The Culture Column: Avengers Age of Ultron

Id be lying if I claimed to have anything other than a most basic grasp of the Marvel universe: I cant even say that I fully understand what Hydra is, and the mid-credit Easter eggs that Marvels films are famous for usually go completely over my head. Yet films like these are hard not to enjoy and Joss Wheldons Avengers sequel doesnt disappoint.

The movie (film just doesnt seem to fit with something this patently American) kicks off in a reassuringly thrilling manner, as the Avengers storm through an enemy laden forest towards a Hydra stronghold. Its a fun scene and is obviously Wheldons warning that when things start off this high, they can only go down. The Avengers are in for a fall.

Perhaps the second most important element of any superhero movie is a super-villain, and for the most part Ultron certainly delivers. Ultron, voiced by James Spader, is the second and somewhat darker artificial intelligence brain child of Tony Stark (Ironman). Ultron proves more than a match for the Avengers, prompting the creation of a (sort of) new character in the Vision- played by Paul Betteny, a.k.a Jarvis (Tony Starks original robo-butler/co-piloty thing).

Despite having enjoyed the film very much, I have a few minor reservations.

Firstly, the Vision… As far as I can tell, he just isn’t cool, particularly from a 21st century perspective. Nothing about the Vision is nearly contemporary enough. Part of the problem is that he looks like a toy, which isn’t helped by the fact that he was created in some sort of glorified 3D printer.

Back to Ultron: to an extent I was a little disappointed. It’s not the performance, it’s the fact that he was even chosen as the villain to the sequel for one of the highest grossing movies ever. My point is that pretty much every Ironman film to date has involved a clash with some sort of horde of robots which, as far as I can tell, are always fairly similar. There’s nothing new here. No new threat. And Ultron, given his suggested potential, is pretty restrained throughout and there’s no real sense of an impending apocalypse.

I think the problem really is that I wanted the whole thing to be darker. Ultron’s opening scene gave me hope. Constructed from twisted pieces of binned Ironman suites and bleeding hydraulic fluid, he’s initially much creepier than the 12A rating might suggest. But this theme dissolves quickly. 

To be honest, these problems are easily forgotten amid a sugar-rush of juvenile excitement thanks to some fantastically epic moments, such as thunderous clash between Ironmans huge hulk-buster suit and the Hulk.

Overall, its definitely worth a watch. This might not be a bad thing, but it is exactly what youre expecting. It might be darker than its predecessor, but is that enough?