‘Avengers: Age of Ultron’ freefall continues downward

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Image contributed by Bagogames

By Chris Mudd, Staff Writer

Whatever spark the first Avenger’s movie banked upon seems to have faded from the sequel.

“Age of Ultron” is perhaps the perfect example of a movie that started off well, but went into freefall as the director struggled to maintain his vision. Who can blame director Joss Whedon for complaining about the amount of stress he was under for the film considering the sheer mass of the franchise that is resting upon his weary shoulders.

Whedon told Buzzfeed last year, “I gotta say, it’s been dark. It’s been weird. It’s been horrible. … I feel like every day like, I didn’t do enough, I didn’t do enough, I didn’t do enough. I wasn’t ready. Here’s failure. Here’s compromise.”

Still, despite the troubles the man encountered, Whedon has still squeezed out another blockbuster. The film made $187.7 million on its first weekend, which puts it firmly in second place behind the current holder of the biggest opening of all time, the first Avengers movie. The man has an excellent track record, no one can deny.

“Age of Ultron” follows the cast of superhero’s we’ve come to know and love from the Marvel Universe over the last decade. Iron-Man, of course, has his witty banter, Captain America’s heroism is never in doubt and Hulk certainly smashes. Yet at this point, I feel like we are just going through the motions of the formula. Where the story leads seem inevitable, as do the conflicts to come.

Ultron himself seems cookie-cutter movie villain, whose motivation to wipe out all of humanity for its own sake has been copied and pasted from every major robotic bad guy ever. Sure, the effects are neat to watch, but they only go so far. In the trailers Ultron was intimidating, terrifying even. Yet in the film he seems rather weak. He’s nothing more than a substitute villain intended to fill the gap, until Thanos decides to be a bad guy.

The score is nice, with similar themes from the previous film being revamped to a darker tone. But the darkness brings the story down a fair bit, as both the music and the film as a whole seem somehow less fun than last time.

I’m not suggesting that a movie can’t be both dark, and fun. It just wasn’t executed very well in this case.

While I’m certainly excited to see the future installments in the franchise,  the weight of the superhero genre seems to be slowing them down. Whatever happens next will have to mix things up a bit, but perhaps that’s exactly what the upcoming Marvel Civil War films will do. Time will tell.