Whedon manages to guide the comic hero vehicle that is ‘Avengers: Age of Ultron’ to a competent and entertaining landing, despite the itching feeling that execs at Marvel were constantly fighting over the controls.
Despite the story taking a back seat to the constant barrage of new characters, Wheddon delivers an entertaining summer blockbuster. Like the first Avengers, there’s so much going on, it’s comparable to a plate spinning act—only this time around, certain plates began to kilter.
It was choppy from scene to scene, which may have been a result of cramming over 16 recurring characters into one feature film. But it felt as though it suffered from some late stage rewrites. I may be completely out at the pictures on this one, but here’s my theory why: Quicksilver was so well received in the last X-men that they decided to throw in the towel on his existence as an Avenger all together, which sent ripples throughout the film.
The first being that Hawkeye doesn’t die. Perhaps Whedon was doing a Kansas City Shuffle, foreshadowing the death of a character that wasn’t to die; After all, Quicksilver does quip, “You didnt see that coming.” But why waste time developing Hawkeye into the well humoured paternal of the group, only to have him leave at the end? Whedon loves killing the well humoured paternal…
Why foreshadow the death of an avenger, only to kill off the newest recruit, Quicksilver? Imagine how dramatic it would have been for Hawkeye to hand the child that’s in imminent danger off to Quicksilver. Quicksilver and child would disappear in a blur, the virtual passing of the torch from the old avenger to the new, moments before Hawkeye is riddled with bullets. Hell of thing, right?
It would have left Romanov even more of a widow than usual, toying with the Arrow necklace in the last scene of the film, the one we saw her wear in Winter Soldier, rather than groveling over the forced romance between her and the Hulk—who must suffer from amnesia as well as anger issues *cough* Betty Ross *cough*
When Vision showed up, it reminded me of Dr. Manhattan from Watchmen, an ultimately indifferent God serving the needs of his compatriots. In Watchmen, we learn that Dr. Manhattan shed his humanity along with his skin when he became a god.
But in Avengers: Age of Ultron, there’s no consequence to making Vision. There’s no loss of Hawkeye, I mean Humanity—I tripped up because losing him is that significant. He’s the last humble one out of all of them; he still has to fast jog to the action. His death would be enough to wake Stark and the other Avengers from their hubris, like Agent Coulson in the first. Only Hawkeyes death would have the opposite effect, forcing the Avengers to reflect on their actions, sending them off on their separate ways. And they do, but the audience isn’t really given a reason. Perhaps they kept the different character arches but took away the catalyst.
Either way, it’s nice that Hawkeye gets to retire from the Avengers and live with his family, even if it is remarkably convenient.