I was apprehensive about this one. Advanced reviews are all over the map, and to be honest, I bought into large helpings of the negativity associated with some of the more … shall we say, ‘destructive’ comments contained in those reviews. But, in my opinion, much of that turned out to be either A) anal-retentive, obsessive-compulsive nitpicking by snide 21’st Century hipsters, or B) a clear case of a coordinated attempt at corporate sabotage. Honestly not sure which.
In any event, the movie turned out to be surprisingly good. Very well constructed story, with various small moments of character development divided evenly among the principals. Which is more than you can say for the first film. Especially in the case of Hawkeye. There are some great action sequences, too. And more (and better) humor, this time around. Case in point, when Iron Man wearing his Hulkbuster armor, punches Hulk in the face, repeatedly, and calmly suggests, ‘Go to sleep, go to sleep, go to sleep…‘ And later, when a payoff scene arrives, regarding the ‘challenge’ of who can pick up Thor’s hammer. When that comes full circle, you’re really gonna laugh.
To be honest, there were one or two very minor quibbles I had. At a certain point in the film, I was eagerly anticipating that Natasha (a.k.a. Black Widow) would whisper to the Hulk, ‘Hulk … smash.‘ And unfortunately, they didn’t go for that wonderful opportunity. And when the final battle occurs, I was genuinely expecting the visual theme to be one of the Avengers being surrounded to the point of being squeezed in and cramped, among Ultron’s minions. But alas, that’s an image only generated by an artist on a wonderful piece of concept art that made its way to the internet rather early in the publicity game.
But don’t let such minor, personal quibbles keep you from seeing Avengers: Age of Ultron. Because all said and done, this is a damn good superhero, comic book movie. As good as these things can be. And it ranks with the best of the films that have been released with MARVEL’s logo on them. Including (in alphabetical order) the initial Avengers film, Captain America: Winter Soldier, Guardians of the Galaxy, Iron Man, Spider-Man (2002,) X-Men, X2, X-Men: First Class, and X-Men: Days of Future Past.
You wanna know what my generation were thinking, imagining, and plotting in the 1980’s when we were reading most of the comics that these films are based on ? Age of Ultron is as pretty damn close to that, as you’re probably ever gonna see.
Now if we can get a response from Disney on why there are no Black Widow toys on shelves.
I give it an A-