The Avengers 2, Age of Ultron
Genre: Superhero, sci-fi
Synopsis: The Avengers launch a mission to retrieve Loki’s scepter, which is a success and doesn’t make international news for destroying any major cities. So Tony Stark decides to spice things up by creating his own villain, and things go downhill from there.
Come on, it’s not like you were going to read my synopsis anyway. Everyone knows what this movie is about.
Series: Second Avengers movie, nth movie in the Marvel cinematic universe.
Verdict: Solidly good movie, though also quite flawed.
As a huge Joss Whedon fan, I was obviously really excited for this movie. Not because he does everything perfectly, but because even his most flawed work has something interesting to say. This movie is good, better than most, though not as well-paced as the first one. I was hoping for better, but given the sheer number of characters involved, I’m amazed it managed to be as cohesive as it was.
The main problem with the movie was that it didn’t have enough time. The content (and there was a ton of it) needed to be more spread out. Certain ideas needed to be further explored, the incredibly sizable cast of characters needed more screen time. This was a big story that maybe needed to not be a movie. Or at least not be one movie. But that’s something that couldn’t have been changed.
There were some great concise character moments that conveyed what they needed to convey quickly, through showing rather than telling–Hulk’s last scene is one. And it is amazing the movie did manage to cram as much as did, partly due to this great character work where not everything was explained.
Another nice touch was that the majority of the Avengers’ great battle focused on rescuing civilians. That’s distinct from what I usually see, with the focus being on fighting the main Big Bad. Here, there’s an emphasis on human life being valuable.
Everything below has spoilers.
Of course, because the film was so big, we missed out on several potentially powerful character moments that there probably just wasn’t time for. The twins had a big powerful issue with Tony that was never dealt with, the story about how his weapon ended up in their home with his name emblazoned on it, while they waited for it to go off. Likewise, Scarlet Witch brought about Bruce Banner’s fears of rampaging as the Hulk–there must have been at least some civilian casualties, before Tony showed up. And yet, after she joined the Avengers, she and Bruce never interacted.
Characterization-wise, the film focused less on the team as a whole and more on each character’s issues and existence outside of their relationship with the Avengers–even Natasha and Bruce, whose relationship was used to explore who they were individually. This could have been fascinating, and to a certain extent was, but again, there wasn’t enough time to really get into it.
One thing that helped is that while the movie pulled the characters apart, it didn’t need to pull them back together. Due to the impending plot lines in the Marvel movie universe, those divisions can stay to be resolved another time.
This leaves us with a good though flawed story. A bunch of great ideas with rushed execution, and some fumbles, which nonetheless entertain. And of course, it’s evoking a lot of detailed discussion on all kinds of issues with both its successes and its failures.
I’m going to follow this post up with my more detailed impressions of each particular characters’ story lines, with a big post on my favorite characters from the first movie, Black Widow and Hulk (separately and together), and then another post on everyone else.