Avengers was a big step into a bigger world. Fans everywhere blew their tops in excitement and love for the first film. But, it’s sequel fell short in many places, and failed where it needed to rise above. Ultron vs. the Avengers, a spectacle? A trash hole? An overall fair movie? Really depends on who you are.
AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON
Written and Directed by: Joss Whedon
US Release Date: May 1st, 2015
Runtime: 141 minutes
Production Company: Marvel Studios
Cast: Robert Downey Jr., Chris Hemsworth, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy Renner, James Spader, Samuel L. Jackson, Don Cheadle, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Elizabeth Olsen, Paul Bettany, Cobie Smulders, Anthony Mackie, Hayley Atwell
What You Need To Know:
Avengers left us off with a team built, but a threat taken out. What does a team do without something to fight? Well, that’s where things grow. Movies in between movies help span out the idea that villains crop up when heroes make themselves known. The very existence of the Avengers summons conflict (Vision- Civil War). Age of Ultron tries to show us a merry band of heroes untied again, but turns into a mess of a story with fun cameos/references but pointless story arcs and characters.
What You’ll Find Out: (SPOILERS)
What I saw in this movie, the first time watching it was perfection. I saw my favorite Avenger’s villain brought to life in an awesome way and delivered with precision and beauty. His entire self-righteous and holy motif was astoundingly well done. The film did well with bringing the characters together and making it a suitable follow-up to Avengers. Now?…I watch this movie just asking myself this question, over and over; “Why though?” I just watched a movie that tried to introduce an entirely new concept of Hydra and human-experimentation, as well as the entirely unneeded Wanda and Pietro Maximoff who had 0% buildup and relevance.
The Avengers got along pretty well, I enjoyed how they hung around, worked together, and poked fun at each other. It was good seeing that sort of team-building that continued from the first film; one of the only good things in the vast minority of good things in this film.
So, the introduction to this film is SO Avengers; and I mean it in the best way possible. They each shine in a specific moment that really brought out their place and worth. The slow-mo pan out of the entire team was GORGEOUS and just gives me goosebumps. You can tell a lot of work and time went into this scene. I applaud the director in this scene. The music, the play-out. Mm, love it! So, the Avengers are going to take out one of the last HYDRA bases they had set up during their time of power ( Winter Soldier; go watch it for further info). Baron Von Strucker, a mad scientist who has been “leading” Hydra is the antagonist of this scenario, but the goal is Loki’s scepter…which they somehow got their hands on (Wut…?).
Ultron’s birth was because of the mind stone (which was for some reason in the glowing BLUE stone that shot blue blasts of energy out of Loki’s scepter; because that makes the most sense in the world), in which somehow granted Wanda Maximoff her hexing and Pietro Maximoff his speed. They were two experiments of Baron Von Strucker. Yeah, there was NO explanation behind this entire thing. We got ONE scene that built into that part of Age of Ultron, and that was the end-credits scene in Winter Soldier. An Avengers film taking on a has-been Hydra mobster and his experiments/creations all while bigger means are in play would have been SICK! Instead…they threw in needless and wasted opportunities and ruined what could have been some amazing plot-points. Oh, let’s not forget; WHO IS Strucker and WHY IS he doing what he’s doing. Granted, most fans who come to see the film know who Barn Von Strucker is, but this film just belittles him and shoves an entire plotline into the first ten minutes of the film, then forgets it to build on a pretty epic-looking, Shakespearian/prophetic android who was just an “empty shell” of a character. As is the problem with most MCU villains.
So, the Avengers take on the Hydra baddies and are introduced to The Twins; the experiments that succeeded in Strucker’s experiments. Pietro Maximoff…he’s fast. He takes on Clint Barton!…the Hawkeye. This pretty much starts their little childish rivalry in the film. But, it also causes Hawkeye to be injured, really bad. Meanwhile, Cap takes on Strucker, after a quip about “language”. But, Wanda makes a move to protect Strucker and knocks Cap off his edge. But, that doesn’t stop him from beating down on Strucker and taking him out. Meanwhile…Stark takes on an entire room of mobsters and they are, of course, down and out immediately. The Iron Man is back! (For some reason…cough cough, Iron Man 3, anyone…cough cough). So, Stark goes straight for the high energy signatures that the scepter is giving off. One secret passageway (yay) and flight of stairs later… he’s in a giant basement…where Hydra was keeping remnants, of sorts, from the battle in New York. Remember those giant space whale thingies? Well…they had one of those, hooked up to machinery and were using it for experiments and stuff (I guess?). But the real question!!! How did they get it down there?
So, Tony finds the staff, and at this moment we are introduced to an interesting new concept; Wanda’s hexing. He takes Tony’s worst fears, and tried to turn it against him.
What are his fears? His fear was standing above his friends, all of them dead, and having to watch his world be conquered, and he coldn’t do anything about it. Now…if you know anything about Stark…you know he’s come a long way from his first film. This moment truly shows that emotion and weight he must constantly be feeling. This moment actually ended with Wanda seeing Stark’s fear, and wanting to use it against him. Because Stark saw this…is actually what ends up leading to Ultron. Hm…The scepter is received, the Twins ran, and Hydra was taken out! What a way to start a movie, eh?
The story element of this film wasn’t exactly made clear. The entire first half-hour of the film focuses on the Avengers taking out HYDRA, and the idea of experiments they had been working on. The film continues to add onto the large plot, but nothing built off of the next. It was one thing, to another, and another. Until BOOM! Ultron is born.
So, the Avengers celebrate their win over Hydra with a big party; though first things first. Hawkeye was hit in battle, and a new character is introduced! Bruce Banner had connections, apparently. A scientist, Doctor Cho, who had invented a way to synthesize tissue. So, using her expertise, they patch Clint up, and party on. (Oh yeah, and Bruce and Tony start building Ultron…sorta). It was fun seeing the passion that Tony showed for this project; he really was trying to be better. What was WRONG, was going behind everyone else’s backs. Banner tried to warn him…but, confrontation? Not his thing…
So, Ultron was a thing in this movie. Not a thing that mattered or left any sort of imprint really on the audience nor the Avengers. I like my villain like a like my puzzles; complex but eventually well-built and beautifully done. Ultron was born of the mind stone, and synced into an A.I. algorithm, of sorta, named Ultron; created by Stark and Banner, who wished for peaceful times. But, as we all know…things go to hell pretty fast. Ultron’s origin is introduced very well in this film, and his birth and hacking into the entire Avengers tower is beautiful. After the Avengers (plus Agent Hill) ave some fun with Thor’s hammer (that sounded naughty, heh), Ultron makes himself known. And off he goes, into the world; they grow up so fast.
A bit more on the big bad; Ultron…is awesome, I’ll admit. The voice actor, his speech, his entire being was just perfect. Unfortunately, his entire buildup and point was again, belittled and terribly done. First, he wants to build a body, then, he does that, then loses his planned “perfection”. Then…he builds a giant engine underneath the Hydra base in Sokovia and flies it into the sky.
Wait…hold up. Can I just ask, when did he have time to do this? When was this what was going to happen? Was this ALWAYS the end goal? If so…again, it has absolutely, positively zero buildup. What makes it worse is, I WANT to like him. I DO like him…but the fact they screwed him over and threw the entire thing into a jumbled mess of zero consitency, zero character development, and zero explanation…I just can’t handle it. So, a summary? The plot is a rushed mess of Ultron trying to prove the Avengers aren’t needed. He runs to Sokovia, and locates the twins. Through his manipulation and their sob-story…they become quite the formidable force! Or, they will be. First, they have a grocery stop. To Africa! They locate a shipment of a metal called vibranium. It is the same metal used in Cap’s shield. The Avengers are able to somehow locate Ultron’s whereabouts, and track him because they knew he was going after as man. What man?
Ulysess Klaw (Ah, it’s Klaw!!! YASS!); a smuggler, a murderer, and the man who has laid eyes on a native land called Wakanda (mentioned by Bruce Banner when they are out to locate Ultron. LOVE IT!). So, Ultron wants to make a new body for himself with this vibranium, and gets to Klaw to get it.
During this scene, we learn more about the villain and how he views his father; Stark. We also breach into the Avengers’ minds, as Wanda takes a crack at them all with her hexes. Bad dreams unsue, and each of them are down and out; except Hawkeye, who manages to stop and witch, but take a beating from her brother. Bruce awaits a call for a “code-green” from the team, who went in to confront and stop Ultron, but utterly fail…and Wanda gets to the big man himself.
(So, a little info. The Avengers located Ultron’s whereabouts, and tracked him to Wakanda; Ultron found the twins and promised to help them take out the Avengers, and so everyone meets in Wakanda! Should have been a little more specific, sorry.)
Wanda takes control of the Hulk, forcing Stark to use “Veronica”, or Hulk Buster, as we all know, to take on a rampaging, enchanted Hulk. And of course, Iron Man wins. Due to this battle, the Avengers are forced into hiding because…everyone is angry at them. ‘Sigh’.
Hawkeye has a wife, kids, and farmhouse!!! And Natasha knew about it! Heresy!
A safehouse for the Avengers. In these moments, we really just get the Avengers relaxing. Tony finds a way to stop Ultron from getting into the internet and running anymore!…is is that something important? Sure, I guess. So, everything is cool, Clint has a freakin’ family, they all seem well relaxed, until duty calls. Ultron needs to be stopped, though his plans are growing more and more.
Also, turns out, Ultron wants a new body, alright. But, using the stone inside the scepter, which he stole previously after breaking out of Avengers Mansion, he wants to build a new, synthesized body. So, he calls up Bruce Banner’s scientist buddy, whom he takes control of with the scepter, and forces her to use her invention, the Cradle, to craft tissue out of pure vibranium and the scepter. This is when the twins start learning more of Ultron’s plans; he wanted to wipe the world clean, by throwing a rock at it.
Wanda and Pietro never signed up for world destruction, so with the help of Wanda, Doctor Cho is released of her mind-controlled state, and puts a pause of the upload of Ultron into this new body. Unfortunately, Doctor Cho is harmed and the twins get away. Ultron is left alone, and he’s ANGRY! So, on the move to where he can finish things up himself. Out into the world he goes, traveling to an unknown destination. This is interrupted by the Avengers, of course…and the Cradle, with a half-built frickin’ android, is taken from Ultron’s grasp!!! But, the Avengers in their daring attempt lose something as well; Black Widow.
So, Ultron lost his body, but not the vibranium. So, somehow he crafts a new, buff, VERY puffy body out of vibranium. It’s no soul stone-powered body, but it’ll do, I suppose. Black Widow is locke din a cell with a working device she can somehow operate and send morse code to the Avenger’s computer systems with. The Avengers are off again, and this time…have to stop Ultron from dropping an entire city, the city of Sokovia, onto planet Earth and causing extinction; inside the core of the city were engines that made it fly, and that would rocket it into the earth.
During this, the Tony and Banner piddle with the Cradle, and make Vision after a mini-Civil War in the Avengers Tower, but Thor stops them due to visions he had in a pool somewhere with Selvig (The old scientist guy from Thor, and Avengers).
There were scenes showing this…but they aren’t worth mentioning. Not well fleshed out nor explained, but let’s roll with it.
Vision, an android created through the living energy of the mind stone upon his head, from Loki’s scepter. Vision shows he is passive towards the Avengers, and agrees Ultron must be stopped. (BTW, Jarvis was killed but not really and integrated into Vision and it’s awesome and I love it!) Now? It was battle time. Everyone together, Avengers, the twins, Vision! To Sokovia, where Ultron is and where Natasha is somehow pinging them!!! TO BATTLE!
Basically…CGI, CGI, CGI…oh look! More CGI. And a cringey Hulk-Widow moment. But, it’s in these final moments we get to see SOME sort of connection between Clint and the twins. He comes to the point where he gives Wanda advice and somewhat tolerates Pietro. It’s nice to see Clint getting so much appreciation! Wanda makes a choice, one her character wouldn’t have in the beginning of this film; and that was to fight and protect those that may suffer as she did. Her brother and she were trapped as children in a building with a STARK bomb; thus their hate for Stark and the Avengers. But she made that choice, and it was inspiring to see her take charge and take on an army of metal baddies. Every Avengers does their share of work in the battle, though it all comes down to stopping the engine from continuing the ascension of the chunk of earth and evacuating the population. Ultron shows them the best he can do and takes on Vision. But, after everything…Ultron fails to see that he couldn’t simply break the Avengers apart through violence and ending the world. Shield helps with evacuation, but Ultron hijacks a plain and off he goes! Though, not before at least taking out some of the Avengers. Clint is in the line of fire! He shoots!
But, not on Clint.
Pietro’s character ends in these moments. His quipy lines couldn’t save him. Sorry buddy.
In this sacrifice…Wanda breaks, showing us her terrible power. And Hulk…well, he finds Ultron, and he throws him outta that plane! Vision, Iron Man, and Thor, as a team, take Ultron’s main body out! The rock was empty, except for them, and it began to fall. But Thor only needed to do one thing. The Avengers were safe, and he could fly. So, KABOOM! One crack of the hammer and the rock is in pieces!!! An entire city…destroyed…and reduced to asteroids.
And Ultron…well, he had survived in some way. His final bot now held what was left of him. The Avengers had cut him off of the internet, and he had no place to run. A final confrontation with Vision, and a flash of light. It was all over.
Into the actual worth of this film; this is a popcorn movie, as it were. Nothing eventful happens. Nothing of any worth to anything really happens. But that’s just it, they try to sneak in things like they should matter.
Like, for example, Thor discovering the Infinity Stones and their power. Um, shouldn’t that be like a TOP priority matter for them all now? Or is that just gonna be ignored? Wanda and Vision are added to the team…but as I sit here and write this out, I realize that their characters don’t serve any true purpose. Their little love story that continues into Civil War is cheap and not handled well at all, and really dissatisfying. Ultron caused some destruction…Hulk and Black Widow are a thing (which by the way, NO!
HECK NO! Just-…just why? Why though? They had ONE moment in Avengers…ONE MOMENT! Talk about a forced relationship. Remember when I said things really weren’t necessarily…necessary? THIS WAS IT! This was a meaningless, thoughtless, careless act, not to mention vastly cringeworthy and not enough built up to it…thing. I never thought I’d see anything worse than that time Luke Skywalker kissed his own sister. But this? This takes the cake. It was the most forced thing I’ve ever witnessed, Johanson and Ruffalo have ZERO chemistry and did mediocre at best at delivering what should have never been. They clearly do not think these things out before they do them, I can almost promise they don’t. But, to each their own, I guess.
Yeah, that was a little rant; get over it. My main point was, the film didn’t add anything to the core of what and who the Avengers are. The Sokovia thing is mentioned once in Civil War but it’s not even relevant. Wanda seems to be the only one who carries anything and any emotional trauma from her past experiences into Civil War (her next appearance after AoU). The film is filled with CGI (though, in most ways, considerably good), and an empty, rushed plotline. Sorry, fanboys; this is truth.
Clint shined in the movie, and good for him! But…that’s it. This film really wasn’t anything compared to the first. It had a good villain, a good start…then ruined it with, oh I don’t know, maybe pointless characters ( Wanda, Pietro)? Needless rambling (Okay guys, we get it, Natasha and Hulk are a thing, Infinity War is coming)? WAY too much trying to build up to Infinity War. All in the span of about two hours…and that left little time for anything about the team and their relationships and troubles and personalities and GROWTH!
Wanda and Pietro…I call them cannon-fodder. They are useless; they are unneeded; they weren’t done badly nor portrayed badly, just they weren’t essential nor relevant. It was Marvel grasping at a chance to add more heroes to the mountain of them they already have; or at least, one of them. (Sorry, Quicksilver. You just weren’t fast enough.)
Tony and Cap were at each other’s throats; nothing new. Thor didn’t do anything until he got some lead and went to investigate. But he was left bland and really a step down from what he was in Avengers. There wasn’t growth, there wasn’t anything new. Black Widow and Hulk-…eeeeeeghgh. If you call that development, okay? But was it for the better? No. Pietro died (sorry), but only because Marvel Studios realized they could never beat X-Men’s Quicksilver.
One thing this film did right? Vision. Vision was originally crafted by Ultron and used against the Avengers, which was basically Ultron’s motive for like, five minutes in the film. But the fact they found a way to subtly and creatively include Vision, and bring him up to be somewhat relevant gets me every time. It was well done and possibly the most creative thing the MCU has ever done. His conflict with Ultron as both of them being almost opposites was great!
The rest of the film? None of it is relevant, none of it is needed…the only thing this film did was bring in Wanda, Vision, and make the team…well, it didn’t do anything to the team. Where were those casualties I heard so much about? Where was the needed drama and havoc to be wrought on the Avengers? They dreamt some stuff then got over it. Fleshed out characters and emotional drama, good and bad, are ESSENTIAL! Thye had some bad dreams and were all really sad. Is this the best they could do? HECK NO!
(Okay so, I am a big fan of the X-Men movies, don’t hate me. But the kind of emotion people fall for in the films most actually enjoy was what this film needed. A big step and a large fall for the Avengers were needed, and Ultron being the one who got to do it would have been EPIC! But it didn’t hold the same values of personal build-up and emotional connections and falling that the X-Men films build from. Sorry, XCU-fanboy trying to make his points relevant. I’m done now.)
What Does This Mean For Future Films?:
Nothing much as said above. Maybe more HulkWidow (blegh). Klaw was left armless, which leads into Black Panther all these years later; but story-wise, I can’t say it really leads to much more. REALLY all that happened was Falcon and War Machine (who aided in the battle) joined up with Wanda to the Avengers, and Thor left. This whole film was basically an excuse to give us more Avengers.
So, what? Vision, happy team fun moments, the occasional snarky comment or sass or fun-poking? These things were what made this movie watchable. I WISH I could say I love this movie, I really do. I LOVE Ultron, he’s my boy…but seeing this “ECH” of a film over again really made me see it’s terrible take on the entire thing. Really wasted multiple opportunities and felt rushed altogether.
This film is short, too short. Or, perhaps, it shoves too much down our throats and refuses to make what should have been the building of a new world. But…they took their time trying to build up to world destruction and failed where Ultron should have shined. They failed us in character development, and they failed in bringing an iconic character all the way into the spotlight.
The film, overall, is a bit messy. But, some fun cameos almost give it a few extra points, as well as well-timed moments of comedy and amazing fight scenes. Ultron alone would have taken the cake if fleshed out better. But, I’ll stop going around in the same circles over and over again.
But what is worse, is that an epic end-credits scene reveals Thanos and THE Infinity Gauntlet! And he says, “Fine…I’ll do it myself.” Wait…huh? What? You can see why this is just utterly confusing, seeing as he didn’t have anything to do with this film (unlike the first film), so this literally makes no sense. It isn’t even lead up to anything, just an empty quote to show us HEY! Thanos is still coming!
Joss Whedon doesn’t do films well; that is what I have found. Even with Avengers, some things just didn’t make sense and weren’t well built upon. His writing style is just campy and childish in most points; but perhaps it was more than his mistake? Who knows! All I know is, it’s fun watching if you are very easy-going and prefer more action and comedic moments than things that make sense and are well thought-out. No offense to anyone who enjoyed it, though! To each their own. My own though really didn’t think it deserved any more than 5.5 “stars” or whatever you call them, out of 10. Sorry.
Things I actually, genuinely enjoyed:
Ultron’s character (though he didn’t get nearly enough nor a worthy film to be a part of)
Klaw (He was a really neat add-in, and tie-in to Black Panther)
Vision. Wanda (Though she was a needless character, she was pretty wicked in the scenes she ‘epicly’ stole!). Unfortunately, her hexes and power usages are utterly downplayed and downgraded in Civil War, but this isn’t a review for that, so I will just enjoy her from this film and only this film.
Tony took a turn from wrecking all of his suits in IM3, then he’s back in the field in AoU. Never explained, never even mentioned. IM3 was completely irrelevant and apparently non-canon! It is a terrible thing when a studio completely disregards everything they tried to do in a previous film.
Tony’s anxiety. (Yeah, anxiety doesn’t go away with a press of a button. Just because he got a shrapnel out of his heart and watched fireworks doesn’t mean he should have any less anxiety; why? Because that’s not how the body deals with stress.
The “Language”; this is called witless humor that makes literally no sense when the man himself actually curses quite a bit through the franchise. Is it absolutely fun to use and quote IRL? Heck yeah! Was it inconsistent with other Cap moments? Yes.
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