There are many nerdtastic movies to look forward to this year—Jurassic World, Spectre, Mockingjay – Part 2. Oh, and some little film called Star Wars or something…? 😉 But the big kick-off for 2015’s nerdy movie line-up was undoubtedly the much anticipated sequel to Avengers. I, being the good little geek I am, was all about the Thursday night premiere of Avengers: Age of Ultron last week. And I may have gone to see it again on Sunday, too. Like, maybe. But ultimately I knew I was going to have an important question to answer: Is Age of Ultron a worthy follow-up not only to the first Avengers, but to all of Marvel’s post-Avengers films?
For me, the answer to that question is definitely more “yes” than “no,” but I do say that with the tiniest hint of disappointment. Don’t get me wrong—Age of Ultron is a great film. I wouldn’t have seen it twice if that weren’t the case. But my feelings toward it are almost identical to my feelings toward The Dark Knight Rises (Sidenote: Did you catch my Top 20 Superhero Movies earlier this week? See that here and here). That is, Age of Ultron is awesome for many reasons, but it doesn’t pack the same punch as its predecessor (or predecessors, if we’re also talking about the likes of Captain America: The Winter Soldier and Guardians of the Galaxy). But enough rambling—let’s discuss the deets.
Synopsis: “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.” –Borrowed from my favorite movie site, IMDb
The Good: Well, you certainly can’t say that Joss Whedon lacks style—and I don’t just say that because of the spectacular visuals and epic fights (of which there are many). Age of Ultron is filled to the brim with all the witty banter and hilarious quips that we not only want but have come to expect from writer/director Whedon. Of course, all of the cast members have such delightful chemistry that they make his job look easy. You can tell they have fun with each other and are comfortable in their roles—especially the veterans. After all, most of these actors have been playing their characters for three or more movies now. However, one of this film’s greatest achievements was to give attention to a character that was largely ignored in his two previous films. I’m talking about Jeremy Renner’s Hawkeye (whom you should really watch in this video, if you haven’t already). Hawkeye gets a whooooole thing in this movie, and it’s really wonderful. It adds so much to his character. But I don’t want to spoil that too much, so let’s talk about something else wonderful: the newbies! Age of Ultron introduces several new players, and I was pretty impressed with all of them. Titular baddie Ultron (James Spader) is a wickedly fun and interesting robot/AI made that much more fun and interesting via his mostly human voice and very human dialogue. The mysterious Vision (Paul Bettany) is an incredibly cool (and incredibly powerful) creation that I think will be a key character in the films to come. The Maximoff twins, Wanda (Elizabeth Olsen) and Pietro (Aaron Taylor-Johnson), are a visually awesome pair with a staggering amount of character development packed into one sad childhood story. Oh! And we get to briefly see the ever-awesome Andy Serkis as Ulysses Klaue, who will be a main nemesis to Chadwick Boseman’s Black Panther further down the line. All in all, this is an excellent cast in a fun, exciting story.
Favorite Scene: Newcomer Vision is able to do something that shocks the Avengers into an awkward silence. The looks on their faces are priceless.
The Bad: I feel like this film needed a push in one of two directions. Whedon and co. should have either shaved off some of the less vital moments, or they should have just gone for it and included more, even if that meant dancing with that three-hour mark. Because as it is, Age of Ultron seems overstuffed. Don’t get me wrong—Whedon juggles the many characters and story threads much better than most directors would, but certain aspects of the film are still spread thin, leaving something to be desired by the end of it. Also, as much as I love Whedon’s humor, I couldn’t help feeling that some of it seemed more forced than it did in the first Avengers, as if he were trying so hard not only to equal but to outdo the laughs in his previous film. I’m thinking in particular about a running joke regarding Captain America’s (Chris Evans) lack of tolerance for bad language. It’s funny at first, maybe, but then it’s dragged on to the point that it seems more forced than genuine. Also, there’s a fair bit of controversy surrounding Whedon’s treatment of Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) in this movie. I don’t really want to trudge into that, but I will say this: I didn’t hate the choices Whedon made for her, but I didn’t feel like they were entirely consistent with the character either, and that bugged me. If you’d like to discuss this further, please meet me in the comments below. Lol. My only other qualm with this film is that it doesn’t seem to regard some the major events of the Phase 2 films—especially Iron Man 3, which ended with Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) seemingly out of the game. I realize it’s a little unfair to ask for consistency from an already massive and ever-growing cinematic universe…but it’d still be nice. 🙂
Least Favorite Scene: There’s a very random plotline in which Thor (Chris Hemsworth) searches for answers to something and somehow winds up shirtless in a magical cave without us understanding exactly why. While the shirtlessness is much appreciated, his little side mission could use a better explanation.
To Sum It Up: Despite its flaws, Avengers: Age of Ultron is still a worthy addition to the Marvel Cinematic Universe and a solid follow-up to The Avengers. Perhaps it isn’t quite as fresh as the likes of last year’s Marvel offerings, but it’s still every bit as action-packed and entertaining as you’d expect. Plus, it teases some pretty exciting things for the future. Bring it on, Infinity Wars. 😀
My Grade: A-
Before I sign off and get to weekending, I wanted to reiterate for any of you who missed this post yesterday: I’m going to be switching things up starting next week. I’ll still put something up every day, but a majority of my posts will be reblogs with only one or two new write-ups per week. It’s not a permanent thing—I’m just going to spend the next few weeks catching up on some stuff and trying to find a better groove on WordPress. But this is something I forgot to say yesterday: Should any of you wish to contribute to Song and Screen, Quotation Quintet, or even Series Spotlight while I’m on my semi-break, feel free to send your write-up(s) to email@example.com. I’m always happy to shine a light on awesome bloggers through my site. 🙂
31 thoughts on “Avengers: Age of Ultron: Earth’s Mightiest Sequel?”
Love your enthusiasm for this one! I don’t believe I share it lol, but it still is fun, but in no way could it match the novelty of the first. Though, there is more attention given to just about everyone.
Agree so much on the humor. Sometimes it works, but others times, I wanted them to stop trying so hard!
Sounds like we are very much on the same page. It does a lot of things right, but it also does some things…I don’t want to say “wrong,” but it just misses the mark a bit. Still plenty of fun though! 🙂
I feel the same – it was good but it was too much!
Poor Proby–I hope you didn’t end up peeing in your popcorn bucket…
Good review. Can’t say I loved it. But still had fun, however.
Hey, Dan! Thank you! I guess having fun is the most important part, huh? 🙂
Good review! I loved this movie but I agree, despite the great job Whedon did balancing all these characters and storylines, most of the problems the movie had could have been avoided just by making it half an hour longer. Hoping for an extended cut when the dvd comes out!
Thanks, lady! Exactly–the movie totally should’ve been half-an-hour longer! I feel like most people would’ve been cool with that, especially if it explained some of the more rushed bits. Clearly, they just need to listen to us next time. 😉
Great review Cara! That was my favourite scene too!
Thanks, Mike! It was totally the highlight of the movie. The Hulkbuster fight was probably a close second…
Scarlet Witch’s supreme hotness was my highlight 🙂
Lol. Why am I not surprised? Elizabeth Olsen is definitely a badass though.
I have nothing wrong with the Widow plotline. It was done naturally. Yes, it was a tad rushed… I would have liked to see Widow become more and more human (her character, as she herself says, is a bit of a monster), and then dive into a relationship, but this is a series of movies, not a TV show. I liked that she evolved in this one which is why I ashamed of the fans pushing Whedon out of Twitter. Makes me embarrassed to me a member of the ‘movie-loving’ (and I really do need to emphasise those sarcastic quote marks) audience.
See, I felt that because the relationship was so rushed–and kind of out of the blue–it didn’t feel natural to me. I realize that this is not a TV show, but even so the relationship could’ve been built up in this film and then actually become something in the next one. On top of that, I had an incredibly hard time buying that Black Widow would be willing to just walk away from everything. In my opinion, Whedon fumbled a little with her in this one. That said, I do think people have reacted way too harshly, especially given Whedon’s long history of writing great female characters.
That Cap profanity joke. Woof. Rolled my eyes every time it came up.
Omg THANK YOU. And it would not die…
Great review Cara! I loved Age of Ultron also but agree there were a couple of weak elements – the Thor sub-plot being one of them and representative of all those other little moments that seemed to be included just to set up future Marvel films.
But all in all it was great and they did a good job with Vision and glad they gave more meat for Jeremy Renner to chew on! Can’t wait for Captain America: Civil War next Sping 🙂
Omigosh. I think Civil War is going to be amazing. Or at least I hope! Lol. Sounds like we feel pretty much the same about this one though. Thanks, Chris! 🙂
I anxiously await Civil War pretty sure it’s going to be awesome given that the comic book storyline the film’s being based on is a modern classic, much like the Winter Soldier!
Fun! But I can’t imagine watching it twice in such short succession.
Haha I do that with movies waaaay too often. I didn’t choose the lifestyle–the lifestyle chose me. 😉
“…some of it seemed more forced than it did in the first Avengers…” – oh dear… uhm… sheesh.
I will probably get to checking this out when it comes to DVD or something, no rush for it or anything (you know how I loved the first one). Still, I have been told I might like this one more because it isn’t as hollow as the first, but lacks some things the first had more. I suppose we will see.
I am thrilled to hear you enjoyed it so much, even though it fell flat in places. Great review. Gives me a better understanding of what’s cooking. Also, Andy Serkis? No matter how brief, there is no way that I can skip this now!
Hmm. Yeah, I’m not really sure how you’d react to this one, lady. Guess we’ll just have to see! That brief Serkis tease is delightful. I can’t wait to see his character in Black Panther. 😀
Cara! Sorry I missed your Ultron review! Ugh – trying to catch up with everyone. 😦 Lol – my two favorite scenes are your favorite AND least favorite scenes! 😉 We agree on this one, I think. I wasn’t exactly blown away but it was fun. I should watch the first one again…
Hey, no worries, lady! You know I love my Mutant catch-up days! Yes, of course Thor’s shirtless scene is one of your favorites. 😉 I just wish they’d explained that whole thing more, you know? But, hey, it let us see Hemsy’s abs, so I guess it could have been worse. Lol. The first one is the best! Totally watch it again!
Lol – I don’t know WHAT the hell was actually going on in that scene… 😉
Great review. I think the film was good but still quite disappointing.
Not sure if it is in comparisons to their reason great films but it felt like a foot note rather than a solid film of its own.
2 hour trailer for phase 3 is a bit harsh but not wholly untrue.
Tim! I have no idea why, but WordPress sent your comment to spam! Wtf?!?! Lol. Anyway, I see where you’re coming from. I still totally enjoyed it, but it definitely wasn’t Marvel’s strongest film–especially following so closely after some of their best stuff yet (The Winter Soldier and Guardians). Thanks, buddy! 🙂
Haha Timthefilmguy. Clearly spam!
Thanks for saving me from the spam. Yeah its not there best. Still enjoyable but something amiss am afraid.
Looking forward to their future films though 😀
Oh obviously. 😉 And totally–the future is exciting! We’ll see how Ant-Man turns out…