Reel Reviews: Where’s Loki when you need him

"Avengers: Age of Ultron is so fine, it’s paper thin.”

  • May. 8, 2015 11:00 a.m.

When Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) and Bruce Banner (Mark Ruffalo) attempt to restart an old computer program called Ultron, they release an artificial intelligence.

Using Stark technologies, Ultron quickly builds himself a robot body, then he copies himself, spreading his consciousness to build an army.

To stop Ultron from destroying the world, the alter-egos of Ironman and the Hulk will be joined by the other Avengers: Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), Thor (Chris Hemsworth), Captain America (Chris Evans) and Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner).

We say, Avengers: Age of Ultron is so fine, it’s paper thin.”

TAYLOR: I loved the first Avengers film, probably for the same reasons as everyone else: it had action, it was funny, all the various superheroes played well off each other and it had style. It was cool. Age of Ultron pays homage to these successes, but in such a way that it becomes glib.

In the first case we have a robot as the bad guy. Even in a comic book movie you want your villain to have purpose. Ultron (voiced by James Spader) is almost inconsequential in the story. He’s just there to create someone for the Hulk to smash.

HOWE: The Avengers was my first comic book to big screen movie (besides the Batman franchise) that I had watched because I’m not really a superhero fan.

The first one blew me away. I then watched the characters in their own films, couple that with the X-Men blockbusters and Guardians of The Galaxy. I feel we are getting an overload of semi-decent movies. Hollywood just keeps churning out and cashing in on these projects.

Don’t get me wrong, Age of Ultron is a good action movie, with some nice special effects, but we have seen it all before. I wanted director Joss Whedon to give me something different, something we hadn’t seen in a superhero movie before. I wanted the wow factor, instead they gave me the 1960s’ Batman ka-pow.

TAYLOR: That brings me to the second problem with Age of Ultron, too many subplots. The audience is thrust into the middle of these characters and we jump from scene to scene with them. From the beginning we must start paying attention if we are to glean anything from the relationships these superheroes have with each other. To the credit of the actors, the feelings are present. But now add five or six more secondary characters and their subplots: more heroes, more villains, more magical gems with great power, S.H.I.E.L.D… I think they tried to cram too much in, discovered they had a three hour movie, then had to cut out so much that it stopped making sense or mattered. Maybe it never did. I am disappointed, but a mediocre Avengers movie is still fun, right?

– Taylor gives Avengers: Age of Ultron 2.5 disappointed shrugs out of 5.

– Howe gives it 3 product placements out of 5.

Brian Taylor and Peter Howe are film reviewers based in Vernon, B.C.