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Did you see the third Avengers: Age of Ultron trailer? Of course you did. It came out like four days ago, that’s like a century in Internet time. Plus, you know, it’s a highly anticipated movie. Just in case, take a look:
The first Avengers movie was, if we boil it down, a pretty serviceable action movie launched into critical acclaim by The World’s Greatest Marketing Campaign. It’s well done for a movie having to juggle something like seven protagonists, but there are already a bunch of other much better analyses out there.
So, for me at least, Age of Ultron isn’t really bullet proof. Making a giant-er sequel to a giant movie is tough. There are a million choices and most of them can easily go the wrong way. I’m optimistic, but my eyes are open. In that spirit, here are three things from the trailer that look a bit worrisome.
In the comics, Ultron wants to get rid of organic life. His mission was to bring peace to Earth and that was his solution. He was never a truly complex villain, more like an unstoppable force of, ahem, nature. However, to everything he did there was a kind of cold logic. He had reason, but not passion.
In this trailer we get the closest to seeing Ultron’s motivations, and it seems very similar to what it is in the comics. With one major difference. In the movie, he’s like… vindictive. Even in the other trailers we get an earful of him saying how much he’s into groups of people screaming and burning the world.
I get that they’re going for an “insanity” angle, but it’s not like he’s completely without reason. In this trailer alone he states that the only way to save the world is human extinction. So what? He just hates humans? I guess. That leaves something to be desired, doesn’t it? Sure, you don’t have a whole lot of time to set up a complex motivation, but you have to be able to do something more than “he just doesn’t like these guys”. It’s flimsy.
It’s most frustrating because one of Marvel’s biggest problems is their villains. Loki wasn’t exactly terror-inducing and, outside his mommy issues, not all that dimensional. Thanos has potential, but that’s like years from now. The MCU needs some powerful, layered villains now.
I don’t really want to get into gender politics. Still, the female part in Avengers was sorely underwritten. I like to encourage a bigger female presence to be more inclusive, to seem more open-armed. Comics can tell really amazing stories and I think it’s a much bigger genre than “a dude’s thing”.
To that, we have doubled the number of ladies this movie! Two. Two ladies. But! But, one is a tried-and-true team member and the other is a super powerful reality-bender! Problem solved!
Well, not exactly. In this trailer Black Widow doesn’t seem to have a lot to do. She quips at Tony Stark, picks up Cap’s Shield, poses with electric batons, and goes in for a smooch with Bruce Banner. We see hardly anything from Scarlet Witch. Yikes! That’s not a good sign for the rest of the movie. I mean, it could just be marketing, but that kinda reflects the direction the movie wants to get into, right?
Ah yes. In this trailer, Ultron promises to tear apart the Avengers from the inside. Like Loki and/or Hydra. Come on guys! Another plot point, please! Look, this doesn’t work for two main reasons. The first is simple: it’s been done before. It’s done pretty much whenever there’s a group. We’ve seen it.
Second off, this really works best when the team has strong cohesion. The Avengers are not that. We’ve already got infighting with Tony and Steve, Fury and everyone, and Banner and everyone. Not to mention the infighting that’ll come out of Tony’s creation of Ultron. It’s not hard to tear something apart from the inside when it’s already falling apart by itself. We’re not worried about this awesome group of friends becoming enemies. They’re big personalities forced to work together. It’s not high stakes, is what I’m saying.
There has to be a better way to bring down the Avengers in this movie than to rehash this old chestnut. Turn the public against them, use the world’s weapons against them, make your own dark Avengers, something. Listen, those are other, viable ideas and they’re pretty cliche! With enough time, the plot point could be stellar.
Again, I’m still optimistic, but this gives me pause. This is going to be a monumental movie, the story should be as such.