Reeling out of its predecessor, the 2012 box-office smash, Marvel’s The Avengers, Marvel’s The Avengers: Age of Ultron picks up the pace and has already set records of its own. But does box-office hit mean Nerd approved?
Having an entire Universe of movies with years or production, different directors, several actors, and over a half a century of source material to pull from is not easy to choose who and what goes when and where. This plot while standing OK on its own, it did not segue from Captain America: Winter Soldier, Thor: Dark World, or Iron Man 3 (which in IM3‘s case may not be a bad thing) and the ending does not really set up Captain America: Civil War, Ant-Man, Black Panther, nor Thor: Ragnarök
While I personally hated Tom Hiddleston‘s Loki being a villain in both Thor and The Avengers as he is very much just a Thor villain, having him introduced and set up in Thor did make his addition in Avengers much more integrated. Ultron is one of if not the best Avengers villain but he was not developed as a villain in the cinematic universe until this movie which also included 3 other new characters, so balancing 4 character introductions and a brand new plot did not kill the movie but made the pace a bit slow and the plot a bit jumbled.
It hard to get into specifics without spoilers but do not expect the level of tiered plot development from either Captain America: Winter Soldier or even the first Avengers.
The star studded cast has only increased since 2012 picking up Elizabeth Olsen as Scarlet Witch, Aaron Taylor-Johnson as Quicksilver, James Spader as the voice of Ultron and Paul Bettany as The Vision.
In Avengers they were able to balance the characters, the action, and still make it feel like an ensemble cast all working together but this one does not. The balance boat is tipped as this approaches Hobbit level too many heroes to keep up with and feel that Joss Whedon‘s patented “someone will die” tactic is needed just to thin the cast enough to keep up with the action and plot.
The lack of character development is the biggest hit here with the overloaded cast. Thor who has had 2 separate movies with character development, had the most development in this movie. Hawkeye also had some great but very out of the blue development which if developed in Avengers 1 would have been much better. With out giving spoiler level detail, very little is given to the new characters Quicksilver, Scarlet Witch, The Vision, and even Ultron which all seemed to have a cardboard level flatness.
The days of Smallville‘s hoodies as costumes seems to be a thing of the past as this movie has more superhero costumes than any other major motion picture. Captain America’s and Hawkeye’s outfit redesigns were definite improvements but the real star here is The Vision. His origin and creation lends a bit to his design but the combination of textures, mechanics, and organic components brings the comic character to life. unlike The Vision, the organic face and creepy teeth of Ultron clashed against his mechanics and this was the only real hit here. Other than these items, the changes and additions were not particularly note worthy. .
Overall EAO gives Marvel’s The Avengers: Age of Ultron 3.5 Avengers towers out of 5. It seemed like a small piece of Marvel Universe which seems to be building toward the real next Avengers chapter in Captain America: Civil War next summer.
A war is coming, whose side are you on?