ByLd Kristoffer J Chelidoni, writer at
Ld Kristoffer J Chelidoni

Spoiler Alert ....Spoiler Alert If you haven't seen Avengers: Age of Ultron yet and don't want spoilers, do not read this post.

It's been a whopping three hours since the early premiere of Avengers: Age of Ultron nationwide, and only days since it premiered over seas. For the average fan of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Age of Ultron will prove to be yet another action packed sequel to the franchise. Its prelude to the Civil War story arc from the comic universe is telltale throughout the film.

However, in many ways this film does not work, sacrificing what all good stories need to do and putting into its place bigger louder action sequences. Now, don't get the wrong idea, the action scenes are marvelous examples of CGI and they are eye popping (especially in 3D). Yet the plot progression of the film is stale and little to no character development happens throughout the film. What character development does occur is forced and rushed.

The character with the most development is Bruce Banner (aka the Hulk). After Scarlet Witch gets to him he goes on a flying rampage and must be stopped by Iron Man in the Hulkbuster variant suit. While this leads to a pretty awesome scene with Tony Stark apologizing for beating the ever living $^!( out of Banner, the real struggle for Bruce occurs after this fight when he realizes that once again people saw him as a threat. This leads him to stray from using the Hulk, even when Black Widow is captured by Ultron. The film sets us up for a new Hulk film by the end as the Hulk disappears in one of stealth ships leaving behind the Avengers.

There is no surprise, though, that the two newest characters Pietro and Wanda Maximoff aka Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch, saw the least amount of character development. These two new Avengers (after nearly dying fighting off the Ultronized sentinel suits created by Tony to be his new Iron-Man army) really saw no character development throughout the film. They were the quintessential two-dimensional characters. What little character development including their overcoming their hatred of Stark who they blamed for the death of their mother was all haphazard. Quicksilver essentially followed along with whatever his sister decided to do, and Scarlet Witch (having the ability to read people's minds) never seemed to consider the ramifications of her actions until almost two thirds of the way into the film. These very flat characters aren't slated for their own film and it is clear they need much work to make them have any real depth.

Black Widow and Hawkeye, being veterans of the Avengers saw some character development and we do learn some intriguing aspects of both of their lives. Yet there is this terrible rush again and sense of forced character development as Black Widow falls deeper in love with the Hulk. Let's be clear here, she is in love with the Hulk not Bruce Banner. The way the two of them interact really comes down to rather shallow social convention. Black Widow is sadly portrayed as wanting the big strong (green) guy. A character that is supposed to be the strong role-model woman is portrayed in the helpless damsel in distress position several times. A deeper reading of their relationship is that it is a strange one in the very least, putting aside the superhero superpower menagerie, it is clear that Black Widow isn't interested in the Dr. Jekyll that is Bruce Banner. She is accepting of him because she wants Mr. Hyde.

The audience is introduced to Hawkeye's family, whom we learn has interacted with Black Widow. His wife is well trained and an agent in her own right. It's clear that the remote ranch where his family lives is there to protect them from danger and to serve as a retreat from the woes of Hawkeye's work life.

What little character development we do see with Hawkeye is a role turned towards family man and this is compounded by an end scene where he as the hero rushes out to save a (not so) stuck boy as the city rises. He places his safety and future with his family on the line to save a child. Whether or not this is out of parental instinct or because he is doing his part of the job we can't know for sure.

Thor, Captain America, and Iron Man see little character development if any at all. Thor does progress to some extent as he searches for answers about the Infinity Stone that would become Vision, and we see him grow a little bit when it is realized that Vision can lift the Mjölnir, but these brief moments of seeming enlightenment don't last. Arguably these three characters, having had their own films, don't require as much character development. Nonetheless no character development despite the events of the story seems a bit problematic.

The not-so-spoiler spoiler here is that we see a return of Nick Fury and the older Helicarrier come to the rescue. But this too gives SHIELD an almost deus ex-machina feel even if they are the least powerful among the heroes. Their presences represents a cementing of the team again, but begs the question of why? It wasn't too long ago in The Winter Soldier that SHIELD fell. We know that Whedon has stated the MCU and the MTvU are not the same and that leaves a gaping hole in the continuity of the MCU. We don't get to see the Avengers react to the fall of SHIELD or solve a problem like Ultron as the Avengers and the Avengers alone.

While Age of Ultron was a brilliant pick to use for this film, the execution of the film and storyline are lackluster. While the movie doesn't ever seem to lag like some of the other Marvel films have in the past, the quick timing of the film is marred by bad writing, forced emotional interludes, and bad character development. What could have been a brilliant story was filled with the same errors found in the first Avengers film.

The sad thing is, the first Avengers film, for much of the same problems as I described above, had memorable moments that make you want to watch the film again. Hulk beating the crap out of Loki is a hallmark moment that brings fans back to the film. There are no such moments in this film. What little comedy there is, is punctuated by too much drama and little plot development.

(Author note: Some may argue the scene where the team try to life Mjölnir in the beginning is pretty funny, and I'd agree, but it isn't nearly as good as Hulk treating Loki as a rag-doll. It only serves to prove that none of the other heroes are "worthy" and that serves to embody Vision later in the film. These two scenes serve a purpose to the plotline, what little plotline there is, and are expected. Neither scene fills the humor found in the unexpected. No one expected Loki to be whipped around by the Hulk and that is what makes the scene so great. We all know that the rest of the Avengers aren't "worthy" of Mjölnir which makes the initial scene boring and groan worthy at best.)

Overall Avengers: Age of Ultron is a great action movie, and there is certainly a lot of action that happens in this film, but when it comes to plot development and character development it's boring.


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