Pinterest Stumbleupon Whatsapp
Ads by Google

The Avengers are back, called into action again by yet another threat to mankind. In the same way soap operas have more than their fair share of drama, so the Marvel Universe is plagued by things out to get us. Luckily, we have our own hand-picked team of superheroes eager to fight the good fight.

In the first movie, 2012’s The Avengers, our heroes managed to defeat an alien army intent on subjugating Earth on the orders of Loki, Thor’s Asgardian brother. This time the threat is even greater, with an artificial intelligence known as Ultron seeking to wipe mankind off the face of the planet in order to achieve (a sick kind of) peace.

Is The Avengers: Age of Ultron worth watching? Read our spoiler-free review for geeks below to find out.

It Opens With a Bang

Things start with a bang, as we rejoin the Avengers — Captain America, Thor, Iron Man, Hulk, Hawkeye, and Black Widow — midway through a mission that sets off the chain reaction of events that make up the bulk of this movie. It’s the perfect way to reintroduce us to the team, and we’re reminded of the fun interplay between the characters. Which is where writer/director Joss Whedon excels.

Unfortunately, things slow down very quickly, and that explosive beginning quickly turns into a whimper. By the time the next big set-piece arrives, it feels very overdue, even though we’re still only 30 minutes into a film with a running time of 142 minutes. These lulls in the action reveal the biggest problem with The Avengers: Age of Ultron.

Ads by Google

Picking Up a Paycheck

The characters adopt a tired, “Here we go again” attitude as they realize their tour of duty as an Avenger may never actually end. Tony Stark in particular doesn’t want to spend the rest of his life fighting bad guys. And while this is a rather important plot point, it appears to have fed into the mindset of the actors themselves, as most of them phone in their performances for their overly generous paychecks.

It feels very much as though Chris Evans (Captain America), Chris Hemsworth (Thor), and Robert Downey Jr. (Iron Man) are growing tired of these characters after appearing in at least four films apiece. Which leaves Mark Ruffalo (Hulk), Scarlett Johansson (Black Widow), and Jeremy Renner (Hawkeye) needing to lift their game to compensate. They do, but not quite enough.

Breathing Life Into Ultron

The actual plot of The Avengers: Age of Ultron focuses heavily on Ultron, an artificial intelligence What Artificial Intelligence Isn't What Artificial Intelligence Isn't Are intelligent, sentient robots going to take over the world? Not today -- and maybe not ever. Read More that is accidentally unleashed to wreak havoc on the world.

Ultron, brilliantly voiced by James Spader, is designed to help maintain order in lieu of the Avengers. However, after consuming all of the information he can get his hands on, Ultron decides that the best way of achieving peace on Earth is destroying humanity and starting over afresh.

This goes against Isaac Asimov’s Three Laws of Robotics, which we briefly touched on in our list of fantastical books featuring memorable robot characters 4 Fantastical Books Featuring Memorable Robot Characters 4 Fantastical Books Featuring Memorable Robot Characters Robots have appeared in every piece of media humans have ever created, but literature is where you'll find the greatest trove of automaton characters with depth and complexity. Read More .

The first law states that, “A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.” But Ultron achieves true sentience, at which point no human law has any bearing on his mindset.

As he says himself, “There are no strings on me,” an obvious reference to humanity’s treatment of robots as puppets bound to do exactly what they’re told to do.

Ultron is brought to life in a way which would not be believable in our own universe, but this is the Marvel Universe Discover Marvel Comics & Marvel Characters On The Web Discover Marvel Comics & Marvel Characters On The Web Marvel Comics was founded in 1939 as Timely Comics before becoming Atlas Comics in the 1950s and eventually the company we know and love in the 1960s. This was the era when Jack Kirby, Steve... Read More , and anything goes. The characters explain away how Ultron came to be in a rather clunky manner, but then this is a movie aimed at people of all ages, so the use of simplified language should be expected.

The character itself is physically very well-realized, being a striking structure you wouldn’t want to stumble across in a dark alleyway. This makes him a suitable villain to battle the Avengers from the bold beginning of the film to the rather unsatisfying conclusion. And, with the failure of the actors to express much beyond boredom, Ultron may just be the most human character featured in the film.

Mirroring Our Own Thoughts on AI

Hollywood has been tackling the subject of artificial intelligence How Hollywood Has Depicted Artificial Intelligence Over The Years How Hollywood Has Depicted Artificial Intelligence Over The Years Humanity has always had a love-hate relationship with technology, and robots are no different. Over the years, there have been hundreds of movies about sapient robots, and the portrayals have varied wildly. Read More for many decades, but the Age of Ultron plot is a rather timely storyline. The world’s leading technologists are starting to publicly express their worries about the technological singularity Here's Why Scientists Think You Should be Worried about Artificial Intelligence Here's Why Scientists Think You Should be Worried about Artificial Intelligence Do you think artificial intelligence is dangerous? Does AI may pose a serious risk to the human race. These are some reasons why you may want to be concerned. Read More actually happening, and Marvel is therefore mirroring our own thoughts on AI with this ridiculous popcorn flick.

When the likes of Stephen Hawking, Bill Gates, and Elon Musk are concerned about the future, the rest of us should probably listen, and then heed what they have to say on the matter. Otherwise Ultron, or at least our own version of him, could become reality. And whatever else you take from this film, that isn’t a reality any of us should embrace willingly.

Messy and Fragmented

The Avengers: Age of Ultron is a strange film, in that all of the various elements are present, but there’s just something missing. The plot works, but still ends up feeling messy and fragmented. Your favorite characters are all there, but none of them really stands out. There’s a little humor, an adorable love story, and plenty more besides. But none of it quite fits together in the same way as the first Avengers movie.

This is due to a mix of a) unreasonable expectations, which could also impact Star Wars: The Force Awakens, and b) the film feeling very much like a stepping stone between the movies that have come before and the movies coming down the line.

Whedon tries his best, but on this occasion fails to lift the source material to anything above average. The result is the comic book movie equivalent of painting by numbers.

Is This Peak Comic Book Movies?

We may well have reached peak comic book movies here, with The Avengers: Age of Ultron setting us off on a long, slow decline towards no one caring any more.

The quantity of films being released is going up, but the quality is going down. And there will soon be a definite and undeniable feeling of, “Been there, done that” permeating throughout the whole genre. That is unless Guardians of the Galaxy 2 brings something fresh to the table.

The Avengers from 2012 was an epic adventure starring your favorite comic book characters 9 Action-Packed Comic Book Subreddits You Have To Check Out 9 Action-Packed Comic Book Subreddits You Have To Check Out Reddit is the best place for trivia about any topic, and comic books are no different! Right on Reddit are several communities devoted to nearly all of your favorite comic book superheroes. Best of all,... Read More brought to life on the big screen. And it worked. Age of Ultron is an average adventure starring now over-familiar versions of your favorite comic book characters. And it only just works by the slimmest of margins.

Final Thoughts

The Good:

  • Stronger storylines for Hawkeye & Black Widow.
  • Hulk smashes it again, literally.
  • Unmissable set-pieces aplenty.
  • Ultron is brought to life rather successfully.

The Bad:

  • The actors phone in their performances.
  • There’s too much humor and not enough humanity.
  • It all feels a little tired and dated.
  • You need to have seen every other Marvel movie.

The Verdict:

The Avengers: Age of Ultron isn’t a bad movie. Unfortunately, it isn’t a very good one either. You will be entertained as you consume your own body weight in popcorn, but you’ll leave the movie theater Cinema Is Dying: How Movie Theaters Can Ensure Their Survival Cinema Is Dying: How Movie Theaters Can Ensure Their Survival Movie theaters need to offer more than just a way of watching the latest films. They need to stop competing on "convenience" and start focusing on "experience." Here's how. Read More wanting more. Not more action, more humor, or more peril for the characters, but more effort on the part of everybody involved. Which, for a summer blockbuster, just isn’t good enough.

MakeUseOf rates The Avengers: Age of Ultron 3 Stars out of 5.

  1. Clay
    May 2, 2015 at 3:45 am

    *Spoiler Alert* Movie Sucks

    The Avengers 2 is unconvincing and forced. The movie opens with the Avengers attacking a castle in an Eastern European country. The movie closes with the Avengers attacking the same castle but this time spending the whole time saving civilians. Where was this concern at the opening of the movie? The funniest part of the movie was Stark asking Widow if she was playing hide the zucchini with hulk. In retrospect, its more a bestiality reference that humor. By the 10th time Cap asks the gang to stop cursing, it got stale.
    Boring subplots that had no business in the film included the Black Widow and Banner romance. The whole Black Widow is the only one to calm him down with a lullaby was nonsensical. I understand trying to develop 2 characters that are out of their league but this wasn’t the way to do it. Hawkeye’s secret hideout with a hallmark family and flannel shirts was even more insidious in its incredulity factor. Hawkeye needed more “I remember Bangledesh much differently” comments. Give him the Gimli role ffs.
    The middle of the movie (The 2 hours between the first and last fight scene) made no sense. Why did everyone get so boo hoo life sucks lets all hide and why are we fighting? Why did Ironman and hulk fight? I still have no idea. Was it the twin girl? Could she do all that? Well then why was she so underwhelming when she became an Avenger.
    Anyways…the movie tried to manufacture a divided team, who didn’t really want to be together anyway, they just wanted to get paid and walk off set so even more underwhelming superhero’s can come back in Avengers 3.
    The best part of the flick was the Party Scene. That’s what I should have done instead of seen this movie.

  2. black count
    April 28, 2015 at 11:53 pm

    Problem was that Ultron was to weak. his armour sucks and his attack on captian america didnt even get his shirt damaged: a red laser.. more like mouse laser::

    yeah my writing sucks but not more then this movie:

    a girl whit no superpowers can take down 40 robots: yeah am talking about black whore:_: and arrow man has app 100000 arrows in his slevs::: everyone of them has a explosion::

    do we have to see next avengers? they can send black whore to kill thanos:: they prob will do it for womens rights and tights and so on

  3. Brian
    April 28, 2015 at 8:50 am

    I was personally disappointed, Went to see it yesterday and I honestly feel the first one was better.

  4. tauliya
    April 27, 2015 at 5:31 pm

    I want to know why Joss Whedon hates Cap so much.

    He literally destroyed this character in Avengers, which the Russo brothers marvellously rescued in CA:TWS....and now Whedon is at it again. In the comics, Cap picks up the Mjolnir...more than once in fact. To have that flippantly ignored grates on my nerves.

    Steve Rogers is no grandpa (cue Whedon having him in grandpa clothes in Avengers 1) and he is not a nagging/motherly figure to say 'Language Stark' (cue AOU). He is also not a goody good two-shoes, boy scout unintelligent person - not even as skinny Steve - and I wished to goodness Whedon/Evans bother to figure this out about the character.

    Skinny Steve Rogers got into more fights than all the Avengers put together, his mouth writing checks his skinny ass could never cash, broke rules whenever he thought he should to do what was 'right' and was sharp, witty and intelligent. The serum amplified ALL of this. Someone send this to Whedon/Evans. *rant over*

  5. peter
    April 26, 2015 at 9:28 pm

    I watched this movie last night and was struggling to come up a way of describing just what my problem was with the film.
    This review has hit the nail on the head.

    As much as I love the MCU - this really was a 3/5 movie.

    It wasn't a bad film, it was always going to be hard to live up to the hype and I can only hope that the next batch of films are going to blow out of the park.

    Us geeks have been spoilt since the first Iron Man film and it was only a matter of time before there was a blip (Thor: Dark world was probably a hint that we have peaked) but hopefully new life is going to freshen up ideas and stories and the newer actors involved will give us that sparkle that was missing from Ultron.

    • Dave Parrack
      April 27, 2015 at 12:10 pm

      You could be right about the injection of talent helping keep the quality high. It just felt like no one involved actually believed in this film. Like they were going through the motions. Which is shocking.

      Marvel needs a miss in terms of revenue to remind them that they can't just put out any old crap and expect us to go see it.

  6. Hobo
    April 26, 2015 at 5:14 pm

    ...cleverly disguised propaganda of a sort. The intelligence of a few elistist talking heads on the subject of A.I is highly questionable indeed - indeed nothing could be further from the truth!

    • Ryan Dube
      April 26, 2015 at 5:30 pm

      Hobo - what on earth are you talking about?

    • Dave Parrack
      April 27, 2015 at 12:11 pm

      This is hardly propaganda. Gates, Hawking, and Musk are all well entitled to their views, as are you! But I certainly think there's a danger that the technology we're currently developing will end up consuming us all.

  7. Mota
    April 26, 2015 at 1:15 pm

    I totally agree with this review. This movie is clearly a let down. Too much action, too much humor lack of actual story.

    Im still thinking about how the hell they communicated with each other without any device haha. Plus where is iron man's fight?! At end of the movie there's barely any record of hulk fighting and iron man for that matter.

    3 in 5 is fine.

    • Dave Parrack
      April 27, 2015 at 12:13 pm

      It didn't help that the audience feels disconnected to the threat to the world at the end of the film (no spoilers please!). It was all a bit disjointed, which meant I was unsympathetic to what was happening.

  8. Rahul
    April 26, 2015 at 11:05 am

    I saw it an hour back and midway through the movie many people started leaving the cinema hall. I honestly thought it was because the movie is so terrible but then I realised because it was because an earthquake had struck our area(I live in India). There are not too many good things I can say about the movie. Hawkeye was my favourite charecter followed by the twins and Natasha Romanov. The other heroes have a sense of invulnerability in them and never seemed in any sort of danger. The fight scenes were mostly generic. It is not explained how Ultron managed to create so many of his minions so easily or how he managed to pull of his final Earth busting stunt. There are too many plot holes and unanswered questions. I think this trully is the beginning of the downfall of Marvel superhero movies.

    • Dave Parrack
      April 27, 2015 at 12:16 pm

      You've nailed a couple of the plot holes perfectly. I agree, the twins were very good, and Hawkeye and Black Widow actually earned their place in the squad this time around. Let's hope the end of the film (no spoilers, please!) signals a new beginning of sorts.

    • Bikas
      May 4, 2015 at 6:54 am

      Speaking of plotholes -

      What was Tony Stark doing in this film? Wasn't he retired in Iron man 3?
      When Vision (Jarvis) was already great in beating Ultron from within, why *extract* him and make him single entity rather?
      Captain America destroyed the S.H.I.E.L.D. and it wasn't reformed, but at the end he creates New Avengers in S.H.I.E.L.D. again. Why?
      Has anybody on set read Avengers storyline, like ever? Hawkeye is not as ordinary as it's shown in the movie and is a fun character, unlike constipated Jeremy Renner.
      Falcon is not only quite intelligent (almost as much as Stark) but very crucial to recent Avengers. He was there only to be wasted in the movie.

  9. Buffet
    April 26, 2015 at 10:38 am

    Who WOULDN'T have seen every other movie - except pencilnecks??
    HULK SMASH PUNY REVIEWER!

    • Dave Parrack
      April 27, 2015 at 12:19 pm

      There are always new fans joining in on the fun. Like kids, for example, who may only have discovered the Marvel Universe over the past 12 months.

      Calm down, Hulk, or I'll call Tony in with his Hulkbuster armor.

  10. callmesissi
    April 26, 2015 at 3:05 am

    just watched.. TERRIBLE movie.. boring, plot holes, silly.. felt like watching iron man 3 all over again..

    • Dave Parrack
      April 26, 2015 at 8:08 am

      That's harsh! I didn't think it was as bad as Iron Man 3, but it certainly wasn't good.

  11. Alex Ubel
    April 25, 2015 at 11:36 pm

    I think the problem is this felt like another set-up movie going into Infinity War while the first Avengers movie was a pay-off movie that had been built with individual films.

    • Dave Parrack
      April 26, 2015 at 8:06 am

      Absolutely. This feels like a bridging movie, so there's a distinct lack of purpose of resolution to any of it. It all feels a little... pointless.

  12. Matthew Hughes
    April 25, 2015 at 6:03 pm

    Great review, although I disagree entirely.

    I saw it last night, and thought it made The Room look watchable.

    Avoid. Avoid. Avoid.

    • Dave Parrack
      April 25, 2015 at 6:34 pm

      You don't disagree entirely then... 3 out of 5 isn't exactly a ringing endorsement! I thought it was watchable, but it's not a patch on the first movie.

    • BPD
      April 25, 2015 at 10:47 pm

      Sorry guys, but this is not a "geek" review. Not to impugn your geek cred, but you write more like a traditional movie critic, rather than a geek. Not that your opinions are inaccurate or anything, but they may ring true more with people who actually go to see this for acting prowess and not for the spectacle that it is, or is supposed to be if Joss Whedon has done his job. I am going to reserve judgement until I see it myself. As for Mr. Hughes, given his taste in music and it's reproduction, his opinion tends to be almost an endorsement for the movie.

    • Matthew Hughes
      April 25, 2015 at 11:15 pm

      @BPD: SORRY, I CAN'T HEAR YOUR SNARK OVER THE SOUND OF SURFER ROSA. ON REPEAT.

    • Dave Parrack
      April 25, 2015 at 11:23 pm

      You're entitled to your opinion, BPD, but most traditional movie reviews wouldn't spend nine paragraphs discussing artificial intelligence and quoting Asimov's Three Laws of Robotics.

    • BPD
      April 26, 2015 at 12:05 am

      @Dave Granted, but as a comic geek I would have liked to have heard more about the new characters, both evil and heroic, and how they compare to their comic book counterparts, as well as how they contribute to the plot as a whole. I would also like to know how this movie fits into the MCU as a whole and what, if any, clues were given to future events. They have a saying in athletics- "that's why we play the games" which attempts to explain to the general public that regardless of a perceived lack of parity between any two given teams, anything can and often will happen once the whistle blows. I tend to feel the same about movies- I would rather experience them myself rather than rely on a reviewer's judgement because anything can and will often happen to a viewer on a personal level. Ever see Flash Gordon? By all accounts it stunk on many levels. But I loved it and continue to watch it to this day. I don't know why, I just do. I may end up agreeing with you. I may not. But that's why they make the movies - to be seen.

    • Dave Parrack
      April 26, 2015 at 8:06 am

      The trouble with that is you risk giving away spoilers, which means potentially ruining the movie for anyone who hasn't yet seen it. Which is who we wrote this review for!

      Of course, reviewers bring a certain amount of bias into a film, but I tried to be very fair on this, scoring it based on more factors than just how good I thought it was. In terms of a Marvel movie made for comic book geeks, I thought it deserved a 3 out of 5. As a movie in its own right, judged against cinematic classics? 2 at most.

      MUO is a technology site first and foremost, so the AI had to be the focus of the article. And if we write any more reviews, it'll be for movies with a strong tech angle.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *