avengers

Repost – Avengers: Age of Ultron Review

Originally posted on May 11th, 2015 found here.

To start the blog off I’m going to bring in content from the main site to give you an idea as to what I’ll mostly be posting (hopefully).

A Swholli Written Review

So, seeing as this film is still in theaters but is obviously a big topic of the summer, I’ve decided to do mini reviews in writing in order to give myself an outlet on film without needing to take the time to produce a video (videos take time, writing them do not).

So, let’s talk about Ultron. Warning spoilers ahead!

The movie starts us off with a pretty good set up to the characters for the few uninitiated to the universe so far. Nice montage of the team breaking into a Hydra base to steal back Loki’s staff from the first Avengers. Not sure how it got there, maybe it was explained inThor 2 (I didn’t finish that one). I’m pretty sure it was just because S.H.I.E.L.D had it, and in Cap 2 we learned S.H.E.I.L.D was actually Hydra. Go figure.

So after they get a hold of the staff, Iron Man is all like “this shit is incredible tech, let’s turn it into a robot man who will do our jobs for us.” Well, needless to say, in any science fiction movie, when A.I. is created that becomes self aware, apparently the end all conclusion any highly advanced intelligence will come up with is the eradication of humans. I guess at least this time we have a villain with a clear goal and motivation without the need for tragic back-story or really any indication that he was ever once good. I mean, I’m all about compelling bad guys, of course, but they are still supposed to be bad. We can justify their behaviors (in their mindset, of course) and understand the human element, but they are still murderers. Let’s not forget that.

So through some convoluted plot shit- which, by the way, this film is tediously long; two hours and 20 minutes to be exact- they all end up scattered and not working as a team. Which is apparently the only plot device that can endanger the Avengers, their ability to not work together (i.e. The Hulk in the first film quoted as “we aren’t a team, we’re a time bomb,” as well as up coming Captain America 3being about the Marvel Civil War). This leads them to ultimately rediscovering themselves… somehow… in fact I don’t actually remember what, if anything, they did to reignite their teamwork efforts. I think Nick Fury just sort of shows up and whips them into shape in like a three minute scene.

Right here was a pretty ham-fisted moment for me, the Clint “Hawkeye” Barton farm and family. Like, woah, way to introduce an integral character moment seemingly out of nowhere. I get that in-universe this is something Hawkeye is keeping from the rest of the team as it would compromise his family’s security, but he just up and decides to out his family after they get into one bad scrape. Not only that, but there are no given clues that this existed anywhere in any of the other movies. In fact, to me, it felt like they gave Hawkeye a wife and family so they could quickly dispel any notions that he and Black Widow may have had a romance.

Which leads to the other ham-fisted moment (and the thing everyone’s talking about) Black Widow and The Hulk’s love story-esque thing and her terrible back story tragedy. Firstly, I can’t see Hulk or Black Widow ever having a thing for each other. Not because “I don’t ship it” but because there’s been no hints to this prior. She’s had more screen time flirting with Captain America than she has Bruce Banner. It almost came out of left field too. They didn’t build this up in some stand-alone Hulk movie or Black Widow movie, hell, they didn’t even imply it in the first Avengers. But lo and behold, there they are, getting all close and making sexual tension.

Now, as for the Black Widow thing getting Joss Whedon to leave Twitter, I totally understand the criticisms. It felt super-duper out of character for Black Widow to suddenly decide that something even more important to her than “the mission” was having a child. I can totally get behind that claim, and the criticism was totally justified. Now, did Joss probably receive some death threats? Probably, and those are not okay. But if all Joss got was criticism and he couldn’t take that, well, hey. He’s a grown ass man and should be able to discuss his films with integrity and understanding that there is no right or wrong way to write a story, and sometimes people will take offense to the things you write and he should be able to talk about that stuff maturely.

The film ends with them using the stone from Loki’s staff to create a living android, who turns out to be the character The Vision, and make a final stand against Ultron on his flying city meteoroid (he literally picks up a city with giant thrusters and intends to use it as an impact device to destroy life on earth, it’s the stupidest thing ever). We get one last shot of all the new avengers (west coast avengers? Maybe?) and Cap says “Avengers-” and we cut to black. I can only hope that the next Avengers movie (Infinity Wars) starts with him saying “-assemble!”

In conclusion, Ultron was okay. It was way too long for a super hero movie and it has just enough hint of “taking the source way too serious” to hinder it from the first one. Where the first one was a light romp with plenty of comedy and action, Ultron was a bit too much. There’s only so far I’m willing to take people dressed up in spandex into suspension of disbelief, and the first one captured that way better. The actions scenes were decent, though a lot of the time felt way too shakey and quickly cut to really appreciate the whole thing. I agree with most fans in saying, yeah, there should be way more female characters in these films and if there are going to be romance plots and tragic backstory plots, we need to treat these female characters with more dignity to subtly set these things up ahead of time, not just flagrantly wing them out on the fly and say “by the way, look how dramatic this is.” Hell, Tony’s PTSD from Iron Man 3 was a totally believable plot point that they could have fleshed out instead, or maybe acknowledge that Bruce Banner already has a love interest/ humbler in Betty Ross (unless now we’re pretending even The Incredible Hulk with Edward Norton wasn’t canon).

What honestly I think most fans were upset with is the fact that we haven’t been given any insight to Black Widow’s character aside from her appearances in Iron Man 2 and Captain America 2 and later The Avengers. Fans have been asking forever now for a Black Widow movie, wherein which we could totally set up her backstory, see her grow as a character, and even make the whole not having a baby thing work for her. Instead it’s given to us very quickly because we have a story revolving around, like, twelve people simultaneously. Her’s gets lost in the wayside and feels forced. We could have this all established by now and then make it feel like a real exploration of the character, instead it’s washed over her like a thin membrane of “drama” and expected to sell.

If you’re into super hero flicks, this is still a fine film and it doesn’t get too far out of place to be genuinely fun, and little kids are going to most likely enjoy it at the very least. It’s got a lot of that good character banter we expect with a crossover of this magnitude, but it’s lacking in terms of representation or proper handling of character arcs. I’d give it a solid 7/10.

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