Avengers: Age of Ultron Review (Light Spoilers)
Like lots of other people worldwide, this weekend I went to go see Marvel’s latest entry into their cinematic universe: Avengers: Age of Ultron. I thought the first Avengers movie was a lot of fun (if not mindless popcorn entertainment), so my hopes were high for this movie. The early reviews were all generally positive, too. Overall, I’d say Ultron delivers. While not quite as good as the first movie (few sequels are), Ultron is a lot of fun and gives the audience what they want: demigods punching each other while delivering quips.
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This review contains light spoilers, but if you’ve seen the trailers I’m not divulging anything you haven’t seen before.
- The action is incredible. Let’s face it; this is why you’re going to see this movie. The fight between Iron Man and the Hulk is spectacular, and possibly the best fight in any Marvel movie to date. For me, this was the highlight of the movie. As a side note (and I’m not the first person to bring this up), it must be horrifying to live in the Marvel universe. It seems like every week demigods in tights level a city, and every month there’s the threat of an extinction level event.
- Ultron is a fantastic villain. Marvel’s strengths have always been the heroes, and until now the only compelling villain has been Loki. Ultron is flawlessly played by James Spader. I’ll agree with basically every other critic that he steals the show. Ultron was simultaneously dark, terrifying and funny. Not an easy task for any actor but Spader pulls it off beautifully. I liked that Ultron thought he was doing the right thing.
- The cast is top notch, again. I already mentioned Spader, but I also really enjoyed Jeremy Renner as Hawkeye. Go figure.
- The sound design rumbles your insides. This is a movie that’s all about the visceral experience, and the action set pieces would be nothing without a good sound design.
- Captain America’s costume is a lot better this time around, and it seems more versatile. Chris Evans looks more comfortable wearing it, too.
- There’s an ongoing gag about Thor’s hammer that I won’t ruin, but it really pays off in the end. Probably the funniest gag in the movie.
- The biggest con is the script. It is a bit convoluted and hard to follow. I gave up trying to understand what was going on and why certain characters went and did what they did. If the action wasn’t solid to compensate, the movie would fall completely flat.
- Quicksilver and The Scarlet Witch were just “okay.” The actors did a fine job, but their motivations and powers were a bit murky. The character of Quicksilver also had a cameo in the latest X-Men movie, and I enjoyed his appearance in that film far more than in this one, even though he had a lot more screen time in Ultron. In X-Men, he stole the show. In Ultron, his character was a bit dull.
- I didn’t buy the love story between Hulk and Black Widow for a second. I’m guessing this was a story thread in the comics, but it didn’t work on screen. Mark Ruffalo and Scarlett Johansson have zero chemistry.
- The movie didn’t really develop the lead characters as well as the first movie did, with the exception of Hawkeye. A missed opportunity.
- This is a problem with all the Marvel movies: Since they’re all part of a cinematic universe, certain elements only make sense in the context of all the other movies. If you’re only into The Avengers, and you don’t want to watch Guardians of the Galaxy, the plotline involving Thor and the stones will not make sense to you. Here is an excellent opinion piece about what Marvel is doing to modern cinema, for better or for worse.
Overall, I had a good time at The Age of Ultron (but I think the first movie is a lot better). It’s a brainless popcorn action flick, but it’s very enjoyable and you can do a lot worse. If you’re looking for an arthouse drama, steer clear. But you already know that. If you’re looking for comic book heroes to punch and shoot each other, you’ll be delighted. Watch it on the big screen.
Story: ★★½ of 5
Action: ★★★½ of 5
Visuals: ★★★★½ of 5
Overall: ★★½ of 5
Marvel Cinematic Universe Ranked
My ranking of the Marvel films (so far), from best to worst. This is just my opinion, please share your own list in the comments.
- Iron Man
- Captain America: The Winter Soldier
- Avengers: Infinity War
- Ant Man & The Wasp
- Spider-Man: Homecoming
- Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2
- Marvel’s The Avengers
- Thor: Ragnarok
- Captain America: Civil War
- Guardians of the Galaxy
- Doctor Strange
- Black Panther
- Avengers: Age of Ultron
- Iron Man 3
- Captain America: The First Avenger
- The Incredible Hulk
- Thor: The Dark World
- Iron Man 2
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