Marvel Blog-a-thon Week 6: ‘Avengers: Age of Ultron’ and ‘Ant-Man’

Well, I thought had successfully planned out my Marvel blog-a-thon. Before I started, I checked the DVD release dates for “Age of Ultron” and “Ant-Man,” to make sure I could rewatch them for this project. The original estimated release date for “Ant-Man” was mid-October, so I thought I was good to go, but later I learned it was pushed back (oops). At least I was able to watch it twice in theaters this summer, and I did rent “Age of Ultron,” so I’ll forge ahead anyway!

Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015)

If I had to pick a phrase to describe my relationship with “Age of Ultron,” it would probably be, “It’s complicated.” I actually only watched this movie once in theaters, which is unusual for me — I watched the first Avengers movie two times in 24 hours the weekend it was released, and I saw “Guardians of the Galaxy” three times in one week (I’m not kidding when I say I’m a hardcore Marvel fan). 😉 But for whatever reason, “Age of Ultron” just didn’t grab me as much as some of the other Marvel movies have. Many fans seemed to feel “Age of Ultron” wasn’t a bad movie, but it was a bit disappointing. Although my thoughts didn’t really change after watching it a second time, another viewing did help me sort out my thoughts.

There are some good things about “Age of Ultron.” It was nice to see more backstory for Hawkeye, the Avenger who often gets short-changed. He had a larger role in the plot this time, and we got to take a peek at his life outside S.H.I.E.L.D. and we learned he has a family. James Spader was great as the voice of Ultron, the artificial intelligence who nearly destroys the Avengers and the world. Spader’s voicework is eerie and mesmerizing, and I wanted to see even more scenes with his character. Paul Bettany also is great as the mysterious new superhero Vision, created by melding one of Ultron’s experiments, Tony Stark’s computerized “butler” J.A.R.V.I.S. and one of the Infinity Stones. And the fight between Hulk and Iron Man in the Hulkbuster suit is pretty awesome.

However, as a whole, “Age of Ultron” just doesn’t seem to capture the same magic as “The Avengers.” It may be there’s simply too much going on. One of the things I loved about “The Avengers” is that even though you had a lot of characters with big personalities running around, I felt like each of those characters got their moment to shine, and it was a blast to watch them learn to work together. In “Age of Ultron,” you have a new villain, several new side characters and two new Avengers: Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch. It also doesn’t help that “X-Men: Days of Future Past” debuted their own version of Quicksilver a year earlier, and that he had what was arguably the year’s best and most fun action sequence, a slow-mo prison breakout set to “Time in a Bottle.” I even kinda forgot Andy Serkis had a small role in “Age of Ultron.” I felt like poor Captain America didn’t actually have a lot to do in this film, and some of the other characters also got lost in the action.

I wanted to see more of a focus on the storyline involving Tony creating Ultron. The idea of people creating their own demons is a dark but fascinating theme that wasn’t fully explored in this movie. Tony’s creation of Ultron was a little rushed, and the Avengers were too quick to gloss over the fact that he created Ultron — and Vision — without consulting them. Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch are both intriguing character concepts, but I feel they weren’t fully explored either. The humor in the movie also doesn’t work as well as it does in some of the other Marvel films. There are definitely some funny moments, such as everyone trying to pick up Thor’s hammer and Thor’s slight moment of panic when the Cap almost moves it. But there aren’t as many quotable lines or memorable moments as “The Avengers.”

Another thing that bothered me was the unexpected romance between Bruce Banner/Hulk and Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow. I don’t have a problem with the idea itself, it just felt too forced here and I wasn’t really feeling the chemistry between the characters. I wish previous films had done more to set this up. It also felt confusing because Captain America and Black Widow had so much chemistry in “The Winter Soldier.”

I feel bad for criticizing this movie, because I really do love these characters and I appreciate the films Marvel has put together. I just think that in the end, “Age of Ultron” was trying to be too many things, and it didn’t live up to the promise of those dark, thrilling trailers. Instead of a stand-alone film, “Age of Ultron” simply feels like a bridge to other Marvel projects. It teases the smackdown between Tony and Captain America in “Civil War.” It teases the Asgardian apocalypse in Thor’s sequel “Ragnarok.” It teases the showdown with Thanos in “Infinity War.” (Interestingly, it did not tease the next-up Marvel movie, “Ant-Man.”)

Like I said, “Age of Ultron” is not a bad movie, and I still do plan to add it to my DVD collection. It just wasn’t quite what I’d hoped for, and it doesn’t strike me as one I’ll rewatch as often as some of the other Marvel films. Ironically, the Marvel film I was more worried about was “Ant-Man,” which so far is actually one of my favorite movies of the year.

Ant-Man (2015)

I’ll try to be brief in my section on “Ant-Man,” since I technically wasn’t able to rewatch it for the blog-a-thon. I’m really excited for it to come out on DVD, because it is one of my favorite Marvel films and it turned out to be such a fun surprise. Although it’s on a smaller scale than some of the other MCU films, it’s refreshingly clever and funny. One of Marvel’s greatest strengths is casting the perfect actors to play these characters, and Paul Rudd as Scott Lang/Ant-Man is no exception. While I was originally a little skeptical about whether Marvel could pull off a movie about a man whose superpower is shrinking down to the size of an insect, watching Scott Lang run around with an army of ants was actually pretty cool.

The film’s only drawback is its villain; Corey Stoll is a good actor and the Yellowjacket suit looks super cool, but the script doesn’t do much to develop the character. However, it’s still a great movie overall, and I’m looking forward to seeing how Marvel will work the character into future films, such as “Captain America: Civil War.”

“Ant-Man” finishes the reviews for my Marvel blog-a-thon, but I’m planning to post a wrap-up later this week, with my final ranking of Marvel films. Now I just need to get caught up on “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.”!

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12 thoughts on “Marvel Blog-a-thon Week 6: ‘Avengers: Age of Ultron’ and ‘Ant-Man’

  1. Yes, u’re right about Age of Ultron: it tries to pack in too much.
    Like how u called Vision “new”: became a fan over 3o yrs ago – it’s a crime how only now he makes his debut appearance on th big screen, and yes, I was expecting more (want to track down deleted scenes).
    Loved that scene w Mjolnir – what about a later scene where Vision just hands Thor his hammer?! At my cinema, it got a big laugh.
    Yeah, preferred Quicksilver in X-Men:DoFP – he is Magneto’s son, so it makes more sense to have him there instead.

    Have managed to watch some scenes of Ant-Man (not in English) – looks pretty good.
    Miffed that it’s still not released in disc here yet – Genisys and Fantastic4 already are – it’s so unfair.
    Great blogathon, Ashley – really enjoyed it!
    Cheers!

    • Oh yeah, I forgot about how Vision picks up Thor’s hammer like it’s nothing–that got a lot of laughs when I went to see it at the theater, as well. I really wish Ant-Man had stuck to the original release date; I really enjoyed it and I hope you get a chance to see it. I think you’ll really like it!

      • Thanks, Ashley!
        I shld b able to pick up a copy JUST BEFORE w compile our Best of ’15 Lists!
        It’s amazing how easy it is to forget these classic scenes – admittedly it was so quick and unexpected.
        Well, r u impressed w th SW:VII Trailer 3? It’s looking good from where I’m watching!
        Cheers!

      • Awesome! “Ant-Man” has definitely earned a spot on the best of the year list for me! I’m excited to see what your picks are at the end of the year. I actually haven’t been able to see the new SW trailer yet, thanks for reminding me! I’m glad to hear it’s good!

  2. I agree with Age Of Ultron, I feel like it could have been far better if it felt more self contained (which is getting harder as the films progress). There was a really great film in there which I think was Whedon’s original intention but the studio pushed for more branches of the wider universe and because of this it felt unimportant. Age Of Ultron could have been one of Marvel’s best if it didn’t have so many boxes to tick. Good just could have been far far better I think. Fantastic review!

    • I also think the film was completely capable of crossing from good to great, and I agree the studio meddled a little too much. I think if Joss had been given more creative freedom, he would have given us a darker, more contained film. I’m hoping “Captain America: Civil War” will be closer to the kind of film we were all hoping for from “Age of Ultron.” Thanks for stopping by and for the comment!

  3. Great blogathon! I highly anticipated Age of Ultron. It had all the good points that you mentioned but fell short of being a great movie. It’s hard to recapture that special magic in the first Avengers. I did love Vision and can’t wait to see more of him in the future. I wasn’t anticipating Ant-Man that much but it turned out pretty awesome. I think I laughed more watching it than Ultron, which had it’s moments too. I’m glad to hear Ant-Man is getting a follow up film with Wasp. Good job with all the reviews, it was fun!

    • Thanks! I do wish “Age of Ultron” had fully lived up to its potential, but I’m thinking some of the interesting themes that were kind of glossed over in this movie will show up in “Civil War.” I was really surprised to find that I enjoyed “Ant-Man” more than “Age of Ultron”; it was a lot of fun, and I’m also really excited to hear about the sequel. Hopefully there’s more good Marvel things to come!

  4. I have to watch Age of Ultron while apologizing for it. I have to excuse so much. But when I do it’s a pretty enjoyable movie. The chase scene is phenomenal. There is a lot wrong with it but depending on what happens next in the MCU, I could forgive it for Ultron’s creep mouth which I think is the worse thing about it.

    • There was so much pressure riding on Age of Ultron, and the first Avengers team-up movie was a tough act to follow. I’m really excited for Captain America: Civil War and I hope they continue building on some of the themes/issues in Age of Ultron.

      • I have felt like the Captain America franchise is the same as the Avengers franchise. That’s the Avengers story. From First Avenger to Avengers to Winter Soldier to Age of Ultron it’s the Cap story. So I expect Civil War to be amazing. I’m expecting too much. (Not like with Force Awakens. That was crazy.. I had to stop reading your blog because you getting me too hyped for the movie) I need to lower my expectations. I thought the comic book Civil war was going to be awesome and it was like, “eh.”

      • Yeah, I did let myself get very hyped about The Force Awakens. 😉 Thankfully that paid off, and it was a great movie, but I think I put too much pressure on Age of Ultron and I didn’t love it as much as I thought I would. I’m trying not to do the same with Civil War. Hopefully it will live up to our hopes for it!

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