It is the Age of Decent Sequels: Ultron Has Laughs and Action

Avengers 2

            Alright we’ve all been waiting and it is finally here… Avengers 2. For months now I’ve been hoping for an awesome follow up to the movie that wowed me years ago. I came in with big expectations for this film, and from the trailers my expectations were the following:

  1. Incredible action
  2. Lots of comedic moments
  3. Epic bad guy to tie the story together.

As always, it is my job to report on the movie and determine if it lived up to the hype. So what do you get? Read on to find out!

In terms of action, Avengers 2 delivers the adrenaline rushing excitement that many expect. It opens with a bang as the crew fights off countless extras in an opening mission. These battles are edited well, the camera work stable and attentive to the details to help keep you focused on the battle. The special effects further bring the scenes to life with exciting explosions, blinding lasers, and impressive CGI work that will have your inner geek screaming in delight. However, there are a few weaknesses

Avengers 2 fights are often short lived, quickly ending in an abrupt stop just as the fight is getting good. We saw this in the first movie, but Age of Ultron’s darker tone didn’t fit with this approach. I felt a few of the fights had an epic build up, but quickly faltered, as a rushed pace stopped the fight prematurely. Many of the fights seemed simplistic and lackluster, overshadowed by a comedy montage or intense dialog moment. The finale did have more bang for its buck, but still was a bit diluted for my tastes. Scenes of evacuating citizens constantly interrupted building excitement, and it got old after a while. They also lacked some of the teamwork I was hoping to see,until near the end when they all came together in a surge of power. I’m not saying it was horrible, but it didn’t quite live up to what we saw in the first installment.

For this reviewer, it almost seems like the focus was on the comedy aspect instead. Avengers 2 had many people last night, myself included, busting a gut at the ridiculous situations at hand. One should be able to find some laughs in the movie, whether it be situational slapstick, a funny face or reaction, to the running jokes and well written dialogue. There are plenty of running jokes to take hold of, and the actors bring more humor to life as they deliver their lines with just the right emphasis. And for the most part, I didn’t feel they were forcing the jokes on me, only occasionally crossing into trying to hard to get a laugh (such as the Don Cheadle jokes). One weakness to the comedy though, is I felt it got in the way of the action, sometimes derailing the fight as they stopped to crack a joke. The world would be a much more peaceful place if fighting could stop when someone wanted to tell a joke, but that appears to only happen in movies. Outside of that, some of the jokes they ran a little too far with, but I can’t dock much from that.

Instead, the more disappointing factor was the villain and the story itself. Ultron looked good, his evolution over the course of the film a good representation of the nightmare I expected. The design team did a nice job capturing the metallic menace in his various forms, and even the voice acting was what I envisioned. But that was all overruled by the two big flaws for me. The first is his skills, from the comic books I expected Ultron to be a fighting menace capable of giving the good guys a run for their money. His intelligence was definitely that factor, but his fighting and powers weren’t too impressive, reduced to occasional laser beam firing and some bland punches. I was expecting them to be pushed to the brink of their abilities, with some masterful kill, but that didn’t really happen for me. Second was the story itself, again too rushed to really be engaging or intriguing. Avengers 2 sort of jumped all over the place trying to give character development, while keeping a typical comic book plot going. The developing moments weren’t too bad, if a little awkward, but the Ultron plot was the weakest aspect. He appeared and rose to power to quickly, then would go off the grid to allow the others to get their story time. Then when the big climax came, it was sort of boring, again his threat not that impressive. To me the tale was too philosophical/evolutionary focused, and it made for some lazy storytelling, though the arc itself does tread down this path.

Overall Avengers 2 is fun, exciting, and blasting with action and fun. However, it wasn’t as good as the first one in my opinion, lacking a lot of the balance that first installment had. The story and character weren’t quite as grand as I thought, and interrupting the action took much from the movie. However, I strongly recommend getting into the theater this weekend to catch it, all the special effects make it worth it in the long run.

My scores for this installment are:

Action/Adventure/Sci-Fi: 8.5

Movie Overall: 7.5 

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