Saturday, May 16, 2015

Avengers: Age of Ultron Review

When I made my list of best comic book adaptations, I placed The Avengers at the number one spot. The reason why it made it to the top was that, as far as I was concerned, it managed to not only be a good movie, but it managed to embrace the original mythology of the source material. For many superhero adaptations, it's a bit of a juggling act with those two elements, but that was the first time I saw them do so well on both levels.

As of this point, there have been so many good superhero movies that it's getting hard to figure out where another good one should rank. With that said, let me just get right to the point and say that Avengers: Age of Ultron is probably not as good as the first, but it's still pretty damn good. Everything that worked with the first one: the character interactions, the villains, the effects, the action, etc. works in this one as well. If anything, it's probably a bit too crowded with characters but not to the point of being distracting.

Instead of giving a summary, let me just comment on some of the new elements from the sequel:

Ultron - This is probably one of the better comic book villains, and he's handled well in this film. He's powerful and completely convinced of the rightness of his cause, just like any real villain is. For Ultron, humanity is the problem with humanity, and that's where his evil schemes take root. The portrayal by James Spader was a bit more humorous than he is in the comics, but it makes sense considering that he was designed by Tony Stark, and it never becomes cartoonish, nor does it take away from how menacing he is.

Oh, and I personally don't care that he wasn't designed by Henry Pym like he was in the comics.

Quicksilver and the Scarlet Witch - Don't ask too many questions about the connections between this Quicksilver and the one from X-Men: Days of Future Past. That aside, these two were a welcome addition, but more could have probably been done with them. Their story isn't exactly the same as it was in the comics either, but they follow a similar arc by working with the villain only to realize the error of their ways and switch sides.

The Vision - While he wasn't in the movie for very long, I think that he was easily the most interesting part about it. There has always been something cool in the mythology where an Avenger creates Ultron, who doesn't go as planned, and Ultron creates The Vision, and that doesn't go as planned for him either. I really hope that they develop this character in future movies. And even though the movie has been out for a few weeks now, I don't want to spoil anything. But those who saw it will likely agree that the moment where the Avengers realize that they can trust The Vision is probably one of the best payoffs I've seen in a movie in a long time.

I'm not sure how well this film would hold up on its own. So much of what's good about it was built upon the foundations of the first one and the events in Captain America: The Winter Soldier, not to mention all of the other Marvel studios films. Hopefully they can keep up the pace, and it'll be interesting to see where they fit Spider-Man into all of this.