Age of Ultron! The long-awaited movie finally came out and, beside its record-breaking box office numbers, suffered from a pretty intense Internet-based backlash. Articles were written, Joss Whedon deleted his Twitter account, and the Internet got flared up all over again after that. The questions remains though: what do the Buns say?
Okay, I honestly don’t remember the last time I had this much trouble giving feedback about something. Which is weird because you’d think that after they released almost half of the film via clips and teasers, I’d know exactly what to expect. Ha! Not even close. It’s not that I didn’t like Avengers: Age Of Ultron, but it definitely was nothing I thought we’d see.
Don’t get me wrong, it still was quite great – the top-notch CGI, robots, action scenes, ALL THE BEST ONE-LINERS IN THE WORLD! Not to mention TONY STARK!!! (Sorry, this reaction is usually beyond my control.) I liked it enough to see it 6 times, and it’s been less than 2 weeks. On top of that, remember how we were all swooning over Groot when Guardians of the Galaxy came out about a year ago? Well, who would have thought that after having a crush on a tree, I’ll have a crush on a robot? Ultron was a delight!
And oh, I so loved, loved, loved the ‘worst fear’ visions! Especially the Black Widow’s one – it was so eerie and amazing! Which is also why we absolutely need a Black Widow movie, by the way. And Peggy Carter was in the film, too!!! Of course I squeed – SHE’S PEGGY CARTER!
That being said, Age of Ultron felt weird, especially compared to the first Avengers film.
First of all, I am not buying that after watching Pepper DIE in Iron Man 3, Tony’s ‘worst fear’ is losing his team. I’m not going to start my rant about Pepper not being in the film in the first place (maybe Gwyneth Paltrow really wasn’t available, who knows?). Then again, if Pepper was in the film, she’d shut down the whole Ultron thing before it got anywhere, and the film just wouldn’t happen, so… The whole ‘backwards’ progression for Tony Stark was just odd – after everything we’d seen in the IM films and the first Avengers movie, you’d think he’d know better than to do something like this again. It’d make more sense if he was under the influence of Loki’s scepter, or the Scarlet Witch’s mind control thing.
I didn’t like the way Whedon treated Black Widow because he took the most badass female superhero known to Marvel and turned her into a love interest/sidekick. Admittedly, she did have a few nice scenes, but did she really need her not-really-boyfriend to help her get out of the cage Ultron put her in? This felt OOC compared to everything we saw in the first 3 movies featuring Natasha Romanoff. As for the idea of Black Widow and Hulk, I’m neither for, nor against it, per se. Yes, I ship her with Captain America (which is doomed), but then again, when it comes to Marvel, I ship everyone with everyone else (except Pepperony – they’re sacred), so I wasn’t really surprised. Has anyone heard from Betty Ross, by the way?
LOVED Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver! Elizabeth Olsen’s performance was brilliant, and I’m happy she’s coming back for the other films. The death of Pietro was kind of pointless though, and I don’t you dare tell me it was necessary for dramatic effect. So here’s an idea – how about we do the same ‘undying’ thing to Quicksilver as we did to Coulson? Think about it!
So yeah, I spent the last year counting the days till the Age Of Ultron premiere, and now I’m doing the same with Captain America: Civil War (which is only a year away, guys!). If it’s anything half as good as Winter Soldier, it’ll be epic! In brothers Russo we trust! Avengers: Age Of Ultron felt fragmented and somehow disconnected, and, as much as I enjoyed it, I guess I’ll save my squees for the future Marvel films. All things considered, however, I found the massive cyber attack against Joss Whedon appalling and absolutely unacceptable. And the worst thing is that those people honestly consider themselves feminists when they clearly have no idea what it even means, which is exactly why we can’t have nice things!
I’m pretty happy with Age of Ultron. With this many characters and story lines, the only way to do it real justice is as a mini-series or a whole TV show. Or six movies. So, all in all, I think they did a great job. I love Ultron, not just because I want James Spader in all the naughtiest of ways, but because they captured his AI crazy perfectly. Too bad there was no Hank Pym, but the last thing that movie needed was another major character.
My biggest pet peeve is with the title. Age of Ultron implies what the comics were about, literally the time of Ultron taking over the world. Superheroes had to time travel to defeat Ultron, but in a two-hour movie, ain’t nobody got time for that. So, really, this was more like, “Birth of Ultron” or “Ultron Has A Bad Day”, not really the “Age of Ultron”.
Next, on to the Black Widow razzmajazz. Listen, if somebody used surgical tools to scramble my inside lady parts, I’d feel like a monster too. We shouldn’t shame her if she feels fucked up because she can’t be a mommy. That’s really important for a lot of women. Is she a monster? Of course not. Does she feel that way? Sure, she gets to feel however she wants to about it. Let’s stop indulging people who bring up slut shaming, too. People flirt and they have sex. They should have more sex and we should stay out of their business. Let’s all adult more and point fingers less.
The lack of Black Widow merchandise is bullshit though.
Marvel has undoubtedly nailed the action, every moment of this film was turbocharged by pure adrenaline and nerd power. However, as perfect as the action was, it left little room for character development.
It’s great AoU managed to develop Tony’s character a little further, his character arc wasn’t as wholesome and full-circle as I would’ve liked. Ultron was Tony’s brainchild, and that went badly really fast. But when he wants to do the exact same thing with Jarvis, it’s okay because it’s Jarvis. And how Thor swooped in at the last minute to validate his insanity just threw the whole arc out the window. In a similar vein, the whole Tony/Wanda/Pietro storyline was medium rare at best. While they did a great job setting up resentment towards Tony, the twins didn’t exactly get the resolution that we were all hoping for. As much as I enjoyed where they were heading with these arcs, they really did bite off more than they could chew with such a huge ensemble cast. It almost makes me glad that they split the last installment into two parts, because there is just simply too much story!
I didn’t take issue with Natasha’s backstory. In fact, I enjoyed it the most out of all, since her character’s always been shrouded in mystery since her first appearance in Iron Man 2. It was refreshing to see her as more than just a steely assassin with great hair. I also loved Barton and his backstory. It brought a surprisingly human element to a superhero film that I felt was lacking in the previous Avengers. I would’ve liked to see more, but you can only do so much with a dozen main characters in the span of 2 hours.
There’s been a bit of a backlash at Joss Whedon and Marvel ever since AoU came out. And when I say a bit, I mean a lot. In fact, it’s commonplace for most superhero films these days that you have a metric fuckton of “feminist open letters” and “this movie sucks because there was a rape joke in there somewhere” waiting at the gate.
It’s mind boggling, to be honest, because if anything, these films have launched women in film into the stratosphere. I mean, what exactly do feminists have envisioned for these female characters? What did they not do enough to not fulfill the idealized image of a perfect female character? The simple fact that there are people (not just feminists) trying to slot these women into preconceived boxes of no cleavage, no emotions, no romance, no scraped knees, no fucks up, and definitely no flaws is misogynistic in and of itself.
Enough with the warped vision of what feminism actually is. Feminism is equality. Empowerment for women. If you think Natasha Romanoff’s character was weakened by a significantly humanizing experience of forced sterilization, then you’re not on the train you think you are. Bitching about how Laura was a mere pregnant housewife is a slap in the face to all mothers and women who have families. We all know that raising kids and keeping a house while your husband is out there saving the world is a superhuman task in and of itself. What on earth is wrong with that?
I can’t say anything that wasn’t said better by Mark Ruffalo himself:
I think that what people might really be upset about is the fact that we need more superhuman women. The guys can do anything, they can have love affairs, they can be weak or strong and nobody raises an eyebrow. But when we do that with a woman, because there are so few storylines for women, we become hyper-critical of every single move that we make because there’s not much else to compare it to.
So I know Joss really well. I know what his values are. And I think it’s sad, because in a lot of ways, there haven’t been as many champions in this universe as Joss is and will continue to be. And I know it hurts him. I know it’s heavy on him. And the guy’s one of the sweetest, best guys, and I know him – as far as any man can be a champion for women, he is that.
So it’s been a little disheartening.
A little? Who in the right freaking mind is going to make a female superhero movie when you have an army of third-wave feminists at the ready to start raising signs and pitchforks and boycotting your entire career history because there was too much of this and not enough of that? You think Marvel doesn’t know? Thanks, Joss Whedon, for all that you’ve done, but you better get the fuck out of here before this clusterfuck ruins your life.
At the end of the day, hats off to those that were involved. It was a great movie, and it satisfied the inner nerd to no end. It was a valiant effort to contain so many characters and still deliver a cohesive plot, and for the most part, they succeeded.
Let’s get something out of the way right now: this feminist was not bothered by Black Widow’s storyline in Age of Ultron. I do have a few complaints about the film but they have almost nothing to do with female representation. Could the movie have more female characters? Yes, but a, this movie already has way too many main characters, and b, Age of Ultron and the Marvel movies in general are not doing so bad. It is true that they still have to give us a movie with an actual female protagonist, and that in general the movies still tend to have way more major male characters. On the other hand though, I have no complaints about the Marvel ladies. They are diverse (not talking about ethnicity here), human, and all-around awesome. I mean, seriously, what would the Avengers be without Black Widow? She kicks ass. Did I cringe a little bit when she called herself a monster for not being able to have children? At first, maybe, before I remembered that this line wasn’t about me. It was about her and how she feels about what happened to her. Raise your hand if you know what it’s like to feel like a freak. I know what it is and that’s why I felt particularly touched by the Black Widow/Bruce Banner storyline. It was bittersweet, like a chunk of dark chocolate in my awesome Age of Ultron cookie. I loved it.
If I had anything else, anything actually story-related, to complain about, I guess it would be pacing. Age of Ultron felt weirdly rushed. Despite the amount of stuff that technically happened, I felt like we had just brushed the surface of the story. Judging by the number of times when I complain about a movie going too fast, I should probably be used to it by now. Like, that has been happening a lot. I’m sorry though, I’m not going to just brush it off. You should always take the time to tell the story you want to tell.
This rushed pace is why I didn’t care one bit about what happened to Quicksilver. I guess this was also kind of a thing in the first Avengers, but I noticed it more in this one, probably also because this one felt more like a transition movie. After all, this is one more Marvel movie where people toy around with an Infinity Gem. The big difference? Well, if you’ve seen the after-credits scene, you know what it is and you’re probably as excited as I am. Aside from that, just consider me not that impressed with the plot.
The plusses, then? Everything else. Soundtrack, visuals, dialogue, and character. Boy, if that’s not my number one reason to love Joss Whedon as a writer, I don’t know what is. This guy could make me sit through literal hours of just watching characters hang out. And he has. Watching Age of Ultron is like getting together with your friends and just having a blast. Never mind the bad guy, we got some bickering to do and some witty lines to say. And Ultron? Yes. All day, everyday, and forever.
I’m really sorry about the backlash Joss Whedon got. On the other hand, I’m also really tired to listen to people bitching about feminism every time someone gets hate on social media. The Internet will always be the Internet. Feminism is not a united movement. In the end though, you can think what you will about either of those things. Truth is Marvel is still our God and Age of Ultron is yet another one of his precious gifts to us Nerds.
What about you, Bunsters? What did you think of Age of Ultron?