Tuesday, June 2, 2015

3 Thoughts on Avengers: Age of Ultron

*contains spoilers*
1. Pandering to the audience - To put it bluntly, I didn't like this movie. I didn't necessarily hate it, but I found the whole thing to be a gigantic mess of a movie. The plot is uneven and overwhelming. The dialogue is so focused on snappy one-liners that I felt like the characters were just talking at each other instead of having a conversation. I laughed once. ONCE. In a 2 hour and 20 minute movie filled with dialogue that was definitely supposed to be funny. But, the thing that really bothered me was that it felt like it was a reflection of every complaint that "fans" have made since the first one. The biggest, most in-your-face, annoyance is the "human life as collateral damage" argument. As opposed to another big superhero (ahem), the Avengers painstakingly save EVERY SINGLE HUMAN LIFE and they need to show you EVERY SINGLE SECOND of it. Um...that's great guys (and gal), good for you, now get the fuck on with the plot. Also, are we supposed to actually believe that everyone survived all of that destruction in the third act? Like, really? To imply that saving one life is more important than saving thousands just sounds a bit ridiculous to me. Another critique of superhero movies is that the hero always saves the day and that the main characters always live (and even some supporting characters, as well....*ahem* Coulson), so it's all a bit predictable, really. The months leading up to the release, several movie websites hinted at a big "death" in this sequel. I have to say that they did a great job at keeping who it was under-wraps. I thought for sure it was Hawkeye. Even after release, people vaguely hinted at his demise. The whole movie is set up that way. First, they made him important (he was pretty non-existent in the first one, even though he was my favorite). Second, they gave him a family. Third, he risks his life to save a little boy and BAM! SHOTS FIRED! And then, WHAT?! All of that build-up and he doesn't fucking die?!. It's not like I wanted him to die, or anything, but still...don't pretend like you're going to kill of a main character, to show how high the stakes are, only to kill off the guy that nobody cares about.

2. My preconceived notions - There are certain aspects of the movie that I thought I was going to be aggravated by, but to my surprise, those are not the worst parts of the movie. The first is Black Widow and her storyline. It's not a secret that I rarely like Scarlett Johansson's acting. I certainly didn't like it in the first Avengers, and I thought Black Widow was the weak link of that film. I read that Black Widow was going to be featured more, and that she would have a romantic relationship with Hulk, and it literally made my stomach groan. In the first movie, their scene together was horribly written. It felt like a PSA on domestic abuse. When all of the complaints of anti-feminism and Joss Whedon's apparent misogyny started to trend online, I assumed that this whole "don't make him angry"/ "It's not his fault if he hurts you" domestic abuse justification garbage would continue (and that's why people got mad). I never read any of the articles because I didn't want spoilers to be revealed, but I was skeptical (because Whedon is definitely not a misogynist). After watching the movie, all I have to say is "what the fuck?". Why are people upset? I kinda like her now, and I actually really like how they handled the "relationship". Sure, there are some red flags - she's inevitably the "damsel in distress", and she compares the fact that she can't conceive children to that of a literal monster (um...not okay). However, I think they did a great job at showing that one can be feminine and still be a strong, powerful figure. It's often seen as a weakness among female action characters to show emotion, compassion, and warmth. In other words, traits that have feminine connotations are supposedly "anti-feminist" - in order to have a strong female character, they have to act like men. And really, that's where the problem lies. I could go on and on about this subject, but I'll just say that I think it's refreshing to have a strong female character who isn't cold and dead inside (and this is coming from someone who is often referred to as "cold and dead inside" and I usually appreciate female characters that aren't feminine like Maya from Zero Dark Thirty.). I don't really think the whole relationship part is necessary to this kind of movie (and it was cheesy as Hell), but  there wasn't anything misogynistic about it, aside from a throw away line about Black Widow dating a lot. It's called a JOKE. The second assumption I had about the movie was that Aaron Johnson was going to ruin the whole goddamn thing. He's such a terrible actor. Luckily, I found him to be inconsequential to the movie. He doesn't really leave a good or bad impression, even though he plays a pretty important role. I am a little confused by his character, though. Not knowing anything about comics, puts me at an obvious disadvantage. In the X-Men universe, it's implied that Quicksilver is Magneto's son and he's American. So, why in this is he an Eastern European, orphaned, twin? It's not like that's a minor difference. It doesn't make a bit of sense.

3. The future - So, what's next? In the end, we are left with a bunch of new, not so interesting Avengers that I am terribly bored with already. I didn't really agree with the whole "superhero fatigue" that people are complaining about, but this movie was just exhausting. I actually have no interest in watching any of these characters anymore. Yet, the release date for superhero movies is relentless for the next few years. I felt like the whole point of this movie was to set up Captain America: Civil War, instead of focusing on its own point. So, if Civil War is going to focus on the Avengers fighting each other, does that mean that the next Avengers movie is going to be focused on the new Avengers? Because, no thanks. Scarlet Witch is ok, but only because Elizabeth Olsen is awesome. Ditto for Falcon. The characters, though, feel second-rate.

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