Review: Avengers: Age Of Ultron Has Flaws But Ultimately A Lot Of Fun
Title: Avengers: Age of Ultron
Director: Joss Whedon
Screenwriter: Joss Whedon (written by), Stan Lee comic book), and Jack Kirby (comic book)
Principal Cast: Robert Downey Jr, Chris Hemsworth, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy Renner, James Spader, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Elizabeth Olsen, and Samuel L. Jackson
Summary: When Tony Stark tries to jumpstart a dormant peacekeeping program, things go awry and it is up to the Avengers to stop the villainous Ultron from enacting his terrible plans.
I’ve been trying not to get myself too hyped for movies anymore. I’ve seen enough to know that hype for anything almost never ends well. I tend to enjoy a movie a lot more when I set my expectations low. However, I wouldn’t be doing this if I wasn’t a fan of movies and if there is one thing that gets me hyped every time it’s Marvel movies. I’m a late in life comic fan, but that hasn’t stopped me from jumping around like a crazy person. I loved The Avengers a few years ago, but I know that Marvel can’t keep up this momentum. To keep with a sports metaphor: Captain America: Winter Soldier is a home run while Iron Man 2 is more of a double hitter. I was terrified that I would walk out of this movie let down.
Avengers: Age of Ultron absolutely has flaws with some character choices. I don’t agree with, ultimately way too much going on and a reliance on action scenes, but I can’t deny that I walked out of the theater ultimately satisfied.
This review is spoiler free in the sense that I won’t tell you if someone dies, but I do refer to several plot points in very vague terms (because talking about a movie is kind of my job) but it is almost all stuff that is featured in the fifty million trailers and TV spots.
Age of Ultron, I will call it this for the rest of the review, is very much a sequel in the sense that there is a lot more going on than in the first movie. I’d even go so far as to say there might be too much going on because there are several plot points that feel like they have been cut short. The main one is a side quest that Thor (Chris Hemsworth) goes on in act two. It felt like it was given maybe ten minutes of total screen time, and with an original running time of over three hours (now cut to an hour and twenty one minute) it feels like that was the thing that truly hit the cutting room floor. The background of the twins, Scarlet Witch aka Wanda Maximoff (Elizabeth Olsen) and Quicksilver aka Pietro Maximoff (Aaron Taylor-Johnson), is something else that feels like it was cut. The twins are compelling characters and the only explanation we get on them is exposition that could have easily been filmed to have much more of an impact. The Vision (Paul Bettany) also doesn’t materialize until much later in the story and he’s so great that I just wanted more.
There are a few character beats that I didn’t quite like, the main one being the relationship between Bruce Banner aka The Hulk (Mark Ruffalo) and Natasha Romanoff aka the Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson). Natasha is an amazing character who could be so much more. We stepped in the right direction in Captain America: Winter Soldier, but all of that work seems to have taken a step back for her to be a love interest. She isn’t quite reduced to just that (Widow could wipe the floor with half of the cast) but she is a step up as the “beauty to tame the beast” which is just terrible. I’m not sure when “love is for children” got thrown out the window but apparently it did. There is also a really tasteless joke at the beginning that this article will explain in greater detail.
There are plenty of things that I liked as well. While we don’t get a ton of time with them Scarlet Witch, Quicksilver and Vision are great additions to the cast. I really loved Elizabeth Olsen as Scarlet Witch, especially the fact that the movie didn’t play her mental abilities as an excuse to make her crazy. Wanda has had a bad reputation in the comics since the House of M storyline and it was nice to see her presented as someone fairly grounded. This is also the first time I’ve seen the Hawkeye aka Clint Barton (Jeremy Renner) that I am such a fan of. Hawkeye spent most of the first movie under Loki’s control so it was nice to see him have so much to do in this one. James Spader was a great choice for Ultron as he has the perfect voice for a great, long villain monologue and the slightly cheesy lines. The movie also doesn’t seem to acknowledge Iron Man 3 or Thor The Dark World which was strange to me. It makes the timeline feel a little strange which isn’t good considering how much is going on in this series.
Age of Ultron might have some problems but they weren’t enough to make me dislike the entire production. This review is already getting long, but allow me to just say that if I didn’t mention something assume that I liked it. There is a scene with everyone fighting toward the end that made me so happy in the same way the first scene of them teaming up together in the first one did. The Marvel Cinematic Universe is becoming an institution and nothing I say is going to change the minds of anyone who has already decided they want to see it. However, for what it’s worth, I enjoyed the movie a lot despite the flaws. It’s not perfect but it is another great addition to the ever expanding universe of Marvel movies.