Sunday, June 07, 2015
"The Avengers: Age of Ultron" (2015)
First of, please don't get me wrong. I liked this movie a lot. I intend to buy it on DVD and rewatch it, probably many times. I might even go see it in the theater again, if the opportunity arises.
But compared to my reaction to The Avengers back in 2012, that's practically lackadaisical. That movie blissed me out. I had to go see it over and over again -- I saw it in the theater 5 times that summer, even though I had a six-month-old who believed that any time Mommy was out of her sight, she was going to be eaten by rabid porcupines, judging by the tales Cowboy tells. When I went to the Thorsday marathon in 2013, I was more excited about seeing The Avengers on the big screen again than about seeing Thor: The Dark World for the first time. In April, when I went to the double-feature, the same was true -- seeing Age of Ultron was a bonus, but the real draw for me was The Avengers.
And the trouble here is, The Avengers is jewel-like in its perfection. There's not a smidgen of it that I would ever change, that feels off, that needs a little smoothing or polishing or tightening. It's brilliant in every sense of the word. Age of Ultron is not. It's fun and exciting and funny and heart-warming and sad. It's a great ride. But I was hoping for another Avengers, and it's not that.
EDIT: Spoilers ahead!
This will sound odd, coming from me, because I was freaking out beforehand about how much Joss Whedon was going to rip my heart out and stomp on it, but... I think he needed to rip my heart out and stomp on it. I'm happy he didn't, but I also wish he had, if that makes any sense. I came out of the theater the first time going, "I'm so relieved that no one died! They're still friends! Thor is okay! Yay!" But the more I've thought about it, the more I realized that at no time during the movie did I actually worry about any of them. Nothing truly bad even threatened to happen -- not compared to the first one.
Yeah, I know Quicksilver died. That was sad. I teared up over that, both times. But it wasn't tragic, somehow. Not like when Coulson died. It lacked that gut-punch of emotion that I still feel over Coulson's death even though I know he gets brought back. And yes, Bruce left. That's also sad. But somehow not as sad as Loki stabbing Thor -- one is an understandable reaction to discovering the woman you love chooses the mission over you, but the other is a brother offering to help his brother and getting physically and metaphorically stabbed with rejection in return.
And before you say to me, "Oh, but of course you're sadder over Coulson than Quicksilver, because Coulson was in other movies before this -- you knew that character," um, no, I didn't. I went to The Avengers having never seen any of the previous MCU movies. All I knew about the characters was what I'd seen in the trailers and what I remembered from reading comic books twenty years ago. I really didn't know any of these characters at all, but I still got shattered. And this time around, I never got down to that same emotional low, so when they finally defeated Ultron and don't blow the world up, I didn't get the same emotional high that I get from defeating the Chitauri and Loki. Does that make sense?
So. I really like Age of Ultron. I want to watch it again, I do. But I didn't love it. And I've decided I'm okay with that, because I still have The Avengers, in all its jewel-like perfection. Now I also have another MCU movie to enjoy, and that does make me happy. Not ecstatic, but happy. Happy is good :-)