We live in the “What’s Next?” age of anticipation/speculation/guesstimation, but this weekend it’s time to stop and enjoy the now, as Marvel’s Avengers: Age of Ultron is finally in theaters across the globe. We’ve all been looking forward to this movie pretty much since the credits rolled on The Avengers, and writer/director Joss Whedon had an unenviable challenge ahead of him by following up the third highest grossing movie of all time.
For my part, I actually think Age of Ultron is a better movie than The Avengers in nearly every way. It’s stranger, darker, and more intimate. Whedon made clear that his intention wasn’t to “go bigger” with the sequel, and while the action sequences are definitely massive and more intense than those in The Avengers, I was enthused to find that the film has a very strong focus on character. I enjoyed the downtime with the Avengers as much as (if not more than) the big set pieces, and Hawkeye shines as the heart of the film after getting the shaft in The Avengers. Sure Marvel still has a villain problem and Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver are underdeveloped, but I think the pros far outweigh the cons here. Age of Ultron works far more often than it doesn’t.
I was also incredibly impressed with Whedon’s skills as a filmmaker. He’s clearly grown and pushed himself since the first movie, as there’s almost an entirely different approach behind-the-camera this time around that adds a visceral quality to the action beats. While Age of Ultron is a lot of movie, I thought Whedon did the impossible by simultaneously upping his game in the action department and the character moments and humor beats. And to those complaining that there’s no “stand-up-and-cheer” moment like Hulk smashing Loki in Avengers, I’d counter with Tony’s “Go to sleep” head-smashing of Hulk.
Matt has already chimed in with his full review, but now we’d like to turn the tables to you, readers. What did you think of Avengers: Age of Ultron? Did the movie live up to your expectations after two years of anticipation? Which character do you think got the best moments? What were your biggest disappointments? Does the film serve as an acceptable set-up for Phase Three? Will the MCU be the same without Whedon in the fold?
Sound off in the comments below, after revisiting the very first teaser trailer for the film.
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