Movie Review: Avengers: Age of Ultron!

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The biggest movie of the year (until Force Awakens) is here! How does Age of Ultron stack up to the previous Marvel movies? Read on and find out! 

10869325_591589580977275_2778898650041679518_oAvengers: Age of Ultron (2015)

Starring: Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth, Scarlett Johansson, Mark Ruffalo, James Spader, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Elizabeth Olsen

Directed By: Joss Whedon

MILD SPOILERS

To call Avengers: Age of Ultron a massive film is an understatement. Director Joss Whedon’s sequel to the megahit 2012 Avengers has to do many things: please comic fans and “normies” alike, set up the future of the Marvel Cinematic universe, and of course, serve as the follow up to arguably the biggest (and best) superhero film of all time. This is a tall order, and the hype around this film is certainly huge. After delivering one of the most entertaining films of last year with Guardians of the Galaxy, Marvel Studios has earned enough goodwill from fans that they could pretty much release a two and half hour film of the Avengers having game night and it would still make the same amount as a huge crossover come to life. So how does Age of Ultron stack up with the other Marvel films?

Pretty damn well actually.

Yes, Age of Ultron isn’t quite as good as it’s predecessor, but it’s still a fantastic ride. Under anyone less than Whedon, the film probably would’ve crumbled, and while it stumbles a few times, the director makes a beautiful recovery that has me itching for more from Marvel Studios.

If you didn’t already know, Age of Ultron finds Earth’s Mightiest Heroes battling the sentient robot Ultron (James Spader). Created by Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr., who can now play the role in his sleep) to “put a suit of armor around the Earth”, Ultron decides that the best way to protect humanity is to wipe it out. Naturally Thor, Captain America, Black Widow, Hawkeye, and Hulk don’t agree, and take the fight to Ultron, who’s backed up by Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver (Elizabeth Olsen and Aaron Taylor-Johnson). Oh yeah, The Vision also appears, and he’s played to perfection by Paul Bettany.

We’ve seen all of our major players before, and like RDJ with Iron Man, Chris Evans, Scarlett Johanson, dd7fa75c-fe9c-4bb9-8841-3c2f22343acfChris Hemsworth, and the rest of the Avengers team cast are nearly synonymous with the characters they play. Newcomers Elizabeth Olsen and Aaron Taylor-Johnson are surprisingly great as the Maximoff Twins Wanda and Pietro (otherwise known as Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver). Taylor Johnson nails Quicksilver’s impulsiveness more than Evan Peters’ version in X-Men: Days of Future Past, and Olsen gives Scarlet Witch a suitably creepy vibe that plays in perfectly with her powers. However, James Spader’s Ultron is arguably THE reason to watch to the film. He gives the big tall robot a suitable amount of menace, but also gets to deliver some pretty hilarious lines that hit when you least expect them to.

With no need to bring the team together again, Whedon’s free to devote more time to Hulk, Black Widow, and Hawkeye, who’s given a lot to do this time around and a surprisingly touching back story. From an inspiring (and hilarious) speech to Scarlet Witch, to some supremely badass moves, the team’s archer actually steals the movie in a lot of ways. It’s clear that Renner’s wishes to be able to “do more” in the sequel were heard loud and clear by Whedon.

Ultron is packed to the brim with story and huge action sequences, the standouts being the opening scene, the Hulkbuster vs. Hulk fight, and the final battle against Ultron’s forces. However, it’s Whedon’s character moments and the chemistry between the cast steals the show again, especially the early scene where the team throws a party to celebrate their successful mission. It’s here, where the team is kicking back and relaxing with one another that Whedon’s in his element. Honestly, as incredible as it was seeing the Hulkbuster throw down with Hulk or Captain America battle Ultron, my favorite moment in the film was watching the team try to lift Thor’s hammer.

Of course, Age of Ultron is a part of the larger Marvel Cinematic Universe, so clues have to be laid to build up to the next phase of Marvel films. This is definitely where the film suffers, but it’s not a complete train wreck, and Whedon does an admirable job of inserting these moments into the film without sacrificing his story too much (if you’re a major Marvel Zombie like me, you’ll see these moments as a plus, and not a detraction from the story). If anything, the introduction of the Vision and Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver’s sudden change to the light side could’ve been fleshed out a little more, and some things are a little rushed towards the end of the second act, but by and large Ultron remains a solid film. There’s so many moving parts at play in Age of Ultron that frankly it’s amazing that the end result is as good as it is. Viewers who aren’t as well versed in Marvel Comics lore may be scratching their heads at some parts, but the Marvel Zombies in the crowd will lose their minds numerous times in this film.

It’s a bummer that Joss Whedon has decided to part ways with Marvel, but I’m not surprised at all that this is his last Avengers movie. After seeing this film it’s apparent that he gave his all making sure this movie not only told a compelling story, but also transitioned the MCU into the next phase. Rest easy, Mr. Whedon. You’ve earned it.

VERDICT: A- (Marvel Fans), B+ (Normies)

Jonwahizzle is a comic book slinger for Jetpack Comics Follow him on twitter and check out his blog, The Collective: Examples of Nerdery for more!

13 thoughts on “Movie Review: Avengers: Age of Ultron!

      1. Yeah, he was all like “We get it. You’re saving people. I’m only one man, I can’t fight Zod and save everyone at the same time.”

  1. Pretty solid review, I gotta agree with most of it. The ending was pretty rushed and it felt like barley any closure was given. But overall it was great!

  2. I liked the film a lot, but I felt like nothing really surprised me or gave me the same feelings as the first movie. So much happened that it feels overwhelming to think about at times and I need a second viewing to collect myself I think. But overall, I would say its in the top 5 of the MCU.

  3. Ultron himself is what makes this movie special. Every other element is as competent as you’d expect from Whedon, but I didn’t expect to be this blown-away by Spader’s Ultron. I could watch an entire movie of Ultron monologues.

  4. I disagree, I thought it was way better than the first. Though it needed more raccoons named Rocket in it. Speaking of… Thor + Guardians team up in Guardians 2????!!!!!!!?????

  5. I seems I had the same feelings as everyone else. As an admitted Marvel Zombie, I thought it was great. It’s in the upper tier of the Marvel films, but it seems that some of the worries I had about this and the upcoming DC films as far has keeping a balance with such a large cast and also trying to keep the overall plot of the movie and the universe moving were creeping in.

    After the intro of the Vision it felt like they were trying to hit a specific run time and it really seemed like it was rushing like a wrestling match where they are told to go home early.

    I will see it many more times though to see if my first impressions above are wrong. It felt like an 8/10 to me which means it was only as good as Halo Reach :).

    I am really looking forward to where they go next though.

  6. Seems my feelings are on par with most people. Not as good as the first movie, but still rpetty fun and cool.

    For me, I’d say the biggest problem is the structure of the film, a lot of it, and specially the third act feels a bit like a re-thread of what was done in the first film. That being said… More of the same as long as is THIS well done is still better than trying something new and failing at it. However, I really hope this is the last time we see the set up of Avengers fighting an army of thousands of disposable soldiers while also trying to save/protect/evacuate civilians.

    The movie’s most exciting scenes is when the avengers fight alongside/against each other, and their least exciting ones are when they waste time showing us how they save a kid or put people in bathtubs.

    Lastly, Ultron was fantastic personality-wise, but I found him underwhelming as a physical threat. With Loki this was forgivable as Loki isn’t meant to be physically overwhelming, but Ultron is, and yet he always seemed to be dealt with fairly easily, even at the start.

  7. I was just glad it wasn’t uber dark like people were expecting. We got one more good adventure with the Avengers with an upbeat tone before things get super serious. And with as jokey as this film was, especially some of Ultron’s lines, I think it makes for the perfect exit film for Wedon. It felt like a Joss Wedon written comic adventure which was great.

    I don’t feel it was overstuffed like some people say. I think he balanced all the characters fantastically, except for the very end with the New Avengers reveal. They showed War Machine earlier in the film, and they showed Sam Wilson out of armor. But unless you saw Captain America 2, everyone should have been, “Who the fuck is that? Black Birdman?”

    I know nearly everyone who saw this probably saw Winter Soldier, but it is still a little sloppy. I’m sure in the three hour cut, that will be covered.

    1. I did find it pretty weird to have falcon appear early in the film, but then never show him in action at all, and then showing him in full costume at the end. Like, they DID show war machine in a couple Acton scenes, but they couldn’t spare even 3 seconds to show the falcon in action?

      I mean, I liked the character a lot in winter soldier, but his appearance here felt really tacked on. Like you correctly pointed out, how is anyone who didn’t watch winter soldier supposed to give a fuck about him becoming an avenger at the end?

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