|Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015)|
|Rating: N/A/10 (N/A votes)
Director: Joss Whedon
Writer: Joss Whedon, Stan Lee (comic book), Jack Kirby (comic book)
Stars: Scarlett Johansson, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Hayley Atwell, Chris Evans
Runtime: 142 min
Genre: Action, Adventure, Fantasy
Released: 1 May 2015
|Plot: When Tony Stark tries to jumpstart a dormant peacekeeping program, things go awry and it is up to the Avengers to stop the villainous Ultron from enacting his terrible plans.|
I adore the Marvel Cinematic Universe to pieces, and the first Avengers movie rates very highly in my own personal ranking (a tie for second place with the first Captain America, following Winter Soldier). Also, I love Joss Whedon (mainly for giving us Firefly), and I was very excited to get more Black Widow and Hawkeye (alone or together, I love these two for being normal humans fighting alongside superheroes). Accordingly, I went into Age of Ultron with very high expectations indeed – which turned out to be a mistake, because I walked out of the theatre with a bad taste in my mouth, feeling frustrated and disappointed. (No spoilers follow, I think, except what one could learn from a plot synopsis or trailers.)
Maybe it’s a mistake to write a review only a couple of hours after the first viewing, since my emotions are still running somewhat high. However, there’s no denying the fact that there were several times during the movie that I wanted to physically shake Joss and demand whether he had actually bothered watching any of the MCU movies since the first Avengers. The words “character assassination” were also bandied about.
It’s the whole premise that’s ludicrous: There is simply no way that the Tony Stark we saw blow up all his suits in Iron Man 3 would have created an army of Iron Legionnaires and be in the process of creating Ultron. I’d already steeled myself for what I consider a grave mis-characterisation of Steve, since the way Joss portrayed him in Avengers already struck me as weirdly incongruent, but it just added to my frustration. Because then there’s Black Widow – she was spot-on in Winter Soldier (well, EVERYTHING was spot-on in that movie *g*), and there was simply no explanation how she ended up in the emotional place she’s in here. We won’t even talk about Hawkeye’s secret, since I’m trying so hard to avoid spoilers. It’s not even that I wanted Clint and Natasha to be romantically linked (I do), it’s that the idea is so unrealistic for the assassin/spy that Clint is supposed to be, it felt more like fanfiction than anything else.
Since the only Marvel comics I’ve read so far are Brubaker’s Captain America ones, I didn’t have great expectations for Scarlet Witch, Quicksilver or Vision. I did feel that there should have been more character work for the twins. In general more time spent on character building would have been beneficial, instead of several unnecessary fight scenes and waaay too many cameos and hints at movies to come. I get that they have to set up the next Phase of the MCU, but it ended up muddying the waters for the main storyline.
Anything else I’d say would be massive spoilers, so I won’t. I’ll just say that, despite all my ranting and nitpicking, I give this movie a middling grade, because it’s still very, very shiny (i.e. the visuals are great and the fight scenes very well-choreographed) and does manage to hit some nice emotional notes. I even laughed out loud a few times, but that’s only to be expected from Joss “Snappy Dialogue” Whedon. So I’ll buy the DVD (hopefully with deleted scenes that fill in some blanks) and wait for Cap 3 – and the next Avengers movies, which will have other directors. And I definitely didn’t expect to ever say this.
Oh, and I can’t wait to read the meta fans will come up with to make sense out of all of this! It’s one of my favourite things about fandom – we might complain, but it’s out of love, with all our hearts. Which is of course why we get so worked up in the first place – you don’t get angry unless you’re emotionally attached.
Why, oh why, Joss?
As a massive MCU fan I went into this with high expectations – and was left disappointed and frustrated. It’s not so much the action, which is as shiny and well-choreographed as expected (and earns the movie the rating I gave it). It’s as if Joss hasn’t watched any of the other movies, because these are NOT the characters I’ve come to love, with histories and character development. And even the new characters could definitely have used more fleshing out, preferably in lieu of the ton of set-up for the next movies which ended up distracting from the main story.