Friday, May 15, 2015
Avengers: Age of Ultron
**1/2 out of ****
When I saw the first trailer for Avengers: Age of Ultron, I felt nothing. When the final theatrical poster was issued, I felt nothing. This didn't worry me. Joss Whedon's career has been based on projects, which look generic on the surface, but are elevated by good writing (a rare thing in movies these days). Surely the final film would get a grip on the material involving The Avengers going up against an unstoppable robot trying to destroy humanity. I saw it... and... nothing. I saw it again... nothing.
It's not bad. It's just an exercise in more of the action we got the last time around. Sadly, action isn't Whedon's greatest strength. I only enjoy action scenes in his TV shows and movies, because I'm involved with the characters and I care what happens to them. This time, I'm not involved on any kind of passage of discovery regarding the characters or their relationships. Whedon continues his ever-dependable witty exchanges and character moments, yet I've never seen them run against the grain of the plot like this. It's a bad sign, that the best scene in an action film is a party scene at its beginning.
James Spader is a welcome charm of a villain as Ultron and I appreciate how nonchalantly he provides his voice, giving a very human personality to a dangerous hunk of metal. I've gotten around to writing about this movie long enough after its release to feel it's safe to mention what a pleasant addition it is to finally see Paul Bettany in-the-flesh as The Vision.
The real trouble with the movie is that this time around the stage is set, regarding our heroes, so we're paying a greater amount of attention to the plot and its conflict -which are sadly less compelling.
Color-drained grading -After the colorful first Avengers movie, Whedon and Marvel mysteriously got on the no-fun-allowed bandwagon currently used by the DC Universe - and many other movies made today - by giving us a less-green Hulk, a less maroon Iron Man and a less-blue Captain America. Nothing has a very natural look.
Why change aspect ratios? I know this is nitpicking, but the last one was a refreshing reminder that not all big movies require wide composition. This one - unremarkably - feels that it does.
Did I miss something? Perhaps Whedon wanted to forego the typical roundup opening, but most of the Avengers are not where we left them in their respective previous movies.