Latest Avengers movie is overlong and repetitive


Walt Disney Studios

The latest installment in the Marvel Comics universe has grossed nearly $400 million since its release.

Avengers: Age of Ultron, the latest offering in the Marvel cinematic universe, is a mildly entertaining film, but one loaded with clichés and lacking any meaningful substance with a narrative that is, frankly, just a mess.

The story follows the Avengers as they work to defeat a new enemy, Ultron (James Spader), who is accidentally created by Iron Man/Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.).

The film, although undeniably a box office success (nearly $400 million in domestic ticket sales in three weeks), is filled with superhero movie clichés.  It seems like every time our heroes are about to be defeated, some unexplainable gadget or scientific explanation saves them.

This device serves as the basis for the whole movie—hero gets into trouble; hero is saved; repeat. Director Joss Whedon tries to create suspense by doing this, but fails due to the simple fact that the viewer knows something unexplainable will end up saving them.

The plot is simplistic and its structure is, too. The action is stylized and at times almost cartoony or video game-like. Scientific explanations that do not really explain anything serve as an excuse for the impossible and act as filler for bloated action sequences.

The love interest between Natasha/Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) and Bruce Banner/The Hulk (Mark Ruffalo) seems shoehorned in as a pointless subplot to break up the action. When it comes to random subplots, this love story isn’t alone: Viewers also see that Clint Barton/Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) has a family, which is obviously inserted to further “develop” the character, but this development seems unrealistic and silly.

It could be labeled the superhero-by-day-and-loving-father-and-husband-by-night-with-the-incredibly-supportive-and-happy-wife-who-loves-how-her-bow-and-arrow-wielding-husband-is-fighting-armies-of-aliens-and-robots-commanded-by-all-powerful-gods-and-psychotic-and-very-advanced-artificial-intelligence-who-level-cities-and-kill-thousands-of-innocent-people subplot.

The usual comic suspects return to fight robots in a two-and-a-half hour slugfest.
Walt Disney Studios
The usual comic suspects return to fight robots in a two-and-a-half hour slugfest.

Even though at times the film’s action seems ridiculous, it is somewhat entertaining and if you just buy your ticket and sit back with your popcorn and turn off your brain for two hours it can be enjoyable, but it gets incredibly redundant.

This isn’t to say the film is without redeeming qualities. The visuals work with the colorful and heroic tone. The camera flows through the action sequences with few visible cuts, allowing for audience immersion.

Mr. Whedon does a fairly good job of balancing screen time between the characters and not ignoring any of them for prolonged periods. The director’s efforts, however, are largely undone by a terrible script.

Additionally, the running time is almost two and a half hours—in other words, about 30 minutes too long. The final action sequence is long, over the top, and brings nothing new to the table. It is basically a copy of the first film’s final sequence except this time they are fighting robots instead of aliens.

What is supposed to be the most exciting part of the film is actually incredibly dull.

The actors give decent performances for the most part. Mr. Downey as Tony Stark/Iron Man is usually the fan favorite, with his playboy charm, sarcasm, and the overall humor he brings to the character, but in this film, Tony seems very one dimensional. He does not bring as much humor or even screen time as in the other films.

Perhaps Mr. Downey is getting bored with the character that he has been playing for the past seven years.

Chris Hemsworth (Thor) and Chris Evans (Captain America) give performances, however, that are largely one-note and at times cringe-worthy. It seems all they do, when they are not punching robots, is walk around with their chests pumped out, saying their cheesy dialogue.

Overall, Avengers: Age of Ultron is redundant and struggles with its plot. Part of what made the first Avengers so popular is the fact that a movie with so many heroes had never been done before and Mr. Whedon was able to create a fun experience for audiences.

This theater experience just feels bloated and unoriginal.