Log in

No account? Create an account
entries friends calendar profile Previous Previous Next Next
Avengers: Age of Ultron - Cinemaholic Movie Reviews
one person's obsessive addiction to film
Avengers: Age of Ultron
Directing: C-
Acting: B
Writing: C-
Cinematography: C+
Editing: C
Special Effects: C-

I lost patience with Avengers: Age of Ultron the minute it started. This film opens with an overloaded, hyper-edited action sequence now long typical of superhero movies, with one element that makes it worse: shitty special effects. It's like watching a sloppily edited cartoon. Even George Lucas's CGI-static Star Wars prequels had technical proficiency, albeit rendered cold, and those ended a full decade ago. This movie had a few too many people asleep at the wheel.

For a moment, I decided to give Age of Ultron the benefit of the doubt. This opening action sequence had such herky-jerky CGI that it looked like a video game with sub-par graphics, and so I thought: surely that's actually what's happening! We're starting this movie inside a dumb video game someone is playing based on The Avengers! Right? If that had been the case, and it cut to the heroes' alter egos in a grounded, more realistic world, I would have liked the movie immediately.

No such luck. Alas, this was the convoluted basis for a plot that only gets more ridiculous from there. I'm not against ridiculous plots per se, but I am a little tired of so-called threats to the entire world, to be saved by what amounts to gods so immortal there's no reason to get invested in what poses for danger. At the very least I long for the days when all that got threatened was a city. This Avengers arguably takes a novel approach to having it both ways, I suppose: Ultron uses a city to threaten the world!

As in, the villain -- an AI robot who frankly looks stupid but is voiced by James Spader, one of the few bright spots in this movie -- literally finds a way to break a city out of the earth, to raise it in the air, with the intent of dropping it as a giant meteor to cause an extinction level event. Where's Neil deGrasse Tyson when you need him?

The Avengers wants you to think it doesn't take itself too seriously. Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) gets a nice meta line when he says, "The city's flying. We're fighting an army of robots. I have a bow and arrow. None of it makes sense." It gets one of the few earned laughs in the movie, but it doesn't exactly solve the problem the line is plainly stating. What reason is there for Hawkeye's presence again? In this movie, apparently, it's apparently to surprise everyone with a wife and children at the "safe house" he brings all the Avengers to. When Ultron is biding his time, to prepare for destroying the world. You know, like walking and talking computers do. Ultron has clearly been working on his metal glutes, by the way. His face could use some work: he looks like an inverted metal ram.

Suspension of disbelief goes with the territory in superhero movies, but The Avengers is just too much. The original The Avengers had the same problem, but at least it had wittier banter and some workable humor. There are flashes of that here, much of it thanks to Spader's voice work. He actually seems to be having fun. Everyone else is just running across green screens on their way to the bank. In the case of Robert Downey Jr. as Iron Man, he's not even running -- we get lots of exterior shots of the Iron Man suit, then cut to static shots of Downey Jr.'s face inside the helmet. He's not even going through the motions. He's all but yawning his way through the movie.

I'd say I wish the movie could take some time to breathe, except that it's already overstuffed at 141 minutes. There were too many characters to begin with; I don't even have time to list them all here. Who needs a list? Just look at the picture, of them all posing like they're at a photo shoot for their Aging Superhero Band album cover. And we get new ones in addition to those! Not just Ultron, but another biomechanical creation called . . . what's his name? "Vision," according to the credits. Played by Paul Bettany, in a suit made to look like a circuit board took human form. This movie looked dated, like, yesterday. Oh and then there are Quicksilver (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) and Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen), twin siblings who are first villains and then reluctant heroes and then . . . oh, who cares? They have superpowers thanks to being willing subjects to human experiments. Been there, done that. There's a notable number of shots in this movie of caped figures posing while hovering in the air, rather reminiscent of The X-Men movies from the early 2000s. Those movies were so much better! And those ones weren't that great. The Avengers creates nostalgia for the better days of mediocrity.

And a peculiar sense of wonder: How long does it take to reconstruct after all the collateral damage, anyway? All that smashed concrete has to get repaired, you know. This movie features yet another collapsing skyscraper. Is this how we process the lingering trauma of 9/11 now, by reliving it in bizarre ways? At least the building this time is still under construction; presumably no one dies when Iron Man plummets through its center from the top during an altercation with The Hulk (Mark Ruffalo is looking a little puffy). I bet the financiers of that construction project are piiiissed.

Why this movie is getting a fair amount of critical praise is a mystery to me. Who is supplying the Kool-Aid to these people? After the last Avengers, I had no expectation of wanting to see a sequel. But then it was announced that James Spader would be the villain. Surely he would elevate the proceedings. And he did! -- to the level of "mind numbingly average." There is one conclusion to be drawn here: I, like millions of other American moviegoers, am a sucker.

Strike the pose.

Overall: C
2 comments or Leave a comment
tommy50702 From: tommy50702 Date: May 5th, 2015 07:32 am (UTC) (Link)
That's a surprisingly low rating.
Heather McCrillis From: Heather McCrillis Date: May 5th, 2015 04:18 pm (UTC) (Link)
So what we're looking at is vague. (Admits to spending Earth money on the third SW prequel.)
2 comments or Leave a comment