FlixChatter Double Reviews – Avengers: Age of Ultron

AgeOfUltronPoster

Ted’s Review

I have a confession to make, I’m not a big fan of the first Avengers film, I enjoyed it for the most part but when I watched it again on Bluray, I found it kind of dragging. So going into this gigantic sequel, I had no high expectations for it. Well color surprise because I think Age of Ultron might be my favorite Marvel film to date, I’ll know for sure when I see it again in a few days.

Things kick off right away when the movie opens; our superheroes are in the middle of a battle with the bad guys. The sequence was quite impressive; director Whedon decided to reintroduce each of the heroes by showing skill set and that they’re now working as a team. They successfully retrieved Loki’s scepter from Baron Wolfgang von Strucker and before it returns to Thor’s world, Stark and Banner decided to create an AI called Ultron without telling the rest of the team. After the events of the first film, Stark wanted to protect humans from another alien invasion. Of course every time when some geniuses create a super intelligent machine, it will take over its masters and that’s what happened here. I think most people have already seen the trailers and clips of the movie so I’m not going to discuss its plot. For this review I’ll go over the goods, there are plenty of them and not so good about this sequel.

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The goods: Whedon really improved the action sequences in this one, along with the opening sequence; there are three other set pieces that I thought were quite excellent. The fight between Hulk and Iron Man in the Hulkbuster armor was spectacular. The midway action sequence where Capt. America was fighting with Ultron and Black Widow on the motorcycle chasing them was eye-popping. Finally the entire climatic battle with Ultron’s minions was just fun to watch. I didn’t care for the 3D effects in the first movie but here all the 3D worked, clearly Whedon shot each sequence with 3D in mind.

Instead of focusing on one character, Whedon was able to give each of the heroes equal screen time and they’re bantering are still amusing to me. All the actors appears to be quite comfortable in their respectively role. I wasn’t sure if the addition of Quicksilver and The Scarlet Witch would work in the story but they turned out well.

AgeOfUltron_HulkbusterVSHulk

AgeOfUltron_Twins

I also have to mention the sound design, the movie was recorded in Dolby Atmos and it’s my favorite surround sound right behind GRAVITY. If there’s a theater that has Dolby Atmos near your time, please see it there. I don’t tend to recommend seeing movies in 3D but I was quite impressed with 3D effects in this movie. So see it in 3D and Dolby Atmos if possible.

The not so good: I didn’t care for the romance with between Hulk and Black Widow, it kind of dragged on too long and just didn’t work for me. I expected Ultron to be this super menacing villain but he kind of turned out to be bland, just the usual AI villain that we’ve seen many times before.

Despite my quibbles I still think this is a perfect summer movie that delivers everything you’d expect to see in a tent pole picture. I can’t wait to see it again.

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Ruth’s Review

It seems that Ted and I have the opposite reaction in regards to the two Avengers movies. I actually loved the first film, I even made posted 10 Reasons why I think The Avengers rocks and gave it a 4.5/5 rating. I remember being massively anticipating it, following all the buildup from Iron Man 1 & 2, Thor and Captain America: The First Avenger, there’s still a sense of novelty of seeing ALL of the Avengers assembling on screen fighting a menacing villain Loki hellbent to rule earth and beyond.

AgeOfUltron_team

This time, I have to admit I wasn’t terribly excited for Age of Ultron. Despite all the hype, I just couldn’t muster the excitement I once had for the last Avengers movie.  That said, I figure I’d still have fun with it and maybe I’d end up loving it. Well, I wouldn’t say the movie wasn’t devoid of fun. It actually started off with a thrilling action sequence and there are some funny moments peppered throughout, but overall it’s just not a movie I’d remember in a week or so, and certainly not something I’m eager to watch again.

Ok let’s start with the good. I still have to commend director Joss Whedon for somehow not making a huge mess out of having sooo many characters in a film (11 characters total) and having to somehow give each of them adequate screen time as well as making them work as a cohesive team. All things considered, I think he did a smashing job. The scenes of the team working or playing together are the main highlights for me. I feel like they care about each other and look after each other when one of them get hurt. It genuinely feel like a team whose loyalty is tested by a new deranged enemy.

I especially enjoyed that whole Mjölnir-lifting-attempt scene where each Avenger tried to see if they could lift Thor’s mighty hammer. The look on Thor’s face when Chris Rogers tried his luck is perhaps the funniest of all. That’s absolutely hilarious and one I’m sure I’d watch over and over again when someone has posted it on Youtube. Other than that, I honestly can’t think of a moment where I actually cheered or having any kind of strong emotion towards what’s happening on screen.

MjolnirScene_Ultron
Gif Source: MTV.com

I have to say that the villain Ultron himself was okay, despite the run-of-the-mill storyline of human-created AI that ended up wanting to destroy humanity. We’ve seen that plot in a plethora of sci-fi movies and explored in a much deeper way in films with a tiny fraction of Age of Ultron‘s budget, yet somehow James Spader’s able to inject some wit and humor into that mechanical character. At least he’s more interesting than a Transformer robot, even if he’s nowhere as fun to watch as Loki was.

AgeOfUltron_Ultron

As for the bad, well it’s simply an overloaded and overstuffed movie from the get go. It’s as if they didn’t have too many characters already, they added even more! I suppose Marvel have to pave the way for Phase 3 and beyond, so perhaps they’re planning a standalone movie for Vision (Paul Bettany), who looks like something out of the Body Worlds exhibit with a red cape. There are also the Maximoff twins, who were experimented on by of one of Hydra cohorts Strucker in an Eastern European country of Sokovia. Out of the two, Elizabeth Olsen fared better than Aaron Taylor-Johnson who came across so weird and awkward. Their *Russian* accent are laughable but they’re just so underwritten, though to be fair I think every character here suffers the same treatment. The Quicksilver character in X-Men: Days of Future Past was far more fun and memorable.

AgeOfUltron_Vision

I’d say that the biggest misstep of them all is the tacked-on romance between Bruce Banner (Hulk) and Natasha Romanoff (Black Widow). I didn’t care for that cheesy and entirely-unnecessary subplot and their scenes are so cringe-worthy that it took me out of the movie. Natasha was sharing some of the backstory of her dark childhood, and it would have been a rather emotional moment but I just couldn’t get into it as the corny romance thing was distracting me. I like both Mark Ruffalo and Scarlett Johansson, but they seem to have a more effortless chemistry off-screen during interviews than in the movie.

AgeOfUltron_HulkBlackwidow

I think people expecting a bunch of action in a big tentpole movie won’t be disappointed. For me, it’s more fun if I actually care about the characters and the universe presented here. As it is now, it’s just one huge bombastic film, in fact the whole fight sequence of Hulkbuster vs Hulk was so loud and verbose it reminded me of the final battle in Man of Steel. With so many characters all fighting for relevancy, the movie feels disjointed and abridged at times. The backstory of some of the characters also didn’t gel with me and felt forced and extraneous. Even the most adept filmmaker like Whedon surely was overwhelmed so I don’t blame him that he’s not going to do the final Avengers film. The Russo brothers certainly have a challenging task ahead of them to direct Avengers: Infinity War, and because Hollywood is all about the bottom line, of course it will be another two-part movie.

Oh, I have to mention that I saw this in 2D and the theater I was in had a pretty terrible surround sound. I wish I had seen it in a theater with Dolby Atmos as I still love the soundtrack, this time done by Brian Tyler & Danny Elfman. I doubt that seeing it in a better-equipped cinema would fix the weak script however. It also pains me to see Andy Serkis practically wasted here.

You could say the superhero fatigue is getting to me, so that certainly plays a factor in my enjoyment of this film. I can’t say I’m excited for more Marvel movies, except for Captain America: Civil War because I actually care about the Capt and his relationship with his friend-turned-foe Bucky, aka The Winter Soldier. Compared to the second Captain America movie, this one just felt bland and forgettable. It’s amazing how all that star power and an astronomical budget ($250 mil) only amounts to this, but then again, more is often just more, not better.

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Well, if you’ve seen this movie, what did YOU think? 

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46 thoughts on “FlixChatter Double Reviews – Avengers: Age of Ultron

  1. I know everyone is seeing it but I’m going to see it later this month so I can get away from the big crowds and not take a lot of time to find a seat or something.

  2. I have to side with Ruth here. I pretty much agree with everything you say. There were no moments for me either where I felt like cheering or felt sad.

    Fun fact that I noticed the other day. Both Quicksilvers acted as best friends in Kick-Ass!

    1. Hi Mikey! Glad you’re in agreement, though I think there are still plenty who are in Ted’s camp. Overall it was just a big giant meh.

      Oh wow, I did not know that the two Quicksilver actors were BFFs in Kick Ass, nice trivia!

  3. I’ll see it soon, but I’m also getting fatigued by so many superhero movies, Ruth. Hopefully, I’ll like this one, since I’ve enjoyed most of the Marvel movies.

    1. Hi Josh, it’s hard not to get fatigued from ALL these movies, and this is just from Marvel! I’ve enjoyed most of Marvel movies too, but it’s really getting to be too much.

      1. Tom

        Ted its always nice to see different views. I wish I went and saw the double feature of both films when I had the chance. Of course that would have been exhausting haha!

        1. Ah thanks Tom! I’m not against big tentpole movies, heck it’s to be expected from a superhero movie these days. I just wish they’d invest that money on a good script instead, y’know. I for one would rather see that than action, action, action. That is why I LOVE Ex Machina.

  4. Just curious Ruth, where did you see it at? I thought you went to the zoo’s IMAX? They’re now equipped with DTS: X which is similar to Dolby Atmos, I’m going to see it again there, I want to know if there will be any difference between the two sound formats. Of course I want to see the movie again too.

    What’s funny is that I totally agree with your review… if it applies to the first movie. 🙂

    1. No I saw it at MoA theater w/ no Dolby Atmos.

      Well none of the problems I spoke of here does not apply to the first film, I mean there’s no stupid romance in there and there are far fewer characters to contend with. I’d rather see the first film again than this one any day. I think even Whedon himself probably still prefer the first movie.

      1. We definitely agree on that one, I didn’t care for that stupid romance between Hulk and Black Widow. But I thought the action scenes in the first one just weren’t that thrilling and Loki try to rule the world again, we already seen that in Thor.

        1. I for one don’t judge movies based on the action scenes, not the amount nor how bombastic it was. In terms of story, the first film is far superior and even Loki is far more interesting than Ultron. I’m not saying I want to see more of Loki here, but even as good as Spader was as Ultron, the character just isn’t as fun to watch as Loki. But eh, that’s just my opinion anyway, good that you love this movie, surely Marvel’s happy people like you will see this over and over 😉

          1. Action doesn’t mean everything but in the case of movies like this, I think it counts. I enjoyed the first movie quite a bit when I first saw it, but then when I watched it again, I got bored and the story just wasn’t that interesting to me. Also, I thought the action scenes lacked creativity and the big battle in NY went way too long. In this one I thought Whedon edited the action scenes quite well and they were exciting to watch.

            I agree though that Ultron was lame as a villain, I liked Loki more because he’s at least more vicious. I don’t get the love for Spader as the voice either, he’s nothing special to me.

    1. Ahah yeah that would be an interesting discussion for sure, but it wouldn’t be the first time Ted & I disagree on things though, we also have differing opinion on Interstellar 😉

  5. Nice reviews guys, both points of view make some good points. I have to say I didn’t have a problem with the Banner/Hulk and Black Widow thing and thought the Vision was well realised but there’s an awful lot of set-up for future Marvel films (Andy Serkis should be back Ruth – his character is a Black Panther villain).

    1. I think if the romance was handled differently, I may have been okay with it. Here I thought it felt forced and just didn’t work for me. Who knows maybe when they release the 3 hours plus version on Bluray, it might work since they will be more scenes.

      What’s funny was that I didn’t even know Serkis was in the movie until I saw him. But I knew his character is somehow related to The Black Panther when he was introduced.

      The movie’s definitely a set up for Marvel’s Phase 3.

    2. Hello Cap! 😉 Well I think if they’re just flirting like how Black Widow was w/ Captain America, it would’ve been ok. But the whole sexual vibe w/ Banner being shirtless & stuff just made me cringe, it just seems out of place and wholly unnecessary. Ah so that’s what Serkis’ character was, well so he’d have to have a fake arm then as Black Panther??

  6. Hahaha, Ruth I love your comment about the vision coming out of the Body Worlds exhibit! You are absolutely right. Like you I also thought this was very bombastic, but just a bit too much.

    1. I immediately thought of that as he’s all red and vein-y 😀 I kind of have a feeling I wouldn’t like it as the first one, given my fatigue w/ superhero movies. But they manage to make me like it even less.

  7. jackdeth72

    Hi, Ruth and Ted:

    You would think that someone of Stark’s intellect would have read Mary Shelley’s ‘Frankenstein. The New Prometheus’?!!! Or, at least watched ‘Colossus: The Forbin Project’?

    Banner and Stark seem to need to be constantly reminded of team work and not keeping secrets. No matter how cool they or the consequences they entail.

    Question: Isn’t Paul Bettany working under a conflict of interest being the Vision and the voice of Jarvis? I think he has great potential. And needs to do more non costume work!

    Vaguely familiar with Quicksilver and The Scarlet Witch from the old 1970s comics. Don’t know how well they, or Ant-Man will pan out in futue adventures.

    Good stuff all around on what to look for and what not to!

    1. Hey Jack,

      Yeah you’d think someone with the intelligence like Stark should know that you cannot mess around with super smart AI.

      I always get the feeling that Stark thinks of Banner as his equal and everyone else just there to assist his tasks. Just like in the first movie, Stark seems to be fascinated with Banner/Hulk.

      Well I can’t say anything about The Vision without giving away some plot point and I think if you’re fan of the comics, you might enjoy his incarnation in the movie.

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    1. Hi Mark! Glad you agree. I suppose I was probably expecting too much to have something emotionally-gratifying, but X-Men: Days of Future Past did that for me. It felt like a solid thriller/drama w/ comic-book characters.

  9. Hey Ruth!
    Long Time. I agree with you a LOT more than Ted. The more I think about the movie, the less I like it. I still gave it a similar rating as you, mostly for the `fun afctor`involved. But otherwise, the movie falls apart on its own. I have a much more bigger problem with this movie though than you, but I agree with that Serkis & Bettany were both wasted, despite the awesome potential both characters had. I believe Serkis will show up on the Black Panther movie though.

    Check out my Review as well if you like.
    http://www.blankpagebeatdown.com/movie-review-avengers-age-of-ultron-2015/

    1. Hello Shah! Yeah we agree on the rating on this one, though I was feeling generous giving it 3/5. I don’t even remember much about the movie anymore, that’s how forgettable it is.

  10. Fine reviews by the both of you. My sense of this blockbuster, which I thoroughly enjoyed, was that Age of Ultron felt a tad compressed. I know Whedon’s cut of the film was over three-hours long, so a number of scenes were cut or removed entirely to bring it down to 141 minutes. No doubt because Marvel didn’t want less screenings per day than their first Avengers’ film. So, I don’t blame the writing for shortchanging character development as the studio obviously had the last say with the final cut of the film. Wonder if they’ll do like Cameron’s AVATAR and release a director’s cut to theaters and milk more out of this.

    1. Hi Michael! Yeah I suppose they’d have to edit things down to be around 2 hrs, though I wish they’d just cut out that pointless *romance* entirely?? I’d rather see a bit more character development on some of the new characters.

      Yeah it’s entirely possible about the director’s cut. I enjoyed this one whilst I’m watching it, but now I hardly remember much about it. That’s saying something.

  11. Almost two weeks after the premiere and I still haven’t seen this. Not terribly excited, though. I’ll probably watch tonight but won’t feel terrible if I don’t.

  12. Great review. I think the film was good but still quite disappointing.
    Not sure if it is in comparisons to their reason great films but it felt like a foot note rather than a solid film of its own.
    2 hour trailer for phase 3 is a bit harsh but not wholly untrue.

    1. Hi Tim! You said it man, it felt like a foot note rather than a solid film indeed. The trailer was much better than the actual movie.

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