Curiously enough, Captain Beefcake makes an oblique reference to the 1927 Yankees in the final scene of the movie (I will not call it a “film”), exactly when I was thinking of the great 1990s Yankees teams that won four World Series titles from 1996 to 2000. And if you even dare try to tell me that the year 2000 was not part of the 1990s, I will Ultron your ass so hard you will wish you were a transplant patient waiting in line for Mickey Mantle’s liver. [See what I did there?]
The reason I conjured up those latter damn Yankees is because they didn’t really need Joe Torre to manage them, no more than the Avengers needed Joss Whedon to direct them. In fact, I bet Avengers: Age of Ultron would have turned out pretty much the same with absolutely no director at the helm. Consider the great managing decisions Joe Torre made in those late 1990s games, like “Start Jeter,” or “Bring in Mariano Rivera for the 9th.” Pure genius.
Consider the great directorial decisions Joss Whedon made such as: “Make a couple of homophobic jokes,” and “Have Thor do something with the hammer thingy.” Or “Drag out everything until everyone in their seats has their sciatica act up again.”
I’m upset because I kind of liked the earlier Avengers movies, and I thought Joss Whedon was a marvelous writer of punchy, clever dialogue. No more. He’s a hack and he’s cashed a nice check. It’s fine. Must be nice.
Is it ironic that the movie is about an artificial intelligence gone awry, when the entire global blockbuster industry of movies is run by algorithms designed to commodify the human spirit?
The subtitle “Age of Ultron” is certainly misleading. It should be “An Hour with Ultron.” Actually, that might be a good time. You see, Ultron is funny. He makes dry jokes. He has Tony Stark’s personality, which is why he is trying to destroy the world, because, you know, Tony Stark can’t tell the difference between destroying or saving the world, either, which is why there have been so many Iron Man movies where Tony Stark is the villain trying to destroy the world.
Stuff blows up real good for about 150 minutes. Stuff blows up, real good. We have a laughable “romance” develop between the Hulk and ScarJo, where we so thankfully learn that neither of them can bear fruit in their barren reproductive holes. Captain Beefcake’s goody-two-shoedness is played to the hilt. We get the maudlin Hawkeye family scenario. We get two new Avengers (until one of them dies after inexplicably saving a child while the entire planet hangs in the balance). We get a villain in Ultron who is a renaissance Lawnmower Man on K2, but is too stupid to actually do anything realistic with the power of controlling the Internet, and instead keeps trying to discover nuclear launch codes.
But more importantly, we get the cogs to churn forth near the end as we find Vision and the exposition for the next movies about the Infinity Gauntlet and the Infinity Gems. It seems strange that movies like Ant-Man are forthcoming when THE ENTIRE UNIVERSE IS AT STAKE because the Infinity Gauntlet is, well, just click this link because I don’t have the energy to explain any of it. And isn’t it colossally unfair that it’s a gauntlet? What if someone without hands wants to wield its power? Maybe it should be an Infinity Sock. Nah, that’s unfair to people without feet. How about an Infinity Tam? Everyone has a head, right? Now we’re going to upset the Headless Horseman.
The movie isn’t all bad. It gets a +1 for Stan Lee still being alive and making stupid cameos. Another +1 for destroying some lame-ass foreign place instead of New York again. Scratch that. They destroy both New York and some lame-ass foreign place, so -1, and now we’re back to zero.
If we must have an Infinity War, just remember: everything is everything and nothing is nothing.