It's been a while since my last article and since then I've seen some really good movies. I thought it would be a good idea to compare two of the biggest action movies of the past month. This article is purely based on my opinion so I'm sorry if we don't share the same opinion. Be warned, Mad Max: Fury Road has become one of my favourite action movies of all time so I might show some bias towards it. Also, there will be spoilers so if you have not seen these movies I can't say you haven't been warned. Onto the first comparison.
Trailers are very important when promoting a movie. They provide a first look which you can base your judgements off of. Both of these movies have had a great response in regards to their trailers, which is understandable.
Avengers: Age of Ultron had a great voiceover done by James Spader's Ultron that provided a creepy yet soothing feeling. The trailer was edited quickly and sharply and the rendition of 'I've Got No Strings' created an intimidating atmosphere. It was dark, gritty and serious which is where I think the trailers went wrong. It seemed like they were promoting a totally different movie. The movie ended up being light and funny which was very different to what was originally promised.
Mad Max: Fury Road's trailers have been called some of the best trailers of recent memory. It was action packed, tightly edited and overall fun. The choice of music was perfect as it depicted exactly what the movie was about. Every time I watched a new trailer, I was left speechless. The visuals were breathtaking and the cinematography in the trailer alone was a joy to watch. For those reasons I have to give this round to Mad Max.
I will be basing the characters off of their development, motives and overall characterisation.
The Avengers are mostly known to the general public and for good reason. The core team from the first movie was as likeable as the first movie and their characterisation was well done. This likability extends to Vision as well, providing a bad ass character who was fun to watch. Saying that, I can't say the same for Scarlett Witch and Quicksilver. They were plain boring and their characters seemed very forced and unnatural.
In terms of development, there was hardly any in all of the characters. None of them really grew including Hawkeye. Many people say he grew as a character but in all honesty, he ended up being the same person just with a family. This lack of development was annoying and I was left disappointed.
The Avengers' motives were very predictable. Save the world. Some characters had their own motives such as Quicksilver and Scarlett Witch's plan for revenge at the start. This was done pretty well and was one of the better elements of their characters.
In Mad Max, the main characters were Max, Furiosa, Nux and the wives. These characters all contributed their own personalities which contrasted each other well. Their characterisations were interesting and each character got their fair share of screen time. All the main characters were ass kickers and this gave us satisfying action which revolved around their personalities.
As well as being cool characters, their character development was some of the best I've seen in recent action movies. I see a lot of people complain that this movie had hardly any development but the growth of each character was so subtle that you had to dig further into their actions to understand it. Any grunt or nod Max gave proved to be a step forward in his development. Even the wives got development which made the story feel more complete.
There was a recurring theme of redemption that was present in most characters. These being Max, Furiosa and Nux. They've all done bad things and they all wanted to pay for and this creates a sympathetic and relatable atmosphere. With the wives, they wanted freedom mostly but even in they had individual motives that were explored. I think it's pretty clear that Mad Max had the upper hands in terms of protagonists.
The villains in both Avengers and Mad Max were disappointing in their own way. Ultron ended up being a completely different character from the trailers and Immortan Joe was hardly in the story.
Ultron was set up to be the best villain in MCU history. He was scary, intimidating and provided a real threat in the trailers. In the movie, he was a wise cracking bore. With no development and a convoluted plan, Ultron became another forgettable MCU villain who was destined to lose. Saying that, Ultron had enough screen time for audiences to care about him and find him charming.
Immortan Joe was a well thought out character who didn't need much development. He served his purpose in the film but you can't help but feel like you want more. He had minimal screen time which was disappointing because he could've been one of the greatest on screen villains in modern cinema. Even though I hated Ultron's characterisation in this movie, I have to hand him the point.
A movie should revolve around its plot. When there is no plot, a movie can feel bland and boring.
In Avengers: Age of Ultron, there ultimately was no plot. Every 'plot point' seemed like set up for future instalments which was boring and disappointing. Whatever plot the did have had many holes and felt ridiculous (Thor pool?? Really??). I found no enjoyment in the plot. To its merit though, not many action movies have a good plot especially in modern times. I fault this movie for having no plot but I can't say it's not common.
This is one of many reasons why critics love Mad Max: Fury Road. It is a modern action movie with a well fleshed out plot. Not only was the plot there, it was thought provoking. We are met with feelings and emotions that catch us off guard. The plot development was very subtle which made us think about the movie more, making the experience more fulfilling. This is an easy win for Mad Max.
The soundtrack is one of the best parts of a movie and it can make a scene or ruin a scene.
Avengers' score was written by Brian Tyler with contributions from the legendary Danny Elfman. There were moments of the score that were memorable. These are mainly interpretations of the original movie's main theme. It makes a scene more triumphant and awe inspiring. As for the rest of the score, it was forgettable. None of it was bad but it wasn't anything special.
Mad Max didn't have the special moment that Avengers had in their music but Junkie XL's score was amazing throughout. The loud, beating drums and roaring electric guitar destroyed audiences ear drums with intense pleasure. The style of the music perfectly represents each scene it is present in. The drum motif that played over and over was hypnotic. This is another easy win for Mad Max and Junkie XL.
Becoming a director is my dream so I pay very close attention to the directing styles of each director.
Joss Whedon is a huge name in geek culture and I can understand why. With Firefly and Buffy under his belt, he should be well regarded. With Avengers though, his talents were very limited. He has been very vocal with his hate for studio involvement and it is present in his directing. The style didn't flow properly because of the cut scenes and so the directing became flat. With the potential there, I can't fault Whedon for this attempt.
Mad Max: Fury Road was a George Miller passion project. No matter what, he wouldn't have let anyone interfere with his movie. This is why his movie turned out the way it did. Miller is a very unique director. Using angles that no one else would use. Substituting the very popular shaky cam with more steady shots created action that was easy to understand while creating a style of his own. Miller wins this round due to his unique style and understanding of the film.
Great stories need great actors. These names bring in the money and they bring the story together.
Avengers: Age of Ultron has an all star cast. From the charismatic Robert Downey Jr. to the extremely talented James Spader, there is no shortage of talent. Most of these actors turn in great performances. A personal favourite of mine was Andy Serkis' Klaue. The only actors who didn't convince me were Elizabeth Olsen and Aaron Taylor-Johnson. I know for a fact that they are both incredible actors but those accents didn't want to work with them. I feel like they could've used either an American or English accent and their characters would have been the same.
Mad Max also has their fair share of talent. Tom Hardy is one of my favourite actors and Charlize Theron is a great character actor (just look at Monster). Nicholas Hoult exudes charisma in this movie alongside many up and coming actors such as Zoe Kravitz. Everyone turned in a great performance even Rosie Huntington-Whitely who isn't known for her acting. If Olsen and Johnson turned in better performances, Avengers would have won this category but I have to give it to Mad Max once again.
Both of these movies are technically action movies. They relied heavily on action which isn't always a bad thing if they have the story to back it up.
Avengers: Age of Ultron had some really satisfying action scenes. The best action scene being the opening one. I enjoyed seeing these characters work as a team especially when their powers compliment each other very well. The Hulkbuster fight was a disappointment for me. It had some really cool moments but as a whole, it felt incomplete. The final battle was too similar to the first movie's final battle with the exception of the awesome Vision moments. The action was great but lacking in some areas.
Mad Max: Fury Road was one long chase scene. Fun fact, the movie started out as a storyboard and a plot was derived around the action. Miller decided to use practical effects which made the action scenes so much more satisfying. I found myself drooling over the special effects. A lot of the explosions, stunts and even people falling off cars and balancing on sticks felt so real because they were. The choice of colours also made the scenes pop in a very unique way. Although Avengers had some great action scenes, almost nothing can rival the scenes featured in Mad Max.
I loved the heck out of Mad Max: Fury Road and I think I made that pretty obvious. With a score of 7 to 1, Mad Max: Fury Road beats Avengers: Age of Ultron by a landslide. Tell me if you agree or if you don't. Don't hesitate to give me your opinion if it differs to mine. I will be more than happy to discuss opinions with you.