Review: AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON Suffers From Its Strongest Asset

Contributing writer; Switzerland
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Review: AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON Suffers From Its Strongest Asset

Despite the avalanche of comic book adaptations, I was kind of looking forward to Joss Whedon's second time around with the Avengers. The first film proved to have great entertainment value and Whedon managed to approach each superhero equitably and cleverly. Unfortunately, I can't say the same thing about Avengers: Age of Ultron.

It's saddening to realize how the film makes a weakness out of its strongest asset - that is its team of superheroes. While the first film managed to leave enough space for each character to build and affirm themselves, the second one drowns its protagonists in an overabundance of elements and characters. Of course, the task was easier for the first Avengers as the team building was the narrative core of the film, but the operation also managed to succeed thanks to Whedon's writing skills.

Over the past decades, Whedon has shown such a masterful talent in creating characters and in building their interactions (watch Buffy: The Vampire Slayer, Firefly or even Dollhouse) that one cannot feel but disappointed by what he hasn't achieved in Avengers: Age of Ultron. Not only does the character development suffer from many weaknesses, but the main structure of the film sometimes fails to be convincing and only skims through some of the themes.

Despite rumors about an extended cut supposed to be clocking in at 3 hours and 30 minutes (which would be more than an hour longer than the theatrical cut), the final version depicts bits and pieces that are ultimately sacrificed. In order to avoid spoilers, I won't name the major disappointments - you'll notice them yourself - but some sub-plots appear to be terribly pushy and often lack subtlety in their treatment as they need to exist among all the narratives deployed (see the Maximoffs' explanation of their hatred toward Tony Stark or the Avengers' nightmares created by Scarlet Witch).

Also fighting to exist on screen, all the jokes and puns no longer really carry Whedon's trademark wit, but continue to attempt to seduce the audience. Avengers: Age of Ultron does have its funny sequences (the alpha males trying to pick up Thor's hammer) but it's mostly attached to specific characters, such as Thor and Captain America. Sadly, this missing wit sometimes makes the film sink into ridicule. I am not talking about cynicism - Whedon respects his material too much to lower his perspective towards this kind of distance - but rather I am talking about a glorification of clichéd values and situations that the director would usually have defused (Hawkeye's narrative arc).

Devoid of any personalization, everything seems to have been calculated to be the perfect mass product : big action scenes every now and then, constant joke-dropping, lots of super heroes and huge special effects. The non-stop explosions and mass destruction provoke a feeling of saturation, which is reinforced by the fact that the Avengers look more like sitcom characters rather than half Gods.

Avengers: Age of Ultron is not a bad film, it's just a dull and uninspired sequel. The opening is a perfect representation of this, with a massive action sequence involving the whole team in which there's a long take very similar to that of the finale from the first film. The viewers are thrown into this insipid reproduction without any existing issues and as such can't help but feel blazed about the whole thing.

Let's hope that Marvel will soon stop aiming at bigger and louder and start developing more carefully its universe - but hey, who am I kidding?

Avengers: Age Of Ultron opens in many regions of the world starting April 22 & 23, and in North America on May 1.

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AvengersAvengers Age of UltronMarvelMCUSuperheroesJoss WhedonStan LeeJack KirbyRobert Downey Jr.Chris HemsworthMark RuffaloChris EvansActionAdventureSci-Fi

More about Avengers: Age of Ultron

hjuukl7889April 21, 2015 4:09 PM


Filmguy83April 21, 2015 4:33 PM

Yep. If you're going to review a film you haven't seen, have fun with it and be more specific and clever and imaginitive. This is just too damn vague to be convincing and congrats, you're the first review online.....Trolling is only fun if it's funny. And this is coming from this site's previous king troll supreme. This is a pretty pathetic attempt of scoring likes and shares.

lovalApril 21, 2015 4:48 PM

Come on guys, there's no need to get agressive. If you'd like me to spoil the entire film to prove that you're wrong, just tell me - it would be my pleasure.

WhoIsTheDoctorApril 21, 2015 4:51 PM

ok tell us.

ZeoVGMApril 21, 2015 5:10 PM

"Let's hope that Marvel will soon stop aiming at bigger and louder and
start developing more carefully its universe - but hey, who am I

Uh, that implies that this is an ongoing issue. How can you say that when last year's movies were Winter Soldier and Guardians?

Yeah, this is a very jaded review.

benuApril 21, 2015 5:10 PM

Settle down. The film has been having press screenings for weeks, and will be released in many parts of the world tomorrow, including Switzerland, where Loïc saw it for review.

Johnny RingoApril 21, 2015 5:12 PM

Smells of being a fairly negative review for the sake of being negative.

Jane ChangApril 21, 2015 5:20 PM

Did you mean 'blasé'? I don't think being blazed quite accurately describes what you're trying to say.

Filmguy83April 21, 2015 5:21 PM

I redact my statement and apologize and admit being in the wrong here. Reviews have now live every where all within the last hour. I have no problem with a negative review, I'm sick to death of superhero properties and couldn't give a single flying f*ck about this non stop onslaught of Marvel Universe stuff that's going to keep coming for the next ten years and would very much have wanted someone to gleefulyl take a big ol' dump on these lifeless assembly line made cash cows. I was only disappointed that this piece played it so damn safe.

Matthew April 21, 2015 5:45 PM

Not surprised by this one bit. I wasn't that impressed with the Avengers overall and I knew they couldn't work so many pieces. I'm sure I'll be entertained but it won't have the same impact Iron Man had one me.

Todd BrownApril 21, 2015 5:46 PM

Alternately, it may smell of being a negative review from having been written by someone who didn't really like the movie.

Johnny RingoApril 21, 2015 6:25 PM

But not very likely.

KurtApril 21, 2015 6:53 PM

Dull and uninspired is the MARVEL formula! "Just Good Enough!" is their motto.

marshy00April 21, 2015 8:51 PM

Yup, we love nothing better than to lie just to be seen as different and cool. We're all 9 years old, after all.

marshy00April 21, 2015 8:52 PM

Maybe the reviewer has become jaded?

arturoApril 21, 2015 9:03 PM

I'm going to see Age Of Utron this weekend and no doubt it will be great fun, escapism is what I'm looking for and Marvel know how to do that very well. I think it will be better than the review I just read? But hey people have different tastes, so fingers crossed with Avengers..

Johnny RingoApril 21, 2015 9:47 PM

Glad you openly admit it. Now let's see if the author of this ridiculous review can follow suit.

HitlerwasrightaboutthejewsApril 21, 2015 9:58 PM

The Jew has always been a people with definite racial characteristics and never a religion.
-Adolf Hitler

Pa Kent Says MaybeApril 21, 2015 9:58 PM

But. That's. Not. Acceptable.

You've seen the movie, and you had criticisms, but a Marvel zombie who hasn't seen it knows the truth: Zombies will like it anyway.

Why bother?

Pa Kent Says MaybeApril 21, 2015 10:01 PM

Like that would work. Thanks for your review. It was honest. More than this corporate assembly-line product probably deserves, and obviously more than its pre-sold fanbase will tolerate.

Pa Kent Says MaybeApril 21, 2015 10:02 PM

What, exactly, the fuck?

DjimdApril 21, 2015 11:14 PM

I smell a review biased against the movie for political philosophy. Dismissing the Hawkeye section (which is almost universally praised) as if it's badness is a given clues you in. Plus the criticisms don't seem consistent within the review, nor does the venom always make sense: for example, in what universe would an audience be "blazed" over or find "insipid", a superhero action movie for beginning with a 3 minute action sequence? It's virtually expected.

Maybe youd cumulatively be ground down by too much action, but unless you've already flipped that switch, how can an opening action sequence generate much emotion in either direction?

Disingenuous, vague, garbage.

skaoreoApril 22, 2015 12:30 AM

Remember kids: If a reviewer says your movie stinks--HE'S WRONG AND A LIAR AND PROBABLY A COMMUNIST AND KICKS PUPPIES TOO!!!

Now excuse me I'll be waiting over here for the "real" genre film of 2015--Mad Max.

Marcel SamsonApril 22, 2015 3:02 AM

You're spending your days talking down on people here, it seems. Isn't there some elitist website where you can hang? Or whatever the upper class equivalent is? ;)

Pa Kent Says MaybeApril 22, 2015 7:49 AM

Those darned elitists who leave their brains turned on!
Wait. Did you just admit their that Marvel fans are a lower class? Remember, kiddies, it wasn't me who said it.

BosApril 22, 2015 9:58 AM

You are defending a movie you didn't saw yet. Isn't that ridiculous?
At least the reviewer saw it...

Pa Kent Says MaybeApril 22, 2015 10:20 AM

It will be interesting, however, to watch all the people who complained about MAN OF STEEL's destruction porn (and were correct to do so) contort themselves into awesomegasms when it's all Robert Downey Jr.'s fault.

While the world is moving on to complain obnoxiously about watching dour Superman and pouty Batman fight over consequences, the Zombies will have three years to caw-caw about how excited they are to watch Iron Man and Captain America do exactly the same thing.

Johnny RingoApril 22, 2015 11:58 AM

And you claim I haven't seen it based on what?

soupcrusherApril 22, 2015 12:58 PM

When you see certain directors slated for these comic book flicks jump ship in the midst of pre production, it's not hard to guess why they bail. Lack of creative control. The inability to properly craft a film of their own making because the studio has the final say.
The Marvel films have been quite good. Guardians to me is their best to date. And it's surprising success will likely doom Gunn's ability to make the sequel he wants.
I'm not holding these films up to some high standard, but it's sad to hear Whedon couldn't work his magic the 2nd time around. I definitely wouldn't put the blame on him for the film's shortcomings.
As for now I'm just super siked that Daredevil was made into a series instead of a movie. And it's damn good.

curtvileApril 22, 2015 3:22 PM

Having seen the movie today I understand what the reviewer is saying better. Not agreeing totally. This good as sequels go, whether you count this as second or twelfth movie.
It would have benefited from increased lenght, covering the personalities and motivations even more. Even so this is more of what Empire strikes back is to Star Wars (or as it's now called a new hope).
Considering that within this week I have seen in movies Wyrmwood, Duke of Burgundy and the Spring and would watch all of these happily again I may not be correct to evaluate. I view these on different scales within the medium.

As a comicbookfan and as a filmfan Marvel's approach is still above and beyond most comicbook adaptation fare. Yes it lays framework to Civil war and Infinity Gauntlet etc but while it was obvious before too this cemented the belief that instead of singular movies, works meant to stand solely on their own these are chapters of one massive and varied story.
Like episodes of a series such Sopranos, Boardwalk Empire or chapters in a book.

But alas I found Hawkeye & Black Widow plotlines/narratives to be the meat of this, so maybe it's wisest to agree to disagree.

malApril 24, 2015 1:44 AM

:( but hopefully I'll enjoy it and disagree with this review. haha

Marcel SamsonApril 24, 2015 11:30 AM

Nowhere did I say upper class was superior in any way ;)

AmmyPetersonMay 5, 2015 1:15 PM

It was a predictive story, but graphics and concept were highlights, worth watching once, good 3D visuals