I actually saw Avengers: Age of Ultron last week Monday, but I’ve been very busy so I haven’t really had a chance to post what I thought of it until now. At this point, most of you who read this blog have probably already seen it. If you haven’t, you should probably skip this review as it will contain spoilers.
The action comes fast and heavy with this movie. It starts out mid action sequence. If you’re like me and you watch Agents of Shield, then you had some idea of what was coming. If not, then they explain pretty well. Hydra has been doing human research in an eastern european country. This appears to be their last remaining base (but it is Hydra, so do not hold your breath) and the Avengers take it out pretty readily.
The interesting part comes when we find out that the two surviving test subjects volunteered for the testing. We get to see Scarlet Witch (never called that in the movie, as far as I can tell), in action as well as her brother, Quicksilver. As is said in the movie, “he’s fast and she’s weird.” Scarlet Witch’s power set seems extremely comprehensive, possibly even too powerful. She’s got telekenetics, telepathy, even what might be clairvoyance (she shows Tony Stark a vision of a possible future where the Avengers are defeated). The same can also be said for Quicksilver (Who we only ever see laid low twice, both being his own actions rather than those of someone else), which works well enough as they fight the Avengers (each of them outclassing the entire team in their own ways), but as they join up with the team, it almost seems too easy.
As for the rest of the cast, we get to see quite a bit more of Black Widow and Hawkeye. Black Widow comes across as far more human, and vulnerable, than we’ve seen to date. Her budding relationship with Bruce Banner adds an interesting current to the actions they take as they both try to protect each other… until Natasha realizes that she needs “the other guy” more than she can afford to protect him from that pain and shame. The dynamic is all the more interesting for the fact that while you can tell that Bruce is attracted and interested, he is also terrified of hurting her in his alter ego as the Hulk. Joss Whedon did a great job with Hawkeye, showing us his wife and family and then throwing out the red herrings that suggested Hawkeye wasn’t going to make it. They were subtle, but just heavy enough that most everyone I’ve talked to caught them. Seeing Hawkeye as a person, with a wife and kids, made him, and by extension the others, more human, more real.
My complaints in this movie come from the theme of hubris, which was pretty much what I was afraid of. We have seen Tony Stark go to this well over and over and over again. We’ll presumably see it again in Captain America, Civil War. I’m tired of it. We get it. Tony Stark can be an arrogant ass and make mistakes. This, in general, seems to be the theme of every one of the Iron Man movies. I liked those movies… but not as the main plot to Avengers. Ultron was a mistake. An avoidable one… which plot apparently required Tony Stark to be an idiot and Bruce Banner (who gods know should know better than to mess with things he barely understands) to go along with him. They did a good job with the overall execution of this plotline, but it still comes off as… well, lazy. Comic book lore had Hank Pym (I think) as Ultron’s creator. Would it have been too hard to throw a cameo his way, since he’ll be introduced in Ant Man in a few months anyway? For that matter, we’re already swallowing aliens, why not give him an extraterrestrial origin? Why does everything have to be Tony Stark’s fault? Basically at this point the character has become severely irritating to me, as he is a character that doesn’t learn.
On to the stuff I did like. The one-liners and humor was excellent. The scene where Vision casually picks up Mjolnir was perfectly executed. Hawkeye’s defeat of the Scarlet Witch when she goes to mess with his brain and his response were equally perfect. Throughout there was a level of humor and excitement, even when things were the darkest. The titanic ‘fist bump’ between the Hulk and Stark’s Hulkbuster was both epic from an action perspective and humorous enough to bring a snort of laughter. The action flowed smoothly enough and was easy enough to follow that I never had to stop and go: wait, what? Ultron’s nefarious plan was evil genius as expected and while he came off as confused and muddled sometimes, he also was sinister enough to take seriously.
All in all, I thoroughly enjoyed the movie and I’ll probably catch it again while it is still in theaters. My main complaint was, again, on the origins of Ultron and Tony Stark’s requirement to have his own failures rubbed in his face again and again rather than any issues with the movie itself. The action, special effects, scope, and characterization were all excellent and at the end, I was left wanting more.