You knew this was coming. Reviews of Age Of Ultron are predictably obvious and have appeared everywhere, since it’s one of the most anticipated films of all time.
I watched it at the local cinema, and the price was predictably expensive. Predictably, because of this I couldn’t afford the over-priced popcorn and soda either.
In the film there’s a dramatic moment towards the end when a character – one they’d put a lot of work into developing in the story – is in danger while rescuing a child. He survives, thanks to another hero’s intervention.
“Oh, that’s so predictable,” I heard a woman behind me say.
She was kind of right of course, because real superheroes are supposed to save people – especially their teammates. Still, the build-up of tension on-screen had worked just as it was supposed to. However, she was also completely wrong because a character that myself and the rest of the audience liked did die just moments later.
It was a shock, even though it made sense.
I heard the woman behind me gasp with surprise, especially because the character’s dying words were about how unexpected it was.
That’s always been one of my favourite things about comic books and their adaptations. We know the formula: good guys vs. bad guys, the good guys win, lather, rinse and repeat. It’s the same with most stories though, comic book based or not, and really the only difference is that these characters put on spandex or armour to do their job.
But there’s more to it than that.
It’s about the journey they go on, the adventures they share, how they interact together and how real they should seem to us. It could be the most far-fetched story ever but if the characters are good and the adventure is right then it doesn’t matter. Also, a little unpredictability can come in handy at times.
I can’t say that it’s a perfect film because it isn’t. There’s an element of over-familiarity at play and occasionally the story loses focus. Whatever Easter eggs are floating about aren’t Easter eggs anymore since the fans have some idea of what to look for now. The predictable mid-post-credit extra scene is promising, but hardly impressive. But then there’s the up side and it’s a steep one…
The core of it is solid. The heroes we know are still fun to watch, the new ones get their moments to shine, the villains are fascinating… and Ultron is truly amazing. For all the talk of how dull the Chitauri were as villains in the last Avengers film, Ultron is the complete opposite. He’s compelling, darkly hilarious and possesses more personality than any fan could have ever imagined.
As for the adventure, it’s on a grand scale that hops across the globe and the fate of the whole planet is genuinely hanging in the balance, unlike last time. Some aspects of it get glossed over to keep the whole production moving forward, but the momentum rarely lets up so it’s a rollercoaster of a ride. It’s worth every moment of the attention it demands, and delivers more than people predicted.
Plus there are mentions to all the “big picture” plotlines going on throughout the films and TV shows of the franchise, while laying down some new storylines to follow up on.
But is it predictable, like the woman sitting behind me said? To some extent yes, but that’s okay. It doesn’t need to have the same surprising twists and turns as The Winter Soldier to work. It just needs to be very good and keep the ball rolling, which it succeeds at. Basically it does what Marvel has done so well so far, which is delivering pure entertainment.