So, this is it guys.
The conclusion to (with the exception of Ant-Man) of phase 2 of the Marvel Universe.
After hours and hours of watching likable heroes spend 2+ trying to find/locate/destroy magic box/scepter/jewel/box/magical object thing, we are here!
And what did we get with Joss Whedon’s second foray into The Avengers universe?
We spend another 2 hours trying to locate a thing. Yay!?
Attractive people chase after big bad to retrieve small item and save the world.
Is it everything we’ve ever wanted? I’d say no.
This is the problem with Marvel’s strategy. Movies are not movies but set up for more movies and more characters and infinitely more universes.
“Oh! Did you catch that? That is a preview! For a movie that will come out in 2018! Look at that! A relationship that will start 5 movies from now!!!!”
As a result, Avengers 2.0 felt like less like an event and more like a pre-game for another movie which is unfortunate because so many of the phase 2 movies seemed to be leading us here to this one moment but ultimately, none of it mattered. We got the same movie that we’ve gotten over and over again (with the exception of the excellent Cap 2 of course).
I am actually really tired of this type of movie. I want a complete full story with a REAL villain that is actually scary instead of having these awesome heroes fight the Putty Patrol.
You know the Putty Patrol, right?
This movie kind of felt like that restaurant everyone keeps talking about. You go, ready to have multiple foodgasams but end up with good food but hardly mind-blowing. One for the spank bank but nothing you’d tell stories about. I enjoyed watching it because I love seeing movies in theaters and I love this characters but most of what I saw let me down.
Don’t yell at me! I saw it twice to make sure!
Good news first!
What I loved:
Thor has become the big joke of the internet but I loved Chris Hemsworth in this movie. Let me pause and say that I think Chris Hemsworth is a perfect human so this paragraph might not mean much but I am going to write it here anyway.
Yes, I am bias. This is my blog!
Chris Hemsworth is so funny as Thor. He understands how redic Thor can be and instead of trying to legitimize him as a SERIOUS character, he has fun with it and really leans into the role. It is a welcome change because as much as I love RDJ and Chris Evans, they both were obviously over it in this film. They looked bored. Chris H. was really engaged in every scene. He played along and I really appreciated that.
He is also the driving force for one of the best gags and he was a huge part of my favorite scene in the movie. (Hint: Who is really worthy?) Joss really had fun with Mjölnir and enjoyed showcasing the full Thor-ness of Thor, especially when he collaborated with the other members of the team.
That being said, his subplot made absolutely no sense but whatevs. We can’t have it all.
Jeremy Renner got a huge boost in this movie and is finally acting like Hawkeye from the comics, playing the role of the regular guy perfectly. His subplot actually introduces stakes and tension into the plot. You were WORRIED about him. The rest of the movie was lacking a lot of that “omg, they really could die” feeling. I found myself constantly looking for him in scenes, wanting to know if he is ok and still alive. This is how we SHOULD feel and this is what Marvel (the comics) is excellent at doing this and this is what Stan Lee and Jack Kirby wanted. Heros you could actually hurt instead of immortal super powered people flying around.
Stuff I was OK with:
Black Widow and Bruce Banner Ship
I am on the fence on The Black Widow and Bruce Banner relationship. While I always LOVE a rom com angle, the plot itself was kind of random. I understand that we were meant to pick up that the relationship had been developing for a while but without establishing their connection more in the last Avengers, I didn’t buy it. It also moved a little too quickly for my taste. I do love them together and would want to see them in future movies together but with contracts running out, that won’t happen. There are a lot of complaints out this subplot being sexist but I think that is kind of bullshit but I don’t have enough room to talk about that here.
I have so many questions about Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver. Where did they get their powers? What is their backstory? What is their motivation? How are they connected to Ultron. These super important details were all glossed over completely. Their introduction into this universe is a really big deal. These are the first altered humans we have seen beyond Captain America and Hulk and the implications are HUGE in the comics but that is barely touched on here.
The actors did do a great job bringing these powers to life. Elizabeth Olsen was really great at making her magic feel realistic and scary and Taylor-Johnson was able to embody the playfulness of Quicksilver well but again, I wanted more backstory and context. I know that is hard to ask but even simply just a sentence or two about where their powers actually came from would be a great start.
Stuff I was NOT OK with:
Ultron is one of those supervillains who show up everywhere in the MCU. Everyone gets their turn to battle this big baddie because (SPOILER ALERT), Ultron never really dies, he just gets bigger, badder and and more badass. We didn’t get to see that in this at all. He went from 0 to super-chrome soldier really quickly.
In the comic books, Ultron is actually a creation of Hank Pym, the original Ant-Man so his origins have been a little tweaked for the needs of this movie and as a result, Ultron’s scariness really suffers, Ultron models Tony Stark perfectly. He is jerk with daddy issues and a God complex, trying his best to grow beyond the imposing presence of their creators who are seemingly “better” in every way.
His production design is also impeccable, he is a chrome nightmare, embodying everything that makes us afraid of technology and of robots.
Unfortunately, because he is a perfect model for Tony Stark, he also shares his softness. I thought that is temper tantrums were delicious and scary and I wanted more of them. Instead of being scary he came off more like a sad desperate kid and not in the scary sociopathic way that makes for a great villain.
Such a disappointment.
WHY does Marvel do this with their villains? With the exception of Loki, most of these bad guys shine bright and just….die. Just like that. Completely disposable. Ultron was given a better treatment in the f-ing cartoon movies.
No, seriously. Watch them. They are on Netflix.
The real Ultron Gives. No. Fucks. He is a badass who doesn’t like emotions or anything human and just wants everything to be better and suck less. Ultron doesn’t even fight the Avengers directly most of the time. He just sends his putty monsters.
The main plot
I have READ a lot of the comics and I had no clue what the heck was going on most of the time and it took me a second watching for the plot to take hold and so I could really understand what Ultron was trying to do. Mix that in whith another mention of those damn Infinity Stones (again another rant for another post) and we were left with a script that didn’t really make any sense. What was Thor doing? Really? What is The Vision talking about? Joss is usually a great storyteller and I think even he got overwhelmed by the bigness of working with these characters. There are a LOT of people to juggle around and the strain was there.
CGI Hot Mess
The opening sequence was very expensive I am sure but that scene was SO CGI’d I almost could not enjoyed it. Most of Thor’s scenes in the opening sequence are heavily CGI’d when it looked like farly simple hand to hand combat. The group shot in the preview of them all jumping at the same time also looked really fake. This movie had the Star Wars preview before it and after seeing those amazing practical effects, seeing that opening scene was a hard pill to swallow. The action scenes and the first movie were great because they were so tangible (same with Cap 2) and in this movie because everything looked so fake I never thought most of the characters were ever in danger.
In the end, Age of Ultron is a good entry to the Marvel Universe but doesn’t reinvent the wheel. The movie is still fun and a must-see on the big screen. Unfortunately, the people f Marvel have given themselves a hard task. So many movies and so many stores — it is going to be hard for people to keep up and in the end, will the superhero bubble burst?
Nah, probs not. SO EXCITED FOR ANT-MAN.
If I was important and could give it a rating, I’d give it a B-
Other random thoughts about the movie:
- I don’t know about Chris Evans in this movie. He almost has too many muscles? Homeboy must be juicing, right? I love the leaner look of his previous movies. This one he looked like he could barely fit in his shirt.
- Wolfgang Von Strucker = another BIG DEAL comic book villain that just gets thrown in the heap. So freaking wasteful, yo. REUSE! RECYCLE!
- Paul Bettany was amazing as The Vision but again, wtf? If you don’t know the story there is no way any of that made sense to you. Nice body, though.
Stay tuned for comic book recommendations! This is a SUPER post and didn’t want to add here.