Martens' Movie Reviews

Movie Reviews from an avid movie-goer

The Avengers: Age of Ultron Review

Released: May 1, 2015
Running Time: 2 hours 21 minutes

“When Tony Stark jumpstarts a dormant peacekeeping program, things go terribly awry, forcing him, Thor, the Incredible Hulk and the rest of the Avengers to reassemble. As the fate of Earth hangs in the balance, the team is put to the ultimate test as they battle Ultron, a technological terror hell-bent on human extinction. Along the way, they encounter two mysterious and powerful newcomers, Pietro and Wanda Maximoff.”

Marvel Cinematic Universe MCU

Marvel Cinematic Universe – Source – Marvel Studios

You can find all of the reviews for the Marvel Cinematic Universe at the link here. At that link, you can also find the dates that the other reviews for the Marvel Cinematic Universe will be posted. My plan is to release one every single day, and because I’ve already reviewed Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 here, and Spider – Man: Homecoming here, they will not be included in the two weeks leading up to Thor Ragnarok.

As such, I will now move onto the actual review of the film, and I hope you enjoy!

The Avengers: Age of Ultron Trailer – Source: Marvel Studios


Cast and Crew

This film was written and directed by Joss Whedon, returning for the last time in the Marvel Cinematic Universe after he was ‘absolutely drained and exhausted after this film.’ Now, I’ve already mentioned his previous work in the review for ‘Marvel’s The Avengers’, however, I will do a quick recap of it here. Before joining the MCU, he was known for directing and writing hit television shows including ‘Firefly’, ‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer’ and Dollhouse. He has since worked on writing and directing portions of the ‘Justice League’ movie that is coming to theatres on November 17, 2017, and is currently working on ‘Batgirl’ for Warner Brothers as well.

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The cast for the ever expanding Avengers: Age of Ultron includes Robert Downey Jr.Chris HemsworthMark RuffaloChris EvansScarlett JohanssonJeremy RennerJames SpaderSamuel L. JacksonDon CheadleAaron Taylor-JohnsonElizabeth OlsenPaul BettanyCobie SmuldersAnthony MackieHayley AtwellIdris ElbaLinda CardelliniClaudia KimAndy SerkisStellan SkarsgårdThomas KretschmannKerry CondonJosh Brolin and Stan Lee

Review

The opening sequence of this film is straight out of a comic book onto the big screen, and it was beautiful. The scene featured the Avengers all working together, having been clearing out the remnants of Hydra and going after Loki’s Scepter to finally get rid of the threats left behind by the Chitauri. It was exciting, and fun, and even has Cap telling people to watch their language. We are also briefly introduced to two new characters in Wanda and Pietro Maximoff, who use their powers to mess with the Avengers a bit.

The one thing that I had a problem with at the beginning of this film was the lullaby, that was used by Black Widow to soothe the Hulk, and to calm him down enough to get him to revert back to Banner. While that is something that they would have obviously tried to figure out as a team, I didn’t like the execution of it, nor the implications that would later be revealed between the two characters.

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Dr. Helen Cho, developed a machine that is able to create and synthesise quick healing of flesh wounds, and perhaps more (never explored further). It’s a quick and easy explanation that can be used if ever the Avengers are scene injured in one scene, and ‘fine’ the next. I enjoyed that little scene where Barton was getting fixed up, as it displayed the camaraderie that the Avengers had with one another.

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With the Scepter back in the Avengers hands, the mad scientist, Banner and Stark (mostly Stark), decide that it would be a good idea to use the scepter that they’ve been studying to help them in creating Ultron, the peace program that would be able to protect the planet. As everything Stark does with good intentions, it doesn’t really go all that well.

The celebration scene where we get to see the Avengers all relax and have fun, is somethign that the movie did extremely well. They managed to make these superheroes extremely relatable, especially in the Mjolnir scene, where all the men try and take turns in lifting the hammer. The best part of that scene was when Rogers made it budge, and the priceless look on Thor’s face was extremely satisfying and hilarious.

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Ultron as a character in this film starts off really terrifying as he has no control over the emotions that he has, and translates the phrase ‘peace in our time’ into meaning that to have peace, humanity must be extinct, as they are the ones fighting one another, and destroying the planet. It’s not a wrong analogy that Ultron comes up with, but the execution of the idea of manufacturing peace is not humane.

Over the course of the movie, he becomes more obsessed with destroying the Avengers in a grand and theatrical way (something he got from his creator (Stark), that he comes off as weak.

Avengers: Age of Ultron

From Left to Right: Cobie Smulders as Maria Hill, Steve Rogers, Don Cheadle as James Rhodes / War Machine, Claudia Kim as Dr. Helen Cho, Thor, Tony Stark, Clint Barton, Bruce Banner, Natasha Romanoff – Source: Marvel Studios

The music in Avengers: Age of Ultron was done by Brian Tyler & Danny Elfman. I feel that they both delivered great scores and themes for the heroes, while also being consistent throughout their differences. Before writing this review, I was under the impression that it was only Elfman who had worked on the score, not realising that they worked together and separately on this film.

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The cinematography of Avengers: Age of Ultron was done by director of photography Ben Davis. This film featured really somber framing, as well as gorgeous shots. I enjoyed and am surprised by how many characters he was able to fit into a single frame, as the group is only getting bigger. I really enjoyed the action scenes, and appreciated the one shot scene in the church with the Avengers fighting the Ultrons.

Avengers: Age of Ultron

Andy Serkis as Ulysses Klaue – Source: Marvel Studios

The character of Vision in the Marvel Cinematic Universe is the ultimate android, using the Mind Stone as some sort of super battery. To Ultron, Vision is the perfect being, and as displayed when he picks up Mjolnir, he is worthy of that ability. I feel like they might be backing themselves into a corner with this character whenever the character meets Thanos. Once Vision loses the Mind Stone, will he be finished, or will he somehow live. Infinity War will answer a lot of questions, and will probably feature a lot of deaths. I hope that one of them isn’t Vision just to be able to see people’s reactions if ever Marvel Studios decides to further explore the love interest between himself and Scarlet Witch as implied in Captain America: Civil War.

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The Maximoff twins, without the use of Mutants in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, they have been named ‘miracles’, given their enhancements via the Mind Stone that was in Loki’s Scepter. Wanda / Scarlet Witch was portrayed wonderfully and creepily by Elizabeth Olsen. I really loved what they did with the character, even showing glimpses of the potential of her power after her brother’s death. I am happy that they chose to keep Wanda, and ‘let Fox have Pietro’, however I wish we could have had both.

Pietro Maximoff, Marvel’s ‘answer’ to the Flash from DC. He is able to run extremely fast without getting tired, however they chose to add that limitation in the movie so that he would not be overpowered. I feel like the back and forth that he and Clint Barton had throughout the film was fun and enjoyable, and I was happy to see that he will be remembered in the MCU through Nathaniel Pietro Barton, Clint’s third child, after Quicksilver sacrificed himself to save Clint and the child that he had gone to get.

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Scarlet Witch got to mess with everyone’s minds, and show them visions of either their worst memory or their worst fear? It wasn’t very clear on that, one thing I truly enjoyed of that was Clint Barton’s response in not wanting to be mind controlled again, and decided to electrocute her with one of his non-lethal arrows.

Tony’s vision showed him the death of the Avengers, and the gaping wormhole that the Chitauri were coming through in New York, it leads him to really go after the Ultron project as wants to prevent that from ever happening, and continues the journey that he was on in Iron Man 3, with wanting to protect those that he cares about.

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Natasha’s vision was a memory of her training that she went through in the Red Room, forcing her to remember the horrors that she experienced, including the graduation ceremony where she was sterilised, which influences her to taking the path towards Banner, especially because he doesn’t want to fight, and she just wants to escape, as he once did.

Steve’s vision included him back in the 40s, after the end of the war, where he survived and got to have that dance with Peggy Carter. It was a touching scene, where you realise that his worst memory / fear? is that he couldn’t grow old with the person he loved, and that everyone that he cared about is now long gone. I was surprised that we didn’t see Barnes in that scene of his, even if it was only a glimpse.

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Scarlet Witch had one more victim in mind for her mind games, and unfortunately we don’t get to see what caused the Hulk to change, but it’s easy to figure out, most likely the hulk is his worst memory / fear, and in that becomes self explanatory. The good thing about that scene, is that it displays to the world what the Hulk is capable of, and we also got to see the Hulkbuster armour go toe to toe with the Hulk. They caused so much destruction, and the fight was so intense and fun to watch, that you can understand that the Hulk is something to be afraid of, especially if he loses control as he was forced into doing.

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Avengers: Age of Ultron is also the start of the rift that will grow to cause the Civil War between the Avengers, with Tony wanting to protect the planet at any cost, while Rogers wants to have the power of free will, and be able to save who he wants and when he wants. The scene between the two chopping wood really shows the tension between the ‘two leaders’, and I feel like it was brilliantly acted by Evans and Downey Jr..

The part of the movie that I feel was the most forced thing out of the entire Marvel Cinematic Universe was the whole Banner / Romanoff ‘relationship’ throughout the movie. It wasn’t needed, it was awkward, boring and just plain weird. Natasha must know that there could be no sex life with Banner, as evidence from ‘The Incredible Hulk’, where Banner can’t sleep with Betty Ross because he can’t even get a ‘little bit excited.’ I feel like it was forced, as I’ve already mentioned, and I still don’t know why Marvel thought it would have been a good idea.

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The final confrontation between the Avengers and Ultron felt weak, and copies the same third act formula from the first Avengers film. A shit ton of robots (Chitauri) that are extremely expendable and able to be taken down with ease, versus the Avengers team, with two new heroes added, after an inspiring speech from Hawkeye to Scarlet Witch.

That is one of the greatest problems with the film, was that it felt very much like a carbon copy of the first one, while also throwing in Deus Ex Machina of a Heli Carrier with the help from Maria Hill and Nick Fury. It felt like they just didn’t know how to properly do a third act of the film on this one, and that’s a shame because the first act was fantastic, the second one was good, but the third one was weak.

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I really enjoyed that Clint Barton had a secret family that Natasha of all people knew about. It was a little convenient in that Ultron had access to everything on the internet, but wouldn’t have known that Barton was married and had 2 kids. I found it really touching, as it gave a reason for Barton to be a part of the team, he is the most human out of them all, and he is doing the superhero act because it’s his job, and he wants to protect his family. I thought it was touching to see the Avengers reactions upon finding out.

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At the time, I thought that Thor’s vision that Scarlet Witch had given him was kind of lame, and took him out of the story and it added a storyline that wasn’t needed in that movie. I still believe some of that, as it doesn’t add anything whatsoever in the film, but it does set up the next movie that he is set to appear in, Thor: Ragnarok. He sees the infinity stones that have been seen in the MCU thus far, and he knows that it’s not a coincidence, so he decides that the best thing to do, is electrocute the cradle to bring Vision to life with the Mind Stone. One thing that doesn’t really make sense is how would he know about the Power Stone being in the MCU?

His vision also hints at the whereabouts of the last Infinity Stone, the Soul Stone, when he questions Heimdall about what happened to his eyes, which were white in this scene, but are usually orange, the colour of the Soul Stone).

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The Hulk, after being tricked and forced to turn by the Black Widow, decides to leave the Avengers after the events in Sokovia, and ends up disappearing. We will hopefully find out exactly what happened in Thor: Ragnarok, but I wouldn’t be surprised if they just gloss over that little detail.

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The Avengers end up getting a new facility, courtesy of Stark using one of his father’s old warehouse in upstate New York to avoid a confrontation where civilians can be hurt near their base of operations. We also get to meet the new Avengers, which include Black Widow, Vision, Scarlet Witch, War Machine, Falcon and Captain America.

We get a fun little chat between Thor, Steve Rogers and Tony Stark where the ‘humans’ debate whether Vision being able to lift Mjolnir counts, as he’s an android. Thor finally leaves, running Stark’s lawn, and heads off towards Ragnarok.

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There was only one post credit scene in this film, and that was of Thanos grabbing a gauntlet and saying that he’s going to have to do it himself, leading into Avengers: Infinity War.

Avengers: Age of Ultron

Josh Brolin as Thanos ‘doing it himself’: Post Credit Scene – Source: Marvel Studios

Overall, I feel like this movie could have been a lot better in terms of how the villain was used, the manipulation / release of the Maximoff twins, the lullaby, the hinted relationship between Banner and Romanoff, and being too much like the first Avengers film. There was a lot of good moments, which is why the score might be higher than people think. I really enjoyed the opening sequence of the film as well as the after party that followed. I feel like it made the Avengers relatable and fun to see them interacting as the friends that they’ve become since their first mission in New York.

The twin’s ability was visually well done, except I had problems with Quicksilver being tired. I loved the realization that Barton was hiding a whole life from his friends, having his family off the books at S.H.I.E.L.D. which was really convenient but held true to the character. This film also helps in setting up a lot of films from Phase III of the Marvel Cinematic Universe with; Ulysses Klaue for Black Panther, Stark and Rogers starting to have more friction due to their beliefs for Captain America: Civil War, Thor on his side mission & Hulk disappearing for Thor: Ragnarok, and Thanos in the post credit scene for Avengers: Infinity War.

Avengers: Age of Ultron

Promotional poster – Source: Marvel Studios

At the end of the day, this movie had a lot of shortcomings, and was extremely noticeable after coming off two very great movies in Captain America: The Winter Soldier and Guardians of the Galaxy. I have to give this film a score, and that score is 7/10.

What did you think of the film? Are you excited for Thor: Ragnarok? Let me know in the comments below!

Thanks for reading,

Alex Martens

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