Ever since 2012, after ‘The Avengers’ was released, I’ve been heavily anticipating this sequel. That strong anticipation has been increasing with the release of every Phase Two movie inside the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). Now, before I got to watch ‘Avengers: Age of Ultron’, I kept seeing reviews that said it was good but far off from what made it’s predecessor loved as much as it was. I was hoping to see nothing but spectacular reviews but since that didn’t happen, I began to get a little worried about if the movie would turn out to be anywhere close to what I hoped it would be. After watching ‘Age of Ultron’ I can say that I wasn’t let down by any means.
Now back together and basically protecting the world from evil, the Avengers run into a new problem thanks to Tony Starks (Robert Downey Jr.). After having a troublesome vision of what’s to come for his fellow “teammates”, Starks decides to ramp up his, in the works, peacekeeping program with the help of Bruce Banner (Mark Ruffalo) and the gem in Loki’s (Tom Hiddleston) scepter. That plan completely backfires as what comes from it is Ultron (James Spader), technological terrorist. The Avengers, once again, must put their issues aside and try to stop Ultron and his human eliminating plan.
Yeah, I Liked That
Alright, where to start…man this movie was freakin’ awesome. I really liked how the action was ratcheted up a notch. Unfortunately none of the action set pieces beats the “Battle of New York” in ‘The Avengers’ but hey they tried. The amount of action we get this time around attempts to make up for it but it’s all good, I’m not complaining. The movie even starts with a sweet action set piece from the jump. I mean the CGI is EXTREMELY noticeable in that scene but it’s still awesome so I let it slide. Moving forward in the movie and you get the awesome and very destructive Hulkbuster (or Veronica) vs. Hulk scene. The movie tried to be responsible and make sure civilians were cleared from the scene right before the massive destructive occurred but they were also soooo disrespectful at the same time because Starks and the Hulk completely destroyed every level of a building that was almost done being constructed and I loved every minute of it. But hey, those Avenger guys are really giving the government reason to want some sort of control over superheros down the line. Now moving into the third act, even though I said it isn’t up there with its predeccessor, it still is epic and enjoyable. The situation during the battle in the third act seems to have more going on and feels darker than the “Battle of New York” so at least it doesn’t just rehash another big epic downtown city battle. You even get a sweet looking game of “keep these Ultron robots away from this machine” between the Avengers and, you guessed it, those Ultron robots. The visual for that scene just looks amazing to me. On top of that, you get more quick glimpses of why the duo of Thor (Chris Hemsowrth) and Captain America (Chris Evans) might be one of the best around.
On top of the great action, we get some enjoyable characters. Of course, Downey Jr. kills it as Starks again. I enjoyed the lightheartedness he brings to even the tenser moments in the movie. You’re getting the best of both worlds. When it comes to Thor, it seems like when Joss Whedon is writing, he becomes a lot more funnier. Captain America’s dad/leader vibe over the team is displayed adequately and even sparks a running joke after Starks blurts out an explicit to which Cap responds with, “Language!” Those jokes might not be the funniest but when your having so much fun watching ‘Age of Ultron’, they’re all just hitting like your favorite comedian during whatever comedy special of theirs is your favorite. Yep, that perfectly explains it. Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) though, saw the most improvement and probably had the best character arc in the movie. This go around, we get to see more into the life of Clint Barton and we even get an inspirational speech from him thrown in there. Whedon took the fact the Barton is probably the most grounded character on the team and used that as an opportunity to expound on that. I also liked how he made a funny mind control reference in the movie when encountering Wanda Maximoff (Elizabeth Olsen). Whedon probably threw that line in there to acknowledge that Renner got the short end of the stick in the first movie but that won’t happen again this time around. Whatever the reason, it was a nice nod and a perfectly timed joke.
‘Age of Ultron’ seemed to tease a lot of what might be coming in Phase Three of the MCU, from the Ulysses Klaw (Andy Serkis) inclusion (a character connected to Black Panther) to the mid-credit scene (I was personally hoping for something else that we haven’t seen before but it was still cool). My favorite tease came during the last scene of the movie. I’m not going to spoil it but it gives us a sneak peak at what change we might see in the biggest movies coming in Phase Three.
Yeah, I Didn’t Like That
Time to scrape the barrel for flaws. I mean, there were clearly some flaws but the movie was too awesome for them to really be bothersome. But let me apply some content here. Let’ start with Ultron. When I saw the first trailer, I was thinking that we’re about to get a great, terrifying and possibly classic villain. Unfortunately that isn’t the case all the way. Ultron started off giving that terrifying vibe with that terrifying voice but then he quickly changed into an almost cartoony psychopath. I wasn’t mad though because he was still entertaining and a difficult opponent for the Avengers but I was just looking forward to something a little different. Also, he did say one of my favorite lines in the movie with, “Thor, you’re bothering me.” I did almost want to complain about his assortment of powers but he’s an A.I. robot that comes from alien crap so that basically explains it for me.
I honestly feel that after watching the two Avengers movies that Thor’s story is least cared about among our heroes. How he first appeared in the ‘The Avengers’ was poorly stated and his side story, this time around, feels thrown in and Whedon even confirmed that right here. That element of the story feels like a too obvious tease to whats to come in ‘Thor: Ragnarok‘. Maybe that’s a hint that the third solo Thor adventure will have one of the biggest effects on Phase Three. I don’t know. I just know it felt forced, not in sync with the rest of the movie and a non creative way to explain the infinity stones.
‘Age of Ultron’ introduces us to some more new heroes; the twins Pietro (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) and Wanda Maximoff. They weren’t too intriguing after their first few appearances and I wasn’t really feeling their fictional Sokovian accents but they grew on me as the movie raced forward. Unfortunately, Marvel’s version of Quicksilver doesn’t fare better than the X-Men version we saw last year (the X-Men one still looks stupid though). So my prediction was wrong on that. Alright that’s all I got for you. I should start talking about more of my likes, like how I’m a fan of how James Rhodes/War Machine (Don Cheadle) was used in the movie but I won’t…and that might start getting into SPOILER territory so let me just move on.
I can’t say right now if I liked ‘Age of Ultron’ more than ‘The Avengers’ but it really doesn’t matter to me because it was another highly enjoyable MCU movie…(sees the movie for a second time)…yeah I think it might be better than ‘The Avengers’. I really feel like I can watch it again tomorrow and over and over again after that and still feel the same joy I had the first two times. In my opinion, Marvel wins again. Now time to count down when ‘Captain America: Civil War’ (basically an ‘Avengers’ sequel, just with a different name) and ‘Avengers: Infinity War Part 1’ are released.
RATING: Must Own
P.S. Once again here is my rating scale. There are four different levels. Below is each level in order from best to worse and what each one means.
Must Own = A movie that is so good that I must add it to my Blu-ray collection when it comes out.
Would Accept as a Gift = I enjoyed the movie but don’t necessarily have to buy it (especially if I don’t have the funds to) myself but I would take it if someone bought it for me.
Might Rent = A movie that if I have the urge to watch again then I’ll just rent it from somewhere or Netflix it.
Never See Again = Very simple. I don’t want to ever see this movie again.
(Photo Credit: Marc Graser – http://variety.com/2014/film/news/comic-con-first-look-at-marvels-avengers-in-battle-in-the-avengers-age-of-ultron-1201269534/; http://p1cdn02.thewrap.com/images/2015/01/hulk-iron-man-avengers-age-of-ultron.jpg; http://www.thegeektwins.com/2015/01/every-easter-egg-in-second-avengers-age.html#.VUmMmflViko)