The Avengers: Age of Ultron, a review

avengers-age-of-ultron-trailer-comic-con-2014

My husband wanted to go, my kids were ambivalent, I wanted to give writer/director Joss Whedon (Buffy the Vampire Slayer’s creator) my fan support, so off we went to a 6:30pm Saturday show of this 3D movie. I went in with low expectations, hoping it would leave me pleasantly surprised with no luck. I was still disappointed, so was my husband and eldest daughter (age 13). My younger daughter (age 12) fell asleep as soon as she filled up on popcorn.

In a nutshell, there was a group of good guys, the Avengers (Tony Stark/Iron Man, Thor, Bruce Banner/Hulk, Steve Rogers/Captain American, Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow, Clint Barton/Hawkeye) who stumbled upon a group of bad guys (Hydra) and confiscated a MacGuffin (sceptre previously held by Loki in the 1st movie). Said sceptre was used for evil purposes (human experiments) by the bad guys, yet Tony Stark, secretly took it upon himself (with a complicit Bruce Banner) to use this newfound sceptre to kickstart world peace. When an artificially intelligent being was inadvertently created, all went awry. Said being (Ultron) decided that world peace required the annihilation of humanity. The Avengers put aside their differences (mostly anger toward Stark’s arrogant colossal error) and tried to save the world, again.

I saw this movie last night and yet I still had to check Wikipedia for the plot point details. Comic book superhero plots are ridiculous and irrelevant to their appeal. In these films, I am hoping for plot that has some degree of internal logic, a script with witty dialogue that is free of clunky exposition, interesting characters, imaginative action sequences and well choreographed fights.

This movie was overstuffed with mythological detail that was not very interesting, much less coherent. I found my attention drifting to the bottom of my popcorn bag. The movie was packed with characters (old and new) that were poorly developed and the attempts at filling them out was ineffective, in the case of Hawkeye and Black Widow especially, resulting if poor pacing. The robotic villain, Ultron, was lacklustre, despite decent voice acting by James Spader. Ultron’s bioengineered henchpeople (Maximoff twins, Quicksilver and Scarlett Witch) were unnecessary in a film busting with detail that I couldn’t care less about. There was a hint of romance between Banner and Black Widow that came from left field and was devoid of chemistry.

I have had my fill of prolonged repetitive scenes of urban destruction that are found in many action films. This film took my fatigue to a new low. The cinematography didn’t help. The colours were muted. 3D was superfluous. The fight sequences were edited too quickly, resulting in many messy, punishing blurs in a film that overstayed its welcome  at 2hrs21min. There were a few funny lines and a running joke, but those were not enough to recommend this film.

Sigh, I like all the actors in this film (they did their best with what they had) and I am a huge Joss Whedon fan, so I wish I could say I enjoyed this film. I didn’t. After being charmed by Guardians of the Galaxy and pleasantly surprised by X-Men: Days of Future Past I know I am not a joyless troll incapable of appreciating a super hero movie. This just isn’t a very good one.

 

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