thoughts about Avengers: Age of Ultron

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I liked Avengers: Age of Ultron. I like how the relationships between the characters have evolved since the previous movie. I liked Paul Bettany in both his roles. I like the glimpses of Black Widow’s past. I like the moment between Hawkeye and Scarlet Witch that pays off his brainwashing and redemption in the first movie. I like the Hansel and Gretel moment involving Andy Serkis. I also like James Spader as Ultron, but I have a slight problem with the way the character was written, which is weird because normally I worship the keyboard upon which Joss Whedon types.

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HERE BE SPOILERS

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If you don’t want spoilers, seriously click the back button.

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There’s an important moment in Ultron’s first scene that they completely skipped: the moment where he comes to the conclusion that peace depends on removing the human race. We see him finding images of war and terror etc., we see (or hear, really) his discovery that his mission is world peace, and we hear Jarvis come to the conclusion that Ultron is hostile. We get the moment immediately afterward when Ultron reacts with rage against Jarvis. We know from then on that Ultron has feelings, and that’s cool. How does he feel when he takes the idea of his mission to its ultimate conclusion? All we’d need is two extra seconds added to his monologue. One sentence. Does he briefly feel pity, realizing that the poor humans don’t know what’s best for them? That he’d have to annihilate them for their own good? We know that he’s rebelling against his daddy and his daddy’s friends, but he has already made up his mind on what to do before confronting them. Yes, Ultron is a robotically quick thinker. Yes, he has scanned the whole internet, and yes he talks about his beliefs later. Also, Vision says that Ultron is in a lot of pain. There’s a rule in screenwriting: Show, don’t tell. That moment of transformation, as quick as it must have been, is something they needed to show, and we got a whole bunch of telling after the fact instead.

Also (and this is less important but would have been nice) we should have had a moment, even for a split second, of Ultron discovering Disney movies. The guy scanned all of the internet, the Wikipedia entry for Pinocchio is about the 1883 book, and there aren’t a hell of a lot of Disney Pinocchio memes because it came out in 1940 and it isn’t freaking Frozen. Ultron made a decision, at some unspecified point, to relate specifically to the character in that specific movie, instead of, say, Frankenstein, which would have been cliche but more accurate. Pinocchio (all versions that I know of) tries to obey his father but is constantly being led astray by charismatic bad guys who take advantage of his naivete. Ultron isn’t exactly prone to peer pressure, and he doesn’t ever try to make good with Tony Stark and pals. Really, Vision is the Pinocchio of Avengers, but no one mentions it ever. A small, perhaps inconsequential thing, but it bugged me.

Otherwise, great movie, and OMG are Hulk and Black Widow deliciously tragic? Aw.

Oh, and I get the impression that using a promotional image in a review or discussion is fair use, but if you’re an executive at the Marvel-Disney-StarWars-Muppets-ABC entertainment family, please don’t sue me. Ask me to take it down and I promise I will remove your picture of the pretty, pretty heroes from my post. Agreed? Also, would you like to read my screenplays?… Maybe that’s pushing it.

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