So, Age of Ultron has been out for a while now. I think it’s about time we talk in depth about it, the good, the bad and the green in between (spoilers). Now I’ve had the chance to see AoU (Age of Ultron) about 5/6 times. At first the hype cast a shadow over the quality of the film, but I appreciate that’s it’s still an excellent action/comic book movie and a welcome addition to the list of Marvel Cinematic Universe films. However, I can’t help but feel like AoU dangled numerous tasty treats without letting them be devoured, it felt like the film really could’ve delved deeper.
I’ll mostly be talking about things that didn’t work or could’ve been done better, for example the cringe-worthy relationship of Hulk/Widow which came completely out of left field, I was thought this was really unfaithful to both characters. The fact that the trailer music was better than the score of the actual film and dodgy editing of scenes which were obviously cut down. (when Ultron is talking to the twins in the church ‘And yes that too’) These are just minor gripes.
NIGHTMARES, FEARS AND DOUBTS
I think the one thing that really separates this film with the other Marvel Studios creations is seeing what the Avengers are really afraid of, what psychological doubts make them who they are. By far the most interesting of these was Black Widow’s origin story, which we FINALLY learn about. Her origin was handled with a real dark creepiness. We see her soul ripped from her physically and mentally, something I felt the film needed more of. Captain America’s vision was not obvious at all, I thought it was poorly done while the idea was okay. The idea that Cap will never have a family, he’ll never be able to settle down, he’s a man out of time. I think if they instead focused on things like ‘What if the allied forces lost WWII?’ or anything with Bucky/The Winter Soldier, his side story would be much more memorable. There’s not much to say about Iron Man as his ends up pushing the story forward and Thor’s we’ll get to later. Banner just Hulked out for his, I feel like it was a missed opportunity to maybe have something a lot darker and psychological. Banner fights something within himself, and while almost everyone enjoyed what I thought was an over the top ‘Man of Steel’ sort of action sequence, I’m pretty bored of the idea that the Hulk can’t control himself sometimes, I get that he likes to punch stuff okay?
NEW ADDITIONS; The Vision, Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver
What made this movie seemingly impossible to get right were these guys being added to the fold, because they’re more and than just throw away characters like War Machine for example. These guys are part of the main Avengers team in comic books and have been for a long time. The Vision was great. Simple as that, he’s perfectly adapted to the film, the lack of screen time was widely disappointing though. Only really appearing the in final battle twice? What’s that about? His ‘phasing’ ability is also poorly represented as it seems like faint efforts were made a couple times, I doubt the audience would notice them. The Maximoff twins were also well realised, their relationship is just as it is in the comics, yet again the problem is mostly the same. Not enough screen time. I would have preferred to focus on these three new characters than others like Cap & Thor who will have entire trilogies onto themselves. So if it wasn’t for the fact the twins aren’t my personal favourites in the comics, I would have no emotional connection to them at all. Which leads into the death of Pietro, which I’ll get onto right…
DEATH OF PIETRO MAXIMOFF/QUICKSILVER
Now! This is funny indeed, more than a few people were expecting a death in this film. I was one of them. Marvel Studios have a pretty disgusting track record when it comes to movie deaths, as almost every single ‘good’ guy that dies comes back to life. This is particularly annoying because this means there are never any stakes…ever. So AoU was the one to change that, admittedly I really wanted Hawkeye to die. He doesn’t add anything definitive to the team, he has no back story in the movies whatsoever and up until next year (Civil War) he’s only appeared in 2 films. Yes, yes, I know he has a family now, but that would’ve only made his death even more important? How much more interesting would it have been if the death of Hawkeye served as a definitive turning point in the MCU? Something to weigh everyone down in the future, lingering in the mind of Cap, Black Widow, Stark etc.
Instead, Pietro Maxmioff/Quicksilver died. It was horrible. I really hated this not because he was the one who died. But because it wasn’t the right time and completely the wrong circumstances, making it feel forced. We were just
introduced to him, with no real connection to him. In fact, the dude’s only got 7 lines in the film and 2 of the 7 are the same! So if you really wanted to kill him (which Marvel really did, as they planned to kill him before they wrote the script) this is how, 1. wait till Civil War? When the heroes are pitted against each other, Pietro’s death could act as the gel that binds them together again. 2. Have Ultron directly kill him in combat, If Ultron had cornered Hawkeye helplessly and we know he has no chance, have Pietro sweep in and take on Ultron to buy Hawkeye (or any of/all the Avengers) time to escape from floating Sokovia. NOT RUN IN FRONT OF BULLETS HE COULD’VE EASILY DODGED LIKE AN IDIOT AND THEN NO ONE EVEN CARE THAT HE DIED AFTER LIKE 5 MINUTES?!
AoU, was filled with a lot of teasers, some of them were fine like the nod to Black Panther by having Andy Serkis play Klaw, who is panther’s tentpole villain. As well as having some of the movie take place in Wakanda were the Black Panther resides. Some were just there for no reason i.e, Thor: Ragnarok. Thor appears to be in ‘Hel’ (Norse Hell basically) in his nightmare. Suggesting the end of all things which is what ‘Ragnarok’ means. We also had subtle hints to Infinity War pt1 & 2 , by the over examining of the Infinity Stones. Civil War teases were the most noticeable, there’s been rough edges between Cap and Stark since the first Avengers but these grew in AoU, however in the film they end on a good note? Also a tragically cheesy look at the ‘New Avengers’ which consists of; Captain America, Black Widow, The Vision, Falcon, War Machine and Scarlet Witch. We’ll be seeing all of them in Civil War next year.
Obviously AoU is still great, but I feel it could’ve been easily made better if they didn’t try to squish so much in. For example unnecessary action scenes, the party scene could have easily been cut to just Thor throwing his hammer at Ultron when he appears. Then giving us at least 5 minutes extra that could have been used on developing the Maximoffs improving the audience’s connection with them. This is really just a closer look at what didn’t really work and why most people didn’t quite love it like the first film.
Words by Eddie Michael