“Avengers: Age of Ultron” Review (Spoiler-Free!)

ultron

With only a week left in my stay at my aunt’s house, I’ve finally seen the second “Avengers” movie. I plan to blog about the next Dresden title over the following week, but for now I had to talk about this one. Why? Aside from having blogged the first film, this was my most anticipated one of the summer blockbusters. As stated in the title, I’ll try to keep things spoiler-free for the sake of anyone who stumbles across this blog and still hasn’t seen it. First, though, let’s get into the basic premise.

After the events of an excursion to retrieve Loki’s scepter, Tony Stark gets caught up in creating the ultimate A.I., dubbed “Ultron”, to protect the world from powerful threats. Unfortunately, Ultron becomes self-aware and decides he must change the world by eliminating the Avengers with the help of the Inhumans known as Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch. Now the Avengers must stop Ultron before he causes untold damage to the world and to them as well.

As much as I’ve enjoyed every one of the Marvel films in some way (though “Iron Man 2” and “The Incredible Hulk” still rank the lowest for me), “The Avengers” is still my favorite of the bunch. I just loved the team dynamic of putting these characters I’d sat and watched in the same room and watching them band together. Loki was far more enjoyable for me than in even “Thor” and I loved the typical Joss Whedon snark throughout. Sure, it wasn’t perfect, and the plot was pretty simplistic even for a Marvel film, but it was a fun romp. I went into “Age of Ultron” with the hope that I would be at least very entertained, and despite some issues, I did enjoy it.

With the sequel, I found myself enjoying a lot of the individual scenes more than the overall plot. That’s not to say that I found the plot bad (though I felt not much happened till about halfway through), but there were a lot of great character moments and action scenes (some not related to the plot) that I thought stood out more. The opening scene against Hydra, the action involving the Hulkbuster, the quiet moments between the Avengers themselves – all of these scenes were contributed to how much more of a team they are compared to their growing pains in “Avengers.” The action scenes did seem like a step up from the first movie and the snarky humor was intact, though I felt there was less of it this time. As usual, Stan Lee gets his traditional short-but-sweet Marvel cameo and it was a pretty good one. However, I found the film had some scenes that felt like they had no connection to any development from the preceding films, and because of it the film felt like it’d been noticeably cut down. Maybe that’s just my observation, but that’s how it came across to me. Luckily, the pacing for this 2 hour and 12 minute movie was good despite the slow build of the plot. I felt like it breezed by just by how much I was invested in all the action, and there’s plenty of it throughout.

As usual, the individual members get something to do here along with working as a team. A lot of focus is put on Tony as he’s the one to create Ultron and goes to great lengths to deal with the consequences of it. Thor, Cap and Hulk all get nice quiet moments to coincide with awesome action scenes, and thankfully Hawkeye actually gets some development and more to do here (though he’s still the least interesting of the group). Black Widow also gets a bit of development (along with an awesome light-up suit) and we learn more about her past at one point. I did know about the controversy surrounding Black Widow going in, but my biggest issue with her was the lack of continuity from her previous appearances (though one line of dialogue did make me cringe, not because of the controversy but because of how ham-fisted it was). She takes an interest in someone that didn’t seem to match up with any of her previous appearances (basically comes out of nowhere), but she at least still gets her fair share of the action. I was wishing she had more to do whenever an action scene wasn’t happening, though, and she does unfortunately get caught up in some stereotypical plot shenanigans during the climax.

This time around, we have two new characters, twins Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch. If you’ve seen “X-Men: Days of Future Past,” you already know that another version of Quicksilver was present there. Personally, I preferred that actor’s portrayal over this one as his Quicksilver seemed to have more of a personality despite his limited role. I did, however, like the effects on this Quicksilver’s super-speed. Scarlet Witch mainly serves as a plot device, and while I liked how her powers were portrayed, the way they were utilized mostly ended up being a bit pointless. I felt that these characters may have had more scenes to further flesh them out, and I kinda hope they did because they sorely needed them. I wasn’t all that interested in what they were doing until the climax, and they were easily one of the biggest disappointments for me.

Thankfully, the villain, Ultron, was not a disappointment. As much as I love Loki and always will, Ultron was a great foe and James Spader did a fantastic job in the role. Ultron is equal parts an intelligent threat and sometimes humanized one, even capable of making the occasional snarky wisecrack. His “birth” was one of my favorite scenes in the first half hour of the film, let alone the entirety of it. I found myself anticipating another scene with him just because he was such a joy to watch. It was a blast watching the team go up against him and I loved how the final battle with him played out. Definitely one of the movie’s highlights, at least for me.

Overall, I feel like “Avengers: Age of Ultron” was a fun watch, though opinions may be split on it. On one hand, it does a lot of things better than “Avengers,” but on the other hand there are many issues with it. I would definitely recommend it to anyone who’s at least followed or enjoyed any of the Marvel films and especially the first Avengers film. For me, despite my personal gripes, I got the very fun-to-watch sequel I was hoping for. Give it a watch and decide for yourself if it was worth the wait.

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