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Vault Movie Review: "Avengers: Age of Ultron"

There are many movies that are worth seeing, but there are a lot of stinkers as well. My goal here is to weed out the good from the bad.

Theatrical Release: 5/1/2015

Theatrical Release: 5/1/2015

Synopsis

Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) has not forgotten about Loki's attack on New York. Although the Avengers proved victorious, it made Tony realize how vulnerable Earth really is. Being a genius inventor, Tony creates a super-intelligent A.I. named Ultron (James Spader). The A.I. has complete access to the internet, and it has control over droids—that Tony has designed—to protect humanity from threats both alien and domestic in nature. Unfortunately, as smart as Tony is, he did not foresee what would come next.

Ultron's sole purpose is to protect the planet, and given his extreme intelligence and his ability to learn, he deduces that in order to save Earth, the Avengers and modern civilization need to be eliminated. Ultron needs to be stopped, and although he is just one entity, he is a super-intelligent A.I. that controls an army of droids. Fortunately, Tony is not alone. With Captain America (Chris Evans), Thor (Chris Hemsworth), the Hulk (Mark Ruffalo), Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), and Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) at his side, the Avengers reunite to stop Ultron before he completes his catastrophic plan.

Official Trailer

The Pros & Cons

All movies start with an average score of 75pts, points are then added or subtracted based on each Pro and Con. Each Pro or Con is designated points, ranging from 0-10, to convey how significant these Pros or Cons are.

The ProsThe Cons

Tony Stark & Ultron (+10pts)

Ultron's Plan (-5pts)

Wanda, Pietro, and Vision (+4pts)

Quicksilver (-2pts)

The Avengers & The Action (+10pts)

The Climax & The Helicarrier (-4pts)

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Pro: Tony Stark & Ultron (+10pts)

I went into this movie expecting another generic antagonist, but hoping for at least a decent one. Ultron was a weird one, however, because he was just decent on the surface, but the deeper you dive into his story and motivations, he becomes more and more compelling. The part of his story that was so compelling was how the character was linked to Tony Stark. After Loki's attack on New York, Tony was struggling with the reality that Earth was very vulnerable to outside threats, and being the inventor and problem solver that he was, he tried to create something to serve as a sheet of armor around the world—that creation being Ultron. I enjoyed this story for Tony, because it made absolute sense for the character, and it perfectly teed up the next Avengers level threat. It also connected Tony on a philosophical level with Ultron, which I enjoyed seeing explored.

Ultron saw humanity as a species at never-ending war with itself, and he saw that the Avengers were more recently at the center of many global conflicts. Thus, his goal to institute world peace was to wipe out both the Avengers and global civilization as we know it. It was interesting to see the characters in this movie clashing with one another, because all characters essentially wanted the same thing, they just all had different views on how to get there. I also liked how the other Avengers clashed with Tony on a philosophical level regarding Ultron. Steve Rogers, for example, had literally just dealt with a global threat between S.H.I.E.L.D. and Hydra, in which both agencies were trying to proactively eliminate threats, something that Tony created Ultron to do. This was one of those movies in which, on the surface, it was just a popcorn devouring blockbuster, but the deeper one dives into these characters and their motivations, the more compelling the movie becomes.

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Con: Ultron's Plan (-5pts)

As much as I enjoyed Ultron's motivations, as it made him a more compelling character than I was expecting him to be, his plan seemed far more complicated than it needed to be. Much like my issues with Loki's plan in The Avengers I did not understand why Ultron chose to execute his plan in a very populated location, as it only drew attention to his whereabouts earlier. If this was the plan he was going with, it would have made far more sense to choose a more remote location, as it would have delayed the Avengers' response time. Then there was the plan itself. Ultron wanted to eliminate the Avengers and he wanted to wipe-out modern civilization. I do not want to say exactly how he planned to do this, but he could have gone with countless simpler options. The logistics of his plan was just insane, and it seemed like he chose the most complicated he could think of.

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Pro: Wanda, Pietro, and Vision (+4pts)

Although the filmmakers already had to deal with all of the characters from The Avengers, they also added a few new ones. I liked the inclusion of Wanda (Elizabeth Olsen) and Pietro Maximoff (Aaron Taylor-Johnson), as the filmmakers did not simply throw them into the group of protagonists. Instead, they went the route of making them have a grudge against the Avengers, and having Ultron recruit them onto his side. This worked because it meant we did not just see the Avengers fighting a bunch of robots. We also saw them going up against some super-powered antagonists.

Pietro was a speedster and it was fun to see the Avengers trying to deal with him. Wanda was a witch with telekinetic abilities and the ability to mess with the Avengers heads, which led into a number of interesting nightmare sequences as well as a disastrous clash between the Hulk and another Avenger. Then there was Vision (Paul Bettany). Without saying too much about this character to avoid spoilers, this character was pretty great, and he was essentially the anti-Ultron. He had some great moments, and I enjoyed seeing him both fighting alongside the Avengers and interacting with Ultron. These characters provided an extra variable to this story, and I look forward to seeing how their stories continue in future movies.

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Con: Quicksilver (-2pts)

To be clear, my issue was not with the character as a whole, but was instead with the character's final scene in the movie. His final scene was dramatic, sure, but it just made no sense. I do not want to spoil what happened, just know that while I get why the filmmakers wanted the final outcome of this scene to happen, I think they should have made it happen another way. More specifically, they should have made it make sense, you know, when considering Pietro's super-power.

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Pro: The Avengers & The Action (+10pts)

It was great to see all of these characters together again. There was plenty of Avengers action throughout the movie, and I thought the filmmakers did a good job balancing and furthering each of their stories. We had plenty of Hulk smashing, various Iron Man suits, Captain America throwing his shield around, Thor throwing his hammer around, Black Widow kicking ass, and Hawkeye firing off plenty of arrows. The movie provided a bunch of action sequences that allowed the filmmakers to play with these characters in a number of different action sequences that I ate up every second of.

I also enjoyed the seeing all the Avengers hanging out at the party toward the beginning of the movie, as it was interesting to see them socializing with one another in that context. I enjoyed the unexpected connection between Natasha and Bruce, which at first felt completely random, but it ended up making a lot of sense, with both characters feeling like monsters. Each of the Avengers' nightmare sequences—courtesy of Wanda—provided new layers to their respective character's stories, and Thor's even paved the way for future threats in the MCU. We learned more of Hawkeye's personal life, and Tony and Steve's moral tension was interesting to see boiling beneath the surface. The filmmakers had their hands full once again, but they managed to juggle a large ensemble of characters, while delivering interesting stories for each of them, as well as plenty of Avengers action to keep audiences entertained.

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Con: The Climax & The Helicarrier (-4pts)

As much as I liked most of the action in this movie, there was a point in the climax where it all started to seem a little tedious. It was the Avengers taking on an army of nameless, faceless antagonists—just like they did in the last movie—but in this movie it just felt like more of the same. The filmmakers did not really raise the bar in terms of the stakes, or the intensity, and this made the climax feel somewhat underwhelming, because I—like many—was hoping for bigger and better. Then there was the extremely convenient helicarrier moment, which felt like it could have been done in a more organic way. These things came together to form a climax that was not exactly boring, but it did not really live up to the climax of the last movie, or even the entire movie that led up to it.

Grading Scale

GradeCategoryPoints

A+

Amazing

95-100

A-

Great

90-94

B+

Good

85-89

B-

Decent

80-84

C+

Average

75-79

C-

Watchable

70-74

D+

Bad

65-69

D-

Terrible

60-64

F

Garbage

45-59

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Grade: B+ (88pts)

This movie had big shoes to fill after the success that was The Avengers. This movie gets a lot of hate because it did not live up to those expectations. To start, the supposedly super-intelligent Ultron chose a plan that was far more complicated and challenging than necessary, and while Quicksilver’s final scene in the movie was effectively dramatic, it made no sense, given his super-power. On top of that, the climax was mostly entertaining, but it felt like more of the same, as opposed to raising the bar. Still though, there was a lot that the filmmakers did really well.

I thought Pietro, Wanda, and Vision were introduced in interesting and organic ways, and I left the movie excited to see what the future would hold for these characters in the MCU. Also, while Ultron may have seemed like a generic antagonist on the surface, the character and his connection to Tony Stark becomes far more compelling the deeper you dive into his story. Ultron was simply trying to fulfill the purpose that Tony Stark programmed him for, his interpretation just did not align with the Avengers interests or philosophy. It made him an interesting villain, who opened the door for interesting philosophical differences between the members of the Avengers. Finally, there was simply getting to see all of these characters on screen together again. Their interactions with one another were as amusing as ever, the filmmakers added new, interesting layers to each of their stories, and the various action sequences involving these characters were just awesome. The movie did not quite live up to The Avengers, but this movie was still pretty good.

Comments

Movie Beasts (author) from MA on March 21, 2021:

Thanks, Marwa!

Marwa Bouchaala from Algeria on March 21, 2021:

This is one of my fav movies, can't wait to read your full review.

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