Saturday, May 2, 2015

Avengers: Age of Ultron Review

I'm sure you all knew this by now, but in case you have forgotten or are a new friend of mine, let me remind you that I am a huge sucker for superhero movies, especially those that are a part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Avengers: Age of Ultron is Marvel's 11th movie in their universe, which all began with Iron Man in 2008. In my opinion, they have yet to make a bad movie. Sure, movies like Iron Man 2 and Thor: The Dark World didn't impress me as much as others, but I would still consider those good movies. On top of all these as my favorite is 2012's The Avengers. In my opinion that movie is definitely a classic. Or will become one if you have a strict definition that a classic must be a certain age. Not only is it my favorite superhero movie from Marvel's universe, but if I were to make a list of my personal favorite superhero movies in general, that would still be number one. It was probably every comic book fan's dream, or any superhero fan's dream, to bring The Avengers to life on the big screen. The way Marvel built up to it was extremely risky, but in that instance high risk became high reward because The Avengers was pretty much done to perfection. I think I saw it at least five times in theaters and many more times when it came out on DVD. It's safe to say that you can call it my movie as it's developed into one of my all-time favorite movies. Of course I'm going to be super excited about the sequel.

That said, it's also important to note that because The Avengers was done so good, I've said for a while now that I don't think any movie that Marvel is going to top it, not even Avengers: Age of Ultron. Turns out I'm right on that. Avengers: Age of Ultron is not as good as The Avengers. In fact, I think I'd even put Captain America: The Winter Soldier ahead of it. But that's not an insult to this movie. It's more of a compliment to how great the Marvel Cinematic Universe is because Avengers: Age of Ultron is 141 minutes of pure solid entertainment. Heck, when Guardians of the Galaxy is now sixth place when I order the MCU movies from best to worst, you know Marvel has created something special because I absolutely loved that movie as well. I just like both Avengers movies, the first and third Iron Man movies, and the Captain America sequel a bit more. As superhero movie fans, we should be amazed that we are living through such an epic time in movie history where Marvel is giving us what we've been dreaming of for a long time now. All that said, it's time for me to dive deeper into this movie because there is a whole heck of a lot to talk about. No spoilers, though, I promise.

Like I said, this movie is extremely entertaining. All the action in the movie was a whole lot of fun. The chemistry between everyone in the cast is done perfectly. There were so many one-liners that had me cracking up the whole time. All this done in perfect Avengers fashion. That said, this isn't a perfect movie and I want to talk about a few of the complaints that I had. But keep in mind, these are more nit-picky because I really loved this movie. My first complaint is actually Ultron himself. He's actually a pretty solid villain in the second half of the movie, but his development is pretty underwhelming in my opinion. Maybe it's because I was just spoiled with the best A.I. movie I've ever seen last weekend with Ex Machina, but everything with Ultron just happened so fast and made little sense. Tony Stark decides he wants to create this A.I. robot to protect the world and before he's even finished, this robot decides that he's going to destroy all the Avengers. Ummm... ok. It's like Marvel was thinking that they needed a villain for the Avengers to fight and wanted to save their better, more developed villains for later. So we essentially get a villain of the week in Age of Ultron.

The other thing I really didn't like was the romance that happened between Scarlett Johansson and Mark Ruffalo. This just came out of nowhere. No development. No lead-up. Black Widow just suddenly has this thing for Bruce Banner and just goes for it. This is disappointing because I really love the character of Black Widow, especially after she blew everyone away in Captain America: The Winter Soldier. She was always very flirtatious with people, but when push came to shove, she was very closed to everyone when it came to her personal and romantic life because of some sort of dark, bitter past that we don't know of. It makes her interesting. But suddenly all that intrigue and mystery is just gone when it comes to Hulk and she is very open with him and wanting to pursue a relationship? Why? It's like Marvel looked at the situation and realized that everyone else has a significant other except for Black Widow and Hulk and decided to try start a storyline there despite there being absolutely no chemistry. Black Widow had more chemistry with Hawkeye in the first Avengers as well as more chemistry with Captain America in Winter Soldier. Frustrating.

Those two things are really the only major complaints I had, though. They weren't big enough to have a huge effect on the movie, but they're still worth bringing up. Now let's talk about the newcomers to this because I thought they were pretty good. I'm mainly referring to Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver, played by Elizabeth Olsen and Aaron Taylor Johnson who really do have great chemistry together as brother and sister. This is probably because this isn't their only time working together. They played husband and wife in the latest Godzilla movie. Luckily it's been long enough since Godzilla that I didn't find that a bit weird like I did with Ansel Elgort and Shailene Woodley in The Fault in Our Stars after Divergent a few months before. Instead I just thought Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver were a great team that had great development throughout the movie. As far as Quicksilver goes, I do need to add that I think Marvel beats Fox in the Quicksilver battle. Sure, Fox's Quicksilver was a lot more entertaining in Days of Future Past, but he was only there for a few scenes while Marvel used Quicksilver for the whole movie, thus I developed more of an attachment to Marvel's Quicksilver.

Now for a few other characters to talk about. There's this new guy called Vision. Loved him. But that's all I'm saying. It was announced that he was going to be in the movie and he even has his own poster and quick second in the trailer, so me bringing him up isn't a spoiler, but if I said anything about why I loved him, it would be a spoiler. So that's that. The next character I want to talk about is not a new character, but one that was developed a lot more in this. That's Jeremy Renner's Hawkeye. Hawkeye is such a great character and Jeremy Renner is such a good actor that I was waiting for the moment where Marvel really gave us more about him and in this movie they did. He played a huge here and I loved it. I'll let you figure out for yourself what they do with him, so no spoilers, but thanks Marvel! Jeremy Renner deserved that. Andy Serkis is also in the movie as this character named Ulysses Klaue. First off, Andy Serkis is such a boss. He's probably the most talented actor in the business, which is why he has shown up in pretty much every major movie franchise. This appearance is one of the first times I've seen him as himself and not a voice or a motion capture character like Gollum or Caesar. I almost complained about him not being in the movie for long enough. If you cast Andy Serkis in your movie, why only use him for only ten or so minutes? Then I looked up his character afterwards. Turns out his appearance in this is just a setup for Black Panther where he will probably be the main villain. Got it.

Speaking of that, this movie does spend a whole lot of time setting up future events in future movies. The Andy Serkis thing is just one example I'm giving, but there's a lot of scenes that are only in the movie because they are setting something else up for a future movie. There are things that happen with Thor's character that setup for Thor: Ragnarok. You can see the tension start to happen between Captain America and Iron Man that sets up for Captain America: Civil War. And that's not all. I've heard a lot of complaints with this and I understand where people are coming from with those complaints. It's almost like Marvel spent more time focusing on future movies with Age of Ultron than focusing on the drama happening in the moment. Personally I didn't mind it, though. I'm looking at the big picture with this and I'm enjoying it. There's been 11 movies made so far and there's 11 more officially on the schedule throughout the year 2019 and I'm excited to see all of them. So while some say most of Age of Ultron was just a setup for the future, I say it was a good balance of being entertaining in the moment while making me excited for the future.

So in the end, if we compare this movie universe to a TV show and The Avengers was the pilot episode and The Infinite Wars is the huge season finale that they are setting up for, then Age of Ultron is essentially like a monster-of-the-week episode. But do you know what, if that is true, it's a pretty dang good monster-of-the-week episode. Yes, I had my concerns with it. No, it's not as good as the original. But I still loved this movie. The chemistry between this group is fantastic and I just love watching them fight together as a group. I also love seeing them just associate and hang out as a group. There's a scene at the beginning that you see in the trailer where they are just at a party and that has devoid of actual for a long while, but was super entertaining. Whatever they are doing, they are just fun to watch as group. I loved this movie. I've at least enjoyed every movie that Marvel has done previously. I'm really looking forward to everything that Marvel has in store for the future. I gave The Avengers a perfect 10/10 and I stand by that score to this day. I'm not giving Avengers: Age of Ultron a perfect score, but I will give it a 9/10, which is still a great score in my book, especially since I've been more picky with what I give a high score to as I try to utilize my whole scale more.

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