Remember that Old Spice commercial where Isaiah Mustafa is “the man your man could smell like”?
That’s kind of what the Avengers Age of Ultron trailer is to the actual movie – a good example of what this movie could have been, but wasn’t.
The first trailer promised a return to our heroes that would be much darker with a villain that aimed to break them down. But instead, we got what feels like nothing more than a bridge from Marvel’s Phase II to Phase III.
What Went Wrong
Seemed Like a High Budget Agents of Shield Episode
The first Avengers movie easily functioned as both a stand alone hit and a fan pleaser that paid off Marvel’s Phase I films.
Age of Ultron relies too heavily on previous films and Agents of SHIELD that are meant to be supplemental. So much so that it ends up nothing more than supplemental itself, feeling more like a high-budget and star-studded season finale of Agents than anything else.
No One Likes A Show Off
This film had a ton of money and certainly didn’t try to hide it. More of the movie was dedicated to showing off shiny Stark Industries toys and flaunting what visual effects designers can do in 2015 than it was to the story. And the heavy focus on fancy visuals contributed to the fact that any seeds of deep ideas were severely rushed, to the point that it felt like you were watching a friend play an Age of Ultron video game rather than a fleshed out movie.
Avengers had a backbone to its story, putting these heroes together and watching them learn to be a team. This one showed that they got there, but even in their darkest moments, the conflict was simply lacking. Even the tension between Cap and Tony – which was very much supposed to boil over for the sake of Civil War – was absent. The two of them were chummy as hell, and it was adorable and so, so terrible.
And finally, we get it Marvel – you like to make us laugh. But this script was so overly packed with wit that it was hard to take seriously.
Ultron was a heavily disappointing villain. This was supposed to be The Dark Knight of the Avengers tetralogy – centered around a demoralizing and mentally twisted foe. But instead, Ultron ended up being just another finger-steepling Marvel antihero that even his cool use of ‘no strings on me’ could save. He fell by the wayside of pretty much everything else happening in the film.
Don’t get me wrong – he’s still freakin’ cool. But ultimately, he fell victim to the rushed story and an overuse of witty dialogue.
There were some incredibly positive pieces of this movie.
It was easily the most comic book-like Marvel film thus far. Joss Whedon knows his comic books (he’s written them) – he even came out and said that Edgar Wright’s scrapped Ant-Man script was the best one Marvel’s never had, and its comic bookness is one of the elements that got it thrown out.
The comic book vibe he was trying to incorporate is tangible. But while there may not be any strings on Ultron – Marvel’s creatives are straight up marionettes. It’s clear that every time he tried to go comic book, the studios would push back – just a guess, but a realistic one.
The comic nature of Ultron was only enhanced by new Marvelverse additions: The Vision and the twins. Vision – an android who was a pretty good secret up until now – could have been campy as hell. But he ended up being a total badass with a design that was wholly unique in look and well worth the wait.
And the twins – Quicksilver (Aaron Taylor Johnson) and Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen) were incorporated into the story smoothly while more screentime was (finally) given to Hawkeye.
You won’t regret seeing it. It’s fun, pretty to look at and not a waste of time or money. I mean it’s Avengers.
But after seeing it, I felt blue-balled from the missed opportunity of what this film could have been. It proved that the only thing that needs avenging is the Avengers themselves – from the studios that care more about money than they do quality storytelling.