Avengers 2 is a Coney Island Hot Dog

31 May

We once knew a chap who equated movies with food. Why, he asked, did people denigrate Sylvester Stallone’s movies? After all, when dining out, one does not always want haute cuisine – sometimes a coney island hot dog hits the spot. Using the movies-as-food theory, a film like ‘Amadeus’ would likely be a rich dessert, while Kurosawa’s ‘The Seven Samurai’ would be a full course kaiseki Japanese meal.

Which brings us to ‘Avengers: Age of Ultron’ (we don’t get out much – we only got around to seeing it two days ago). This Marvel offering is, in our humble opinion, of the coney island variety, kind of sloppy, with extra chili, extra onions, and a couple of hot peppers thrown in for good measure.

The movie is probably as good as one can expect the sequel to the first Avengers film to be; after the first film, it was almost inevitable that the filmmakers would decide that the sequel had to top it. The plot of ‘Ultron’ is incoherent and it seems at times like it’s all too much.

coney island

This is not to say that there aren’t things to like about the current offering – we enjoyed the scene where Tony Stark summons a super-duper mechanical suit down from space to fight an out-of-control Hulk. At the same time, we kept thinking about the similarity between this scene and the excesses of the Michael Bay Transformer movies.

The film deals with some heady themes – the Avengers’ debate about what their role in the world should be mirrors the debate within the US about how the world’s one remaining superpower should wield that power. Writer/Director Joss Whedon also slips in some stuff about working as a team and doing things together that seemed a mite unsubtle to us. And dammit,  he brought back the airborne aircraft carrier thing from the first movie, an energy-guzzling dinosaur if there ever was one.

Our biggest pet peeve is with the Vision, the living cyborg entity familiar to readers of Marvel comics. (This next part is comics-geeky, don’t say we didn’t warn you) Asked what they’d choose if they could have a superhuman power, most people would probably say the ability to fly.  We think the flying thing is overrated – it wouldn’t be all that great in cold weather in rainstorms it’d be downright miserable. The Vision can fly by adjusting his body density, which also gives him the power to walk through walls.The latter seems really useful – when matter itself is no impediment, it opens up a whole new world of possibilities. But there are no really good scenes in the movie where we see the Vision utilize this ability (He reaches into the bodies of Ultron’s cyborg accomplices and messes ’em up, but there’s so much going on during the fight scenes, it’s easy to miss.) When you have a character that can walk through walls, by gum, he’d better walk through walls.

Now, that's more like it.

Now, that’s more like it.

The bottom line is that Avengers 2 is an OK superhero picture, but not an exceptional one. The picture is fun to look at but if it were it a coney dog, it wouldn’t give you heartburn – it wouldn’t make enough of an impact to do that. Not that this really matters though – Marvel Studios have already laughed all the way to the bank.

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