Avengers: Age of Ultron - Mini spoiler free review!
It's not a terrible movie, but it's not a great one either.
Most importantly, it fails where the first one had the most success: it doesn't feel like one cohesive movie, but rather like a collection of moments with a somewhat noisy background (i.e: the main story).
Too many references to stuff from other movies, too many winks to insiders, too many new characters introduced (which we don't care about because we haven't had a whole movie to learn to love them), too much set up for future stuff and future movies... All in all, this movie has too much action and not enough heart.
I think it feels a bit closer to the comic universe than the previous movies, with everything that entails and that unfortunately makes comics opaque and confusing: beyond the fact that you need to know about "all of the things" if you hope to understand most of what you're seeing (the classic issue people have with the comics), it also feels a lot less impactful than the previous installments, where characters (people) were the most important thing. This included the first Avengers movie: the best moments were those where people we already knew and loved interacted. I'm not saying they should, or even could have recreated the first one exactly, but maybe this one would have worked better if we had had more set up (possibly with extra movies for some of the new characters), or even less new characters period. It just feels "too much". Too much of everything. The movie is packed, and could have used some room to breathe.
Don't get me wrong, I have nothing against action scenes (seeing Cap reflect Iron Man's lasers with his shield or Hulk Smash are some of the most joyful moments in these things), but in order to have real impact they need to be supported with scenes that bring the movie its heart and its soul. This one has very little of that. Not none, but certainly not enough.
And it makes me a bit worried for the future of the Marvel Cinematic Universe to be honest. It might finally be at the point where it's getting too unwieldy for anyone to make it into a cohesive movie experience.
Well, we'll see; Ant-Man doesn't look bad. But even if that happens and the following movies are more "meh" than "brilliant", we still got a good deal... The party can't last forever and we still had a great run with most of Phases 1 & 2.
So anyway, it's not a bad movie. I kind of enjoyed it even. But as I was saying, it's not a great one, and it's definitely not as good as the first Avengers movie. Granted, that was a tall order.