Avengers: Age of Ultron has recently been released, and has earned $626,656,00 worldwide to date, which means the Joss Whedon-helmed movie is currently printing money. It's become the go-to movie of the year, and the year hasn't even hit the halfway mark. But is Age of Ultron actually good?
Long story short: In my opinion, it's not as good as the first Avengers film, which took moviegoers by surprise with its phenomenal blend of action and drama, lightly sprinkled with comedy. In fact, Age of Ultron has more than one flaw. But it's still a must-see movie, with some wonderful points to it.
Let's take a look at what works, and what doesn't work, in the Marvel movie of the year.
From a villain explaining that he hates cuttlefish to Natasha Romanoff explaining that a guy did her wrong, there wasn't a clunky line in the entire two-hour, 21-minute movie. The dialogue was so snappy that you could rap to it.
What else would you expect from a Joss Whedon movie?
We knew from the opening fight scene that we'd be getting some balletic action. The rest of the movie did not fail. And not once, but twice did we see our heroes line up, facing their enemies together. It's the kind of image that burns into a comic-book reader's brain, and frankly, it's almost worth the price of admission.
Superhero movies are great at origin stories. But how many superhero movies truly develop their characters' character? Captain America: The Winter Soldier did it. And so does Age of Ultron.
Natasha and the Maximoff twins learn to take chances. Clint Barton reveals a side we didn't know he had. But best of all, Bruce Banner once again wins the angst award.
Without giving too much away, most (but not all) characters of note in the Marvel Cinematic Universe make a guest appearance. And as with all of our old friends, it was great to see them again.
WHAT DOESN'T WORK
Yes, there's great characterization and great action. But sometimes, there's almost too much characterization. At one point, when learning more about Hawkeye's background, the movie's pace slowed to a crawl. Age of Ultron was 141 minutes, and at one point, it felt even longer.
Plus, even though the fight scene between Iron Man and the Hulk was action-packed, it could have been just as effective in half the time.
Ultron lacked motivation
Ultron is the bastard stepchild of Jarvis and a technology found in Loki's scepter. When it came to (artificially intelligent) life, it said it wanted "peace in our time." And then it said it wanted to bring the Avengers' "extinction." And then it said it wanted to take hope away from everyone.
Look, Ultron, we know you're a bad guy. Can you at least be a consistent bad guy?
Of all the enemies in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, nothing beats the scenery-chewing Tom Hiddleston as Loki. Deliciously evil, he treats the characters in the Avengers like toys that he has no problem breaking. Loki provided the impetus for the Avengers. Without him, Age of Ultron lacks a forward momentum that the first movie had.
Bruce Banner/Natasha Romanov romance
I don't hate this as much as other fans do, but even I have to acknowledge that this romance came from out of the blue and was not earned. Yes, we see that Natasha has the ability to soothe the savage and green beast, that they trust each other. But she said it in the first Avengers movie: "Love is for children."
The idea that she would run off with Bruce and leave the Avengers on a whim is completely out of character for the Black Widow.
So what did you think of the latest addition to the Marvel Cinematic Universe? Did the good outweigh the bad for you?