Movie Review: Avengers Age of Ultron

I saw this movie on opening night. I enjoyed it. I went home.

I almost forgot about it.

Almost.

avengers_age_of_ultronBut let me back up. I love what Marvel has done with superhero films. I think what made Iron Man so great was that it didn’t take itself too seriously. It was self-aware. It was what we all wanted deep down and didn’t even realize.

i-am-iron-manCaptain America was very different, more historical and tragic, but it was about the American spirit and hero we all want. It touched something different inside us than Iron Man did.

captain-america

And then Thor was different because it took place in Asgard, a whole new world that was fascinating. And he’s a fish out of water when he’s on Earth.

thorAnd all these movies have great lines and great side characters: Pepper Potts, Peggy Carter, Sif and Loki, etc.

Where The Incredible Hulk unfortunately suffered in all this is that it was still just a regular superhero movie, like all the others we had seen before Marvel and Christopher Nolan changed the game. Apparently Edward Norton, who played the Hulk back then, was super involved in the writing of the movie, and he was a big fanboy of the Hulk. This sounds awesome in theory, but I wonder if he was trying so hard to fit the Hulk in this box that he had created that it didn’t give the character the chance to shine.

I’ll admit, I still wasn’t sold on Mark Ruffalo’s version of the character in the first Avengers movie, but I can give Age of Ultron the credit for making me care about him much more this time around. Or maybe what I should say is for making me care about Bruce Banner, the person underneath the Hulk.

bruce-bannerWhile we are talking about character exploration in Age of Ultron, I’m going to say that is the movie’s strength, and that is what has stuck with me since walking out of the theater.

There’s been a lot of talk about Black Widow in this movie, and say what you will about her role, but I think we got to see a whole new side of her and I was really glad to see it. Would it be cool if this was explored more in a movie or TV show? Yes. Will I move on with my life if it’s not? Yes. We see a much more vulnerable side of Natasha, but I don’t think she’s ever portrayed as weak. And while (mild spoiler) the interest between her and Banner did kind of surprise me and I wasn’t entirely sure I was 100% there with it (since we’ve had no build-up to this it felt like it came out of left field), I don’t think this weakened her either. It made her human. Same with their talk about infertility, which he started.

natasha-blackwidowI also appreciated that we finally got more from Hawkeye, after that poor guy got brainwashed in the first Avengers movie. His character has become a more relatable, almost every-man sort from this movie, and I thought that was a nice touch.

hawkeyeThe addition of Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch really didn’t do a whole lot for me, though funnily enough, their best moments were when they were with Hawkeye. Quicksilver and Hawkeye had their running, “What, you didn’t see that coming?” joke, and Hawkeye hyped up Scarlet Witch for the battle against Ultron.

(Highlight for spoilers) Ultimately, the death of Quicksilver did very little for me. It made me sad for his sister, because it obviously put her in a lot of shock and pain, but I wasn’t sad for anyone else or for me. I had barely started kind of liking the guy when he died, though I appreciated the act that led to his death, especially when I was starting to worry that Hawkeye was going to be a goner. There was no real emotional resonance with it. 

There’s also the introduction of Vision, who is sort of interesting? We’ll have to see what happens to him in the future. We really get very little development with him at all.

Now let’s talk about the villain, Ultron. Even though he demonstrates just how much he is capable of, I never really feared that the whole entire world was actually in danger of this guy. I know it sounds ridiculous to say the stakes weren’t high enough when the whole idea was that he wanted to destroy the world but seriously, they weren’t high enough, because I was never worried that he would actually accomplish this, and not just because it’s a movie and I know it’s going to turn out OK in the end. But that could have been part of the problem. In Captain America: The Winter Solider the movie ends with SHIELD in shambles. It’s not a happy ending. While it was still probably surprising for many people watching the movie (unless they watched Agents of SHIELD, which they should have, honestly), destroying SHIELD is a much more viable option for a movie ending than destroying the world. But really, I think it was mostly that Ultron never truly frightened me enough.

But, the way Ultron was created was fascinated and I hope that comes back up because even though there is heated debating about it in the movie, it definitely feels kind of glossed over in  the grand scheme of things.

All in all, this is another solid movie from Marvel, enjoyable, witty lines, and some pretty good character development, but there were some weak spots in the movie that keeps it from being a favorite in the long run.

4stars2If you’ve see Age of Ultron, what are your thoughts?

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15 thoughts on “Movie Review: Avengers Age of Ultron

  1. Good review! I agree with pretty much everything you said here, especially around Black Widow. The love angle had me rolling my eyes, but it was nice to get more from her. I rewatched Winter Soldier last night, and think I enjoy her character the most in that movie. And I particularly enjoyed the running gags in AOU, such as the hammer and “language” jokes.

    • The Winter Soldier is a good movie for Natasha too. I love the way she and Steve interact (though I’ve never shipped them). And yes to the running gags you mentioned!

  2. I just posted my mini reviews of this movie and The Hobbit today. I enjoyed Age of Ultron; I liked seeing more of the characters life’s, and I love the humor. I’m a little Thor obsessed.

    Great review, Amy! 🙂

  3. I enjoyed the movie, and I have to agree that Natasha and Bruce’s relationship came out of nowhere, but I didn’t mind it. ALSO THERE WERE SO MANY MORE WITTY LINES than the first movie!

  4. So much to say 🙂 But mostly they all boil down to – YES.

    yes, the strength of the film was definitely the characters. I love that instead of glossing over Hawkeye’s sort of “normalness” they actually highlighted it. they made him even more normal in the scope of all these superheroes but even in the midst of that, they didn’t make him feel like he didn’t belong with them.

    yes, I liked the vulnerability of Black Widow. Was I wildly impressed with her arc? nope. Was I disappointed about it or anything? nope. It made her more human and was good extension of the Russian thread in Agent Carter. But overall I don’t find her that interesting of a character. I did find the thing with her and Banner very much out of left field, but other than that it was interesting.

    yes, Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch were most interesting when they interacted with Hawekeye. I especially liked his moment with Scarlet Witch. And yes to all the other Quicksliver stuff 🙂

    And yes to a lot about Ultron. I hadn’t thought of it in that way but I agree that as a “threat” he was formidable in battle but offscreen I didn’t find him to be that imposing.

    And still, I like these characters and so for all it’s flaws, I enjoyed another story with them and liked the lines and the interactions and relationships. So I’d totally give it 4 stars too 🙂

    • I think Black Widow has potential to be interesting, and this movie made me more interested in her than any of the others I’ve seen her in, but I do agree that she’s still lacking some of the dynamic I would like to see in a main character. She doesn’t strike me in quite the same way as Peggy Carter does.

  5. I agree with most of what you’ve said! Personally, I didn’t like Black Widow’s arc at all in this movie. It felt like she was an afterthought, to me. The rest of the heroes got to be what they are — huge powerful men who save the day and in the end, it kind of felt like Whedon forgot to give Natasha a bigger role. She ends up getting locked in a jail for a bit of the movie and while she does ultimately get a message out to Banner to get her saved…it still felt a little like she was a “damsel in distress” for a bit. I looooved the Winter Soldier movie and what the Russo brothers did for Natasha’s character. I wish Whedon had kept up with that.

    • I feel like she was only locked up for about five minutes of movie time… that message got out there and brought them to her pretty quickly. And I think it was good for her character that when Banner offered for them to run off together, she made the choice to fight. But with so many characters, it’s hard to actually get a really good arc from everyone in one movie anyway; I felt we mostly got glimpses or arcs for the characters in this movie. I feel like Thor was actually probably the most underutilized; I’ll have to watch again to probably understand better his running off to that pool place and all that, but that made him absent from the main plot for a short time as well (though admittedly, it was while they were at Barton’s house, not while they were fighting).

  6. I saw the film last Sunday. It was pretty good but it did feel a little choppy at times. I actually wish it was a few minutes longer.I also enjoyed Ultron as the villain. He was like a darker version of Tony Stark. I also thought the new characters were cool and that we got to get more of their backstory and motivations. I do agree with you on the death. It felt a little flat but kind of shocking since said person didn’t get to do much.

    • Choppy at times is a good way to describe the pace. Maybe your description of Ultron as a dark Tony is why I couldn’t buy into the idea that he would actually destroy the world, even though it seems they’re setting up the idea that maybe Tony Stark can in fact destroy the world.

  7. Ah, so much I agree with! Especially regarding the major spoiler that needed highlighting. My reaction to it was more of a slightly disappointed “Well aw” instead of the heart-wrenching gut-twisting impact that they probably wanted.

    My friends freaked out to high heaven though. 😛

  8. Awesome review! I agree with a lot of points. Especially on the “romance” between Natasha and Banner. I was so confused by that lol. They just seem like such an odd couple together and didn’t see that coming. I really liked Hawkeye in this movie! He had some really funny lines 🙂
    Overall, a good movie, but not as good as the first.

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