Avengers: Age of Ultron Review by Tony Lorenzo
“How can it get bigger than this?”
My entire life has involved some sort of mind cosplay of many comic book heroes.. sometimes I’m feeling kinda Spider-Man, other times I’m feeling pretty Punisher… MOST of the time I was feeling Iron Man.. but not in this film. Sadly, get ready to not dig mister Stark like you used to. It’s actually not his fault either, which is why this film does mostly pull off what it’s trying to do. Expand. These days Marvel is all about expansion and why not? Disney. Anyway, we find ourselves at a strange crossroad in pop culture and film.. Heroes dominate the airwaves from television to podcasts of super fans to the silver screen. At the top of this domination, The Avengers, earths mightiest.. well you know.
Age of Ultron.. This film literally has the weight of the world on its shoulders and Joss Whedon does this strange thing for most of this film, he holds that weight almost willingly. I now know why he is leaving Marvel after this.. because I sat and wondered to myself “How can it get bigger than this?”
We start out with an attack on the final stronghold of Hydra.. our heroes are beautifully in sync and look like they have been a team for a while. Fighting with purpose and having each other’s backs. That’s one very strong pillar this film has going for it, they don’t have to focus on world building because we already know who these characters are. Therefore, they don’t waste our time filling in any gaps before we see Hulk smash and Hawkeye .. well Hawkeye. Captain America takes charge for most of this film and there were some parts where I audibly wow’d watching Steve Rogers kick some serious ass. I felt like I was in heaven and nothing could ever bog this film down… and then less than ten minutes in.. we get a shoehorned love story, main characters and a questionably off beat Tony Stark.
I brush those randoms aside and continue my journey through this epic collaborative effort and start to enjoy myself once again..
I gotta say, even though thousands and thousands of Internet videos and write ups already figured out how Ultron is forged, the film still throws a curveball at us proving that not everyone can be right about plot points pre-release. Ultron is deeper than I thought he would be. James Spader does a wonderful job at voicing a sentient being who has just come to after a long dream.. it’s like watching a baby being born. A very smart pissed off baby. Unfortunately they decided to take a page right out of he worst film of 2014 Trancendence and once Ultron hits the web, hell breaks loose.
The new guys…
In this film we get our newest heroes.. first the Maximov twins, Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch. For the longest time in this film I had no idea what their reasonings for being good or evil were.. and unfortunately they are very poorly executed and I can’t tell if they were overused or underwhelming. Either way, both aren’t good. We also get The Vision, probably Marvels Superman judging by his outlook on mankind and pure strength and ability. To be honest The Visions origin is shoehorned in and it’s not a very great one but you quickly brush that aside and remember that you’re watching The Avengers not a Vision movie.. with that being said, once he kicks it into gear he is one of the strongest parts of the film.
Some things in this film leave you with more questions than answers.. Questions like “did they use Scarlet Witch for the sole purpose of us getting a Hulk/Iron Man fight?” “where did Nick Fury just come from and how is he able to do what he does.. isn’t S.H.I.E.L.D. disbanded?”.. “what in the hell was Andy Serkis doing in this film?” .. Some characters felt more like a cameo than anything else. War Machine and Falcon are in it so fast if you blink you’ll miss it. When you’re an Avengers movie however, you can get away with these things.
Usually films like this fall apart in their third act but fortunately, this entire film is exactly what it’s intended to be.. a sequel. There is close to no tension at all because we already know that at least two more films are coming so why worry? They do a good job at putting the entire MCU together albeit very subtle but we don’t need too much foreshadowing since they’ve already named the next two films.
Then when I didn’t think the iconic scene from the first film when we see all of our heroes side by side in NYC.. we get a very similar scene in Age of Ultron that somehow isn’t convoluted, given the sheer number of characters in this film and it is worth the wait! Overall this film doesn’t really fall under its own weight but it does leave you with a feeling that it was just a very long trailer for the next film.. which some people may see as a bad thing.
I loved this film for what it’s supposed to be, a team of people who are down on their luck, facing an unstoppable force before the time runs out. Some people would say that’s an overdone concept and as I could agree, think of it this way.. The Avengers: Age of Ultron isn’t as shallow as it looks but unfortunately it is just a place holder while Marvel rolls out the rest of their slated films. I loved the first but you can never catch that lightning in a bottle twice. They sure as hell came close though. Unfortunately the weak character development, a weird love story and unanswered questions weigh down a perfect score.
Avengers: Age of Ultron Review by Chris Watroba
After three long years of hyping this thing using any and all media at their disposal, Marvel has finally unleashed Avengers: Age of Ultron on the world. It follows the basic Marvel movie formula: villain of the week devises diabolical plot to destroy the world (or universe, depending on whether or not this is a “cosmic” or “earthbound” Marvel movie), a team of heroes struggles with personal AND interpersonal issues while at the same time trying to stop said villain, and finally engages in a drawn out battle to end all battles miles into the sky while the fate of the world hangs in the balance. It’s a safe, conservative method of story telling that seems to be working just fine, as box office numbers would suggest. It doesn’t make the movie any less enjoyable, and it’s a worthy placeholder before the next big event [Captain America: Civil War (don’t hate me, I just don’t think Ant-Man is going to win over the same size audience)].
Age of Ultron offers much more character development than the first Avengers. Each character undergoes a bit of soul-searching that leads them each to question their roles on the team and in the world . This of course, causes dissension among the ranks, a few outright physical confrontations, and finally a pep talk from some leader figure to bring the team back together. Again, very formulaic, but we find out things about each characters’ lives that, until this point, were largely a mystery. There is a budding romance between Scarlett Johansson’s Black Widow and Mark Ruffalo’s Bruce Banner, Chris Evans’s Captain America is finally coming to terms with never-ending job as a soldier, Chris Helmsworth’s Thor’s guilt over abandoning his home world of Asgaard, and… um…. who’s the other guy…. it’ll come to me….. OH!! Robert Downey, Jr.’s Tony Stark has inadvertently created a threat to the earth’s entire population because of his doubt that he would be able to save it. This creation is Ultron. He is an artificial intelligence that has come to life using an Infinity Stone (oh, you all know about those by now), Stark’s A.I. deus ex machina, J.A.R.V.I.S. and a big stockpile of Unobtainium… I mean, Vibranium: a near-indestructible metal that Marvel still has rights to, unlike the Adamantium Ultron is made of in the comics. Imagine… not even being able to secure the rights to a substance that doesn’t even exist that your own company invented…. but I digress. James Spader brings to life a villain whose real danger lies not only in his threat to human life, but that he was programmed to carry out his mission of saving the world by destroying it by Stark, himself. The character has an innocence about him that you rarely see in villains, which is refreshing.
New to the team are the android Vision, played by Paul “J.A.R.V.I.S.” Bettany, and “the twins,” superpowered teens Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver, played by Elizabeth Olsen and Aaron Taylor-Johnson, respectively. These characters are introduced to the team just as the other members set off on new solo adventures and future standalone flicks that will have to tide us over until the two-part Infinity Wars brings The Avengers back to do battle with The Justice League in the brutal Box Office arena.
All in all, Age of Ultron was an entertaining romp through the ever-growing field of superhero movies. What it lacked in the newness and excitement of the first Avengers, it made up for with character development and a greater sense of just how these characters could and should interact. However, it also lacked a real sense of danger. The plot plays it safe, which remains a winning method so far, but I feel Marvel had better begin to try to change up its game a bit if it wants these movies to continue to be taken seriously by an audience that will continue to expect bigger and better with each movie. Ant-Man, you had better be good… after you we have to wait almost a year before Civil War.