May 1, 2015

Theatrical Review: Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015)
(aka Avengers: Dissemble.)
Release Date: May 1st.
Country: USA.
Rating: PG-13.
Written by: Joss Whedon.
Directed by: Joss Whedon.
Starring: Robert Downey Jr, Chris Hemsworth, Chris Evans, Mark Ruffalo, Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy Renner, James Spader, Elizabeth Olsen, and Paul Bettany.

Going into Avengers: AOU, we basically knew what to expect: lots of big action scenes, a few "Holy shit!" moments, plenty of humor, plenty of sentimentality, and maybe some cool Easter Eggs. The real question was how well would they work. For us, me in particular, the main thing that I wanted from AOU was for Vision and Scarlet Witch's debuts to be awesome, which they were. Everything else being good would just be a bonus of sorts.

As far as that everything else goes, AOU is a busy, cramped, and sometimes rushed movie, that tries to pack far too many things into its 141 minute runtime, but for the most part, it worked well.

So was it better than, worse than, or the same as the first movie? All three, actually.

After finally putting Hydra out of business, The Avengers discover that they were doing some sort of secret experiments on Loki's old scepter. Not to be outdone in the realm of scientific experiments, Tony Stark and Bruce Banner take the scepter back to their homebase and start experimenting on it themselves, the result of which ends up being a new A.I. that Tony envisions being an armor for the world.

This new A.I., Ultron, comes up with a plan to destroy humanity (because why not), and with his two mutant cronies, Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch, in tow, sets off to turn a city into a meteor, thus causing an Extinction Level Event that will... You know what, just forget about the convoluted plot. Let's just go with Ultron is bad, and The Avengers need to stop him.

Really, what else is there to say?

For an 11th movie in a "series," AOU gets an awful lot right, even when it's getting things wrong.

You could look at this movie as one massive set-up for future movies like Ant-Man, Captain America: Civil War, Doctor Strange, Thor: Ragnarok, Black Panther, and the Infinity Wars sequels, because it basically is. We don't mind that at all though, because for all of its "We have to cram 90 things into this one movie" craziness, AOU is a fun, and sometimes even great movie.

Here's what they got right:
  • Vision: They not only got him right, they got him perfect. Much like The Hulk did in the first movie, Vision owns the sequel's best moments. Paul Bettany was the perfect choice to play the enigmatic Avenger.
  • Scarlet Witch: They got her pretty right too, and Elizabeth Olsen was an equally inspired choice for the role. She's a powerful mutant (although she can't ever be called that in the MCU, for legal reasons), and it was awesome to see a hint of that power at the end.
  • Hawkeye: For some reason, we loved his story in this one, and we would have gladly stayed in his world for far longer. He really needs a solo movie. 
  • Thor was extra cool in this one, and any part that involved his hammer pretty much owned the movie.
  • James Spader as Ultron: Sure, Ultron was a bit more humorous that we expected him to be, but there's just something about him that made for an awesome villain. We credit James Spader for making him come off as great as he did. 
  • The Hulkbuster-Hulk brofist.
  • The Action: There was a ton of it, and most of it felt very comic book-y. That's a good thing.

Hopefully the parts of the movie that we took issue with will play better when the Extended Cut comes out on Blu-ray; if it ends up being near 3 hours long as rumored, then it might go a long way toward smoothing out some of the movie's rougher patches.

Here's what they didn't get all that right:
  • The movie was too busy: There were a lot of plotlines in this one, both big and small, and at times they felt way too cramped together. This movie needed another 30-40 minutes of "room" to allow the story, its plotlines, and its characters to breathe.
  • The Twins: As great as their characters were, their storyline, and the ways that it went, seemed rushed. Magneto's children deserve better than that!
  • There was a little too much wit in this one. We like wit, and the actors in the Avengers flicks are great at delivering the witty lines, but it seemed like every other minute that someone was cracking wise, snarking, or trying to be cute. That's mainly a Joss Whedon thing though, and we won't have to deal with that anymore going forward. 
  • The romance between Black Widow and Bruce Banner felt a little forced. If anything, they've played up a romance between her and Hawkeye, or her and Cap, far more in previous films, and it just kinda felt like their new-found love came out of nowhere. 
  • Baron Von Strucker, a classic Marvel villain, was basically just a bit player in AOU, and that kinda sucks. He was absolutely wasted here.

The Superhero Death: Without spoiling it, we will say that someone dies, and it sucks because they were great, and there's a lot that could have been done with their character.

Paul Bettany is underrated. Also, the Quicksilver in Avengers is way better than the Quicksilver in X-Men.

Age of Ultron is not a perfect movie, and there's a lot about it that we wish had been different, but we came away from this one excited about too many things to let its missteps discourage us. Like we said above, a longer cut on Blu-ray would go a long way towards fixing some of its issues, but as it stands, this is one fun Summer Movie that is a worthy addition to the MCU.

See it, and enjoy.


Avengers: Age of Ultron is in theaters now.

Thanks to Lizzie Olsen, Scarlett Johansson may not be the hottest Avenger any longer... or at least it's just not as clear cut as we once thought it was. It is safe to say that Cobie Smulders is the hottest S.H.I.E.L.D. agent though. By far.


  1. I think Marvel may now be a victim of their own success. It would have been hard enough to top Avengers, but no one really expected them to do that...then they made a solo film as good as Winter Soldier, which was an impossible standard to live up to all by itself.

    1. Yeah, I don't see how they're going to top Winter Soldier. Had it not been for the horrible "Mandarin" twist (and a few other things), Iron Man 3 would be every bit as good as WS, but that's a pretty high benchmark to try to overcome.

      Let's hope that Doctor Strange or Black Panther can come close.