At the time of its release I thought that Age of Ultron was the film most like a comic book brought to life.
But it isn’t 2015 anymore. Batman v Superman may have been a mess in its theatrical form but it gave us a DC Universe that we haven’t seen on film before. Then there was Marvel’s own Captain America: Civil War; a film that utterly usurped Ultron as a film that shows the MCU as a whole, from Earth’s point of view at least.
The game has moved on, and my initial excitement for AoU has shifted into overall disappointment. That’s not to say it isn’t still a decent MCU entry.
I might shudder when I think of Joss Whedon now, due to his poorly judged reshooting of Justice League, but he’s much better suited to Marvel, where his humorous character moments fit the overall template. Where AoU is more flippant, Civil War has much more serious interactions amidst the fun that I feel will stay in the mind longer. Saying that, the looks on Thor’s face when Rogers nudged Mjolnir is priceless and hopefully hints at things to come.
But now we have the Russos
Ultron makes for a vivid villain, mechanically maniacal yet full of human quirks thanks to Spader’s marvellous performance. It is frustrating that Marvel continue with their ‘one and done’ approach to villains but I can’t see how Ultron could have been left around so perhaps it was the right choice this time.
The Hulkbuster fight is a fantastic set piece, which seems to avoid the rather jarring CGI deployed at each end of the film. Very odd that at this point Marvel would let something like that. Hawkeye received recompense for this treatment in Assemble whilst the Maximoffs get time to shine. I understand the Romanoff/Banner relationship–he’s not her usual guy and all that–but the arc appears from nowhere. It’s dropped in and feels like we’re just expected to deal with it. For such a thought out and connected set of stories this seems like a misstep.
I’m not on a big downer about this film. It’s an entertaining blockbuster with plenty going for it. But now we have the Russos.