You went to see Avengers 2. We went to see Avengers 2. Let’s talk about Avengers 2, too.

A bunch of Kotaku staffers went to go see the latest movie featuring Marvel’s premiere super-team. Some of us liked it more than others. Some people made fun of Hawkeye. Not me, though.

Spoilers follow for the plot of Avengers: Age of Ultron.

Jason Schreier: Avengers: Age of Ultron isn’t a movie, it’s an advertisement for 1293139213 other Marvel movies.

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Nathan Grayson: Bingo, and not a very good advertisement. It’s an advertisement paired with a largely irrelevant side story. The Marvel movies build to things. Or at least, they’re supposed to. Phase One built to Avengers. I am not sure what phase two built to, but it certainly wasn’t this.

Evan Narcisse: Is Phase Two even officially over?

Nathan Grayson: Who even knows anymore?

Evan Narcisse: The thing that’s both brilliant and annoying is that Marvel has the built-in out of saying that this is how they’ve always done superhero stories.

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Jason Schreier: Evan, as our resident comics expert, did you understand what was up with Thor and the cave? Because the movie sure didn’t explain it.

Evan Narcisse: That was the most bullshit part.

Nathan Grayson: He went there and had a vision about the next movie.

Jason Schreier: lol

Evan Narcisse: Look—nine, ten, whatever-number movies in—foreshadowing is part and parcel of the Marvel Movie Formula. But when it’s clumsy like that, nobody wins.

Jason Schreier: I will say, though, I spent at least an hour reading Wikipedia to catch up on all the other Marvel movies I hadn’t seen and what they’ve got planned, so... mission accomplished? I still don’t really know who Vision is, though.

Evan Narcisse: I’m not going to explain the Vision here but I will say I liked the movie’s version of him and that the execution tied in neatly to the movie’s themes. See, I actually like the thematic underpinnings of the main movie plot.

Nathan Grayson: Yeah, I agree there.

Jason Schreier: I don’t have a problem with foreshadowing being part of the Marvel formula, but isn’t it usually relegated to the post-credits scenes?

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Evan Narcisse: Nah, Jason, it’s always been delivered as breadcrumbs. Usually not this obvious, though.

Nathan Grayson: But I felt like the Vision derailed a major theme, that being heroes facing the consequences of their own actions. Tony Stark accidentally created a genocidal mega-robot, and then the problem was solved by the creation of another mega-robot-ish thing. So, in effect, Tony Stark didn’t really learn anything or change or grow meaningfully.

On top of that, The Vision came out of nowhere, and we didn’t really get to spend much time with him. I mean, it’s cool to leave fans wanting more, but I feel like the Vision was symptomatic of this film stretching itself too thin. Like, “wait, what? Oh, he seems cool. Huh, why are the credits already rolling?”

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Michael Fahey: I imagine those who weren’t familiar with the character have absolutely no idea what his power set is, given his brief appearance either.

Nathan Grayson: Aside from soothing dulcet tones, you mean? I want him to be my GPS.

Evan Narcisse: “Is his arm going inside that one robot?”

Jason Schreier: I assumed he was just an omnipotent android.

Nathan Grayson: Yeah, the message they seemed to send was, “literally better than all the other Avengers”

Michael Fahey: Movie has officially failed.

Nathan Grayson: He can lift Thor’s hammer! He understands everything and doesn’t let emotions get the better of him! He is pink!

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Evan Narcisse: I did like how they kinda intimated that he was a more of a group creation than Ultron. Like, it took Ultron, Dr. Cho, Loki, Iron Man, Hulk and Thor to make a “good” AI whereas the other one was a secret project that Stark and Banner made on the down-low.

Michael Fahey: They save the world...together.,

Evan Narcisse: Exactly.

Evan Narcisse: As someone who’s always loved Hawkeye, I was glad that he got such an important role here. The beat with him in the middle of the movie was a real surprise to fans like me.

Michael Fahey: Considering what a dog he is in the comics?

Evan Narcisse: (Spoiler: Clint Barton isn’t married with kids in the comics.)

Evan Narcisse: Yeah, MIke, Many angry ex-girlfriends in his wake.

Evan Narcisse: One of whom is Wanda Maximoff. The scenes they shared together were nice nods to the closeness they’ve had in the comics.

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Michael Fahey: And don’t forget his ex-wife, Agents of SHIELD’s Bobbi Morse, a.k.a Mockingbird.

Evan Narcisse: Is that canon, Mike?

Michael Fahey: Not in the movie-verse, but certainly in the comics.

Jason Schreier: What was the deal with Andy Serkis’s character? More setup?

Michael Fahey: Ah yes, Jason. This is where we insert a picture of Klaw.

Evan Narcisse: Yes, Jason, more set-up. Klaw is an archenemy for the Black Panther.

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Jason Schreier: BTW, this conversation is scattershot and has too many characters, sort of a metaphor for that one thing

Evan Narcisse: Ni No Kuni?

Michael Fahey: I was waiting for that.

Nathan Grayson: Nah, Evan, you’re thinking of Suikoden

Jason Schreier: :fire:fire:fire:fire:

Nathan Grayson: hahaha

Michael Fahey: I will say I enjoyed James Spader’s turn as Tony Stark the Evil Robot.

Jason Schreier: Oh, he was excellent.

Jason Schreier:: reminiscent of Heath Ledger’s Joker in some ways

Michael Fahey: Who knew a genocidal robot could be so personable? And the way he talked. “C’mon, guys...”

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Evan Narcisse: The scene where he became sentient was chilling. God forbid the AI Overthrow be done by a bunch of programs with really bad hangovers.

Evan Narcisse: What’d you guys think of the fight scenes/action?

Nathan Grayson: The opening action scene was pretty excellent and the Hulkbuster Iron Man vs Hulk fight was almost great.

Michael Fahey: Any time slow-motion came into play, I felt my cheese-o-meter rising...not counting the Quicksilver bits, of course.

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Nathan Grayson: The ending was a huge anticlimax that beat us over the head with the WE’RE NOT LIKE SUPERMAN motif over and over and over. But it never felt like the stakes were particularly huge, and the only character to die wasn’t around long enough for me to care.

Jason Schreier: Yeah, I loved the intro too. I was hoping Hawkeye would die at the end.

Nathan Grayson: saaaaaaaaame

Evan Narcisse: Jason!

Jason Schreier: I bet Whedon wanted that to happen but Marvel wouldn’t let him do it.

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Nathan Grayson: They even implied it, when he was talking about his plans for the house. I was like, “shit, they’re gonna kill Hawkeye and make it all sad” but then it was a fake out. And not the funny kind of fake out, or even the clever kind, just a letdown.

Michael Fahey: But no, Hawkeye was saved by my third-favorite character in the Marvel universe behind Squirrel Girl and Strong Guy.

Nathan Grayson: If Whedon was fully allowed to do his thing, I have almost no doubt he would’ve killed hawkeye there, because it would’ve been such a Whedon moment. Killing Quicksilver felt like the ultimate concession that these movies aren’t allowed to do any real damage. It must all be for the good of the franchise, not for the good of the individual film.

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Jason Schreier: Yes, well put. It’s all about getting you to see the next 20 movies, not about whether this one actually resonates.

Michael Fahey: I’ve a feeling there was more behind that killing behind the scenes. For the first time in live-action, the character was done justice, and then he was wiped out. I smell a stipulation to Fox and Marvel’s Spider-Man deal. (Quicksilver is also a character in Fox’s X-Men films.)

Evan Narcisse: To me, the problem with killing Hawkeye is that it takes away a just-plain-folks element. (The Black Widow isn’t a regular person for the purposes of the movie, despite not having powers.)

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Jason Schreier: Do the Avengers really need a regular person? Every time there was a fight scene and everyone’s doing badass shit and then it just cuts to Hawkeye shooting arrows, I couldn’t help but laugh.

Evan Narcisse: Someone shoot Jason with an arrow and record his laughter.

Nathan Grayson: Although I lovvvved the bit where he even pointed that out.

Michael Fahey: My laughing point was the stealth spy Black Widow with her neon blue LED lighting.

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Jason Schreier: Yeah, there were a few great Whedon lines that shined through but I bet he was unhappy with the movie, overall. It was very Not Him.

Nathan Grayson: Yeah, I’ve heard there was quite a bit of internal strife.

Michael Fahey: So we’re pretty much not entirely happy. Surely, we all had a favorite moment though.

Michael Fahey: Mine was Quicksilver Vs. Thor’s hammer.

Nathan Grayson: That was pretty funny, an “aha” moment followed by an “oh no” moment. I think I laughed hardest at the end: “Avengers! Assem—” smash cut to credits.

Jason Schreier: Most of Ultron’s lines made me laugh. Great villain, overall.

Evan Narcisse: The attempted hammer lifts were mine.

Michael Fahey: For a minute I thought you were going to say the Thanos hand-model moment, Jason.

Jason Schreier: Yeah, I think that was my favorite scene, too.

Evan Narcisse: Thor’s face when Cap made it budge was great.

Jason Schreier: Black Widow just being like “nah.”

Nathan Grayson: Yeah, one of Black Widow’s best bits, I thought. I also liked War Machine’s attempt to tell a joke, and the Avengers were like, “That’s it?” And he was like, “that usually kills!” Then later he’s telling it and it totally works.

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Nathan Grayson: But it’s like, I think about all this stuff, and then I get upset again because, I don’t know, a lot of the start of the film—while fun—didn’t make much sense in the broader scope of the franchise.

Heroes go on a mundane mission and chill out together, but where was everyone at the end of Thor 2, etc? Marvel has backed themselves into a corner, and it shows no matter which way you look at the movie.

Jason Schreier: And where was everyone when SHIELD fell apart in Cap ?

Nathan Grayson: It might sound like nitpicking, but it’s so hard *not* to notice this stuff because it’s so glaring.

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Jason Schreier: Well, Marvel asks you to notice it; continuity is their whole shtick.

Michael Fahey:At least that became a major plot thread in Agents of SHIELD. But where did they go during that?

Michael Fahey: The Marvel movies need Coulson back.

Evan Narcisse: That’s a good point. A viewpoint character to tie things together added a ton of charm to all the ‘splodey bits.

Jason Schreier: He was a way better regular dude than Hawkeye, too.

Michael Fahey: The first Avengers was all fighting and one-liners once he “died”. Hawkeye doesn’t work, because if I were him I’d be hiding.

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Evan Narcisse: Dare we hope that Martin Freeman will be that guy? (Especially if he plays Everett K. Ross, as rumored?)

Jason Schreier: Also, can we talk about how they have the incredible Cobie Smulders and they just totally underuse her

Evan Narcisse: Yeah, that’s a damn shame.

Evan Narcisse: Overall, I’m glad at how human Age of Ultron felt, despite the opaqueness of the Mighty Marvel Marketing Scheme

Nathan Grayson: I don’t know. I felt like the more human moments were rushed...

Michael Fahey: And I’m glad I have a Scarlet Witch LEGO Minifig, even if it is technically an Olsen sister.

Nathan Grayson: I think that’s where a lot of the problems with Black Widow came up. They tried to give her this more human, empathetic side but they rushed the shit out of it and wrote it really poorly and one-dimensionally. You can totally do a character with those pathos and not have it come off as shitty or demeaning toward women or anything but it was all so hurried and sloppily handled.

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Nathan Grayson: How about... we go to Fahey’s house and make our own Avengers movie with Legos to right Marvel’s wrongs as a team?

Michael Fahey: What’s that? Fahey has to go buy the sets with Vision and Quicksilver for work? I’m in!

Jason Schreier: dibs on Vision. “Hey guys *zaps literally every enemy with a blink* ok cya”

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Nathan Grayson: I will take Tony Stark because he reminds me of my dad and I have issues.

Michael Fahey: We need to get Jason some comic books, stat.

Evan Narcisse: He has them; he just ain’t reading them.


Contact the author at evan@kotaku.com.