Movie Discussion: Avengers: Age of Ultron
Warning! This entire discussion contains spoilers for Avengers: Age of Ultron.
When Tony Stark and Bruce Banner try to jump-start a dormant peacekeeping program called Ultron, things go horribly wrong and it's up to Earth's mightiest heroes to stop the villainous Ultron from enacting his terrible plan.
Genre: Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi
Director: Joss Whedon
Writer: Joss Whedon, Stan Lee (based on the Marvel comics by), Jack Kirby (based on the Marvel comics by), Joe Simon (character created by: Captain America), Jack Kirby (character created by: Captain America), Jim Starlin (character created by: Thanos)
Actors: Robert Downey Jr., Chris Hemsworth, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Evans
Release Year: 2015
Evie Totty | May 1, 2015
I probably would not do the 25 hour marathon (they had one last week in NYC that I followed via Twitter) but I did do a double feature yesterday. I am of the opinion that they should have included CA:WS to add some context... I've done 3-movie marathons so far; I *might* be able to do 4 but no more than that
Evie Totty | May 1, 2015
That said... I'm gonna have to say that I will have to watch it again to sink it all in. There was THAT much going on.
Scott Hardie | May 3, 2015
Yes, tons of plot to keep up with, and I doubt that I grasped every connection. I have yet to sit through a Marvel movie a second time, but I may check out the DVD sometime if it contains all of the deleted scenes, especially if they're edited into the film in their original order as a director's cut.
Random thoughts in no particular order:
Kelly and I were amused by the scene where everyone is arguing over whether to finish Stark's work on the vibranium body for JARVIS, and then Quicksilver sabotages it, and then Thor bursts in and finishes it, because the scene played just like a dysfunctional tabletop RPG group that can't make up its collective mind and then one PC suddenly takes unilateral action. The only thing that could have made that scene better would have been Thor yelling "LEEEEEROOOOY JENKINS!"
Black Widow and Hulk as a couple is.... let's say extremely implausible. I didn't believe in it for a second. I'm not cyncial enough to assume that Marvel did it because she's female and thus *must* have a love interest, nor to assume that it was done solely in service of the plot. I suspect that Whedon and Fiege and whoever else made the big decisions honestly saw romantic potential between Romanov and Banner. I think they are crazy.
A trip to Wakanda and no introduction for Black Panther? I guess the introduction of Klaw was supposed to set up the Black Panther movie, but I spent the whole extended sequence just studying faces in the crowd for Chadwick Boseman instead of paying attention to what was happening.
I may have been the only person who didn't already see the scene of everyone trying to lift Thor's hammer in the trailer. I loved it. THAT'S the kind of scene that the movie needed more of. From interviews, it sounds like 30-40 minutes of that kind of scene was excised from the film by Marvel over Whedon's objections. Too bad.
I was not surprised at Quicksilver's passing. I had already had it spoiled for me that one of the heroes dies (thanks friend on Facebook), but even if I hadn't, Whedon so heavily foreshadowed Hawkeye's passing that I knew it wouldn't be Hawkeye and had to be one of the others. Banner started to look like a possibility, given the romantic subplot and the fact that they refuse to make more Hulk films, but no, Quicksilver was always the likeliest to die. (I knew it wouldn't be Scarlet Witch because of her announced involvement in Captain America: Civil War, and the other Avengers are too popular and iconic.) I guess that's one way to avoid any future lawsuits with Fox. I like that his death led to Scarlet Witch leaving her post to get revenge and thus Ultron activating the doomsday device, and I liked the cruel revenge that she ultimately got against Ultron, but I did feel like one or two more scenes were missing at the end, because Quicksilver was apparently forgotten after that (no tribute to him at the new Avenger HQ?), and because Scarlet Witch seemed way too ready to join the team that led to his death (no scene of her coping with the loss and deciding to move on?). Perhaps those are among the many deleted scenes.
What's with all the choking? Somebody should edit a supercut of all of the scenes in which an Avenger is lifted by the throat.
I love Julie Delpy, but why hire a big (and very talented) star to deliver just two lines of dialogue in a flashback? It's not like they're setting her up for a Black Widow solo movie. Again, there's probably more in the deleted scenes.
The development of Hawkeye was totally unexpected and welcome. He was the least essential character in the original Avengers, apparently present only so that the movie would have six heroes instead of five. But this time, they went out of their way to give him personality and story. Good choice. Plus, Linda Cardellini is a favorite actor of mine and I'm glad to see her in any capacity.
Kelly really disliked the scene where Black Widow calls herself a "monster" because she's sterile. I get that they were trying to set up a connection to the Hulk's monsterism in the dialogue, but they could have alluded to her being a trained killing machine instead. On behalf of all women who can't conceive, screw you Marvel.
It's spectacular by design and so of course it's a good shot, but here's taking a moment to praise the extended shot in the final battle where the camera spins around the Avengers as each one dispatches some of Ultron's mini-mes in slow motion. It's the primary mission of movies like this to deliver incredible images, and with that shot, mission accomplished.
What were your favorite and least favorite parts?
Scott Hardie | June 19, 2015
The AV Club ran a good article by someone who actually did the full Marvel marathon.
Here's more about the studio fighting with Whedon and of course winning.
Scott Hardie | August 9, 2015
Question for discussion: Is Black Widow useless? Someone said to me that Black Widow was "useless" compared to the powerful other heroes, because can't fly, can't smash things or blow them up, can't run at light speed, etc. Personally, I say powers alone don't define a hero's usefulness. Widow has all kinds of other talents including subterfuge, infiltration, and interrogation, used well against Loki in the previous Avengers film. Think about it in Dungeons & Dragons terms: The fighters (Captain America and Hulk) deal damage, and the wizards (Iron Man and Thor) are spectacular, but the rogue (Widow) is the unsung contributor who sneaks about, discovers enemy weaknesses, gathers critical info/tools, and so on, and the team couldn't succeed without her. (According to that analogy, Hawkeye the ranger must be the least essential teammate.)
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Scott Hardie | May 1, 2015
Several friends of mine participated in a theatrical marathon of every Marvel movie leading up to Age of Ultron. I could somewhat understand the appeal of that marathon three years ago with the original Avengers, when there weren't very many Marvel films yet, but now? That's something like twenty-four straight hours. I love movies, but I think after that, I'd never want to see another movie again. But I'm 36, not 16, so I'm not the target audience. My idea of a Marvel marathon is one film per day consecutively. Would you (or did you) participate in a theatrical marathon like this?