Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015)

Avengers: Age Of Ultron had a lot to live up to. And although it is still mostly thrilling and fun, there are some significant problems. It tries to do a lot, and plays it safe in vital areas. Apparently a victim of studio interference, it feels disjointed – at times too long, at times parts are missing. It is certainly not the best MCU or superhero film, although it is still mostly captivating and wonderful.

Joss Whedon, filling roles as both writer and director, has very few people to blame. Coming off The Avengers with plenty of acclaim, he gives us more of the same. Fun interactions, witty dialogue, unforgettable wow moments and action with some reason. But the thrill of the Avengers even existing had gone, and we are bogged down by bigger spectacle, trying to outdo his previous effort.

Rewatching the film, it hasn’t dated well. Part of it could be the fatigue of the genre as a whole. The final fight is CGI vs CGI. Just hundreds, thousands of weightless, unthreatening Ultron drones that provide no sense of danger. This actually applies to just about all the fight scenes. That opening scene, stitched together to be one shot, just isn’t as impressive as it once was. It is interesting that Whedon, the king of nerd quips, has made a film so serious and not-fun.

These are nitpicks for a film that is mostly hugely enjoyable and has several transcendent highs. Widow’s and Hulk’s budding romance gives these characters and group a wonderful human tension. The creation of The Vision and his first moments are stunning. Whedon is just extremely talented and the film is full of layers, pay offs, stunning shots, clever camera work and oozes style. But it is always the small moments, of hanging out, rather than the action.

When annotating this film, there are large sections where little happens. No new elements, locations, references, developments. Its just a fight that continues, and the brain drifts. Yet on the other hand, several interesting scenes were cut. More with Thor, Ultron killing Strucker, more with the Twins. These character moments are gone. Marvel never does extended cuts, but there is so much noise and battles that could have been cut, and we could have seen more of these characters we loved so much doing something other than bash CGI.

Lucky for the MCU, the lesson seems to have been learnt.

Best bits

  • The characters. So cool. Can we hang out more?
  • Big fun world spanning adventure
  • Vision and the hammer
  • Lots of great one liners, pay off moments
  • Looks like a million bucks

Not best bits

  • Forgettable CGI fights
  • Twins and Thor are wasted
  • Ultron’s a bit weak
  • Infinity Stones shoehorned in
  • So long.

 

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