As I’m sure you’ve noticed, I’m a fan of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Avengers, Captain America: the First Avenger, and Guardians of the Galaxy are some of my favorite movies. And I do acknowledge that the franchise has its fair share of flaws, but normally, the movies are entertaining enough that I don’t notice them the first time I’m watching. With some other Marvel movies, like Thor: the Dark World, Iron Man 2, and The Incredible Hulk, the flaws are more obvious, and the movies are less enjoyable as a result.

But Age of Ultron is an odd case. It’s flawed, noticeably so. But it’s still an immensely enjoyable movie. It’s layered in ways that most Marvel movies aren’t. It’s like a combination of every movie so far, but at the same time it’s vastly different from the rest of them. Let me see if I can break it down.

Let’s start with what I don’t like. The first Avengers movie, directed by none other than Joss Whedon, didn’t even hint at any chemistry between Bruce and Natasha. Literally everyone knew Natasha and Clint were supposed to end up together. So… what happened? Whedon has tried to make this out to be Marvel’s fault, and said that he just doesn’t like Hawkeye but… he made both of these movies. He could have at least winked at it in the first one.

Next, let’s talk about Quick-Ass and Russian Girl. I actually think Aaron Taylor-Johnson and Elizabeth Olsen did a pretty decent job in this movie, and they had good chemistry as siblings/lovers, a dynamic not a lot of actors can pull off. The trouble, once again, falls on Joss Whedon, whose treatment of these characters is perhaps best explained by agent Maria Hill (Colbie Smulders) earlier on in the film: “he’s fast and she’s weird.” The emotion between these two is way too on the nose and at the same time barely fleshed out at all. Which brings us to the movie’s biggest foible.

You see, Joss Whedon has stated in interviews that he doesn’t consider the TV show Agents of SHIELD part of the cinematic universe, since he thinks he owns the cinematic universe and he didn’t want Phil Coulson to be alive, since it ruins the emotional weight of the first movie. Whedon’s solution for making sure Marvel didn’t interfere with Marvel’s movie this time around was to jam-pack every plot point with as much heavyhanded emotionality as possible, even when there’s no logic to having it. This makes a lot of the scenes in the movie hard to watch, especially most of the scenes involving Scarlet Witch, who basically serves as the Drama Faucet for the film.

So, what did I like about it? Well, in practically every sense of the word, Whedon outdid himself. It’s bigger, it’s faster, it’s funnier, the writing’s better, the acting’s better, the directing’s better… it is in most senses better than Avengers. Which should be worth more than I feel like it is. I don’t know if I’d want to see this movie again, at least not immediately. I liked it, I really did, but it was a bit bewildering and didn’t really leave me wanting more. Does that mean that it was comprehensive or that it was overstuffed? Probably both.

Either way, I give it an A-. I’m sure you’ve all seen it already, or were already planning on seeing it, but it’s a wild ride. Like this post if you like it, comment if you’ve got something to say, follow my blog if you like it like it, you can also follow me on Twitter @BreakingPOORLY, and as always…

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