The multi-million dollar behemoth named Avengers: Age of Ultron has smashed into theaters near you. In this new movie, director Joss Whedon gives us a whole new reason to be scared of Siri.
The film begins in Sokovia, a country in Eastern Europe. Here, the Avengers — snarky Tony Stark (Robert Downy Jr.), sweet as apple pie Captain America (Chris Evans), Pantene spokesperson Thor (Chris Hemsworth), mean-green-machine Bruce Banner (Mark Ruffalo), never-going-to-get-her-own-movie Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), and archery enthusiast Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) break into a Hydra outpost. There they discover two twins, Pietro and Wanda Maximoff (Aaron Taylor-Johnson and Elizabeth Olsen, respectively) being tested on with Loki’s scepter until they develop superpowers. The Avengers retrieve the scepter, consequently setting the Maximoffs free. Stark and Banner then discover an artificial intelligence in the scepter’s gem and use it to complete “Ultron,” which is Stark’s global defense program. All too realistically, Ultron spends about five minutes on the Internet before deciding that the greatest threat to the Earth — insert fake gasp of surprise — is humanity.
Joss Whedon, self-proclaimed deity of the nerds, adds some of his classic trademarks to the film. All the characters speak in the usual quick-witted quips that those who watch Whedon’s other works like Buffy the Vampire Slayer are accustomed to and love. Joss never fails to disappoint there. However, some of the jokes did not quite match the tone of certain scenes. Overall, though, the script adds to the film — unlike most action films today.
The movie found a nice balance between fight scenes and character development. As an action movie, there is of course less focus on character growth; but, at the very least, the battles are well-placed and well-paced. More importantly, they never became redundant to the point of causing the audience to lose interest.
For all the greatness of the film, Whedon adds an unnecessary romance between Black Widow and Bruce Banner. It is cliché and does not read well on the screen, and it’s clearly meant to make the film more of a blockbuster. In many ways, the romance degrades Natasha as a character because Black Widow has such an interesting backstory that has yet to be played out. When given the opportunity to expand on her as a character, Whedon chooses not to do so, instead simply reducing her to a romantic interest.
It seems odd that Whedon — as someone who claims to be such a strong advocate for feminism — had such poor representation of women in this film. Age of Ultron does not even pass the Bechdel test. The Bechdel test is a simple checklist designed to encourage representation. It’s only requirement is that the film has two female characters that talk to each other about something other than a man. Avengers: Age of Ultron, with its poor representation of women, raises some questions about the genuineness of Whedon’s feminist beliefs.
Nonetheless, it’s a fun film with an interesting plot and a well-written script, and it’s an ideal film for those looking to go on an adventure without any of the hassle of actually moving.