Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015)

Rating: 6.5/10

After Tony Stark accidentally invents a hyper-intelligent, robotic, killing machine bent on world domination the Avengers must assemble in order to stop this new villain.

Okay, I haven’t seen this in years, but the first viewing I didn’t dislike the movie. This time, well…

It’s not that it’s a bad film. I would say that it has a lot of parts that I like. And I feel like the characters all work pretty well together even though their all completely different from each other. I like the introductions of the new characters (SPOILERS) Scarlet Witch and Vision, even though their powers are the most poorly defined in the MCU. Scarlet Witch’s abilities seem to change from movie to movie, here she’s a psychic who can trap people in their own mind…I guess. It doesn’t matter though because this never comes back again in other films. Maybe its a running joke among MCU directors to change her powers every time?

The majority of what’s wrong with this film can be summed up in two words: “pacing” and “tone.” These go hand in hand. The tonal problems comes from the fact that this movie never seems able to decide what it really wants to be. It has dramatic moments where characters have to make major decisions undercut by bad comedy at almost every turn. That’s another thing, the comedy in this film just isn’t very good. There were a couple moment of actual levity, but the majority of it just sucks all the emotion out of the room. It’s out of place, at the very least. But the MCU still has to learn that sometimes it’s okay to have a sad or dramatic instance without turning everything into a big joke. I suppose that’s better than turning it into a bad joke, at least…

The pacing is how every scene stacks up to the next. Or doesn’t stack up to the next, I should say. It’s like every scene is in a different genre, from a different movie, and put in this film in the wrong order. I’m serious, this whole film is basically a disjointed mess.

Oh, I almost forgot about the real problem: too many subplots. This film is so bogged down in side stories that Ultron becomes basically secondary to everything else going on until Vision shows up. If you have a side plot that doesn’t incorporate itself into the main plot by the end of the movie, then it probably doesn’t belong in the movie. And James Spader’s Ultron was actually one of the best part of the movies. Unfortunately, because we’re more focused on whether Black Widow is going to hook up with Hulk this time around (didn’t she just have the hots for Captain America?) and other such nonsense he becomes secondary and forgettable when he’s the title character! This isn’t just ridiculous, it’s a tragedy.

I know this isn’t how things are done in the MCU but it really made me think this movie could have been a lot better with Ultron as the main character instead of just the villain of the week. Then we could see the whole movie progress as he’s started up. We would see through his eyes as he learns of the Avengers and the world until he ultimately decides to destroy everything because of his immature understanding of the world. It would give this film a cohesive glue that it needed to have these nonsensical scenes actually make sense. And seeing a film through the villains eyes from start to finish would be really unique for the MCU. Maybe something they should consider for a later film (or a sequel to this when Ultron comes back and gets a real role next time? No one else wants that but me? Damn…)

Oh, and then Vision shows up, gives an awesome, though short, speech, and suddenly everyone remembers what the plot is. The rest of the movie is actually quite good, but this is about 45 minutes from the end and it just takes so long to get here.

There’s a couple points that I feel I should mention for being better than any other parts, and both scenes come before Vision shows up. The first is the scene where the Avengers are all taking turns trying to lift Thor’s hammer. This is a great scene because everyone in it feels more human and the scene feels more real than any other scene in the movie. The other scene I thought was great was about a ten minute long fight between Iron Man and Hulk. It’s the best fight in the movie and might be the best hero-fighting-hero scene in the whole of the MCU. It’s so good, but ultimately meaningless outside of showing how dangerous Hulk can be, something I think everyone probably already knows by this point in the series. But it’s so great to watch it made me wonder why this wasn’t the plot of the movie somehow. All the Avengers have to use all their powers in order to stop a rampaging Hulk! Okay, that’s not as world threatening as other plots, but I think it would be fun to watch at least.

SCORING:

+5: The last 45 minutes almost makes up for the rest of the movie, but it’s takes so long to get there and everything is all over the place until then I really can’t recommend watching this movie for people who aren’t the truest fans of Marvel or the MCU

-1: Ultron is a secondary character in his own movie…

-1: Bogged down with way too many side plots

+1: Who knew Vision would become the real hero of this film (in that he finally puts focus on the real plot)?

+1.5: Those two great parts during the bad parts

+1: James Spader is so great in this film you guys, having him in it so little is a disservice to both him and the MCU

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