comic book movies

Avengers: Age of Ultron- Do we have the right to expect more? (Discussion)

avengers age of ultron discussion critique

So I watched Avengers: Age of Ultron over two weeks ago, and for two weeks I’ve been thinking about this movie, whether I liked it or not, if it was disappointing or not etc etc. But I feel like after watching the movie again, I’m ready to discuss. So let’s discuss Avengers: Age of Ultron!

Spoilers follow.

First I’ll just spit out my overall thoughts about the movie: the first time I watched the movie, I was slightly disappointed. The second time I watched it, with adjusted expectations, I enjoyed it more. Overall I think the movie was good, not great, but super fun. Walking out of the cinemas, my friend described the movie as a ‘filler’ movie, which I’m inclined to agree with.

Okay but now let’s really talk about this movie. The only promotional footage I watched of Avengers: Age of Ultron, were the first 2 trailers. The first 2 trailers presented the movie as darker, and more serious compared to the first Avengers film. Now of course I’m not an idiot, and I know that this is still a MCU movie, so there will be plenty of fun as well. However the trailers set up a completely different tone that the film itself failed to meet, and that therein lies my main problem.

As that was the only promotional footage of the film I saw, I was expecting something quite different from what we got. However what we got was more of the same as the other Marvel movies.

avengers age of ultron wallpaper

Reading the comments online, Avengers: Age of Ultron seems quite mixed. Many loved it, others not so much. A major defending point I have read online about the film is that it’s an Avengers movie, it’s supposed to just be fun and big, we shouldn’t have expected anything else.

Well to that I call bullshit. Yes we go see the Avengers to see huge, Summer movie fun, but don’t present your film as completely tonally different in your trailers, than what you’re actually going to give us. I don’t have any problem with Age of Ultron being an even funnier movie than the first Avengers movie, just don’t present it as otherwise.

Take Ultron for example. Ultron in the trailers was presented as menacing, and the biggest threat the Avengers have ever faced. The trailers were bleak and dark, and presented a picture considerably different from the first Avengers movie. When the first trailer came out people were saying that this could be the ‘Empires Strikes Back’ for the Avengers franchise. However everything felt very inconsequential in the movie. Yeah Quicksilver died, but it was just, here is Ultron, we fight Ultron, he is defeated, moving on. And that’s it. But anyways back to Ultron, now first let me preface this by saying, I think Ultron is one of the better villains of the MCU, but he still isn’t that memorable.

ultron

I know the primary purpose of an Avengers movie is to give their audience great, Summer blockbuster action fun, but don’t we have the right to expect a little more? Especially considering the trailers made it seem like we were. Yes the action pieces were great, but maybe giving a little more time to Ultron would have given us a compelling villain.

Yeah superhero movies are supposed to be fun, but do they have to be mindless? I don’t think so. And it would have been nice if they utilised Ultron a lot more. Some of the best villains are the ones that genuinely make the hero question themselves. Instead of going from 0 to 100 with Ultron, it would have been nice to see a lead up of his philosophy, surrounding how the world is a better place without The Avengers. No one really questioned if he was right, except for Captain America. Considering Iron Man created him, you would think there would have been more of a personal conflict between Ultron and Iron Man, and instead we were left with brief exchanges of witty banter, which is fun, but nothing more. Ultron should have made Iron Man question himself, his actions. Ultron should have made the audience question ourselves, that maybe he has a point.

However there were some really great Ultron moments. There is a sense of genuine care between Ultron and the twins. Near the end of the battle, he pleas with Scarlet Witch to leave, because otherwise she will die. We gain a sense of humanity from him, which is an interesting layer, considering he views humanity as scum. That conflict over his sense of humanity could have added a really interesting layer to his character, if they had bothered to develop him more. And because his character went from 0 to 100, his motivations were weak and cliche. He should have made the audience really think that maybe humanity would be better off starting again, instead he was just another crazy evil dude.

vision hd wallpaper

Although it wasn’t all bad, Vision has quickly become one of my favourite characters in the MCU. Why? Because he actually has a unique, interesting perspective. In one of the best moments of the film, the conversation between Vision and Ultron provides a nice quiet moment, of actual contemplation about humanity. “Humans are odd, they think order and chaos are opposites, try to control what won’t. They’re doomed….Yes, but a thing isn’t beautiful because it lasts. It’s a privilege to be among them”. Vision is an AI who’s trying to understand humanity. He agrees that humanity is doomed, but doesn’t see the fault in that. He merely is observing and involving himself with humanity, to help gain a deeper insight into himself. It’s the existential crisis that should have been a bigger part of Ultron’s character as well.

avengers age of ultron team screenshot

However where the strength of the Avengers franchise lies is with the team dynamics, which I thought were done pretty well. We get a little taste of the growing tension between Tony and Cap which was great to see. I thought the Hulk/Black Widow romance came out of nowhere, but the Beauty and the Beast story arc was a nice touch as well (oh and by no means makes her less of a character/damsel in distress). Overall I would say I just went in expecting something different, and got more of the same (because really fighting a giant army of robots is the same as fighting a giant army of aliens). Although Captain American: Civil War looks like I’ll be getting the movie that I wanted out of this one, which is exciting to see!

 

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28 replies »

  1. Mmm…interesting point….in two weeks I’ll honouring Black Widow, and that piece will include a longer analysis of the movie. But for now: I think that we did get more.

    If there is a problem in Age of Ultron, it is the love story and the poorly explained vision Quest of Thor. The former is just badly written. It hits one cliché after another but even worse, it’s basically a rehash of the Bruce/Better romance in The Incredible Hulk. The latter is poorly explained and just doesn’t make much sense. I am ready to buy that there is some sort of magical pool which will give Thor more clarity. But he needs Selvig to find it? Wouldn’t it have made more sense if it had been in a different realm and Heimdal had to transport him there?

    Those two arcs aside, though, I think that the movie IS more than a simply blockbuster. If you are able to look past the various set-pieces, there is a pretty deep discussion about humanity, creation and evolution. If every aspect of the movie had tied into it, it would have blown The Avengers out of the water. And in fact, most elements do tie into that theme. Even Hawkeye’s family fits into it, because being a father makes him a “creator”, too.

    At the same time the movie manages to pick up the themes of Iron Man 3 and The Winter Soldier, and discusses fear and how it can lead humans on the wrong path.

    Honestly, I will most likely need ages to pick apart all the layers of this movie, and I really hope that the extended version (it sounds odd, but this movie really felt too short for me) might provide some of the missing pieces instead of just more action and more vision quest.

    In the end, I like the movie. And if not for the romance, I think I would put it ahead of The Avengers in a heartbeat, simply because it actually is more than just a blockbuster.

    One thing for sure, it challenges me to take it apart, to really examine what Ultron says about creation, humanity and peace and what Vision has to say. It’s also an interest mix of references which have meaning in itself. In a way, it is Marvel’s most daring movie so far, it just didn’t always hit the right notes.

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    • Hmm interesting perspective, for me I think the movie did start to touch on interesting themes, but never explored it enough to create a compelling thematic story. As for the Thor scene, yeah it was weirdly placed, clearly trying to set up the future movies. But I really love Vision and his philosophy, looking forward to seeing more from him in Civil War

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    • After seeing the movie for the fourth time I see where you are coming from. However I still think we should have gotten more.

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  2. Most marvel movies are fillers, that’s the way it is. Winter soldier and the first ironman are their best films in my opinion. But ill admit that guardians of the galaxy is the most fun, more so than the avengers.

    They have just about turned ironman into a villain in the mcu, so id say that captain america is their best character right now. However, ironman is still their most profitable, make no mistake.

    The Russo brothers are taking over now so that tension you want Will be there.

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    • Yeah I really believe that the Russo Brothers will give us some really good drama in Civil/Infinity War. I like that they have set up Iron Man as an almost antagonistic character, because it does provide an interesting conflict between Cap and IM. But I agree, Cap is the best character right now.

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      • Dc needs a captain America right now, maybe it can be wonder woman. Batman is dc’s ironman, but better. Sorry if you like ironman, i just think batman is a such a unique character.

        People like to say superman is dc’s cap but i just dont see it that way. He’s just not a fight for your rights patriot like cap was created to be. Supes is basically the worlds helper, not just America’s, and he’s NOT a savior.

        “Im here to help, but it has to be on my own terms, and you have to convince Washington of that”. MOS 2013

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      • I don’t know if the DCCU have a Cap type character, because you’re right, Superman ain’t it. Wonder Woman won’t be it, because she’s the diplomat. But don’t worry, I’m with you on that Batman point haha

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      • I like everything you said except for the last part. Lol Tony even in an antagonistic role the guy is awesome.lol

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    • Cap is my favourite too (aside from Black Widow, but since she doesn’t get her own movie…)

      I don’t think that “filler” is the right word. A “filler” implies that it is something of no consequence. And that is simply not the case. There are movies which are more important than others, but they all further the story – and the themes. Iron Man 3 for example addressed how easily we are ready to project our fears on a person, because we need a target, someone to blame. The Winter Soldier was for a large part about how easily we are sometimes ready to give up our freedom (or privacy) out of fear because of a perceived threat. And now, in Age of Ultron, we go one step further and examine what does happen when one of those plans actually comes to fruition. When it boils down to it, Alexander Pierce and Tony had exactly the same motivation, they both want to stop a war before it even started. The difference is that Tony actually got what he wanted…twice. He first got Ultron, and then he got Vision, the “better” Version, on top of it.

      Okay, I better stop here, or I end up writing another essay about this movie.

      Liked by 1 person

      • DC does have a Captain America. His name is Deathstroke.

        He is a brilliant and under-appreciated character imo.

        From the wiki:
        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deathstroke#Fictional_character_biography

        Slade Wilson was sixteen years old when he first enlisted in the United States Army, having lied about his age. After serving a stint in Korea, he was later assigned to Camp Washington where he had been promoted to the rank of Major. In the early 1960s, he met Captain Adeline Kane who was tasked with training young soldiers in new fighting techniques in anticipation of brewing troubles taking place in Vietnam. Kane was amazed at how skilled Slade was and how quickly he adapted to modern conventions of warfare. She immediately fell in love with him, and realized that he was without a doubt the most able-bodied combatant she had ever encountered. She offered to privately train Slade in guerrilla warfare. In less than a year, Slade mastered every fighting form presented to him and was soon promoted to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. Six months later, Adeline and he were married and she became pregnant with their first child. The war in Vietnam began to escalate and Slade was shipped overseas. In the war, his unit massacred a village, an event which sickened him. He was also rescued by SAS member Wintergreen, to whom he would later return the favor.

        Chosen for a secret experiment, the Army imbued him with enhanced physical powers in an attempt to create metahuman supersoldiers for the U.S. military. Deathstroke became a mercenary soon after the experiment when he defied orders and rescued his friend Wintergreen sent on a suicide mission by a commanding officer with a grudge.[1] However, Slade kept this career secret from his family, even though his wife was an expert military combat instructor.

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  3. It’s absolutely true that more Ultron would have made the movie better. Maybe he should have talked more to Jarvis before briefly “killing” him? Or had a more significant discussion with Klaw? Something like that. However, the Tony Stark angle of the problem was way more interesting. I completely supported him through Civil War in the comics, but this is more interesting-there’s no reason to assume there’ll be another wave of superheroes after they die. This isn’t X-men, another generation isn’t assured. So you need to make your own guy to save the world from the Chitauri next time-but using artificial intelligence is a stretch. Maybe… start giving more people Iron Man armor? War Machine needs a successor. We can always get another Asgardian, I guess… superpowers are rare on this planet. You have to do something, and humans are corruptible. Tony’s problem was the hubris that he could create something incorruptible, and yet alive. Oops.

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    • Yeah I do like where they are going with Tony’s character. You can see where he is coming from, but he’s always too busy looking at the bigger picture, he fails to see everything else. This conflict of ideals will be really interesting to see in Civil War

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  4. Man I loved every minute of this film. My only complaint was when Magneto’s kids (okay not in this film but they are still his kids whether they say it or not) Pietro and Wanda joining up with Ultron made no sense to me whatsoever.

    I imagine the off screen conversation between the two siblings went something like this:

    “Hey, there’s a giant evil robot/A.I. that is in the process of killing every living thing, why don’t we help him?”

    “Sure, we’re young, impressionable and bored, we might as well, we have nothing better to do”

    I never watched the trailers, so the tone didn’t bother me at all, it felt like the same tone to me as the first film – world ending threat + jokes + action + Avengers win in the end, and I suspect the next film will follow that formula also.

    I loved the trademark Whedon humour, reminded me of the best Buffy episodes that mixed world ending threats, pathos and jokes.

    Whedon to me is one of the few guys whose dialogue actually sounds like how people talk, in that sense I think of him along with Kevin Smith and Quentin Tarantino in that he writes relatable dialogue that is not just snappy and clever, but mimics the flow and / or broken rhythm of real world conversations, something few movie and TVs ever bother to do.

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    • Yeah it was a bit weird, there was just so much going on they didn’t have time to properly explain motivations and such. Agreed about Whedon’s dialogue, one of the biggest strengths about the Avengers franchise. Shame he’s not on board anymore, going to miss them classic Whedon conversations

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  5. Personally I really enjoyed the movie, but I agree that the trailers are a too tonally different from the movie. For all we know, that’s more the marketing department’s fault than Joss Whedons. That and the later trailers showed the fun side more, including some quips.

    There’s also the upcoming extended edition, and for all we know, it will be a bit darker. The deleted scenes in the first Avengers movie suggested that Joss originally intended a darker movie. Until Ultron extended comes out though, we shouldn’t make any assumptions.

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    • Well directors generally approve trailers, so it’s not like he didn’t know what was coming out. But yeah, it will be interesting to see that cut, and to see if the tone is different with a few extra scenes

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  6. So, you summed up pretty much every feeling I have about this movie. I feel like my upcoming review will be redundant lol. I left this movie feeling the same way I felt leaving Iron Man 3, except a little better. You can’t promise us one thing in the trailer and then skimp on those promises. Maybe it’s a failure of my expectations but regardless, what got me interested in the first place about this film was the Avengers being the creators of Ultron, but then like you said he just appeared and was defeated, with limited discussion of the ramifications of such a decision. Tony and Bruce playing God nearly destroyed the world, yet we are supposed to just let everyone walk away with no consequences? It was fun and exciting, but it didn’t sit well with me from a storytelling perspective.

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    • Yeah exactly! It’s a shame because there was actually so much they could have done with it, but instead they chose to focus on larger action set pieces, and not the actual story. When we get over the spectacle, I think people are realising that this movie really isn’t as good as it could have been. But I have high hopes for Civil War (not so much for Ant-Man)

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      • At the cinema when I watched Avengers 2 they played full trailers for both Ant-Man and F4, and man, you could practically smell the disinterest in the packed cinema.

        I don’t know what either of those films will be like, but both trailers were completely dull and un-inspiring, I struggled to pay attention to them at all, and I love marvel comics, what kind of impression must the general public be getting about those films?

        My hopes are not high for either of those films. Marvel were IDIOTS for not going with the Edgar Wright Ant-Man, that would have been fun, clever and hilarious at the WORST, and brilliant at best.

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      • This is the problem with shared universes, execs are so worried about how each film will impact the others, it does have the potential to ruin the creative process of the solo movies. Ahh whatta shame, what could have been for Ant-Man!

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    • You are a rare commodity. I thought the movie was alright. It was ok. I think I would have preferred him teaming up with the Wasp. Letting her shine a bit. However that’s not how they wrote the script.

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