Age of Ultron: Mythic Mess or the Absurd Man?
by Brenton Dickieson
Joss Whedon is a smart filmmaker. Buffy was genius, and The Avengers was an intelligent, funny, moving, high-action, hyper-effects superhero movie—a package I wasn’t sure was possible.
I like how Whedon delves into big stories with what many will assume is a superficial genre. Again and again, Whedon shows us the depth that a good vs. evil story can have. The first Avengers film is a good example. Check out this epic battle between Thor, Iron Man, and Captain America.
It’s hard not to miss the symbolism of the greater story. Iron Man, the symbol of technology and science, goes chest to chest against Thor, the symbol of religion and mythology—the grand human story. What is the result of this battle between religion and science? Environmental disruption and a world in discord. Who is able to step in between these extremes and find a peaceful solution? Captain America, of course, with a common sense message that all gods, demons, mutants, superheroes, and mad geniuses should keep their eyes on the ball: there is a world that needs saving.
Now, I don’t know that good ole American values can mediate the tensions of the great story that is playing out there—can any one ideal square that circle? But even if I disagree, it is one of these times when Whedon digs into a bigger story for his work.
What about Avengers: Age of Ultron?
Visually speaking, Ultron certainly is the best of what Hollywood has got. Clever writing, a sustained storyline, the ebb and flow of action, and ShamWow! special effects—it’s the most gripping of the non-landscape films I have seen (like the Hobbit and Lord of the Rings trilogies, Life of Pi, Tree of Life, and Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon). There were moments that reminded me of the realism scenes in Inception and it had the pacing of the Bourne franchise. Whedon held nothing back.
The story itself is pretty good. While I wonder if Whedon forgot Asimov’s Laws of Robotics—there are times where it felt like none of the Avengers had ever read a Science Fiction story—we finally get to see what the real problem with Artificial Intelligence is…
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