Wednesday, 25 November 2015

Avengers: Age of Ultron: There aren't any strings on me either, what's your point?

Well, this film got a reputation didn't it? While the first film was praised all around, Age of Ultron got panned for a lot of things that were praised in the first film, has the reputation of it giving a selection of, rather loud, people an excuse to chase the film's director off Twitter, and... that's all that was really talked about the film. From what I saw, if the film being similar to The Avengers wasn't what people were talking about, it was the aftermath and how Joss Whedon was treated that was. I'm already dreading talking about why it happened, so let's just get this out of the way. Avengers: Age of Ultron

As a forewarn, I will be talking about spoilers of the films I have reviewed so far. A review that I have for the site is that if I have covered earlier aspects of it, and you're reading this, then it's safe to assume you've also seen what I'm spoiling. If you haven't, you've got a few films to watch. Set after the events of Iron Man 3, Thor: The Dark World, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Guardians of the Galaxy (which I am getting to... eventually) and an arc in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D that I have not watched, nor do I have knowledge of as I planned to see it for my eventual review of the show. Short hand is this
  • Tony Stark no longer has an arc reactor in his chest
  • Bruce Banner works with Tony in Avengers Tower
  • Thor... did a thing, as The Dark World wasn't really addressed outside of Phase 3 set up and cameos
  • S.H.I.E.L.D is no more, as Hydra was planning on taking over the world and used S.H.I.E.L.D as a cover to grow
  • Guardians of the Galaxy is thankfully is only really addressed in this film by their plot meguffin
So, basic summary of the films prior, after retrieving Loki's Scepter from a Hydra base, Stark and Banner take a theory that the scepter, or a part of it, is like a computer and use it to create the artificial intelligence program that is Ultron. Once online, Ultron "kills" Jarvis and takes control of Tony's Iron Legion, which is basically what the hundreds of suits from Iron Man 3 became. Ultron, with the scepter, sets up base in the old Hydra base in Sokovia from the start of the film and recruits two teenage twins, who, while aren't named, are the Marvel Cinematic Universe's versions of Quicksilver, and Scarlet Witch. To compress this plot down, Ultron plans to wipe out the human race by lifting a portion of the city and dropping it, killing every single human being alive. Am I cutting out a lot of plot points? Yes, but unlike most people, I'm not going to criticize the plot for being so similar to the last film, in comparison to other films I've seen, its still a new plot. What I am going to criticize though is that a lot of the plot seems to exist to build up phase 3, which is something the last Avengers movie didn't do. For that reason, I think the last Avengers movie has the better plot as I'm starting to get the feeling that phase 4 is beginning to look like it's being over hyped, that the expectations are exceeding what can physically be done. I get the feeling that most people who go into phase 4 are going to call it a bad movie unless it somehow ends all war, solves world hunger, is the second coming of Jesus, take your pick at a punch line for this.
"Well, its not like this has never been a good thing before... right?"
Visually, there have been a lot of improvements. There's a lot more variety in terms of location this time and the battle scenes are a joy, with my favorite being the battle between Iron Man with "Veronica" (also known as the Hulkbuster armor) and The Hulk. The lighting is also better now as well, its not as overlit as some parts of the last film were, which I didn't mind as much. I prefer slightly overlit rather then crew members in shot, missing animations and badly edited green screens. Music wise though, my thoughts are similar to that of pretty much the rest of the MCU: "Eh?" Nothing about it stands out for me, its just more there. There isn't even a iconic track for it, unlike in the last film, which, to be honest, I'm not sure how to feel on it.
Like father like son
Character wise, all of the characters are just how you imagine them, how they should behave, nothing is awful about them. However, there are a few elephants in the room. Banner and Natasha: eh, I'm impartial to it. Ultron in this film is okay as a villain, very Loki esque. It's not because of the acting or design of the character as, unlike a lot of people, I like the Ultron design in this movie. It's more a fault of the script as I think a distinct difference would have worked better. Ultron does have some good moments though as a result of this script so its a "pick your poison" kind of situation.

The Black Widow fiasco. In my perspective? I'm on Whedon's side. It's fine. To me, a strong character is a flawed character, someone who isn't perfect, who has limits and acknowledges them. To have a character who's inherently perfect is to have, at least to me, a boring character. The situation is this, Ultron Captures Black Widow and locks her in his base. Using the remains of an old Ultron body, she calls in the other Avengers, letting them know of where Ultron is. Is this set up perfect? No, as I do think at least an establishing shot of her trying to escape either before or after the transmission would have helped. But at the same time, her entire personality is "wait for the right moment and strike" so for her to wait for the battle to start would fit her personality. At the same time though, I think some sort of establishment that she's working on something to use when she does escape and help the battle would have made it better and there were ways of writing that out entirely, but did it deserve all that hate? Not at all. If you want a Damsel in distress to hate, in fiction, look up Princess Elise. IRL, well, I won't name people but I'm sure you can find a few Damsels to call out, just don't be an jerk about it, it's still wrong to harass people period.
Oh yeah, you're in this movie. You're still not going to do anything are you?
Age of Ultron is better then people made it out to be. Not without flaw, but then again nor was the original Avengers movie. Only time will tell if my biggest issue with the movie is right or not though. As I said on Twitter, I'll be taking a one week break to do some site maintenance, as there is something big coming up. The December poll will carry over to January, in the mean time though. Come back the week after next, the reason being, well, there's one last thing to settle, and I'm done waiting to cover it. The next review: Super Smash Brothers for WiiU, along with Amiibos. See you all next time.

Why was the Victorian government sponsoring this? Though in hindsight, it does make that projection mapping I saw while working on the comedy festival have more sense... kinda...
Before anyone answers that, thanks to a few friends of mine, I now know why that's there.

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