My Problems With- Avengers: Age of Ultron
In this new editorial series, I take a film that has some controversy to it. Some people like it, some people don't and I look at it. I will break down my problems with the film. It should be noted that these will be movies that, overall, I did like but I have problems with it. I won't do movies that I hated entirely, because those articles would be way to long to express all my problems! It should also be noted that these articles will be loaded with SPOILERS for the movie, so read with discretion. So, with that said, let's get started.
I will be discussing my problems with Avengers: Age of Ultron. Remember, there will be SPOILERS! Watch out! You can read our spoiler-free review of the film here.
#1 Underdevelopment of Ultron
This ultimately has to be my biggest problem with Avengers: Age of Ultron. Something Marvel has struggled with for a long time has been their villains. Whiplash, Ronin, Malekith, Aldrich Killian... these are just some of the one-note, one-shot villains used in their films. Marvel has struggled with giving us villains that aren't just something for the hero to beat up, but a humanized character that we can understand and like. They accomplished this with Loki, played by Tom Hiddelston. They set him up perfectly, being the son who just wants to be loved by his father and is jealous of his half-brother, Thor. Loki is probably Marvel Studios' best villain to date, and I thought for sure that Ultron (James Spader) was going to give him a run for his money. Leading up to Age of Ultron, director Joss Whedon talked a lot about how Ultron was a "damaged child" and had valid reasons for wanting to destroy the Avengers, instead of just being a mustache-twirling bad guy. From the first trailer, we got this sense that Ultron was going to be a great villain, and I was most excited about seeing this awesome, badass villain on screen.
We were really short-changed when it came to Ultron. Saying he was underdeveloped is an understatement-- there was no development for him whatsoever. Ultron was created by Tony and within five minutes said that he was going to destroy the Avengers and attacked them. We never saw anything that explained why Ultron hated the Avengers. Within an instant he was suddenly the bad guy for the Avengers to attack. Literally, the next shot after Ultron was a prototype, he had a polished, perfected suit with a full-blown plan to destroy the world. It really felt like entire sections of this movie was missing that would have made Ultron a better character.
Ultimately, this extreme lack of development made it very hard for me to get into Ultron as a villain. I did not care for him and just saw him as the excuse for the Avengers to beat up robots. If Whedon had included maybe ten extra minutes that would have established Ultron better as a villain, then I would have liked this movie immensely more, but it just wasn't there. So for me, Ultron joins the group of underused villains.
#2 Underdeveloped Story (Action for the sake of action)
A lot of people say that the first two-thirds of The Avengers are boring, which I disagree with. I actually appreciated that Joss Whedon took time to develop the story and build up these characters so that when the final act, the battle of New York, went down, you were invested in it. For that first movie, the story was developed and crafted so that the action furthered the story, instead of the movie becoming just a series of action scenes, which is what I felt like happened to Avengers: Age of Ultron.
The story of Age of Ultron was very lacking, which goes hand-in-hand with the development of Ultron. The action scenes were extended and shown more love in the editing room than the story that bridged the action scenes together, so it felt like there was one action scene then five minutes of dialogue and then another action scene. The story was very clunky and didn't flow as one, cohesive story. I am not complaining at all about the action scenes themselves. I thought the action in this movie was fantastic and the utter highlight of the film, but the lack of story really made the action feel out of place. Because without the cohesive story, the action was in there just for the sake of action, rather than to help further the story, which was disappointing.
For me, this is what the first two-thirds of the film was. From the birth of Ultron to the birth of Vision, the story was clunky and disjointed in order to give more time to the action scenes, which really hindered this movie in the long-run.
#3 The Movie is Too Short
Joss Whedon has said that his original cut for Avengers: Age of Ultron was over three hours long, but he was forced to cut it down. This is really transparent in the final cut of the film. The issue of it being too short really sums up the problems with the underdevelopment of both Ultron and the story. You can tell, when watching this movie, that all the things cut from the film helped further push and develop the story, but all the action scenes were left uncut. If Joss had been allowed to keep an extra ten minutes, or cut out one action scene (because there were a lot of them), it would have benefited the movie in the long-run. I think they could have easily cut the action scene of Captain America fighting Ultron on the truck when try to retrieve the Vision. It doesn't really stick out as being one of the highlights of the film, and it seemed a bit unnecessary. They could have made the Avengers' efforts to get the Vision a lot simpler and then use that extra screen time for the story.
There have been rumors that the Blu-Ray/DVD release will have Joss Whedon's full cut, which I am hopeful for. I don't know if these rumors are substantiated or if they are purely rumors, but I would like to believe that it is true. I think a longer cut would ultimately benefit this movie and make it what I was really wanting it to be. With an extra twenty or so minutes, this could go from a good movie to a great one.
The Good Things
I have been saying a lot of negative things about Avengers: Age of Ultron, and before I ended the article I wanted to say some good things about it, because I didn't want you to leave with the impression that I hated this movie. I think it's good, but not great. Like I said before, the action scenes themselves are incredible. They were perfectly shot and choreographed, and the use of CGI was not overly apparent, as it is sometimes with big, blockbuster films. From the beginning of the movie (the Avengers' invasion of the Hydra base) to the birth of Ultron is perfect. Maybe I would have liked a little bit more reason of why the Avengers had suddenly teamed up now after being separate for their solo films, and why Tony was suddenly Iron Man again after giving it up in Iron Man 3, but I could overlook that. From the birth of Ultron to the birth of the Vision is where my problems lie. But from the birth of the Vision to the end of the movie is perfect again. The Vision was spectacular and the final battle scene was great. I loved how the movie ended, with the Avengers going their own ways again and Cap and Black Widow leading the New Avengers.
I also loved what they did with Hawkeye. Before, we was kind of a useless character, but this movie movie really fleshed him out and made him a very strong hero. I thought everything they did with him was fantastic. I also liked the Twins. I had certain problems with them, but I, overall, liked them. I liked that Quicksilver (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) died in the end, because that is a problem Marvel has had as well: they don't kill any of their heroes. The movie was calling for someone important to die, and Quicksilver made the most sense.
So those are my main problems with Avengers: Age of Ultron (along with a few of the things that I liked). I have only seen this movie once, so my opinions my change a bit after seeing it a few more times and (hopefully) seeing a director's cut, but these are my big problems with the movie as of now.
What do you think? Do you agree with my problems with Avengers: Age of Ultron? Do you disagree? Did I miss anything you didn't like? Do you like the movie overall? Leave your thoughts in the comments section below.
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