Avengers: Age of Ultron - Avengers: Infinity War Marvel MCU Movie Marathon
Before we start, as always, there will be spoilers.
I'm going to come right out and say it. This is not one of my favorite movies. I think there are a lot of great scenes, but I just felt there was so much going on in this movie. There was a lot of scientific talk about efficient ways of peacekeeping, an introduction of two new characters with horrible new accents, a maniacal artificial intelligence, a friendly artificial intelligence, Brutasha (my shipping name for Bruce and Natasha), the return of S.H.I.E.L.D., the Red Room, the Infinity Stones and Hawkeye's wife and children. Destruction takes place over three countries - South Africa, South Korea and Sokovia (is Sokovia a city or country?)
Just. So. Much.
I guess its an Avengers film, so its got to be packed with excitement. But, I felt because there was so much, it left loose threads that drive me crazy.
First of all, let's start off with the twins - Wanda and Pietro Maximoff. I've grown to like Elizabeth Olsen in the the role of Wanda/Scarlett Witch. But, she seems very stiff in this movie. And I think part of it is her having to try to use this Sokovian accent. She often sounded like a cartoon. This is the reason why I'm glad Scarlett Johansson didn't use a Russian accent for Black Widow. It would have been distracting. The same went with Aaron Taylor-Johnson and his accent as Pietro. And the two of them went in and out of the accent, so it just seemed weird.
Its interesting, in Captain America: Civil War, Wanda just used her telekinetic powers. I almost forgot that she also possessed the mind control abilities of the Mind Stone from which she gets her powers. I thought it interesting that she was able to shut off the mind control power on Helen Cho (Claudia Kim). In this film, she seems very confident and powerful using her powers. So, its interesting that she seemed to have less confidence in Captain America: Civil War. Perhaps that's because the Russo Brothers felt they needed to keep her abilities controllable. But, this ability is something that I hope she uses is Avengers: Infinity War.
I hate to say it, but I could not stand Pietro Maximoff/Quicksilver in this movie. I don't know if it was because of Aaron Taylor-Johnson or the writing or the directing. For somebody with super speed, he always looked like he was standing around. In the comics, Quicksilver is such an interesting character because he's got an ego and doesn't stop until he gets what he wants. Quicksilver in the movie just felt like he didn't think very much.
And, how they went from wanting to destroy the Avengers at the beginning of the film to wanting to become Avengers at the end of the film just seemed so fast and easy. To me, it was some sloppy writing.
I enjoyed the parts with Ultron. I liked the fact that we see Tony (Robert Downey, Jr.) develop the Legionnaire peacekeeping program to help the Avengers protect people. Tony's hubris gets ahold of him when he realizes the properties of the Mind Stone, which was just known as the gem in Loki's scepter at the time, could power Ultron which would be his ultimate artificial intelligence that could conceivably take over for the Avengers. And I like the fact that Ultron's idea of keeping the peace is destroying humanity as we know it. I always think that Ultron is an interesting villain in the comics because of this mission. But, I personally feel James Spader was miscast for the role. There are times where I enjoy his vocal performance, but when Ultron slips into a somewhat humorous mode, it feels irritating to me. In the end, I just feel Ultron's voice should be more foreboding.
I like the fact that the Vision's (Paul Bettany) gem on his head is the Mind Stone. This is different from the comics in which the gem is a solar power source. I think the Vision looks awesome on the screen. He's such a specific looking character in the comics and I felt they did a great job translating that look. It must also be nice for Paul Bettany to be part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe aside from a disembodied voice. I think he does a great job and feels like the Vision from the comics.
Now, I need to talk about some of the relationships in this film. First, let's talk about Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) having a family on a farm somewhere in the middle of nowhere. As much as I love Linda Cardellini, I am not in love with Hawkeye being married to a civilian. I always loved his on again, off again relationship with Mockingbird in the comics. In the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Mockingbird was on the Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. television show. So, the odds of her being included in the movies are slim. But, I guess this is a way to give Hawkeye an out from the Avengers.
I feel Avengers: Age of Ultron tries to start preparing audiences for the inevitable. That the founding Avengers can't be around forever like in the comics. We see Tony tapping out at the end, Thor going off to find out who is looking to collect the Infinity Stones, and Hawkeye going back to his family. In their stead is a new class of Avengers including War Hammer (Don Cheadle), Falcon (Anthony Mackie), Vision and Scarlet Witch. Maybe this is going to soften the blow of losing beloved characters in Avengers: Infinity War.
Okay, on to Brutasha. Brutasha, Brutasha, Brutasha. I actually liked the lullabye that Black Widow developed to help Bruce Banner (Mark Ruffalo) return to his human self. But, their relationship just felt a bit forced. And I did not like the conversation where he is scared of being with her because he's a monster and her response is to tell her how she was sterilized after she graduated the Red Room (the assassin school for young girls) and considers herself a monster. How horrible is that to make it sound like women who can't have children are monsters? And, I feel that's the only reason why they included that whole Red Room mishegoss in this film. I felt this film was a step back for Black Widow where her function was mainly to be Bruce's love interest. Thank goodness she returns to glory in Captain America: Civil War.
Speaking of relationships, you could definitely see the philosophical differences growing between Steve (Chris Evans) and Tony that sow the seeds for Captain America: Civil War. What it basically boils down to is that Steve leads from the heart and Tony from the head. Steve learns lessons from the past and Tony has his mind in the future. The conversation they have while chopping wood on Hawkeye's farm is one of the best scenes in the movie.
Some notes on some of the secondary characters. First, I wonder if Helen Cho has a son. In the comics, she is the mother of Amadeus Cho who is one of the smartest people on the planet and who is a friend to both Hulk and Hercules. He is even a Hulk himself right now. Second, what a shame about the use of Baron Von Strucker. He's one of Captain America's biggest villains and he was killed after a few minutes into the film. Why even use him at all?
Finally, we are introduced to Ulysses Klaue (Andy Serkis) from whom Ultron gets his vibranium. Klaue is an enemy of Black Panther who is still not known in this film, but appears in Black Panther. Bruce analyzes a tattoo he has on his neck, It says "thief" in Wakandan. This is the first time we are introduced to the name Wakanda. Tony tells the Avengers that his father had known the country for its vibranium. Given that, at the time of Black Panther, Wakanda's vibranium richness is not known to the general public.
This film is also the first time the Avengers learn of the Infinity Stones. In the dream that Scarlet Witch placed in his head, Thor (Chris Hemsworth) begins to dream of destruction. He later finds that what he sees are the Infinity Stones and that somebody was looking to harness their power. He also explains that the gem on the Vision's forehead in the Mind Stone. At the end of the film, Thor goes off to see if he can find out more information.
There are some really exciting action sequences, the best of which is the Hulk's attack on Cape Town. With the Avengers still out because of Scarlet Witch's spell, Tony has to use Hulk Buster armor to try to stop the Hulk who is also under the spell. But, like I mentioned before, there is a lot of destruction in this film, including the total destruction of Sokovia which will have consequences in Captain America: Civil War. I'm glad, though, the Avengers are always about reducing the amount of casualties as much as they can.
So, again, while I did think there was lots of good stuff in this film, as a film overall, its one of my least favorites because it just tries to fit too much. But not in an epic way...in an extraneous way. That said, I still enjoy watching it. Even the worst Marvel films are still fun to watch.
Stan Lee Cameo: Party guest who tries Thor's liquor not meant for mortal men.
Now, on to something smaller (pun intended) as we end Phase Two with Ant-Man!