Release Date: May 1, 2015
Director: Joss Whedon
Writer: Joss Whedon
Cast: Stan Lee, Robert Downey Jr., Chris Hemsworth, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Evan, Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy Renner, James Spader, Samuel L. Jackson, Don Cheadle, Aaaron Taylor-Johnson, Elizabeth Olsen, Paul Bettany, Cobie Smulders, Anthony Mackie, Hayley Atwell, Idris Elba, Stellan Skarsgard, Claudia Kim, Thomas Kretschmann, Andy Serkis, Julie Delpy
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Runtime: 141 minutes
Production Company: Marvel Studios, Walt Disney Studios
Genre: Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi
Budget: $250,000,000 (estimated)
After years of waiting for a worthy follow-up to the successful 2012 juggernaut, The Avengers, Avengers: Age of Ultron is finally here. Fans from around the world, including myself, have been salivating to see the next evil foe face Earth’s Mightiest Heroes.
The million dollar question is, does it hold up to the first film? The first had a flaw or two but still was a dream come true. So anticipation was even greater the second time around.
What I wanted in the first film I got in the second. There were more characters, crazier action, comedy, and a worthy villain that may be around for a long time. The stakes were higher, the suspense hit harder; but there was still something missing. That something, in my opinion, could stem from the studio not realizing the gem they had to work with.
What I mean is this is a movie with an ensemble cast based off individual characters who have their own movies in a shared universe. So the same formula may not work as well as it would with average summer blockbusters.
As the idea of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) is fresh and has never been done before, we expect it to step out of the box, take risks, and create a new paradigm that will cover all bases. So while I absolutely enjoyed Age of Ultron, it isn’t the cinematic masterpiece I wanted, and that can be credited solely to its short runtime. Everything necessary was there – just condensed, when I wanted the complete version.
As kids, we all dreamed of our superheroes teaming up to deliver mountains of action on top of action. If Age of Ultron did anything right, it was the action. From the start, it took me back to the good ol’ days, when my eyes were glued to the TV on Saturday morning, watching my favorite characters duke it out.
During the movie, my mind was blown for a moment. The imagery is precise, clear, and swift, though also slowed down to create those monumental Marvel moments. It is the eye candy of action that one only dreams about. Almost every character steps up their game — on the battlefield, with new technology, intellect, and character development. This made the action much more intense.
The plot contained in the action makes it even grander, with all characters giving their all to defeat the enemy. I got the best of multiple worlds of action. The team either fights in one frame together, and when separated, it is clear that the others are off bashing their own share of enemies’ heads. The Avengers aren’t just throwing punches and blowing stuff up for the hell of it. There’s a reason that makes the movie all the more meaningful.
Each Avenger is so different; even the non-powered humans are an important piece on the board. The team works together cohesively to use their comrades’ abilities. This is surprisingly unpredictable, keeps them ahead of their enemy, and is the key definition of ‘epic’.
With this being the eleventh film in the MCU, there’s been a great number of valid complaints about the villains being the weaker part of the franchise. I agree and admit that a film of this nature is only as good as its villain. Having said that, Ultron (James Spader) does a marvelous job fulfilling that role and is one of the better villains Marvel Studios has produced.
Ultron is more than just a machine. He has strength, power, and personality — in an almost overwhelming amount — which is bad for the Avengers, but not for the audience. James Spader is the perfect choice for Ultron, with his raspy and sinister voice sending chills down your spine. In addition to the psychotic nature of his character, one may consider him a nightmare upon nightmares.
What also makes a villain great is when they don’t realize they’re the villain. Even though Ultron’s ultimate goal is world destruction, there are elements of his argument that I don’t necessarily disagree with. But I just don’t feel like global genocide is the answer. Neither do the Avengers. His toys and tricks are innovative, and his design is crisp and clean. His personality is quite hilarious as well!
The whole movie has its funny moments too, and not just with Ultron. We see comedy even when times are harsh; but it is too on the nose sometimes. That has director Joss Whedon’s stamp all over it, as he’s brilliant with humor and zingy one liners. It gives the film that balance necessary to sit back and have a good time.
All characters have grown individually and as a team. Even from the little mannerisms, it’s obvious that the cast is more comfortable around each other on camera as well as off it. This definitely pays off in the long run, since this is an ensemble cast. The majority of jokes seem genuine, which makes the cast appear almost family-like.
I wish I could say this move is a cinematic masterpiece, but I can’t. In all honesty, Avengers: Age of Ultron is the perfect example of how a movie should be three hours long. I say this because the development of some of the characters and plot seem rushed. We got to know Ultron and who he was, but his origin was still abrupt.
Films shouldn’t drag. They need correct pacing. This downfall trickles into other aspects of the film too, with their character moments. At times, I wanted to actually see the Hulk transform or Iron Man get his new armor. I wanted to see what made this character appear, and who Hawkeye was talking to on his phone.
With The Avengers (2012), my main complaint was wanting more action due to it being mostly set up during the first two acts. This time around, I got the action I wanted, but not the full setup. Thirty more minutes of film would’ve been welcomed with open arms to give the audience the much-needed dialogue and storytelling to give us even more action that was clearly edited out.
There was a gap in the development of Tony Stark’s character from Iron Man 3 up until Avengers: Age of Ultron. Questions about where other characters were in previous installments were never answered. I got brief memos of plot and story, but I wanted lectures. There were no loopholes fortunately, but still an absence of full substance. I can enjoy a meal prepared in the microwave and tell the world how delicious it tastes, but we all know that the slow cook in the oven is far superior.
Overall, even though I enjoyed this film, it didn’t exceed my expectations, and I did feel a little disappointed when the credits hit. That’s only because my expectations were for this to be a perfect 10/10, and that’s nearly impossible. It’s sad to say, but ultimately I enjoyed the first film more.
That said, even though I had my gripes with this one, there’s so much more under the surface to be thrilled about. There’s still a few surprises in the plot, and a few character pop-ups I wasn’t expecting. Joss Whedon threw so much at us to digest; it’s commendable if you can partake.
This film suffered from being too short at two hours twenty-one minutes. I imagine that from the studio’s obsession of wanting to sell more tickets at the box office. Can’t fault them there, but Avatar and Titanic should prove that if you have a lengthy runtime but a spectacular movie, theater fatigue is nonexistent. This was a giant technical error, which is a shame.
When I have my delightful yearly thanksgiving feast, I want to savor it, enjoying every bite. I don’t want to consume the whole meal in five minutes.