Avengers: Age of Ultron Review thingy!
This ‘review’ maybe a little late but hell, you try holding down a full time job, raising a child, keeping up with social media AND writing for a website! Okay so probably far too much of my time is spent playing Trivia Crack or checking Facebook but well, we’re all only human right?
Anyway its way past time I reflected on the latest installment of the Avengers, I absolutely adored the first one and came home giggling like a school girl from this most recent iteration, its only with the passing of time and some engagement with a few other vocal armchair critics that my enthusiasm for the second version has waned somewhat.
It’s all Joss Whedon’s fault! He made The Avengers in 2012 and set the bar for the comic-book movie genre with his ingenious, funny writing and engaging interplay of superheroes. He’s the reason I had high hopes for Age of Ultron, even though it bears the burden of being a sequel. I’m sorry to say that I am now grappling with feelings that border on disappointment. Long, loud, and confoundingly cluttered, the film shows stress cracks early on, as it tries to disturb the harmony its characters achieved in the first film, just so Whedon can pull them back together at the last minute to save the world one more time.
Yes, it’s fun to see the Marvel stars at odds with each other, spouting wisecracks galore. Robert Downey, Jr.’s Iron Man is as egotistical as ever, and draws Mark Ruffalo’s Bruce Banner/The Incredible Hulk into his daring plot to harness an artificial intelligence. Chris Hemsworth’s Thor and Chris Evans’ straight-arrow Captain America don’t like the results, while Jeremy Renner’s Hawkeye and Scarlett Johansson’s Black Widow have their own varied reactions to the chaos.
As if it wasn’t enough to have to keep up with six leads (along with Nick Fury, Rhodie Rhodes, et al), Age of Ultron introduces FOUR major new characters. Ultron is the ultimate villian, a superbrain without a conscience in a humanoid body; he’s performed with gusto by the great James Spader. Fold in two disgruntled younger people (Elizabeth Olsen and Aaron Taylor-Johnson) with dubious accents from a battered Eastern European country called Sokovia who seek revenge on our American heroes, and a mix of old and new known as Vision (Paul Bettany)..the last addition was by far my favourite but it is hard to talk too much about him without spoilers. Let’s just say Jarvis would have a lot to contribute on the topic.
But that’s not all: Whedon throws in a romantic subplot that no-one saw coming and a family backstory for Hawkeye. Was all this really necessary? (Hardcore Marvel enthusiasts might disagree with me.)
Adding to the muddle is a tsunami of scientific jargon-babble, spouted mostly by Downey and Ruffalo as their dangerous experiment goes awry. The movie dares us to follow along toward a lumbering climax in which our heroes try to save a flying city and in turn the world. This culminates in a massive sequence of destruction and a final challenge for the Avengers but Whedon, of all people, should know that we can’t root for people we don’t know. The Sokovians who inhabit the city never become characters; they’re just vague stick figures in a crowd, and this undermines this crucial sequence by sapping the dramatic tension.
It’s not all bad though, humour is what set The Avengers apart from Christopher Nolan’s deadly serious approach to storytelling, and it’s a major asset once again. The moments of pure fun in the new movie involve wisecracks tossed back and forth by the Marvel all-stars, who enjoy teasing each other like school boys.
The film suffers from a common comic-book problem. Once you’ve saved the world, what is left for the sequel? It takes a powerful villain to make the audience care about the world being destroyed. Like previous Marvel villains, this one serves his purpose, but not much else. He’s no Joker.
Likewise, the need to create reasons to film fight scenes takes the plot in some odd directions. But no one really cares, because we’re not here for intricate plot. We are here for battles, and they are good. The opening sequence gets right to the point, with the team pirouetting through a frenetic battleground amid lots of slo-mo and whizzing, blasting fun.
The other common superhero problem is the perennial existential question: If two invincible super-beings meet in combat, and neither of them can be damaged or killed no matter how many skyscrapers they burst through, does their fall make a sound? In one scene, Iron Man, for the most honorable of reasons, beats the living daylight out of his buddy Hulk. Many structures are destroyed in entertaining ways but nothing really happens, if you get my drift.
Don’t Threaten Me with a Good Time
Director Joss Whedon solves this problem with a hearty serving of humor. You can’t escape the feeling that Whedon and the gang are having a good time making the film, and want to share that glee with the audience. It’s a franchise that has hit its rhythm. One fun scene shows Stark and Thor facing off in a bragging contest about their ladyloves’ important jobs. We all know Gwyneth Paltrow and Natalie Portman aren’t in the movie for contract reasons. But the scene has fun with it.
The movie also toys with its PG-13 rating by using Captain America’s old-fashioned aversion to strong language as a running gag. There are a few minor expletives in the film, a couple lines of innuendo that will go right over kids’ heads, and no sexual content beyond a few married kisses. The battles are intense but not gory. Many directors chafe at this restriction. Whedon turns it into an inside joke. It works, delivering a film both funny and fun.
The sweet core of the franchise makes a quite odd story of very different superheroes a hugely reliable hit. It’s not too much to say that the Avengers each represent a stream of current American thought: Captain, the traditional man longing for the moral clarity of the past; Stark, the innovator who believes technology will save the world; Hulk, the lefty pacifist in conflict with his own nature; Thor, the awkward but powerful immigrant; Hawkeye, the Millennial just trying to make his way in life; and Black Widow, the damaged cynic. They have very different values and priorities that often lead to serious conflict.
But when push comes to shove, the Avengers assemble. The values that bind them vastly outweigh the ideas that separate them. It’s a message of hope and reassurance that America and the Western world need, one that audiences desperately want to see in real life as well as in movies. If they can laugh along the way, they’ll line up in droves.
Obviously most of the regular characters in these films have long been some of the most popular cosplay’s on the convention circuit with Captain America and Black Widow being arguably some of the most cosplayed characters of all time. Exploring that further would be a whole other article entirely but we can safely say that these guys are up there with the Deadpools, Poison Ivy’s, Batmans and Spidermen of the cosplay world.
Two new introductions to the cinematic universe are Quicksilver and his magically inclined sister the Scarlet Witch, while they have both done the rounds on the cosplay circuit these new variants are yet to be seen on a wide scale so that should spice up the next few con’s with a little more variety. Other and certainly more ambitious cosplays could include the Ultron avatar himself or simply some of his many robot underlings. Believe it or not a Thai cosplayer actually went all out and blew us away with his version..
Here are a few more Avengers from around the traps, we’re always impressed by the amount of effort that goes into creating these amazingly realistic outfits!
oh and an A for effort to these guys below, seriously its actually hard work to make a cosplay look so bad its good on purpose, we salute you!
Also thanks to the man behind this article for some of the pictures you see here
Also the first Avengers cosplayers seen in the article are all part of the Superhero experience who you can actually hire for parties etc, check them out here..