I have just returned from Avengers: Age of Ultron, or more accurately, an Avengers Double Feature special event. It was amazing! I can’t recommend it highly enough. This is a fantastic successor to the Marvel movies that came before it.
In the first movie, the team takes a long time coming together, which makes sense. It’s the other way around here, and the movie opens with a united team on a combat mission. It’s a huge fight, and it’s based off something touched on in the most recent Agents of SHIELD episode. It’s great seeing the team work together. That’s actually a recurring theme throughout the movie: while the members bicker and disagree, just like the first one, in combat, they have complete trust in each other, and perfect, flowing teamwork and trust. It’s great to see.
I’m a huge Hawkeye fan, and I was disappointed in his treatment in the first movie. Dancing around the edge of spoilers, I’ll say that was fixed this time around. Hawkeye got a lot more screen time, a few pivotal moments, and there was a reference to what happened to him in Avengers. He’s also been keeping a secret from the team that is referenced nowhere in any trailer or clip that’s out yet, and it’s a big one.
After the team succeeds in their first mission, they have a party (revels!). In addition to the Avengers, there are many other guests: Maria Hill, Sam (Falcon) Wilson, James (War Machine) Rhodes, and the inevitable Stan Lee cameo. The scene with everyone trying to lift Mjolnir that’s been all over the net happens here, with a bit more to it than has been shown. There are also a few personal moments among the team that are nicely written.
Many things get mentioned here that will likely come up again later. I’ll address two of them: arms dealer Ulysses Klaw, who many Marvel fans should recognize, and Wakanda. These are, most probably, elements they will build on in the announced Black Panther movie, coming in a few years.
People have also no doubt seen the big Hulk vs Iron Man Hulkbuster armor fight. The scene makes sense in the movie, and I will say there’s more to it than it looks. This version of the Hulkbuster armor comes with some modifications that are brilliant, and show off Tony’s genius.
At the risk of beating a horse many consider dead, I have to put in a nod of appreciation and contrast it with another movie. The Avengers spend a lot of time-saving civilians, both planning it out and actually doing it. This is something that was sorely lacking in Man of Steel, and it makes me appreciate the Avengers’ heroism even more.
Ultron is brilliantly voiced by James Spader. If you’ve seen him on Blacklist, you’re familiar with his character there, Red Reddington. Ultron is Red writ large and more ruthless. To me, that’s a good thing. I think his best line comes near the end of the movie, “Oh for God’s sake!” You’ll love it in context.
The banter is great. There are good lines by everyone, and a running joke among them that starts in the first fight. It made me smile and was played well. There’s a great line referring to Stark and Banner as mad scientists. There was bit more Avenger vs. Avenger action than I like, but it made sense within the context of events. It was also really interesting seeing two form of idealism clashing with each other among the team, personified by Cap and Stark. That will no doubt play a part in Captain America: Civil War.
I usually rant about departing from the comic book canon. In this case, I approve. Stark, as everyone who has seen the trailers knows, creates Ultron here. In the comics, it was founding Avenger Hank Pym. Stark is a tech genius, Pym is a biochemist. Stark is actually a better choice for Ultron’s “father,” I admit.
Aside from Ultron, there are three new characters: Vision, Quicksilver, and Scarlet Witch. All three are handled fantastically. They all have good moments, and display their trademark powers. Scarlet Witch’s powers have been vague in the comics, fluctuating wildly. This version is a bit different, but internally consistent. I was thrilled when I got to see Vision do one of his trademark stunts from the comics. I will also say that when the team is debating trusting Vision, Vision finds a way to convince them that blows everyone’s minds. I sure didn’t see it coming.
Another bit they’ve played up from the trailers is Iron Man saying, “There’s no way we all make it out of this.” He was right. I won’t say who or how many we lose, but there was at least one heroic death.
The end of the movie has the heroes mostly triumphant. They even bring up something that’s been bothering me on Agents of SHIELD. The team ends up with a new base, and there are changes in the lineup. Again, I won’t say who stays, who goes, or who joins, but it has a LOT of potential.
There is a mid-credit scene, as we’ve come to expect. It’s not a new character, but it’s a very ominous scene that I believe plays in to the next Avengers movie. There is NOT a scene at the end of the credits.
What I liked: Damn near everything. This was a brilliant, fun, action-packed movie. The teamwork was great. The new characters were fantastic. The huge fight near the end lived up to the Battle of New York in Avengers. The concern for the civilians was great.
What I didn’t: The death(s). I get ‘em, but I didn’t like it.
I’m giving this a 5 out of 5. I do that rarely, but this was just… wow.
Stop reading this and go see it!
The picture is of the poster and lanyard I got as part of the double feature. The Iron Man 3D glasses are from the first Avengers Marathon, back when the first movie came out.