Avengers: Age of Ultron (Movie Review)

This movie is 141 minutes long. And they had to cut an hour. Think about that for a sec, will ya?

Before Age of Ultron, I had to do four major exams and a French oral presentation. That made May 1st one of those days that was simultaneously the best and worst day ever.

Avengers: Age of Ultron

Directed by: Joss Whedon

Produced by: Kevin Feige

Written by: Joss Whedon

Based on: The Avengers by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby

Genre: Superhero

Starring: Robert Downey Jr., Chris Hemsworth, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy Renner, James Spader, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Elizabeth Olsen, Paul Bettany

Music by: Brian Tyler and Danny Elfman

Plot: The Avengers; Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, Hulk, Black Widow and Hawkeye, have been at their superheroing ways for a while now, fighting evil wherever it may rear its ugly head. However, after a somewhat traumatic mission in the fictional Eastern European nation of Sokovia or whatever (Where the official language is apparently heavily accented English),Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) decides that what the world needs is not the Avengers, but a super-powerful artificial intelligence whose goal is to achieve world peace by any means necessary. This is a wholly original concept that has never been attempted before in fiction, right?

Right!

Stark and Dr. Banner (Mark Ruffalo) accidentally create an A.I. named Ultron (James Spader) who, as anybody with half a brain could predict, is overwhelmed with a god complex, concluding that, since humans are the ones screwing up the world, the only way to ensure world peace is to destroy all humans, particularly the Avengers. Not exactly taking his kindly, the Avengers set out to defeat Ultron, but find themselves contending with divisions within the team, two mysterious twins working with Ultron, Pietro and Wanda Maximoff (Aaron Taylor-Johnson and Elizabeth Olsen) and the mysterious android named the Vision (Paul Bettany).

If that sounds like a lot of stuff going on, it’s because it kind of is. It’s become a growing trend among superhero movies lately to really up the amount of complicated subplots. I guess it makes sense that an extended universe would have more complicated storylines. You can’t merely have Superman saving Lois Lane anymore, you must have Captain America destroying HYDRA, have that tie in with a damn TV show, and have THAT tie into a movie that stars Vin Diesel as a fucking talking tree.

While I wouldn’t go so far as saying that you needed to have watched the other Marvel movies in order to understand this one, there are still some issues to be found in Age of Ultron. Joss Whedon has said that there is one hour of footage that had to be cut in order to get the movie down to a manageable length, and I commend him for that, because who wants to see a three and a half hour long superhero movie?

Besides me, I mean.

That said, during the second act, the movie starts feeling a bit rushed, trying to squeeze in development  and plot points that kind of come out of nowhere. There’s an entire sequence involving Thor that tries to serve as both an advancement of the plot and a setup for Thor: Ragnarok (Get hyped for that November 3, 2017 release date!!!) and… It doesn’t work. There’s just not enough explained. I understand part of the conclusion that Thor comes to during the subplot, but I’ll be damned if I know what happened up until that point. Something about Asgard, Stellan Skarsgard, Chris Hemsworth shirtless in a pool of water, whatever. Until the extended edition comes our on Blu-Ray (Please???), I can’t really give this movie points for flawlessly cohesive storytelling.

Also, while I’ll get into Aaron Taylor-Johnson and Elizabeth Olsen as Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch a little later, their accents didn’t do it for me at all. Who knows though, maybe the official language of Sokovia is English spoken with a cartoonish Russian accent? Fuck if I know.

I’m done dicking around, though. What did I think of Age of Ultron as a whole?

I fucking love it.

I know, I know, I’m predictable, but this movie…. It’s just so cool, you guys.

Yes, in terms of story, it’s not the most narratively well done, and the “Evil A.I” has been done to death, but if you’re really bothered by that when watching… You were probably too far gone to enjoy the movie in the first place.

While the action is great, as one would expect from most summer blockbusters nowadays, and the CGI is on point (… Save for some moments in the opening action sequence), this movie, even more than the first Avengers, lives and dies on its larger than-life characters and personalities.

Some people assumed from the trailers that Age of Ultron was going to be yet another goddamn “dark and gritty” superhero movie, and while it does have some heavy moments, its not a dark movie. Like, at all. It has more or less the same tone and atmosphere as the first one, just with, you know, a threatening villain.

Again, thanks to the trailer, many people assumed that Ultron would be the most threatening villain in the MCU to date, based on his menacing appearance and penchant for monologuing. Once again, that’s kind of misleading. While Ultron is really cool, and James Spader is downright fantastic, he was also, completely unexpectedly, really damn funny in an appropriately twisted, dark way, which makes sense, when you consider that he was created by Tony Stark. In addition to that, he’s not entirely a creature of logic, he could be seen as a child with a very black-and-white view of morality. That’s a pretty good way to distinguish him from the humorless “Evil A.I.” archetype that fiction has beaten to death at this point.

“Dave…. Pull my finger…”

What I’m most impressed with, though, is what they did with the main characters. Actually, scratch that, Captain America, Thor and Iron Man are just as awesome and well-written as they were before, but the secondary Avengers, for lack of a better term, get a whole hell of a lot more interesting. Hulk and Black Widow have a relationship that some people are calling forced, but I think it helps develop their character arcs a little more. especially since we haven’t had a solo Hulk movie for a while, and fans are still holding out for the Black Widow solo movie that is growing more and more unlikely by the minute.

IT’S SCARLETT JOHANSSON AS A SEXY RUSSIAN SPY!!! HOW DOES THIS NOT WRITE ITSELF!!!!????

There was definitely a more PC way to phrase that caption, but my point still stands.

The surprising one for me (And a whole lot of other people) was Hawkeye, who was pretty much nondescript in the first movie, was my favourite character in this movie. Without getting spoiler-y… He’s a scene stealer. Hawkeye is a scene stealer. God, this movie is bizarre.

Lastly, the new characters are, big surprise, pretty damn great. The Vision, without spoiling any details, is fucking awesome, and Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch are also good. While I wouldn’t say that this Quicksilver is as entertaining as the one in Days of Future Past, but this one has a pretty enjoyable personality that Aaron Taylor-Johnson has a lot of fun with. (Fun fact: Taylor-Johnson was the star of Kick-Ass, while Evan Peters, who played Quicksilver in Days of Future Past, played Taylor-Johnson’s friend in Kick-Ass. Full circle, or whatever.

Also, I have a crush on Elizabeth Olsen. I didn’t know that before today.

Her performance makes this movie the best project an Olsen sister has ever been associated with.

Overall: Age of Ultron delivers as a summer blockbuster on every sustainable level, being almost as good as the first movie. Shame the mid-credits scene sucks balls.

Rating: 9/10

“Wait’ll they get a load of me…”

Mighty Marvel Movie Month

My alliteration game is off the goddamn charts.

For the past week or so, I had been suffering through the worst case of artistic blue balls that I’ve had since I started to write somewhat consistently. Nothing I was drafting, aside from my pretty damn good critique of Boyhood (Humility is not one of my more prominent qualities)  was amounting to much more than a mediocre rough draft in my notepad, and the only things I was posting semi-consistently were frigging quotes, which, again, I really shouldn’t be using to replace original content.

So, I decided to retreat to my mind palace and figure out just what exactly the hell I was going to do next. None of the movies coming out interest me in particular, Game of Thrones isn’t till April, DeathMatches take too long to set up…. I guess the new Avengers movie is coming out soon, so I could do some Marvel-related thing, but what, exactly? It’s a little early to do a Top 10 Marvel Whatever list, and  think everybody and their moose have made a Top 10 superhero list…

And then, it hit me like Suge Knight. A stroke of genius unlike the world has ever seen before. What is it, you ask?  Well, for the next month or so, until the release of Avengers: Age of Ultron, I will review every single Marvel Cinematic Universe movie that I haven’t already reviewed.

…At least, that was my original idea.

See, there aren’t quite that much Marvel Cinematic Universe movies as it can sometimes feel like, and I’ve already reviewed a fair bit of them. So, the next logical step?

Review every single movie starring Marvel characters, obviously, be they MCU or not.

Before starting, for those of you about to claim hat I’m ripping off CineMassacre’s Monster Madness and Nostalgia Critic’s Disneycember (Albeit, with the written word)… You’re right. I thought it was a cool idea, and I decided to do something similar with something I really care about, specifically, a bunch of costumed Ubermensch saving the world from the greatest threats humanity’s ever seen.

Of course, by “the world”, I mean “New York”.

The only problem with this? There are a goddamn ton of these movies, and there are only so many days until Avengers 2, with so many hours of free time at my disposal. So, I won’t see movies that I have already reviewed (Guardians of the Galaxy, Days of Future Past, etc.). Not only that, but I’m only reviewing movies that had a theatrical wide release (No animated movies, no serials, etc.) as well as only movies that are based off of characters from the main Marvel comics imprint. That means no Kick-Ass (Which is published by Icon) or Men in Black (Aircel Comics). If this upsets you, then a) you get upset at strange things, and b) bite me. It still adds up to 32 movies, what more do you want from me!?

My first review, being of the first ever movie based off of a Marvel character, should be out within the next day or two, and, surprisingly enough, this film does not start one of Marvel’s ticket characters, but instead stars an obscure hero known as… Wait, what does that say? Howard the-

…. Oh no.

God help us all.