Avengers: Age of Ultron (PG-13)
16/05/15 23:23 Filed in: 2015
Directed by: Joss Whedon
Starring: Robert Downey Jr.
This review was originally tweeted in Real-time from the back row of a movie theater and appears @BackRoweReviews. Though efforts were made to tease rather than ruin this movie’s memorable lines and moments, some spoilers may exist in the following evaluation. The original tweets appear in black, while follow-up comments appear in red. For concerns over objectionable content, please first refer to one of the many parental movie guide websites. All ratings are based on a four star system. Happy reading!
Iron Man needs to watch his language.
According to Captain America—the Avengers’ Arbiter of Appropriateness.
“Send out the twins.” Olsen or Wonder?
An inside joke since the Olsen’s sister, Elizabeth, plays the Scarlet Witch in this film.
Hulk deals with the bunker. Perfect man for the job.
The not-so-Jolly-Green-Giant runs right through it as if it was made of balsa wood, never breaking his stride. An impressive visual.
#SentryMode. Cool concept.
“You could’ve saved us.” #Nosebleed
Nice inside gag.
“He’s fast and she’s weird.” Ha!
Quite a pair these wonder twins. But where’s the monkey? Oh wait, that’s from the other comic book universe.
“Will Thor be there?” Women everywhere are thinking the same thing.
A suit of armor around the world. Interesting concept...and wholly improbable.
An extremely daft idea by Stark. His motivation here strains credulity, much like the plot itself.
#StanLee sighting in a bar. #Excelsior!
That’s the name of a starship in Star Trek III: The Search for Spock (1984). It also happens to be an exclamation frequently used by Lee which, in Latin, roughly translates as “ever upward.”
Trying to lift Thor’s Hammer scene is hilarious. Echoes of #TheSwordInTheStone.
“Peace in our time.” Peace through superior firepower. #UltronIsBorn
The latter is a quote from Star Trek: TNG’s “The Arsenal of Freedom.” The former is reminiscent of General Chang’s (Christopher Plummer) line “No peace in our time” in Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country (1991). A Trek double dip. No extra charge.
“The geometry of belief.” Ultron sets himself up on a throne. Recruits two disciples.
Shades of the antichrist sitting on a throne in the rebuilt temple in the Bible’s book of Revelation.
#AndySerkis is nearly unrecognizable here. Strange to see him out of a CG guise.
A nice bit of surprise casting.
The “mind games” visions contain some fascinating character moments.
These vignettes serve as the only significant source of character development for many of the characters in the film.
Code Green turns into a Code Red.
They should’ve left someone behind to keep an eye on “angry” Banner.
“Go to sleep. Go to sleep.”
“Go to sleep little Hulkie…”
Safe house. Something tells me it won’t be for long.
In action movies, the characters can’t sit around the campfire singing “Kum Ba Yah” for too long.
Graduation then sterilization. Sad story.
This scene contains some good character background for Black Widow. It’s the first time in two movies that I actually felt like I learned something about her character and felt sympathetic toward her.
“Multiplying faster than a Catholic rabbit.” Hilarious!
Or tribbles in a grain bin.
“It’s not a loop. It’s the end of the line.”
Kinda’ like this movie’s runaway elevated train sequence, which is conceptually similar to the one in Spider-Man 2 (2004).
“How about nonce?” Ha!
Downey Jr.’s comedic timing is impeccable.
“I can choke the life out of you without changing a shade.” Great line!
My favorite line in the movie, zucchinis not withstanding. Amazing how eloquent Banner can be compared to his alter ego.
The new guy hands Thor his hammer. Woah!
Does that mean this guy (my comics buddy tells me his name is Vision) is worthy of ruling Asgard?
“It’s about whether he’s right.” Interesting point.
The story flirts with relevance here.
Ultron’s been juicing. #VibraniumSmoothie
I hear mangos are best for sweetening up vibranium’s bitter aftertaste.
“The earth will crack under the weight of your failure.” #Ultron’sMonologuing
A poetic line brilliantly delivered by Spader, who was the perfect choice to voice the titular villain.
“If you step out that door, you’re an Avenger.” Nice moment.
This scene stands out as the only instance where my emotions were engaged during the entire film.
“Ooo, do you kiss your mother with that mouth?” Way to turn the tables, Fury.
#HideTheZucchini. Hilarious line.
Again, the incisive dialog written for Downey Jr. is perfectly suited to his talents.
“There is grace in their failings.” #RedeemingQuality
An interesting story twist since one AI wants to wipe out the human race because of its flaws and another AI wants to preserve humans because of their flaws.
Banner might swim to Fiji. Just as long as it isn’t Tahiti.
Reference: Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
Final analysis: a decent follow up to the first film with new heroes and villain and action aplenty.
Rating: 2 1/2 out of 4. Overstuffed with action to the point that I need to see it again. Darn it.
Overstuffed is the operative word when describing these Avengers films. They’re chock-full of colorful characters (in colorful costumes) and mind-blowing action sequences. The one thing these movies aren’t overstuffed with, however, is plot. Of course, the Avengers films are exemplars of the summer blockbuster, designed to entertain a mass audience and extract a price from them so as to ensure the release of the next big blockbuster. Filling the role of cinematic roller coaster, these films are breezy, twisty thrill rides that typically place an emphasis on action before story (and just like with a coaster’s ups and downs, the only function of the brief character moments is to bring us to the top of the next peak so that we can take a plunge into yet another exhilarating, gravity defying action progression). In an effort to be fair to the film’s creative elements, I’m not even going to address the top-notch directing, acting, VFX, etc, in my assessment of the film. What ails this sequel is its “everything including the kitchen sink” story. Like its predecessor, there’s enough story in Ultron to fill two to three movies. Likewise, there are enough plot holes and leaps of logic here to fill two to three movies as well. First of all, Ultron’s transformation to the dark side is so quick it gave me a whiplash. Also, Stark’s decision to create Ultron in the first place seems rushed and foolhardy…and extremely contrived since the story sits in idle until the villain is introduced. No one can say that Stark’s heart isn’t in the right place (well, actually…) in attempting to defend the Earth from intergalactic invaders, but has he so quickly forgotten the Iron Monger tragedy in Iron Man (2008)? Obadiah Stane (Jeff Bridges) used Stark’s technology against him in a clear evocation of the 9-11 tragedy. Here, Ultron uses our own planet against us in a unique twist on the WTC and Pentagon terror strikes. 9-11 symbolism is also evinced in the scene where Iron Man shoves Hulk downward through a building, forming a cloud of smoke and debris on the city streets below that’s eerily reminiscent to what we witnessed on that fateful day back in 2001. Whedon certainly isn’t the first superhero film director to create such visual echoes in his films: Christopher Nolan employed 9-11 imagery in each of his Batman films. Another visual motif, which has been repeated ad nauseam in recent superhero movies, is the giant landmass used as WMD set piece. In Superman Returns (2006), Lex Luthor’s (Kevin Spacey) grand scheme was to drop a gigantic, crystalline mass into the Atlantic Ocean, which would wipe out a large portion of the Eastern seaboard with the resultant tsunami. More recently, in X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014), villainous Magneto airlifts an entire stadium, which creates maximum destruction and mass casualties (and speaking of DOFP, that film featured Evan Peters as Quicksilver, but Aaron Taylor-Johnson plays him here, which is more than a little confusing at first). In this film, Ultron elevates a large section of an Eastern European village with the intention of dropping it like a meteor from the sky, causing an extinction level event on our planet. For the next film, let’s hope Whedon can come up with a more original threat than this tedious and tired story device. As for everyone’s favorite green giant, Hulk is completely underserved in this film. Not only is Hulk sidelined for much of the action, but he’s purposely constrained from doing what he does best—smash things. The only time Hulk really lets loose in this movie is when he goes on a rampage in a city filled with innocent bystanders. This attempt at generating character complexity falls flat and actually diverts us from the main story. Hulk’s contribution to the team during its many melees is negligible at best, which is a massive disappointment. Note to Whedon: in the next film, release the shackles and set Hulk free to fulfill his function on the team (and some character development wouldn’t hurt either). Another disappointment here is the absence of Clark Gregg as Agent Coulson (star of the hit TV show Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D and prominent side character in the Marvel stable of films) and Gwyneth Paltrow as Pepper Potts (who is mentioned several times, but never materializes onscreen). Of the ancillary characters actually featured in this film, Stellan Skarsgard’s Erik Selvig appears in only one scene…what a waste of an incredible talent. All is not lost, however, as there are a few good character moments in the movie, like when Black Widow opens up about her tragic past and when the team seeks refuge at Hawkeye’s house. But these heartfelt, human segues are few and far between amid the onslaught of confrontations. In the end, if you liked the first film, you’ll probably like this one too. The corollary holds true for those less impressed by the franchise. As overstuffed as the plot is, it all somehow manages to cohere. When all is said and done, kudos goes to Whedon, not for his creative genius in realizing the movie’s many action scenes, but for fitting them all into a canny, wieldy tapestry. He’s a master at keeping all the plates spinning at the same time. Let’s hope they don’t all come crashing down like chunks of a European village in the next film.