How Avengers: Age of Ultron could have been a better movie
WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD!
Age of Ultron came out a pretty nice movie by Marvel standarts, but, nonetheless, it suffers from the one same issue that all the other MCU movies do: the plot.
I am not going to touch upon the topic of the fuzzy narrative due to the reason that an entire hour(!) of the footage has been cut. Alot of people had done it already and I don’t want you to read the same crap all over again. In fact, let’s wait for the Extended Cut and see what it has to offer.
Meanwhile, back to the theatrical version, what I DO want to talk about here are the main plot issues that could have been avoided without messing with the script too much, a.k.a. the fact that AAOU could have easily been a much better movie.
The first issue that I would like to highlight is:
This doesn’t feel like a standalone movie!
Though you can easily watch AAOU wothout seeing any previous Marvel flicks, this movie’s story doesn’t feel completed by the end as some plotlines are left unresolved or completely scratched as the story progresses. This includes:
Tony Stark’s penance for creating Ultron, the world’s attitude towards the Hulk and the Avengers as a whole, Wanda and Pietro’s conflict with Stark, Thor’s travels not quite well explained and them basically being the teaser for the Infinity War, and Bruce/Natasha’s love story.
AOU should have been a “sum total” for Phase Two, just like The Avengers was for the first one. But instead we get a movie that just screams:”Tune in next time, on Civil War!”. In fact, we don’t even know if some of those plotlines will be resolved or even touched upon in Civil War!
Now, don’t get me wrong, I support the idea of continuity in the movies and leaving some cliffhangers here and there by the end, I really do. But this…this is just overkill! Marvel needs to fricken realize that they’re doing a MOVIE, not a tv-series. And the movie should be able to stand on it’s own.
Most of this unresolved stuff could have been “patched” by the end of the movie, while not taking up much of the screen time (I will cover it down below).
That being said, let’s move on to the next major issues of the film:
Tony Stark’s penance (or the lack of it, to be precise)
Tony, being one of the men who created the main villain of the story, hardly even gets pushed around by his mates for it (I’m not touching Banner here, that’s a whole other case), and that’s not even counting the punishment for his actions, which HE CLEARLY DOESEN’T GET. They just have some laughs with Thor and Cap by the end and that’s it! He just walks away after who-knows-how many people DIED because of him. “I’m still the hero, guys! This Ultron crisis hasn’t affected me at all! Casualties? The whole damn city destroyed? Skrew that, I’m Iron Man!” - well that seems sure damn right.
This plotline could have easily been resolved by actually making Stark feel guilt and remorse(!) which would resolve in, I dunno, having him hand himself over to the authorities at the end, so he could come back in Civil War as a reformed man.
This would be an excellent combination of continuity and closure, to this character. It would conclude the plotline of his paranoid desire of protecting everything which started after The Avengers in Iron Man 3, and become a perfect starting point for Stark to become the kind of character who would promote the Superhuman Registration Act with the goal of not letting anyone repeat his mistakes of allowing themselves too much and putting themselves above the law. He would understand now what is the cost of such deeds. But we got what we got.
Wanda and Pietro’s conflict with Stark
Wasn’t it just a tiny bit weird for you to see these two battling alongside the man who they blame for the grief in their life and whom they hate the most?
Sure, “unite for the common goal and blah, blah, blah”, but we never get even THIS kind of dialogue between them and Tony. Their hatred towards Stark doesn’t get ANY kind of resolution.
A simple dialogue between these three would have been very nice. Imagine the twins wrestling with Stark in a debate of who is really guilty of their parent’s death and Tony expressing how sorry he feels for who he was and how he didn’t care about who’s hands his weapons would end up in, and how he tries to make amends for his mistakes by being a superhero, thus showing once again how much he’s changed.
There also could have been a scene by the end where Wanda and Stark have a talk, where she says she forgives him, and after that she tries to stop Stark from handing himself over to the authorities (as I’ve mentioned earlier), claiming that Ultron, was her fault and not his, while Tony, disagreeing with her on this, takes full responsibility for his actions, proving once more that he’s not the man he used to be.
Scenes like this would have added much more depth to these characters, while also resolving the issues between them, thus closing this plotline.
Thor’s journey and the birth of Vision
Now don’t get me wrong, Vision himself was pretty awesome. But Thor flying away in the middle of the movie just to look for the answers in a random magic well and make the birth of Vision happen is just a big deus ex-machina. Even worse - it was a big deus ex-machina to tease the Infinity War, and that’s just plain
The origin, the nature of those magical waters and the reason why he didn’t use them before are explained very, very briefly, if they’re explained at all, so this just comes out of nowhere. And tell me that the appearance of Thor at the EXACT SAME TIME when his hammer was needed to create Vision wasn’t a deus ex-machina.
This could have been fixed if the writers didn’t try to embody the plotline that they couldn’t sufficiently explain. The birth of Vision could have been made as a result of complicated and heated debate between the team. Hell, they could even add some digging into ancient
sources of information to help the plot go further, and it would have been easier to explain with the viewer not being like “Whaaaa? where did THAT come from?”
Wanda’s “mind games”
Though the idea of Wanda’s ability to get into people’s heads is a good idea, and the memories/visions (no pun intended) that our characters had to relive were demonstrated pretty good, some of the moments just seem plain weird.
Firstly: how does this b*tch manages to walk towards people (including Natasha - a trained spy) undetected? What, she’s got silent boots or something? And even after she casts a spell on each of the Avengers, they’re still able to act normal for a few seconds, but she somehow vanishes completely. This could have been demonstrated and explained better, but seeing it as it is - it just looks weird.
Secondly: that fight on the ship. So, you have Cap, Widow and Thor completely helpless under the spell, what do you do with them? Just leave’em there! Let them have the ability to come back and kick your ass one more time!
Thirdly: the vision that Thor was having SOMEHOW turned out to be part-prediction of the future (WAT?). This isn’t explained anyhow, not one bit. Shoulda just removed that from the script.
And why the hell does she even have to walk towards the Avengers to hypnotize them? She did the same thing later in Sokovia to lots of people on a great distance.
How to fix this: remove the “walking up close” nonesence and let Ultron try to take out our stunned heroes on the ship with, maybe, Hawkeye barely saving them from the impending doom.
But how can we forget:
To be honest, I really liked Ultron as a character. He balances very well the idea of hate towards humanity and Stark, while also expressing the trains of humans (and Stark). Good job here, Marvel, I’ll give you that.
But what I don’t like about him is how easily he gets constantly beat up by the Avengers! How his connection to the Internet serves no major purpose for the plot and isn’t shown as a big advantage for him. How, FOR SOME REASON, Vision, Iron Man and Thor stop firing at him to let the Hulk just toss him away so he could later kill Quicksilver.
It’s also funny(not) how such a serious scene, as the death of Quicksilver is preceded by a funny scene where Ultron sings Pinokio. Kinda reminds me of Spider-Man 3.
The writers could have just easily let Thor, Vision and Stark destroy Ultron and not go with this plane crap. Wouldn’t have made anything worse.
Hulk/Widow love story
Not much to say here.
Don’t mind these to being together at all. The problem is that this plotline was turned into a cliffhanger among others. Again: no sense of closure. I really don’t know hou they could fix this, and should they have really done it. Perhaps, if everything else was fine, the conclusion for the story of these two wouldn’t have been such of a pain in the arse.
And, lastly, an issue not concerning the plot:
Mark 45 armor VFX
Though AOU has some pretty awesome CGI, this Iron Man suit was rendered and animated worse than all the other CGI in the movie. Sure, the design rocks, but due to some CGI issues it just looks artificial, like it’s not really there.
The suit’s material looks too “perfect” and reflective, and the animation is underdone in some scenes. This is especially awkward, because the other two suits looked and moved excellently realistic.
My best guess is the time issues, where they just didn’t have time to polish the Mark 45 scenes, but, hell, they could have just used the same shader as they did for Hulkbuster and Mark 43.
Now, I know, this can be considered as nitpicking, but when a suit for a 2015 movie looks more fake, than the one from 2008, that stinks. A lot.
You’ve had the money, Marvel, fans wouldn’t eat you out alive if you’ve delayed the premiere for a month or two to polish all the effects. This is fricken Iron Man, he should NOT be treated that way!
In conclusion I’d like to say that, though AAOU deserves it’s solid 7/10,it could have been a MUCH better movie if Marvel had put a little more effort into it. Seriously, you don’t need to mess with the plot too much to make it much more decent. Remember, this is all just my IMHO, you are free to agree or disagree with it.