The summer movie has now officially started with once again Marvel leading the charge with “Avengers: Age of Ultron” the highly anticipated follow up to the widely out of control success “The Avengers” (although you could make the argument that the summer movie season started with “Furious 7”). Anybody who knows me knows just how excited I was for this film. I love the comic book movie genre and I love the Marvel world plus their last couple of features really impressed me. Ranking number two on my most anticipated films of 2015 list, I was absolute giddy with excitement as I was ready yet again for Marvel to deliver another great Avengers team up film.
Yet with all my excitement and anticipation I was sadly going to be walking away from seeing the movie disappointed. While I don’t feel this is bad nor is it poor but instead it’s a movie that has many highs and moments of excitement. Yet still this film goes in way too many tangents, doesn’t make their title villain feel imposing and gets over complicated with new characters that are hard to care about and the action begins to lose its excitement as the movie becomes increasingly long.
What appears to be not long after the events of “Captain America: Winter Solider”, S.H.E.I.L.D has been abandoned and the Avengers are hunting down various Hydra bases in search for Loki’s specter. Stumbling across one base they discover two “enhanced humans” that spell trouble for the team both internally and externally. Back at the Avengers tower, Tony Stark finally believes he cracked the code for creating Artificial Intelligence where he and Bruce Banner attempt to create the “Ultron Project” they have been dreaming of. Leaving it and letting the computer run it’s test, Ultron awakens and instead of protecting mankind like he was programmed to do he decides mankind is a disease and must be destroyed, starting with the Avengers.
I was actually surprised to see how some of the events of “Winter Solider” flowed right into the plot of this film. It just shows how well plotted out Marvel goes to plan their series. Yet at the same time it makes me wonder how do the events of “Iron Man 3” flows into this? Since at the end he seemed to be finished with being Iron Man?
But, anyways I digress. The first thirty minutes of this movie is absolute pure gold. This film opens up with a big bombastic and exciting action scene where the team exchanges one liners, and the chemistry between the actors are even better than before. Then the team comes back for a dinner party that is just one laugh after another as the interaction between all the different characters are just as fun as it was in the first film. In fact if there is one consistent throughout this film, it’s the interaction between the characters. Never a dull moment with every actor performing at their finest.
Yet after that the movie falls apart a bit. My biggest fear for “The Avengers ” was the movie becoming too busy, too many tangents and not having cohesive plot. Gladly the first film avoided all those problems and delivered upon its potential. All those fears I had for that film instead happened in this movie. Somewhere through the midpoint of the 142 minute long runtime all the different characters start competing for screen time. Trying to further their story when only a few should have been center staged as the main players in the story. Here Joss Whedon tries his best to balance everyone out but unfortunately the movie loses its focus. Plus some of it could have been shorten up. Why did Thor have to go all the way to a cave to see the rest of his vision? It just takes up more screen time. Another portion of the movie starts to deviate from the plot trying it’s best to set up for future Marvel movies (mostly for “Thor: Ragnarok”). If anything this movie should have hinted more towards the upcoming “Captain America: Civil War”.
The action scenes are even better than the last movie. There are some big large scale set pieces with outstanding memorable moments yet there is still an issue…the action scenes go on for far too long. After a while these large scale set pieces get boring and played out a bit. It could have been an issue of pacing, with some scenes coming too close to one another. Which is a shame since some are pretty incredible; they just lose their gusto.
The last and most disappointing aspect of this film is Ultron himself. From the trailers he looked menacing and would be a force for the Avengers. I was surprised how underwhelming he actually was. The best scene is between him and Vision towards the end (even if it’s something we’ve seen before). But, the rest of the film he pops in here and there and never feels imposing. The stakes are obviously high but Ultron never feels menacing and neither do the stakes for that matter. The introduction of the “enhanced humans” Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch couldn’t be more bland or forgettable and don’t compliment Ultron very well. He is just another villain in the Marvel Universe that won’t be remembered and is not nearly as good as Loki or the Winter Solider (if you can call him a villain).
That being all said there are some interesting things are done with Black Widow’s character. She and Bruce Banner are having a budding romance that helps deepens her character. She has also become increasingly one of the most interesting characters in the Marvel cinematic universe. Plus they made use of Hawkeye the way they should have in the first movie (so that’s a big improvement).
The way the finale ends does make you curious to see where the universe goes from here (especially the great end credits scene that Marvel has perfected). As many problems as this movie had and even though I was really disappointed on how it turned out it still was a solid and at times fun movie it just missed it’s marked…just barley.