I watched Age of Ultron last night and despite having a few misgivings I was not disappointed. I was too busy enjoying it to make any notes to write any kind of review, but there were just a few things that really stood out to me that I wanted to share.
Needless to say, there are SOME SPOILERS AHEAD for both the movie and the source material.
I was curious as to how Age of Ultron would be handled with the current line-up as it was clearly missing, and would feel odd to introduce, some characters prominent in the source material. And as expected, given that the MCU history and setting differs from the extensive history of the comic universe that leads up to this point, an MCU suitable story has been created. Overall, there were bits here and there I wasn’t so keen on but I think does a great job of adapting the essence of the comics if not staying completely faithful (which would be impossible) at the same time as creating an entertaining movie.
At the core of this movie is the friendships and trust between these Gods and Heroes. The humour throughout is great, but also goes to illustrate the bonds that have formed – the inside jokes and the connection these people have. From the opening scenes to Stark’s after party, we get a real feel for the time that has passed – that between the attack on New York and formation of the Avengers to the present they have bonded as a group and the audience are part of that.
This is the first film where the character of Hawkeye has really come into his own, and to be fair, he’s a scene stealer here! With some great lines, and the revelation of the secret life he’s been leading, we suddenly get to know him on a level that we haven’t before. In fact, we realise that he’s the sensible grown up that this group very much needs.
This development is nice as his character has been largely forgotten in the previous films and he’s currently having quite a popular run in the comics. I don’t want to give away too much here but I spent many of his scenes uttering “awww, Hawkeye!”.
Stark and Banner Bromance
How can you not love this Science Geek Bromance?! We’ve seen glimpses of it since their very first meeting and now we find a fully fledged bromance of two scientists bonding over their shared smarts. Banner is the level head that Stark needs, not that he always listens, and Stark pushes Banner to take the risks he would rather avoid and there are some great interactions as part of that. If nothing else, Stark is the friend Banner needs and trusts to help control the Hulk.
The set up here worked really well with Stark as Ultron’s creator, but I wonder if it also paves the way for an Illuminati-esque group in time for MCU’s Civil War and Infinity War. Although the ending of the movie leaves us wondering if we will see either Banner or Stark again, he could arguably step into the Reed Richards role in those stories (although admittedly this would be a departure from the role of Hulk at those times in the comics). Who knows, MCU is kind of a law unto itself.
I think I pretty much loved everything about Vision, but want to focus on the one thing that straight away got me! As soon as Vision is created and we see him emerge essentially naked the first thought in my head was “he’s going to see Thor’s cape and think it’s cool and that’s how he gets his cape.” I called it, and it plays really well – the first of many little things Vision does which endears the audience (and the Avengers) to him immediately. I’m really looking forward to more from this character!
Instead of Hank Pym as in the comics, Ultron is created by Tony Stark, which works really well in the storyline of the MCU and potentially setting the wheels in motion for the Illuminati and/or other events MCU may bring into Civil War and Infinity War.
Superbly voiced by James Spader, Ultron is definitely my favourite MCU villain to date and I think possibly the most likeable (yes even over Loki in my opinion!). From chilling through sympathetic, I think the character is an improvement on the comic version. The trailers for the movie don’t do him justice at all – or possibly keeps him a little bit of a surprise. He’s well fleshed out, so to speak, and has a lot of depth. But moreover he has an immediate and strong personality. As a result of the situation of his creation, he has inherited a lot of elements from Stark, which works really well in highlighting Stark’s flaws as much as anything else – Peace in our time!