When one of Tony Stark’s experiments, a peacekeeping program named Ultron, goes rogue and threatens to destroy humanity, the Avengers gain new allies on their way to stop him, while trying to keep their team from breaking apart.
Joss Whedon’s sequel to the 2012 monster hit features a fully-formed team going against Ultron’s bigger threat. However, the movie misses too many opportunities to be considered an improvement over the great first film.
One of the biggest strengths from the last film, the chemistry between the team, is still the best part of the film. Tony and Steve’s uneasy partnership is entertaining to watch, particularly Steve’s rise in leadership of the team. Tony still has some amusing moments, but this time, he does not steal the spotlight, and rightfully so, since he has to share focus with many characters. Bruce Banner also has chemistry with Tony and his bond with Natasha grows, if maybe a bit too fast.
For those disappointed by Hawkeye’s lack of characterization, Age of Ultron is a treat. Clint is given plenty of development as we see his home and family, largely serving as his motivation. His platonic relationship with Natasha is still present, and is fleshed out with the addition of his family.
Vision’s inclusion to the film is seamless and expands on it, rather than detracts. He fares better on both this and characterization compared to the twins.
The fight scenes still continue to inspire awe. Some of the more memorable brawls include the opening invasion of Baron Strucker’s Hydra base, the fight between Tony’s Hulkbuster and Hulk, and a part during the final battle where the Avengers are all in a circle inside a small kiosk, taking on Ultron’s forces.
However, the film’s biggest weakness is its lack of focus. Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch are the biggest example of this, as they do not contribute much beyond special effects and fight scenes. Despite being resentful of Tony, they never actually fully interact, so their motivation is weakened. Pietro’s death is particularly hollow and nonsensical, since he is killed by bullets he has been shown to outrun otherwise.
In addition, while James Spader is entertaining as the titular villain, the script’s constant demand that he makes sarcastic and witty remarks ruins any menace he is supposed to invoke. Ultron’s ironic humanity is an iconic trait of his, but his constant jokes harmed his character. The final battle also has this problem of inserting unnecessary jokes, but not to the extent of Thor: The Dark World.
Finally, despite some impressive action scenes, the editing in the film is shoddy, with many uneven transitions and lack of visibility due to the shaky cam approach. It is easy to tell that plenty of scenes were cut out of the final film.
Avengers: Age of Ultron is somewhat weaker than the original installment, as well as other Marvel films, with some unnecessary characters, a watered-down villain, and questionable editing. Still, the fight scenes are thrilling, the character interactions are still strong, and the unashamed comic book feel continues to run strong. It should satisfy plenty of fans until Thanos and Infinity War arrive.
What did you think of this movie? Any strengths or weaknesses you’d like to discuss?
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