Directed By: Joss Whedon
Written By: Joss Whedon
Release Date: May 1st, 2015
Run Time: 2 Hours, 21 Minutes
Link to IMDb
Before we begin, let’s address one of the most brain dead jokes/criticisms leveled at this movie. Many people, when discussing this movie, say something along the lines of “That wasn’t the Age of Ultron! It was, like, one week long! Shouldn’t it be called ‘Rough Week Of Ultron?‘ To that, I ask: do you actually know the definition of that word?
If not, let me show you!
Even if it’s only a week long, I’m pretty sure that the world being threatened by an ultra smart death robot would be considered a distinct period of history. So yes, it is technically the Age of Ultron. The title makes sense. Now, with that out of the way, let’s talk about the actual problems of this movie.
Age of Ultron is a fun but sloppy movie. While it is certainly a competent movie, it does get worse the more you think about it. It does have plenty of things I really like, but for each of those there’s about ten things I have issues with.
Let’s start with the positives. There are tons of fun things in this movie that I love! First and foremost was the party scene that takes place after the team secures Loki’s scepter. Watching the Avengers chill out and do goofy stuff like normal people is entertaining as hell! Watching everyone try to lift Thor’s hammer is fun!
Even if it’s stupid that Captain America can’t lift it. Are you telling me that this pure hearted mother fucker is less worthy than Thor? I have to question that hammer’s taste in people.
I also really like the Hulkbuster fight. The Hulkbuster armor is one of my favorite comic book set pieces Marvel has. Watching it come to life on the big screen for the first time was an absolute blast! It’s a fun and explosive fight, though it was lacking in creative and interesting choreography. On a simple, mindless level, watching Iron Man beat the shit out of the Hulk was entertaining and cool.
There was also a lot of creative story telling on display here. Specifically in the scenes where the Avengers suffer hallucinations induced by Scarlet Witch. There are tons of subtle details in there that make those scenes incredibly interesting. And, in the case of Tony and Thor’s visions, they’re a lot more fun to return to after Ragnarok and Infinity War.
My personal favorite being Captain America’s vision. After being struck by the magic, Steve is sent back to 1945 to the celebratory dance that he promised to take Peggy to after the war. In this scene, she asks Steve to imagine a world without war. But he can’t do it. He can’t go back in time, he can’t dance with Peggy, and he can’t imagine living in a world without war.
See that? That’s great storytelling, people! It’s subtle, powerful, and it doesn’t beat the audience over the head with it.
And that’s about it. Everything else is either forgettable or confusing.
Let’s start off with the action. While it’s very passable on the surface, there are tons of minor details that are distracting. This may sound like nitpicking, but the little details paint a bigger picture. If you miss those little details, you can very easily ruin the bigger picture as a whole.
There are tons of shots in this movie during the action that have details that don’t make any sense. The worst case of this is the opening sequence where all the Avengers are fighting through Hydra’s soldiers. If you look closely, you can see lots of moments that don’t make sense. For example, Thor hits Captain America’s shield to create a shock wave and knock down a whole bunch of soldiers. The wave is powerful enough to tear up a tank, yet it only knocks down the other Hydra soldiers, and the trees within that path don’t even move.
Another really painful example is later in the movie, when Captain America, Hawkeye and Black Widow are chasing Ultron’s truck to get the Cradle. Leaping onto the truck, Steve clings to the door, and Ultron fires a blast at him. The doors swing open, and Steve… flies directly upwards, keeps pace with the truck and catches himself on the truck again?
Because that’s how reality works. And before you say that it’s silly for me to criticize something like that in a comic book movie, let me argue this: are you aware that comic books still, more often than not, follow those rules of reality? For example, if this same scenario happened in a Spider-Man comic, it’d play out like this:
- Ultron fires the blast, knocking the doors open
- Peter goes flying backwards
- He latches onto the back doors, which are now swinging wildly on the highway, with a quick web shot
- The truck speeds off, dragging a desperately clinging Spider-Man along with it
If comic books follow these same rules of reality, then is it really a stretch to ask that a live action film do the same thing?
Aside from the action, there’s one other major issue with this movie: the comedy. While the quipping worked reasonably well in the first Avengers, it’s just distracting in this movie. Practically every line in this movie is meant to be a joke in some way. There are the occasional genuinely funny lines, but more often than not it just dissolves the tension.
For example, the final battle is completely devoid of any tension. There are robots everywhere that the team can cleave through like butter, and everyone is making constant jokes at every turn. Despite the world being at risk of total destruction, the Avengers are all cracking constant jokes and one-liners. It feels like they don’t care.
If our heroes don’t care, than why should we as the audience do so?
This is an odd movie for me. When I first saw it, I loved it! But the more I see it and the more I think about it, the less I like it. It’s not the worst movie I’ve ever seen, especially not in the MCU, but it’s far from the best. As it stands, this is the black sheep of the trilogy (which will be a trilogy no longer when Endgame comes out) of Avengers movies. The first one and Infinity War took the world by storm. But this one was watched, enjoyed and criticized, then forgotten by most of the world.
But hey! At least they made Hawkeye cool! It only took them what, three movies?