The Avengers: Age of Ultron Review
By Brandon Fern
Live Wire Staff Writer
This review will contain some spoilers.
It’s June, and the summer film season is in full swing. While “Mad Max” and “Tomorrowland” are on everyone’s mind, there’s one film that’s still going strong and having recently hit the $900 million mark: Marvel’s second sequel of “The Avengers: Age of Ultron.”
While the film is technically the sequel to the first Avengers, it has a better known place as the eleventh entry in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (the given name of the collection of current Marvel films made by Marvel Studios, both before and after the Disney purchase.)
After retrieving Loki’s staff, from a Hydra base, Tony Stark and Bruce Banner discover that the staff’s jewel contains the both intelligence and sentience that rival Starks AI (artificial intelligence) J.A.R.V.I.S., and stark manages to convince Banner to use it as abases for the AI that would control a cybernetic peace keeping program called Ultron. After the AI is created while the heroes are away, it quickly discovers that humanity has a vast history of harming one another, and decides that in order to keep the peace, humanity must be destroyed. After hijacking Stark’s remote, controlled by iron legion armors and stealing the staff, Ultron escapes via the internet to a facility manufacturing new bodies for itself. Left all but broken, the avengers now must track down Ultron and stop him from wiping humanity off the face of the earth.
The film shows the return of Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.), Capitan America (Chris Evans), Thor (Chris Hemsworth), The Hulk (Mark Ruffalo), Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) and Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) from the first Avengers. Characters returning from other films in the universe are War Machine (Don Cheadle), Falcon (Antony Mackie), and new characters include Quicksilver (played by Antony Taylor-Johnson), Scarlet Witch (played by Elizabeth Olsen), Vision (played by Paul Bettany), and Ultron (played by James Spader). Spader, best known for playing Red on the “Blacklist” for NBC was Joss Wheadon first and only choice for the role, due to his “hypnotic voice that can be eerily calm and compelling,” while still being human and humorous.
Character origins were changed for the film, either to prevent confusion or for creative and plot purposes. Both Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch are no longer mutants, they’re genetic experiments created by Hydra during experiments with the scepter. The reason that these characters are not mutants is due to the fact that both Twenty First Century Fox and Marvel have movie claims on these characters, due to Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch being heavily featured in both X-Men and Avengers comics. While Scarlet Witch is not shown in X-Men: Days of Future Past, Quicksilver is, and thus the X-Men version only had his name changed to Peter.
Ultron has the most important origin reimagining of any of the new characters. In the comics, Ultron is created by Hank Pym aka “Ant-Man,” for the same purpose, however as the “Ant-Man” film was placed after “Age of Ultron” in release history, and Pym was not going to be in the film, the identities of creator was changed to Stark and Banner.
Vision’s origin is changed in that he was not made from the duplicate of the human torch, but he was made from scratch using vibranium (a fictional metal that makes up Capitan America’s mighty shield) using a cellular growing incubator and the Mind Infinity Stone, with J.A.R.V.I.S. originally being used as the AI for him, but ending up sacrificing Vision’s intelligence and self-developed personality due to being only uploaded mostly.
The film has a great story and some amazing scenes. Some of these include the scene where the Avengers each take turns attempting to lift Thor’s hammer, the romance scenes between Black Widow and Banner, the fight scene between the Hulk and Tony in the Hulkbuster armor-code named “Veronica” (an allusion to Archie comics), and the final battle between the Avengers and Ultron.
The film doesn’t have many issues with it; however, there are parts that bring the film down from “best of the summer” to “a great summer see.” First, there are times where the film drags on longer than it should, these include some of the scenes where Ultron is involved, where his speeches are eerie and almost haunting, they drag on for longer than they should.
Another is when they’re hiding out on Hawkeyes farm with his family. Ignoring the fact that they are the targets of an insane cybernetic monstrosity, the farm just drags on a little too long. At the point when Nick Fury appears to rally the avengers after defeat, you don’t think “woo-hoo, Nick Fury coming to save the day,” but you would rather think, “oh thank god, maybe we’ll get back to the plot.” The other big issue is the romance between Johansson and Ruffalo. While it is cute, showing that a trained from childhood killer can fall in love with a man cursed to constantly stay even tempered, and helps to deviate from all the bickering between team mates, it goes nowhere.
An example of this is when after Ultron’s main body is taken out and the Hulk diverts the Avengers private jet, he, instead of returning to the woman who loves him and accepts him for who he is in his entirety, shuts off the communications radio and flies off. Now while it makes sense given the Hulks character and background, it leaves a bad taste in your mouth. You feel bad for both characters since they couldn’t be together. However if they had gotten together, fans would probably write hate mail to Disney under the belief that it was forced in and that it doesn’t fit with the characters at all. While it could have been done differently, you think to yourself “which would I prefer: hating this taste in my mouth due to how the Banner/Romanoff sub-plot ended, or hating a faceless conglomerate for forcing their happily ever after ideology into a film where it really shouldn’t be?” At the end of the day, a bad taste in your mouth is remedied with mouthwash, while a faceless conglomerate is remedied with protest, action, and possible casualties.
While there are slow parts and an annoying sub-plot, the action, story, and villains make up for its entirety. I wholeheartedly recommend “Avengers: Age of Ultron” as a film to go see. Best part is that this film will lead directly into Captain America: Civil War, so look forward to that!