Author's note: This is a little raunchier than how I normally write. tread lightly.
And so there came a day came like no other...again. The Avengers are back and their enemy is one of their greatest yet... I suppose. So last weekend I had the opportunity to go and see what the hype was about Avengers: Age of Ultron. Now before we get started, I just want to start with a bit of disclosure:
[You can skip to the TL;DR version]
I was a big Whedon fan. I grew up with Buffy and Angel (I actually own one of the trades for Angel: After the fall, which was a rather entertaining read, to be honest) I've watched some episodes of Firefly and Dollhouse, but not enough to really consider myself a fan of either, but I really enjoyed watching the adventures of Buffy and the scoobies, as well as Angel Investigations take on Big bads and the villainous affairs of Wolfram and Hart. Well, truth be told I am also a supporter of the consumer revolt known to many as #GamerGate, and when Joss alluded to GG as being a "hate group", I lost quite a bit of respect for the man, but I refuse to let his ignorance on the matters of ethics in game journalism stop me from enjoying the first Avengers movie, which was an epic and really fun and infinitely quotable comic book movie.
Now, I know that Joss has been the subject of a twitter firestorm as of late, and has since closed the doors and walked away from Twitter completely. This isn't an attempt to revel in that, or basically use my leanings as a means to kick someone while they're down. I went into this film with fan-goggles completely off, and hoping to be entertained by a film that may be just as good as the first film, and on par with Marvel's current strongest offerings (Namely, Winter Soldier and Guardians of the Galaxy).
So the TL;DR version of that is Whedon said some things that I didn't agree with. Still like his stuff. I'll be snarky, yet try to give this review a fair shake.
So without further ado, let's get into the review, shall we?
Oh, wait, wait.. There will be hardcore spoilers from here on out, so if you haven't watched the movie, I suggest you do so. If you don't care either way, that's cool, too.
The movie starts with the Avengers (Hulk, Widow, Cap, Iron man and Hawkeye) Storming a Hydra outpost, and kicking some serious arse of what looks to be chitauri tech enhanced soldiers. Of course if you've watched "Winter Soldier", you'll remember that this is the Hydra lab that contained the Super Maximoff
While ass-kicking aplenty are happening outside, Tony Stark manages to disable the building's sheild, and drops in to do a little hide-and-seek to find Loki's Staff from the first movie. He finds it, only to be hit with Wanda's Hex Genjutsu (Sorry, I just couldn't help it...) and sees all his friends gathered together dead, as a league of Chitauri Space Whales are making their way back to earth. Of course like any good Vietnam flashback, this proceeds to screw with him enough to force him into action on a plan he had worked on previously.
Elsewhere, The team who are finishing clean up, and attending to Hawkeye's lame ability to be the only member of the team to be seriously injured during combat (ha!) signal for Natasha to do her best Fay Wray imitation (look it up, youngsters!) and soothe the savage hulk. This of course leads into what will be known as the best Shreck and Fiona cosplay, ever.
|Hulk is like onions. Hulk have layers.|
Meanwhile back at Avenger's Tower, The Science Bros. proceed to give Loki's disco-stick a once over, and Tony gets the wild idea to use the scepter to help him in finishing up the Ultron Global defense project he'd been working on for some time now. Banner, being the voice of reason, and obviously sensing shenanigans, tries to use reason, but thanks to Wanda's manipulations it was ineffective. Guess he should of tried string-shot (ba-dum-tiss).
At the party Banner and Rominoff try to be cute, but come off as really awkward, a practice that goes on through the entire movie, as romance is being forced into the air as if the air is a young girl meeting a guy in the back of an Arby's in 1998, only to be raped and murdered by Th-.. Wait wait.. that's another story altogether. Speaking of fictional accounts of Rape, Primae Noctis jokes happen, while Tony and the gang try to lift Thor's Hammer. Cap makes it wiggle a little bit (Like my d-no no no no we're not even doing that joke!!) But, like the weakest bro, he can't even lift.
Back in the lab, Ultron wakes up from his nap and decides to question J.A.R.V.I.S. about who he is and why he came to be. He decides to surf the internet for answers and like most parents, flips his cookies and decides to nuke everything from orbit, because it's the only way to be sure. Then again. If anyone ever saw the things that I'd seen in my twenty years on the interwebz in two minutes, including the entirety of Rotten.com and half the crap i see on my Facebook feed, I would have nuked the earth twenty times over, myself. But I digress..
Ultron constructs a body using one of the Iron Legion bots, and decides to conduct one of the greatest villain intros ever. The problem here, is that in doing this, he blows the collective sum of his load in one entire thrust, and with that goes any of his credibility for the remainder of the film. Creepiness? Gone. Intent to kill the shit out of stuff? Gone, and for some reason he reverts to his previous form of being The Voltron of Buffy Villians!
Just to prove that I'm not being a dick let's run through this checklist..
- Likes hearing himself talk?
- Seething with snark and meta humor?
- Self aware and highly intelligent?
- Borderline personality disorder?
- Thinks very highly of himself?
- Homicidal and Cray Cray?
|Check and Check|
Ultron takes the Scepter and flees to Von Strucker's lab to go start creating his army of drones, while singing tunes from Pinocchio. He also wastes no time in killing off Von Strucker,and teaming up with the Maximoffs. Another issue: Why the hell didn't they just show their back story instead of explaining it? That's like breaking literary law, man!! Show don't tell!! Jeez. He just could of easily did the flash back at the very beginning of the film, to gather sympathy for young Wanda and Pietro, and possibly made the audience feel more for them as characters that way instead of just having them around for most of the movie like cardboard cutouts with some semblance of a personality? C'mon Joss.. You're better than that!
The Avengers, having to resort to using physical copies of files, find a lead, and head to Africa, and just miss another Ultron speech that ends with Ulysses Klaue losing his main method of sexual entertainment. Taking the Vibranium that he needed Ultron sicks Wanda and Pietro on the Avengers. This leaves all of them save for Hawkeye, who apparently doesn't fall for the same trick twice, hit with the wammy. Pietro and Wanda flee, finding Bruce who despite his green skinned counterpart, does not have the luck of the Irish. Next stop: Gamma fueled bender in downtown third-world country! Tony, like a true bro decides to bring Banner to his senses and uses his Hulkbuster gear (Veronica.. as in Betty and Veronica? See, Betty is Bruce's.. oh.. nvm) to subdue him. This is a great scene, because this is the scene that everyone wanted to see. Granted, we had to wade through a lot of bilge to get here, but It was definitely a blockbuster movie moment. That's enough compliments for now because Banner comes out of his coke fueled bender and the newly defeated team make their way to Clint's safe-house.. which is in fact....a house.. well god damn! Apparently, he's got two kids and a wife that looks like she's going to give birth to the rest of the Avengers roster.
Steve and Tony have a lover's Quarrel, and Clint's wife asks him to fix the tractor, which happens to be code for "have a talk with Fury". And then Samuel L. Jackson makes his trademark "talk first, appear out of thin air, later" appearance. He's like a Cycloptic Negro Ninja (What? I can say that... I'm also a Ninja). After a heart-to-heart with "Dad", Tony attempts to make amends, while Banner and Romanoff make another attempt at what normal people call "a relationship". Jeez. Moll Flanders did a better job at faking romantic affection with elderly lords (In an interesting side note, In researching for that referential joke I just realized that in my teenage fevered years, I had been masturbating to a topless Dr. River Song.. Well, shit! this brings new meaning to the phrase "come along, pond!").
So Thor bolts faster than a father going on a twenty year quest for milk at the corner store, and eventually finds the good Doctor Erik Selvig. Like Lou Diamond Phillips, he goes on an Asgardian vison quest, but actually comes out of the other end with some semblance of a plot device (and unlike Lou Diamond Phillips, a career). Fury plays his "cool dad" card and forces the remaining team to get their collective shit together and form a plan to take out Ultron.
Meanwhile, in the good part of Korea, Ultron casts "Rohypnol" on Helen Cho, and forces her to use the Vibranium to create a new body for him to inhabit complete with a mind gem based third eye. Why would he need a new body? Possibly so he can pretend to be Robin Williams and reenact scenes from Bicentennial man.. Hmm.. That would actually be somewhat of an improvement considering we're over the two hour mark and we've still haven't uncovered anything resembling a plot, yet. Wanda, gets in touch with her inner Gladys Kravitz and, snoops into The host body's mind, immediately discovering the plot to both Armageddon and Deep Impact at the same time!! First we had no plot and now we have two? Hallelujah! The result of this leads to a truck chase that turns into a rocket truck chase, which ends with Widow turning into a Trope and the home team getting the synthetic body.
|Have you ever considered not beating the shit out of each other?|
Thor finally arrives and yells out "clear" while jump starting the synthetic body. In a show of thanks the android, which is now referred half-assedly as "Vision" throws a fit and then apologizes . It's cool, bro. I always hit people with shit when someone tries to fibrillate me to life with a hammer cut from the core of a dead star like an Asgardian Victor Frankenstein *narrows eyes* . With the two Maximoff children, and newly found plot device in route, the team heads back to Sokovia, which at this point is the most visited third-world country in the history of the Marvel 616. Ultron, apparently has taken the time to upgrade the country's status to Third-World floating platform, using the remainder of Vibranium to apparently pretend to be a metallic version of Knuckles the Echidna. Banner rescues Widow, and she coaxes him into becoming the hulk, and rides him.. like a yoshi, into battle. It's then that in a masterful stroke of Copypasta that the climactic battle from the first movie takes place in this movie, but against Ultron drones who happen to be attacking hot screaming milfs... The evac goes south, and there seems to be little hope. Enter Samuel L. Jackson arriving with the S.H.I.E.L.D. Hellicarrier in Toy commercial fashion to save the day!
Ultron suddenly realizes that for a homicidal murder bot, he's had zero kills this session (N00B!), and decides to gun down civilians. Hawkeye, rushing to save screaming hot milf's kid, gets pinned down and rethinks starting all those bullshit home improvement projects. I get this strange feeling that he also realizes that he doesn't have any S.H.I.E.L.D. life insurance anymore, and how hard it would be for his wife to get welfare with a house that fucking big. It's alright, bro, cause here comes Quicksilver to sacrifice himself... a move that for some reason is supposed to inspire feels, but seriously.. How much time have we had to get to know him? All he's done has been run around and hit people like a child with a schoolyard crush! Hulk jumps into the Quinjet and throws Ultron out, while taking a Matthew Mcconaughey style ride along the Atlantic Ocean. Maybe..... he's just going out to get some milk...for.. the child.. that he and Black Widow were going to HAHAHAHA Oh god, I can't.. I just can't, guys.... HAAHAHAHAHAHAAHHA She's sterile HAHHAHA that's the joke HAHAHAHAHAH Jeezus, I'm going to hell.
So They evac the remaining citizens, and Wanda realizes that her brother has more holes in him than the plot of this movie, After pwning the entirety of drones in the area, she goes for Ultron's heart. Literally. Unfortunately, an Ultron Drone the size of Arliss Loveless, decides to hit the "disengage" switch, causing the floating platform to fall fast! The team manage to escape, while Iron man and Thor DP the floating third world country, upgrading its status to smoldering crater before Morgan Freeman issues a press conference telling us how fucked we are. The world, she is-a safe!
Later Romanoff stands around staring at objects thinking of Banner's dick, or something. I have no fucking clue why, either. Romeo and Juliet had more of a relationship than these two. Let's be honest here, These weren't two damsels in distress, either. These were two miserable people who were trying to be miserable together. That's not love! That's just putting up with someone's crap until something resembling a happy ending can come about, which is fitting for the symbiotic relationship that spawned this lackluster scenario. Cap shakes her out of it long enough for them to start training their secondary characters at the new Avengers training facility, while Thor goes away to figure out who's behind the infinity stone heist... wait...I'm missing something..
|Josh Brolin Fisting scene, confirmed|
Sooo.. Avengers: Age of Ultron.. It was a sequel...
There were some good parts, like Thor's Subplot being the only thing that tied everything together to explain what the Infinity gems as well as tying Captain America, Thor, Guardians, Avengers and this movie, together (Which should of been one of the main focuses of this film instead of the secondary focus). I will say that the movie did a good job on the fight scenes, but a really poor job of utilizing it's scope of characters. The only character that had proper growth throughout the entire movie was Hawkeye, and that's probably because he didn't want to be a zombie for this entire movie as well. The manufactured drama seemed a bit over-the-top, and just felt like it was there to set things up for Civil War.
If the Avengers are that piss-weak that all it takes is a little bit of disagreement to split them up at a moment's notice, how on earth can they ever be considered "Earth's Mightest heroes"? With the level of disagreements they're starting to look like "Earth's bitchiest heroes" or The Real World: Avengers Tower! Are we going to just keep killing people to unify them? How many Agent Coulsons does it take to keep a team together and focused, people? Great Galloping Fuck!!
* And let me point out one other thing. What is the deal with Tony's personality in this film? I understand that it's possible that the reason Hank Pym and Janet Van Dyne weren't included in the film's cast, has to do with the really bad history between the two. Hank kind of has a history with slapping around his wife, I get it. That will get brought up faster than a politician's dirty laundry during campaign time. Of course, any comic fan will tell you that Hank Pym created Ultron despite countless retcons that have happened over the years, and Ultron is more a dark mirror to Pym than to Tony. Mr Stark has had his own fair share of run-ins with homicidal A.I. of his own creation, but making him the scapegoat just seemed like it was a cheap way of creating more conflict between Stark and Rogers. Why couldn't Hank Pym be introduced in some bit part to both name drop the Ant Man project at Tony's party, only to later be killed off by his own creation?
Last, but clearly not least, Ultron!! Why on earth would you spend so much effort building up such a terrific villain with such a creepy use of a song from a Disney classic, just to have him spend the rest of his screen time verbally masturbating? His kill count was weaker than a first timer playing COD . Let's look at his kill count:
- One Superhero
- Four doctors
- An arm
- There might be some dead people in those cars... we didn't bother to check, did we? shit.
Seriously? I've had a higher kill count using a bottle of hand lotion and a vintage copy of Penthouse, than Ultron has in his entire cinematic career! Does that make me the better villain? Possibly (I'm clearly not objecting, here). While people have sang this movie's praises, both my fiancée and I just felt like this film didn't even hold a candle to Guardians and Winter Soldier. She's even gone so far as to say that this movie was worse than "I, Frankenstein". That's weak! I seriously had hopes for this film, However, going in, I had this gut feeling that it would fall into the sequel trap for some reason. I can honestly say in my own opinion that is a far cry from what the original movie was. Part of me kind of even wonders if Batman vs Superman Dawn of Justice will go probably be seen as better by comparison (which I would of not thought possible, beforehand). What I do know, however is that I'm really starting to feel the Superhero Movie burnout. I'm only assuming that Joss feels the same, which is why he'll be off to doing other things (Making Neil Patrick Harris do horrible things, I assume) I'm sure it'll be for the best. In the meantime, Anthony and Joe Russo will be taking the helm. They were the minds behind Winter Soldier, and if they can craft another movie on that level, then I would be pleasantly surprised and pleased to watch it.
Here's to hoping that Infinity War parts. 1 and 2 prove to be a stronger more focused entry in the series that should be regarded as the Rolls-Royce of Comic book films.
* Rants I just thought of after posting.. shhhhhh.