Monday, May 11, 2015

Review of Avengers: Age of Ultron

With the success of “The Avengers”, “Avengers: Age of Ultron” has a lot to live up to. While it’s almost impossible for this sequel to recapture the magic of the original, I have to say that despite what everyone on the internet says, director Joss Whedon has done enough not to let anyone down.

The movie starts in the Eastern European country of Sokovia with the Avengers team raiding the Hydra outpost of Baron Wolfgang von Strucker. The Baron had been experimenting on humans using the scepter wielded by Loki in the first movie and the team wanted the scepter back. They got more than they bargain for when two enhanced beings, Pietro and Wanda Maximoff, got into the field. 

Pietro has superhuman speed while his twin sister Wanda can manipulate minds and throw energy blasts. Although they won the battle, the Avengers did not come out of it unscathed. Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) was severely injured in the battle while Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) was given terrible visions by Wanda.

In the end, Stark took possession of Loki's scepter and secretly used it to complete his "Ultron" global defense program with a lot of help from Bruce Banner (Mark Ruffalo). Ultron was designed as an A.I. initiative to combat global threats before they occurred but Stark and Banner could not get it to work properly. As they say, the road to hell is paved with good intentions as Ultron activated itself. The now sentient Ultron believed the biggest threat to the world is the human race and the race must be eradicated to save the planet.

From there, it became a battle between the Avengers and Stark's rogue A.I. with the Avengers gaining new allies in the process.

First off, do not compare this to “The Avengers”. The first movie was a magical movie moment that’s impossible to recapture. It is just not something you can re-capture, so don't even bother hoping this sequel will be able to reach the same highs. If you managed do this, then you will see that “Avengers: Age of Ultron” has a lot going for it.

Several excellent battles, a ton of humor, and character moments for the heroes who do not have their own movies. Hulk, Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) and Hawkeye each has their moments in the sun in Age of Ultron and I thought this was a good idea. The other 3 heroes have their own movie franchise so giving much needed screen time to these 3 was a smart move.  

The battles were also excellent with the highlight clearly being the battle between Hulk and Stark’s “Hulkbuster” armor. The end battle between the Avengers and Ultron in Sokovia lasted a little too long in my view, but it was still an excellent set piece.

I also liked the end when Captain America (Chris Evans) and Black Widow greet and prepare to train the new members of The Avengers; War Machine, Wanda, the Vision, and Falcon. This passing of the baton moment was great and I just hope they don’t destroy the whole thing by immediately getting the original members back in the next movie.

That might be forlorn hope though as the return of Nick Fury (Samuel L.Jackson) shows. The return of Fury came out of nowhere and is one of the things I don’t like about “Age of Ultron”. I understand that you need to give every character at least a moment to shine but this led the movie to be laden with a lot of scenes that in the grand scheme of things were totally unnecessary.

Chief of which was the nonsensical love story between Black Widow and the Hulk. Where the hell did that come from? What’s worse was the scene when they decided to run away after the battle with Ultron. That’s totally against the Black Widow character as portrayed in the MCU.

There's also the problem of understanding how interconnected the MCU truly is. At the end of "The Avengers", Loki's scepter was firmly in the hands of the Avengers but at the start f the movie, Hydra has it. To understand this, you need to know what happened in "Captain America: The Winter Soldier" and "Marvel's Agents of SHIELD". 

These points notwithstanding, “Avengers: Age of Ultron” is a fun, funny movie that tried to be more than action film. It just have the unfortunate situation of being the sequel of one of the greatest superhero movie of all time. It's by no means a bad movie, watch it for a good time, and just remember not to compare it to the original.


Loki said...

It was great to see the Scarlet Witch and to see Pietro. Why did they kill him? All in all it was a good movie. We await the arrival of Galactus!

Ghost said...

maybe due to the fact that the Pietro in X-Men beat the crap out of this Pietro. Also this way the X-Men (under FOX) can have Pietro, while the Avengers (under Marvel) can have Wanda. Conflict solved!