AM At The Movies: ‘Avengers: Age Of Ultron’

Here’s the thing with movies like this – massive blockbusters that are part of a larger universe: it’s hard for them to be all things to everyone, so there are bound to be people that come away from Avengers: Age of Ultron feeling disappointed.

It’s a film that has to both stand on its own, but also move the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) forward towards Phase 3 and accomplishing those two tasks simultaneously is challenging. Plus you’ve got a colossal cast of movie stars, all of whom need differing amounts of screen time and since you can’t make a four-hour epic that gives equal share to everyone, some characters are going to take a back seat and that is going to frustrate some people.

All that being said, this is a great movie, no matter how you’re looking at it.

As a stand-alone, action-packed comic book movie, it’s fun and entertaining – two hours and change of fight scenes, one-liners, CGI excellence and a story that is pretty easy to track and not too reliant on the audience having a ton of previous history with these characters.

As a sequel to The Avengers, it ratchets up the action and furthers the relationships between a familiar cast of characters.

As the 11th film in the MCU, it picks up where the events of Captain America: The Winter Soldier left off and sets the table for a number of movies that are on deck for Phase 3, which kicks off with Captain America: Civil War next May.

With all the expectations and anticipation surrounding this film, it would have been easy for this film to come up short, but it doesn’t. It’s enjoyable from start to finish, introduces a few new characters and sets up a couple of the future films without it feeling heavy-handed. The stuff you loved about the first film – the fighting, the quips, the interactions between the various Avengers – are all back, though some of the jokes seem forced, and both Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow and Clint Barton/Hawkeye get more depth, which was needed.

But here’s the weird thing: you could also make a case for this film being just alright pretty easily too.

It is similar to the first film and each of the previous 10 films in the MCU where the titular character(s) and/or the world are in danger and they’ve got a meanie to take care of before the credits roll, there are a bunch of “cities get destroyed” fight scenes and the one-liners are back, but they’re not quite as good as they were in The Avengers. Nothing comes close to “We’ve got a Hulk” or “Puny god” in this one, although they tried hard to do so.

If you know the plan for the MCU, it’s clearly a conduit to Civil War, Black Panther and the next two Avengers movies, which could leave some moviegoers feeling like they’re sitting through a setup rather than a summer spectacular, and if you’re not big on some of the characters that get bigger shares of the screen time in this installment, well, you’re not going to be as happy as you would be if your favs were front and center and Hawkeye remained in the background.

Stripped clean of all its attachments and connections to the MCU, Avengers: Age of Ultron is a really fun popcorn flick that kicks off the summer movie season in style.

How you feel about it when you add in all those attachments and connections is bound to vary: it might blow your socks off or it might come up a litle short.

E. Spencer Kyte

E. Spencer Kyte

E. Spencer Kyte is a freelance journalist based in Abbotsford, British Columbia, where he lives with his wife and dog. In addition to his work here, he writes about sports for Complex Canada and covers the UFC for various outlets. His mom also still tells him what to do on a regular basis, even though he’s nearly 40. He tweets from @spencerkyte.

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