Warning: Spoilers Ahead. Though chances are you’ve already seen it or at least a variation of this movie.
- Avengers Assemble
The original Avengers carried with it a certain novelty that we had not seen. After all it was the first time this many comic book heroes appeared together in a live action movie and was built up through numerous post credit teasers. Fast forward three years and that novelty has worn off a little having seen these characters appear in various movies in the time inbetween. This doesn’t mean that the movie is bad (it’s good not great), but the fact that we’ve been on this ride before makes the second time less exciting.
2. Haven’t I Already Seen This?
Have you seen I Robot, Terminator, The Android Saga of Dragonball Z, or basically any man vs machine story ever told ? If you answered yes, chances are you’ve seen the general premise of this movie before. If you answered no, basically Tony Stark decides to build a powerful robot capable of defending the earth. In an unsurprising turn of events the robot (Ultron) turns on his creator and decides that humans are fundamentally flawed and need a fresh start (ie mass extinction). This concept is nothing new but in Age of Ultron it is done very generically both with James Spader’s Ultron portrayal and the overall story in general. Ultron himself comes off as not a major threat, he does not really engage the Avengers at any point in the movie relying on Scarlet Witch’s mind control and the sheer amount of his pawns. He fights Iron Man and Thor individually to a draw at two points in this movie but doesn’t seem like a threat worthy of the combined force of the Avengers. This is especially true at the film’s climax when the Avengers handle him quite easily when they finally decide to work together.
3. Tag Teams
Despite some generic plot problems Age of Ultron is still a good superhero movie mostly due to great action pieces. Most people will be quick to point out the Hulk vs Hulkbuster Iron Man scene which was awesome in itself but my favorite action moments in this film occurred whenever two or more Avengers teamed together to create one super move. Whenever these moments occurred I thought back to the brief period of my life when I was into professional wrestling where on occasion a tag team would come together for one combined finisher (see above for an excellent example).
3. Unleash The Beast
I appreciate how this Avengers film acknowledged just how powerful Bruce Banner/ The Hulk is. On a pure power scale the Hulk is probably only second to Thor on the Avengers and it was nice to see more of that power on display throughout the movie.
4. Just Run With It
I have no complaints with the whole Hulk/Widow romance thing (outside of the implications of what might happen between Banner and his in comics love interest Betty Ross). I thought that the lullaby was a nice moment in the movie even though to my knowledge Hulk and Widow are not romantically involved in the comics. The problem I do have though is that Marvel didn’t do the Black Widow backstory justice giving it only a five minute hazy dream sequence. We live in a world where lesser knowns like Antman and Black Panther are getting full length feature films. I don’t see why the Black Widow (especially with Scarlett Johansson’s star power) can’t carry a feature film. If I’m DC comics in the early stages of building my cinematic universe I do my best to attack this weak area and produce a fantastic Wonder Woman film
4. Cameos on Cameos on Cameos
Marvel’s Cinematic and Television universe is growing larger by the minute it seems and it was nice that the studio was willing to pay for the many cameo appearances throughout the film. As a fan of Agent Carter it was nice to see Hayley Atwell show up. Two of the more noticeable absentees (Gwyneth Paltrow’s Pepper Potts and Natalie Portman’s Jane Foster) were played off in a nice scene between Downey Jr and Hemsworth. Also the Stan Lee cameo was great this time around (even got to say the Stan Lee catch phrase Excelsior)
5. Mouse Trap
Have you ever played the board game Mouse Trap? As the above nostalgic commercial demonstrates it’s a fairly simple game albeit fairly boring until the trap is set up and activated. Age of Ultron is a movie that is much like the trap set up portion of Mouse Trap in that it serves largely as a setup to the next Avengers movie as well as the next Captain America instalment. The seeds of divide have been planted between Iron Man and Captain America and the presence of the Infinity Gems/ Gauntlet has been teased yet again but like Mouse Trap the set up process is way less exciting than the actual activation of the trap.
6. Be Cool Lindsey
A few weeks ago the world praised how Fast and Furious handled Paul Walker’s death in the film. In Age of Ultron it feels as though they are doing the same to Hawkeye/ Jeremy Renner (who as far as I know is alive and well) with the whole “I have a family to go back to” storyline. Look I get it, You need to make room for new Avengers (potentially Wolverine or Spiderman) so someone’s got to go eventually but this felt unecessary especially when you could establish the roots of other Marvel landmarks (ie the Avengers Mansion) instead. That being said it’s always nice to see Linda Cardellini who hopefully has the Hawkeye children on track one (see above for context)
7. Missed Opportunities
There is a scene towards the end of this movie where the Hulk sadly flies away to some remote area where he presumably would not hurt anyone. Besides the obvious error of running away and not towards Scarlett Johansson, I feel like Marvel missed an opportunity to play the sad Hulk theme from the 70s Hulk TV show (or more famously parodied on Family Guy). This would’ve been a great reference and hilarious in my book (and its not like Marvel is lacking money to pay for the rights)
8. Product Placement
This film is littered with product placements ranging from an obvious Beats by Dre spot to a more subtle Gillette nod and Samsung almost auditioning to be an honorary member of the Avengers (I’m Surprised the Samsung logo wasn’t imprinted on Iron Man’s suit). Speaking of which did Tony ever fix that John Deere?
I love you Elizabeth Olsen (Scarlet Witch), but your Russian accent just didn’t work in this movie. Maybe it was because it was sometimes there and sometimes not but the accent was the worst part of an otherwise interesting character.
I don’t know why but when I saw Hawkeye’s secret house in the movie I immediately thought that it was the same house they used in Looper from a few years back. It’s been a while since I’ve seen Looper and they could be completely different (maybe it was the suburben setting) but just a weird acting multiverse theory.
Speaking of the weird acting multiverse (if every movie existed in some connected universe like in comics) Elizabeth Olsen would have the weirdest connections. After playing husband and wife with Aaron Taylor Johnson (Quicksilver) in Godzilla, they are siblings in Ultron. For anyone who has seen Oldboy (the crappy American cousin to the great Korean version) she also has a weird cross movie connection with Josh Brolin (who plays Thanos).
12. Hall of Fame
If there was a romantic comedy hall of fame Mark Ruffalo would be a first ballot hall of famer in the” average joe wins over super attractive girl category”. He even managed to squeeze in some of those charms in this movie. Way to go Ruffalo! A win for you is a win for average joes everywhere.
13. Watch Your Language
Age of Ultron used its limited profanity allowance ( in order to keep the MPAA rating down)on a running gag throughout the movie. That’s fine and it was done relatively well but I’m disappointed Samuel L Jackson didn’t get a chance to throw out at least one “Mother Fucker” line in this movie.