Review: The Avengers Assemble... Was It Worth The Wait?

Opening with the second highest weekend box office at 191.3 million, Avengers shows just how strong Marvel's brand is. Some suggest it's something of a disappointment when factoring it couldn't surpass its predecessor. Considering the sporting events this past weekend, namely the much publicized bout between Mayweather and Pacquiao, it's no wonder there was a steep decline in its box office revenue Saturday. 

Sporting events aside, critics haven't trashed the sequel, but they certainly aren't gushing over it like the original. I wanted to check the film out myself before letting the critics skew my opinion. The first Avengers surprised the hell out of me. They were able to weave the heroes into a competent storyline. They successfully expanded the Marvel universe, prepping us for what's in store and offering insane action sequences. It's odd, because the sequel suffers a bit based on that formula.

Let's get one thing straight. Avengers Age of Ultron does not disappoint as a piece of pure entertainment. The insane action is there along with set up for even more epic struggles to come. However, from the original Avengers, Thor, Iron Man 3, and Winter Soldier, the experience was somewhat muted. The pacing felt overly deliberate with certain parts feeling contrived. It wasn't as tightly strewn together as the original, instead hinting at more interesting character development and encounters in future film outings.

The disappointment isn't so much in the execution of this tried in true formula. There is clearly a need to up the ante in the stakes these heroes face. Rumors surrounding the third Captain America film has Tony Stark and Steve Rogers at odds, hence why it's called 'Civil War'. Age of Ultron toys with tensions amongst these guys but it fizzles fast. Hulk and Black Widow share a budding romance, forcing the green guy to make a tough choice. Hawkeye has an elaborate backstory established just to throw us off in a later crucial scene.

Everyone disappears into character very well and Ultron itself is convincingly deviant as a foe. The addition of the various subplots just didn't have the same payoff as in previous Marvel films. Personally I'm still trying to figure out the point of Rogers flashback. The focus on planting obvious seeds for future films takes the focus from what's actually going on. Despite this, the only throwaway characters forced on you were Scarlett Witch and Quicksilver. Thankfully they weren't in the film long enough to leave too negative of an impression.
The bottom line is the film delivered on entertaining me. It would have made a much better rental than paying for a movie ticket, however. Yes, like some reviews are saying it's more of the same. The addition of new characters left a little to be desired. The side stories this time around were more flaccid then in its original film. The comedic tone was a bit too overplayed. But all in all, the Avengers themselves shined. 

Marvel's shown why these characters deserve to continue on, no matter how long it takes to get to a final showdown with Thanos. With the second largest opening ever, they proved they have plenty of well deserved interest. With multiple properties stretching from Netflix, television, and film, they'll get another crack at making the near perfect showcase the original Avengers proved to be. You don't have to see this film right away, but it's a definite must watch for any true fan.

Wayne Woodard