Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Avenger: Age of Ultron Quick Review

Hey y'all.  So I saw Avengers: Age of Ultron, and now my eyeballs need to throw up.  But since they can't physically do that, I'll just settle for doing a mini-rant here.

This movie sucked.

I've never been a fan of Joss Whedon, and this isn't convincing me.  The only thing I know for sure he's good at is banter.  Quite frankly, if this movie had been more or less nothing but banter and a quick fight with a villain-of-the-week, it would have been superb.  However, since it's a "blockbuster" that's expected to both emulate the comics and spend ungodly amounts of money on 3d crap that doesn't matter, ugh.

Note that I'm probably going to spoil something in the movie.  Not that it matters, because this kind of movie is nearly unspoilable.  Comic book movie, and all that.

So the "plot" goes that the Avengers finally get back Loki's staff, and Tony Stark wants to look it over for a bit before allowing Thor to take it to Asgard.  Because Tony is the dictionary definition of a person who thinks he's smart but doesn't read history books, he creates Ultron, an A.I. that's supposed to stop the world from needing to be saved.  He does this, somehow, from using a "brain" embedded in Loki's staff.  It doesn't take but minutes for the guy to attack things at random and create the second of several vomit-inducing, plot irrelevant fight scenes.  Ultron says a lot of evolution and Bible-like nontheology before flying off to a church in a fake country to continue making more evolution and Bible statements that were apparently supposed to make sense.  Note: he can transfer himself to any computer-thing that can support internet.

I don't think Ultron knows what evolution is.  It's the hypothesis of hands-off genetic mutation over time.  It is not throwing a city into humanity to see what survives.  You'd think he'd know that if he could absorb the internet.

So Ultron allies up with a fast dude and a girl with plot powers who have a grudge against Tony Stark.  They help Ultron until they figure out exactly what Ultron wants.  Using Ultron's project of building a new, permanent body, Tony creates another monster, but this one is nice.  All he wants is to say random drivel and shoot lasers out of his head.  He gets to do that a lot when all the people with powers team up to blow up Ultron and all of his extra bodies.

The trouble is, any plot synopsis written by a person who cares is more interesting than the plot itself. Things go way too fast in the beginning, and we're expected to accept Ultron's motivations in the beginning purely from his nonsensical statements.  We don't get to see a nice, extended scene of Ultron demonstrating, through action rather than words, what he feels and why he feels it.  He's just instantaneously insane, and all the character development we get for him is just a few badly edited moments here or there.  Why does he hate Stark?  By what standards does he judge that the Avengers are bad?  Is it because they kill people?  If that's the case, what makes it better when Ultron kills people?

But no, instead of getting nice moments where we get to see actual character development, the audience is bombarded with endless digital shinies exploding and pulsing everywhere, all while the camera spins and turns every which direction.  Good thing I didn't see this in 3D, or I really would have thrown up in the theater.  As it was, I was shuffling in my seat, waiting for it to be over.

Run down of some other complaints:
- The Black Widow/Hulk romance was boring and out of nowhere.  They're talking about taking a shower together, when we haven't so much as seen them go out for coffee yet.

- It's really getting annoying how movies think it makes a woman more "cool" to have a male name shortening: Natatasha to Nate.  Um, no, Natasha shortens to Tasha, and being feminine doesn't make a person weak. Aigoo.

- Andy Serkis was great in his role, because he appeared to be the only person out to make people have fun.  You chew that scenery, Andy!  It beats pretending this is a real movie that should be taken seriously.

- Holy bad accents, Batman!  Fake accents everywhere!  At least they got actual Koreans to say their lines.  Sheesh, are there no actors in Hollywood from east Europe that can have roles?  Do these roles always have to be filled by people whose real voice sounds nothing like the people they're supposed to portray?

- Speaking of Korea, it would have been great if there were some Korean setpieces, monuments, or famous buildings that got to be featured.  Of course, they probably would have just shot Hulk through them, so whatever.

- The dream/vision sequences that were supposed to show the Avengers what they feared (?) were not interesting.  They were weird, dream sequence-like moments of random nonsense.  From that point in the movie on, all I could do was stare vacantly at the screen and ask myself, "am I supposed to be feeling something right now?"

That's the real crux of the problem.  Sure, there was funny dialogue here or there, but the movie itself was a hack job of decade old cliches and digital nonsense.  But at most parts in the film, I felt nothing.  I didn't care about anyone (besides Andy Serkis), the philosophy of the movie was weak and watered down, and the digital over-emphasis tucked me safely into my old fogey cynicism. I walked out of the theater ready to re-watch Star Trek V.  It's a better movie than this, I can safely say.

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