Reviews: Avengers Age Of Ultron
Fetch the Hatchet
Avengers: Age of Ultron came out in 2015 but it feels like a million years ago. I blame the fact that there have already been ten other Marvel movies since then. I skipped Ultron the first time around because Avengers was such a mediocre first movie, and I had absolutely no intention of trying out the sequel. But you know, the recent run of decent to good Marvel films made me want to go back and fill in that gap. 'I have now learnt that Ultron is a piece of shit. Now I can understand why people go on about superhero fatigue so much. DC have been making crap movies for ages, but at least those are spectacularly crap. Marvel movies are the bland wallpaper paste of bad movies. Everything about Ultron feels anaemic and lifeless, whether it's showing us an unconvincing, CGI heavy action scene or an equally unconvincing CGI heavy mooch around some glass and steel office space for designated emotional moments. It's a thing utterly devoid of genuine drama, tension or excitement. The most obnoxious fishbone in the throat though is Whedon's writing. Remember those horribly dated action movies/games where a hero spots an army of henchmen charging at them, and they'll mutter something lame about "having a party" or "needing a vacation"? Imagine if a writer in 2015 thought those were the cleverest jokes, and decided to make every line in his movie just like that. Whedon's characters don't talk, they just regurgitate clichés past one another in some vague semblance of a conversation. Occasionally one cliché will set up a smart arsed comeback, which Iron Man will inevitably make because any moment of not talking is a bad moment in Whedon's book. Oh yes, also Iron Man. Fucking Iron Man! Remember in the first Iron Man movie, where Iron Man learns to stop building deadly weapons because they keep falling into the hands of bad guys? Iron Man unlearns this lesson before every movie, because the next thing he does is build ever more complicated drones and weapon systems for baddies to hijack. He's such a plot leech. Whedon fell in love at first sight with the wisecracking, libertarian, genius, ladies man and decided to make him the focus of everything forever. He creates the main villain of this movie, so of course, its up to him to deal with it too. It has to be him making all the big speeches, it has to be his crisis of faith to drive the story, it has to be his bildungsroman. Let someone else have a go! The only thing I almost liked was Ultron himself. He bucks the Marvel trend of standard, spiky, super serious, super villains. Instead he's this self-aware, shrugging, 9 foot tall, killer robot bloke. In any other movie this would be a fun character, but in this movie where every character blathers and quips with the same voice, the one squirt of originality is diluted out. On Netflix, this movie cost me nothing except the two hours and twenty minutes I invested in it. It was a bad investment.
Shattered my faith in the MCU. (SPOILERS)
What a load of crap. It starts with a terribly-planned assault on a HYDRA base ("Let's send our archer/sniper and our espionage agent into close-quarters combat against people with machine guns!") After thoroughly curb stomping HYDRA and setting up an obnoxious, poorly-handled running gag, they go to a party and act like assholes in an effort to show how "human" they really are. Tony Stark and Bruce Banner had decided to use the thing in Loki's staff to create an A.I., giving it access to the internet and leaving it unsupervised, despite knowing that it has a mind of its own and will be unpredictable. This AI tentacle-slaps Jarvis to death to visualize forced deletion or whatever, and Tony apparently had no backups anywhere, because he replaces Jarvis immediately. So The Avengers go to Wakanda to stop Ultron from stealing their Vibranium (the material Plot Armor is made from). They are thoroughly defeated by Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver, the former of whom makes Hulk go crazy and start massacring innocent people in some city somewhere. After an aerial robot fight with Ultron, Tony dons his Hulkbuster armor to subdue Hulk, and probably bankrupt Wakanda. (Their economy depended on Vibranium, after all.) Ultron continues unimpeded until the final battle, where he lifts a city into the air after putting vibranium all up in the underside of it with intent to drop it and cause a mass extinction. We then get a palette-swapping of the Chitauri battle with absolutely 0 suspense, where Ultron refuses to drop the city even after it gets high enough to guarantee the near-extinction of humanity. Ultron is punched into submission and Nick Fury Deus ex Machina's up the hellicarrier to evacuate the city before the Avengers literally vaporise it. All of this because somehow Jarvis was "in pieces" on the internet, preventing Ultron from using hacking to nuke the world. Incidentally, the avengers had also stolen Ultron's in-development godmode final form to shove Jarvis into it, creating a literal Deus ex Machina, The Vision, who proves vital to smacking things with Thor's hammer and somehow wiping Ultron from every computer on earth. I will not be watching any more Marvel films. This film clearly demonstrates a cynical belief that they can create any crap, slap a superhero's face on it, and print money. A rare 0/10.
It had a potential to be the best
I generally find MCU to be lacking in some ways (with few exceptions). This movie is no exception. They promoted a darker, more grounded and maybe even a bit creepy sequel to the Avengers, but... we got something else. There are good things about this movie, but it's generally disappointing for me. Why is it a disappointment for me: Villain. While it's good he has an interesting characteristic, but he also needs to be threatening. Whedon could have used Ultron's childishness as a creepy factor, creating a memorable villain that could rival TheJoker... but, alas, that did not happen. Also, faceless robots... not again. This leads to... Same thing. Plot of this movie is the same as the first movie, with unnecessary bits (the whole Thor pool side-story) Too lighthearted. There needs to some levity in stories, but this just breaks the tension, and everything in this movie suffered because of it. Especially Ultron. Too much sequel establishment. Thor pool scene. That is all. Also, why was Ulysses needed in this movie? It really could have been Empire Strikes Back of Avengers series, if the story was darker, no obvious sequel establishment and different plot from previous movies. (Hell, I even tried to recreate the story to fix these mistakes. Don't know if I am successful or not). Anyways, if you like this film, then it's your opinion. No need to fight over it. And I am too late to review this movie anyways.
It's not terrible. It's not!
I feel like I want to defend this movie with all I have. This movie need more love. Okay, I admit the first time I see it, I feel confused about several things. And I naively expect Ultron to be vicious yet "monotone" killing machine, which he wasn't and he has bizarre sense of humor. This is odd, but initially I thought Ultron would be like Terminator, because that's the impression I get from trailer. Anyway, I don't read comics so I don't know much. But then a fellow fan told me that "Dude, you're wrong if you expect Ultron to be like that. I read comics, and Ultron is quite the opposite from what you think. Ultron has personality, and it's what's interesting about him in the comics. And he's definitely not flat-minded monotone-voiced killing machine like Terminator was." So I watch movie again, and again, and again.... and Damn, I realize that I didn't give this movie the credit it deserved. This movie is actually greater than I thought. Ultron is entertaining and interesting once you can understand him. Also, IMO, the Avengers display more characterization and character development here than they were in the first movie, where they did actually get character development, but I feel like Loki stealing too much of the spotlight (although it's also thanks to Tom Hiddleston's great performance, which I like, ironically enough). If anything is wrong about Ultron, then maybe it's about the writing for the character. I don't know what, but I do feel like they forgot to add something to perfect his characterization. Yet, even then, James Spader really nails it on this role. His performance is even more amazing than Hiddleston's Loki. Anyway, I have to admit, though, this movie isn't my top favorite. My most favorite is still Captain America: The Winter Soldier. And anyway, for the complaints about this movie's "Whedonism", I can't disagree that I do feel like that as well. It's not necessarily bad, though, I think. On the other hand, I also don't really like Joss Whedon as a person (if you wonder what kind of directors I like as a person, then the answer is James Gunn, he's my favorite). But nevertheless, I respect Joss Whedon's amazing works, and that's all I care about him.
Too much of a good thing is still a good thing
One can almost hear Joss Whedon writing the script while going "And cut to... actually that's a good quip. Now cut to- ...wait, that's also a good quip. Okay, now cut to... nah, here's another good quip..." They're all still good quips, but after the first 80 or so, they get exhausting, because every scene starts to feel lighthearted and every character sounds the same. When even your 3-minutes-max side characters start quip warring with the villain, there might be a problem. The same happens with the action, which feels more oddly paced and harder to follow than the previous film. Plus, equalizing an enormous climax with an equally long second act spent all at one quiet place doesn't quite seem like a balance. It's not bad action by any means, but it ends up feeling less than the near-perfection we've gotten in previous films. Unfair comparing, I guess. But where the film really pays off is in the themes. This film takes the question that has come up in discussion of Man of Steel or Birdman, i.e. "do superheroes deserve to be looked up to if they wield just as much authority on the populace as villains do? What gives them the right?" But when we fear that the heroes can only minimize damage from the bad guys, hope returns when we see the Avengers' determination to save civilians, not sacrifice thousands for millions, and show former enemies how they can repent and help the world like them. Those are superheroes we want to look up to, not merely look up because they happen to be flying above us. The only part I think needed a full rewrite, not just some trimming, was the Hulk/Black Widow arc. We've seen Banner worry over and over again about if the Hulk should be used for good; doing it again is just repetitive. As for Black Widow, her chemistry with Banner is there, but the relationship still feels like it came out of nowhere. Not to mentions there's a few uneasy implications in this "woman beauty taming violent manbeast" relationship, and a "Distressed Damsel 101" moment occurs that feels less justified the more I think about it. Age of Ultron is a fine second draft, but seems to have come out rough while in the editing room. But Whedon's second drafts are still better than some directors' final drafts. See it, have fun, and don't mind thinking for a while.
Good, but failed
I had expected very much from this film, and I was really thrilled before watching it. I believed it would be even better than the first installment. But what I thought it would be a darkish, intellectual film about Frankenstein ordeals and traumas like the trailer revealed happened to be just a joke. And I have some questions for Whedon and his team. Many people said Stark is the only Avenger who knows how to do humor. I frankly doubt of that so-called "humor", but they are right, he is the jokester of the group. Then, why is the comedic aspect of this film done by everybody except Stark? Why is this film so obsessed with destroying its dramatic moments that it comes to the extent to leave no dramatic moments at all? Why is Ultron an unscary buffon without a plan who is impossible to take seriously even if his weirds actions are so destructive? Why won't people die during the battles? And why was the romance between Hulk and Widow needed in this freaking film? Age of Ultron is a wasted opportunity. The trailer lied callously to us - it has almost no emotionality or conflict whatsoever. It has action, Hulk and Hulkbuster trading clubs and battles in which the number of people killed is inferior to the A-Team's, but just that. I cackled like stoned at the moments I should have felt scared or drawn, and I was excited and expecting at moments after which nothing (or very unoriginal things) happened. That is, it's a Marvel Film after all. It has material for cheering, pumping the fist and eat popcorn frantically (yet I buy popcorn very rarely whenever I go to the cinema), and why not, interesting events and characters. The Hulkbuster suit and the Vision were especially faves for me. However, I left the theater under the impression that this film could have been a zillion times better. I don't know if I must blame Whedon, the Executive Meddling, or their mother, but reality is that the movie didn't live up my expectations. Perhaps they were too high - but if they didn't have to be so high, they should have. About the Dueling Movies against X-Men: Days of the Future Past, I have to say, Age of Ultron lost the match by unanimous decision. Just that. My recommendation this time is to watch it. Even if it is not what I wanted, the movie surely is worth of a look, especially if you are a Marvel fan.
Too much Whedon
Joss Whedon released a wonderful interview before the first Avengers where he discussed what was cut; basically he said that he took "himself" out of the movie. This movie? Exactly the opposite. Jokes are a great part of great action movies. They break up the tension and humanize our characters. But when you make a joke every ten seconds in every single action scene, you don't have any tension to break. Good jokes get made, but fail because they don't have room to breathe. Worse, in a bizarre misstep, this extends to the villain of the piece. Ultron is not based on Tony Stark, or on any human template. Why the hell is he making weird, incredibly self-indulgent Joss Whedon jokes every five seconds? It was as if Joss Whedon simply wrote HIMSELF as the villain, and made no effort to justify it. There's a love story this time! Between... Bruce Banner? And Black Widow? And Black Widow is portrayed as practically desperate. She constantly makes incredibly undignified advances. "A good man done me wrong," she says, pretending she's in a 40s movie for no reason other than that Whedon likes unnatural dialogue. It's unsubtle and out-of-character. The last major problem is the absurdly ham-fisted misdirect. Spoilers ahead: Hawkeye doesn't die. And you will know that almost immediately, because Whedon throws every single cliche to foreshadow his death at you, incessantly throughout the film. It's arguably the most insulting statement Whedon has ever made to his audience (who he's pretty fond of insulting). He seems to genuinely think that a person can watch this movie and fall for the endless, obviously-fake "foreshadowing". It's just insulting. It's about as clever as the twist at the end of The Village. It's worse than stupidity - it's stupidity that thinks it's being clever. The movie's strengths are those we've seen before: great performers, characters, and action. Watching Vision fly around, costume basically unchanged from the comics, it makes a nice contrast with DC's endlessly drab films. I have no doubt Whedon made this movie this way to ensure he could leave The Avengers for good; as was his intent, I bid him good riddance.
Entertaining, but it didn't reach its potential
I was expecing much from AOU. The last films in the MCU have been gradually improving, polishing the narrative and adding layers of depth to the main characters in the universe. AOU does succeed on this regard to an extent, but the film as a whole feels that is lacking the elements that made the last films in the MCU outstanding. Exploring the fears of each of the Avengers was a brilliant way to add depth to their characters and tying it to the plot. Unfortunately the film focuses too much on the heroes, and very little on the villains. HYDRA is dismissed anticlimatically at the beginning of the film, and Ultron in particular is not given the depth his character needed. We are never given enough time exploring his motivations, and he ends up been the overly done crapshoot A.I that wants to kill humans. Perhaps the greatest issue I have with this film is the out of place humor. Ultron is the worst offender, and it didn't do nothing for the film but to feel distracted. The visuals are excellent as expected, but there were a couple of scenes were the CGI was conspicuous, especially some scenes with the Hulk. At the end my biggest issue with this film is that it doesn't stand for itself. It feels mostly like filler until Infinity War is released. That, and the film couldn't help but falling into a formulaic, predictable structure.
My review (Spoilers)
Pros: Good action Solid acting Funny Ultron: I know he gets a lot of flack but he the way he switches between funny and frightening is impressive. New additions to the Avengers Hawkeye's Family Foreshadowing for civil war New avengers Hawkeye's family Opening sequence Hulk and Natasha romance Hallucinations Klaw's cameo Hulk buster vs. Hulk Cons: Strucker was used poorly Quicksilver didn't need to die Nick Fury was fun but came out of nowhere Action was amazing but didn't feel as solid as first Post credits scene was a letdown Hulk and Black Widow romance came out of nowhere Missed opportunity for Agents of Shield crossover Lacked lustre of first one Felt overpacked A bunch of other minor nitpicks that no one cares about that I'm sure where in the film but didn't stop me from enjoying it Bottom Line: This film was AMAZING. Despite the flaws I listed, this film kicked so much ass and is not only one of the best MCU products but one of the BEST SUPAHERO MOVIES EVAR. A must watch for any Marvel Fan 9.5/10
Could have been better-spoilers alert
What i liked: 1) Hulk and Black Widow were the heart of the movie. 2) The Vision was awesome. 3) Ultron is an okay villain, he's basically a nuttier Tony Stark, still not as good as Loki but better than Malekith and Ronan. 4) Hawkeye got a better treatment than last movie. 5) Spoiler: The cameo of Klaw and the references to Wakanda. What i didn't like: 1) The pacing of the movie is awfully fast, i don't get to enjoy the dialogues before quickly switching to the many, many action scenes. 2) Thor is still protrayed as a doofus(because Whedon hates the character) and he doesn't say we would have words with thee. 3) Quicksilver Spoiler: poor Quicky, he has only few lines and gets killed off. Why Whedon why? 4) Bruce/Natasha feels a bit awkward, especially if you remember Betty Ross. 5) Ultron gets a bit too comedic at times and i couldn't take him seriously. I give the movie a B- PS: Read Ultron Unlimited by Kurt Busiek.
Did Marvel jump the shark?
I saw the first Avengers and it was good, but not great. I saw Iron Man Trilogy, which went from great, to bad, to decent. Thor 2 was fun and So Bad, It's Good in equal manner. Winter Soldier used language of War on Terror to make a dumb but well-directed action flick seem smart. Guardians of the Galaxy dropped the seriousness, focused on characters and was awesome. Admittedly, that's not all of MCU, but enough to judge Age of Ultron against the rest of MCU. It's the second worst installment after Iron Man 2. You know things are going to be stupid when Tony literally takes an alien object tampered with by Hydra and then decides to use it to do the exact the same thing Captain America fought against in Winter Soldier, only with robots instead of helicarriers. Once Ultron is free, he gets around with no problems and no-one besides Avengers trying to stop him as his clones multiply god-knows-where. You would think all the supply lines needed to produce HUNDREDS of robots would be easy to trace back to the rogue factories, but what do you know. Then again, it's no more stupid then a supply of Vibranium at a huge base in Africa S.H.I.E.L.D. somehow failed to find, or Ultron flying around to the center of Seoul with nobody noticing. There are more characters in total, and, somehow, newcomers are the best in here. Old guard gets increasingly hit-and-miss quips and forced flashbacks that don't actually make them any deeper. (Cap's still haunted by war & his coma! Who knew?) Banner/ Natasha romance is a nice idea, but the execution is akin to a Nicholas Sparks film. Action is not good. It's just lots of cannon fodder getting dispatched, again and again and again - a far cry from fights in Winter Soldier and Guardians, where even minor combatants on all sides got their chance to shine. Motorway battle is inferior to one in Furious 7 or Matrix Reloaded to give just two examples. Even the Skrulls felt like more of a threat. At the climax, Whedon managed to make a chunk of earth lifted skywards look like yet another generic city being destroyed (as seen in Man of Steel, first Avengers, and all Transformers films.) Speaking of MOS, Avengers do spend a lot of time saving people unlike that abomination. It's commendable, but falls flat, because very few die on screen and so there's no meaningful contrast to get us invested. Score: 5/10
As someone who was incredibly hyped for this film, I didn't spoil anything for myself. I hoped my theories were right, and hoped it would be just as good as the prior films. Needless to say, Ao U knocked it out of the park. The action scenes were epic, with each character getting a moment to shine. The villain's plans and motivations were well reasoned, and the reasoning behind the heroes actions is well thought out. Storywise, it contributed a lot to the overarching plot of the Infinity Stones, after Thor got his vision of them. However, I did not see it coming when they implanted the Gem itself into Vision. The humor of the actors was a major selling point for me, with Ultron being as snarky as Tony, and Vision retaining JARVIS's snarkiness. Several thngs from the first film were alluded to: Cap and Thor's combo attack is a refined version of the shockwave from the end of the forest battle, and Thor juicing the casket holding Vision was taken from the same battle. I was pleasently surprised to see that it was Vision who held Mjolnir. Finally, the stinger. Thanos getting off his purple ass and stealing the Gauntlet has to be one of the best ways to tell the audience "Shit's about to get real". Looking forward to seeing Civil War next year.
Ultimately, a failure in expectations.
I thought it was a pretty good film t first, but overtime began to get more critical of Age of Ultron. There are too many separate character arcs going on, which makes developing them properly nearly impossible in 2 and a half hours. Only Tony and Steve really get a clear direction for their characters, and it's largely because they can double as set-up for Civil War. Thor just kinda disappears to get half naked and hint at his third movie, Black Widow and The Hulk have their terrible romance, Hawkeye gets a bunch of death flags for red herring purposes, and the Maximoff twins never have their grudge against Tony brought up after their Heel–Face Turn. Avengers 1 worked because it was able to unite a cast of very different people under one common goal, and gave them all the same arc to keep focus on it. Splitting the character development arcs up into several directions means only a few will benefit from it it, while the others are left in the dust. Our main villain, Ultron, ask us if there's such a thing a "too much Whedon?" The answer is yes. Ultron fails to keep his menace up when it matters most because Joss' need for Bathos ruins almost any tension his scenes display. The problem isn't that he's too human, but rather that he's too much like a typical Joss Whedon character. The kind that can't stop quipping like a smart alec even when it doesn't do the character any favors. Even Ultron's Colony Drop plan fails to remind me that the character is a threat, rather it's the lives threatened by his plans that holds my attention. James Spader acted him well, but this wasn't a very graceful use of a top Avengers villain. The Black Widow/Hulk romance really needs it's own section for how badly it's handled. First, it comes out of nowhere after 3 films with Natasha getting more believable subtext with Tony in Iron Man 2, Clint in Avengers 1, and Steve in The Winter Soldier. The only onscreen interactions I saw with Nat and Bruce were hostile and antagonistic. Them getting together now just reeks of asspull. Secondly, This is their character arc for the film, which composes of Nat hitting on Bruce, Bruce and Nat confiding over their differing inabilities to conceive children (which was handled in a pretty tone deaf way), and Nat forcing Bruce to turn into the Hulk for the finale. Riveting stuff. Third, anything good from their character interaction could have been better accomplished by making them friends, which means I found some good stuff in there but didn't like that it was presented romantically. Finally, Joss saying me wanted to make a film without a Token Romance only to do this is really hypocritical. I see why some would like it, especially because it was Nat initiating the romance, but I couldn't. Hawkeye getting more to his character is good, and The Vision was well used, but it's really a weaker retread of Avengers 1 when I look back at this film.
Avengers: Age of Ultron
Possibly better than the first. (Possible minor spoilers, ahoy) —- Avengers: Age of Ultron is, to put quite simply, a marvelous (geddit?) and tightly constructed piece of cinema. It's funny, action-packed, full of heart and surprisingly deep for a comic book movie. Everyone brings their A-game as usual but high commendations have to go to James Spader as Ultron (who manages to be sympathetic, scary and funny at different times) and Paul Bettany as The Vision, who does a wonderful job with leaving an impression in such little time. Hawkeye fans will appreciate his greater focus and more developed personality as compared to the first film and does anything really need to be said about the action in the movie; it's excellent. Of course, the film was made by humans and humans are not perfect so it goes with logic that their creation shouldn't be either. The final action scene goes on for just a bit too long, the magic of seeing all of these heroes on screen has been lost a little bit and there were things done with Black Widow's character that, although not character assassinatingly bad, did feel unnecessary and contained a few unfortunate implications. These grievances however, are not enough to bring down the film's overall enjoyment, wit or soul. 9/10 P.S.: You don't need to stay after the credits for this one.