Jean-Paul’s Rating: 3/5 stars
Bottom Line: Too many heroes spoils the plot. Sufficiently comic-y action sequences. Some good self-effacing humor.
This is the Avengers I was afraid of. “Age of Ultron” is a “cram everything in so it’s stuffed full of what everyone wants” type of movie that leaves you feeling a bit empty. It’s not that it wasn’t fun, because it certainly was at times, it’s more that it’s forgettable. The movie is also not helped by the flimsy narrative which doesn’t give much to build on for the Marvel uninitiated. I am somewhere in between and I was often left with a questioning look at various parts of the movie. This often happens with the closing credit easter eggs that foretell the next movies, but to have these moments in the middle of a movie is inexcusable. For instance, there is a new superhero introduced over half way through the film. If like me you do not know the mythology, you will be completely lost as to how they fail to give him a name throughout even though he ends up joining the Avengers at the end.
The action in the movie is equal parts fun and sensory overload. There’s lots of comic-y stuff going on for the overly geeky. Lots of combo moves that you know damn well have names to them that “in the know” comic book geeks everywhere are cackling gleefully about as they occur on the screen. The problem is that when you have a group of superpowered superheroes doing battle with a mostly pedestrian villain, the only way to make fights even remotely interesting is to throw the kitchen sink at them. This leads to a garbled mess of a fight that can only be enjoyed by showing a once in the while slow motion vingette of action.
The one part where “Age of Ultron” shines is in its humor. This is all Joss Whedon. He is equal parts superfan and able to recognize the absurdity of the genre and he uses that gift with great results. There is some great Thor’s hammer humor as well as Hawkeye’s self-effacing recognitions of how underpowered he is.
The biggest problem is Ultron. His creation is poorly explained, his motivations are childish, the Avengers’ reactions to him make little sense, and he’s just not that interesting of a villain as a result. I blame this on having too many A-list superheroes in the same movie all of whom need their individual moments of glory. That’s how you end up with a two and a half hour movie with a shoestring plot.
Yes, the movie was fun. Yes, you should see it if you’re a fan of superhero movies. No, you will likely not look back at it with the fondness of the first Avengers movie. Ultron ain’t no Loki.