AVENGERS AGE OF ULTRON: REVIEW – The Avengers return in Joss Whedon’s slick screwball comedy.
Crash, Bang, Wallop – what a picture! There’s wit – fan service – action scenes and other stuff, but to be honest I’m getting a bit tired of Marvel and superhero pictures in general. There’s nothing wrong with the picture. Far from it. The gang are back together and fighting Hydra in some snowy mittel-European Ruritania, providing The Avengers with a nice ‘elsewhere’ setting in some exciting punch ’em up scenes: the hero shot comes early! And then we have a glowing blue doo-hah which must be protected because it’s so powerful. But Tony Stark/Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.) can’t help but fiddle with it in an attempt to create an artificial intelligence defense system which would effectively render the Avengers obsolete. Oopsy-daisy! Ultron turns into a super villain intent on wiping out humanity.
Despite the clear intelligence of Whedon as a filmmaker, his actually characters are whoppingly stupid, none more so than the ‘genius’ Stark, who frankly gets off incredibly lightly for his potentially genocidal error. There’s some soap opera with the Hulk (Mark Ruffalo) and Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson). Thor (Chris Hemsworth) and Captain America (Chris Evans) grab some of the funniest lines, proving that occasionally it’s the straight men who can snatch the laughs when the self-knowing wit of RDJ grows wearisome. Elizabeth Olsen, Aaron Taylor-Johnson and Paul Bettany are new heroes, the former seems to be spending this phase of her career tripping through rubble (see also Godzilla).
So it’s fun and all that. But I can’t say I care as much as perhaps I’m led to believe by score etc. that I should. I don’t care about Hulk and Black Widow. I’m unconvinced by the moral conundrums, when no one seems to want to take responsibility for their actions. Doctor Banner is supposed to be the conscience of the group but after he wreaks havoc through a city center his only solution seems to be to run away. And perhaps I’m weighed down by the prospect of another two Russo brothers directed movies: The Avengers: Infinity Wars Parts One and Two, but I’m beginning to suffer from a genuine fatigue with this sort of thing, regardless of its quality. It’s going to go the way of the Western. There are simply too many and no matter how good an individual film might be – and this is a stand out entry – there are only so many times you can watch a city destroyed, a blue doo-dah purloined, a bunch of costumed sociopaths ruminate on morality before you begin to think it might be time for the whole sub-fascist circus to be wrapped up and put away.
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