Panelteers Ardo Omer and Dana Silver discuss the most recent addition to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. SPOILERS for the movie ahead.
Avengers: Age of Ultron is the eleventh movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Bringing together 6 main super heroes, 2 secondary returning characters, and 3 tertiary returning characters, two new conflicted heroes, one reborn android, and one new supervillain, this is just one huge movie. And like the preceding sentence, it is full of a lot of awesome things but is sometimes a bit messy. A lot of complex things happen in this nearly two, and a half hour flick, so there’s a lot to go over.
Ultron and Tony Stark’s Biggest Flaw
The Avengers were put together as a haphazard collection of special individuals who could come together when the world truly needed them. As with all things, Tony Stark saw a need to make it better. He constructed a new base for them out of the remnants of his New York City facility. He gave Captain America magnetized cuffs to better control his shield. And he even co-designs a Hulk contingency system called Veronica with his fellow science bro, Bruce Banner. His end goal, however, is to make the Avengers obsolete. He begins with his Iron Legion but he needs something more, an advanced AI to control it. Ultron not only fits the criteria to a T, he also represents the inevitable end result – soulless technology saving humanity through annihilation. Much like Stark, Ultron’s greatest flaw was a combination of his arrogance and his inability to trust the people around him.
Top 5 Things That Worked In Age of Ultron
- The romantic tension between Natasha and Bruce: The pairing of two people who believe themselves to be monsters (one’s a giant green rage machine created by a lab accident and the other is a pre-programmed super assassin created by the Soviets) but who also find a calm peace in each other is something that an audience can truly relate to. Two damaged people find each other and weigh the pros and cons of being together. We’ve all been there…. right?
- Ultron: Our new villain is as complex as he is interesting. Birthed with great intelligence but no actual experience, our genius mechanoid puts together complex systems while simultaneously lashing out like an angry child – and also frequently following it up with hollow child-like apologies. He understands what he is doing and why, but has trouble expressing himself to others in a way that is acceptable to those around him. The frustration this brings to him actually makes him more human than he would ever want to admit.
- The humanization of Hawkeye and the Barton Family: I think most would agree that Hawkeye thus far has been the least fleshed out (and thus most boring) Avenger. Giving him a secret off-the-books family and time spent with someone he truly loves made him much more relatable and realistic. We even get a look into his psyche with his never-ending house projects. He can’t leave well enough alone, always aiming for perfection.
- The fight scene between Iron Man (Hulkbuster) and the Hulk: Few action sequences manage to balance ferocity, excellent battle choreography, and excellent camera-work. This fight was awesome in the literal sense. Two titans battling it out in a crowded area while maintaining the perfect blend of tension and fast paced action. This scene felt like it jumped right out of the comics.
- Diverse New Avengers Line-up: War Machine, The Vision, Falcon, Scarlet Witch, Black Widow and Captain America. Two men of color, two strong and well fleshed out white females, a synthezoid, and a white male. To put it another way – this is also 3 flyers, a cosmic energy source bonded to an indestructible techie, a telekinetic/mind-mucker, an assassin, a soldier, and the freaking war machine. To put it a third way – it’s 5 smart asses and an android. This will be a fun team for so many reasons.
Bonus: A great Stan Lee appearance: “EXCELSIOR!”
Top 5 Things That Didn’t Work In Age of Ultron
- Poorly timed jokes: From the German soldier in the opening sequence to Thor’s many many botched one-liners, the jokes in this film often come at awkward times and with ineffective delivery.
- CGI in the opening scene: Whenever a mega-budget film has movements or interactions that look incredibly flake, we’re all a little disappointed. From the unrealistic and marginally in-human movements to the terrible skin to skin contact of Hulk and Black Widow, the attack on the Hydra station is less seamless than it really deserved to be.
- Uneven writing/direction/editing/pacing/camera-work: Perhaps the timing could have been better when Natasha admits she was forcibly sterilized and immediately uses that as proof that she is a monster. Maybe Tony had no reason to leave his suit to check out the scepter and that entire scene didn’t have to be done with a shaky cam that robs all possibility of seeing detail in the underground lab. This movie has several scenes that are kind of muddy but have speckles of perfection and inspiration scattered throughout. There’s no reason the whole movie couldn’t be as polished.
- Balance of action vs. character development: We spent a lot of time in some lengthy action sequences such as the forgettable chase scene when we could have spent much more time on characters who were lacking such as Quicksilver, Thor, Fury, and even Cap. The extra-long action sequences, while great, rob the audience of the opportunity to see these excellent actors further define their characters.
- Thor – The tertiary god character: Thor in this movie could have been so much more. For some reason either in the writer’s den or the editing bay, he has been relegated to bringer of information (God of Exposition), bad joke delivery system, and apologizer for insensitive comments. Why is there an open area filled with a hundred metal soldiers and not one sequence of him zapping them en-masse with lightning? They’re literally walking lightning rods.
Anti-Bonus: NO LOKI: At least we had Heimdall.
Captain America’s Vision of the Avengers
Captain America defiantly states that had he been forced to recreate the kind of world-saving event that happened in the first movie, he says that he’d “do it together”. In his heart he truly believes that what makes the Avengers great are not their individual talents, but their ability to come together as something greater than the sum of their parts. The Vision is possibly the closest thing to a single person fitting this criteria as well. As an indestructible being composed of vibranium-bonded living tissue that is powered by the mind-gem and controlled by the final evolution of the Avengers’ greatest ally (JARVIS), The Vision is truly a being greater than the sum of his excellent individual qualities. His belief in teamwork, faith in humanity as a species, and dedication to protecting them makes him almost a quantified expression of Captain America’s core beliefs.
Ardo Omer’s Score: 7 out of 10
Dana Silver’s Score: 7.5 out of 10
Worthless 2 person average: 7.25 out of 10