Having been one of the lucky North Americans to see Age of Ultron early in the States, we here at Pop Culture thought perhaps we should post a few words on the subject. I can’t promise I’ll be spoiler free, personally I’m against the while spoiler protest thing but I was asked to play nice and I’ll try. So if one wishes to remain surprised next week, please stop now and hey, we’ll still be friends!
Having gotten that small disclaimer out of the way, what can one say about Avengers: Age of Ultron? It was fantastic! Utterly enjoyable, a fast paced slam fest of superhero action. Everything a DC movie is not? Sorry… was that too soon? Anyway, we can start by saying Avengers: Age of Ultron is nothing like the the comic story with the same namesake and for many, many good reasons. However, it is everything the comic event in question wished it was back in 2013. If you enjoyed Avengers and the rest of the Marvel Cinematic Universe you are going to LOVE Age of Ultron!
Now some quick moments about the movie. Ayup, SPOILERS ahead!
The movie opens with the Avengers gathered as a strike force to take down the remains of Baron Von Strucker and Hydra. Strucker is held up in Hyrda castle deep in the mountains of Sokovia. It had become known that Strucker has the scepter Loki used in the first Avengers movie and is also experimenting on two special twins; Wanda and Pietro Maximoff. The battle is eye catching and gives each member of the team a chance to shine. It seems even the Hulk is a team player by using his connection to Black Widow. Once again, we see where Stark is constantly updating the Iron Man armor. This time he leaves the armor once inside Strucker’s lab as the armor watches guard with a glowing repulser at the ready as Stark takes care of business. However during the battle the twins escape. This opening also proves the rumors and speculation of just how the April 28th episode of Agents of SHIELD, ‘The Dirty Half Dozen’ would tie into Age of Ultron.
Tony Stark and Bruce Banner discover that there is a sentient program; an artificial intelligence deep within the heart of the scepter. Can we say, an Infinity Stone? As speculated from the first Avengers movie this must be the Soul Gem, given what the scepter does to people when it touches them. However we learn this gem is indeed the Mind Gem. Instantly Banner wants to add it to his Ultron global defense program, a world peacekeeping program he has been working on since taking on his own version of SHIELD. This has been hinted at through various episodes of Agents of SHIELD in the first season, for those of you keeping score. This is where we see Stark moving forward after his life changing experiences during Iron Man 3. Even though Banner goes along with this experiment, there seems to be a slight hint of apprehension on his part. As the artificial intelligence grows and expands it begins to take over the Ultron program and begin mass replication of itself.
Stark throws a victory banquet at the Avenger’s tower, originally Stark Tower in the first Avengers movie. At this event we see many friends from the older films; James Rhodes/ War Machine (Don Cheadle), Sam Wilson/Falcon (Anthony Mackie), Maria Hill (Colbie Smolders), even Stan Lee and a few other surprises come around in this party. However when the dust settles and it is just the core Avengers sitting around taking turns trying to lift Thor’s hammer. Which Captain America was able to move might I add. Ultron makes his first appearance, declaring how humanity must be destroyed. Ultron has escaped the Scepter and destroyed the AI program called JARVIS. This has the first battle between the Avengers and Ultron. However Ultron escapes and recruits the Maximoff twins for assistance in his plans using their hatred of the Stark family to his advantage since it was stark weaponry which killed their parents. From here the movie begins to move very fast.
Ultron is after an arms dealer named Ulysses Klaue, who is in South America. Klaue has in his possession mass amounts of Vibranium which Ultron requires for his next endeavors. We enter into more combat as the Avengers arrive to try and stop Ultron. This is where Wanda puts the mystical ‘whammy’ on the Avengers one by one. Each Avenger is shown their failures or greatest fears. This results into the battle between Iron Man and a Hulk out of control. This is when Iron Man summons his “Veronica” armor. This armor is one which was specially designed to detain the Hulk if the need ever arose. The Veronica Armor, while not an expected name, is quite interesting. It resides in an orbiting satellite which also sends down repair pieces and it does more than punch, it even has an arm extension which functions like a Chinese Finger Trap. The fight between Hulk and Iron Man is what the majority of movie goers have been itching to see in this flick and it certainly won’t disappoint. However, even though he’s sent all gamma rage in the center of a European city, I see this battle more a Cool Hand Luke style battle of just two big boys trying to see who is tougher. Some speculating that this is what causes one of the many sparks on the way to Civil War. Black Widow sees visions of her childhood, reliving the Widow program days back in Russia. Thor imagines a world where Asgard is in ruins and given the title of Thor 3 we have to only wonder is it just a vision or something more?
This defeat leads the Avengers to hide out and lick their collective wounds in one of Hawkeye’s safe houses. Here we meet Hawkeye’s wife and daughter. Hey who knew he had a family? It’s here we receive more information on Hawkeye, thus Kevin Feige owns up to his promise that Cliton Barton/ Hawkeye would have a larger expanded role in Avengers: Age of Ultron since being dropped from Captain America: Winter Soldier.
I could tell you how it ends from here but that would be telling! This is actually where the movie becomes interesting and sets the stage for the future of not just the Avengers franchise but also each individual one. Look for Bruce Banner and Natasha Romanoff to delve deeper into an exploration of a quasi-relationship. You might think the team is at odds but they become friends again in the end. We do get to meet the Vision and he does phase through objects; I may have shouted in utter fandom over that one. Vision is also used in the end as the bridge to gather the Avengers into something more cosmic down the road. What I will leave you with is this… this movie is going to be as huge as the first one. Anyone who was silly enough to want to go toe to toe with this movie is crazy, even the Batman vs Superman flick pushed their release date back a year as to avoid this mad rush. We are left with a whole new Avengers team which reminds me of Captain America and the Avengers in a way.
The downside of everything in this movie? More so just fanboy aesthetics. For one, Bruce Banner is all-too willing to go along with the Ultron project. While I also enjoy the Hulk/ Black Widow hook up, mainly because it is so utterly left field, I can understood others not liking it. The final confrontation between Vision and Ultron. It’s very akin to man meeting God, Ultron being God, Vision’s maker. The showdown is much like the battle between Doc Holiday and Johnny Ringo at the end of ‘Tombstone’. It just felt anti-climatic at best.
Age of Ultron takes the Avengers franchise into a whole new direction and it’s one for the good leaving us with a breath of fresh air and something new to look forward too.
Also, Whedon lied. There is a mid end credits sequence which expands on Guardians of the Galaxy and lays foundation for the Infinity War. Oh alright… it’s Thanos and the Infinity Gauntlet! It’s just missing some gems.