It’s not too often that I get to watch a movie with some friends on a night out. The general buzz for Avengers 2: Age of Ultron has yet to die out on my college campus, so last night I headed out with some friends to watch it at 10:50pm.
This was pretty late by our standards. It had better be worth it, was the unspoken mantra.
After 2+ hours sitting in the theatre, I walked out thinking: “That was totally epic! If it weren’t for the many problematic elements, that would have been an awesome experience.”
I subjected my nearest friend to a half-an-hour rant about this movie’s epic moments: both the successes and the failures. As a courtesy to the unsuspecting blog readers, I decided to create a short list of pros and cons instead of one, long, stream-of-consciousness block quote, to make it easier to follow.
Here are some of the good and the bad, as per my own opinion. I claim no expertise on movies and do not mean to offend any die-hard Marvel fans through the following points.
Epic Action – by far this movie’s greatest strength. Ripping through robot men in 800 different ways gives the modern audience some cathartic pleasure, in ways that no amount of fluffy romantic comedy movies can suffice. With multiple protagonists, we get a variety of action – projectiles, hand-to-hand combat, lasers, guns, tasers, shield boomerang, and all-around Hulk power. Yay.
Straightforward plot – let’s face it, most of us aren’t looking for a philosophical work of art here. We go watch indie films for that. From Marvel studios, we want action, and a plot that allows action to happen without confusing the audience with too many plot devices. This movie never pretends to be something more than the standard, good-versus-bad action hero movie, and delivers this well. Good guys are good, they make a mistake and create a bad dude, bad dude goes all crazy, good guys go all angsty, and in the end good triumphs. Simple. No confusion. Great.
The cast – whom we know and love.
The humor – which I have to admit, brings in irony and sarcasm to a fine point, and inserts it at right moments to ease up the tension in a serious battle. I’ve always loved the dynamic of life-and-death battles with bouts of laughter, and Marvel always makes sure to provide a good dose of this every time. My personal favorite running joke in the film – The Vision picks up Thor’s hammer.
Underdeveloped characters – I mean the twins. They are introduced. They have some pretty cool powers. They have their share of a tragic backstory, and they start out on the bad guy’s side. Great setup for the introduction of new heroes to add to the team. BUT. Their defect to the Avengers after finding out Ultron’s evilness makes no sense; sure, they hate evil, but they hated Tony Stark too. I don’t buy their acceptance into Tony Stark’s superhero team without some sort of deep emotional reconciliation to smooth over the transition. And ALSO, Quicksilver dies. Just like that. Why!? A pointless death that fails to affect the plot development or the hearts of the audience, who just didn’t have enough time to get to know the guy before he got killed off. Strong potential characters flop because Marvel couldn’t fit them into the movie while giving the rest of the cast some spotlight as well.
No emotional development – Among any of the characters. The romantic subplot between Natasha and Dr. Banner is just…weird, and random (the fandom ship between Black Widow and Cap’n America makes more sense than this). It’s almost as random as the fact that Hawkeye has a wife and 2 kids (hear the sound of Hawk x Widow shippers dying). Plus almost all of these heroes encounter their worst nightmares through the Scarlet Witch’s mind control, and they go into deep angst over these visions……..and that’s it. No resolution. No confronting and overcoming their deep-seeded fears. There isn’t even a moment where they say, “Hey, I have to get over this in order to save the world.” The movie just skips over directly to the final battle. Considering that Tony Stark’s nightmare set off this whole trouble in the first place, I’m surprised the movie never bothers to show how Stark comes to terms with his fears. Or C. America with HIS fears. Or Thor with HIS fears (OK, he has that weird thing in the pond. Not sure if that was a reference to a past Thor movie. As far as this film goes, that pond does nothing but electrocute him).
Plotholes – too numerous to mention. A lot of stuff goes unexplained. This might be because the movie is relying heavily on the other Marvel studio films to fill in the gaps, in which case I point you to my next object of criticism…
References to past movies – which make you feel like Marvel is forcing you to watch the rest of their franchise in order to be “in” on all the jokes. I get that Avengers 2 is related to this movie, and that the other hero movies tie in as well, but…. a lot of the stuff just goes over my head. It may be a plus to fans who keep up with the series, but to others it feels exclusive and off-putting.
Overall, I enjoyed the movie. However, there was enough in it to keep me in a critical mindset throughout. I love superheroes, and action, and cool characters, and Hollywood films. I cannot stand sloppy plot and characters. I hope that as more movies come out in the future, I can meet a rare work that satisfies me yet.