”Why aren’t they fighting?” asked the annoying kid behind me every time there wasn’t a fighting scene. And maybe that’s what the Avengers has become, another box office blockbuster with awesome explosions and life like CGI that you can take your seat kicking kid to even though he does not understand a word they’re saying. No, maybe that’s being too harsh on the movie and before I start picking on it I should make it clear that the movie was really good. Not amazing, not terrible just really good.
To explain my kind of disappointment we need to go back to 2012 and the first Avengers movie. I was so excited, and for good reasons. Marvel had been building up phase one for the Avenger movie by connecting the universes and result was amazing. We’ve seen Tony Stark become Iron Man, extend his empire by developing renewable energy instead of weapons. We’ve seen Steve Rogers become Captain America, a leader and a protector. And we’ve seen the mighty god Thor learning what it means to be a true king. Now these colorful characters plus Hawkeye, Black Widow and The Hulk, team up to save earth from a massive alien invasion. And if that was not enough these very different personalities need to learn how to work together, they have personal issues and the government is against them. So yes, The Avengers was awesome.
Back to 2015 and The Avengers: Age of Ultron. So where are our heroes now? Tony Stark has been struggling with his empire and his two personas, does the man make the suit or does the suit make the man? Steve Rogers has been having some adjustment issues with a life of war contra a civilian life and of course being frozen for 70 years and all. Thor made some huge character development in the first Thor movie but has stopped since. Maybe that’s why Thor: The Dark World was so terrible, but that’s another review. Either way its fine, Thor is awesome the way he is. Bruce Banner still wants to hide with The Hulk somewhere and Hawkeye is still as meaningless as ever except he’s been given more space in the movie and some kind of pointless little house in the prairie, but the problem still remains that no one cares. Natasha Romanoff aka Black Widow is the positive exception in this very long point I’m trying to make, but I’ll get back to her later.
The point is that phase two has an integrate system with a lot of small details that connects everything and I assume that a lot is already connected to phase 3. But even with all these details it’s like the director and writer Joss Whedon has forgotten about the mental status of the characters. Everyone is back where they were in the first Avengers in some kind of happy go lucky state. Except now they all know each other and get along just fine. So you never really felt that there were any real danger, neither against the world nor the Avengers. It was two and a half hours of the happy best friend league kicking ass with almost the same internal struggles as the previous movie, just even less of it. And maybe that’s why the movie was only really good, it feels like Joss Whedon hasn’t risked making the movie more or less than that.
This review might be getting too harsh again. The movie was exciting and the main plot too, it just didn’t leave much room for anything else. But there were good sub plots. A very nice love story for example which bring me back to Black Widow. She has gone from a cliché sex object character with bad lines and sexy poses to a character with a lot more layers. Scarlett Johansson got to do a lot less action acting and a lot more “personal” acting which is her forte anyway. And at last let’s not forget James Spader who did an amazing role as Ultron. What Ultron lacked in a powerful villain aspect, the character made up for tenfold. Just like Loki in the first Avenger, Ultron has a unique depth in his character that makes you both root for and against him.
I’ll say it one last time. This review has been a bit harsh on The Avengers: Age of Ultron. Maybe it’s because it’s gotten better reviews than The Avengers and that’s insane but if you don’t hype the movie too much you will really enjoy it, and you won’t be able to help your self being super psyched for the next Avengers movie in 2018.
– Thomas Tjerngren