The end of Phase Two comes packaged as another blockbuster get together between the whole of the MCU.
Written and directed once more by Joss Whedon and starring the all star Marvel universe of characters from Robert Downey Jrs Iron Man, Chris Evans Captain America to Mark Ruffalo’s Bruce Banner and introducing Aaron Taylor-Johnson as Pietro Maximoff (Quicksilver), Elizabeth Olsen as Wanda Maximoff (Scarlet Witch), James Spader as the voice of Ultron and returning yet for the first time being seen on the screen, my favourite, Paul Bettany as the voice of J.A.R.V.I.S and also playing Vision.
If we thought Avengers was big they’ve doubled up their efforts for Age of Ultron.
I think they named it wrong. Age of Ultron might be fitting in that Ultron is the main bad guy but if I’m honest Age of the Monsters might be a better name.
The film was everything that we have gotten used to with the MCU without ever feeling boring. It had the big action scenes, the inter-team fighting, the not getting on, the learning about each other and the mega end fight. It ends off Phase two as well as can be done whilst building up for Phase three which is going to include such big moments as Captain America CIVIL WAR and Thor RAGNORAK.
Why I would have named it Age of Monsters, or at least why I’ll know it as Age of Monsters, is that the majority of the movie explored the theme of what makes a monster. Nearly every Avenger, including the brand new Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver, get called or self proclaim themselves as monsters in the span of the movie. It is a interesting concept and a interesting discussion point which is dealt with really well.
So well in fact that I’ll have to write a separate blog about that else I’ll be sitting here exploring that thread and ignoring the movie itself.
What did I think of the movie?
Its one of those movies that you’ll leave the cinema in a adrenaline rush, it looks the part and it feels the part. It was even more star studded then before, a big party at Avengers tower gives us Don Cheadle’s James Rhodes (War Machine) and Anthony Mackie’s Sam Wilson (Falcon) and I can’t deny that when War Machine joined the party when Nick Fury shows up with the Helicarrier to save the civilians I fan girled out and punched the air (I love Don Cheadle’s War Machine and how exasperated he gets at Stark all the time. Its perfect and he needs more screen time!)
If you DON’T leave it in a adrenaline rush then you aren’t going to like it much. It isn’t a bad story but its a blockbuster movie with a shit ton of action scenes and loads of WOW moments and then loads of character moments that aren’t really important to the story at hand but need to happen because, well obviously they don’t always get a chance to show it in other movies. Hawkeye hasn’t even been seen since the last Avengers movie.
I was told that a lot of the movie was setting up for Phase three, in particular Ragnorak but personally I didn’t feel it was. I didn’t feel it was finishing off Phase two either but then I felt that Phase two was very hit and miss with the best part of it being the one movie that right at this moment isn’t going to connect much into the Avengers universe (Guardians of the Galaxy) so if I’m honest Avengers : Age of Ultron finished off that phase pretty well by being very neutral.
What do I mean by neutral? Well in the first phase you FELT like we were seeing the start of the Avengers, all the films led up to Avengers.
The second phase has been here or there. It never felt like it was building to anything in particular, if anything it feels like it is building to something happening in phase three, therefore Avengers : Age of Ultron also felt like it didn’t END anything. Whereas the first Avengers film finally brought the team together Age of Ultron was more like a tunnel for the movies to get through. We’re now through the tunnel that is Age of Ultron and onto the third phase. We end with a new team of Avengers being made (War Machine, Falcon, Vision and Scarlet Witch? Someone has been reading my dreams that’s for sure!) and a few goodbyes in one way or the other. We know we’ve got another Thor and Captain America film to look forward too but the end feels like it is imminent for most of the Avengers who have been with the MCU since Phase one and with the introduction of so many new people and so many interesting films coming out (JUST GIVE ME PAUL RUDD AS ANT MAN RIGHT NOW PLEASE?!) if anything it felt like a goodbye.
Well at least maybe a goodbye to Iron Man, Captain America and Thor. It felt like the beginnings for Natasha and the Hulk as well as being just another movie that Hawkeye showed up for BUT AMAZINGLY he got to talk! Look at that. We probably won’t see him again till Avengers 3 (well he might show up for Civil War who knows!)
So the visuals were the usual impressive Marvel fare, the story was good but not brilliant but you’ll still leave the cinema feeling a million bucks.
I think that is mostly down to the acting if I’m honest. We all know we’re getting our money’s worth when it comes to Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy Renner, Mark Ruffalo, Robert Downey Jr and Chris Evans but it was just as much the others that made this movie as it was the main cast of Avengers.
As I said I was over excited at seeing Don Cheadle’s War Machine show up, likewise there was some excited noises coming out of me when Anthony Mackie appeared as Sam Wilson. The fact that both then were apart of the new Avengers team that Captain America and the Black Widow were about to train up had me bouncing in my chair.
Paul Bettany is one of the greatest actors to ever grace the world and I’ve been in love with his J.A.R.V.I.S since forever! Seeing him in action as Vision was amazing and some of the most heart stoppingly brilliant moments was just seeing Vision float around the place.
The small guess appearances of Hayley Atwell and Idris Elba (Peggy Carter and Heimdall) were good enough to get their own mention in any blog. Man those two are brilliant. Not to mention Stellan Skarsgard as Erik Selvig WITH his clothes on this time out!
But it was Aaron Taylor-Johnson and Elizabeth Olsen as the Maximoff twins that really shone in the movie. I’ve always been a huge fan of both Quicksilver and the Scarlet Witch in the Marvel universe and both of them were wonderful. The MCU has always managed to cast their parts above and beyond expectations and these two were no different. I mean the amount of emotions I felt for both of them by the end of the film even though they had spent a good deal of the movie as bad guys? Just don’t go there.
They managed to have a get together of nearly every single character they’ve ever brought to life and add new and interesting characters on top of that and not make it feel like a clusterfuck. How the hell they do that I don’t know! Even just thinking about Batman vs Superman and how many guest appearances by random superheroes that is apparently going to have gives me a headache but Avengers and Age of Ultron does it so naturally that you are looking at a A-list cast who all get enough screen time to make you really love and feel involved with every single character.
I mean even the voice work of James Spader and beforehand of Paul Bettany made you fall head over heels with their characters. Plus there were small roles for two brilliant actors, Thomas Kretschmann (Strucker) and Andy Serkis (Ulysses Klaue) which made me extremely excited as I love both of them.
It is ridiculous how well put together the MCU is, how wide and varied the cast they can use now is and just how well they can do the Avengers movies without feeling like they’ve just thrown everything and the kitchen sink into them.
Sooo in conclusion I’m very excited about the movie, it was a great movie so everyone should go and see it.
Afterwards though I kind of feel a bit meh about it all. Which is how I felt about Winter Solider and Dark World too. I mean its good but all of the phase two films felt like they were just getting started and then ended, or else that a logical plot point or two had been cut very badly from the middle of the film. Age of Ultron wasn’t THAT bad (to be fair only Dark World felt THAT bad) but it also didn’t feel as important to the universe as Avengers did.
That being said Phase three looks amazing.