I went into this movie thinking I would say it was fun but ultimately lacking, that it was sad to hire a man who can do some of the deepest and most moving shows on TV to direct something only light and fun and not have him do something of meaning.
This movie was terrible from start to finish.
Also just for reference, I liked The Avengers, this isn’t that I hate all of the movies in this universe…only what it has become.
Joss, I expected more. Joss! Do the dance of shame!*
Do you remember the fake looking CGI of The Matrix Reloaded when the hundred Agent Smith’s attacked Neo? Do you remember the complete jump in plot and character development between Sherlock Holmes and Game of Shadows that left a lot of questions of “when did that happen?”? Do you know the unspeakably incomprehensible action sequences of a Michael Bay film where you can tell a lot is going on but you’re never shown any one shaky cam sequence long enough to actually understand what is going on? Do remember how the villain in Thor:The Dark World seemed to have no actual reason for his evil scheme other than that’s what the script said? Do you remember the deadly floating island of doom from Superman Returns? Do you remember the complete lack of understanding of how the world actually works from The Counselor? Do you know the complete lack of character or leadership skills shown by Obama every day? Do you remember how Joss Whedon has said if you’re going to kill a character it has to mean something, and that if the audience feels nothing there is no point in doing it? You do. Now mix all those sins together, and you get Avengers: Age of Ultron.
Okay, I’m about to get into detail of why I didn’t care for this movie, but that’s going to involve a lot of spoilers. The short version is if you have liked all the Marvel films up to this point, you’ll probably find this one entertaining too. If you were really hoping they would finally provide you with just an ounce of substance, you’ll be disappointed and here’s why.
First off the film starts with a battle with the Avengers attacking a Hydra facility. Clearly some time has passed since Captain Rogers: The Winter Soldier (that’s all I’m calling him from this point out because it would be obscene to associate that ass with a great nation). There has been some clear character changes like the fact that Black Widow and the Hulk have a thing developing–which makes no sense as she was terrified of him in the last film, but a lot of things in this film make not a goddamn bit of sense–Cap and Tony are now getting along (that won’t last as we all know), apparently they’ve been taking down Hydra for a while (no real explanation there). Oh and that control Banner had over the Hulk in the last film, yeah that’s kind of gone…until the end…sort of…There are some gaping plot holes, which might have been forgivable if the rest of the film had been any good. Sigh. But you don’t focus too much on those holes, because all the participants in this battle are CGI’d and look to have been made with CGI technology that’s over a decade old. They all look about as real as the worst parts of The Matrix sequels. Why is it that between this movie and The Hobbit CGI seems to have taken a major leap backwards?
So then we have Tony create Ultron by accident. Tony’s motives are more or less explained, so I’ll let that go. But Ultron’s motives are a complete mystery. He seems to be part of Thanos’ plan (as shown by the end credit scene) but he makes no reference to Thanos…and did his mind come from the Mind Stone or the blue light surrounding it? And if he was part of Thanos’ plan where did he pick up parts of Tony’s personality? And why did he hate Stark so much? And where did the acerbic wit come from? So much about this character was not explained.
Oh can someone please explain to me how Wanda the mind reader was so horrified that Ultron was going to kill everyone…but somehow working with the UberNazi’s was all fine and dandy? This character was very confused.
And while we’re on character development, we saw in the minds of Tony, Steve, Natasha, and Thor. Now Tony and Thor’s minds seemed to be little more than trailers for upcoming films…and Steve and Natasha’s didn’t make a whole lot sense, quite frankly I’m not sure they did anything for the plot (much like all the Black Widow/Hulk love parts).
And then let’s talk about the Deus Ex Machina’s of this film. Things just go right for Ultron coming alive just when Tony has a loud party going so we don’t hear that Ultron has started to build an army. Just the right technology to build Vision. Just lucky that Jarvis survived. Thor’s convenient pool of wisdom. Thor’s life giving lightning. Fury showing up with the Helicarrier just in time. For a devout atheist Whedon sure has a lot of Gods from the Machine popping up all over the place. (And that brings up the numerous, inconsistent, and quite frankly out of place religious references in this film…I just didn’t get it**)
And then Ultron’s plan is to destroy the world with a giant floating island. Okay ignoring that this plan requires a knowledge of physics straight out of The Core whose bright idea was it to steal the floating island of doom from Superman Returns? Never take plot points from Superman Returns! There is no excuse for that.
And then there is the violence. On youtube there is channel named CinemaSins, they detail all the problems with a movie at level even I find nitpicky, but for the first Captain America he had a great sin describing all the random and pointless action montages “Things! Excitement!” That was every action scene in this movie. So much random wackiness that I could never get a clear idea what was going on. Just because there is a lot of stuff happening and a lot of explosions and a lot things tearing apart does not mean I’m excited. I need to have a sense of what is going on, not just lots of cut scenes and smashing and shaky cam. You use to know how to do action Whedon, shame.
Also Whedon I remember you talking numerous times about the fact that if you’re going to kill a character it better be someone the audience actually cares about, someone whose death will make you feel the loss. Not someone who I just kept thinking, Days of Future Past did it better. Oh and while we’re good enough to bring Coulson back, I guess this guy just wasn’t worth it.
And you know what I could probably have forgiven all of that and just focused on the clever one liners if it had not been for the absolute idiocy of Captain Steven Rogers.
Throughout the entire film it pretty much makes it clear that if you don’t protect the innocent, all of the innocent, then you’re a monster and part of the problem. Almost every single character in this movie has a complete inability to understand concepts like the fog of war, collateral damage, or understand who is ultimately responsible. As such most of the last act of the film is focused on trying to save all of the innocent civilians in an Eastern European nation in a country that doesn’t exist. In fact they’re so hung up on saving everyone that when it’s choice between saving all the innocent civilians and saving the world from complete destruction, Captain Rogers says that we have to save the innocent even if it means everyone on the planet will die. You know I remember this TV show called Angel (who was in charge of that show again?), and in season two of the show the character of Wesley Wyndam-Price had an excellent observation of the challenges of leadership in war, “You try not to get anybody killed, you wind up getting everybody killed.” It’s a real shame that no one who worked on Angel (or even the 7th season of Buffy with her less pithy but equally understanding speeches about the inevitability of sacrifice in war) was involved in writing this script. Oh wait. But it shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise as Steven makes possibly the dumbest statement I have ever heard in terms of forward thinking earlier in the film, “Every time someone tries to stop a war before it starts, innocent people die. Every time.” Well at least they’re consistent in keeping Steve channeling the isolationist crap he started espousing in Winter Soldier…really trying to stop a war gets innocent people killed? No really? I’m shocked. Who knew. Let’s not care about simple things like pointing out that innocent people die every time you don’t try to stop a war. Boy I’m sure glad we didn’t do anything to stop Hitler from spreading across Europe, innocent people may have died if we did anything in the 30’s to prevent war from happening. I don’t know why the idiots at the Rand Paul campaign seem to be allowed to write their filth into these movies through Rogers mouth, but now for two movies that seems to be the case and I’m sure it will continue to be so. Honestly, his willingness to let humanity die so he can feel good about himself shows they have created a character without brains, foresight, or anything resembling ethics.
And how does Marvel plan to soothe my concerns about this film…why with Ant Man coming out next–because everyone wanted to see that, right? I’m done with Marvel, this is just getting too low brow for even a comic book movie, and too silly for me to ever suspend disbelief. Snyder I swear to God if you screw up the DC universe as much as this one has been screwed up…
I give it 1.5 out of 5. (The .5 is for the fact that Hawkeye amazingly seemed to steal every scene he was in, and had some really good lines…mabye a Hawkeye movie would redeem my faith in these movies).
*Yes, I do know that’s not the Dance of Shame…they never show the Dance of Shame in the episode, so it’s the best I could get.
**I might be able to make some sense of it now having seen the whole and being able to see what each piece was referring to, but as I’m never going to waste another two-and-a-half hours of my life on this film, we’ll never know.