Avengers: Age of Ultron, yay or nay?

Going into the opening weekend of Avengers: Age of Ultron, the thing I was most curious about was what its CinemaScore, a measure of audience satisfaction, would be. The expectations around Ultron were crushing, and after seeing the movie—which is BONKERS—I wondered if general audiences would be into its weirder, more character-driven vibe. I thought it might be a little too out there, require a little too much thought and attention, and it might be too comic book for the masses. Well, worry not, for it scored a solid A with audiences. Most everyone who saw Ultron was happy with what they got from it.

avengers-age-of-ultron-cast

Still, the conversation is not about that, but about the $187.6 million opening weekend haul, the second largest domestic opening of all time, behind only The Avengers. Marvel now owns the top three domestic openings with The Avengers, Age of Ultron, and Iron Man 3. And yet we’re supposed to be disappointed because Ultron didn’t earn more than its predecessor. I get it—everyone was projecting more. But any time a movie makes that much money you can’t honestly call it a disappointment, and you definitely can’t call it a flop or anything like that. Ultron has already made over $620 million worldwide and will very likely top a billion dollars. It’s a money-making machine. The only conversation I’m willing to have about Ultron’s box office is the one in which we discuss the fact that the North American box office, as a market, is tapped out.

Hawkeye

The conversation I do want to have, though, is what you all thought of Age of Ultron. I’m enthusiastic about it. Yes, it’s messy, but it has a lot more personality than The Avengers, which is, ultimately, nothing more than a thread-bare plot supporting a big spectacle. Fun, sure, but not much to chew on beyond the first exciting viewing. Ultron, however, gives us a lot to chew on. I’ll be going into specific character arcs throughout the week, but for now, tell me what you think. Did you like it? Did it deliver what you wanted? If not, what else could it have given you? And do we maybe expect too much from movies like this? What were you expecting compared to what you actually got? Let’s hash it out.

And also talk about how awesome Scarlet Witch is.
And also talk about how awesome Scarlet Witch is.
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16 thoughts on “Avengers: Age of Ultron, yay or nay?

  1. nikkim602

    I loved it – I liked that we got more character development. My boyfriend was not a fan of that aspect of it so much. I thought Elizabeth Olsen was fantastic as Scarlet Witch. While not a Jeremy Renner fan myself, I did like that we saw more of his background. It clocked in at 2.5 hours, they could have saved a few minutes here and there (I thought the Iron Man/Hulk fight scene was a little longer than it needed to be), but that’s a minor quibble. It didn’t feel like 2.5 hours, compared to Interstellar which was almost 3 hours and felt like 5.

  2. nikkim602

    Oh and how could I forget – Black Widow and Banner get a great big YES from me. My BF was meh on that whole part of the plot.

  3. angie

    I enjoyed it much more than I thought I would largely because of the character work. I thought some o the destruction scenes a bit too long but get they paid big money for those and want them on screen. The opening scene seemed subpar CGI – wise but the rest of the movie drew me in and made the characters 3D.

  4. Agent K

    I’m pleased you are enthusiastic. I saw it with four others and we were…reserved. It was fun, no question but wow could you see the cuts! I love an extended edition of a movie but when it feels like it will “fix” more than “enhance” that’s some points lost for me.

    Hulk/Black Widow felt rushed and unearned. I’m now well out of the Black Widow standalone movie camp if that’s the best Marvel could do with her. She was an awesome grey/ambiguous character in the comics and now she’s sidekick/romantic foil/sad she can’t have babies. Dull. Also in the first Hulk, Bruce had to halt his romantic moment with love of his life Betty Ross so his heart rate wouldn’t go up; but now Black Widow could “join him in the shower”? Huh?

    Twins were alright. Enjoyable. Fine. Having them and Vision hurt all three’s development. At least it’s one more female on the team. Captain America was waaaay too Whedon-quippy. Thanos is no longer scary or anticipated; sorry, too much talk.

    Good? Vision!! Tony’s dream. Hawkeye’s “no one would know”. Bruce and Tony are cute in the lab stuff. I did like it.

    I think the “disappointment” talk is less actual box office and more about the fact that we all know there was a minimum number Marvel wanted and that was NOT it. It’s just interesting.

    1. The one thing in defense of Bruce being willing to run off with Natasha is that he has more baseline control now than he did when he first became the Hulk. I’m going to get into Natasha more later this week, but her character development is uneven because we never get to see it play out in anything more than these little bits. If she had her own movie, they could address these issues more deeply and cohesively, but as is they just have to cram it into 20 minutes every other movie.

      1. Agent K

        That’s probably the true problem. You put Natasha from this movie with Winter Soldier Natasha and I start thinking twins/clones. It’s not a bad idea for a romance story with a two hour movie devoted to it, or just plant the seeds here. The number of characters (Steve, Tony, Mrs. Barton) who commented on it felt like the director going; see audience it was there all along? SEE?!!? Ummm…no actually. No we didn’t.

      2. They kind of have to address that, though. I think Laura Barton’s line is the perfect way of opening the door. Some people did read into Bruce and Natasha based off their initial meeting in The Avengers, others didn’t. Laura’s line acknowledges both sides while clearly stating, “This is the direction we’re going now.” Personally I think Natasha could just as easily have been set up with Clint or Steve, based on chemistry and previous interaction. Bruce feels like a more interesting choice, though, because he’s the least like her. But again, they didn’t really have time to flesh it out.

        I also wish these movies managed time a little better, because it’s been a year since the events of Winter Soldier. Natasha has had a year to reinvent herself, and she’s decided to try “normal” this time around. If we had a better sense of the passage of time, I think it might help people frame her character as someone who’s constantly evolving through different identities.

  5. I absolutely loved it and I was actually shocked that my brother preferred the first because I felt like there was so much more substance in Age of Ultron. Although I do understand his reasoning as you could say The Avengers is more “fun”. What I loved about this movie though is how character driven it was and if I have any criticism it’s that I wish there we could have got more character development, particularly with the twins.

    I actually really enjoyed Quicksilver, which I wasn’t expecting (you could say I didn’t see that coming), and I LOVED Scarlet Witch. I had chills every time she used her powers and that look of anguish on her face when Pietro died nearly made me cry.

    Anyway, long story short I loved it and really want to go see it again because I’m pretty sure there’s stuff I may have overlooked amidst my excitement the first time round.

  6. Clementine

    Honestly, my only complaint was that there were moments that I never would have expected from Joss. When Banner fell on Black Widow’s boobs? I have seen every single episode of Joss’s TV series, and I have never seen him subject his female leads to such a dumb gag. That was disappointing, but otherwise I really loved it. Although I agree with others that I would have taken more character building over extra-long fight scenes.

    1. Their whole vibe in that party scene was very screwball. Natasha even has that classic screwball line “a fella done me wrong”. So to me, the physical comedy worked as an extension of that. Especially since it’s proceeded by Natasha having to yank him over the bar because Bruce isn’t capable of jumping over it (did you notice him scooching along the bar top?). I will allow that it’s out of character for Whedon–you’re right, his sight gags are not usually so blunt–but it’s out of character to a purpose, which is riffing on broader genre tropes.

  7. Jaylee

    I like the movie a lot, I didn’t love it like I did the Winter Soldier, and I wasn’t as thrilled as when I first saw the Avengers (of course). I got into the action, as cartoony as it was; the fight sequences were fun, and I enjoyed the funny quips among them, especially (and unexpectedly) between Steve and Thor. Ultron didn’t freak me out that much as villain-he was kind of campy and I never thought in any part of the movie that the outcome would be in doubt.

    Love Scarlet Witch, love Vision, Quicksilver was ok. I did gasp at the end, and I did care about what happened to him.

    Very interesting how Captain America has taken much more of a prominent role within the Avengers-he was truly their leader throughout!

    To be honest, the Iron Man movies never really did anything for me; I liked him best in the Avengers. But I was starting to get a dislike “You are truly an asshole” vibe for him during this movie, and it is rather ominous for the third Captain America, because I already know which side I’m on!

    The one thing that kept taking me out of the movie-literally jolting me out of the narrative-was Bruce and Natasha. It was just so out of nowhere, that I pretty much eyerolled every time they were on and yelled WTF in my head before I forced my focus back into the movie. I had NO idea where she was coming from, where he was coming from, nothing. I thought she was cool in the Avengers, unmemorable in the second Ironman, and I LOVED her in The Winter Soldier, just loved her, that I felt cheated in this film. She just seemed so mopey and sad over Bruce during much of the movie and I just didn’t get it. *sigh*

    The Thor scenes…were…a little confusing…cave with water in the middle of nowhere…getting Erik and leaving…??

    I am not a comic book reader, more an excited fan of the Marvel movies. I will see this movie again (maybe not for a third like for CATWS).

  8. Jenn

    I just left the theatre. I really enjoyed it! The only thing that made me wonder – was WHY so much time w/ Hawkeye’s ‘love life’ and so little of Nat / Bruce? Totally prefer watching the development between those 2 over Hawkeye’s insta family. Loved the Twins and even Cap (ahhhh Peggy…still breaks my heart!) Thor was hilarious but seemed plucked from a different movie but overall very enjoyable and definitely worth a re-watch. I too would love to see an uncut version.

  9. Kelley

    I enjoyed the movie a lot more than Avengers. I still feel Winter Soldier was the stronger movie, though.

    My biggest beef with the movie is not the romance between Bruce and Natasha, but rather the killing off of Quicksilver. I was expecting him to be a part of the new Avengers with his sister (as he is in the comics). Didn’t make much sense to me. I also don’t see the point of making Ronan such a joke villain in Guardians and then killing him off. The redemption of his character was one of the more interesting story lines. Why make an Inhumans movie and not put him in it? He marries the queen’s sister! Another tie-in with Quicksilver, as he was married to Crystal first. =)

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