These feel like cinematic end times – not in terms of Hollywood movies (that horse is already out of the barn), but in the pack-mentality, “hey, it’s good enough” approach of critics to the colossus that bestrides summer movies, otherwise known as the Marvel Universe.
I speak specifically of “Avengers: Age of Ultron,” which is riding a wave of grade inflation on Rotten Tomatoes (again, horse/barn) into a permanent state of Freshness. (Take a peek at just how many of those critics whose reviews have been termed “Fresh” are actually holding their noses to give it a passing grade.)
In fact, “Avengers: Age of Ultron” is a bloated, lumbering special-effects reel with jokes and unconvincing stabs at romantic subplot. It’s officially been acclaimed as the critics’ “it could have been worse” king of summer.
Of course it could have been worse. It can always be worse.
That’s not the same as being a good movie.
I’m not saying “Avengers: Age of Ultron” is terrible; it’s not terrible. (Hey, Disney, feel free to use that quote in the ads.) If anything, it shows that Joss Whedon isn’t content to rest on his laurels for “Avengers,” a film I liked. He wants to fully engage that Marvel morass of feelings, frailties and individual imperfection that made their comics stand out in the early 1960s.
But it’s a battle of sensibilities in this film: that urge to actually tell a human story about people with superhuman powers, while still serving the fanboy base that just wants fireworks. Whedon simply can’t wrestle it all into one movie in a coherent form – so he shovels it all on to the screen for two and a half hours.
This review continues on my website.