Series: Part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe
Genres: Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi
Director: Joss Whedon
Release Date: 23 April 2015 (UK)
Rating: ★★ 2 stars
Where To Find: IMDB | Trailer
Possibly the most controversial yet highly-anticipated films of the year, I began watching this with incredibly low expectations and—well—I’m so worn out by the shambled mess Joss Whedon managed to create with this. I’m not technically disappointed with how the film turned out, but that’s only because I already wasn’t expecting much. I set my sights low and they were fulfilled right down there in the gutter. Okay okay—I’m not going to completely trash Age of Ultron throughout this whole review because it wasn’t all bad but it certainly wasn’t something that’s left me with any kind of positive impression. To sum it up, it was: meh. Only meh.
Jumping straight in on the topic that has everyone going “!!1!”, I absolutely despised the Bruce/Natasha relationship that developed in this sequel, largely due to the fact it seemingly spiralled from no where. I mean—where was the lead up to this? The hints and little clues? In all truth I thought the MCU was littered with hints of Natasha/Clint but evidentially not. Instead within maybe the frist 5 or 10 minutes some kind of romantic tension is thrust upon us between the Black Widow and the Hulk (which doesn’t really make any sense!) and is constantly referred back to throughout the whole film. There’s no escaping it. And not only did it come straight out of left field almost knocking me out, I felt like the development between them was awkward, clunky, and too fast moving. It wasn’t the relationship I was opposed to per se, or that Natasha had a love interest, it was simply how irrevocably undeveloped it was, and that Whedon thought he could just throw shit like that in and expect people to lap it up.
After reading many interviews of what to expect from The Avengers sequel, I knew that we were expected to finally get some back story for Natasha—a long time coming if I do say so. Again, though, this fell flat. It was incredibly confusing and I think that if I hadn’t already known a bit of it (learnt through Tumblr posts and info about the comics) then I would have had a very limited understanding as to what had happened to her pre-S.H.I.E.L.D. This film had a whole scene where Steve and Tony were just cutting wood: apparently that scene was more important than developing Natasha’s storyline even a little bit more, especially considering she doesn’t have her own movie. The back story in Age of Ultron is all the cinematic Marvel universe has to offer unless they buck up their ideas and throw a Black Widow movie our way sometime this century. It gets worse, though—I’m not sure I’d actually like Joss Whedon to have his grubby hands all over a female-led superhero film. Part of what happened to Natasha in the Red Room was sterilisation so that babies wouldn’t affect their ability to fulfil missions. Apart from that being completely horrific, Scarlet Johansson is fed the line “you still think you’re the only monster on the team?”, part of a conversation between her character and Mark Ruffalo’s Bruce Banner. I mean—what the fuck. I’ve never read something so misogynistic in my life passed of like nothing. Whedon—or whoever wrote that line—is a fucking disgrace, to imply that infertile or sterilised women are monsters because they can’t naturally have children. I don’t care if that’s how Natasha ‘felt about herself’ it didn’t have to be in the film and it certainly didn’t add anything to the movie as a whole.
Whilst we’re on the topic of trash-talking Joss Whedon, let’s delve into the Maximoff twins. I mean, I loved them. I completely adored the both of them and thought they added a really interesting dynamic to the Avengers team as a whole. Still, that being said, the erasure of their Jewish-Romani heritage is so awful. Knowing both Elizabeth Olsen and Aaron Taylor-Johnson’s work beforehand I thought that in the film the twins would be played off as American/English, owing to the actors’ own nationalities. Instead they speak with an accent I can’t quite placed though which sounds Eastern-European. Which leads me on to—why not cast two Eastern-European actors if they were going to have them be Eastern-European? The least Whedon could’ve done was stick to whatever ‘canon’ he was coming up with, even if I do love both Olsen and Taylor-Johnson as actors.
Let’s take a step back for now though because I’m done ranting about all the problematic things in this film. One of the parts of the film I really enjoyed was Hawkeye, and the introduction of his family as well. Call me a sucker for little baby Bartons but I am so enamoured with this cute little family. Though this was another thing that came out of left field in terms of being completely unexpected for me, it is explained as to why Clint had to hide his family for so long. And overall, I was overjoyed that Clint got a hell of a lot more screen time in this film as opposed to any of the others in the MCU.
Ultimately, Avengers: Age of Ultron was a complete and utter letdown for me in terms of many many things, which is why I only gave the film 2 stars. It may have been a one star for all the problematic areas of it but there truly was certain things I enjoyed and it wasn’t all terrible. Still, before its release I had such high hopes but now I can only sit and pray that future inserts to the Marvel Cinematic Universe are of a considerably higher, less misogynistic, and more developed quality.
Favourite Line: “We’re fighting a bunch of robots and I have a bow and arrow. None of this makes sense.” – Clint Barton
Favourite Parts: The ladies of the film. This includes Maria Hill. The ‘are thou worthy?’ hammer scene. Hawkeye’s family. The Maximoff twins. How Pietro is not untouchable and his powers are physically draining.
Least Favourite Parts: Bruce/Natasha. Jane vs Pepper conversation because yo they’re both great. Underdevelopment of Natasha. OOC Natasha. Tony Stark in general.
Does it pass the Bechdel test?: Vaguely, though only just about.