By Veshark 24 Comments
So I just watched Avengers Age of Ultron a few days ago. And in that time, I've let some of my feelings and opinions on the film simmer and crystallize a little. Judging from the length of this blog, I've also probably put in way more time thinking about this movie then any healthy person should.
Anyway, I remember feeling very ambiguous about Age of Ultron when I left the theater, and while I did enjoy myself, I did have a number of objective and subjective problems with the film. Do note that these are just my first impressions - opinions on films often change with fan discussions or repeat viewings, so maybe I might rank it higher (or lower) in the near future. But for now, Age of Ultron earns a 8/10 score from me. It doesn't really hit the heights of the MCU's finest like Iron Man or The Winter Soldier, but it does largely accomplish what it set out to do.
So without further ado, 30 Thoughts on Avengers Age of Ultron:
Oh Sweet Christmas, I loved Hawkeye in this. After the mind-control fiasco of the first film, Whedon did not disappoint with this one. The movie's first half foreshadows this with some jabs about Clint being a mere mortal, and then when we see his healthy well-adjusted family life (a nice inversion of The Ultimates 2), and all that dialogue about Clint being the heart of the team that keeps them grounded....God, it was all done so well. This is the first time I've ever felt like MCU Hawkeye was the 616 Hawkeye that I love. This is what makes Clint such a great character. Cap isn't the Batman of the Avengers; it’s Hawkeye. He's the mere mortal with a bow and arrow who can keep up with the demigods, who reminds the Avengers about who they're fighting for. And that speech he gave to Wanda about being an Avenger? Unbelievably awesome. Thumbs up to Whedon and Renner for finally doing Hawkeye justice, and for the character's best portrayal in the MCU so far.
2. Captain America
Speaking of characters whom I felt got slighted in the first film, Cap....was a motherf*cking boss in this film. I guess it might be because of Stark's (perhaps) villainous turn in the forthcoming Civil War, but I felt like Whedon gave more shine to Steve in this one. I think The Winter Soldier proved to Marvel that Steve could be a headline character, and making him the official leader of the team was great for both his character (all that stuff about him being a soldier who could never have a normal life) and finally made Cap feel like 616 Steve. I'll admit, I was a little apprehensive about Cap coming in to this film after the first Avengers film, and the fact that Cap seemed to constantly get his butt whupped in all the TV spots/trailers. But man, was I surprised. And the feats! Oh Lord, the feats! Throwing the bike, tossing that shield, taking on Ultron (which feels like a consolation prize after that Loki fight in the first one); Steve’s prowess just keeps getting more and more impressive with each MCU film. They really relied less on practical stunts and more on CGI this time round to showcase the impossible acrobatics that Cap can pull off. I also loved it whenever Captain America was in command and barked out marching orders. That "If you die, walk it off" line was absolutely killer (though morbidly ironic in the wake of Quicksilver’s death…). And also, it's not a MCU Cap movie if Chris Evans doesn't take off the helmet at some point in the final battle.
3. Captain America Pt. II
Chris Evans is the breakout character/standout performance for this movie, seriously. Thank God John Krasinski didn't beat him out. It's phenomenal to see how much Evans has matured in this role; from the grunt soldier in TFA, to his coming-of-age as a leader capable of independent thought in Avengers and Winter Soldier, and finally the top-dog boss in this film. He's basically taken Nick Fury's place. Interesting factoid: based off the success of the Winter Soldier, Marvel decided to list Chris Evans as #4 in the credits (his original place was #2), so that Evans' name would be front-and-center in the posters. I feel like Captain America might very well supersede Tony as the face of the MCU – all due love to RDJ, but as a Cap fan first before an Iron Man one, I'm a little biased. So far, of the Avengers’ Big Four, Cap has had the best track record in terms of the quality of his films.
4. Global scale
The title of "Earth's Mightiest Heroes" never rang truer for the team than in this film. I honestly think we spent more time overseas than we did in the States, which is a nice change of pace for the MCU (barring obvious exceptions like Guardians, of course). We got Africa, Asia, Europe. Ultron was definitely threatening the entire world, and seeing the Avengers fight in different environments was a blast. That whole South Korea segment as a whole was gold, and Strucker's fortress is just some classic Marvel action. On a somewhat related note, I also feel like Joss Whedon has grown a lot as a director since his Buffy days. There were some scenes in the first Avengers where I wasn’t entirely convinced that the approach used was the best one – i.e. the directing and camera-work didn’t feel as crisp or as refined as something like Iron Man or Winter Soldier – but Age of Ultron looks fantastic for the most part.
5. Ultron's plan
I liked Ultron's plan, actually. I know some viewers didn't, but I thought it was ripped straight out of the pages of a kooky Marvel Silver Age story (and if you know anything about the Shark, you know I have a soft spot for that era). The film tried to make it more palatable to general audiences by selling it as an "extinction-level event", but I just kept thinking about Graviton lifting an entire town back in the 70s Avengers. I mean we had the Avengers fighting a robot army on a floating city. It's nothing too revolutionary in the long history of supervillain schemes, and I'll admit I wasn't exactly blown away by it initially, but the more I thought about it...the more it started to grow on me. I guess it might be the most-effective way of causing a mass-extinction event without the use of nuclear missiles too. Poor Sokovia, though.
Okay, here's where we start getting into the iffier stuff. Ultron was a mixed bag for me. I like James Spader. He's a great actor with a wonderfully magnetic presence (Robert California!), but his Ultron never felt like...Ultron to me. There have been many occasions when I feel like Joss Whedon 'Whedonizes' a character too much, i.e. makes him/her a little snarkier than appropriate with the Buffyspeak, and Ultron is one such occasion. What makes Ultron so frightening in the comics is that he's a machine. You can't appeal to his humanity because he has none. He's intimidating because he's not some human opponent you can punch; but intangible lines of code and data. Now I get that Whedon wanted more characterization for the main villain, by trying to portray Ultron as this psychopathic man-child, but it just doesn't work. Ultron's actions were a threat to the team, but as a villain himself, I never felt that his personality had the menace that Ultron should have. This is a guy who soloes the entire Avengers on a regular basis, he should be terrifying. Instead it felt like we got a Netflix Daredevil done to Ultron (i.e. a softer/more human version of a traditionally heartless villain). I thought they should've played up the whole 'artificial intelligence' angle more...in the super-connected world that we live in today, think of how compromised global security could be with a sentient virus. Also Ultron's face is just...off. It is way too emotive than I like my Ultron to be. And Wanda tearing out Ultron's heart...wait does that mean her TK is able to tear through vibranium (a.k.a. Cap's shield), or did I miss something there?
7. Quicksilver & Scarlet Witch
Sadly underutilized. I know that Whedon had such a large cast, and I get why he included them in the first place. You have Ultron, so you must have Vision, but you can't only have one new Avenger...so you include the twins because it's easy to tie them in to the whole "Ultron destroys a fictional Eastern European country" trope from Kurt Busiek's Avengers run. But I never got a full sense of their characters in this film - they just felt like generic heroes with powers. There's a slight hint of Quicksilver's arrogance and impatience, but not to the degree that he's usually portrayed with in the comics. The only thing I really dug were their accents, which I think we readers often forget they have, because that kinda thing doesn't really shine in print. The new "our parents were killed in a civil war" origin also strips away a lot that was interesting about these characters, though I suppose the whole redemption from villains to heroes that the 616 twins had is replicated with Ultron in this film. I mean I'm glad they were included, it's just that Whedon didn't really do much with them. And he killed Quicksilver off, so only Wanda gets future development. The problem here is that if you don’t sell these characters to the general audience, they become forgettable to them. As comic-book fans, we know Pietro and Wanda are essential to the Avengers team because we’ve read the source material, but most viewers won’t understand the significance of their inclusion here. Still, if nothing else, I enjoyed this Quicksilver more than the DOFP one (whom I maintain felt nothing like Pietro personality-wise).
8. Vision, and him lifting Mjolnir
I liked Vision. It was great that they included what was a very unworkable comic-book concept to the big screen, and you can't do an Ultron origin without throwing in the Vision, anyway. Paul Bettany also certainly feels like he was born to play the character. He's like green Doctor Manhattan. But again, same problem with Vision that I had with the twins - I felt like he wasn't developed too much. He was born, there was some exposition, he lifted Mjolnir, and then he became a part of the team. Again, understandable given the time constraints, but not ideal. He never felt like a smooth and natural extension of the film's plot, but more like a box that had to be ticked off. On him lifting Mjolnir: Initially, I was really shocked that they went that route. But then, it started to grow on me. For one, it adds a layer of characterization to Vision, a character whom desperately needs it. For another, I interpret it as him having been "born yesterday", which is why he's still pure of heart. And lastly, I don't think it takes too much away from Steve, as we saw that Cap could still budge the hammer. Whedon again, likely anticipating the fan flame wars, also left it ambiguous by suggesting at the end that it was because he's a machine. I'd have liked to see more of Vision's density-phasing powers though. I mean I guess he's technically using it when he punches things (Vision can increase his density too...though then again does he really need to with that vibranium body?), but I only recall one or two moments where he phased through enemies. I liked how they explained the cape/gloves of Vision's (admittedly goofy) costume by having him glance at Thor, though.
You know, I only had two wishes on my fanboy list, going into this movie. The first was that Cap would lift Mjolnir, but as I covered above, I'm alright with that one not being (entirely) fulfilled. The second was that Cap would say "Avengers Assemble" in battle. And on that point, Whedon had to fudge it up with that stupid cut at the end. I enjoyed most of Joss Whedon's inversions in the film. He turned many classic Avengers conventions on their head to keep the audience entertained, and they mostly worked (e.g. the Widow/Hulk relationship, Vision lifting the hammer). But not giving the Avengers trademark battle cry its proper screentime...grr that really needs to be fixed in Infinity Wars. I know, I know, it's petty...but I've always loved that about the team. On a somewhat related note, have we heard Thor say “For Midgard” yet in the MCU? Also, where was my “We would have words with thee”, Joss?
This movie had a lot of callbacks to the first Avengers film. E.g. Hawkeye being the one Avenger not affected by Scarlet Witch's voodoo, the first opening shot that followed all the separate Avengers before the team came together in the glorious slow-mo jump, Hulkbuster Iron Man giving that final side punch to the Hulk, Thor choking Tony, Loki's scepter, Cap and Thor using the shield + hammer tactic et cetera. Those are just the ones off the top of my head. For the most part, the majority of them worked, but I felt that some were a little too self-indulgent on Whedon's part. Like they came across as an egregious wink-wink to fans who had seen the first film. I did dig all the subtler references that only hardcore Avengers fans would catch though; like the crimson cowl that Ultron was rocking, the Invaders name-drop, the launch technician from Winter Soldier, or the “Roy Thomas Players” from Cap’s dream. The plot as a whole drew a lot of inspiration from classic Avengers comics too, as expected of Whedon, including: Avengers #16 (Pietro and Wanda join the team), #54-58 (Ultron and the Vision's origin), and Kurt Busiek's Ultron Unlimited story where an army of Ultrons slaughtered an entire Eastern European nation (sound familiar?).
11. A Larger Universe
One of the best aspects of Age of Ultron was that the film truly felt like it was taking place in a greater Marvel universe. Fans are, on occasion, irritated by MCU movies that don't explain why Hero X never showed up in Hero Y's movie when the entire world was being threatened, but this film makes full use of the other characters in the cinematic U. We get to see Falcon, War Machine (so happy they got rid of the fashion faux pas that was the Iron Patriot suit), Heimdall, Peggy, and Selvig. It was beautiful to get all these disparate characters from these different franchises come together in one movie. Helen Cho felt like a weird addition to the team, though. On one hand it's glad to see them throw in some diversity with an Asian woman...but on the other, it came across a little as pandering to the South Korean government, and I felt like the task of Vision's creation could have just as easily been passed on to Banner. Still, minor nit-picking. But the fact that no one's addressed Phil Coulson's existence still bugs me a little, especially given that Maria Hill is right there. I mean Coulson’s been going around on crazy adventures throughout the entirety of Agents; do the Avengers seriously still think he's dead? I've heard rumors that Renner might guest-star as Hawkeye in the TV show though, so who knows. I understand the time restrictions of dealing with Coulson’s resurrection too, so I can't really fault Whedon and crew for this one.
Age of Ultron also spent a lot of time setting things up for future Marvel installments. I'm still on the fence on whether or not this was a good thing. The inclusions felt organically-integrated for the most part (Klaue sells Ultron the vibranium, loses his arm, and references Wakanda...the Mind Gem is used to power Vision...the preemptive war debate between Steve and Tony hinting at Civil War). There's even a reference to Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. with the inclusion of List speaking to Strucker in the opening minutes. But a part of me wonders if the film was too constrained or steered by the necessary seeds for future movies that they had to plant in this one.
13. Dream Sequences
Speaking of being on the fence about things: the dream sequences. On one hand, they gave great insights into the characters of each Avenger (thank heaven Cap's shield wasn't really shattered!), which led to some great moments down the line like the Bruce-Natasha conversation about how they're both incapable of having a family. On the other hand, they did feel too long at points, and an unnecessary plot contrivance to bring in side-characters like Peggy and Heimdall. Also, I still have no idea what the hell was up with that Thor in the Spirit Pool bit. What was he doing there exactly? Whedon revealed in an interview that Marvel Studios essentially forced him to insert that sequence, so it appears it might be an instance of the world-building being a negative. Presumably it's to set up Ragnarok and the Infinity Wars, as well as conveniently allowing Thor to explain the purpose of the Mind Gem and the necessity of the Vision, but it just felt so off-script, I was left confused.
14. Title Font
The Avengers title font still sucks hard. It bugged me in the first film, and it bugs me now. Why don't they change it to the far more aesthetically-pleasing font that they use in all other promotional materials? Why make it look like a weird Iron Man 1 font ripoff? Grr.
I really liked Hawkeye and Cap's respective new looks in this film. Hawkeye's purple colors and the longcoat seem like a great mish-mash of the classic 616 Clint and the Ronin look. Glad they didn't give him the stupid sunglasses that current Hawkeye wears. Cap's new costume is this interesting merge of the usual Cap suit and the darker Super-Soldier look from Winter Soldier. I'm one of the few people on this planet who actually loved the Avengers suit, but this is a marked improvement. Even Whedon admitted so in an interview. The new helmet and the overall 'military' feel of the suit works much better; and Cap looks great in action (although I’m still a little iffy on the goofy arm-magnets inspired by the Lee-Kirby Avengers run). Thor and Hulk remained largely the same save for a few minor tweaks, far as I could tell. Hulkbuster was cool, but Iron Man's standard armors are starting to blend together a little after so many films. I get that this suit was a Bleeding Edge reference, but meh. Still cool to see that Stark has perfected the whole separate-parts-remotely-controlled aspect from Iron Man 3 though, but I am a little apathetic to the Iron Legion designs. I wasn't too keen on Widow's new costume either, it's a little too much color for me. I guess it fits the larger-than-life Avengers tone, but that and the escrima sticks just didn't jive with me. Pietro and Wanda were alright. It's understandable why they didn't have costumes, but Quicksilver did look a little goofy running around in a tracksuit and regular sneakers. Vision...well, whether or not he looks good is up in the air, but I'm just astounded/gleeful that they stuck so closely to the original kooky design. Kudos to Whedon and crew for that.
16. Hulkbuster vs. Hulk
Okay seriously, is the suit called "Veronica" or is that the satellite platform that launches the suit? Either way, I get the Archie reference, but "Hulkbuster" just sounds way cooler. I enjoyed the fight for the most part. The trailers kinda ruined it a little for me, but it was still entertaining. They've significantly toned down the hero vs. hero fights in this sequel, but part of the fun for these types of battles is that you never know who's gonna win. I'm still surprised that Tony defeated Hulk without any additional help (can't wait to see the fallout from that on the Battles board). One thing that I didn't like too much about this battle were Tony's quips though. I felt it was one witty statement too many. Fighting the Hulk should be desperate and terrifying. But still, minor complaint. Interestingly enough: ILM revealed that Banner was supposed to turn into Grey Hulk after Scarlet Witch messed with his mind. That would’ve been too awesome for words, but I understand why they had to ditch the idea. And at any rate, we don’t want to see the Hulkbuster suit going up against one of the weaker incarnations of the Hulk, do we?
17. Civilian Lives
One of my favorite ‘types of scenes’ for the superhero genre is when the reader gets to see the civilian aspect of the heroes' lives. I really enjoy reading those issues where it's just the heroes having downtime – kicking back and doing regular-people things for a change. It's moments like these where the interplay and banter and individual character traits really get to shine. So even though the TV spots have pretty much spoiled the whole Mjolnir hammer scene, I still thought it was bloody brilliant. The party as a whole; with the Stan Lee cameo, Steve giving girl advice to Banner, War Machine's ‘story’ - I loved it all. Even the later scenes in Hawkeye's farm, and the conversations between the team then. Good stuff. One minor nitpick though: was I the only one weirded out by Cap calling Widow 'Romanoff' the whole time? Like I get it if Thor or Tony called Widow by her last name, but it just felt odd for Cap, considering all those missions that they did together with S.T.R.I.K.E., and the fact that Steve constantly referred to her as 'Nat' or 'Natasha' in Winter Soldier. Hmm.
This running joke as a whole deserves its own section. I just find it hilarious how the first line of any Avenger in this movie was "Shit!"
19. Iron Man/Tony Stark
I'm still a little confused by what they were trying to accomplish with Iron Man in this film. For a plot that hinges a fair amount on Stark, RDJ turns in a remarkably phoned-in and unmemorable performance as Tony in this one. We get some references to Stark building weapons with the twins' backstory, and Scarlet Witch's reference of his 'fear'. And then we get some hints to a future disagreement between Cap/Iron Man with the creation of Ultron, and later with the creation of Vision. But the film never really goes into how any of this reflects on Tony's character. So is Ultron technically Tony's fault? Is Ultron a dark reflection of Tony like Frankenstein's monster, and is Tony's idea of a protective shield around the world inherently flawed? This also ties into Ultron's motivations - I just don't buy it. His monologues were all really scattershot about how he wants to evolve humanity by causing an extinction...I don't know. Maybe a second viewing might clear this up, but for now, I'm really confused about what Age of Ultron is trying to say about the character of Iron Man. I mean in the end we have Tony and Steve hash things out, so presumably everything's kosher between them, but who's responsible for Ultron, then? Did I miss something? On a related note, did the film ever address the end of Iron Man 3 and the Clean Slate protocol?
20. The Action
The fight scenes in this film kinda range and jump between exhilarating to confusing/exhausting. I guess this might be because I watched it in 3D (of which I'm not a huge fan of), so maybe that's why it didn't come across as being that great. I loved the grand majority of the fights in this one. The opening raid on Strucker's fortress, the entire South Korea sequence, the Hulkbuster vs. Hulk battle. But there were times when I felt the whole 'bigger is better' mind-set was taken to uncomfortable extremes. A good example is the final battle in general. First, the whole bit with the Avengers protecting that vibranium machine from the Ultron drones was very jarring. In fairness, probably a 3D thing, but I just thought it looked messy and disorienting. Secondly, Ultron being pummeled by the Vision-Thor-Iron Man combo seemed anticlimatic in nature. And lastly, the battle felt like it kept starting and stopping - e.g. when Ultron came back with the Quinjet - so somehow the pacing just felt off to me. I might enjoy the final battle more with a second 2D viewing, but for now, the Battle of New York remains the standard for a great live-action superhero battle.
21. New Avengers
I'm a little saddened that we only got Avengers Tower for the span of a single movie (barring minor cameos in Daredevil). I thought it was a really kickass headquarters for the team to have (though I suppose the Tower could still be the main HQ, and the new compound is just a training facility...). Still, the new headquarters is cool too, and appears to be a homage to the West Coast Avengers compound from Roger Stern's run. It seems like the Avengers are just shooting through headquarters from the comics in these films...first the Helicarrier, then the Tower, and now the compound. Who knows, we might get Avengers Mansion next. Anyway, I'm surprisingly happy with the roster for this new Avengers team. Of course that's not to say the other members won't return in the future, and it's sad that we only got the classic team for two movies, but I still really like this new assembly. It seems like a reference to Cap's Kooky Quartet (which I love), and it's a lot more diverse too. Two women, two African-Americans, and an android in addition to Cap himself. And they've all been actual Avengers in the comics to boot. I'm excited to see where this takes us in the future of the MCU. If nothing else, at least the Quinjet will be less-packed, given that 4/6 members of the team can fly…
22. Hulk/Widow Relationship
You know, I'm not as adverse to this 'pairing' as many fans and even critics seem to be. I don’t see how it’s ‘cringe-worthy’. I feel like it's almost deserved, given all the screentime they shared in the first film. And another reason why I applaud it is that it's a great departure from the standard Hawkeye-Widow relationship that most fans expected. Whedon also gave them some deep character growth with their discussion about having a family. All that said - one of the things that I've loved about MCU Widow till now was that she was never written as some male hero's romantic interest. She stood on her own. She never hooked up with Stark in Iron Man 2, or Hawkeye in The Avengers, or Cap in Winter Soldier - despite the fact that all of those pairings would be standard Hollywood logic for any female character. So I think her being in a relationship does take something away from the character (I've heard some reviewers complain about how it's another instance of a woman's value being solely associated with motherhood…food for thought). It does seem oddly counterproductive considering how much they emphasized Widow's competence in the first one (think the interrogation scene with Loki), that she becomes a love interest and a hostage in need of rescue in this film. Hmm. Still, they did axe it with that final (heartbreaking) scene of Hulk leaving, so that's that I guess. Hopefully Vision/Scarlet Witch will pick up the slack!
23. Saving Lives
One of the things I liked the most about the first film was that we were constantly shown how the Avengers tried their best to save innocent civilians and minimize collateral casualties. They weren’t able to prevent the loss of life entirely - it was an actual war after all - but it’s still fairly remarkable that only ‘hundreds’ were killed as opposed to the thousands one would expect in a battle of this scale. Age of Ultron continues that great trend. These films remind us that superheroes don’t stop the villain because of the villain’s actions…they do so because said actions threaten innocent people. Superheroes save. So when we got Cap’s adamant stand that everyone in that chunk of Sokovia had to be evacuated, or the Avengers helping the civilians into the Helicarrier’s Killzone-esque lifeboats, or Tony scanning for civilians before dropping the Hulk, or Quicksilver and Wanda stopping the train...it’s these little touches that had me beaming. Plus, if nothing else, at least it gives the street-level Avengers like Clint something to do in the scheme of the greater battle.
I wasn't too impressed with Brian Tyler and Danny Elfman's score on this one, it just felt derivative of Alan Silvestri's. After the great scores from Winter Soldier and GoTG, the Age of Ultron one left a little to be desired. I don't know, maybe I'll give it a re-listen on YouTube or something. The original Avengers theme by Silvestri is still golden, though.
25. Mid-credits scene
Ugh. It's starting to go from "Ominous setting-up for the inevitable Infinity War" to "Really, this again?" Seeing Thanos - even with the Infinity Gauntlet - has lost its luster by this point. I would've preferred another shwarma-esque scene to this one. I mean you guys have been teasing this since the first film...we get it. Also, and this isn't really a problem with this one film in particular, but what the heck is up with the "Infinity Stones". Gems. GEMS. They're called GEMS. Why do these films keep insisting on referring to them as Stones?
I suppose I understand why Joss Whedon might have turned the humor and quips up a notch with this installment. Because of the somewhat darker and grimmer nature of the film (that final battle in Sokovia alone looked less like a superhero battle and more like a terrifying urban war), the witty dialogue was likely used to counterbalance that, and remind the audience that yes, we’re still watching a superhero movie. For the most part, I think the jokes and quotable lines hit their mark. There were some bits that I wasn’t too huge a fan of (as aforementioned, I thought Ultron and Tony in the Hulkbuster had one crack too many), but scenes like the Avengers discussing Mjolnir, or Thor trying to console Banner, were very well-timed and executed. That said, I can understand if some viewers were a little irked by the humor levels in this one. The Winter Soldier was a prime example of healthy levels of humor mixed with more serious drama. Age of Ultron isn’t as bad as The Dark World, but there’s more wisecracking banter here than most.
27. Press Tour
This doesn’t really have much to do with the quality of the movie itself, but wow, the AoU press tour has been...let's be generous and go with 'eventful'. That Robert Downey Jr. interview (you know the one) was just awkward to watch. I’m on RDJ’s side on this one though…hes' promoting a superhero film and he's here to talk about the work he's done; why would you want to intentionally antagonize the actor by bringing up whatever sordid past he has? That just seems like exploitative journalism. Then there was the Renner/Evans comment about Black Widow being a ‘slut’ and ‘whore’. I thought it was appropriate for them to apologize for those comments, unintentional or not, and the fact that Widow is a fictional character (no duh) seems beside the point. Still, the less said about this the better, as we’ve already had more than enough debate about that kerfuffle on the Vine. But I did see a video which showed the cast touring the States, South Korea, China, and London…it seemed like the Avengers were really having a genuinely enjoyable (if exhausting) time.
This was one of the ‘arc words’ of the movie, definitely. The Avengers, moreso than say the Justice League, have always been plagued with bureaucracy, team politics, and in-fighting among their members. In a team that includes such powerful demigods and strong Type-A alpha male personalities, it’s only natural that they’ll clash on occasion. But what Whedon understands is that despite all their disagreements, what makes the Avengers so great is that true heroes are able to set aside their differences and unite when it counts. It’s a theme that was strongly established in the first film, and that carries over here. Yes, we get all the customary interpersonal drama throughout the sequel, but once Ultron gets his doomsday plan going – playtime’s over, and it’s time for the Avengers to suit up, act like grownups, and get shit done. That’s the whole premise of the team – that they’re there to fight the battles that no single superhero can win – together. And it was also great to see that the title of 'Avenger' held a lot of significance in this film. It wasn't just a nickname for our heroes, it was a badge of honor, and it meant a lot to these brave men and women to be part of something greater.
I understand why Age of Ultron wasn't as well-received as (perhaps) most of us were expecting. I think it comes down to the movie trying (or having to because of future MCU movies) to do too much in too little time. I love a lot of the individual elements and concepts of this movie, but it's the tying-them-together part of the process that the movie started to show its cracks, and as a whole it's not as foolproof as I'd ideally like it to be. I'll need to rewatch the film to confirm whether this is entirely true. Maybe the extended 3-hour cut that Marvel will apparently be releasing might make the movie more well-rounded (or even more chaotic, who knows)? But I will also note that many reviewers brought up the fact that Age of Ultron stumbles because superhero movies are becoming increasingly limited by what they can do. The spectacle will always be grand and incredible, but at the end of the day, the villains are starting to feel interchangeable as we know our heroes will always win. Comic fans will always dig these movies, but I don't know how effective Marvel's long-term business plain is going to be.
30. Thor and that final feat
I don't know, it seemed like Thor did all that under his own power.