Tuesday, 12 May 2015
Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015)
"They're breeding like Catholic rabbits."
Obviously, I enjoyed this muchly, and I'm not just saying that because it was both a nice birthday treat and the first time I've been able to go out with Mrs Llamastrangler to spend some time alone together since we had our beautiful baby- thanks to my lovely mother-in-law for babysitting! We just about managed to survive a few hours away from our little girl, and enjoyed ourselves.
The film is superb. Joss Whedon writes and directs. Those are two different ways of writing the same thing. We should appreciate how narratively difficult it must be to come up with a script which both works and gives substantial parts to (deep breath) Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, Black Widow, Hulk, Hawkeye, Nick Fury, Scarlet Witch and the Vision, with substantial cameos from War Machine and (new Avenger!) the Falcon. Joss Whedon accomplishes that, along with giving us thrills, spectacle, emotion, and the best Stan Lee cameo yet. I can't stress how much of an achievement it is to serve all these characters well script-wise. Whoever follows on from Whedon has big boots to fill, and I can't wait to see what he does next.
There are a couple of downsides, however. The death of a certain character comes as a surprise, which I suppose is the point, but also comes across as a pointless waste. And, as most of the Internet correctly points out, this, like all Marvel films, serves female characters rather poorly. Black Widow, up till now the only kick-ass female character alongside all the boys, spends much of her time pining after Bruce Banner. This is not a film which comes close, I suspect, to passing the Bechdel test. I'm not going to give Whedon a hard time over this- his feminist credentials are as good as anyone with a Y chromosome's- but Marvel needs to find a better gender balance, at least. Still, Scarlet Witch now gives us a second female Avenger.
Oh, and I love the fact we get to see Scarlet Witch, and the Vision (budding romance ahead?). And Ulysses Klaw, no doubt to return in Black Panther. And am I reading too much into Tony Stark's guilt at creating Ultron, what with seeing signs of a future storyline based on Armour Wars? Be that as it may, I'm liking the conflict of values between Stark and Steve Rogets from film to film.
Essentially, this is a bloody good film. Go and see it. Now.