Avengers: Age of Ultron is a great way to start off your summertime film season – that is, if your summertime film season is summarized by all spectacle and wit with just a hint of relevance. Because as engaging and as exciting as the film was, I still walked out of the theater slightly affronted and disappointed by it, as if I had expected something just a little more and didn’t get it (it’s definitely no Captain American: The Winter Solder).
That being said, Joss Whedon’s most recent production within the Marvel Cinematic Universe has no shortage of action, comedy, intrigue, and…well, awesomeness, at least for as long as you’re in the theater seat. It’s that feeling out in the lobby that will get to you, and you’ll wonder if the past two hours were well spent.
Still shaken from the Battle of New York (from the first Avengers), Tony Stark simply and secretly wants “a suit of armor (as highly advanced as his own Iron Man suit) around the world” in case of another alien attack. Some wires get crossed, and out comes Ultron, a real piece of artificial intelligent work with dehumanizing tunnel vision out the wazoo. James Spader’s performance was not sub-par by any means, but his sardonic, post-modern tone did seem to drag on after a while.
Fairly simple but with room to grow, this plot allows for the introduction of some new characters into the MCU. First (because they’re all over the promos) are Peter and Wanda Maximoff or Quicksilver and the Scarlet Witch respectively. Aaron Taylor-Johnson and Elizabeth Olsen go well together in just about any acting spot (like in Godzilla), and this film is no different.
Besides all that, it is just another Avengers pow-wow: everyone is brought together for a noble cause, but the antagonist makes every hero question the loyalty of his or her teammates. Schismatic tensions rise but are ultimately resolved through good ol’ teamwork and getting along to go along…or going along to get along…whatever.
One thing I did enjoy, however, was the special attention and insight given to Clint Barton/Hawkeye. Establishing his home as a “safe house” not only provided a place the Avengers to rest without worrying about the grid, but it also let the audience in on a character that was initially standoffish.
This was one of the finer moments of the film not only because of that but because it also creating a sense of longing for both fictional characters and audience members. All the heroes want a place to lay their head, but they believe they are too exceptional for such relief. And audiences will always connect with the simple hero who just wants to fight the good fight just so he can get back home to his wife and kids. If there’s anything redeemable in this film, this subplot is it (and definitely not Thor’s underground hot tub).
And that’s really all there is to say about it – at least from my (occasionally) non-linear and solely subjective viewpoint. Granted, I didn’t grow up in the comic book culture, and I’m sure fanboys and fangirls will all have their differing opinions as to how this cinematic experience went for them. But for me – approaching the film only as a fan of the MCU – while this film was exciting to watch and joke about with friends, it didn’t quench the desire for more nor did it ignite any other sparks. Oh well, Ant-Man to the rescue, right?