Movie Review: The Avengers: Age of Ultron
Stars: Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth, Scarlet Johansson, Mark Ruffalo, Aaron Taylor Johnson, Elizabeth Olson, Samuel L. Jackson, Paul Bettany, James Spader
Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of sci-fi action, violence and destruction, and for some suggestive comments, 141 minutes, Action/Adventure/Sci-fi
Compare to: X2: X-Men United (2003), The Avengers (2012)
I don’t know if expectations were raised for this installment of the Avengers film series or rather they’re already as high as expectations can get. Either way, they’ll be making their money.
As for whether or not you’ll enjoy the film may be a completely different animal than whether or not this is a good film, so…how long ya got?
After the events of everything the heroes have been dealing with (See Thor 2, Captain America 2, Iron Man 3), their main priority isn’t to slow down or take a break, but retrieve the all powerful scepter of the first film that’s currently in the wrong hands. But as usual, it isn’t as simple as it’s made out to be and from Iron Man/Tony Stark’s own mind comes Ultron; living artificial intelligence that’s bent on protecting the world from its worst enemy- humanity.
If that description feels at all scattered, it could be my poor writing skills and it could also be that it’s sort of how the movie feels. Maybe that’s disappointing to read, maybe you scrolled down to see the grade and scrolled back up to see what negative things I could possibly have to say about this movie but in short, I think this is more along the lines of what many expected from the first Avengers; some great ideas, some amazing effects, yet a little too messy and a little too long.
The film has much of what’d you expect from Marvel’s premier team, sure. What would an Avengers movie be without Hulk freaking out and destroying anything he can get his hands on? Better yet, we get to see Stark in his famed “Hulkbuster” suit take on the big green guy. For my time, this was the best scene of the film; mixing the feel of a comic book with the spectacle of cinema in a violently comedic slugfest that really shows what these characters can do.
But then we’re taken back to the rest of the film which often feels like we’re showing up in the middle of the characters’ conversation. Much of which is done in such a way that seems to think we’re on the same level as the characters or that we’ve been reading a prequel to this movie before we watched it. When you watch it, one might think if you’d only been reading the comics you would have a better idea of what was going on. Really though, many of the concepts the story deals with seems to rely more on our familiarization with previously used Sci-fi ideas.
As soon as our hero Stark mentions Artificial Intelligence to the other superfreaks, shock and awe is induced and from all the things the heroes have seen, they seem disgusted with Stark that he thought he could create life from his robots. As well versed as I am in comics/Sci-fi/pop culture in general, I failed to see the immediate terror with creating a robot that thinks on its own. We’re not given any reason other than “It’s too unpredictable!” And yes, of course it is. But I don’t get why we can’t go into a little more before we see the evil it does.
I’m more bored by the surface-level tension from characters we’ve been seeing for years now and more intrigued why everybody hates Tony Stark for saying “I want to make a robot that acts on its own!”
Is this the entire problem with the movie? No. This is one thing that sums up a bunch of things. We have to just keep assuming one thing after another for so many characters we’re barely even getting to know that eventually, most of the movie is over and I don’t really know what’s going on. Yeah, it’s good versus evil and but anything beyond that and it all just felt forced around to say there was a story in place.
If you’re reading this, I’m not trying to tell you that you would be wasting your time by watching it, I’m just saying they could have pulled back more on the semantics we so often get with superhero-ing and engaged our intellect a little more. Maybe I’m just spoiled with evil robots from last week’s Ex Machina.
Positive: Many of the same things you like about the previous Marvel movies are still here, rarely a dull moment, Hulk vs Iron Man was cool, darker tones are appreciated.
Negative: Feels cluttered and scattered at the same time. I get the basis of what’s going on but how we arrive where we eventually go is a mess. Spader’s voice for the villain works yet his staccato speech patterns get annoying after a while. Evil robot that sounds like Jerry Seinfeld wears on you after a while. Uninteresting emotional sub-plots.
Side Note: There IS something in the middle of the credits, but not the very end.