Avengers: Age of Ultron
Obligation. Not wonder. Not awe. Obligation. That's the stench that comes wafting off of Avengers: Age of Ultron like the cheapest dirt mall cologne. I shit you not, Age of Ultron is the filmic equivalent of being forced to attend your spouse's friend's accountant's kid's bar mitzvah on Super Bowl Sunday.
With it, the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) - and am I the only one who thinks calling it the "MCU" makes it sound like the 85th Law and Order spinoff? - achieves the assiest sort of time travel. As the end credits rolled, I could've sworn I'd been transported back to 2012 because Age of Ultron is, almost shot for shot, the same exact fucking movie as the first Avengers . . . just not quite as good.
Go ahead, furious fanboys. Call me a heretic. Rend your Doctor Who t-shirts. Cry out to your mommies upstairs for another Hot Pocket. It's Odin's honest truth, and you fucking know it.
Last time we had playful, charismatic Loki, he of the "mewling quim" quip, determined to enslave and/or destroy humanity. This time we get a cantankerous Cuisinart, Ultron (James "Career Renaissance" Spader), who - was there ever any doubt - wants to enslave and/or destroy humanity.
The key to Loki's plan was to pit the Avengers against one another and hinged on getting the Hulk to hulk out and go on a GTA-worthy rampage. If you guessed that Ultron's plan is a carbon-fucking-copy of Loki's, you're not an absolute moron. Congrats.
Loki's army of generic alien warriors becomes Ultron's army of generic robot warriors. Presumably due to the widespread criticism of The Avengers demolishing New York City with its climactic battle, Age of Ultron decimates a fictional Eastern European city in its much-easier-for-Americans-to-swallow climax, which, of course, includes a couple of Avengers being put in mortal peril while ensuring that no one (important) actually dies.
Ultron, as you probably know, is artificial intelligence (AI) gone bad. Hollywood's collective hard drive must have a Viagra-fueled hard-on for AI, because Age of Ultron is the third movie this year - and we're only four months in - to feature an AI entity. Maybe if Tony Stark had built an Ava (Ex Machina) to give Ultron some electro-love and a Chappie (Chappie) for him to kick after the Mets lost, he might have just chilled out at Stark Tower instead of going all Old Testament?
Joining the usual suspects - Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, Black Widow, Hawkeye and the Hulk - are Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch, played by Aaron "No Evan Peters" Taylor-Johnson and Elizabeth "How You Like Me Now Kate and Ashley" Olsen. Taylor-Johnson and Olsen were husband and wife in Godzilla, and here they're brother and sister twins. That is some creeptastic Flowers in the Attic stuff right there.
Speaking of Scarlet Witch, she's one of those Swiss Army knife superheroes who conveniently has whatever power is needed at any given moment . . . then doesn't when the plot calls for it. Lazy fucking writers. Worse still, because this is PG-13 fare, we don't get even a glimpse of Olsen's mammarrific tank top torpedoes.
Marvel is boning the Border Collie by making each new movie an extended trailer for the next episode of Yawn and Disorder: MCU rather than a satisfying, standalone piece of cinema. Instead of calling this one Avengers: Age of Ultron they should have had the balls to go with the far more honest Avengers: To Infinity Stones and Beyond.
May 3, 2015