Saturday, May 23, 2015

Fangirls Assemble! Avengers: Age of Ultron Review and Experience

The Fangirl Experience is a monthly column suggested by Jaime Heller, featuring contributions from both our staff and our readers. Everybody has those moments when being a fangirl feels like the world has become perfectly balanced. It's those moments when you feel a stir in your heart that maybe you've made the right decision in falling down the fandom vortex. When, in the words of my good "friend" Zachary Levi, your "unbridled passion for something, or things, defines who they are as a person without fear of other people's judgment." It's that moment you want to share with the whole world, scream to the rooftops, about what happened. Maybe it's a small moment, maybe it's a big one. But every fangirl has one--or will have one--and we would like to share ours with you. Because our Initiative would be nothing without the Experience.

This month, we asked our readers to contribute photos of their experiences seeing Avengers: Age of Ultron. You delivered! Thanks to everyone who submitted. We've also included photos of our experiences, and our overall opinion of the latest adventure in the Marvel Universe. Enjoy! (This article contains spoilers.)

Jaime Heller

*flails arms in frustration* For the past two weeks, I’ve tried to capture the thoughts zinging through my mind about this film. I’ve waded through critical comments and opinions that ripped my fangirl heart to shreds. I’ve decided dive into how I truly felt about this movie, not what others have said. I paid money to see a kick-butt superhero film, starring characters I’ve journeyed with for the past eight years and promising a brighter future. You know what I got? A fan-freaking-tastic super hero movie with characters I love even more now and the anticipation for everything that is coming next. Phase 3: I’m ready.
  • Ultron was brilliant. Perfect voice cast. The “Tony-issm” in Ultron’s personality and dialogue were perfection. The entire birth, evolution, and destruction of Ultron was a marvelous story arc.
  •  The build-up for this movie wasn’t as high as the first one for me because I knew they could be a team. Even so, there’s eight minds with eight different opinions fluttering around on how to stop Ultron. The best thing about the Avengers is that they all bring to the table their back stories, their pain, their imperfections, and their motivation to do things better.
  • Eight heads bopping around means less screen time for each individual character, which was an initial disappointment to me (especially since I adore Steve and didn’t find he was in it as much as I would have liked) But the point of the Avengers team movies is to bring them together in order to split off for independent films (kind of how comics work). And that makes the movie all the more better: anticipation for the next Thor movie, the next Captain America movie, the next character to be introduced and brought back in, and the overall, meta-narrative story arc to continue toward the next projectile. 
  • I loved the cameos of Sam Wilson/Falcon (I cheered when I saw him), Rhodey/War Machine, Heimdall, and even Andy Serkis’ part as Klaue. (Though I’d been hoping for a brief glimpse of the Winter Soldier)
  • One of my favorite parts was Wanda’s projections. I loved seeing new sides to my favorite heroes. To see their fears, desires, and glimpses of their pasts. I desperately want a Black Widow movie because of the brief snippets they revealed of her training. My heart broke for Steve with his desire to be with Peggy, to be normal even (Plus I’m a sucker for the 40s-50s party vibe). I’m curious as to what Bruce saw in his vision. 
  • Hawkeye. Hawkeye deserves an award for being the best. In the first movie, he was mind-controlled by Loki, so we didn’t get to see a whole lot of his character/personality. This movie gave me more than I could ever want. We learn about his family (he lives on a freaking farm and wears flannel and chops wood), we see him being BA knocking Wanda out before she can mind-control him, and of course my favorite part: “The city is flying. The city is flying and we’re fighting a robot army and I have a bow. Nothing makes sense” along with his motivational speech to Wanda to be a hero. Hawkeye is the MVP of the movie and if you don’t agree, you’re wrong. 
  • The entire story flowed well with loose ends coming together (the Vision, the Twins, the Hulk), foreshadowing for future movies (Thor’s vision, the Infinity Stones), and raw emotion and risible humor. Because if you’re in the midst of world destruction, I think a little humor is good to lighten the mood.
Like I said: I paid money for a good superhero movie. I wanted to enjoy another installment in the MCU. That’s what I got. I don’t think I should expect more.


"Best movie I have seen in a long time!!! LOVED IT!" - Cassidy B.


Amanda Horn

This movie blew my mind. And by “blew my mind” I mean how-in-the-world-did-they-fit-so-much-awesome-into-one-movie?

1. CLINT. Just Clint. I mean, that man. He pretty much just stole the movie with the snark and the farm and the family. And the flannel! Obviously the flannel. But on a more serious note, I love that they made him have a family. It worked so well for his character, because honestly? He doesn’t mind just being a normal guy. He likes it, in fact.

2. HIS FAMILY. They made my heart melt. And don’t get me started on Laura. She’s so awesome and I just want to be her when I grow up. I also really appreciated the way they represented Clint and Laura’s marriage. It was so healthy.

3. Bruce and Nat. Even when I was a Clintasha shipper I saw that they had amazing chemistry. There’s something so real about them, so enduring. They have a spark that I noticed way back in the first movie. I just…I can’t. (Also, Jaime and I think they should adopt all the little orphan babies.) And just their stories in general? IT’S PAINFUL.

4. PIETRO MAXIMOFF. I didn’t know I needed this man until I saw the movie. He’s perfect and snarky and protective. He’s quick and bright and witty. It’s not just his muscles that work fast, but his brain does too. And that’s so refreshing! A lot of times people who are fast on their feet are portrayed as stupid just because they’re athletic, and that’s not okay. AND THEN HE BROKE ME BY DYING. But that didn’t happen. I’m totally not in denial.

5. Pietro and Wanda’s bro/sis relationship. I can’t. This is perfect. Siblings can totally get along! They actually remind me of my brother and me in some ways.

6. The balance of humor, serious moments and just pain. As the MCU progresses, the characters have seen more pain and become more scarred. However, Joss Whedon did not allow that to overpower the whole movie. He brought us back down to earth and allowed us to see the the funny and maybe even beautiful things behind that.


1. In some parts I felt like the writing was a bit awkward. What they were trying to say was good, but it sounded a bit funny at times, or maybe the timing was off.

2. At times, I felt like the pacing was a bit off. However, I’ve heard that Joss Whedon’s cut clocked in at around 3 hours, maybe 3 hours and 15 minutes, so if we get an extended cut, I think some of those issues might not be there.

In conclusion, this movie touched me in so many ways. Despite being “super” these people suffer and struggle in the same ways we do and I think we need that in our lives.


Izzy Stevenson

For me, Avengers: Age of Ultron was not nearly as good as the first Avengers film. The editing was choppy, and as a result, the film suffered by seeming somewhat disorganized.

However, I did enjoy meeting Wanda, also known as the Scarlet Witch. I really like Elizabeth Olsen in the role. And I also love her aesthetic; it’s cool that she gets to be somewhat creepy, even though she is, when it comes down to it, one of the good guys.

I’m glad we got to see more of Bruce in this film. Being an INTP myself, it’s nice seeing characters of my own personality type portrayed in major media. I also liked seeing him work closely with Tony, an ENTP. Together, they make an awesome NTP team.

I was one of the few people who was initially excited about Bruce and Natasha together. I didn’t find the idea of them falling in love with each other as odd. But once I saw the film, I was disappointed they didn’t do more with it. They started off on a negative note, as if the couple was trying to heal something that had been broken. But since we never saw the beginning of their relationship, and how it got broken to begin with, this didn’t have as much emotional impact as it could have had.

Many people have complained that the depiction of Black Widow in this movie was sexist. I didn’t see it as such. It is not antifeminist for a woman to fall in love with a man, nor to experience emotional pain when trouble arises in a romantic relationship. The most controversial line in the movie is when Natasha calls herself a “monster” after explaining she can’t have children; but I saw this as referring to the fact she was designed to be a weapon, not a claim that childless women are “monsters”. I also did not see a problem with Bruce “rescuing” Natasha; especially when you consider that Black Widow did not exactly act like a damsel in distress in that scene. She did all she could to get herself free, and it was more of a team effort between the two characters which got her free in the end. What viewers should keep in mind is good female characters are not ones that are always perfect, always strong, or always independent. A good female character is one that is portrayed humanly and honestly. And to do that, sometimes they have to be vulnerable. Sometimes they need to lean on someone else. Sometimes that “someone else” is a man. And that’s okay.


"Note the date and time on the ticket -- that's right, be jealous!" - Rica Wiersema

Sarah Munson

Long ago, I lost count of how many times I’ve watched the first Avengers film. So far, though, I’ve experienced the much-anticipated Avengers: Age of Ultron twice. Not only is this the first time I’ve paid to see the same movie again, it’s the first time I’ve experienced a Marvel movie on the silver screen. (I know; I can’t believe it myself! What have I been doing all this time?) I’d like to watch it a third time, but I’m waiting for the DVD release to do that. In the meantime, here are a few of my thoughts after two viewings.

As soon as the Marvel credits rolled, I was entranced. The action kicks up instantly, and carries through the entire film. I’ve heard mixed things about the pacing, but I personally enjoyed it. I found the action to be spread out evenly, and there was a good deal of it. There were also slower moments, but I enjoyed those as much, if not more, because they gave me a chance to breathe and anticipate what lay ahead. Even when there’s a lull, I was anxious about all the intensity seeping through. My emotions had plenty of ups and downs, as I would go from laughing at someone’s quip to fearing for humanity.

I entered the theater, expecting Age of Ultron to be the “darkest” Marvel movie ever. I’m not sure if that was the universal expectation, or if I had just heard it from a few people, and so it was in my head. Personally, I didn’t find it much darker than the Winter Soldier, and I actually think the show series of Agent Carter is grittier and darker. That said, Age of Ultron does have a heavier tone than the first Avengers movie. It seemed appropriate, given how the storylines have matured.

Speaking of story, I was glad to see some more backstory for our old Avenger friends, and also for the newcomers. There was an eclectic blend of characters, and I enjoyed seeing them band together, even if there were a lot of people to keep up with at times. Personally, the Twins have won me over the most.

Age of Ultron isn’t by any means perfect. Some scenes felt forced, or confusing, and Ultron isn’t my first choice of villain. This may not even be my favorite Marvel movie. I need to let the dust settle and weigh it against some others to fully decide. However, I solidly enjoyed this film and as I walked out of the theater, I was already anticipating the next round for the Avengers. It’s a good time to live in the Age of Marvel!


Sky Destrian

Ever since I got into Marvel in 2012, I've been waiting for this moment. Avengers: Age of Ultron seemed so far away... and then, suddenly, it was here. I could hardly wait to see it in theaters. I ventured out with my family and as I sat in the dark theater and the opening scenes played, my eyes filled with tears. My children, my darling Avengers, were back. 

Here's what I thought of the movie as a whole, in no particular order...

  • I got to see everyone again. Not going to lie, I cried at the opening slow-mo scene of all of them and the scene in the building where they're fighting and the camera pans in slow-mo. I just love them all so much. Thor was spot-on as always and I loved his hair. Seeing Steve again is always a plus, and the blue shirt he was wearing at Stark Tower was really a great wardrobe choice. Clint was fantastic (more on that later), we got some awesome Natasha scenes, and of course, Tony, our witty and protective man-child. We also got cameos by Maria Hill, Erik Selvig, Sam Wilson, and Rhodey, among others. It was so good to see them again.
  • The new characters were awesome. I love Wanda. I remember thinking she is an amazing superhero that little girls can look up to. Pietro was adorable and he was gone too soon. (I believe he'll come back, but that doesn't mean his death didn't hurt. I didn't see that coming.)
  • VISION! I have mixed feelings. Vision is one of the coolest characters I've seen ever. ("Well, I was born yesterday.") However, I'm so sad to see JARVIS go. However, I do like Tony's new AI, Friday. I hope they keep her.
  • Clint! I hoped beyond hope that we'd see more Clint in this new movie, and WE DID! I love his family and I really love Laura. His kids are adorable, and the farmhouse gave an element of humanity to the Avengers that I didn't know I needed. ("I have a bow and arrow. None of this makes sense.")
  • Sam mentions a "missing persons case." Aha, I see what you did there.
  • THAT. ENDING. Okay, I'm a major Sam Wilson fan, so I squealed when he showed up at Stark Tower. I squealed when Rhodey showed up in the War Machine suit. But what absolutely broke my fangirl meter was THE. ENDING. I can't believe we get New Avengers, I can't believe Rhodey and Sam are finally a part of this, I can't believe two amazing females make up the team, and I can't believe Steve and Natasha are leading them. The fact that the movie ended in the middle of Steve's sentence is still making me fangirl a week later.
  • Some of the characterization was wonky. Tony made a joke about prima noctra that pretty much undid the positive character development we've seen him go through in the past few movies. Natasha wasn't the sassy, deadly Nat I've come to know and love. I feel some of her scenes relegated her to a damsel in distress, and I am just not here for that. If she had had another plotline in addition to the romance, might have been okay. Except, this leads me to...
  • Bruce/Nat. I have mixed feelings on this. I was with them in the opening scene. I could understand it. But as it went on, I didn't like it. It seemed to come out of nowhere and I just didn't feel it.
  • The fact that Clintasha was planned, and yet the plot did everything they could to erase it. I love love love Clint's family, but I don't like the way Clintasha's entire plotline was scrapped.
  • The pacing. The movie had so much in it. In some ways that was awesome. There's so much to talk about. But in some ways, we didn't get to focus on some of the things I wanted to. I would have loved to see Tony's reaction to the essential death of JARVIS, for example.
In conclusion, despite all its flaws, Avengers: Age of Ultron made me laugh and made me cry. There were aspects I didn't like, but as a whole, I honestly loved it. It was a fantastic superhero flick and it allowed me to see my babies one more time. Marvel, I can't wait to see what you do next. 

And what exactly is up next? Captain America: Civil War, aka Avengers 2.5. Prepare your emotions, fangirls, this will be one wild ride.

The Civil War cast line-up is almost as expansive as this.

Jenna Blake Morris

Honestly, I have mixed feelings about Ultron. On one hand, I’ve never seen a bad Marvel movie—and realistically, some parts of AoU really shone. My sister, who’s never been a fan of Marvel, watched this one and was finally converted.

But my favorite thing about Marvel movies has always been their ability to handle serious stuff without taking themselves too seriously. The Iron Man movies (especially the first two), Guardians, the first Avengers film—they all excel at this. And it probably isn’t fair to compare AoU to any of those; after all, it had a ton of characters to juggle, all sorts of continuity ties to create for future movies, and the whole “give us a fight scene every twenty minutes” requirement to deal with.

At the same time, though, AoU just didn’t feel like it had the same joy as its predecessor. Part of the magic ofThe Avengers was just watching the characters interact with and play off each other, and we didn’t get as much of that here. It wasn’t as much fun to watch.

Then again, we got enough Hawkeye to just about make up for the utter lack of him these past several years. And a little gem named Pietro Maximoff, plus the Scarlet Witch. I’m still not sure about the romance set up between Widow and the Hulk, but you know what? It doesn’t even matter. Clint and the twins stole this show, and I enjoyed the heck out of every scene they were in. (Except for, you know, a certain soul-wrenching one. But let’s not acknowledge that. Ever.)

So…basically? Ultron may not have had as much heart as I was hoping for, but Clint and Pietro more than make up for it. Plus, the eponymous villain was weirdly fascinating—he stole all the one-liners usually reserved for Tony—and he and the Vision made compelling foils for one another. Besides all that, it was wizard to see everything unfold in non-NYC cities across the world.

If only we’d gotten that Bucky cameo.

Meghan G. and her brother see Avengers: Age of Ultron

Mirriam Neal

On opening night, my family and I went to the midnight showing of Age of Ultron. I was expecting the usual cocktail of Marvel brilliance – amazing characters, witty banter, action-packed fight sequences, great special effects, and for my emotions to be genuinely slaughtered. What did I get? Amazing characters, witty banter, action-packed fight sequences, great special effects, and for my emotions to be genuinely slaughtered. But not just slaughtered in an ordinary way. No; there’s a difference between the regular ‘slaughtering’ and what Age of Ultron did to me. Why? I’ll get to that, but first I’m going to gush over everything I adored.

• The Maximoff Twins. The Maximoffs are special to me, and Aaron Taylor-Johnson and Elizabeth Olsen
were absolute perfection as Pietro and Wanda. I loved everything about them – from their complimentary color schemes to their understated accents. As much as I liked Quicksilver in X-Men: Days of Future Past (meaning he was about the only thing I DID like) Aaron’s interpretation left Evan Peters’ in the dust.

• Vision. Vision is also very special to me – with the bonus that, eventually, he ends up married to Wanda. (I loved the way they hinted at that, too, giving them a certain connection throughout the film.) Paul Bettany is always perfect in whatever role he plays, and Vision was no exception.

• There was a vague reference alluding to Bucky.

• Clint has a family, and it’s adorable. I loved the element of humanity and stability this gave the movie, and the team. Clint deserved a bigger role than he got in the Avengers #1, and in this movie he’s what really held it together. He was the glue.

• Joss Whedon has a great strength, and it lies in character interaction. The way they relate to one another, their senses of humor, the character development – this is where his real power lies, and this movie was no exception. He’s great at the little things – Tony’s ‘Yay!’ at discovering a secret door, Thor’s reaction to Cap budging Mjolnir, that Natasha has been a part of Clint’s family, that you know Clint first spoke to Natasha the way he spoke to Wanda in Sokovia, the way twins interact one another.

• The cameo appearances by Maria Hill, Falcon, Heimdal, The Brave Tech Dude from the Winter Soldier, Thanos and Rhodey were much appreciated.

• Wakanda had a decent-sized part, which was a fun nod to the upcoming Black Panther movie (I can only assume. I mean, come on).

• James Freaking Spader, everybody. I knew he was an amazing actor, thanks to my braintwin getting me hooked on Blacklist (before that, I’d only seen him in Stargate when he was the adorable and harmless nerd with allergies) – but this was mindblowing. He really brought life to Ultron (do you see what I did there) and gave him such a strong personality that he stole every scene he was in. I’ve heard excellent voice acting in my time, but James Spader brought a new level to the genre. If there were awards for voice acting, he would deserve every single one of them – because it was the best I have ever heard in my life.

And now we come to the part that ripped my heart out and crushed it.

Pietro Maximoff was killed. At first I thought it was some kind of trick. He wasn’t really…dead, was he? He couldn’t be. Not even riddled with bullets. Surely this was a mistake. It was fake, right?

No. Pietro Maximoff died saving Hawkeye’s life. Joss Whedon killed Quicksilver. I hadn’t cried up until that point – (laughed? Yes. Cried? No) – but cue the waterworks. They killed my baby. They killed one of the precious Maximoff children. As I dried my hands (and eyes) in the bathroom after the movie, Mom said, “I know what happens. He’s another level seven thing and they’ll bring him back to life in Agents of SHIELD.” 

It must be. That’s the only way to rationalize the way Joss ripped my heart out. Pietro is saved by SHIELD. It is canon until proven otherwise, because there was nothing okay about that. He died so well. He should still be alive.

I was so upset that when we got home, I stayed up until almost three in the morning finishing the drawing I’d started of him before we left. Somebody had better fix this. Fix it. There’s a hole in the universe and someone needs to patch it up. I’m looking at you, Joss Whedon. You have broken my trust and my heart and you should probably do something to mend that.

End Note: In spite of the way Marvel faked us out by having no post-credits scene at the very-very end, I have a brief open letter to Marvel moviegoers. SIT YOUR REAR BACK DOWN IN THAT CHAIR BECAUSE IT’S NOT OVER YET. Sincerely, Me.

What did you think of Avengers: Age of Ultron? Love it? Hate it? Let us know in the comments below!

1 comment:

  1. I loooooved this movie! It was amazing, hilarious a times, but also had a little less fluff in it than the Avengers. But I think what really made the movie for me was Vision. He's just so awesome and epic and has Jarvis' voice!!!! And Vision and Scarlet Witch....gaaaah, i really hope the movies follow through with that. I left the theater shipping them and then found out it was a legit ship and it made my day. :D