Before I go on any further, let’s get a couple of things out of the way:
- My recap may or may not contain spoilers for anyone who has not seen Avengers: Age of Ultron at the time of this posting. That said, if I were you, I would err on the side of caution and pause on reading any further (that is if you don’t want to be spoiled).
- It would be remiss of me not to remind you, my loyal readers, of my recent fatigue with a plethora of super-hero cinematic offerings lately. So in preparation, I can attest to not seeing a single trailer, a preview or a sneak peek. All of this to say, it is not that I had low expectations per se, but rather that I had none and made peace with this fact.
- To say that Avengers: Age of Ultron is more of the same may sound like anything but a compliment, but really it isn’t; here is my review of the first Avengers film for your consideration of this matter.
In other words, I enjoyed this film very much and in a way I enjoyed the first installment.
I have been in a “bad news first” mood lately, so let’s continue that streak. For all the positive I have to say about Avengers: Age of Ultron (read a little further down for that bit), here are a few things that I was less than enthusiastic about:
The Hulk/Black Widow love story? I guess that is what they are going for, right? To be fair there, there is enough ‘there’ there for the filmmakers to do something; I just felt it was not necessary to the story. However, I do have it on good authority (Brother #1) that this relationship may have something to do with the evolution of the Hulk’s humanity. Hmmm… again not a comic character expert, but this sounds like it could be a thing. We’ll see.
No mutants! Well not Marvel’s fault really. But if you want to take this lemon and make some lemonade out of it, we could say that the filmmakers being forced to alter the DNA (pun intended) of the origin story of twins Pietro & Wanda Maximoff (that is Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch for all you mutant lovers out there), it does fit in quite well. In fact, it is analogous with another ‘genetically modified’ human, our very own Captain America.
3D = Meh. Again, not the fault of the actual filmmakers, but rather my choice, or at the very least, the choice of the person who purchased my ticket (thanks again, Brother #3). IMAX is more than enough for me to get the fully immersive experience. Besides, I feel odd wearing the 3D glasses over my regular specs.
So … short list, eh? Of course it is – because, at the end of the day, I enjoyed watching Age of Ultron (didn’t I mention that already?); here are a couple of highlights:
The Hawkeye backstory. If I am to be completely honest, I am rather indifferent to this particular character, but it was nice to figure out that he is just an Average Clint who is out to do his job the best he can. With that, I can honestly say I don’t need to see any more of him. No shade, I just feel like this character’s story has been told and tied up in a very neat bow.
Amazing fighting action sequences. You pay for some rock-em sock-em action and that is what you get. Sure, a lot of it is CG, but at this point, who cares? Just go with it – it’s more fun that way.
Oh the humor! Part of the appeal for me was the various levels of humor on display throughout the film, from Thor being his intentionally/unintentionally funny self to Iron Man’s shtick and up and including Ultron’s co-opting of the aforementioned Mr. Stark. A great credit to the ensemble gathered because it is clear they are having as much fun playing as we the audience is watching.
Along those same lines .. yeah to all the cameos! Hello to all the familiar faces! Reminded me of a Hollywood review from the 1930’s or 1940’s, except this time the actors are in full cosplay.
Setting the stage … for a change. By the time we reach the closing sequences of the film, we are (re)introduced to some ‘new’ characters, that may or may not be the latest members of the Avengers squad. Although this type of continuity and transition often happens in comic book series, it is not THAT common in film adaptations. In this regard, Marvel deserves some dap. And when you really sit back and think about it, it makes sense for a couple of reasons:
- A breath of fresh air – new characters, new stories for your audience to engage with;
- Sheer practicality – this takes into account that at some point in the film series, several of the actors will no longer be willing (or able) to continue to perform their superhero duties. Weaving the new characters in at this stage allows the audience to grow with them on their respective journeys. The possibilities are (nearly) endless.
So as you can see, for me anyways, the good definitely outweighs the bad.
One final note for non-comic readers: I too am on the fringes of the comic lore, but in recapping and analyzing this and other adaptations, I have the privilege to consult my friends (Brother #2, et al.) at Superhero Movie Talk (@superheromt) for some insight. It is not necessary for you to do the same, but it might help you as you wade through the behemoth that is the MCU. Actually, it proves to be a rather fun intellectual exercise, a la Game of Thrones!
Wait, I lied – I do have a few more notes/observations to share, but honestly, this post is entering thesis territory, so maybe you will get some of my additional thoughts and insights in the Comments section below.
In the above spirit, I encourage YOU to share, share, share. Let me know what you thought about the film!
Images source: (Obviously) Marvel.com