Age of Ultron poster When I left the cinema on Monday night, I couldn’t help but think “As much fun as Age of Ultron was, it really felt like they took another longer, probably more emotionally more complex movie, and trimmed it down.” It may not have been a deeper movie, but it turns out that the original cut was at least an hour longer. Age of Ultron begins with The Avengers searching for the Chitauri Scepter. They track it down to one of the last remaining Hydra strongholds and manage to retrieve it. Thor asks Tony to keep it safe before he returns with it to Asgard. During this time Tony discovers that there is something contained within the staff. Thinking this may be an opportunity to kickstart his global protection program, Tony convinces Bruce to help him unlock the staff’s secrets. Unfortunately the secrets it contains may prove to be the end of The Avengers.

The Good

  • Great visuals
  • Action packed
  • It’s filled with classic Whedon comedy
  • Focuses on characters who don’t have their own movies
  • Seeing the various characters from the Marvel universe hanging out (even if its after getting their butts kicked) is always great
  • An actual twist that I didn’t see coming
  • One of the new Avengers is absolutely fantastic on the big screen
  • Appearances by supporting characters that haven’t shown up for a while
  • Villain is great at the start…
  • You can start seeing the hints of tension that are leading up to Civil War

The OK

  • The movie needed more downtime to give the characters actual time to grow or deal with the impact of events (this is particularly true for one of the new Avengers)
  • It’s starting to hit that point where there are simply too many characters (it’s not quite at X-Men: Last Stand territory yet)
  • Side plots that were almost trimmed to the point of irrelevance (I’m looking at you Thor)
  • … but the villain becomes somewhat generic towards the end

The Bad

  • Major events from Iron Man 3 are completely swept under the rug
  • Major events from Captain America: The Winter Soldier are written away with one line of exposition and a MAJOR deus-ex machina
  • Ultron’s “descent into darkness” is way, way too quick

Final Thoughts

Age of Ultron is an incredibly fun movie, but it’s not as mind-blowing as the first Avengers film. The most obvious cause of the problems in this film is that it’s rushed. The pacing isn’t bad, but it does tend to get through things as quickly as possible. Considering that Whedon’s original cut is said to be about three and half hours, with the theatrical release sitting at about two hours twenty, this makes sense.

However, and I can’t believe I’m going to say this, but they shouldn’t have trimmed it down. Rowan, a three and a half hour movie? That’s madness! It is. That’s why they should have released it as Age of Ultron part one and two. I am generally not a fan of this since it can be abused (see the final Hobbit movie/s). However, as a writer I can see there was probably a lot of character/story development time left on the cutting room floor in favour of the longer action set pieces which have more mass appeal. In my opinion this is a disservice to the story they wanted to tell in the first place, and I would have been happy to pay twice to see the complete story.