I went in to Avengers: Age of Ultron with very little information. I watched the first trailer when it was released in October, and then saw nothing else. I avoided subsequent trailers, clips, teasers, and footage of every kind. In a world that so incredibly spoiler-heavy it was a daunting task. Running a geek site that specifically caters to this kind of information, made it even harder. I wanted to go into the movie as “dry” as possible and see what Marvel and director/writer Joss Whedon had in store for me the second time around. I can honestly say that I’m very happy that I had hardly any idea of what to expect, because this film thrilled me again and again throughout it’s 2 hours and 21 minute runtime.
What I had done instead of watching footage, was skim through the reactions that people had to the film. It seemed that the consensus with critics was that the movie was darker than the original, but not as good. They attributed the sequel has being: Boring, less fun and downright unremarkable. This put me in the mindset that I would probably still love it, but to not have that high of expectations in case I was let down. I can tell you right now that when I left the film one of the first things out of my mouth was “I want to punch these critics who slammed this film right in the face.” I’m not even sure if they had watched the same film as I had. I’m going to go into a bit of SPOILERS from here on out so if you want the TL:DR summary of the movie: Go see it, it’s far better than the first one.
Still here? Okay, well let’s get on with it.
When I have to put Age of Ultron up against Captain America: Winter Soldier and Guardians of the Galaxy, I’ll be honest with you and tell you that these are better films. Winter Soldier did an amazing job setting up a spy film that was sold as a superhero movie and it worked. Guardians was like watching another Star Wars film. It was a movie that set up a whole new world we haven’t even glimpsed at in the Marvel Cinematic Universe that’s going to shape future films in this series forever. Age of Ultron is exactly what you want it to be though, it’s a complete and utter blast. I had way more fun with this movie than other previous Marvel film to date.
AOU plays to the Marvel fan in all of us. If you’ve been reading comics as long as I have, it’s the team-up that you’ve always wanted to see come to life, again. Yes, we had seen this in the first film, which is why it made so much money. The sequel plays upon what worked in that film and amped it up so much more. Whedon seemed to listen to what minor gripes came out of Avengers, and created a film that’s extremely well balanced between being dark and serious; to being a hilarious, popcorn film that’s going to blow you away with it’s over-the-top action scenes.
Everyone in the film gets their time to shine, especially Hawkeye. It seems that Jeremy Renner‘s bitching was listened to, because he stole the show the entire film and got his backstory fleshed out more. You also learned more about the Red Room and Black Widow’s growing up. Scarlet Johannson shared a lot of time with Mark Ruffalo as The Hulk and I enjoyed their relationship grow in this film. Speaking of our favorite Green Meanie; he continued to SMASH his way through the scenes as he destroyed mini-Ultrons. The Hulkbuster battle is a thing of Legend.
The film laid some serious groundwork for where Phase III is going to go as well. You could see the beginnings of Civil War as Chris Evans‘ Captain America and Robert Downey Jr.s’ Iron Man clashed throughout the movie. You even got glimpses of where we’d be seeing Chris Hemsworth take Thor in Ragnarok. More than that, they build upon where everything will end up in the Infinity War films. This was very prevalent as we got an addition to the team in Paul Bettany‘s Vision.
One of my favorite characters had come to life and it was amazing to see him on screen. All of the collectibles that had some out surrounding the character made him look very purple; which I was okay with. In the film itself, he does have a more reddish hue and they do a good job of updating his look, but also making it look like the comics. Two additonal Avengers showed up in the forms of Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver played by Elizabeth Olsen and Aaron Taylor Johnson. They both did a fine job, though Olsen stole the show more. Quicksilver was done much better in X-Men: Days of Future past, and though he had some cool scenes; it didn’t have the same impact. Scarlet Witch on the other hand gave us just a glimpse at the destruction she could ultimately play with in future films, as well as hint at a future relationship with Vision.
We were also met with a slew of cameos throughout from old super friends and villains. Andy Serkis did a good job as his brief time as Ulysses Klaw. You could tell that was a build up to the Black Panther film. Don Cheadle as War Machine came into to kick some ass, and the relationship with Tony Stark was hilarious and heartwarming as usual. Finally, Ultron. James Spader manages to pull off a creepy and hilarious villain, that I never was too excited about from the comics. There were times when he was too ‘jokey’ and it came off weird being that he’s a robot; but other than that he did a good job. Marvel has never been that great at pulling off convincing villains, but Ultron would be one of the more menacing foes in the MCU.
Oh, and don’t let me forget theme song that’s been revamped by Danny Elfman. I loved the Alan Silvestri score from the first film; but Elfman added his own charm to the Avengers Theme and it fit the film perfectly. Overall, this movie exceeded every expectation that I had. I have to go and watch it again today so that I can hear some of the jokes that were missed with the packed audience around me laughing. Every character had their time to shine and if Whedon leaves the MCU after this movie, he’s left on a high note. They set up the future movies without deviating from the story at hand. The end of the movie hints at things to come and I know that I’ll be along for the ride for everything that Marvel has in store for us.