Warning: This review will be very spoiler heavy, there are a lot of elements in Age of Ultron and I will try and cover as many as I can and in doing so I will be not holding back major plot points. Unless you do not care about spoilers or are looking for a reason to mad at me, please do not read further until you have seen Avengers: Age of Ultron.
I had a very special opportunity with this film, I was able to view it twice within 24 hours. That was much needed because there is so much happening at all times during this film. Other movies with multiple protagonists or antagonists tends to suffer from a cumbersome plot and this one skirts that line so strongly. That is not to say that the movie is bad because of this, it’s just so noticeable that when it has a slow moment, you feel yourself catching your breath.
The film was written and directed by Joss Whedon, who was the director and screenplay writer for the first film. The cast for this film is unreal, I’m not going to list them all but just about every major player from the past Marvel movies who constitutes as a good guy made some sort of appearance. We have 3 new characters in this installment. Quicksilver, Scarlet Witch and The Vision are the newcomers this time around.
Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch start off as antagonists but shortly change sides when they realize that Ultron wants human eradication. I really enjoyed how they were portrayed here because they were angry at Tony for killing their parents, blaming him for a bomb that didn't go off when they were children. This not only allows for the audience to connect to them on a fundamental level but question what makes a villain.
The Vision was a very welcomed addition to the cast but I do have to admit, he did get a bit close to the uncanny valley (if you are unsure what that is, click here). In his action scenes, he looked great, but in the close up dialog heavy parts, it was very rough to look directly at him. I was very happy to see that they kept his general design from the source material. His powers seemed to be the same as well. Phasing into enemies and ripping out the insides, using the mind gem as a power beam, flying around and punching through things, it was great.
The rest of cast brought all they could to the rolls and whether it was the director, editing or acting, the comedic timing was perfect. Every time there was tense moment or dramatic moment, something comedic was said to remind us that this is supposed to be fun. Joss Whedon was once quoted saying “Make it dark, make it grim, make it tough, but then, for the love of God, tell a joke.” I think this is a fantastic way to tell a superhero story and this movie has that in spades.
The major, titular antagonist Ultron, performed by the wonderful James Spader, was easily the best part of the movie. Tom Hiddleston, who played Loki in the previous Avenger film and the 2 Thor movies before it, was quoted saying “Every villian is a hero in his own mind.” This is something that I couldn’t agree with more. A good bad guy’s actions are always driven by a need to change how they see the things, not a need to be a villain.
Ultron falls perfectly into this by seeing the human race as the problem and to save the world, humans need to be extinct. Everytime I saw anyone interact with Ultron, I didn’t want it to end because he was so captivating. Apparently on set, James Spader wore a suit and facial trackers with marks for actors to look at, Elizabeth Olsen was so entranced by James’ acting that she would forget to look at the balls above James’ head. Aaron Taylor-Johnson would then yell “Red Balls! Look at his balls, Lizzie!” This is just the caliber of acting James’ brings to the eerily, omnipotent, destructive Ultron.
The action scenes are full of excitement and destructiveness as you would expect. The first one in the movie is the Avengers are raiding Baron Von Strucker’s base. It was a blast to be immediately impacted with what we came to see. As Joss said in an interview, we came to see the Avengers kick ass, not what Shield or Loki has been up to. The next action packed scene was the first real fight with Ultron and the Twins. This fight was contained for a little bit but then lead into a huge fight with Mind Controlled Hulk and Tony’s Hulkbuster suit. This battle was amazing to watch as it was something that I knew would be incredibly destructive.
The 3rd action scene was when they proceeded to find Ultron as he was making a new body to be a bigger threat to the Avengers. This would later be Vision but this fight was mainly between Ultron and Capt. America as Tony and Bruce were back at Stark Tower and Thor was on a vision quest. I really loved how this fight was just as destructive but also very contained. This was also the first scene where we get to see the Twins become good guys. The final action scene is the longest as it’s the finale of the entire movie but you could easily break this down into different parts.
The first part is when they are trying to evacuate the city and fighting off Ultron bots. I really enjoyed how much action was being presented as it felt big but was preparing me for a biggest fight. Later as the city is rocketing into the atmosphere, there is a lot more saving people and less fighting robots until the final showdown with all the Avengers vs all of Ultron. This final confrontation was so massive but so incredibly contained that it was a major strain on the senses. My second viewing was so much better as I was prepared for the fight.
My Gripes with the film are that there are moments that don't fit the movie or feel weird and out of place. The first is Hawkeye’s family, it was a massive change of pace and felt very artificial to the rest of the plot. I understand that they wanted to give more humanity to these god-like characters but in doing so, made them feel more distant. The other thing that was very forced was Black Widow and Bruce’s relationship. It really didn’t work for the portions of the movie they tried to make it work. Even at the end when Widow kisses Bruce and pushes him off the edge, it felt wrong. The final thing that bothered me was how quickly the plot moved along, a movie shouldn’t need to be viewed twice to catch everything, this consensus is also shared amongst a lot of my friends.
Overall this movie is great. It has loads of action and characters to make everyone happy. The psychological undertones presented by Ultron while still being a very fun ride was definitely worth the wait. The problems I noted above are something that did take me out of the movie because they are aggressive plot points. If these were changed slightly or altered to be less aggressive, it might not have stood out so strongly. I will say that they weren't enough to keep me from enjoying a large majority of the film and for that, I give Avengers: Age of Ultron an 8 out of 10.
What did you think of the movie? Will you watch it a second time? What are your thoughts on the extra credits sequence with Thanos? Please leave a comment below, on our Facebook Fan Page, or tweet us @MissionStartP
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