Friday, May 1, 2015
"Avengers: Age of Ultron" Review (Spoiler-Free)
I think I'll keep this quick because there is a lot I want to talk about but much of it is a spoiler, so, expect some pretty brief thoughts.
Okay, great, so, how's the movie? It's really good. It's a great sequel to its predecessor and you can really tell that in terms of writing and cinematography that this movie was a step-up from where it needed to be. I think that much of the enjoyment people are going to get from this film also depends on how much they've been following it. If you read all the interviews, watch all the clips, and analyze every frame of the movie, then yeah, you're obviously going to be disappointed because you were criticizing things that hadn't yet happened (don't worry, I'm aware that I did this, too, I'm a hypocrite for saying this but at least I acknowledged it).
I posted recently about whether or not Ultron could be the best MCU villain and in terms of the movies, or larger scale events, yes, he is the king. He, oddly enough, felt more human than all the other characters we've seen. He had a cruel sense of humor, he spoke like any normal person would (Bible quoting to show how awesome he is not included), and did have moments where he would absolutely rage out if you made him a little angry. It felt like there was a really frustrated, angry, and scared person underneath the suit of armor that held many dangerous weapons in their hands and it was great for the movie as he was an unpredictable element in it.
The Avengers themselves were incredible. Right off the bat you can tell that this team is a seasoned team, they know each other's strengths and weaknesses. Their dialogue is extremely fluid and every line while they are interacting with each other in a fight, or even just relaxing, makes them feel like real people, it brings them down to Earth rather than placing them higher above humanity. It makes them humble, too.
What's good about the movie is that it doesn't have to suffer, as the first one did, with showing the clashing personalities as a strong point of the movie. Yes, obviously they will disagree on things, but it comes at natural, and very controversial, parts for the story (not like controversial as in people will disagree, I mean for the characters themselves). When they argue, it's warranted, and not just them trying to pick fights with each other. This movie gives us the feeling that these people really are a strong team, they really are friends.
And as friends, they make fun of each other. A lot. And it makes for a movie that is actually funnier than Guardians of the Galaxy, not gonne lie. Go check it out and see what I mean. I have to wonder how much of these lines were just improved. There's a moment with Thor during the final battle in particular that I think they just kept the camera on him and it worked so well they kept it.
Even though the movie is pretty long (2 hr 24 mins) there are parts that felt a bit rushed for me. Things just sort of happen (you'll know when you see them just suddenly appear with one scene as a break) and we're expected to roll with it. Here's where things get a little wonky.
While the characters of the movie were great and the film looked really, really good, the story took until the second act to really get a strong hold on its footing. Prior to that, there was a bit of bouncing around and putting events together in a way that was a little rushed. The movie starts off perfectly fine, but after that we jump to almost a whole new situation. The problem is the way that Ultron is introduced. If you haven't followed any media and know nothing about the comics, then Ultron comes out of nowhere and it did hurt the story for me. It was a bit of a precursor for what we were to see.
However, when things got going and the stakes were raised (a pun, I'll have you know), there is a deep feeling of, "Oh, crap, how are they going to get out of this one?" It carries throughout the entire final battle, which was a much better final battle than the one from the previous movie as there was more weight to it. I was just wondering the entire time how they could win, following the movie and trying to see how they could win.
This movie is very engaging because it is a very smart movie. It relies on the audience to piece things together. You can't just go to this movie and sit back and watch, you have to stay focused. Little things come to pay off that you have to remember. Characters acting a certain way will come back, little moments or lines of dialogue have relevance. There is a greater web being weaved that all leads to a certain point and normally that would complicate things but the movie, as I said, does find pacing when the team has to go to a certain place and the movie shoots from there.
The final thing I'll touch on are our new characters, Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch. Quicksilver was funny, but thankfully not in the same way as his counterpart in X-Men: Days of Future Past. It was a different character and while there wasn't much to him, he was still a fun addition. Scarlet Witch, on the other hand, is clearly the more important piece to the two of them. She's probably the more well-known character among fans, and, she kinda is the deeper character between the two of them (from what I've read). She was my favorite new character, Ultron aside, and one of just my favorite parts of the whole movie. A lot of things swirled around her and you could see her mental struggle of trying to piece things together and find what she really believed in during the movie. Elizabeth Olsen absolutely killed it as Wanda Maximoff, and I fell in love with the character almost instantly.
Overall, this movie rocked. It had great new characters, and every character had moments to shine be it through action, humor, or just straight up character development. This was a character focused movie with really well done action sequences. While the story did suffer, I almost expected it because of what they were trying to do, but it's still difficult to overlook it. That doesn't hold the movie back from being of Marvel's best films, maybe even their best!
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