What Did we Expect Going into the movie?
Well, when the first trailer for the movie was out, I was more than excited. The voice over by James Spader as Ultron did complete justice to all I knew about Ultron from the comics, the visuals looked amazing and the storyline was exciting as hell. So, naturally, after waiting a year for the movie, I went to see it on the first day. I was excited as hell for the movie and it was almost surreal to watch the opening sequence. I went into the movie presuming that I'm going to love it. From all the news and all the trailers, we expected:
- A LOT of easter eggs.
- Ultron to be a complete badass.
- The Hulk-Hulkbuster fight to be amazing.
- A lot of conflict among the Characters.
- Sweet action sequences.
So what did we get? The big question remains, did I as an individual and one of the biggest MCU fans like the movie?
Before I go ahead, here are some titles other than Age of Ultron that i came up with:
- Vision Begins
- Marvel Phase 3 Trailer #1
- The Avengers: Where was Ultron
- The Avenger's Day Out
- The Avengers: World Tour
- The Avengers: Age of Reddington
- Wait, Hawkeye What?
Coming off that, it seems like I didn't enjoy myself. Did I?
Holy God Yes!!
There is a LOT to like about this movie.
Right from the opening sequence, this movie is pretty amazing.
It has all the Joss Whedonisms that you'd expect from his movie. The humour level is turned up, the action sequences are pretty sweet and the character development is something you don't see coming, AT ALL. It's surprisingly emotional for an avengers movie.
Let's get to the tone of the movie: it's dark. Whedon said right from the get-go that death will be a major theme in the movie and for the better part, it is. What I like about it, is that it isn't in your face. Once you walk out of the movie theatre and think back on it, you see that death is an underlying theme. You really have to think about it though. It really sets up for all the phase 3 hype. I think that the Phase 3 movies will have a much more realistic tone to them after coming off Age of Ultron.
There is a lot of character development in the movie. There are many angles to each of the avengers that are explored and in a very good way. Hawkeye and Banner have incredible storylines this time and both Jeremy Renner and Mark Ruffalo completely owned their roles. I would like to say that the 3 leading avengers, Cap, Stark and Thor take a backseat in the movie, but if you look at the plot, they are vital. The most underused character, I feel, was Cap. He was there, to be what he is originally meant to be. A solider. To be honest, after the Winter Solider storyline, it's nice to see Cap take a step back and just be a fighting machine. The movie succeeds in showing that although Stark may be the spokesperson and the voice of The Avengers, Captain America is the leader of the group. Strategically and emotionally. Stark and Banner have amazing chemistry in the movie and so do Banner and Romanoff.
I'd like to touch on it, seeing as it is such an important part of the plot. The Banner-Widow romance shouldn't be much of a spoiler. We saw it in the trailer, we were expecting to see it in the movie. Mostly, I'm on the Banner-Widow team. My only gripe with the whole relationship, is the lack of set up for it. It just seems to happen one fine day, without any prior notice whatsoever. The fact that Black Widow can calm down the Hulk is not founded on anything. Sure, there are some sparks between them in the first Avengers, but not enough to be this effective. Other than that, it does sort of take you away from the story once or twice, but once you see the end, it's all justified.
Thor was pretty badass too. He had a smaller role this time, but we got to see more of his humanity in the movie. He had an interesting dynamic with the rest of the Avengers, in that, more often than not, he was the voice of reason for the group. The scene with him in the pool was great too.
Yes, there was Black Panther set up going on in the movie. Andy Serkis can seriously do no wrong. He kills as Ulessys Klaw. Can't wait to see more of him. I like how Wakanda looks and the fact that it is the Vibranium capital of the world. I think the events of this movie will spring T'challa into action in Civil War. It's awesome.
I do like how everything is interconnected at this point. Loki's sceptre is the cause of all of this, which leads directly into Infinity Wars. The fact that the Vision has the mind gem now, means that Thanos is closer than ever. It really brings out the years of planning that has gone into this huge universe.
I also loved what everyone saw in the Scarlet Witch induced dreams. It was amazing to see where each of these characters were. Cap missed his time and peggy, Thor feels responsible for Asgard, but the takeaway was Romanoff's dream. That provided SO much insight into her character. Even though we didn't spend much time with her, her backstory really stole the show.
Fury was great too. His role at this point is pretty awesome. He's like the rabbit you pull out of a hat. He is an advisor to the Avengers and their guardian angel. It's pretty amazing what they've done with him.
I want to see where they take the Hulk. After his departure, they can't track him. So i want to see how his story goes forward.
HULK VS HULKBUSTER!!!!!!
This scene was really an amazing action sequence. You have to see it to get what I'm saying. The reason for the fight is pretty justified although, I would have liked it to stem from more of an internal conflict between Banner and Stark. They're practically brothers at this stage. Who doesn't like brothers fighting? I love punching my brother. Dragging him up a building would give me immense pleasure too. But the way it turned out will not disappoint anyone. It is one of the highlights of the movie. I LOVED IT. I'd have liked it to be a little longer, but it'll never be long enough for me :P.
So the original Avengers were awesome and had some pretty cool storylines.
There were two new ones though.
The Maximoff twins were really good.
I honestly thought that this movie will be held back by Quicksilver and Scarlet witch. But after watching it, they really held the movie together. Their role was clear and Olsen and Taylor-Johnson did an amazing job portraying them. Scarlet Witch in particular. She really is like a witch. There's a scene where she does this walk that I could swear is out of a horror movie. Almost like a walk from The Grudge. Look for it when you watch it, it's pretty amazing. Which is what I like about the characters. The small things make them amazing. Quicksilver was a badass. His character was really evident. He is a really protective older brother and it humanises the movie all the more. Look out for them when you do watch the movie.
Did I mention? Scarlet Witch is definitely one of the most attractive females brought into the MCU. It's weird, there are almost no unattractive women in the MCU :P.
And to touch on it, yes, they do have accents. And no, it does not take away from the movie. After a couple of scenes, I kinda started to like it.
I'll address something here, big spoiler, so tread with caution.
I'd like to address the Quicksilver death here. That's a throwback to the theme of Death in the movie, and my biggest disappointment about the movie. I didn't like that at all. They set him up to be an amazing character and just killed him off for nothing. I get Whedon has to kill someone in his movies, but to be honest, it was tragedy where tragedy was not required. It didn't do much for the plot and just took away a character we really come to like and relate to. So for that, the movie definitely gets minus points.
I liked Scarlet Witch a LOT and i can't wait to see her in the upcoming movies. The fact that she was able to 'tear the avengers apart from the inside', really gave a lot of perspective to the movie. Seriously, her mind control was amazing.
Now getting to the namesake of the movie..
Ultron was BADASS!!!!!
This didn't come as much of a surprise to me. If you've seen Boston Legal and have been following 'The Blacklist', you know that James Spader can bring any role home. Ultron was one of the funniest and most human robot ever put on screen. Every scene with him in it, is worth watching another time. The voice wa immaculate. Props to the sound guys for that one. Ultron had all the Spaderisms like his hand gestures and odd bending for no reason and the shaking of his head, which contributed to the character amazingly. I do like the fact that they take the concept of Ultron always upgrading himself and run with it. He is REALLY funny. I like that about him. I didn't think that the pinocchio thing would be a theme in the movie. But it's a totally awesome moment when he starts singing the theme!!!!!!
So why isn't Ultron one of the best Marvel villains ever put on screen?
We don't see enough of him!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I expected the whole movie to be the Ultron show. In the scenes he was in, Ultron was a COMPLETE BADASS!!! But the movie doesn't explore much of his character at all! With so much scope for a character development in there, Ultron's character seems half baked. It's what I like to call the Winter Soldier effect. That's when the overarching storyline overshadows the main villain. Ultron is supposed to be a child with breathtaking daddy issues. Which comes across in a small way. But it isn't really explored as much as it should have been. His plan is well justified and I can understand why he would want to do such a thing. I guess the advantage with Loki in the first movie, was that we had time in Thor to familiarise ourselves with him. Even then, we got to see his true intentions and the reasons behind them then. That's what was missing from Ultron's character. In the comics, he has this lost son type of relationship with Hank Pym. I really wanted to see him and Stark go at it, if not physically, then just through words. They are both super-smart. I would have loved to see them try to outwit each other. The paternalness of Stark towards Ultron just didn't come across. It felt like Ultron was a pit stop in their journey, which needed to be overcome, which is not what Ultron is. He is a permanent villain for the avengers and he is one of the greatest. But I guess how they will play it out, is that he will be a long term villain through the damage that he has done.
That being said though, Ultron is one villain I will remember for a long time. James Spader really brought it home.
Are we missing someone?
If there is one character you will walk out of the theatre thinking about, it's Paul Bettany's Vision. Vision is one of the most interesting and frankly, one of the most powerful characters the MCU has ever introduced. To not use him in EVERY ONE of the next Marvel movies to come, will be a true tragedy. In a few years when we look back at this movie, we'll think of it as 'The Avengers: The Birth of The Vision'. I cant tell you how epic this character is. You just have to see it to believe it. He looks amazing, is amazing and is al around, just amazing.
He has an interesting dynamic with Ultron. Look out for it in the movie.
But seriously, go into the movie unaware, he'll catch you by surprise and it's probably the best way to be introduced to him. The movie really does him justice.
I can't really talk much about him without spoiling the rest of the movie for you guys, so stop here if you've seen the movie or just generally don't care about spoilers.
The fact that JARVIS is now the Vision is one of my favourite things about the movie. Not really though. I've always been a big JARVIS fan. As he said in the movie, he is not JARVIS, neither is he Ultron. He's "JARTRON".
He didn't say that, but how cool would it have been if he did? :P.
I like the fact that the Vision is the symbol of good that the Avengers originally intended to be. The comics often show him as a sort of a son of Ultron. Which creates a nice dynamic, because Ultron alienated his son just like his father did to him. But that's not the case here. I really like the fact that the Vision is his own person and can make his own choices well.
Taking that ball and running with it, I really wish the Vision hadn't killed Ultron. Mainly because i wanted to see more Ultron, but killing him off wasn't really the best thing for the story. I get that it HAD to happen because of the way the story was, just saying that he didn't have to die. There were ways to write around it.
It was awesome to see Scarlet Witch and the Vision on screen together, knowing they're gonna end up together, like in the comics. But the MCU's deviating from the comics a lot, so let's just wait to see whether that happens or not. I'd love it.
Also, whoever didn't completely freak out when Vision picked up Thor's hammer, there is something wrong with you on a genetic level. Go have yourself incinerated, because you don't deserve to live.
So What Took Away From The Movie?
It's simple. The editing.
The movie's original runtime was close to 3 1/2 hours. Now it's about 2 1/2 hours. There's one hour of the movie that was chopped off on the editing table. In doing so, there are vital plot points that do not have enough set up. Now I'm willing to sit through a 3 hour long avengers movie, as long as it's doing justice to the story. The tragic part is, you can see that it's there. There are some beautiful moments in the movie that are suffering due to the editing.
If there's some director's cut that will come out later, which will show us more of the movie, I'd be more than happy to pay to watch it. The movie rushes past a few really important moments, which you will see when you go in. There is genius in the movie But you do get the feeling that it's holding back.
One of my biggest gripes is that many of the scenes we saw in the trailer aren't even in the movie. Which is why I know that there are some scenes which are left on the editing table, which can be brought into the film.
So which scenes am I talking about?
The Quicksilver death was just breezed over. I like the fact that he got to have the last word with Barton. They had an amazing chemistry together and the 'You didn't see that coming' line was genius. It was a set up for a poignant moment, ruined by hasty editing, which just skipped over the reaction of the Avengers to it. That's what i mean by there is genius in the movie. You'll see that in The Hobbit: The Battle of The Five Armies too. The Kili and Fili death scene is quickly breezed over with an over emotional score going on behind. I guess I'm just pissed off that they killed off one of my favourite characters.
Hey, just because he's quicksilver, doesn't mean that every part of his story should be quick too. Give the guy some time, let the avengers mourn him. There is no mention of him after that too. It doesn't give you the closure you need for the character. I'm sure it's there in the edit.
Finally, the Major Twist
When they teased it, I didn't believe it. But holy god was it genius. The fact that Barton has a family was the most mind blowing thing for me. It just automatically added a MILLION layers to his character. He's awesome as a family man too. It ruined the Widow-Hawkeye romance that i thought existed, but it showed us that they really are closer than if they had a relationship. I like the fact that his kids refer to her as 'Auntie Nat'. We never really think of Black Widow as 'Auntie Nat' :P. In a movie that was so human, this was the most humanising moment. Jeremy Renner killed it in the role, yet again.
So in short, watch the movie. It is completely worth dropping everything that you are currently doing to go and watch it. But I'll do you a favour here. Don't expect a traditional avengers movie. What you're getting is good character stories. At times, it can be a bit overwhelming and you may call it 'Marvel Phase 3 Trailer #1", but it is more than that. Don't expect bucketloads of Ultron, but be ready to be mesmerised by however much you see of him. Age of Ultron is a very human movie. So don't expect a typical action blockbuster. It is comprised of MANY worlds. You'll see what i mean when you watch it.
I say go watch it now. Like right now. Because if you're a Marvel fan, this is your movie.