Update October 5, 2020: Age of Ultron is often considered the least of the Avengers movies . Does he deserve this reputation? Here’s what Première thought of it when it was released in 2015.
The biggest challenge of The Age of Ultron is not industrial (the film is scheduled to be a hallucinatory success, mektoub) but artistic. Be on the same level as the triumphant and miraculous Avengers of 2012, ranked first in our top Marvel Cinematic Universe movies. Avengers managed to be the nexus of the saga, lining up the bits of bravery within a very fine polyphonic writing where every superhero found a place, including the Hulk and Hawkeye. Since then, Iron Man 3 , Thor: The Dark World , Captain America: The Winter Soldier and Guardians of the Galaxy have been there, proving the infallibility of the Marvel recipe by staying in the party line. All of this we know.
The Age of Ultron begins very strong (too strong?). The shot of a sister and her brother (nice nod to the opening of Serenity ), guinea pigs of a great villain entrenched in a fortress in an imaginary Eastern country. Cut: The Avengers attack the fortress in a crazy sequence shot, which goes from hero to hero – echoing that of the final battle of the first Avengers – until the money shot in slow motion of all the Avengers in the same shot, glorious real animated image from a comic book spread. The opening of the film is crazy. The rest, we let you find out: even if the overall plot is that of the Avengers fighting against a psychopathic robot ( James Spaderin performance capture, excellent, both impressive and mocking) seeking to exterminate humanity, Age of Ultron is much more complicated than that. Arms trafficking, genetic manipulation, a lot of robots, artificial intelligence, crazy brawls, flashbacks, flashforwards. The writing miracle is still here: Unheard of how to make every character meaningful, even new ones (Vision, Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch exist for real), Whedon especially puts the Avengers to the test through torments of their pasts, until the rupture. The film breaks the fragile balance that Avengers had created . “We are freaks, so we might as well act like one”, says Iron Man. Which explains the feeling that the film gives of going in all directions, in all corners of the world and the cinema, constantly bumping into its frame – perfect example: the central fight between the Hulk and Iron Man.
By ultimately choosing to destroy more or less its universe, The Age of Ultron clearly shows that it is the film of impossibility. Impossibility of being at the stratospheric level of Avengers , impossibility of lowering oneself to the relaxation and cynicism of Thor 2 or Iron Man 3 , impossibility of being different, impossibility for Whedon, completely washed away by the production of the film, to find the freshness, joy and height of 2012. The Age of Ultronis overwhelming and exhausting, and its 2.5 hours are going to leave more than one behind. And dark, too: not “dark” like the nolanesque productions. The trailers promised a heavy atmosphere (Cap’s broken shield), an epic and serious last-ditch fight. It’s not really that. On the surface and in summary, the overall result is in line with Kevin Feige’s specifications , based on punch, perfectly cut actors and punchlines. The real meaning of the film is buried. Time (and several visions) will give The Age of Ultron its full dimension, that of a funny Promethean blockbuster. Creation ended up crushing its creator, who wants to burn everything with it. At one point Ultron sings the melody of Pinocchio : a reference to Frankenstein would have been more appropriate.