What We Liked And Didn’t Like About Age Of Ultron

What We Liked And Didn’t Like About Age Of Ultron
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You went to see Avengers 2. We went to see Avengers 2. Let’s talk about Avengers 2 too.

A bunch of Kotaku team members went to go see the latest movie featuring Marvel’s premiere super-team. Some of us liked it more than others. Some people made fun of Hawkeye. Not me, though. Spoilers follow for the plot of Avengers: Age of Ultron.

Jason Schreier: Avengers: Age of Ultron isn’t a movie, it’s an advertisement for 1293139213 other Marvel movies.

Nathan Grayson: Bingo, and not a very good advertisement. It’s an advertisement paired with a largely irrelevant side story. The Marvel movies build to things. Or at least, they’re supposed to. Phase One built to Avengers. I am not sure what phase two built to, but it certainly wasn’t this.

Evan Narcisse: Is Phase Two even officially over?

Nathan Grayson: Who even knows anymore?

Evan Narcisse: The thing that’s both brilliant and annoying is that Marvel has the built-in out of saying that this is how they have always done superhero stories.

Jason Schreier: Evan, as our resident comics expert, did you understand what was up with Thor and the cave? Because the movie sure didn’t explain it.

Evan Narcisse: That was the most bullshit part.

Nathan Grayson: He went there and had a vision about the next movie.

Jason Schreier: lol

Evan Narcisse: Look — nine, ten, whatever-number movies in — foreshadowing is part and parcel of the Marvel Movie Formula. But when it’s clumsy like that, nobody wins.

Jason Schreier: I will say, though, I spent at least an hour reading Wikipedia to catch up on all the other Marvel movies I hadn’t seen and what they have got planned, so… mission accomplished? I still don’t really know who Vision is, though.

Evan Narcisse: I’m not going to explain the Vision here but I will say I liked the movie’s version of him and that the execution tied in neatly to the movie’s themes. See, I actually like the thematic underpinnings of the main movie plot.

Nathan Grayson: Yeah, I agree there.

Jason Schreier: I don’t have a problem with foreshadowing being part of the Marvel formula, but isn’t it usually relegated to the post-credits scenes?

Evan Narcisse: Nah, Jason, it’s always been delivered as breadcrumbs. Usually not this obvious, though.

Nathan Grayson: But I felt like the Vision derailed a major theme, that being heroes facing the consequences of their own actions. Tony Stark accidentally created a genocidal mega-robot, and then the problem was solved by the creation of another mega-robot-ish thing. So, in effect, Tony Stark didn’t really learn anything or change or grow meaningfully.

On top of that, The Vision came out of nowhere, and we didn’t really get to spend much time with him. I mean, it’s cool to leave fans wanting more, but I feel like the Vision was symptomatic of this film stretching itself too thin. Like, “wait, what? Oh, he seems cool. Huh, why are the credits already rolling?”

Michael Fahey: I imagine those who weren’t familiar with the character have absolutely no idea what his power set is, given his brief appearance either.

Nathan Grayson: Aside from soothing dulcet tones, you mean? I want him to be my GPS.

Evan Narcisse: “Is his arm going inside that one robot?”

Jason Schreier: I assumed he was just an omnipotent android.

Nathan Grayson: Yeah, the message they seemed to send was, “literally better than all the other Avengers”

Michael Fahey: Movie has officially failed.

Nathan Grayson: He can lift Thor’s hammer! He understands everything and doesn’t let emotions get the better of him! He is pink!

Evan Narcisse: I did like how they kinda intimated that he was a more of a group creation than Ultron. Like, it took Ultron, Dr. Cho, Loki, Iron Man, Hulk and Thor to make a “good” AI whereas the other one was a secret project that Stark and Banner made on the down-low.

Michael Fahey: They save the world…together.,

Evan Narcisse: Exactly.

Evan Narcisse: As someone who’s always loved Hawkeye, I was glad that he got such an important role here. The beat with him in the middle of the movie was a real surprise to fans like me.

Michael Fahey: Considering what a dog he is in the comics?

Evan Narcisse: (Spoiler: Clint Barton isn’t married with kids in the comics.)

Evan Narcisse: Yeah, MIke, Many angry ex-girlfriends in his wake.

Evan Narcisse: One of whom is Wanda Maximoff. The scenes they shared together were nice nods to the closeness they have had in the comics.

Michael Fahey: And don’t forget his ex-wife, Agents of SHIELD’s Bobbi Morse, a.k.a Mockingbird.

Evan Narcisse: Is that canon, Mike?

Michael Fahey: Not in the movie-verse, but certainly in the comics.

Jason Schreier: What was the deal with Andy Serkis’s character? More setup?

Michael Fahey: Ah yes, Jason. This is where we insert a picture of Klaw.

Evan Narcisse: Yes, Jason, more set-up. Klaw is an archenemy for the Black Panther.

Jason Schreier: BTW, this conversation is scattershot and has too many characters, sort of a metaphor for that one thing

Evan Narcisse: Ni No Kuni?

Michael Fahey: I was waiting for that.

Nathan Grayson: Nah, Evan, you’re thinking of Suikoden

Jason Schreier: :fire:fire:fire:fire:

Nathan Grayson: hahaha

Michael Fahey: I will say I enjoyed James Spader’s turn as Tony Stark the Evil Robot.

Jason Schreier: Oh, he was excellent.

Jason Schreier:: reminiscent of Heath Ledger’s Joker in some ways

Michael Fahey: Who knew a genocidal robot could be so personable? And the way he talked. “C’mon, guys…”

Evan Narcisse: The scene where he became sentient was chilling. God forbid the AI Overthrow be done by a bunch of programs with really bad hangovers.

Evan Narcisse: What’d you guys think of the fight scenes/action?

Nathan Grayson: The opening action scene was pretty excellent and the Hulkbuster Iron Man vs Hulk fight was almost great.

Michael Fahey: Any time slow-motion came into play, I felt my cheese-o-meter rising…not counting the Quicksilver bits, of course.

Nathan Grayson: The ending was a huge anticlimax that beat us over the head with the WE’RE NOT LIKE SUPERMAN motif over and over and over. But it never felt like the stakes were particularly huge, and the only character to die wasn’t around long enough for me to care.

Jason Schreier: Yeah, I loved the intro too. I was hoping Hawkeye would die at the end.

Nathan Grayson: saaaaaaaaame

Evan Narcisse: Jason!

Jason Schreier: I bet Whedon wanted that to happen but Marvel wouldn’t let him do it.

Nathan Grayson: They even implied it, when he was talking about his plans for the house. I was like, “shit, they’re gonna kill Hawkeye and make it all sad” but then it was a fake out. And not the funny kind of fake out, or even the clever kind, just a letdown.

Michael Fahey: But no, Hawkeye was saved by my third-favourite character in the Marvel universe behind Squirrel Girl and Strong Guy.

Nathan Grayson: If Whedon was fully allowed to do his thing, I have almost no doubt he would have killed hawkeye there, because it would have been such a Whedon moment. Killing Quicksilver felt like the ultimate concession that these movies aren’t allowed to do any real damage. It must all be for the good of the franchise, not for the good of the individual film.

Jason Schreier: Yes, well put. It’s all about getting you to see the next 20 movies, not about whether this one actually resonates.

Michael Fahey: I’ve a feeling there was more behind that killing behind the scenes. For the first time in live-action, the character was done justice, and then he was wiped out. I smell a stipulation to Fox and Marvel’s Spider-Man deal. (Quicksilver is also a character in Fox’s X-Men films.)

Evan Narcisse: To me, the problem with killing Hawkeye is that it takes away a just-plain-folks element. (The Black Widow isn’t a regular person for the purposes of the movie, despite not having powers.)

Jason Schreier: Do the Avengers really need a regular person? Every time there was a fight scene and everyone’s doing badass shit and then it just cuts to Hawkeye shooting arrows, I couldn’t help but laugh.

Evan Narcisse: Someone shoot Jason with an arrow and record his laughter.

Nathan Grayson: Although I lovvvved the bit where he even pointed that out.

Michael Fahey: My laughing point was the stealth spy Black Widow with her neon blue LED lighting.

Jason Schreier: Yeah, there were a few great Whedon lines that shined through but I bet he was unhappy with the movie, overall. It was very Not Him.

Nathan Grayson: Yeah, I’ve heard there was quite a bit of internal strife.

Michael Fahey: So we’re pretty much not entirely happy. Surely, we all had a favourite moment though.

Michael Fahey: Mine was Quicksilver Vs. Thor’s hammer.

Nathan Grayson: That was pretty funny, an “aha” moment followed by an “oh no” moment. I think I laughed hardest at the end: “Avengers! Assem — ” smash cut to credits.

Jason Schreier: Most of Ultron’s lines made me laugh. Great villain, overall.

Evan Narcisse: The attempted hammer lifts were mine.

Michael Fahey: For a minute I thought you were going to say the Thanos hand-model moment, Jason.

Jason Schreier: Yeah, I think that was my favourite scene, too.

Evan Narcisse: Thor’s face when Cap made it budge was great.

Jason Schreier: Black Widow just being like “nah.”

Nathan Grayson: Yeah, one of Black Widow’s best bits, I thought. I also liked War Machine’s attempt to tell a joke, and the Avengers were like, “That’s it?” And he was like, “that usually kills!” Then later he’s telling it and it totally works.

Nathan Grayson: But it’s like, I think about all this stuff, and then I get upset again because, I don’t know, a lot of the start of the film — while fun — didn’t make much sense in the broader scope of the franchise.

Heroes go on a mundane mission and chill out together, but where was everyone at the end of Thor 2, etc? Marvel has backed themselves into a corner, and it shows no matter which way you look at the movie.

Jason Schreier: And where was everyone when SHIELD fell apart in Cap ?

Nathan Grayson: It might sound like nitpicking, but it’s so hard *not* to notice this stuff because it’s so glaring.

Jason Schreier: Well, Marvel asks you to notice it; continuity is their whole shtick.

Michael Fahey:At least that became a major plot thread in Agents of SHIELD. But where did they go during that?

Michael Fahey: The Marvel movies need Coulson back.

Evan Narcisse: That’s a good point. A viewpoint character to tie things together added a ton of charm to all the ‘splodey bits.

Jason Schreier: He was a way better regular dude than Hawkeye, too.

Michael Fahey: The first Avengers was all fighting and one-liners once he “died”. Hawkeye doesn’t work, because if I were him I’d be hiding.

Evan Narcisse: Dare we hope that Martin Freeman will be that guy? (Especially if he plays Everett K. Ross, as rumoured?)

Jason Schreier: Also, can we talk about how they have the incredible Cobie Smulders and they just totally underuse her

Evan Narcisse: Yeah, that’s a damn shame.

Evan Narcisse: Overall, I’m glad at how human Age of Ultron felt, despite the opaqueness of the Mighty Marvel Marketing Scheme

Nathan Grayson: I don’t know. I felt like the more human moments were rushed…

Michael Fahey: And I’m glad I have a Scarlet Witch LEGO Minifig, even if it is technically an Olsen sister.

Nathan Grayson: I think that’s where a lot of the problems with Black Widow came up. They tried to give her this more human, empathetic side but they rushed the shit out of it and wrote it really poorly and one-dimensionally. You can totally do a character with those pathos and not have it come off as shitty or demeaning toward women or anything but it was all so hurried and sloppily handled.

Nathan Grayson: How about… we go to Fahey’s house and make our own Avengers movie with Legos to right Marvel’s wrongs as a team?

Michael Fahey: What’s that? Fahey has to go buy the sets with Vision and Quicksilver for work? I’m in!

Jason Schreier: dibs on Vision. “Hey guys *zaps literally every enemy with a blink* OK cya”

Nathan Grayson: I will take Tony Stark because he reminds me of my dad and I have issues.

Michael Fahey: We need to get Jason some comic books, stat.

Evan Narcisse: He has them; he just ain’t reading them.


  • You can totally do a character with those pathos and not have it come off as shitty or demeaning toward women or anything but it was all so hurried and sloppily handled.

    Knew that would be Grayson…. Although Schreier was running pretty good odds.

    • My wife, as a woman who doesn’t plan to have kids, takes offense to every insinuation that she’s less of a woman because of it. She of course, took offence to Black Widow’s insinuation that being unable to have children makes her a “monster”, though after we discussed it in the car on the way home she conceded that what makes her a monster is that they turned her into a killer, with her inability to create life being a small part of that.

      It felt out of place in a Whedon movie since he generally lets women be strong characters on their own merits, but that’s when it hit me: Whedon loves strong female characters. And you know who the toughest females are in a Whedon world? Mothers! Mothers are so great and marvellous because they have kids and put up with childbirth and whatnot so let’s everyone just take a minute to think about motherhood and give mothers a round of applause for being so underappreciated by the entire world then we’ll go back to feeling bad for Black Widow because she’ll never get to experience this wonderful thing. It was like a record scratch in a comedy movie trailer.

  • I think a lot of these gripes would have gone away if Whedon or Marvel had not fixated on making 2 shorter than 1, which it was by 1 minute. The original cut was 45+ minutes longer, and things in the trailers did not make it to the release version.

  • Interesting that everyone seemed to like Ultron, I actually was kind of annoyed by him. In the trailers he came off very intimidating and threatening, and i was happy that Marvel might finally have a worthy villain (so far all are very forgettable, except Loki) but then they neutered him by having him constantly quipping and making Snappy One Liners.

    I personally felt like at no time was anyone in danger. Heroes constantly making jokes, enemies constantly making jokes. I don’t mind the humour in Marvel movies, but I feel like after 10 movies it’s stretching a bit thin…

    • Really, I thought it was a great villian, not black and white, very much an extension of Tony Stark’s personality, so the quipping and frustration etc. fit perfectly. He was much deeper than the standard 2D bad guy.

    • Heroes constantly making jokes, enemies constantly making jokes. I don’t mind the humour in Marvel movies, but I feel like after 10 movies it’s stretching a bit thin…
      You make it sound like this is every movie. Granted, the ensemble moviesl ike Avengers and Guardians of the Galaxy never really seem to make you feel like the stakes are particularly high, but the Captain America movies for instance are a whole different story. If you haven’t seen Winter Soldier I strongly recommend it.

      At the end of the day through, you have to just roll with the fact that the heroes are going to win and even if a few “good” people die, the story goes on. If you’re sitting back saying “well there’s no real threat here” that’s not really the movie’s fault.

    • Yeah the liquid metal lips and constant quipping made it feel like actors having fun rather than Avengers/Ultron. It also felt a bit like the scenes were patched together to me(less cohesive than some of the other movies).

  • I can sense a backlash from people purely because they sense it might be time for a backlash and hey, let’s get on the bandwagon.

    I never read any of the comics, and absolutely loved this film.

    Hawkeye was really well fleshed out, his interaction with the Red Witch and Quicksilver was just brilliantly done.
    Pietro Maximoff: [speeding off with Wanda] Keep up, old man!
    Clint Barton: [drawing his bow] No one will have to know. I could do it, you know. ‘Where’s the kid?’ Oh, last I saw him, Ultron was sitting on him. Shame, really. Miss the little bastard already.”

    The dialogue was mostly brilliant, as were the character insights. Tony Stark’s little “Please be a secret door, please be a secret door… Yay!” was just perfect, as was the drunken Thor Hammer lifting scene and the payoff with Vision, and the later discussion re an elevator.
    Steve Rogers: We can still find a better way to achieve peace?
    Ultron: I can’t actually throw up in my mouth, but if I could I would do it!

    The woodchopping scene was really well done, and the Banner Hulk stuff was great, the way Banner is owning his actions as the Hulk was handled beautifully, well enough for a Hulk standalone film to finally be able to work.

    The bad-guy, Ultron was more than I expected. I loved the to and fro he has with Vision about the future of the Human race, he was so much more than the pure evil badguys that are usually a part of Super hero films. When hulk catches up to Ultron, his line is priceless.

    As for action, what more could you want, I would have happily paid the ticket price just for the Hulk vs Hulkbuster scene!

    It isn’t a perfect movie, but it was a metric shitload of fun, had great character development, especially considering the amount of characters, and that it is a super-hero movie, and why does it need to completely setup the next film?? The friction between Stark and Rogers was plenty to make Civil War have teeth.

    Seriously, it was more than worth seeing.

  • I’ve a feeling there was more behind that killing behind the scenes. For the first time in live-action, the character was done justice, and then he was wiped out. I smell a stipulation to Fox and Marvel’s Spider-Man deal. Spidey’s Sony. Just felt the need to be that guy.

    • Not sure what point you’re making here? We’re aware that Sony still has the rights to Spider-Man, and that they’re lending him out to Marvel for a movie or two. Fahey was entertaining the idea that part of the stipulation on Sony’s end was that Marvel kill off their version of Quicksilver, so that the only film version going ahead would be their X-men version.

        • Well now I just feel silly. I don’t know how I possibly forgot that X-Men was Fox and not Sony. Sorry for jumping the gun there.

  • I doubt Quicksilver is going to remain dead, I mean they made a special effort of pointing out they have a thing that can TOTALLY FIX PEOPLE.

  • I enjoyed the film, even though it did have its flaws. I’m still not sure how I feel about Spader’s Ultron. Yes he was great, but like someone said earlier, he seemed too lively at times with his one liners. I was hoping for a much more disturbed and menacing villain, which Spader could also have done flawlessly.

    I also thought Hawkeye was gonna die. That whole scene of him with his family and talking about the future was painting a very clear picture. And then…nope, Quicksilver dies instead. What a copout.

    Loved the Hulkbuster Vs Hulk fight. So much fun.

  • I enjoyed it. Less than the first in some ways, more in others. Came out about even for me in the end.

    Interesting though, I’ve heard more negative feedback on A2 than most Marvel movies before it. Considering how dodgy movies like the first Thor were, that’s saying something. Maybe I’ve only just noticed it now and not before – but I wonder if unconsciously people are already hitting some sort of saturation point with the MCU? Just a thought.

  • For me, this wasn’t any better or worse than Avengers 1. It was a good time at the cinema with some solid moments of comedy and enough plot to pull us from one blockbuster action scene to the next.

    Honestly, I don’t really “get” the Marvel films. They’ve mostly been a good time, but I wouldn’t say that I thought they were great films.

  • “Bingo, and not a very good advertisement. It’s an advertisement paired with a largely irrelevant side story.”

    Seems like we have totally different opinions on the movie.

  • I was also gladly surprised by Ultron. I was expecting your classic logic-ruled automaton but he had spades of personality and he was written and acted really greatly to from time to time betray how very young he was, in spite of his intelligence and megalomania. His clear daddy issues with Stark, the way he was surprised that the twins defected when they learned about his plan and actually begged them to stay… it was all strangely heartwarming.

    And yes, Thor’s face when Cap made Mjolnir budge was priceless. An awesome little nod to the comics.

  • My biggest gripe with AV2

    IronMan in IronMan 3 blew all his suits up and said I fucking quit no more ironman… first scene of AV2 his flying around like a mofo blowing shit up with no explanation to why he is back.

  • I saw it in 3D, not realising it was post production 3D conversion.
    It was a horrible blurry mess.

  • (Spoiler: Clint Barton isn’t married with kids in the comics.) Bzzzt Ultimate Avengers – Clint Barton always phones his wife and kids before a mission just in case he doesn’t get to say goodbye.. One of the best scenes is when he’s trying to protect his family in these books. uggh and the marksmanship with his own fingernails.. Very ‘Bullseye’

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