Movies for Breakfast AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON Review

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It’s time for The Avengers to gather again, but this time it didn’t work quite as well

Synopsis

When Tony Stark and Bruce Banner try to jump-start a dormant peacekeeping program called Ultron, things go horribly wrong and it’s up to Earth’s mightiest heroes to stop the villainous Ultron from enacting his terrible plan.

Review

With the second phase of the Marvel Cinematic Universe coming to an end, it was time for the Avengers to get together once again in Avengers Age of Ultron. Written and directed once again by Joss Whedon who brought us the original team up, this time though he introduces us to a new enemy in Ultron. The cast from the previous movies in Phase 2 all return to reprise their roles (except the guardians of the galaxy who are not involved in this movie), while also introducing Aaron Taylor-Johnson as Pietro Maximoff aka Quicksilver, Elizabeth Olsen as Wanda Maximoff aka Scarlet Witch, Paul Bettany as Vision, James Spader as Ultron, and briefly Andy Serkis as Ulysses Klaue.

Taking place, a couple of years after The Avengers, SHIELD has finally tracked down the location of Loki’s staff at a Hydra compound. Once in their hands, Tony Stark and Bruce Banner decide to use the power of the scepter to make one of their projects a reality named the Ultron global defense program. The idea of the program is a suit of armor around the world capable of protecting the earth from any threats that way come their way like what happened during The Avengers. When they manage to create an artificial intelligence using the scepter it dons the name of Ultron given to it by Stark and decides that to truly protect the world it must be reset. Ultron enlists the help of two experiments of Hydra that were created using the power of Loki’s scepter. They come in the form of Wanda Maximoff who can take control of people’s minds using hypnosis and control certain objects using a form of telekinesis. The other is Pietro Maximoff who can move at superhuman speed, to the point he can come off as invisible to the naked eye. Its up to the Avengers to team up and fix the mistake that Tony Stark has started, before it ends up killing them all.

On paper, Age of Ultron has everything that should make one of the best movies possible, but it mishandles so much of it that the movie falls short and ends up being very average instead. There are a lot of things that are done right, and that keeps this movie from being a disaster, but even they cannot save the movie from itself at times. To kick off one of the worst parts of this movie are the constant jump cuts used in the action scenes, while action movies usually use jump cuts very often, it becomes jarring in this film. There are a lot of beautifully filmed scenes, but there are some parts that are so filled with jump cuts that it becomes an eyesore. If it happened only a couple times in the movie it would be fine, but consistently I was taken out of the film as it started to hurt my eyes every time it occurred. There are some great action scenes that get broken up due to the poor editing, that could easily be fixed by keeping longer focus on a single point of view instead of mindlessly switching between 4 different viewpoints to show the same bike crashing or car turning. The movie also tends to not allow emotional scenes play out. Instead of letting a scene with emotion and impact play out and end, it gets cut off with a joke that brings the tone in a different direction very quickly. Which brings about the biggest problem with this film, the villain.

Ultron is not a menacing villain, as he should be. In Avengers Age of Ultron, Ultron is an artificial intelligence created by Tony Stark and Bruce Banner using the mind stone. After waking up for the first time, Ultron goes through and starts looking up information on his creators, on his purpose, and quickly gets out to the internet where he gains the ability to control nearly anything he wants. This should be a terrifying concept that isn’t even delved into at all within the movie, Ultron uses this ability to move from body to body with ease, and to allow his consciousness to float around and control several other robotic bodies. The Avengers act like he is a big threat that they need to hide from, but there is really no evidence of this in the movie. Instead of showing, they decide to tell us how bad the situation is. The team are still able to use devices to communicate, they are still able to hide from Ultron, and even Nick Fury can assemble a team, get a helicarrier, and bring it to the battle without Ultron knowing or stopping them. They don’t even mention any kind of resistance along the way to get there. There feels like no true threat, except for him dropping a city from the sky, but even that doesn’t feel like the most maniacal use of the information that Ultron has. This could be in part since Ultron is just Tony Stark in robot form. It acts as a good foil for Tony as he see’s what he has created, and his creation is like him, but it is too much like him. With James Spader doing the voice of Ultron, he sounds menacing, but then he starts cracking jokes at every chance he gets. It takes away from how he is a villain when he seems so lighthearted about everything. The god of mischief, Loki, cracks less jokes than Ultron and that’s what he is supposed to be known for.

Even with the poor jump cut usage, some action scenes do have viewers on the end of their seats such as the hulk vs hulkbuster fight. While short it does give fans exactly what they want from the fight between the two, even with Iron Man’s armor breaking down and needing to be replaced piece by piece during the battle as Hulk tears it apart. It is the exact kind of fight that should be brought to the big screen and manages to pull it off in a way that feels right for the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Also getting a chance to see Tony Stark and Bruce Banner work together has some nice scenes, especially since Bruce is hesitant to work with Tony knowing that so far Tony hasn’t been the best at ideas. The entire concept that they created Ultron just puts their genius to the test, and even the small banter of them talking about how they created the hulkbuster armor together to stop Hulk in case he got out of control. In these small moments spread throughout the movie, and they are evenly paced around the movie to keep viewers attention. There is a lot of potential for these scenes to grow, except they end and get back to scenes that don’t blend well back to back.


Closing Thoughts

Avengers Age of Ultron is a passable movie, it isn’t the best that the Marvel Cinematic Universe has to offer, but it also isn’t the worst. There are plenty of great scenes that hold the movie up, but they tend to get pulled down by problems that are the center point of the movie. Ultron is probably one of the weaker villains, when he should be one of the best. Watching the Avengers work together, and banter is still as fun as it was during the first movie, but the charm of the first movie has faded with this one. I can’t recommend going back and watching this movie personally, I know that it is a mixed bag as this movie has a lot of fans, I am just not one of them even after a second viewing. The movie isn’t bad but is just isn’t good either. If going for a rewatch of the Marvel Cinematic Universe this movie does bring forth a lot of plot points that drive the team going forward so it is important to watch, but it might not be the worst idea to skip it as well or watch a recap of the movie online.