REVIEW: Avengers: Age of Ultron

28 08 2015

At this point, I am unsure how much good it does me to review “Avengers: Age of Ultron” as I would a movie.  I feel like it would be more useful to write up the experience of the film as a writer for Consumer Reports would describe a car – with matter-of-fact bullet-points and statistics.  What is the point of trying to capture the artistry of a film in the intricacies of prose when that film is little more than a top-of-the-line product?

The latest item off the “Avengers” conveyer belt amounts to little more than an 150 minute billboard for the Marvel Cinematic Universe.  Perhaps the one notable difference between “Age of Ultron” and its predecessor is that the events tend to sow discord that cleaves a wedge between the heroes as opposed to uniting them.  (I can only assume that was a decision that arose organically from the material and not as some kind of tie-in to the impending “Civil War.”)

Maestro Joss Whedon ensures that the film matches all the tech specs any fan looks for in a comic book movie.  It has action sequences the way cars have cupholders.  To top it all off, he assembles a climax that feels like it could (and maybe should) just exist as its own movie and is probably fetishized in the same way automotive aficionados value a powerful engine.  Maybe some of this would be exciting if it were not so painfully predictable.  Rather than inspiring me to marvel at the screen, it just made me feel numb.

Black Widow

The heroes are even less pleasant to spend time with the second time around, as their hangouts amount to little more than one-liner laden sausage fests with a token female friend in Scarlett Johansson’s Black Widow (who does get to throw the film’s first punch, but that’s about the only bone she gets thrown).  And there’s no hope for compensation from the villain, James Spader’s Ultron, who acts like a metallic, auto-tuned version of his maligned Robert California character from “The Office.”

I know (or at least, I think) the time will come when this kind of workmanlike, mass-produced commodity gets scorned by audiences.  But in the meantime, I am unsure how much more of it I can bear until that day comes.  This isn’t art, and it is scarcely passable as entertainment.  This is commerce, and it has become more important to many people than providing the kind of wonder and magic of the movies.  The children who grow up on “The Avengers” movies are not going to go make great movies; they are going to want to build unstoppable business empires.

Anyways, don’t mind me.  I’ll just skulk in the corner and be thankful that at least there was a joke about Bansky somewhere in the mix that gave me a good laugh.  (I was the only one in the theater who got it, though.)  C+2stars

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7 responses

29 08 2015
Ricardo

It is a comforting notion to think audiences will one day get tired of Marvel and DC adaptations and demand something else.
It may very well be true, like what happened with the Western.
But, and you mention it in your words, there is the possibility that what audiences will demand will not be any better.
After all, if you grow up on a diet of Taco Bell your entire life, you’re not going to be fed up and ask for Nobu the next day are you?
You’re probably going to demand McDonald’s or Carl’s Jr.

Blockbusters are instilling a culture of mediocrity in the current moviegoer.
Eventually everyone will forget what true greatness was like and we’ll be stuck with movies like this for all eternity- not bad, not great; just good enough.
That’s whats scary.

29 08 2015
Marshall

I considered mentioning that the box office returns were down roughly 30% for “Ultron” when compared to the original, but then that’s me reacting to the reaction to the movie and not the movie itself. It gives me a little bit of faith.

29 08 2015
Ricardo

To me, the most faithful indicator of whether the average moviegoer likes or dislikes any particular film is Cinemascore.
IMDB tends to skewer male and seems to prefer anything action oriented; RT audience might be the same.
While I don’t agree with Cinemascore, you really do get a glimpse into the movie tastes of the American people, and I’d suggest checking it every now and then so you can be shocked/appalled at what is considered good now.
That being said, Avengers got an A+ and the sequel only an A.

29 08 2015
Marshall

I look at CinemaScore when it’s included in notes from the trades on box office, but I sometimes question the methodology since it pulls from opening night almost exclusively – and those people are going to naturally be disproportionately predisposed to like the movie.

29 08 2015
Brittani

It doesn’t matter how long it takes you to review a film, even after everyone else does. Your words are still welcome.

Anywho, I had some problems with this, but I liked it over all. I knew it was never going to hit the first film’s numbers, especially because so many things leaked before the film hit theaters. Still, I’ll buy the DVD and watch the alternate ending where Quicksilver survives. lol

30 08 2015
Marc

Although I agree the film has some flaws, this is a pretty harsh assessment. Do you have a low opinion of Joss Whedon in general or do you simply feel his voice got lost in the shuffle?

30 08 2015
Marshall

I don’t know much of Whedon’s work outside of “The Avengers.” As far as I’m concerned, this movie was concocted in the boardrooms of Marvel and then they put his name on afterwards. I could see a little bit more artistry and voice that shone through in the initial Avengers. I guess I do think his voice got lost in the shuffle, as you put it.

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