Review season is just about upon us for TV shows, so I figured I’d kick it off with a review of Avengers 2: Age of Ultron. If you haven’t seen it, then scroll down to the last paragraph for my rating… unless you want to be spoiled. Yes, there will be spoilers mentioned. You’ve been warned. 🙂
Let’s start with Robert Downey Jr as (Ironman) Tony Stark and Chris Evans as (Captain America) Steve Rogers. If you can’t see Civil War coming out of this, then you missed a lot. Tony and Steve don’t see eye to eye on a lot of things, but Stark’s actions in this movie put them on separate paths toward a common goal. RDJ was once again perfect as Stark. In the comics it was Antman who had created Ultron, but they changed it for the movie. Having Stark create Ultron made a lot of sense here. It was done well overall and it brought out the character flaws this team had. Tony had already created the Iron Legion robo police force and his reasons for wanting to go further were justified. Steve is still trying to adjust to modern times, so being left in the dark about such a bold move was not something he felt was wise. The dynamic here was less about Ultron and the threat than it was about setting up Cap 3.
Chris Hemsworth shined as Thor. More focus was put on the true power that he wields, specifically Mjolnir. Thor’s confidence is almost a cockiness in his abilities and if Captain America almost lifting the hammer wasn’t bothersome enough to THor’s ego, then certainly Vision’s actions were. Heimdall‘s brief cameo fit well and I like how they set up what looks to be Thor 3: Ragnarok. Thor’s role here was to inform about the power of the infinity stones and the role they play in the universe.
Hulk (Bruce Banner) took more of a back seat for me in this movie. Mark Ruffalo’s portrayal was spot on, and though the Hulk shined we got to see more of the struggle Banner has coping with his alter ego. He accepts it less and fears it more than in the last movie. So much so that he is solely responsible for helping Ironman develop the Hulkbuster (veronica) armor. The presence of both Banner and Hulk were equally important this time, but I feel as though he was bullied a bit by Tony. I was a little caught off guard by the sexual tension between him and Natasha, but I’m glad that they strayed from that. Who knows where he ended up in the end. Fury mentioned the craft MIGHT have crashed into the ocean, but you can’t help but wonder if it was all a setup for another Hulk movie (Planet Hulk). I hope not as I don’t particularly like that story.
Scarlett Johansson has proven my initial thoughts on her in the role to be completely false. I love her as Black Widow (Natasha Romanov), though I do have one issue. Whedon could have corrected the lack of RUssian accent in the flashback to her ballet days, but he chose to ignore it. I was pleased that we got a little more of her background though and everything that was hinted at in her prior appearances. Her crush on Banner was strange to me, but then again I was blown away that her relationship with Clint was less intimate than I’d rightfully assumed.
Jeremy Renner really took the lead in this movie. Hawkeye (Clint Barton) was finally called his codename and it was fun how it was done and the reasoning. I was blown away by the reveal of his family but it was a welcome change. There needed to be someone with some kind of personal life and he being the choice made sense. While Cap was the leader and Tony the funding of the team, Hawkeye was the glue that held them together.
War Machine (James Rhodes) and Falcon (Sam Wilson), played by Don Cheadle and Anthony Mackie cameoed in important minor roles that by the ending you realize will become much more in the next installment.
Quicksilver (Pietro Maximoff) and Scarlet Witch (Wanda Maximoff) were perfect. Aaron Taylor Johnson was a much better Quicksilver than the already likeable one that was in X-Men DOFP. My only regrets are that he had to die because of the dual studios usage of the character. In a battle like this however there are bound to be casualties, so I’m fine with the choice. Elizabeth Olsen was both sexy and creepy in her role, and I’m happy with the portrayal of her powers. The slight modification worked well and the hint at the twins’ past can be touched upon more if Marvel ever ended up with rights to X-men. The twins beginning as antagonists and becoming heroes was everything I wanted to see with them.
Vision is both the evolution of JARVIS and the creation of Ultron. His origin was similar to the comics and his presence and sleek look were a very welcome addition. He was to this movie as Hulk was to the last, and earned his place quickly. Although his solar gem atop his head was changed to the mind gem, the origin and use of that which was once in Loki’s scepter placed well. It was a primary reason why he became so powerful and heroic. As part machine with organic matter in him, he is able to wield it without being corrupted by temptation or control. They even gave a nod to the romance that will be eventual between him and Scarlet Witch.
Samuel L Jackson is always great to see as Nick Fury, and with him and Maria Hill back on the scene with SHIELD it will be interesting to see where this takes the agents of shield series.
Finally, on to the villains…
Baron Von Strucker while having a minor role was a good starting point for the film. Why not have a minor subplot with HYDRA before kicking into another threat? I’ve welcomed this with the Spiderman movies and any characters that have a huge rogues gallery.
Ulyses S. Klau played by Andy Serkis had a story element that will directly lead in to Black Panther. They mentioned Wakanda, he had his arm torn off, and he’d stolen vibranium. It is an excellent lead in that didn’t feel forced.
Ultron was easily the highlight of this film. James Spader gave off the vibe that this robot was like a child with a god complex. Designed to eliminate threats, the cliched “robot thinks it knows better by eliminating the human race” felt fresh here because of Ultron’s personality. There were hints of logic, and Tony’s personality that made him unique in many ways. So much so that it almost felt like Tony Stark was the villain at times.
Thanos had only a brief scene. While it was not anywhere near one of the better credits scenes, it was something that laid ground for the next installment.
What else is there to say? From the plot to the set ups of the next few movies and where the characters go personally, there is a lot packed in to 2 hours and 20 minutes. Stan Lee‘s cameo was my favorite of them all, and that says something right there. People have complained that Age of Ultron is not as good as the first Avengers movie, but it’s an unfair assessment. These movies are entirely different from one another. I feel that this tied up a lot of loose ends and opened the movie universe up to so much more potential. In my opinion it exceeded Avengers 1 in many ways while not surpassing it in others. It isn’t a perfect comic book movie, but it is damn close. I give it 9.5 sCrypt Coffins out of 10.
If you have anything to add, please comment below.
I won’t get too wrapped up in spoilers, but there will be some spoilery things in my review, so if you just want my rating, skip down to the last paragraph now. Unlike MOST of Marvel’s animation, this one looked and felt great. I’m a huge Punisher fan, and enjoy the way that he was brought into this and represented. That being said, I’d still like a solo Punisher animation that really does him justice.
Animation breakdown – The animation in this was outstanding. The Japanese style art flowed well and although the characters had certain characteristics that felt different from the traditional versions we are used to, everything worked. One flaw I did find was that in the beginning of the movie, the Punisher broke a man’s arm and hand violently… Two scenes later, that man’s arm was in a sling, only it was the OPPOSITE arm that had been broken. I don’t know if the frames got reversed or what, but this was an amateur mistake that was very noticeable. There were also a few scenes where Black Widow’s breasts looked extremely large and not fitting with her look in other scenes, but that was brief.
Voice acting – I’ll just say that I was convinced that these were real character voices. Excellent job by the cast and voice direction.
Plot – The story was original. It was refreshing and really showed the turmoil that goes through Frank Castle’s (and even Black Widow’s) minds. They are a perfect team up because their pasts are so hazy on the “right side of the law”. My big problem?… The campiness in parts. The hacker kid working for SHIELD was stupid. I didn’t buy it, and it was unnecessary and annoying. As for the Avengers showing up, that annoyed me too. It felt forced. Sure, there was a need for them at that point, but it seemed more like a SHIELD operation than an avengers gig, and yet there they were. Oh, and the kid was dangling from Hulk’s back too like a school bag. dumb. I also felt that the villains were forced as well, but on a good note at least they forced both sides and it balanced out. They also didn’t overshadow what Punisher and Black Widow were doing either. They both got to take down the main threat. Just when I was getting irritated at Natasha telling Frank not to kill anyone, he did deliver the final blow in tradition Castle style.
Music and sound – meh. I’m neither happy nor upset. It seemed like a metal techno soundtrack, but it worked.
Overall rating… This is perhaps one of the BETTER Marvel animations yet, despite its flaws. If you don’t like the two main characters though, you won’t like this movie. I’d like to see if they continue on with it from here and do more Avengers confidentials or a follow up Punisher animation. Call me satisfied, with some complaints. 6 out of 10 sCrypt coffins get awarded to this one. What are your thoughts?
I love when a good story comes to fruition in some amazing animation. While Ironman Rise of the Technovore had out of this world animation, it’s story could have been better thought out. Don’t get me wrong. The plot for the movie was a decent one. I just feel that the writers could have had better execution with it. I will keep this pretty much spoiler free, but I will mention a few minor things that are spoilerish.
It was almost as if they wanted to fit as many characters into this story as they could. The Punisher, though always a welcome addition to any marvel story in my mind, felt out of place here. He was forced into the story, and to an extent, I feel that Hawkeye and Black Widow were as well. SHIELD also felt like the underdog here. I’m not buying that in their hunt for Ironman, that Tony Stark was able to best them. Nope. Not with their own tech and savy, but hell who am I to judge? I did love seeing Frank Castle and Tony Stark team up, but still not thinking it worked well. While those characters were over used here, I think War Machine should have been used more. He is basically another Ironman, so I don’t see why he was used the way he was.
Okay, now that I got the bad out of the way, lets talk about the good. Animation, voice acting and Sound was outstanding! They were perfect. The Technovore villain was a great villain whom with I was unfamiliar. Wait, now we’re about to go negative again. Correction… he COULD have been a great villain. The moment he arrived on screen, I thought “Wow, this guy is going to do some serious damage.” Well he DID do some serious damage, but by the time it got to that point I had mostly lost interest. The story dragged, and I felt myself nodding in and out of it. I even found it hard to make notes for a review.
On a scale of 1-10 I give it a 5, and if it weren’t for the animation a few saving factors, then it would have been less than that. Maybe I’m being a little too hard on it. I don’t think it was a BAD movie. I just think that it was poorly executed. Tell me what you think.
Although she has appeared in Ironman 2 as well as a significant role in the Avengers, Black Widow has not had much information leaked on her background. I figured that now would be a great time to briefly talk about her role in comics as well as media.
Natasha Romanov was abandoned as a child and raised by a Russian soldier. She learned ballet at a young age and joined the KGB when she was of age. She advanced as an elite intelligence operative. Her dance and training gained her a brutal but graceful fighting style that is accentuated by classified government enhancements. This superspy eventually became a top member of S.H.I.E.L.D. and has been involved on more than one occasion with Clint Barton (Hawkeye).
The Black Widow is a master martial artist, an expert markswoman, a natural actress, an infamous seductress, and a gifted veteran spy. She often carries multiple small explosives, throwing knives, surveillance items, a high tech taser, and firearms.
Other than her live action appearances in the current Marvel Cinematic Universe, Black Widow was originally going to be played by Angela Bowie in the 1970s. The planned Daredevil and Black Widow series never made it past development, but there are pictures online. There also have been multiple failed attempts throughout the years to give her a solo movie.
She has had a fair share of animated appearances as well, including roles in: The Superhero Squad Show, Ironman Armored Adventures, Ultimate Avengers 1 and 2, The Marvel Superheroes, and The Avengers Earth’s Mightiest Heroes.
Anything else that you would like to add on the character, please feel free in the comments below. Black Widow (Natasha Romanov) is played by Scarlett Johansson in The Avengers movie.