Big Screen :: Avengers: Age of Ultron

April 28th 2015


I’ve been thinking a lot about how to describe Avengers: Age of Ultron and the word that I keep coming back to is dense.

There is so much stuff going on in this movie that its two hour and twenty minute running time just vanishes, leaving me scratching my head and trying to figure out some of what was going on. This is a movie that stages a daring raid on a Nazi base, builds a sentient artificial intelligence and then has that intelligence turn evil, something that would take most movies half their duration to achieve. Not Avengers though – this movie gets it done in the first fifteen minutes. It has too much shit to do to get bogged down in actually letting its story breathe for a second, so you’re just going to have to try and keep up.

Here’s the broad plot: Tony Stark builds a robot to protect humanity except that it immediately malfunctions and starts trying to wipe us out, instead, all the while dropping quips and puns and generally acting like a huge dick. Now, obviously, building this thing was a terrible plan, to the extent that I feel like people should be trying to arrest Iron Man or something, but nope. During the movie, we’re introduced to a bunch of new characters and we travel all over the globe. One sequence even takes place, according to the on-screen description, “on the coast of Africa” which is not very helpful. That’s a pretty big coast.

The Avengers films are insane balancing acts. Age of Ultron features a plethora of movie stars playing characters that each need their own arc, purpose, pithy dialogue and at least a couple of fights where they get to do something cool like killing a robot by smashing a shield with a hammer. In addition, the movie has to pay off the last couple of Marvel movies and set up future ones while remaining satisfying in its own right. It’s a downright impossible task to give to a writer/director, which is why everyone was so shocked when Joss Whedon nailed it with the original Avengers. That movie made it look easy, but honestly it’s a real miracle of a film, and though Age Of Ultron is not quite as good, I still had heaps of fun with it.


Paul Bettany as The Vision

You know what to expect from the core cast by now, but Elizabeth Olsen and Paul Bettany get to show up and make things a little weird. Bettany’s character, The Vision, is truly bizarre. He’s a pink robot with a cape who floats around and fires lasers at people using a crystal stuck in his forehead. It shows how far we’ve come in accepting big crazy comic book stuff when what will probably be one of the top two movies of the year has this maniac in it. In fact, the entire climax is built on a visual idea that is just bananas. Whedon is tapping out after this movie and handing the reins over to someone else, which is probably for the best, since this film was exhausting to watch, let alone to make. I can only hope he’ll move on to something original.

I would recommend the first Avengers to anyone, but Age of Ultron you should probably only watch if you are really into this stuff. I enjoyed it a whole bunch, but then again I’m a bit of an idiot.


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