The Good and The Bad Sides of "Avengers: Age of Ultron"
- by Steve Garcia, 4 May 2015
The Avengers are back, and it’s about time, too! Age of Ultron is officially out there everywhere, ladies and gents! A spoiler-riddled review coming at you! READ AT YOUR OWN RISK!
Since 2008, the Marvel Cinematic Universe has built a superhero empire in Hollywood. Seven years, ten films, and three television series later, Avengers: Age of Ultron continues to break new ground. There was plenty of great stuff in this film, the first thing being that opening scene.. Seeing the Hulk, Thor, Cap, and the rest of the crew on-screen was like watching a comic book come to life. It was a perfect way to establish how the team has been working together since the first film, as well as what they've been doing off-screen as a team, and it set the tone for things to come.
Another standout scene comes just a few moments later when the team enjoys their victory with a party at the new Avengers Tower. The cast played very well off of each other, and it answered a whole bunch of questions about things that are going on in the rest of the MCU without it being distracting.
On top of the menacing Ultron, the audience was graced with some brand new team members. The Maximoff twins and Vision were spectacular. I was afraid that this movie would get a little too crowded with so many characters, but the new ones introduced in the movie were the most memorable ones overall. Although this Quicksilver wasn't quite as good as the one we saw in X-Men: Days of Future Past, Tyler Aaron Johnson proved to be a great fit for the role, and his chemistry with Elizabeth Olsen's Scarlet Witch was much better than I could have imagined. Paul Bettany's Vision was also a standout character because, even if he didn't say too much, everything he did say was golden. Bettany’s subtle head tilts and eye movements didn't go unnoticed either. I can't wait to see more of him in particular in future installments.
What made this film truly special to me was that it made some interesting points that illustrated how the rest of the world feels about these superheroes in a way that didn't overtake the central plot. It's realistic that not everyone would appreciate what the Avengers do, and it's completely understandable. Every time a major fight happened (the Hulkbuster fight in particular), it was scary to a degree: there are super-gods among us, and they're leveling our neighborhoods. Knowing that the superhuman Civil War is imminent in Captain America: Civil War, I can definitely sympathize with both sides of the upcoming issue regarding the Super Human Registration Act (which was poorly done in the books, but I digress.)
Finally, on top of all that other stuff that made it great, this movie had a bunch of great character moments in general. Captain America is a leader. Banner is just a guy who wants to be left alone. Black Widow wants to be more than just a weapon. Hawkeye matters. This is the first time I actually really, really liked Thor. Overall, Joss Whedon had a good handle on how they all operate individually, as well as a team.
But not every film is perfect, ladies and gentlemen! Avengers: Age of Ultron housed a few problems. First off, there's a time and place to be snarky, and it's not every five minutes. A big complaint I had about the first Avengers is that I never felt that the team was in danger. In this case, every time I did feel that sense of danger, it was quickly zapped away by a throwaway joke. That stuff was appreciated during the opening scene because the HYDRA agents are kind of a joke in and of itself after the events of Captain America: Winter Soldier. That stuff was appreciated in the party scene because that's where the team was unwound and relaxed. But when an army of killer robots take over a whole country and their leader wants to eliminate the entire human race? That's when you put your game face on.
Secondly, the Banner/Romanov romance felt forced. It would be one thing if their relationship was alluded to in the past few films, but having it all spill out in this movie felt out of place. The party scene (I keep going back there, huh?) was all kinds of excellent until Banner and Romanov were flirting with each other. Part of me cheered inside when the Hulk (not Banner) decided to leave Black Widow behind and vanish towards the film's end. Hulk nor the Avengers have enough screen time to house a complicated love story such as that.
Next, every time the Avengers fought an army of killer robots (which was a lot of times before the time it really mattered), it could have been used to develop one of the new characters. There were a lot of sloppy action scenes that were on par with Transformers and Man of Steel. As great as Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver were, the audience just didn't know enough about them to care. I wanted to feel bad about Quicksilver's death, but he'll pretty much be forgettable in the long run. I hope that Scarlet Witch and Vision will be fully explored in later films, but I doubt it considering there's an impending Civil War and Infinity War coming in the near future.
Lastly, Tony Stark is becoming more and more unlikable as the MCU continues, and I'm not sure if that's intentional. In the first Iron Man, I loved the character because sure, while he was a jerk, he was a funny jerk who's a noble man at the end of the day. In this movie, he comes off as a jerk that dangerously puts too much on the line with a hunch that maybe things will work out for him. There was also no sort of remorse for Ultron's creation period, which would have helped me fall in love with the character again. It's a shame, really. Stark was really cool once.
Avengers: Age of Ultron was good, but it wasn’t as great as the latest installments in the MCU. As a fan of the comic books, there's a lot of good stuff in this one, and it answers a lot of questions and concerns regarding the upcoming Infinity War— I’d be lying if I didn’t jump out of my seat when Thanos made his appearance in the mid-credit scene. I applaud Whedon for all his work so far in the MCU, but I'm also glad that he's handing off the director's chair for the next one because I think it's time for a new voice. Regardless of its flaws, it’s a fun watch that sets up a ton of stuff that will hopefully pay off down the road. Give it a watch, my lovely muties! Avengers A--!
Do you agree with Steve's review? What did you think about "Age of Ultron"?