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Wednesday, May 20, 2015
Avengers: Age of Ultron
|By Sati.||Wednesday, May 20, 2015||2015, A, Action, Adventure, Avengers: Age of Ultron, Joss Whedon, movies, review|
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