The Avengers: Age of Ultron

I might end up reviewing both Avengers movies here (don’t judge me!). They are inter-related, after all. I went to see the sequel with my friend soon after it premiered. We were just a few minutes late, but I found out that we didn’t miss much. Coming out of the theater I texted my brother that it was the most well-balanced movie I had seen in years!

I had seen previews and was a little concerned that it would be too dark. I should have trusted Joss Whedon. I think he balanced the dark moments with quiet (the whole interlude at the farmhouse), and with comedy. My dad was reluctant to see it because some critics were saying it was boring and slow-paced. I completely disagree. Obviously there was an intense amount of action. But I appreciated the slower, quiet, character building moments like I appreciate potato soup. After all, flashy movies are a wild ride, but I tend to exit them a little shell-shocked.

I loved the romantic development between Dr. Banner and Black Widow. I totally called it from last film! I loved Mark Ruffalo’s portrayal of the Dr. Banner/Hulk in the first film and he didn’t disappoint in this one. Natasha Romanoff was a character that grew on me. On the first viewing of the prequel, I appreciated that she was “understated.” She didn’t say or do things that I expected and she sort of hung out in the background for me. I didn’t laugh at her “dry humor,” but found it interesting. I also was surprised by her genuine displays of fear. After all, she’s supposed to be a gritty super-spy. The trend nowadays is to make the female action star sexy and impervious to weakness. Black Widow didn’t seem to fall into either of those categories. On the second and third viewings she quickly became one of my favorite characters. Here’s why:

1. Gotta love her interrogation techniques: she displays her vulnerable side and shows emotions (which I think she really feels) but is able to use that to throw other people off guard.

2. I appreciate her fighting style. Admittedly, I was not impressed with her in Iron Man 2. But she had no character development and I didn’t like that movie in general. I remember her fight scenes stood out to me, though. She uses her strengths as a woman (leg power!) to her advantage.

3. Her dry humor. Like I said, the first run through it caught me off guard–but more than anything it made me look at her character again.

4. As I watched her scenes in Age of Ultron I came to a good understanding of why I like her so much. Here’s what I have come to understand of her: She was “raised” to be a heartless assassin. During that process she put up walls and cut out any emotion and vulnerability that would make her weak. But when she came to the “good side,” and started fighting for justice and caring about people (her best friend Clint Barton for instance), it opened up those deep vulnerable pockets for her. I think that’s why she looks out of control sometimes-because she is. I relate to her in this. I understand what it’s like to cut out emotion for a time, and then to realize that you have to embrace that side of you to make you stronger.

Alright, enough about Black Widow. The last thing I will say is that I like her character as Joss Whedon writes it (in Avengers, and Age of Ultron). I’m not as big a fan of her in the other movies (Iron Man 2, Captain America 2).

I like Captain America’s natural leadership of the team, and his relationship with Tony. I liked all the character development done with Hawkeye, the only ordinary human among them. I noticed they put emphasis on his physical “vulnerability.” When he got hit or slammed into the ground you could tell he really felt it.

The twins were fun. I thought their backstory was a little lacking. I appreciated the “we hate Tony Stark because his violent technology ruined our lived and traumatized us” bit. I had trouble in the transition from so much hate to allies. I mean I get that they just wanted revenge and did not want to kill the whole world. But they had to have known what happened in New York and appreciate that the Avengers saved the world from aliens. Their hatred was pretty blind and pretty strong. I think I just expected to see a little more “dark residue” even though they decided to help. But of course poor Quicksilver died. It will be interesting to see how the Scarlett Witch’s character is dealt with. I loved her by the way.

The plot for me was just as it should be. Artificial Intelligence trying to take over the world has been done before and could have easily been overplayed. I think Joss Whedon took some new spins on it. I appreciated the strange emotional immaturity that came out of Ultron. He wasn’t just a cold, logic machine (which we’ve seen a lot). It was like he inherited some emotions from Tony and didn’t know how to handle them. Also, the whole Jarvis twist surprised me.

All in all, in my eyes the movie was a dashing success! Each character got development and screen time. The plot was intricate and entertaining and completely upped the ante from last film (which I was wondering how that would happen). Using a city to create a meteor? Come on!

Not as “nutritional” as some other films I enjoy that really delve into the nature of life and the struggles we face. But definitely a feel-good film that makes me feel like I can conquer the world! So that’s good! What were your thoughts?

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