When the first Avengers movie came out, it blew everything out of the water, finally a movie that had multiple characters sharing the screen and being amazing about it.
Avengers: Age of Ultron is able to hold that same ground, but this time the story feels repetitive, the characters feel at times out of place and the story sometimes smashed together without any explanation when it is needed. However all those problems do have a flip side to them that works well for this movie. Despite that it does feel like it was bitten by the sequel bug.
Age of Ultron was, at the time, the newest movie in a long line of movies from Marvel all linking together to tell a huge over arching narrative. Unfortunately everything about it feels like it is confined down to this one movie. This is something I was in fear of with the next few Avengers movies dealing more with the Infinity War.
The main Avengers team and the few things brought up about the Infinity Stones are really the only things here that are well recognized from the overall Marvel collective universe as we have come to know it.
This might sit well for people coming in completely fresh never seeing any other movies, but it makes everything in some ways feel rushed and thrown together and mostly useless.
Ultron was created through machinery and waking up a computer program, if you will, much like that of Jarvis (Stark’s AI companion). This happened after Tony Stark figures out what it is and talks to Bruce Banner, where the two discuss the Ultron Project, which was never mentioned before this film, one of those things that close off this movie unto itself.
Possibly something that could have brought up for 30 seconds during the end credits of say, Iron Man 3 when it is revealed the whole movie is narrated by Stark talking to Banner?
Without discussion with the other members the two set up to bring the AI around and before they know it, Ultron is all but breathing. They don’t even take time to really show Ultron being created outside of that. The next thing you know, he is a robot that is ready to go and start his evil plains.
Age of Ultron
The rest of the movie is Ultron trying to destroy the world, but not before killing off the Avengers. His plan is to have them pick themselves apart with the help of Scarlet Witch.
This is where this movie starts to feel much like the first one. The first movie Loki was hell bent on world domination, but first was trying to kill off the Avengers, to get them out of his way and partially doing so by having them go at each other’s throats.
In Age of Ultron the team is semi falling apart due to mind altering tricks that has them fighting within themselves and each other. However, it never lasts that long and simply goes away, never really being explained.
This movie seems to have that going on often, things happening or characters acting out of, well, character without any real explanation or at least any good explanation. Stuff about Hawkeye is revealed almost in passing with the only comment being that he asked Fury to keep it off the books for safety.
I guess having a real reason for things like that never coming up before now was too much to ask for?
Speaking of which, you then have Black Widow, who you could say is shown as a potential love interest a couple times throughout these movies. In the first Avengers it seemed there was something between her and Hawkeye and then in Captain America: Winter Soldier, it seemed there might be something between her and Cap. Never was any of this explored, but anyone that saw those movies would say an argument could be made.
Now with Age of Ultron she sets her eyes to Banner and it is laid on think through the whole movie that these two have a real connection. Although nothing about these two characters ever would give you the idea of such a thing. It’s shoved in our face so hard it’s like Joss Whedon wanted us to believe in it as much as he did. It’s confusing, out of place and actually quite awkward at most times.
Outside of that the characters work out just fine. From start to finish this movie makes it very clear that these characters know each other well and the team gels together perfectly.
Everyone gives a great performance and having James Spader as the voice of Ultron was amazingly spot on.
age of Ultron
However, it is a shame they couldn’t get Natalie Portman and Gwyneth Paltrow to make a five minute appearance in this. In stead we get a lame and clumsy back and forth with Thor and Stark explaining why they couldn’t make it to the party. It’s little things like this that grow tiresome. One could argue they made up for it by having Don Cheadle show up for his role of James Rhodes. Still, this kind of “Oh you just missed them” concept is ridiculous.
The action throughout the movie is great as expected. Whedon continues to be able to do stunning work with a lot of action and characters doing battle all at once. There are times in this you can actually feel the pages of comic books coming to life right in front of your eyes. There are parts that the CGI creeps out a little too much, but everything is going at a thousand miles a minutes and honestly is simply too cool to fault it.
I do have to point out, Whedon said he wanted civilian life to matter more in this movie, but for a good amount of the action scenes, it’s no different in any other action movie of this caliber. I am not one to worry about that kind of stuff, but when the director makes such claims and blame competitor movies for doing this, well I feel I had to say something.
Avengers: Age of Ultron might not be on par as the first movie, but it is still great none the less and honestly with the first movie being so great, it would have been tough for the sequel to reach those same heights. Though I think the expectation from all of us was there. Although it couldn’t fills the shoes, it does stand its ground just fine.