The Avengers did quite well for themselves their opening weekend at the box office. The movie grossed $187.6 million which makes it the second highest grossing blockbuster film domestically of all time. The film is continuing to soar in popularity as it was announced the film has surpassed $1 billion in earnings at the box office.
Yet, reviews of the movie do not reflect similarly fantastic results. The general consensus among movie critics is that Age of Ultron “is outlandishly overpacked“. Unfortunately, I would also have to agree.
For me, the movie definitely had all the right ingredients: big name actors, a large budget, and a wide fan base after the first movie. Even so, the movie miserably failed at creating an entertaining and sensible plot.
Disclaimer: Spoilers ahead!
In most, if not all of the action scenes, none of the Avengers seemed to ever be in real danger. Their banter over invisible ear pieces made it as if whatever imminent danger they were in required only half their attention. In fact, the only significant wound I can recall any of the six Avengers suffering is in the very beginning of the movie by Hawkeye. Even then, the action does not have much impact since the audience knows there is a slim chance a main character will die so early on in the plot.
The only REALLY crazy fight scene between two individuals taking hard hits from each other was when Iron Man attempted to calm down the Hulk. You would think the main action would be between Ultron, the leading villain, and the Avengers but all we get is a repeat of the first movie, but this time with millions of mindless robot drones (it was aliens the last time). These robots never pose a real threat to the Avengers but only pose a threat to the civilians that the Avengers make a repeated point of trying to evacuate.
Entertainment Weekly’s review of the movie also shared in my frustration as they pointed out, “Someone wants to destroy the world, but none of our heroes is ever in any jeopardy.With sequels already lined up for the next decade, how much danger could any of them be in? They’re too valuable to the bottom line. And where’s the excitement in that?”
Not only was the action in the movie disappointingly pointless, it was also excessive. Los Angeles Times’ Kenneth Turan wrote, “Well-made though each action sequence may be, there are so many of them…that everything blurs together.”
On the end of humour, I found the banter between characters entirely forced or as one critic would say, “…the film’s rimshot-ready one-liners have the overkill desperation of a stand-up scared of bombing.” Half the jokes centred around Captain America accidentally reprimanding Iron Man for swearing then apologizing profusely for the rest of the movie. Har har.
Beyond the fact action sequences were repetitive and lines meant to inspire laughter dull, the plot line of this movie was nonsensical.
Tony Stark, aka Iron Man, played by Robert Downey Jr., starts off the entirety of the plot by being shown a vision by Wanda Maximoff, aka the Scarlet Witch, played by Elizabeth Olsen. She shows him a vision of his fellow friends dead because of Tony’s doing. No explanation of how or why, just that his friends die. Stark embarks on creating a robot to protect the world, and thereby his friends, but the robot ends up wanting to destroy the world instead. Shocker. Now once Tony realizes the robot is trying to kill his friends, he decides to try again with a new robot. This time it works but no explanation is given as to why. So to summarize, Stark under a weird spell by the Scarlet Witch meant to tear the Avengers apart is motivated to develop technology to protect his friends. He succeeds in doing so and this is… bad?
Some may say the anger of the rest of the Avengers when Tony created Ultron without conversing with the rest of the team is what Wanda wanted to provoke in order to divide the Avengers apart. However, let’s not forget, Stark did not converse with his team members when creating Vision, Ultron 2.0, either. All in all, Iron Man learns an important lesson about… nothing. I am not alone in my confusion of the primary plotline in Age of Ultron as Scott Mendelson writes, “That Stark (and an all-too-willing Banner) didn’t consider the possibility that Ultron might reach this conclusion [to destroy the world] makes him an idiot, and the damage done to the world renders him an indirect villain at best and a genuine threat to global stability at worst.”
Backtracking to the character of the Scarlet Witch, can someone please explain this girl’s powers? She casts a spell on Iron Man that enhances the character’s drive to protect his friends, gives flashbacks to the Black Widow and Captain America that does not hinder their goal of stopping Ultron, stops moving trains using red forcefields, and so much more my head is still reeling over. Beyond the fact her powers are seemingly endless and have no restrictions, her role in the plot is pitiful. She and her brother unwittingly help Ultron and eventually come to realize, “Oops, Ultron’s the bad guy!”, and quickly switches sides. Wanda also has a scene in which she dramatically breaks a robot Ultron was manifesting in order to avenge her brother’s death. She does this even though the audience knows what she is doing does not actually kill Ultron and as such, does not avenge her brother’s death.
I am also not quite sure how Ultron, played by James Spader, was seemingly defeated at the very end of the movie either. If this A.I. can manifest itself in all electronic devices why did Ultron manifest himself in a beat up dummy robot walking straight towards Vision? More crucially, how are none of the Avengers asking this very same question?
Furthermore, if Vision has one of the infinity stones that according to the Avengers has the power to destroy the planet, why was he so useless during the fight against Ultron’s robot army? And was anyone else surprised at the weak attempt for more focus on Hawkeye and Black Widow by just making things up about both their personal lives. Out of the blue, the audience finds out Hawkeye has a family and the Black Widow is in love with the Hulk. These undeveloped plot twists posed many new questions for me.
For example, Bruce Banner, aka the Hulk, played by Mark Ruffalo, explains to Natasha Romanova, aka the Black Widow, played by Scarlett Johansson, he does not want to start a relationship with her because he physically cannot have sex and thereby, reproduce. At this point, might I add, these two have not even started dating and probably have not gone past second base. Regardless, the Black Widow explains she is sterilized. The two then seem to make the outrageous conclusion they should “run away together”, leaving the audience wondering, “But to where? Why? And more importantly, since when are you two a thing?!”
The love story concludes as Bruce in his green state. which is supposed to make him uncontrollably angry and all together irrational, calmly flies a plane away from the girl he loves. Bruce, in his Hulk-form, flies the plane away because he considers the intricacies of why a love relationship will not work with the only person on the Avengers team that can calm his anger by verbally dictating a lullaby. Again, what are these reasons and how come the Hulk can possess so much self-control at the end of the movie but never throughout the movie? Who knows.
Truly, I could continue on to discuss the minuscule role of Thor and Captain America but I think you understand my drift. While I wouldn’t say this Avengers film was any worse than its predecessor, I do think the Age of Ultron has confirmed the fact the Avengers series is doing a very poor job in juggling the character development of its six main members and needs a serious lesson on how to make an action movie an exciting one.