Archive | Post Mortem RSS feed for this section

Post Mortem – The Avengers: Age of Ultron

1 May

The Avengers: Age of Ultron is the eleventh movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and hit screens this week. The commercial success of this movie is guaranteed: it will, without question, be one of the highest-grossing films all-time. So how will fans of the series judge the Avengers’ return to the big screen?

I will admit to having guarded expectations regarding this movie. For me, the original Avengers movie was one of the best comic book movies. I think Joss Whedon did a great job of mixing action, charm, and humor in the film. He did a great job of combining the fun of the Iron Man films with the gravity of Captain America. My one complaint is that the fight scenes were a bit too muddy on screen–it was sometimes difficult to follow the action. So, I entered Age of Ultron with guarded expectations. Could this film ever live up to the enormous hype generated by the Disney/Marvel juggernaut? Could it recreate the unique blend of ingredients in the first one? Could we feel the same excitement the first time we saw the Avengers assemble? And I was pleasantly surprised by the results.

The Plot: The movie begins with the Avengers raiding a HYDRA base as they search for Loki’s staff (Chitauri Scepter for the mega-fans). From the first scenes, you can tell that Whedon learned from the missteps in the Avenger action sequences. The camera easily moves from on Avenger to the next and serves as a showcase (or introduction if you are new to the Marvel Universe) of each member’s ability. This entire battle serves mainly as a prologue, because it is only after they have captured the staff and begin to examine it, that we are introduced to the main theme of the film.

Tony Stark is tired of saving the world and believes that the Avengers were brought together so they could eliminate the threats that only the Avengers could solve. With the power of the staff, he believes that he can create a robotic sentry that would safeguard the world. But, predictably, the artificial intelligence that was supposed to protect humanity, realizes that the only way to protect humans is to remove the largest threat to their safety–humans. This A.I. is Ultron, and he is the Avengers most persistent and dangerous opponent.

I won’t spoil the rest of the story, but I do have a few notes:

  • We are introduced to several new characters in this film, and they all fit very naturally. Their personalities and powers fit right in with the rest of the Avengers.
  • This movie is funny. Not full-fledged comedy funny, but action movie funny. The laughs diffuse tension. And even in a huge blockbuster, Whedon manages to sprinkle in scenes that provide an intimate look at the heroes, when they are not being heroic.
  • There is a romance, that while not offensively out-of-place, still feels shoehorned into the movie.
  • The Hulk vs. Iron Man. That is all…



For all of the build up over the past three years, Age of Ultron manages to more than meet my expectations. The action is tighter, the one-liners are funnier, and the 3D is the best I have ever seen. The stakes are just as high in the movie–you feel that the survival of humanity hangs in the balance of a decisive battle. As I left the theater, I heard many comic book fans talking about how the comics were better and how they changed this detail. This is an adaptation of comics, inspired by the stories that took hundreds of comic books and years to tell. They cannot possibly make a word-for-word, panel-for-panel recreation of the comics. In short, this is how every person who read Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, or Gone Girl, or The Da Vinci Code felt when they saw movies based on those books. Compromises must be made to fit a novel’s worth of material into two hours.  But most important, this movie did not feel like a placeholder. Yes this is part of a much larger story, but it was a self-contained thrill ride. So does it suck?

Avengers - Dark together

%d bloggers like this: