Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Avengers Reassemble! - Age of Ultron Review

Avengers - Assemble
I am not sure having mixed feelings after a movie is a good thing. Did i like it? Or did i not?

I am a huge marvel fan since the first Iron Man hit the theaters back in 2008. I watched the series take off, stumble on its feet and really launch with the Avengers (2012). I had a good time with Thor: The Dark World (2013) and that excitement culminated last year with the release of the excellent Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014). This has led to Marvel announcing spin offs, a new 5 year plan and even considering bringing Spider-Man and god forbid Howard the Duck back in the big screen.

So how do you take the bar that was already set so high with the Avengers and the Winter Soldier and elevate it even higher? Is it possible? Can the same director do it? Because with sequels, come the pitfalls, where a film tries to surpass its self in a sense.

There will probably be minor spoilers ahead so read at your own risk!!!

First i will start with a quick summary and my feelings. The movie was good at least for my taste. Special effects, frequent action, humor, some character development, a few more moral issues raised. It is the way i like to be entertained. It is not Michael-Bayish ridiculous but still over the top action with my favorite heroes. My issues are not with the way the plot evolves, but more with how the tension is raised and how it was supposed to "explode" in the end scene.

The opening scene of the movie is amazing. It is breathtaking. It is some sort of dancing, a fast paced tango between the interchanging heroes that work as a team and destroy the helpless villains. They are assaulting some place where secrets are kept. The moment the villain's henchmen talk however i felt like they were taken from the casting pool of movies like Birdemic and that is either hilarious or tragic. Good thing they only have a few lines in the first few minutes.

The twins show up and i instantly have a great affection for Pietro Maximoff (Quicksilver). He does not speak so much in the movie but his lines are killer. Smooth, like cap's "On your left" lines. The Avengers look like an actual team and they team up pretty well unleashing some interesting combos throughout the movie.

After that the usual stuff goes around. Stark finds out super intelligence, puts it into a machine, the machine goes rogue before you can say "Seoul" and all hell breaks loose. A bit of fighting there, a bit of more fighting in another place and in the end a bigger fight where it all started. Can't escape that type of script from such a franchise that has been cursed by call-of-duty-sm right? This sums up the movie, bad guy shows up, wants to destroy the world, starts by making the Avengers by turning on against each other, then they rally up and defeat him.

I make it sound like a bad movie don't i? It's not a bad movie. I was entertained, i felt that it was worth the 145 Swedish crowns i spent to watch it 10 days before everyone else in the world sitting next to 11 year old kids on a date and giggling on every cheesy line.

It is hard not to give any spoilers and i do not want to. So i will focus more on other parts of this movie. What i liked and what i did not like mostly.

During the first Avengers i felt Hawkeye was useless. He was a pawn for half of the movie, his "powers" seemed kinda pointless and he had limited screen time. After seeing this film he is my favorite right up there with Captain America. I liked Cap because he looked more human and more down to earth thinking about the people and not himself. But in the end i think he has an extreme side about that too, just as all the other characters in the movie. Hawkeye is portrayed differently in a very refreshing way and his inclusion finally feels justified 1/3rd in the movie. He makes up for his shortcomings by being agile, quick thinking and giving some nice speeches. And i think he has some of the best lines in the film.

Hawkeye - Refreshing this time.
What about the rest of the characters? Lets break them apart one by one. Tony Stark is a fool. Engulfed by his own fears and with a little help from the Scarlet Witch he creates Ultron, a robot fueled by AI that thinks that it will bring peace in the world by destroying humanity, just as the meteorites wiped the dinosaurs and life evolved again. But that decision is never justified or given any reason. You can see within the movie that Ultron looks like a darker side of Stark. His lines are as expected cheesy and he wears even more ridiculous t-shirts. And where is all that internal conflict that he has during Iron Man 3? He is back to his usual shitty arrogant self making even more robots. The Hulkbuster and Veronica though are amazing this has to be said.

Hulk vs Iron Man -An interesting fight with some laughs.

Thor. What to say about Thor. I like his character. Nordic mythology is great and i can relate him to our own greek Zeus. He has some conflicts of his own but the only memorable scene for me was the part that everyone tries to lift Mjolnir. No that is not a spoiler since there has been a clip with that. But there is something really interesting happening in the movie with Thor, Vision and the hammer. There is nothing really to elevate him to a new level but there are some cliffhangers that point to Thanos, the infinity stones and maybe Ragnarok. Of course he has the mandatory shirtless scene...

Thor - Is he worthy?

Next one up is Captain America. Nothing really. I think he is a victim to his own amazing Winter Soldier movie and he gets set up to lead the Avengers again in the end of the film. He still makes the strategy for the team and there is increasing tension between him and Stark, which will eventually lead up to the Civil War. Besides his cool fighting moves there is nothing great about him this time.

Captain Disappointing?

Black Widow and the Hulk. I almost forgot about these characters. They share a mutual attraction only to get cockblocked by Ultron. Apart from those scenes and the fight between Iron Man and Hulk they are virtually non existent in the movie, invisible. Especially in the last fight i think that Whedon forgot to add the Hulk in the fight. Disappointed me greatly. Not only that but Banner is depicted in this universe as a very intelligent man that cares about that world and thinks twice before doing anything. Yet he joins Stark in a project to create AI that smells like problems from the beginning. Weird really, but sadly there has to be a way to keep the plot going. There is also some exploration of the Widow's past but it is just a memory flash and something about her genitals. That's it. Oh she also has a shiny new blue lightning armor.

Nice guys finish last?

Did i forget about anyone? I will not talk about the guest characters or cameo's. Stan Lee has a really cool one though! Maybe i should talk a bit more about the newly introduced ones...

The Maximoff twins then. Scarlet Witch is pretty powerful and she plays an important role in the whole movie. However she is nothing more than a kid motivated by childish revenge. Pietro is amazing. From his lines to his powers to the climax and the twist in the end. The problem is that they both despise Stark. He technically killed their family because they died by bombs manufactured by him. But it is amazing how quickly they change sides and forget about everything when they discover Ultron's plans to eradicate mankind.

Funny when you both played couple in Godzilla.

Ultron is an interesting character. Ruthless, intelligent and with a dose of fear instilled in him he is hell bent on recreating a meteorite strike to destroy the dinosau...oh wait the humans. He is a good villain and looks and sounds cool. But.....having researched his character and the comics a bit he really looks like he lacks power in this film. In the first one there was a point in the ending fight where the team was on the brink of defeat before rallying to take the bad guys. Here they just do. There is not a single point where you are afraid they might lose. Gah.

I am free. There are no strings on me.

Last is the Vision. I am unsure about this guy. Except from the Thor-Hammer scene that's just it. Some lines here and there, just a bit of fighting there and there and that's all folks. I guess he will play a role in the future but for me he sort of felt like the Dinobots in that shitty Age of Extinction movie.

I am not sure about you vision. I am not.

What is the conclusion on that movie? It is worth your time. I would give it a 3.5-4 out of 5. If you have seen the previous movies many times you will feel it was ok but not amazing. If you haven't you will really enjoy it. If you are not a fan of the MCU and just went to see it you will still have a good time. The special effects are good and they immerse you into the action, but there is way too much destruction and rubble flying around at all times. The 3d is really laughable and over-hyped, i don't remember a scene where i felt i would not be wowed apart from the intro. I really liked the movie and i would not change my decision to watch it on the premiere but i had toned my expectations down a bit. If you are over hyped about anything it is likely you will get disappointed. It sets up the sequels and future films nicely and i really liked the way Hawkeye evolved.

That's all folks! Go watch the movie and let me know what you think! Goodnight from sunny Sweden!

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