I have a hard time coming to terms with this movie. Avengers: Age of Ultron is a strange crossroads for the MCU. The film has some great moments and sets up a ton of what is to come in Phase 3, but just tends to stumble over itself constantly with some laughable choices and poor pacing. Even though it is the 11th movie in the MCU, it is the first direct sequel to The Avengers which obviously comes with built-in expectations. Here’s a quick re-cap for those that need a refresher.
Avengers: Age of Ultron suffers from the same problem as most of the Phase 2 films. They all sort of feel like filler. Phase 1 was able to build excitement from the promise that we were about to see all our heroes on the big screen together for the first time. Flash-forward to Phase 2 and we have more of a “been there, done that” mentality. I’ve seen them assemble, so now what? Phase 2 promised us a new direction, the lead up to the Infinity Stone plot line. So what do our heroes do in the meantime? The answer is, not much.
Ultron in itself is a plot device designed to stall. You have a self-made threat, created by Tony that is the newest danger to the existence of mankind. James Spader does fine with the character, but Ultron’s presence alone is just a stop-gap until Thanos shows up. The Infinity Stone plot line is at least front and center, with several references to the stones encountered so far and Thor claiming this all isn’t happening by chance and that there must be someone manipulating them from afar. Very astute observation, Thor.
The film does give us some new characters, most notably Vision and Scarlett Witch. Vision, who is essentially a demi-god, is a solid addition to the team. The character is played by Paul Bettany, who is best known in the MCU as the voice of Jarvis. It is kind of crazy to think just how well thought out things are behind the scenes at Marvel. Kudos.
There’s a ton that bothers me in this movie though. Thor’s lightning pool scene. Quicksilver dodging bullets all movie long to just get a shot a thousand times and die. Hawkeye having a wife and kids just hanging out at home. All things designed to distract us that this plot isn’t really advancing.
It’s tough to follow up one of the most successful movies of all time in The Avengers. Director Joss Whedon famously exited Marvel Studios after this film because it stressed him out too much. Luckily at this point we were only a year away from Captain America: Civil War, which is essentially Avengers 2.5 and feels like a more natural place to take these characters after the events of the first Avengers movie. Overall, Ultron is very meh.
Final Rating: 5.0 out of 10