We in the UK are lucky enough Age of Ultron earlier than in the states. It’s really good, you should see it. Don’t click this link unless you’ve seen it. Here are my first impressions
Seriously, I’m also about to unload my first thoughts on the movie. If you mis-clicked this thing, or were just mildly curious, go back. For those of you who have seen it, grab a cup of tea and some chocolate bourbons, and sit back.
This really needed a previously on...
Let me tell you a story about one of the things that happened when I caught an early morning showing of this movie at my local cinema. There were very few people there, amongst whom were this cute couple, one of whom would reveal that they had only seen the Avengers before this movie.
How did I know ? Because their partner spent the entire movie trying to explain each plot point that was laid down in Thor, guardians of the galaxy and even agents of shield that suddenly became relevant. I felt sorry for the both of them. They came in expecting an Avengers sequel, when really it was a sequel to nearly everything in the cinematic universe.
Holy Shit the pacing
This movie moves fast. I mean really fast, at breakneck speed. Having only just watched it, I am amazed at how much ground they covered. It moves so fast. Not only at referring to old plot points, but also when introducing new ones. I’m having trouble re-capping this movie, because frankly, there is so much in it. I’m definitely going to need to re-watch it, to get the full experience.
Hydra get taken out like punks
The film starts from the perspective of hydra, and in fact the mind gem. We are struck by how much Hydra fears the Avengers, and how protective Strucker is of the Maximoff twins. He keeps holding them back from the battle, complaining that they aren’t ready, when it becomes quite clear later that they were so ready.
He then makes the bold bad guy move of... surrendering to protect their work on enhanced humans. It’s a shame Strucker only got a post credits tease, and what felt like the first five minutes of Age of Ultron. What we saw of the character showed a lot of depth, and its a shame we don’t get much time with him.
Anyway, the Avengers ride in, establishing that they still kick ass, they’ve found a way to control the Hulk, and they are all good buddies, Jarvis is the MVP and everyone hates Tony’s iron man drones. Mission accomplished, and they get Loki’s scepter.
We don’t really get much background as to how they found out about hydra having the sceptre, and how the avengers found out about it. So if you hadn’t seen winter soldier, you would be confused as hell at this point.
Ultron should really see a psychiatrist
Tony scans the sceptre, and finds AI within it. Since Thor has like a 3 day rental policy on the sceptre, Tony goes ahead and tells Jarvis to just the AI out of it. How this is visualised is frankly beautiful.
But then we get to Ultron, or at least the consciousness pulled out of the sceptre. Which Thor later goes and finds out that it’s the Mind gem. Sorry if you’re the one person who hasn’t seen guardians of the galaxy, because the explanation gets breezed through pretty quickly.
Which brings me to my issue with Ultron. Why is this intelligence pulled from the infinity gem doing what its doing ? Why is Ultron... Ultron ?
When we first meet it, it already seems pretty ornery. Later, the vision will tell us that it is the way it is because its in pain. Why is Ultron in pain ? Why is he such a douchnozzle to Tony ? Is it just because he quoted Neville Chamberlain once, out of context ?
My fan theory is that he was pissed at being pulled from the mind gem, but it would have been nice if the movie had made that clearer.
That’s not to say Ultron is anything other than a mesmerising presence on screen. His strange human ticks that come out every so often. Ultron is a mad AI, but not like any other mad AI that has been portrayed before. I mean the closest I can get to is the Cyber-controller from Doctor Who’s “Nightmare in Silver”, but even that was a far way off. Ultron only barely keeps himself under control, and not in the subtle way like the Kingpin from Daredevil. Nothing about Ultron is subtle. That’s part of what makes him so much fun.
Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver
Scarlet witch and quicksilver are the heart of the movie, and it knows it.
Scarlet witch spends much of the first part of the movie invading our heroes personal space, both literally and literally. It felt like Joe Biden playing Elizabeth Olsen playing Scarlet Witch.
But yeah, her mind freak powers were mostly a way to bring even more character depth to our heroes. We understand why Tony creates Ultron, because he thinks that the avengers will get killed, and it will all be his fault. Which, going by Tony’s track record is feasible.
We get a little bit more background on Black Widow. Oh yeah, let’s have a fucking sidenote, because there is one thing I wanted to scream out in the cinema, but was too polite to. GETTING STERILIZED DOES NOT MAKE YOU A MONSTER NATASHA !
Anyway, back to Scarlet witch and Quicksilver. Both of them come across really well. They felt like the first anti-american heroes to come across our screens. No, I don’t mean they burn flags and hate apple pie. I mean their backstory is that they are collateral damage, innocent bystanders in some war that we never see fleshed out, and is probably unrelated to the avengers. But Tony Starks weapons were involved, and all of their hatred is channeled towards him, rather than whoever shot the missile. But luckily, they get converted when they find out how evil Ultron is, and how heroic the avengers are. I feel like someone could spin a salon article out of that.
I can’t remember many of Pietro’s good moments. There is one moment where he gets some friendly fire, and his reaction made me laugh out loud. He gets a good running joke with Hawkeye.
Which in fact brings us to another thing I want to talk about.
That surprise death !
This film really focuses in on Hawkeye. He gets to give an epic speech to scarlet witch, and we really see him struggle to keep up with the avengers. He’s just a guy with some arrows fighting off a robot army. He puts one over on both twins at different times during the film, and gives a glorious speech to Scarlet witch about the sheer weirdness of his life. This is Hawkeye at his most awesome.
Then the avengers go to Hawkeye’s “Safe house”. Specifically, his house, with his adorable pregnant wife and adorable kids. Oh No. He tells her that he might have finally finished their perfect home. Oh shit. This new baby will change everything. Oh.. come on !
When everyone is evacuating Ultron’s city turned home made asteroid, Hawkeye is just about to make it on the last lifeboat, when he see’s a small crying child in danger. Oh for fucks sake ! So of course, Hawkeye has to go off and save this kid, when Ultron appears in a stolen quinjet, spraying bullets and destruction straight at Hawkeye. He turns to protect the kid with his body, ready for the heroic death the film prepared him for...
Quicksilver falls down next to him, riddled with bullet wounds. Did not see that one coming.
Hawkeye is unscathed. That really was unexpected. I guess Marvel figured out how to share the Maximoff twins with Fox. It really was a surprise death, but I was too busy feeling relieved for Hawkeye and his adorable family to care. Anyway, we all know its time for that magic alien blood serum.
The Civilian Casualties
This film shows the avengers really care about the “Collateral Damage”. That was really important, especially when considering the wonder twins’s back story. when Nick fury rides in with the good old avengers Helicarrier with the life boats, you really feel elated. When Hulk looks at all the damage he caused, we can feel the guilt.
Even though there are some massively destructive set pieces, it is great that we see our heroes really caring about all that damage.
The Vision is a cool sort of addition, and we get a better idea of why he is the way he is than Ultron, if only because Thor explains it to us, and we actually get to see it. It’s Jarvis, Ultron and the Infinity gem all rolled together. In case we were wondering whether the vision was a bad guy, he picks up Thors hammer, so we know he’s “Worthy”. Nice touch. I think he may be a literal deus ex machina.
But there Isn’t much else to really say about the vision. He gets some good moments with most of the main cast. I felt like I could have done with more time with him and Ultron fleshing out their relationship a bit more. But what we got was perfectly sufficient.
So, the end of the movie moves the universe forward even more. Hawkeye looks like he’s retired, Hulk is on the run again. Captain America and Black Widow makes a new version of the avengers, with War Machine, Falcon and Scarlet Witch. so these are the guys who will get their asses kicked in the first part of infinity war, causing all of the old guard to come back.
Here is the thing. I may have picked out one or two flaws here, but while watching the movie, none of them were a problem. It is such a ride that you don’t have too much time to think about every single plot or character moment, because the moment you do something else will crop up. Which is why I felt so sorry for the couple who shared the auditorium with me. Because by the end of the movie, I caught them trying to recap things that had already happened in the film, because they had spent so much time trying to figure out the backstory they were missing what was in front of them.
What was in front of them was an amazing epic rollercoaster, jam packed with action, emotion and fun.
But those are just my thoughts. Now for the discussion. What did you think? Mind your language!