Avengers: Age of Ultron Review

ageofultron

What a shame that Tony Stark didn’t use his vast wealth to purchase a DVD copy of Terminator 2. If he had the billionaire philanthropist playboy would have learned what a bad idea it is to develop AIs. When the Avengers wrestle away control of Loki’s sceptre, from the clutches of Hydra, the genius also known as Iron Man uses the Asgardian staff to complete his Ultron programme. Stark hopes to delegate the responsibility of protecting Earth to machines. Unfortunately for him the plan backfires when Ultron gains sentience and a powerful robotic body. In a twist you can see coming a mile away, Ultron determines that the best course of action for saving the planet is to eradicate the globe’s biggest threat… namely the human race!

OVERVIEW

I am starting to suffer a little from robot fatigue. After watching the first two Iron Man films I have had my fill of superheroes battling evil versions of Tony Stark’s armour. Ultron and his army of replicas regrettably has Marvel reusing that idea yet again. Given the rich selection of comic book villains available to choose from, I can’t help but wonder why some other antagonist wasn’t picked instead for a live action adaptation. On the plus side Ultron has some flesh and blood underlings assisting him in the form of Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver. The enhanced humans (don’t call them mutants or Fox will sue) have made a pact with Ultron as they blame Stark Industries for their parents’ deaths. Scarlet Witch has the power of boobs, energy projection and mind manipulation whilst Quicksilver is a speedster who is less cool than his X-Men movie doppelganger.

Given that the synopsis outlined above is fairly straightforward you might be wondering how the writers stretched out the plot into a 140-minute feature. The answer to that question is dull side stories. After being relegated to the role of indoctrinated lackey in the first Avengers flick, Hawkeye is given more screen time courtesy of some family scenes. What’s this? Clint has kids and a wife? Wow, how riveting… not. Another sub-plot that I didn’t care for was the crowbarred romance between Black Widow and Bruce Banner. If Banner was still played by dreamy Ed Norton I could understand why Widow would be physically attracted to him, but it’s more of a stretch when Mark Ruffalo is playing the part. Perhaps the Beauty and the Beast love story was inserted to give geeks, who flock to these films, hope that poindexters can indeed attract supermodels.

VERDICT

My rating for Avengers: Age of Ultron is a three out of five. Thanks to the flashy action and funny one-liners the movie is entertaining. Avengers Assemble was more enjoyable however, as it was better paced and had the novelty factor of being the first A-list superhero team up. It’s probably for the best that director Joss Whedon has since left the Marvel cinematic universe, because the MCU releases that followed his departure have been more to my liking. When compared against Age of Ultron I found Ant-Man, Civil War and Doctor Strange to be wittier, smarter and more original respectively. Whedon relies on quips and character deaths too often when it comes to filmmaking. The end result is stories that are fun at first, but lack substance the longer they go. Maybe that explains why all his shows end up getting cancelled?

Blaming Whedon exclusively for Age of Ultron’s faults would be unfair though. Regardless of who was sitting in the director’s chair, there is no escaping how the source material hamstrings Age of Ultron’s script. The tale of a mechanical protector who turns on his creators is fine for a sixties graphic novel, but comes across as cliché in 2015. Ultron’s portrayal doesn’t help matters either. Despite appearing sinister in the trailers, thanks to James Spader’s vocal delivery, in the movie itself the character comes across as goofy. Like a teen with daddy issues, he is prone to outbursts whenever Stark is mentioned. Poor Tony. Everyone hates his guts. I still don’t get why Quicksilver wants him dead. It’s not Stark’s fault that someone used his weapons to kill mummy. That’s akin to hating the Volkswagen CEO, instead of the driver, when an automobile squishes your cat.

34 thoughts on “Avengers: Age of Ultron Review

  1. The issue I had with the film (as you’ve suggested) was it felt a little contrived. Tiny Stark creates a problem which The Avengers have to solve.

    Incidentally, there is great excitement today where I live in Durham – scenes from Infinity War are being filmed in the cathedral this weekend.

  2. There’s quite a lot filmed here in Durham. Several scenes from the various Harry Potter films were filmed in the castle or Cathedral, as were parts of the original Elizabeth. And the Gently series with Martin Shaw was mostly filmed here.

    Mind you: that just proves that, at best, Durham is stuck in the 60s!

  3. What, you mean you didn’t like that awesome part where Iron Man and Thor were arguing about which one of their girlfriends was the coolest?

    I get that there is a certain amount of juvenile humor to be expected in a superhero movie, but Whedon always takes it too far for me. Every character he writes feels like they’re mid-puberty.

    • I didn’t mind the girlfriend bickering, but stuff like Tony mocking Steve over the bad language remark didn’t work for me. On average I prefer Marvel to DC because their movies are more lighthearted, but there is a time and place for gags. In this film there were times were the jokes didn’t seem appropriate.

    • It’s a fine popcorn blockbuster, but given the talented cast I expected better. Marvel have set the bar high with their other films and this movie didn’t hit that standard. Okay, but not great.

      • At the very least you’re not one of those fans who goes “All the MCU movies have to be good. If one ends not pleasing me the entire MCU is in danger”.

  4. I still liked it, but yeah, it felt a little stale to me. They weren’t going over anything that the MCU didn’t do better in some earlier movie. And the romance between Black Widow and the Hulk was just weird to me. I kind of feel that they gave Hawkeye a family so they could get any romantic interest with him out of the way, but Widow and Hulk had no chemistry, seemed to come out of nowhere, and kind of develoved Widow’s character into an accessory for the Hulk.

    • Black Widow hooking up with Cap or Hawkeye I could see, but Banner came out of left field. All those ships have sunk in future films though. The only romance they seem to be building towards now is Vision and Scarlet Witch.

  5. This is actually my least favorite of the marvel movies. It’s entertaining, but it’s a lot more cliched and contrived then you’d expect out of a marvel movie.

    • Out of all the MCU movies I have watched Age of Ultron or the original Captain America are the ones I would rank as weakest. Impressively none of them are terrible. Shame that DC don’t have a similar record because their comics have some good characters that deserve strong live action movies.

  6. “Civil War” is the only one of the Avengers series I’ve truly enjoyed so far, although that was billed as a Captain America film. :/

    • Out of those three films Civil War is my fave too. Ultron was average. Avengers Assemble is better, but in hindsight is a tad overrated and coasted by on hype when it first came out. The worst Avengers movie however is the one with Uma Thurman. 🙂

      • Also worth pointing out, Civil War was directed by two people and written by another two people. Whedon for some insane reason decided to tackle both writing and directing on his own.

  7. I didn’t hate this movie as much as most people seem to, but yeah more Evil Iron Man suits seems uninspired. Not sure why Whedon was so gung ho for Ultron.

    That said, I still really enjoy the character moments like the hammer lifting contest.

    Whedon was also very vocal about the studio forcing him to add a lot of the side stuff (Thor’s swimming scene, etc) so he might not be fully to blame.

      • It’s a tough balance, that I only see getting harder going forward as the MCU gets more interconnected. But it’s also encouraging to see the films starting to take on more diverse movie genres (like space operas, small heist movies, fantasy/magic, etc.).

  8. I was surprisingly disappointed with AoU nor was I overly fond of Iron Man 3. I was expecting the former to follow in the footsteps of the first Avengers movie. I didn’t expect it to be better, but at least as good. The witty dialogue did help it, but unfortunately couldn’t save it. It, along with IM3, is one of the few Marvel movies I’ve only seen once.

  9. I promised myself that I’d watch this movie ages ago and will most likely never get around to doing it, so I’m happy you wrote this post because I’ll quote bits of it to people who ask what I think of it.

  10. Pingback: Review: Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 [2017] (Spoiler Free!) – The Corvid Review

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