[First part is spoiler-free, then spoilers after the warning]
I was so excited about this movie. I loved The Avengers, and I greatly enjoy most Marvel movies, so I figured this would be a sure hit. I splurged on the viewing, reserving a seat at the dine-in theater as soon as tickets were available. I met up with some of my friends, I bought something other than the cheapest option on the menu, sat back, and was ready to be amazed.
So was I amazed? Well…
Time out! I didn’t say it was bad! Drop your pitchforks, back away from your keyboard, and let me explain.
Like I said, I loved the first Avengers movie. Seeing all those characters together on the big screen was like magic. I think that is part of what made it so grand though; it was the first time I had seen a movie take so many main characters and bring them together in one movie. Since the Avengers had already been assembled in the first movie, Age of Ultron didn’t have that going for it.
Pacing was a bit problematic. There was a lot of action; during the Hulk vs Hulkbuster scene, I actually felt a bit bored/tired. The movie had some slow parts, but they didn’t properly counterbalance the action and fast pace of the rest of the movie.
However, Age of Ultron is still a good movie. The core cast is back, with a couple of new additions. Some characters got some much-needed development, particularly Hawkeye. In The Avengers, poor Hawkeye spent most of the movie brainwashed. Between that and his lack of screen time, he was almost an extra in The Avengers.
In Age of Ultron, Hawkeye starts to find his niche. He doesn’t have superpowers or loads of money, but you learn that he does have something different to bring to the table. Black Widow also gets some development, but Hawkeye steals the show in that arena.
Ultron was not what I expected. I figured he’d be one-note, straight dark and psycho. He was bad, yes, and crazy, but he also had some humorous lines and familiar-but-fun motives, putting him above the likes of Ronin, Malekith, and Justin Hammer.
There were some things I didn’t buy in the movie, or that seemed a touch off, but overall it was quite good.
Final Rating: 8/10
Now, I will enter spoiler territory to dissect some of my issues with the movie, and some of my favorite parts. If you haven’t watched the movie, stop reading and come back later.
The movie reveals that Hawkeye is married, and that he has a house out in the country where his two kids and pregnant wife live. I’m torn about this reveal. It positions Hawkeye to be the most human of the Avengers, with the most in common with the average person the Avengers are supposed to be protecting, so it does give him a nice perspective to bring to the table. On the other hand, I didn’t buy the idea of a house being so secret that neither Tony Stark nor Ultron knew about it, unless they just hadn’t bothered to look. Plus, Hawkeye’s country house, 2.5 kids, loving and understanding wife, and assorted other domestic bliss just seems too perfect, especially for a member of an internationally known crime-fighting organization.
I am still left torn about Black Widow. I want to like her. I really, really do. But Scarlet Johanson’s portrayal of her just seems so… wooden. I always envisioned Black Widow as being the ultimate femme fatale: sexy, exotic, alluring, and able to kill you without breaking a single perfectly manicured nail. ScarJo’s Black Widow is just… not that. They tried to evolve her character in this movie by giving her a romantic interest in Banner. I get the reasoning she gave for being attracted to him, but I feel Black Widow would’ve more confident/assertive in pursuing him, and I don’t think she would’ve stayed as visibly upset for as long as she did.
I do like that they didn’t have her try to pick up Thor’s hammer though. Because if she tried and couldn’t move it, some fans would’ve been pissed since in at least one series of comics, she can move it (and gets a cool Asgard suit too).
There were some other minor things. Like, at the end of Iron Man 3, it seemed like Tony was done with being an Avenger, but here he is Avenger-ing again.
So what about the things I liked. Let’s start with Scarlet Witch. This is a comic book character I was very interested to see adapted to the big screen. And I must say, I am very glad they didn’t try to give her a headpiece; I hate her comic costume headpiece.
Scarlet Witch’s accent was meh, and I’m not sure about her mind-fuckery powers – I don’t remember her having those, but I’m not a hardcore comic fan – but I was just glad to see her.
Vision was surprisingly awesome. I knew almost nothing about him going into the movie, other than the fact that he wasn’t human and was green and purple. The green and purple part had me worried; how could that not look dumb? But it worked, and Vision was a very dignified character, making the “Well, I was born yesterday” line at the end perfect. It was nice to see Paul Bettany in front of the camera.
Speaking of, did you all realize that Klaw was Andy Serkis? I’m so used to him doing motion capture roles, I didn’t recognize him when I actually got to see him using his own face in a movie.
The humor was great. There was no single, gut-busting moment like the Hulk/Loki scene in The Avengers, but there were many lines and scenes I thought were quite funny:
- Cap scolding Iron Man for cursing, then everyone ribbing Cap about it.
- Iron Man saying “great talk!” and then one of the guys he shot saying “No it wasn’t!”
- Black Widow saying “Beep beep!” while driving a motorcycle through a crowd.
- Ultron saying something to the effect of “They took the rarest metal on Earth and made a frisbee” (referring to Cap’s shield).
I am a fanfic reader. I tell you that to tell you this: there were scenes where the writers were teasing fanfic fans. The writers and the cast know about the fanfic; hell, they talked about the fic term “sciencebros” on Jimmy Kimmel! So they know about it, and the fanfic community knows that they know about it, and now the movies are deliberately teasing us. Don’t believe me? Next time you see a scene where you think the bromance is just a tad much, remember it’s for the fanfic community. And we love it.
So the movie didn’t have quite the same magic as the first, but it was still fun, and a bit like coming home. I look forward to phase of Marvel movies.