Reviewed By

Christopher Armstead and Lisa Sue
I'll admit, maybe a little bit of fangirling was going on over here in regards to 'Avengers: Age of Ultron'.  First, just the fact there is a second Avengers movie on the way which all by its lonesome could cause some shortness of breath.  Then toss in some Ultron, AND The Vision… OMG… and we're even going to get into the Maximoff Twins.  Sure, the latent comic book geek in me could nitpick at Tony Stark creating Ultron as opposed to Hank Pym, but the anticipation was sky high.  Too high.  Anticipation which urged me to see this film in 3D IMAX which was probably unnecessary, and too high so that the movie could never achieve these grand expectations.  Well… 'Age of Ultron' did not meet these expectations, but it was a still a good time at the show.

Our film opens with ACTION!  Now I've heard some complaints from some sources that they really needed some kind of lead-in to this action, but if you happen to be a faithful watcher of Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D… you kind of got a lead-in… just saying is all.

The important things that came out of this action was the retrieval of Loki's scepter, and the introduction to Pietro (Aaron Taylor Johnson) and Wanda (Elizabeth Olsen), particularly Wanda who put a Hex on Tony Stark's brain during this action which will prompt Tony to do something very unwise which will drive this movie.  The twins hate Tony Stark… like pretty much everybody in this fictional world, including his teammates, with the possible exception of Pepper Potts and maybe James Rhodes (Don Cheadle).

That unwise thing, along with the help of Dr. Bruce Banner, would be extracting some Artificial Intelligence from Loki's scepter, an intelligence that they don't understand even a little bit, and putting it in a robot.  It doesn't work out well and Ultron (James Spader) is born.  Well, I've seen enough movies to know that if you give a robot a brain, the first thing it's going to want to do is end humanity.  Everybody knows this.  This is why we don't give robots brains.  Ultron, who is kind of a wiseacre for a robot, wants to end humanity.  Surprise!  And crush the Avengers in the process, particularly Tony Stark.   Whom he hates.  Stand in line Ultron.
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The Avengers cannot allow that to happen, now can they?  Thus action of the highest order will ensue, and some melodrama, and a lot of MCU universe building, via references, for movies in which the scripts haven't even been written for yet. 

Not since 'The Phantom Menace' do I believe I experienced a hype machine as forceful as the one Disney put on the tracks for 'Age of Ultron'.   Endless trailers, endless clips, magazines, interviews, a bottomless pit of product tie-ins… it was exhausting and I will admit that the media blitz did etch away at some of my fangirling as now I just wanted to see the thing and get it behind me.  This exhaustion was not helped by the movie coming a week early in Europe allowing every single outlet to flood us with lists, movie reviews, analysis and spoilers.  Almost couldn't even turn on the computer for a week… but finally it's over.

What did we get for our wait?  We got a movie that was frenetic and hectic and exciting and uneven and fun and busy and overpopulated  and funny and not funny… We got all of that and more.  We are comfortable with the characters we will be watching for the next two and a half hours, because we know that Hemsworth, Evans, Downey Jr., and Samuel L. can handle these characters with the ease that Hugh Jackman understands The Wolverine.  ScarJo's Black Widow and Ruffalo's Bruce Banner got some melodrama tossed their way which might've worked for some, but not so much for me.  And Jeremy Renner's Hawkeye got a little extra focus this time around… even though his character… well, we could start a separate essay on the problems with Hawkeye in this movie, none of these problems having anything to do with Jeremy Renner's portrayal of him.  The Vision was badass, if not somewhat rushed into service, but Quicksilver and the Scarlet Witch were a little underdeveloped and are the poster children for the unevenness that permeates through this movie.  Hey kids… don't listen to giant, silver, wise cracking robots who you should know wants to end humanity.  It's what robots with brains do.

One of the criticisms I had read was that 'Age of Ultron' did little to further Marvel Cinematic Universe.  What movie did this guy see?  Because it looked to me that this movie was so dead set in furthering the MCU that it did so in sacrifice to its own story.  Did I need to see Ulysses Klaue (Andy Serkis)?  Sure I did since he's one of Black Panther's number one villains, coming soon to a theater near you.  Thor literally leaves this movie to be in a separate scene where he sets up his next movie.  Naturally we need to properly setup Captain America III and Thanos makes a quick cameo for what I guess will be Guardians II.  I'm sure there was more.  While director Joss Whedon might've wanted a smaller, more personal film, I think what we got was the mandate from upstairs to squeeze in every possible reference for future projects as humanly possible.  The problem is that I actually noticed this, which often took me away from the core of the movie.

Because my screen was so big and my sound was so crisp and loud, I probably saw more in this movie than I needed to.  I could literally compile a list from the minute to the major which highlight some of the issues I had with 'Avengers: Age of Ultron'… BUT… at the end of the day I still had a great time at the show.  This movie is still one of the reasons we do go to the movies in the first place.  The thing is I walked in the theater expecting this to go on top of my personal list of Marvel Movies, I wanted it to be better than Winter Soldier… I walked out with this film being a little further down on that list.  But that's not going to stop me from watching it again, and buying the Blu when it comes out. 

Lisa's Take

This movie was the first 3D and Imax movie that I have watched. The previews were promising; Jurassic World looks pretty spectacular with dinosaurs coming at you 360. The sound was quite loud, almost deafening to my soft ears, but after the opening action sequence I had adjusted. The IMAX experience was interesting, and I don't know if it was because the screen was so large, but the Hulk became normal sized, which is to say relatively speaking he appears small. As one who watched Avengers on DVD, I gotta say this was jarring to see such a small Hulk. Like Chris, I'd be interested to see how this appears on DVD for head to head Avengers comparison and naturally the alternate ending.

So much has been hyped before the movie, so much analysis done after the movie-  see Chris's run down of the whole jam packed movie. We have heard at length about characters not given their due, plot holes needing further explaining, and the general nitpicking of the MCU. First let me say that neither me nor the other fans are coming at Marvel with pitchforks. On the whole I, and the majority of nitpickers, enjoyed the movie. It was entertaining, it tried real hard for laughs (some jokes landed better than others), and it definitely furthered the MCU. Was that person who said the movie didn't further the MCU watching the same movie? In fact I believe that is all the movie did. It set up Captain America 3, it set up Thor 3 Guardians 2, as well as Klaue in Black Panther. So much setting up is done, it made me wonder- what's my current pay off for watching this movie? My only reward is to see Ultron defeated?  There was team building and awesomeness of the first Avengers along with a Shawarma scene .

Ultron and his clones did seem to be evil enough to warrant getting the Avengers together again. If nothing else, the sheer number of clones would be difficult for one hero to handle. Yet Ultron was also created by Stark technology, and this division doesn't get the due in such a crowded movie, which is a shame.  I take it more division is coming in Cap 3, 'cause naturally, we're heading towards a Civil War. And therein lies my nitpicking- I don't feel like I got rewarded for my loyalty. I am 10 movies, 43 SHIELD episodes, 8 episodes of Agent Carter, and 13 episodes of Daredevil deep into the MCU- and for my investment (patience, devotion, and faith) I get what? That I am to come back to see Captain America train a new team, find out more about the Infinity Stones in Thor 3, and wait till Guardians 2 for Thanos to handle his business? So deep into the MCU, the novelty of it all is gone. The bar is set (impossibly?) high by the previous movies. Gone is the freshness of heroes in new peril, replaced instead with some vague sense of déjà vu. Yes the movie is still good, and yes the movie still entertains, but so far into this I've come to expect more, nay demand a bigger payoff for my continued investment.  In the age of instant gratification, I needed a more than just the Vision and Ultron going towards a blinding light as my reward at the end of Age of Ultron.
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