly Shakespeare or anything, it’s still Marvel, and it’s still pretty sweet, and it’s a movie I could watch again and again. Bring on Ant-Man.

Tag: Marvel Cinematic Universe

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  • That is good to hear.

  • Sardu

    James Spader is Ultron??

    SWEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEET!!!!!!!

  • Wizkamridr

    So this is basically Man of Steel, but the fan boys aren’t complaining. You could blame Superman for bringing Zod to Earth. Then they use Earth as their playground.

    Stark and Banner create a monster that causes massive destruction but it’s all good because the Avengers can do no wrong.

    • RockyDmoney

      Oh god. will you MOS apologists give it a rest. People didnt like MOS cuz the movie was terrible. It was boring, loud, dark, depressing, grim, stupid, utterly joyless, it was a chore to sit through

      • MichaelANovelli

        Still had Superman in it, though. :)

        • RockyDmoney

          That wasnt superman. superman is a hero.

          • MichaelANovelli

            So, it was someone else who was rocketed to Earth from Krypton as a baby? Was it Beppo the Super-Monkey? I hope it was Beppo! ^_^

          • CaptainCalvinCat

            I’d say “Mopeyman”, but that’s just me. ^^

          • Wizkamridr

            I’d say better than Superman 3, 4, Returns, Lois and Clark and smallville combined.

          • CaptainCalvinCat

            MOS is better than Superman 3,4, Returns, L&C and Smallville combined? Whoa… Dude. ^^
            I’d say that even Returns is better than MOS. ^^

          • Wizkamridr

            Routh playing Reeve? He should have done his own version.

          • RockyDmoney

            No. It was Emo the Super Angst. Able to brood and sulk beyond the limits of mortal men. Seriously besides lois and the kids in the beginning he saved NOBODY. What kind of superhero is that?

          • Jonathan Campbell

            He also saved those guys on the burning oil rig.

            And, you know, he saved the world at the end.

          • Wizkamridr

            You’re confusing it with Smallville. He was emo.

          • CaptainCalvinCat

            True, but at least the rest of the cast was having fun.

          • Wizkamridr

            Define fun.
            I could be wrong, but I don’t think Welling really liked
            playing Clark. He could have been just doing it for the paycheck.

          • CaptainCalvinCat

            Might be, but other ones, (Alison Mack, Justin Hartley, Erica Durance, just to name a few) seem as if they’re acting their hearts out and were having a blast on the set.

          • Tyrone Shoelaces

            No, it was Barrack Hussein Obama who rocketed to Earth from Krypton as a baby. Dumbass.

          • MichaelANovelli

            That was the only part of Final Crisis that made any sense…

          • Tyrone Shoelaces

            Lol, thanks.

          • Wizkamridr

            Goku?
            Moses?
            Momotaro(the peach boy) from Japan?

          • Wizkamridr

            He was like the original superman and the new 52 version.

      • Wizkamridr

        Maybe you should have watched the trailers and read the reviews first. You knew it was directed by Zack Snyder.

      • Wizkamridr

        An apologist is someone who defends something controversial.
        Man of Steel was not controversial. He was exactly like the cannon Superman in
        the comics. Punch first, ask questions later. The cannon Superman has also
        killed. He just wasn’t your Superman. Superman doesn’t belong to you, he
        belongs to everyone. D.C. and Hollywood can do whatever they want to this
        character. Don’t cry about it. Your version of Superman still exists. You can go back to your favorite Superman in the comics, movies, or TV.

        • vollstix

          Where can I read this “punch first, ask questions later” Superman?! As someone who grew up with the Jerry Ordway and, to a lesser degree, the John Byrne Supes (British reprints–don’t ask!) I don’t REMEMBER this Superman. I’m not saying he doesn’t exist, only that I can’t recall this “canon version”. I also have a passing familiarity with some Golden/Silver Age Supey stories but he was never my favourite…I think it’s pretty telling that out of all the coupla hundred Superman comics I’ve read, I can only recall about three stories, one of which was the World’s Finest miniseries by Gibbons and Rude, a dim memory of when he went to Ireland and fought The Banshee and, of course, him killing Zod and his cronies with the green kryptonite after they annihilated all life on earth. Oh, and an Ordway comic where he left Earth to roam space…and it’s just occured to me that I have no idea WHY he left Earth in the first place. Oh, All-Star Superman, that too! Can’t remember anything about it, though. So, say four stories. Ah, Supes, bless you.
          PS–I am NOT a partisan for any particular hero or comic company! At this point capes are mostly just nostalgia for years, I haven’t bought a cape comic for a LLOOOONNNNG time.

  • Jonathan Campbell

    Sorry to anyone from Germany who can’t see this film because of the dispute between Disney and the theatres.

    • CaptainCalvinCat

      Well, be angry at Disneys outlandish price-policy. ^^

      Personally, I’ll wait and buy the movie on DVD. But I’m looking forward to that flick. ^^

      • Jonathan Campbell

        Is there literally no where you can see it? Or are you just refusing to go because of the principle of the thing?

        • CaptainCalvinCat

          Oh, in my home-town there is a cinema, that is showing Avengers 2 – but since I’m not that much of a cinema-goer, I can solidarize myself with those people in cities, who cannot watch it.

          • CaptainCalvinCat

            Okay, I watched Avengers 2 couple of weeks ago on Blu-Ray and – yepp, I agree, Jonathan, it’s sweet. It’s more of the same – and you know what? I LIKE it that way.
            I have nothing against a certain status quo.

          • Jonathan Campbell

            Funnily enough, I watched it again just a couple of weeks ago and I actually didn’t like it as much, BECAUSE it was too much of the same xD

            I still think it’s a good film, don’t get me wrong, but some things that only slightly irked me before started to grate a little more, and I could see some issues with structure and characterization etc. amongst other things. And I think the film was too “soft” and lacked real tension- eg. Loki probably caused more deaths than Ultron did, despite Ultron destroying an entire city.

            Oh well. That’s a rant for another day. I still like the film, and I’m glad you enjoyed it. :)

            EDIT: Also, I used the word “sweet” Way too much xD

  • Jonathan Campbell

    So…Has anyone seen it yet?

    Any thoughts? Agree? Disagree?

    • tcorp

      I did. I thought it was a pretty good, entertaining summer film.

      [SPOILER ALERT!!!]

      If I wanted to nitpicky, I would comment that certain plot aspects felt a little “handwavey” or shortchanged. Namely, I felt like Vision’s and Ultron’s respective origins left too much unexplained.

      Also, Marvel has picked up a bad habit of making all its characters continually experience an existential crisis. I call it the “Katniss Kurse,” after Katniss’ tendency in the Hunger Games movies to constantly meander in a whirlpool of self-doubt and self-indulgent bemoaning the lack of “perfect” options, while criticizing people around her for having less than pure motivations. I loved Daredevil (yes, I watched it upon your suggestion), but the moaning and groaning every time Matt Murdoch walked through the door of his law firm as though he just drank pickle juice mixed with habanero peppers got old. (You don’t graduate summa cum laude from Columbia Law School without becoming more steely.)

      Same here in Avengers 2. Drumming up old skeletons in the Avengers’ closets has only so much of a shelf life. I’d like to see something more substantive in terms of a challenge to the team’s cohesiveness than “Look, they’re adults with differing opinions and life experiences and stuff! There’s no way they can get along.”

      Nevertheless, the Katniss Kurse wasn’t a huge problem in this movie. It just stuck out to me because I had watched Daredevil recently.