Fish and Cherries Productions

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Reel Snippet – Avengers: Age of Ultron

Avengers: Age of Ultron is a remarkably fun film. It’s not as good as the first, but that’s hardly surprising; the first Avengers broke new ground by proving that a shared cinematic universe could work and now that we know it does work, the same thing doesn’t feel as fresh. But same isn’t always bad and this movie definitely had a lot to offer.

The movie’s biggest strength is the titular villain through and through. I don’t know if he’s as good as Loki. I mean, he doesn’t have anything nearly as quotable as, “I am Loki of Asgard and I am burdened with glorious purpose.” Still, he balances pure terror with a comedic edge that I found refreshing and certainly gives him his own identity. James Spader of Blacklist fame provides a great menacing voice that gives Ultron the right amount of gravitas that we love to see from any good super villain. I love everything about this guy right down to his animation where I was absolutely enthralled by the fact that he was allowed some form of facial expression.

The returning cast is in top form and there are some unexpected cameos from other movies that make the world feel fuller. However, it’s the newcomers, Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch (a.k.a. The Twins), who are held under a lot of scrutiny because of the rather unique dual ownership rights case concerning their characters. Quicksilver in particular has a tough act to follow after his namesake stole the show in X-Men: Days of Future Past and while he isn’t as awesome here, he feels a lot more real than his twin at Fox and I can certainly appreciate that. Scarlet Witch is certainly good too, though her powers may confuse a lot of people when they’re explained. There was a scene in the beginning when she was sneaking up on Iron Man and she moved in a disjointed, disturbing way like something out of The Ring or The Grudge; I thought that was really creative and I was disappointed that they didn’t go anywhere with it. I also like the fact that they were given accents, as they were raised in Europe in the comics and I always find it odd when adaptations make them speak like Americans.

The film isn’t without its faults, though. I personally thought the scene during the credits was particularly weak, just telling us stuff that we already learned from the end of Avengers: Thanos exists and he plans to wreck your s***. The score is also weaker in this installment. Gone is Alan Silvestri in favor of Danny Elfman and wishing no offense to the man, he doesn’t capture the heroic and victorious qualities that the music needs. I also felt that the HYDRA villains in the beginning were a weak link, like some of them were trying to deliver funny quips and whether by awkward delivery or subpar acting, it kind of fell flat.

But a little bit of bad doesn’t erase all the good. For every one thing the movie gets wrong, it gets about fifteen to twenty things right. There’s a nice callback to the Agent Carter miniseries and a bit of groundwork laid for the upcoming Black Panther movie, but also some much needed development for Hawkeye, who seems to have gone from being a second stringer with a bow to a bit of a fan favorite. The debut of Iron Man’s Hulkbuster armor and the fight against the Hulk that ensues from it is one of the standout scenes, as it shows a lot more creativity than just two giants slugging each other. Also, I can’t help but impress on the fact that the movie actually allowed the heroes to balance a battle of epic destruction with them actually diverting their attention to saving people from the destruction they caused. It felt like the most subtle jab at Man of Steel ever and I loved it. While not the masterpiece that its predecessor or Winter Soldier was, it still was some quality storytelling with some great humor and acting and altogether an excellent piece of filmmaking.

Posted under Reel Snippets
  1. XyberDameon said,

    I concur. Solid storytelling and performances. Some much needed character development for the long time supporting roles. And they filled out the world-building quota for at least one upcoming movie. There was a long to-do list for this movie, in order to bridge Phase 2 and Phase 3. Agents of SHIELD has been pulling its weight dealing Hyrda and the Inhumans, so the Avengers could establish Wakanda and magic for more of the upcoming movies. And in classic Whedon fashion they pulled it off with style.

    I love that they didn’t feel constrained by Ultron’s robotic nature when characterizing him. Having Raymond Reddington’s personality made him a perfect combination of witty and cynical, and a few very human moments really sold the idea that he actually has severe daddy and mommy issues. Those roles (in the absence of Ant Man and Wasp) filled by Tony and Witch/Widow respectively.

    I feel like they didn’t need to shy away from Scarlet Witch using magic. They already have Doctor Strange in the works. It would have been an excellent opportunity to bring Witch more into the world they intend to make and explain how she has Telekinesis, Mind Warping, Barriers, and at least one X3-Phoenix-esc, Area-of-Effect attack. They tried kinda hard to make her Magneto and Professor X at the same time.

    I actually enjoyed the idea of Banner and Widow bonding over a conditioning regiment for Hulk. It built off their relationship from the original Avengers and it gave us some characterization for Widow other than Super-Spy-Acrobat. That paired especially well with Hawkeye’s new character development that made him a real person. The problem that Hawkeye has in any Avengers cartoon is that he comes across as a cartoon character, because he eventually gets bored and starts showing off his perfect aim. Cap usually has the same problem with his shield’s bounce physics, but Marvel’s been very good about that for these films and his new magnetic gauntlet helped sell it for this installment.

    I would have loved a Coulson cameo, even just talking to Fury or Hill. And *SPOILER ALERT* for all that Ultron touted the versatility of Vibranium, they didn’t bother to explain or even name all of Vision’s abilities. And on that note I’d like at least a little explanation for Ultron’s Telekinesis Gun, which only seemed to exist for the purpose of dragging Avengers into grapple distance tearing up asphalt.

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