Avengers 2: Age of Ultron

First of all, before we get into the Avengers 2: Age of Ultron, a brief synopsis of what has happened in the Marvel Comic Universe (MCU) up until this film could prove insightful for those of you who don’t always have your nose buried in a comic book:

Now that you’re all up to speed on what has happened, I have mixed feelings on this one. I expected so much, and a lot of my expectations were met. But the second installation in the Avengers Trilogy left more to be wanted. Given only a 75% by Rotten Tomatoes, the first Avengers received a well-deserved 92%, coming in at 17% higher than its sequel.  a 92%. Here are some of my issues:

Story Line
I’m sure it will grow on me. Personally, I hated The Dark Knight Rises the first time I saw it. But I’ve come to love it since. Having rewatched Age of Ultron with friends last night, I can say my opinion is already getting better.

I think the overall storyline was alright. It felt kind of predictable at the end, but hey, the concept was good. In Forbes Magazine’s review of Age of Ultron, they outline five things that the film did poorly:

  1. ‘Age of Ultron’ is too sappy for no reason, and without a payoff.
  2. ‘Age of Ultron’ has a serious pacing problem.
  3. Unfortunately, the action scenes don’t improve matters.
  4. We’re introduced to too many new (and old) characters, but not all the best characters.
  5. Unfortunately, the villain is lame.

I agree with them for the most part. Going through, there was plenty of unnecessary back- and side-story. The whole movie felt pretty jumpy as you watch it, switching from the story to the action pretty frantically. Personally, I love the culminating of all these supers. That’s part of the reason, I think, that X-Men did so well—they were a very diversified team, constantly adding new elements to the general aesthetic of the film as a whole. There’s certainly variety brought to the Avengers, but it wasn’t done as well as it could have been. And lastly, James Spade was a great Ultron, but I don’t think he was portrayed well from a writing standpoint.

As a sidenote, I understand the appeal of 3D, but having watched it in both 3D and “normal” versions, I’d much rather watch it in 3D, but only because the standard version hurts my eyes because of they way they filmed it. I’d rather go without, but hey. They did well.

The Vision
I’m not too familiar with this character, but from what I knew going into the movie, they didn’t quite do him justice. A synthezoid (human in every aspect except being made of synthetic organs) built by Ultron, he runs off of solar energy powered by the Solar Jewel in his forehead. A great artistic interpretation to make it instead an Infinity Stone (Marvel Wikia). He even marries the Scarlet Witch (a fellow Avenger) and together they have two children (which is beyond me, since he’s, ya know, a robot). I’m glad they changed his costume. He looked ridiculous in the comics, especially for an android. Being such a powerful character, and the story line seemingly revolving around his creating, he has minimal screen time clocking in at a mere eight minutes and forty-one seconds (Vulture). Again, more to be wanted.

I will say, though, that I’m glad Marvel found a way to update the Vision’s appearance while still giving a shout-out to his comic book self. The comic costume was pretty unrealistic for a crime-fighting robot…

via Marvel

Scarlet Witch
The more powerful of the Maximoff twins, Iron Man states in Avengers: The Children’s Crusade that “the Scarlet Witch has the power to alter reality—which makes her the most powerful and dangerous entity in the know universe.” And in the House of M storyline, she did just that. She said, “No more mutants,” and BAM! Nearly all the mutants on Earth lost their powers (unknown as to why some kept their’s), while others just died. Her powers were portrayed much more like Jean Grey’s, who has telekinesis (able to move things with her mind) and mind powers, allowing her to control others. So we’re dealing with another Loki of sorts. I understand that she’s in her early stages of development, but coming from a comic fan, I was waiting the entire movie for her to just lay down the hammer—although I suppose they have Thor for that…

Scarlet With also didn’t have much screen time coming in at 20:59, with significantly less portion of that her using her powers and contributing to the storyline (Vulture).


Hawkeye

They took a weird turn with this character’s backstory that I felt was totally irrelevant to who the Avengers were. Marvel usually does a good job at balancing out the story-building with the action, but I felt like too much emphasis was placed on the story here, especially since it was pretty irrelevant.

Tony Stark
Still funny throughout the movie, but no amazing one-liners like he’s known for. And for being the brilliant mind he is, why didn’t he see this coming? I know he does his own thing, and, like the Hulk, that’s why Fury kept him close (better an unstable ally than an enemy). But still! His technology never ceases to amaze, though. I loved it he walked out of his armor and left it in Sentry Mode. And then, of course, there was Veronica (see below in Spoilers).

via imgur

Ultron
I just found our archvillain evil robot bent on destroying humanity to be too funny. He came across too human. He was passive-agressive and he tried to make him witty all the time. I get that he’s Tony Stark’s “baby”, but he’s still a robot. I also understand that the origin they adopted for the MCU made sense for what they were trying to achieve, but comically speaking, he was created by Henry Pym aka Ant-Man. If Marvel is rolling out an Ant-Man film only months after The Avengers 2, why not just keep it canon? It was clear they were playing off of the Ultron-6 model: “Ultron later returned and took over the Vision mind forcing him to rebuild his body at the Avengers Mansion using stolen Adamantium [Vibranium in the MCU]” (Marvel Wikia). While it didn’t quite go down like that, there were striking similarities. Forbes did a great job summarizing my overall feel for Ultron as a villain:

Ultron is a really terrible super-villain. He’s a “villain of the week” at best, and not even a very good one. He’s supposed to be this enormously powerful AI that can use the internet however he pleases, yet he barely does anything other than find ways to blow things up. That doesn’t sound like a hyper-intelligent and adaptable being, it sounds like a cartoon villain….Ultron was stymied in his attempts to gain access to nuclear codes. That does not mean a more clever villain couldn’t have used his technological capabilities to start a war. He didn’t bother to create any chaos, any distractions for the heroes outside of the twins. A better villain would have thrust the world into chaos prior to his big destroy the world segment. Ultron failed to do anything particularly interesting in this regard.

He also plays to the classic, evil stereotype of thinking his plan is “the one”, while not realizing that it is actually evil and ridiculous. Here’s an overview of who Ultron is to give you a background:
Spoilers
New Avengers
At the end of the movie, it says “New Avengers Headquarters”. Immediately, I think, “Does that mean  the new headquarters for the Avengers or the headquarters for the New Avengers?”

Black Panther
Ultron takes over Crocodile Dundee supply of vibranium to make the Vision’s body. Banner mentions him getting a brand on his neck that means thief in the Wakanda dialect. Wakanda is a country in Africa and is the only known source of vibranium. Black Panther is also the king of Wakanda where he later rules with his spouse, Storm of the X-Men. We’re all lined up for an excellent flick.

Thanos
Yes! I can feel Infinity War already!

Captain America vs. Iron Man
The contention between Rogers and Stark was tangible. We’re all lined up for Captain America 3: Civil War.

The Hulkbuster Armor
I think the idea of constantly replenishing Tony’s armor while fighting the Hulk was brilliant. Done so well. Director Joss Whedon states: “You know, I just decided to call it Veronica because [Bruce Banner] used to be in love with a girl named Betty, and Veronica is the opposite of that” (Cinema Blend).

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