Quality: This score indicates entertainment value.
0 stars is horrible, while 5 stars is spectacular.
Political: This score addresses political messaging.
0 stars is aggressively anti-Conservative, while 5 stars is highly pro-Conservative. 3 stars is apolitical.
Moral/Religious (M/R): This score addresses moral and religious messaging.
0 stars is either intensely immoral or all-out, needless assault on Christianity. 5 stars is either great moral messaging or highly pro-Christian. 3 stars is inoffensive either way.
Quality – 4 stars, Political – 3 stars, M/R – 3 stars
So naturally, I loved it.
This really is a fun movie. The characters are enjoyable as ever—more so, in the cases of Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner), Captain America (Chris Evans), and that blond Atlas who rarely shrugs, Thor (Chris Hemsworth). The deafening battle scenes boast relentless fights and narrow escapes. And while the humor isn’t fresh as the first installment, there’s still plenty of it.
But is this a perfect film? Not quite. For one thing, there are too many superheroes. Everyone has to get a line, an action scene, a moment walking us through his/her backstory, another line, a slowed down action pose displaying his/her beauty, then more action— if you watch very closely, I’m pretty sure they’re going alphabetically.
Tony Stark (as always, perfectly rendered by Robert Downey Jr.) decides to use Loki’s scepter for the artificial intelligence necessary to his “Ultron” project—an ambitious pursuit of protecting Earth with thinking, feeling, super-robots. You heard me. Tony wants to endow superbots with uncontrollable alien tech. All together now: “Hey, what could go wrong?!”
Sure, the plot is silly and predictable—and one can picture Tony shouting in his lab, “They all thought I was mad! Maaaaad! Muah-ha-ha-ha-ha!!!” But the resulting Ultron is still a good super-villain, especially when voiced by James Spader.
Deciding peace can’t exist with mankind in the equation, Ultron takes the logical next step—and besides, he really hates mankind anyway. Why? Maybe he’s mad at Tony—I mean, everyone usually is. Maybe someone refused to bake a cake for a robot wedding. Honestly, it’s hard to tell, but that’s okay—Ultron’s plenty menacing, and that’s enough.
Adding to the drama, Natasha Romanoff (Scarlett Johansson’s “Black Widow”) has a love interest. I don’t want to spoil the mystery, but then again, it’s in the latest trailers anyway, so I’ll just say it…
…it’s Ultron. Hey, chicks dig the bad boys.
Okay, truth be told, she’s hooking up with Bruce Banner, aka The Hulk. Fearing the Hulk is too dangerous, Bruce deflects Natasha’s interest (because, you know, her life is normally so safe). Torn between love and duty, their forbidden romance plays like an out of place melodrama:
“My love, it would never work between us! You know what I am!”
“No my darling, our love will overcome!”
“But I’m a monster! A monster, I tell you!”
“Oh Bruce, don’t we all have monsters within us?”
“Yes, but I actually become a—”
“No! You’re not a monster! It’s Gaston! He’s the real monster!”
“But when I get angry—wait, that’s from Beauty and the Beast—”
“—those villagers can never keep us apart!”
“—still Beauty and the Beast—”
“—they all thought I was mad! Maaaaaad!”
“Tony, you’re not helping—”
“—and once we make green babies, those villagers will learn what fear really means!”
“—there are no villagers, Natasha—”
“—they’ll run screaming, as our little green ones chase them through their pitiful village…which I will set ablaze! And we shall laugh at them, my love! We’ll laugh as their world burns!”
“Yes! It will all burn!”
“Still not helping, Tony.”
There’s a cool brand of creepiness to this film, where passion always comes with a price. Love your coworker—face danger. Love your creations—face danger. Love wearing tight outfits—face danger. While the intended lesson from “Avengers: Age of Ultron” is “More power can make us less safe,” perhaps the real lesson is, “Don’t love anything. Or if you must, be ready to smash stuff with thrilling CGI sequences.”
Is it a perfect lesson? No. But then, this isn’t a perfect movie, and it’s not meant to be. “Avengers: Age of Ultron” is a triumph of plot quantity over plot twists; of big effects over little details. It’s not going to make you a better person—just a smiling one.
So leave the anguish to Bruce and Natasha and grab some popcorn. It’s time to have fun.