Not so much a movie review, but more a random list of points from my stream of consciousness after seeing it earlier this week. It goes without saying that there are A LOT OF SPOILERS in this post. So please DO NOT READ this post unless you have already seen the film or just don’t care about spoilers.


Ready? Ok…

  • First of all, although I get a bit geeky with some of my comments below I’ll start by saying I totally loved this film. Very different from the first one. Hard to compare directly in some ways. It’s not without its flaws but it’s great and I want to watch it again right away. Whedon did an amazing job.
  • I still don’t know why the UK had it a week before the US? I can imagine they maybe had the Premiere here because the film was shot here but I still thought big films opened at the same time internationally now. Not complaining though!
  • I loved the fact that it opened with a James Bond-style action sequence. Brought you right back into the Avengers zone and meant they could skip any need for a slow build up
  • There were, however, some moments in this opening sequence that pulled me out of the movie already. I can’t remember the specifics but there were at least three bits where this happened. I remember sitting there thinking, ‘hmm, there’s already some flaws’. I think most were CGI related. One was character animation that looked unrealistic, I think when Cap was fighting and the camera was high up, and one other was really bad compositing where it looked obvious it was filmed against a green screen. I’m not trying to slag off the VFX here as I know how hard it is but it was just a shame because most of the other effects in the film were bang on the money and having a couple of moments like this pulls you out of the film. I can’t imagine they just missed these though. Did they just run out of time?
  • I think the other bit was actually regarding Iron Man’s in-flight sequences. I felt it was a bit strange how Iron Man is doing all these crazy dog fights and shooting at baddies etc and then when you cut to him and his HUD he’s just talking completely normally. I know he doesn’t have to shout to be heard but I still thought his movements and the stress/adrenalin of the moment would have made him act a bit more ‘under fire’ in those HUD scenes.
  • And what was with the Irish accent of Iron Man’s new Jarvis female replacement later on in the film? I found that a bit weird. I thought they would always just go with a neutral UK or US accent for a computer.
  • The bit in the opening sequence where you see all the Avengers jumping, from side on, camera, all in line and in slow motion is pretty awesome. It was in the trailer though and a part of me wishes it hadn’t been revealed in the trailer. If you had seen this for the first time in the movie it would have been awesome and would have really helped the beginning open with a bang. I’m getting more and more frustrated with trailers revealing big moments like this which lessen the impact in the cinema. Particularly for a movie like Avengers where people are going to come to the movie no matter what they put in the trailer.
  • The fight sequences really are amazing and it’s great how much they have the Avengers interacting with each other. I love how Widow just throws Cap’s shield to him out of the corner of his eye and he does some awesome stunt with it.
  • In general I really liked the plot and the whole AI thing. I think it made sense for it to all come from Tony Stark and I think if anything the plot was strengthened by having Ultron come from the hands of Tony and not via Hank Pym as it is in the comics.
  • They have set up some nice things in this movie for the Civil War movie with Cap and Iron Man. Really looking forward to that one. Cap should get some more strong dialogue in that one which I feel he’s been lacking a little bit in the Avengers films. Stark has been getting most of the interesting monologues.
  • Having said that though I really loved Cap’s line about how Ultron thinks they are monsters so they have to make sure they don’t prove him right, and they have to save as many innocents as they can. That was really well handled
  • And also regarding saving the innocents, I thought the Hulk v Hulkbuster fight was great. They could have just had them smash everything up and not think about the consequences. Like in Avengers 1 I kind of forget during the big fight that New York was getting smashed up here and it would be a major disaster for the city and thousands of innocents getting hurt or dying. It’s more the other references in the MCU (and Agents of Shield) that have highlighted just what a big disaster for New York that battle was. But in Avengers 2 I felt they made this more obvious. When Hulk was smashing the place up you were much more aware of the damage he was causing to property and to innocents. So much so that when you see Banner afterwards it really hits home to you how he must hate that monster inside him when it can get out of control. I thought that was well done and exactly what the Hulk character needs.
  • Ruffalo is really great as Banner but I kind of felt that Stark steamrolled over him a bit much. I can imagine that Banner might go along with Stark the first time when they cause the birth of Ultron but when they are about to do something similar with the Vision, Banner warns Tony that they’re in the same situation and they can’t risk it again. But then he backs down right away. I would just have loved to see Banner’s character be stronger here to stand up to Tony a bit more. Maybe he just doesn’t like confrontation though!
  • The transformation from Hulk back to Banner was incredible and really well done. The Hulk seemed to be even better than in the first movie. A Hulk solo film would be amazing
  • Hawkeye obviously got hardly any screen time in the last movie when he was actually playing Hawkeye. He was under Loki’s spell most of the movie. I wonder how much Jeremy Renner’s agent had a part to play in this movie because Hawkeye gets soooo much screen time, lines, plot points and it almost seems more than Whedon would have had to do naturally for the story. It was almost like he was trying to compensate for the last movie. I think Renner did a great job, but I was just surprised how much screen time he got. And I think Whedon did a great job of making things seem real, in terms of how you get a sense of what his wife must be feeling when he goes off and does his Avenging with these super heroes when he’s just a guy with a bow and arrow. I personally am not sure Hawkeye could hold his own movie (and I don’t know if Marvel would do prequels that are not in line with the story of the main MCU Phases) but a part of me would like to see just how good Hawkeye’s skills and see how he is able to hold his own with the Avengers. Sometimes you just don’t really get enough screen time of Hawkeye firing arrows to really appreciate his skills. He could do with one of those short web films or something.
  • Like the first Avengers movie, some of the best bits in the film are when the main characters are interacting with each other. I love Thor’s bravado, Stark’s ballsiness and how everyone winds up Captain America. But one of the best scenes was the Hammer lifting scene. That was awesome. And some nice nods to the comics in terms of how each person deals with the hammer.
  • I felt that Captain America was portrayed so well in Winter Soldier. That film really made me love the character and totally respect the skills that he has. The Russos completely got how to represent Cap on screen. But I feel Whedon doesn’t have quite that same grasp. Dialogue, yes totally, but not the fighting. Cap seems a bit too ’super-hero’ in the Avengers films and I’d love him to have the same realistic vibe that he had in Winter Soldier.
  • I personally didn’t like the CGI character of Ultron. I felt the CGI looked a bit cheap and a little bit odd. And the face and mouth looked and animated too much like a Bay Transformer. It just doesn’t look realistic as a robot. And he also wasn’t scary enough. The character was a little too snarky and petty in places and some of his stances just came across as a bit camp. Maybe that was Spader putting his personal touch into the character but I don’t think it always worked
  • Andy Serkis was great as Klaue and it’s great to see him getting screen time with his real face! Or perhaps he was still in a motion capture suit and they CGI’d Andy Serkis onto his movements?!
  • The Vision was pretty awesome. More of him please. We didn’t really seem him phase too much apart from right at the end which was easy to miss. But I’m sure we’ll see more of his powers in the next film
  • Scarlet Witch was good. Particularly when we see her get angry with her powers at the end. Really sets up how powerful she could be in the future. Interesting to see if they go with the Witch / Vision romance in the next films.
  • Speaking of romance I wasn’t expecting the Hulk / Banner / Widow ménage a trois. I kind of liked it though. I thought we really got to see a lot more of Widow in this movie which was great. I do think she could hold her own movie. Not sure if we need a prequel though because a surprising amount of ground was covered in this movie. It’s impressive how much Whedon managed to progress so many of the characters in this film. I feel like Widow, Hawkeye, Stark, Banner all got a lot of character progression. Not so much Thor and Cap in this one.
  • There were also an impressive amount of cameos from other characters in the MCU. I won’t try to list them all but it was great to see them all and it made the universe seem much more cohesive. Awesome cameo as ever by the legend that is Stan Lee.
  • Quicksilver. I quite liked the portrayal but I do think more could have been made of his powers perhaps. I’ve not seen Days of Future Past yet but I’ve heard that portrayal of Quicksilver would be hard to beat anyway. And I think Whedon telegraphed that Quicksilver was going to die when he had him get hit by one stray bullet about 20mins prior.
  • Mid credit scene – There wasn’t really much to this. We just saw a bit more of Thanos and he put the Gauntlet on. I was hoping for something more but to be honest it was still just an awesome reminder that we will see lots of Thanos in the next two films which is going to be great. I do wonder if we will see any return of Ultron and/or Loki as well in the next films. Quite possible but it depends also what happens with other films like the InHumans I guess. There will be so much to cram into the next two Avengers films.
  • We see Iron Man, Thor, Hawkeye and Hulk take a break from the Avengers at the end of this film, which is pretty much in line with the early comics. So we are left with the new Avengers lineup of Cap, Widow, Falcon, Scarlet Witch and Vision (not sure if I’ve missed anyone). I’m sure the members that have ‘left’ will be back at least from the second half of the next movie (Part 1) but it will be cool to see how the new lineup fair on their own for a bit if we get to see that.
  • I loved how many little nods there were to comic fans. Whedon did an amazing job there. What I didn’t love was the uber-geek next to me who kept sniggering and whooping every time one of them happened, as if to show off that he had spotted them
  • Whedon is known for his fast-paced, witty, sharp dialogue of course. It was used to great effect in the first Avengers film. He’s not just like Tarantino in that regard who I think sometimes writes great dialogue but not really caring about who says the lines. Whedon is able to completely write in the characters’ voices and the banter between the Avengers team is great. One thing I remember from a couple of episodes of Firefly was that there was about 2 minutes left in the episode and I had no idea how he was going to conclude and wrap up the story in the short amount of time left. But actually he managed to do it easily just using clever dialogue. The same approach is used here to fit in lots of character development, subplots and backstories without adding lots of time to the film. I will admit though that there are a couple of lines that were slightly too predictable and cheesy. But he mostly nailed it. And the very last line of the film is great. I don’t think anyone actually said the words “Avengers Assemble” in the first movie either did they? The timing of the final cut of the Ultron film left me with a big smile on my face as the film ended. Nicely done.
  • The main thing I’m reading in reviews about this film is that it is flawed in places but it’s a great movie and that it is amazing what Whedon managed to do. I totally agree with all of that. I don’t want us to be so in awe of Whedon that we excuse a sub par movie but he totally has done an amazing job here to pull so much into one film and also have so much character and plot development. And there certainly are a few flaws in this film; some plot decisions, some character design and some CGI, but in my opinion these are far outweighed by the great points of this movie. I think I possibly enjoyed this one more than the first. It seemed more real in some ways. I’m not sure, I’d have to watch both again. But I really really do want to watch Age of Ultron again right now. And for me that’s the biggest indication that I absolutely loved this film.