The film industry is in comic-book heaven. In less than seven-years, the Marvel Cinematic Universe has made more as a franchise than any other has, and it’s only just beginning. DC Comics will be helping the cause as well, and even if the abundance of it all eventually encumbers and saturates the market, making it less-profitable, I don’t see it dropping off for a long time. Some might not like that, and I sympathize with them. Still, that doesn’t mean I didn’t wait two hours in line on the opening night to see Avengers: Age of Ultron on the big-screen.
In the follow-up to The Avengers, the heroes are back doing what they do best. They’re back to save the world from imminent danger and wreck every building they see. That’s what they do. But as comic-fans know, that’s not all they do. What keeps Marvel from backlash and scrutiny the way another blockbuster like Transformers receives, is the fact that there’s actual depth and a larger than life story that keeps being added to. Popcorn fun, but as films like Guardians of the Galaxy and Iron Man have shown, they are films with heart and something that shouldn’t be underestimated. Tony Stark carries with him the narcissism he’s always had. He wants betterment for the world around them and is looking at the bigger picture, but it feels like he could bring their demise just as easily as he could be the one to save them. This is suggested and implemented in this film. In his pursuits for peace, he inadvertently creates Ultron. An artificial intelligence hellbent on ending the Avengers. Meanwhile, Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver are also roaming about, and it’s all a roller-coaster of a ride from start to finish.
I’ll start off by saying that Avengers: Age of Ultron wasn’t nearly as serious as I expected. The trailers are often capable of building calamity, like with Iron Man 3, but I fell for it again. I also expected the little humor to be in it, because that’s what Marvel does, but they raised it to the Nth degree in this one. Everything felt light-heart throughout, and it was a very easygoing experience from start to finish. I don’t have much of an issue with that. In-fact, I have no issue with it at all whatsoever. They usually have a lot more depth and world-building in the standalone films, and so, I am completely fine with them having the Avengers be a fun and light-heart bliss of action and explosions. The characters are extremely likable and it’s just a blast to see them on the screen. I can understand why some might have issues with it, but I think this is what a blockbuster is meant to look like. Marvel knows how to make fun films, and that’s a concept that’s completely lost on most film companies. They have the formula down, having enough structure to keep it from falling apart, while at the same time keeping the viewership from ever becoming bored.
Not only that, but they actually improved some of their characters. I never liked Black Widow or Hawkeye very much. But in this film, they come off like a member of the team, and not only do they make me laugh, but I am able to connect with them on a more emotional level. I was afraid about Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver as well. Aaron Taylor-Scott lost a lot of my faith with Godzilla, but he did well. X-Men: Days of Future Past was more entertaining with the character, but that shouldn’t take too much away from what Aaron was able to do. Elizabeth Olsen wasn’t too shabby either. She didn’t have much to work with, and to be fair, both their accents felt a tad overbearing, but neither of them lagged or dulled anything for me. The relationship with Bruce Banner and Black Widow felt random and unexpected. I felt like they had built Widow with Captain America more than anything, but it wasn’t bad. Just feels a little out of the blue.
This film received more scrutiny than the last one from critics, and so, I’ll address their criticisms. They believe that the film lacked structure and payoff, coming off more like a filler than a complete narrative. I can actually agree with that. Even though the stakes and calamity of it all was technically high, I feel like I never truly appreciated the caliber of destruction as it was happening. I think it also didfeel like filler. It felt like it was building up to the Infinity Wars, and Ultron started to look like an indistinguishable piece to the puzzle. Ultron wasn’t a bad character. I liked him. He was different. But I liked him. I never took him too seriously as a threat, which shows that Marvel still has some trouble with strong super-villains, but they have no problem with being entertaining.
I never said these were great movies, (I will argue that Iron Man, Guardians of the Galaxy, and Captain America: The Winter Soldier are, however.) they are gleefully entertaining. The spectacle of them all is nice, but there’s also the established chemistry of the characters and this feeling that there’s just this huge world for them to explore. That’s something I don’t believe has ever been captured in film with such explosive results. I think this film is better than the first and while I have no doubt the best is yet to come for Marvel, and I do think this was filler, I think this was a remarkably entertaining pit stop.