AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON – A DC Fan’s Review
For nearly 15 years, I’ve been an avid fan and follower of DC Comics. From Superman and Batman, to the countless Elseworld Tales, the great Sinestro Corps War, and the many Crisis events, I have been on the hook for their storytelling and fantastic art; and to say that I am looking forward to Batman v. Superman: Dawn Of Justice would be a grand understatement. But I must fully admit and recognize that Marvel has done something truly special, and unprecedented, in the past 7 years with the creation and execution of its Cinematic Universe…and as a DC Comics fan, I can honestly say that I have enjoyed every single step of this Marvel journey. I just want you to have the facts up front as we dive into the new Avengers film – DC fan, but love these Marvel flicks.
That is until Avengers: Age Of Ultron.
For the first time I feel like Marvel is cashing in on a money grab rather than creating another great Marvel Studios comic book film. And let’s be clear right from the get-go: it’s not film director Joss Whedon‘s fault. At all. And this nothing to do with a preference for DC over Marvel for me, because I have adored the Marvel films thus far, with Thor being my favorite Marvel film, and Captain America: The Winter Soldier without question being Marvel’s greatest film to date.
It’s been no secret as of late, though, that Marvel has had too many irons in the fire, poking them at the side of Whedon as he attempted to follow up the greatest comic book film of all time; a film that he obviously poured his heart and soul into. And a film that Marvel basically let him have free reign on. And this shackling of creativity shows in Age Of Ultron. The film feels like an unfocused mess set amid some exceptional and spectacular set pieces, including a jaw dropper of a scene with The Hulk and Iron Man battling it out while The Hulk is under the spell of the Scarlet Witch.
I went into this film with modest expectations: it would be next to impossible to recapture the feeling of the first Avengers film, and I acknowledge this. Bringing the team together for the very first time on the big screen and watching years of film investment finally pay off, and also unleashing The Hulk on an invading alien race, made for an utterly ground-breaking and original film that will likely stand the test of time as THE greatest comic book film ever made. I can’t imagine DC Comics will even come close with Justice League, but I hope for all our sakes I am wrong!
But Age Of Ultron misses on multiple fronts. Ultron starts out as a very intriguing villain, but falls victim to some really terrible storytelling on the writers part by the end of the film. And their story feels not only forced, but to a point it’s also retread of the first film: Avengers assemble – Avengers fight with each other – Avengers reconcile – Avengers battle many small soldiers that are part of a larger army while trying to overthrow the army leader – Avengers separate. And not only that, but Ultron’s grand scheme was ludicrous, on a Superman Returns kind of level: so let’s lift a huge chunk of ground high into the sky and then drop it back down to Earth to cause an extinction level event, wiping out humanity and allowing Ultron to start over with the planet as he sees fit. Come on, Marvel, certainly you can do better, especially when our villain is voiced by the legendary James Spader and can travel instantaneously across the globe!
The film just doesn’t mesh. It feels pieced together, due in large part to the constraints and expectations heaved upon Joss Whedon by Marvel. Whedon’s touch is all over the original Avengers film, but with Age Of Ultron there’s barely a Whedon-esque moment to be had. And the original was the payoff for 7 years of plotting and planning by Marvel to finally bring The Avengers to the modern-day silver screen. With Age Of Ultron, the film is but another small piece in the greater Marvel puzzle that’s been set in motion for the future of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
And maybe that’s just it – has Marvel finally gotten ahead of themselves? Have they knowingly “jumped the shark” in order to cash in on The Avengers initial box office success at the expense of a great, not to mention cohesive, story?The general public will go see this film for weeks on end in the coming months; it will be a global box office success a hundred times over. But true fans know they’ve been robbed of a second great Avengers film. Joss Whedon was handcuffed, and it shows. Sure the film was fun and spectacular at times, but it was also overstuffed with new heroes, new villains, television series story tie-ins, multiple, and at times confusing, story threads (I thought Hulk could control his changing now, per the last movie? Why is Hawkeye such a huge focus in this film, is it because fans complained about his role in the first one and not because he is integral to the story…AGAIN) and a reference to just about every MCU film that’s been made thus far. True fans of Marvel films, and Marvel comics in general, will be honest with themselves that this was not a good Marvel film.
And that’s a shame. Because of all people that I would expect to hit an absolute grand slam with a follow-up film, those at Marvel Studios would unquestionably be the ones to pull it off. Marvel’s The Avengers is a legendary piece of cinematic work, Captain America: The Winter Soldier is a sequel film second only to films like Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man 2, Peter Jackson’s the Lord Of The Rings: The Two Towers, and Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight. Instead of giving us another fun and cohesive Avengers film, ultimately what we get is a film that’s just unworthy of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes.