Spoilers ahead, minor and major — YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED!
Suffice it to say, the movie appealed to my inner six year old. This is a good thing. It’s also a bad thing.
That aside, I still have to say that AofU didn’t thrill me like the first Avengers film. It didn’t bore me, though. There were certainly enough comic book “Fuck yeah!” moments. But I suspect part of that was my brain trying to keep up with the plot, and not stumble over the holes where things were obviously cut out. In fact, yes, I felt like I was watching an edited version on FX, “compressed for time”. On the plus side, though, there was the particular way this film hit my comic book geek spots.
Because if you’re really going to hit all the highlights of Marvel Comics history on film, then fuck it — go for broke, from the creation of the synthozoid Vision, down to creating an “All New, All Different” B-team at the end of it all, just like in the comics.
This past Free Comic Book Day, I found this: a fresh copy of MARVEL SUPER-HEROES Vol. 1, No. 80, one of the first comic books I ever remember reading as a child. The cover date is 1979, so I was 5 or 6 years old. (The issue itself is a reprint of THE INCREDIBLE HULK Vol. 1, No. 128 from 1970.)
The Avengers roster started changing in the comics after the second issue. Characters like General “Thunderbolt” Ross were already missing the classic line-up…
Okay, even as a kid maybe I knew this team seemed a little wanting, just like the team introduced at the end of AofU seems to be. But six year old me still thought this image was bad ass! (Don’t worry, Wanda gets her licks in by the end of the issue.)
Just like people have “My Doctor
” (i.e. the one they imprinted on as a kid), I have my Avengers. And my Avengers will always have Goliath, The Vision, The Beast, Yellowjacket, and Wonder Man in the turtleneck and the red pimp safari jacket, because they were the ones in the comics I read after this one.
For me, that’s the joy of AofU. I enjoyed this retelling of Avengers history! Very well done, “A” for effort! I want to see what Captain America, Black Widow, War Machine, Falcon, Scarlet Witch, and The Vision do in the next go-round!
And yet, although I judiciously avoided all spoilers, I knew I’d seen this — well, read this — all before. Which begs the question of who exactly AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON was written for — six year old boy comic book geek me, or for over-forty dude comic book geek me? I’m fairly sure much of the praise or scorn heaped upon this movie is based on the answer to that question.
Six year old me might’ve interpreted that scene between Black Widow and Bruce Banner a little more generously than most (if you’ve seen it, you know what I’m talking about) and might’ve thought Widow’s MCU history reveal probably means something different to the character than it does to people watching the film. Part
of over-forty me believes that. But the rest of over-forty me knows a reveal like that doesn’t exist in a vacuum, and it’s a shame, too. A revelation that might’ve offered some additional depth (“My soul is as dark as Banner’s, but I have the same heroic potential.”) is doomed from almost the very start of the movie and it’s “lullaby” scene, and frames things in a way that makes the snarky “cleaning up after you boys” quip a mere one step above that one line in the last movie