Spoiler Alert: It’s on DVD now, if you haven’t seen it at this point it’s your own fault!
Frankly, I love the Avengers. Chris Evans makes Cap accessible, which is the only character I don’t fully engage with from the comics. There is a lot of bad-assery up and down the roster. It helps that Joss Whedon writes comics as well as screenplays. He assembles plots like an artisan.
Which catches me up sometimes. The problem with having a plot that moves as fast and furious as one of Joss’s is that there is no pause for breath. In all writing there is a rhythm, like a heartbeat. There’s the movement, then there’s the pause. The pause is vital, and there are very few of them in The Rise of Ultron.
All of this is distracting me from James Spader, however, and that’s unfair. As villains go, Ultron is this marvelous construct of madness and clarity. Voiced by the previously mentioned Spader, Ultron makes incisive comments about the frailty of man, all the while missing that this frailty can also be beautiful. It’s not for a lack of appreciation of beauty, mind you. Despite Ultron being a machine, he is a highly sensitive AI who has emotions, foibles, and a desire for beauty and peace. What makes Ultron a villain is the price he’s willing to pay for beauty and peace.
Ultron’s focus is on a reset. During the movie he speaks a lot about God, and the geometry of faith. It is interesting that a creature made by man seems so certain that he is an avenging angel. He has many of the biblical stylings of an angel. Anger issues, a higher calling, the desire to cast mankind down in order to save it, Ultron has it all. He is my favorite part of this movie.
It’s difficult to choose favorites with so much going on in this movie. You get to enjoy a version of the Maximoff siblings, Peter and Wanda. You get to see Paul Bettany join the ranks as The Vision. And I’m still loving Don Cheadle as War Machine. And these are some of the ‘extra’ characters, not the ones that the movie is focused on.
My biggest concern about these large ensemble groups is that everything gets lost in the medley. There’s no time to follow the rabbit trails of The Black Widow, or Hawkeye. Thor barely gets any screen time in the entire film. The problem with so many interesting characters is that it’s hard to drill down and get to see any of them very deeply. (I mean, sure, Tony Stark is only as deep as a kiddie wading pool, but the others have depth.)
The reason this concern is so big is that I don’t just see it happening to the Avengers. I think that the Avengers are leading the way into this brave new world, but I’m torn about how excited I am to be thrown into the deep end of the plot pool with no emotional engagement in any of the characters.
Of course, there’s always the bad guys to pick up the pieces.