REVIEW: Avengers: Age of Ultron
Age of Ultron really doesn’t need an introduction. The promotion for this film has entrenched itself so far into our lives that you can’t even treat yourself to a happy meal without the righteous figure of Thor glaring at you with his plastic, disapproving eyes. To cut it down to its bare basics, the story is manufactured A.I deciding to destroy the world for the good of the human race – think I Robot, Terminator, Y2K etc.
The Marvel Cinematic Universe is like a vast spider’s web, each tangent is enjoyable in their own right but the real beauty can be found in the intertwined hints of the whole picture. The Avengers takes place at the centre of the web, sure you have crossover cameos such as Black Widow scaling the silk to star in Captain America: The Winter Soldier…classic spider-based humour… but those films are there to do two things, one make a vast amount of money and two, paint a little bit more of the MCU picture. Age Of Ultron is the pivotal culmination of all things Marvel. In 141 minutes director Joss Whedon must juggle the egos of his superheroes, a wonderful storyline, a frighteningly powerful villain, a nice balance of tear-jerking and laugh-inducing moments, all whilst giving some winks and nods towards future plots. AND…he does. Sort of.
Age of Ultron is a blockbuster in every sense of the word, you can guarantee you will leave the cinema with that infectious story-topping ‘remember when so and so did this’ that accompanies all major action films. Each star has at least one insanely cool spot. Ultron’s sarcastic, narcissistic humour is refreshing, coupled with the fact he is a complete badass villain. I thoroughly enjoyed the bromance that has formed between Captain America and Thor; they just seem like pals that will go to the intergalactic bar once this super-computer A.I thing blows over. My favourite character actually turned out to be Hawkeye, who really comes into his own throughout the film. Whedon puts a lot of focus on making him cool as hell instead of the guy with the bow and arrow from S.H.I.E.L.D.
Throughout the film you will find yourself heartily laughing at some of the one-liners. There are some great performances by newcomers Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen) and Quicksilver (Aaron Taylor-Johnson)– I particularly liked when Quicksilver suited up by putting on his Addidas trainers…the only trainers that can withstand travelling at the speed of sound of course. On the same thought process, I found it hilarious that the protectors of Earth also use Beats By Dre headphones.
The problem I think lies within there being simply just too much to fit in within one film, it is like overloading a Subway with different meats, you cannot appreciate the individual flavours and instead have what you can only describe as general carnivorous taste. When the Russo brothers directed the 2nd Captain America film they were able to delve into the development of the character, giving a concise story, whilst remaining exciting and original, it almost felt like a crime thriller at times. Josh Whedon is not able to do this; he has the insurmountable task of appeasing the vast public, whilst trying to satisfy the hardcore comic-book fans. I think what speaks volumes most about his attempt is that he wanted to make this film pushing 200 minutes, that is how he saw fitting all the pieces of the jigsaw together, but had to cut the film down by almost an hour due to the studios belief the long running time would put off casual cinemagoers. Time for another incredibly bad metaphor… it’s like a heavyweight boxer cutting down to a lighter weight class, portions of the fighter’s game will suffer due to the focus on making that weight (how have I managed to reference two food chains and a heavyweight boxer in this article?!)
Overall, I feel Age of Ultron became a victim of its own hype. The hysteria and build up meant that to truly fulfill its own excitement it would have had to be one of the greatest movies of all time. All in all it ticks all the boxes for a Hollywood blockbuster, but in the eyes of this fast-food analogy obsessed writer falls a hammer’s throw short of greatness.