Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Avengers: Age of Ultron

By Sati. Wednesday, May 20, 2015 , , , , , , ,

To make a fun and light superhero movie is a hard thing to pull off. But what's even harder? Making a follow up that at least matches the first film's quality. Three years ago almost everyone loved having fun with Avengers. The film was very entertaining, well done and featured terrific cast, great villain and a good balance between drama and comedy.

Now comes Age of Ultron which, sadly, is the worst kind of a sequel - not only is it nowhere near the greatness of the first movie, but it makes you the characters you enjoyed so much during the first adventure a little bit worse.
Pretty much all that could have failed, failed. The villain? Well, it would be difficult - but not impossible - to top Loki. The trailers teased deep ideas - dangers of artificial intelligence, the cost of world peace, the way the machine could perceive people - and charisma - given how Ultron speaks in the voice of endlessly magnetic James Spader. The former is almost non existent in the movie and what is there is a bunch of clichés of people telling Tony how he shouldn't play God etc. And the latter? For some reason they made Ultron into petulant child which makes no sense - you can't have  a robot learn a whole bunch of stuff within seconds and still have him act like child. It's just not consistent.

What also takes away from the villain character is that Ultron is really not that dangerous. The two people who die are newcomers we really don't know enough to care about. And Ultron is not a single threat, there is bunch of robots attacking near the end of the movie. A single threat is so much more menacing and here we just have a copy of one guy. Avengers also had tons of random crap flying around in its ending but at least it also had Loki.
Then there is the issue of story itself - it's bunch of separate stories, designed to move the plot forward enough to launch the Civil War two parter in 2 years. This is one of those Marvel flicks that doesn't feel like it was done for entertainment, it feels like it was done to fit into the franchise, provide the necessary info for the movies to fit together and make tons of money in the process.

Nothing what happens this time around has really this much impact on the whole Marvel universe, nor it is thrilling or interesting enough to warrant a separate movie. For example, the romance arc between Widow and Banner, while a good idea on paper, in spite of the commitment of actors, falls apart. The writing is just abhorrent - the Widow comes off as needy and pathetic and Bruce comes off as insensitive jerk and a coward. Way to ruin the characters.
There is even a cringe worthy beauty and the beast scene and the moment when Hulk carries Widow to safety and then runs away to prevent himself from harming anyone. Oh boy.

The action scenes are really not at all memorable, neither is CGI and the score. The shot of six Avengers leaping forward into the battle just looks juvenile and is a far cry of the iconic shot from the first movie. I could go on and mention how flat Thor's characterization is or how sentimental the attempts to humanize Hawkeye are, but frankly I don't even have the energy to write about this movie too much.
The most disappointing thing for me, though, was how utterly wasted the potential was when it comes to the visions ScarlettWitch gives the teammates. Thor and Captain America's flashbacks were silly and too vague and Black Widow's one was a wasted opportunity, plus we didn't even get to see what she showed Hulk. The one vision that was good was the one given to Iron Man, near the beginning of the movie - showing the Avengers dead. A promise of daring darkness, that was unfulfilled by what followed.

The film does have it bright sparks - Aaron Taylor Johnson is surprisingly good and relaxed as Quicksilver and Elizabeth Olsen is wonderful as the intriguing Scarlet Witch. All of her scenes are good and it's something to look forward to, as she will be reprising her role in the future. The standout is Paul Bettany as Vision - creating quite an otherworldly performance that fits the character so well. I wish that they traded that annoying Natasha/Bruce pairing for Scarlet Witch and Vision because the one scene where he swoops in and grabs her had more electricity than jaded Johansson trying to be cute and half asleep Ruffalo.
The one thing that was genuinely better than in the first movie was the teamwork - Avengers really work together using each other weapons, communicating and shielding each other backs. It was great to witness. It was also nice how fast the Avengers embraced the new team members, especially when it came to Captain America and Hawkeye being so understanding of Quicksilver and Scarlett Witch.

While Avengers: Age of Ultron is almost never boring it pales in comparison to the original in almost every fathomable way. It's not a bad film, it's just underwhelming. But perhaps it's because Avengers was that good? Either way hopefully Marvel steps up next time and gives us a good villain and better writing because this is definitely not their top effort. We all know they can do better because they did it, so many times before.

Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015, 141 min)
Plot: When Tony Stark and Bruce Banner try to jump-start a dormant peacekeeping program called Ultron, things go horribly wrong and it's up to Earth's Mightiest Heroes to stop the villainous Ultron from enacting his terrible plans.
Director: Joss Whedon
Writers: Joss Whedon, Stan Lee (based on the Marvel comics by)
Stars: Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Mark Ruffalo

28 comments:

  1. I'm glad you finally published this! I'm sop skeptical. Everything I read has me pretty much assured I'm going to hate this. I was not a fan of the first one, and this sounds worse, and any film that is going to sideline Scarlett Johansson like that doesn't deserve my love and attention.

    Like, no.

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    1. You're gonna loathe it. It's honestly so forgettable

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  2. This is the review I wish I wrote. Well done, Sati.

    I failed to mention The Vision, but Bettany really did a great job creating such powerful innocence.

    It was a shame Banner was given so little to do, but at this point, there's just too much going on (though none of it very exciting...if that's possible).

    Oh, and you nailed it. Probably the most expensive bridge-movie ever made. I hoped for more than a fancy gap-filler. Still, not horrible...just....okay.

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    1. Yeah they just put too much stuff and too many characters. Civil War is shaping to be making the same mistake :/

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  3. Yep, I think you and I are on the same page with this film. It was not a good super hero film and definitely not a good sequel. I'm surprised that Joss Whedon put his name on this film. It's difficult to make a sequel better (or as good) as the original film. I would say that Captain America: Winter Solider was better than the original, but that's the only one I can think of right off the top of my head.

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    1. Oh yeah Winter Soldier was definitely better!

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  4. I'm still going to see this though w/ low expectations as the reason I didn't go see this immediately is because I want to see it with a smaller crowd. I heard they didn't give Black Widow much to do which sucks. I thought Joss Whedon was supposed to be a feminist for Hollywood.

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    1. Well they gave her stuff to do it's just that it is a really bad story arc. Whedon is as much of a feminist as I am a virgin.

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  5. Fabulous review! I think I'll skip this one. It sounds like they tried to pack way too many story lines into it and, worse, they are ruining some of my favorite characters. What a shame.

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    1. Thank you! Yeah it is exactly what it is :/ Also there are way too many movies from Marvel nowadays

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  6. Good review, although enjoyable it was too much action and too little character development or group dynamics.

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    1. Exactly! The action wasn't even that interesting, Mad Max blows this movie out of the water completely

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  7. Great review! I might just wait for this on DVD or something. It sounds like Whedon got way in over his head and tried to do too many things at once. It's nice to know that Elizabeth Olsen and Paul Bettany were great, though. It's awful that they didn't give the best member of the team (Black Widow) a good story. I'm still annoyed she doesn't even have a movie planned yet.

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    1. Thank you! Yeah that's a good call, see Mad Max instead! I think the fact she doesn't have a movie yet is a sign of how misogynistic Marvel is

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  8. I'm glad you finally put this up! I agree, it's nowhere near the original, but it could've been. And that frustrates me. I love the Twins, and I'm so disappointed where they ended with Quicksilver. I'm just praying they bring him back in some capacity for Infinity War, even though it's been done so many times.

    Ultron amused me. He basically spent a few minutes online and decided he needed to end humanity. lol

    I didn't like Banner/Widow either. I'm not against the pairing at all, it's the way they made Natasha. She was like a damsel, and that's not her. At all.

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    1. The Bruce/Natasha arc was so misguided. The actors actually looked uncomfortable having to act out this crap

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  9. this review is so..not good. i expected more. what took so long. its not like the film was amazing and it needed an amazing review. its just such a mediocre review.

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    1. Well some of us have jobs and lives, when you get one you will realize there are more important things to use your energy and time on than reviews for mediocre films.

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    2. Powerful stuff. You wanna stop being a coward and post as other than Anonymous? Probably not.

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  10. Imma gonna go ahead and disagree with you there Sati, I actually loved this movie a lot. I think it did a lot of things right, where the original Avengers film did wrong (the first Avengers spent an AWFUL lot of time faffing about on that SHIELD helicarrier, for what?) but I do see some of your points, and in many ways you're right. But I still had a blast with this. Good stuff!!

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    1. Glad you had a good time with this movie! I sadly kinda already forgot all about it

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  11. Lol the twins have more chemistry than Hulk and Black widow. sad how feminists hated this version.

    Also loved Elizabeth Olsen and Paul Bettany here.

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    1. I think the hate Whedon received was largely justified, not the death threats obviously but he has no business presenting himself as feminist

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  12. This movie is just so forgettable! I only remember the Mjolnir-lifting part during party and that's about it. You've got a problem when the only intriguing character of the whole lot is Scarlet Witch, and the daft *romance* between Hulk & Black Widow just made me cringe.

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    1. Exactly, after seeing Mad Max I barely even remember Ultron anymore

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  13. Yeah, it's not as good as the previous film. "Underwhelming" is the perfect word to describe it. I'm probably at a 6/10.

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    1. I honestly already forgot all about this movie

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