The Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015) — A short ‘age’ indeed

“The city is flying and we’re fighting an army of robots. And I have a bow and arrow. Nothing makes sense.”

Justin’s rating: Where’s Captain Kirk when you need a computer destroyed?

Justin’s review: Answer me this: Why aren’t we dog-piling on Hawkeye in the Avengers movies for being the useless Aquaman of the group? Everyone else is flying and amazing and he’s always jogging far behind them, huffing and puffing and hoping that someone leaves a bad guy for him to shoot with his bow. In the first Avengers, he gets possessed by Loki, and in the first few minutes of Avengers 2, he’s knocked out of the fight with a bad wound. Seriously, why are they keeping this guy on the payroll? To make everyone else look that much extra amazing?

I think it’s a bad sign when the most enjoyment that a movie offers is all front-loaded into its first fifteen minutes. That’s exactly the case with The Avengers: Age of Ultron, as we get a terrifically fun battle sequence right out of the gate with our heroes taking the fight to a Hydra base. Everyone — even Mr. Archer — gets some cool fight moves, and there are tons of small moments of genuine humor peppered throughout. “We will never surrender! …I’m surrendering.” “Language!” “Please be a secret door… yay!”

Unfortunately, the rest of the trip is mostly down a gentle decline with the occasional bumps of merit here and there. I blame the really dumb plot, which has Bruce Banner and Tony Stark decide that, for no good reason, they should merge an alien artificial intelligence with a human-created defense system and then hope for the best. Apparently they never saw any of the Terminator movies, because the only outcome to that activity is triggering a “Skynet syndrome” and kissing their costumed posteriors farewell.

So when you have the good guys creating the villain that they must then defeat, we end up with a 142-minute exercise in returning the situation to the status quo.

You can see why they went with some rogue robot as a bad guy, though, because there’s absolutely nothing objectionable about good guys fighting robots. Transformers and GI Joe both hammered that point home in our heads. And this is especially true when you consider that James Spader is the voice of Ultron, as that dude is so creepy that even the most violence-abhorring, pearl-clutching mother would demand anything carrying its voice to be executed on the spot.

Age of Ultron also suffers from the “middle child” positioning in this series — just treading enough water to keep things inching forward without making any big waves. Don’t get me wrong, it’s definitely worth watching at least once for certain scenes. The Hulkbuster fight is pure fan service, as is the geeky post-party conversation between the heroes about Thor’s hammer. And adding the Scarlet Witch to the gang is never a bad thing.

It just feels like so very little is at stake, even if a potentially planet-conquering robot is on the loose. Honestly, Age of Ultron did a lot to dampen my enthusiasm at watching MCU movies, which is not the legacy that I feel its creators intended to make.

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