"Avengers: Age of Ultron" Review
The latest high-flying escapade in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) is big early-summer fun to a fault. Overall, it's a worthy addition to the canon that features some seriously cool set pieces and the customary witticisms of the unwieldy cast of characters. It is a textbook example of why audiences go to movies during the summer months. It's nothing but big, loud fun and doesn't really try to be much more than that.
But perhaps more so than anything Marvel has yet produced, Age of Ultron feels like a manufactured product. Some scenes follow each other in ways that don't make sense; as if important plot points were cut out entirely. This was my first thought a mere two minutes into the film. It's as if Kevin Feige and his merry band of executives thought it best to get in there and chop the thing to bits just to keep it at a market-friendly 2 hours & 20 minutes.
(Now there are rumors of a 3.5 hour extended cut making its way onto the Blu-ray later this year, but it's more than likely that just a handful of deleted scenes and an alternate ending will be included on the disc. It would be a first for Disney to release an "Extended Cut" Blu-ray of one of its Marvel titles. Either way, I would love to get my hands on the Blu-ray to see if any of the deleted material fills in the plot holes that currently riddle the theatrical cut.)
The film stays very busy as it balances the subplots of each individual Avenger. For the most part, they service just fine although the Hulk and Black Widow make a strong case for this year's celebrity odd couple. The overarching story is that Tony Stark uses the Infinity Stone from Loki's scepter to build a global peacekeeping protocol called "Ultron." The protocol quickly evolves into a sentient computer program with a skewed view of reality. Ultron believes that the best way to keep the peace is to rid the world of human weakness entirely. It's up to the Avengers to stop Ultron and save the world once again.
I recommend seeing the film at least twice to really catch every caveat to the story and to the characters. On my first rodeo, the film seemed incoherent and nearly unwatchable at times. The second time I felt much more taken by the simple idea of the Avengers facing a villain who actually comes terrifyingly close to realizing his plan. I really got a grasp of the stakes at hand upon second viewing, and it made the film much more exciting to watch.
AND THE BEST PART IS THAT THEY ACTUALLY CONSIDER THE CITIZENS BEFORE THINGS GO "KABOOM." FINALLY!
Bottom line is that the people who typically watch these kinds of films will see them regardless of what the critics say. I did, despite the film having one of the weakest critical receptions of any film in the MCU. I understand where the complaints are coming from, and I agree with some of them. But I still believe there's more good than bad in Age of Ultron. The film's choppy narrative keeps it from being as good as the series' very best films, but it's as fun and over-the-top as any of them. I enjoyed it more than the first Avengers team-up.
Written by Ben C. of The Reel