This review is full of spoilers. It’s all my thoughts about the characters and the plot, and all the things I loved and the stuff I wasn’t over keen on. You can read my spoiler-free review here. I wasn’t sure of the best way to go about this – it turned into a weird episodic structure where I talked about each character in turn and the things I liked/disliked about what they did. It also ended up being rather long, seriously it’s over 1,800 words! Last warning for SPOILERS!
In many respects, Age of Ultron is Hawkeye’s film. As a huge Hawkeye fan that makes me rather happy. To be honest as long as his role was bigger than it was in The Avengers I’d have been happy. Clint Barton gets a lot more of his sarcastic personality in Age of Ultron and he’s the calm centre of the team that helps pull them all together. Having him have a wife and kids was certainly a surprise – though because we knew nothing about Hawkeye in the MCU, any backstory would have been a surprise really. I liked his family though, especially Laura and how she was so cool with a bunch of superheroes arriving at her door and how she had faith in them and in her husband. I also loved her and Natasha and how Natasha is “Auntie Nat” to the kids – Natasha and Clint’s friendship is one of my favourite things in the MCU.
I loved the way Age of Ultron showed Clint and Natasha’s friendship throughout the film. From the beginning when Clint got hurt and Natasha comes running over, calling him “Clinton” (I like to think she calls him Clinton when she’s worried and/or mad at him) and patching him up. Then when he checked on her and picked her up after Scarlett Witch messed with her head. And when it’s the final battle and their just driving through the wrecked city talking about what Clint’s gonna do to the farm house next. And not forgetting when Natasha called him her best friend and was by his side when Doctor Helen Cho fixed him up. Oh and not forgetting when Ultron takes Natasha and Clint’s flying the plane and refuses to leave without her for ages until Steve has to order him to go.
I have to say I was incredibly concerned that Hawkeye was going to die in Age of Ultron – you kind of need a death in these films to really help show how high the stakes are, and really Hawkeye was the most expendable since he’d not appeared in any other film except The Avengers. I became more worried about his safety once his family was introduced and he suddenly had this big emotional connection, needless to say I was surprised, relieved and also upset when Hawkeye didn’t die but Quicksilver did instead. I couldn’t believe it when Pietro died and I was still in denial to the very end – I was really expecting to suddenly seeing him whiz up next to his sister when there was the great shot of the new Avengers team.
It’s the world of comics and superheroes and no one really stays dead so I hold out a little hope. So let’s now talk about the twins. I loved them both so much. You could feel how much they loved each other and how they protected each other. I liked how Pietro swooped in and picked up Wanda after Clint had electrocuted her with an arrow and how he was fully intent on killing him for hurting her. I liked how they worked together with Steve both to stop the runaway train and when they tried to stop Tony and Bruce from playing God again with AI. Pietro trying to grab Mjolnir from the air was hilarious. I loved Pietro’s banter with Clint and the running gag of “You didn’t see that coming” – which ultimately ended up being kinda heart-breaking. Wanda’s reaction to Pietro’s death was powerful and I loved how it was her that got to rip out Ultron’s heart. I also liked Clint’s pep talk to Wanda and how she pulled herself together and had a total hero moment coming out of the house, destroying all the robots in her path.
Basically all I really wanted was Clint to sort of adopt the twins because i loved how he was sort of paternal to them both in different ways. This is what fanfiction will now be for.
You know who else I loved? Vison! Paul Bettany was perfect. Visio’s “birth” was both dramatic – with the Frankenstein similarities thanks to Thor and his lighting and Bruce and Tony being mad scientists – and also beautiful when Vision is floating by the window, looking out at the city. I liked how he talked about himself and Ultron and their similarities and differences. And I loved how he magic-ed himself a cape to copy Thor. The moment when he picked up Mjolnir and just casually handed it to Thor was perfect! I loved how the audiences reaction was just like the characters in that scene – you could feel a collective “oh shit!” from everyone because it was so unexpected but it means so much to be worthy of Mjolnir and then you instantly know that Vision is one of the good guys. Or at least he’s on the side of life. I also loved Vision’s stand-off with Ultron, it was very fitting that he be the one to finally end him.
Speaking of Paul Bettany, I’ve got to talk about JARVIS. When Tony brought up JARVIS and the hologram from the spectre my first thought was merging the two together would be what makes Vision (so in a way I was right) but then Ultron killed JARVIS! I got so upset by this, especially when Tony brought the hologram of the broken JARVIS and everyone was shocked. Tony built JARVIS and he was one of his oldest and most loyal friends – it was like a punch in the gut. So glad that Tony found JARVIS in the internet, stopping Ultron from getting nuclear weapons. Part of me had forgotten that Paul Bettany was also Vision so JARVIS wasn’t really going to be dead.
One thing I was really apprehensive going into Age of Ultron was the Bruce/Natasha romance that was hinted at in the trailers. Unfortunately I didn’t like it and felt it didn’t work and was forced into the film. At the beginning the casual flirting between the two was nice and fun and kinda sweet and didn’t feel two out of place but then it kind of went into SUDDEN ROMANCE AND LOVE AND FEELINGS!!! And I was like nope! It felt like an insult to Natasha’s character as if you can’t develop a female character without her being part of a romance. It was great hearing her talk about how she was treated in the Red Room but the way it was delivered, talking about her being sterilised, calling herself a monster and how Bruce didn’t even react – it just didn’t feel right. The first time I saw Age of Ultron I thought it was a bit jarring but didn’t think much of it, but the second time was when I really realised that it wasn’t handled well.
I think another reason why I didn’t like Natasha/Bruce romance was because if you’re going down the team romance route, they both have great partners in the comics. While I love Natasha and Clint as ultimate super spy BFF’S I also like them as a couple, and I like Natasha and Bucky together too. And Bruce has Betty Ross damnnit! I know The Powers That Be are ignoring The Incredible Hulk but Liv Tyler made such a cool Betty Ross and even if you can’t bring back Liv Tyler back for any reason, there’s always room to just recast her and have Bruce’s actual love of his life in the MCU.
Thor’s friendship with Steve was another highlight of the film for me. The way they worked together, using Mjolnir and Cap’s shield to take down baddies, Thor’s face when Steve almost picked up Mjolnir was also great. Generally I think that Chris Hemsworth doesn’t get enough credit for his portrayal of Thor, especially the humour he brings to the character. When he’s distracting Ultron so Vision and whack him with Mjolnir – comedy gold.
I’ve realised I haven’t talked about about Bruce Banner/the Hulk much at all, that’s really because I don’t have many feelings about his character at all. I liked him and Tony together (even if they were doing stuff without talking to the others and that could lead to the end of the world) but otherwise I didn’t love him or hate him.
I think the biggest problem with Age of Ultron (which also is kinda a problem with the MCU as a whole) is that it can’t help but discard the previous films and previous characterisations in order to move the plot of this film forward and help set up the next film. Tony Stark is completely different to how we left him at the end of Iron Man 3 while Natasha and Steve’s friendship from The Winter Solider isn’t really seen in the film at all – Steve goes back to calling Natasha “Romanoff” all the time. Natasha’s characterisation from the previous films was pretty non-existent and there was no fall out from her actions of putting HER AND SHIELD’S SECRETS ON THE INTERNET!!! Probably the only person whose characterisation was consistent (bar Hawkeye since he didn’t have much personality to begin with) was Thor’s.
Some things were clearly there as a lead on to the next film. Thor’s trip to the cave to get a vision of the infinity stones leads directly to Infinity War, Andy Serkis as Klaw and the mentions of Wakanda and vibranium leads in to Black Panther – was that Wakanda that Hulk and Iron Man destroyed by the way? Because if it as, that’s gonna be the reason why T’Challa turns up in Civil War, he’s pissed that the Avengers trashed his country. These teasers are fun but also it often made the pacing a bit wonky.
Other things I loved in Age of Ultron, having Sam make an appearance at the party and him and Steve alluding to searching for Bucky – at least there was a little tiny bit of continuity there. Rhodey! I loved Rhodey and him helping save the day at the end there. Clint throwing Steve his shield when Ultron gate-crashed the Avengers after party. Natasha saying “beep beep” when she’s on the motorbike – she’s a super spy that’s also a huge dork. The Hulk/Bruce flying off into the sunset was sad but sort of fitting as he’d done many things he wasn’t happy about. The guy who stood up to Brock Rumlow in The Winter Solider was on the Helicarrier – yay for him getting a promotion!
Overall I really enjoyed Age of Ultron, a lot happens, all the characters have their moments and when their acting as a team and working together or having the moment where they’re all chilled out in the Avengers Tower – those are the moments that are truly great. My biggest dislike is the Bruce/Natasha stuff but I can hand-wave that away and enjoy the film as a whole.
So yeah, that is my very long rambly word-vomit of a spoiler review. I’m sure there’s many other things I liked or wanted to talk about but I can no longer remember them at this moment in time. Please feel free to share your thoughts on Avengers: Age of Ultron, would love to flail and discuss it with you both here and on Twitter.