I was initially unhappy with Avengers: Age of Ultron, which I saw today in 3D (but not in IMAX) at Loews 34th Street. A more accurate term would be “convulsed by and twitching with hate.” Letmeouttahere, letmeouttahere, letmeouttahere. On top of which two 20something fanboys were sitting behind me and chortling and yaw-hawing at every in-joke and smart-ass riposte. And two Asian toddler kids sitting to my left (with their parents, of course) started making a racket about a half-hour in, and yet I didn’t care because their whining and chattering at least took my mind off the film. I was thinking I might have to duck out and see this thing in installments, like I have with Furious 7. That or I’d have to be tied down with eyelid clamps (like Alex in A Clockwork Orange) to make it through to the end.
But then I chuckled at a couple of bitterly sarcastic lines spoken by Ultron (voiced by James Spader). And I found myself half-enjoying a thrash-down between Ironman (Robert Downey) and the Hulk (Mark Ruffalo). And I faintly chuckled at Ultron’s misanthropic justification for wanting to rid the earth of humans (i.e., because they’re no damn good). And I didn’t half-mind the romantic current between the Hulk and Scarlett Johansson‘s Black Widow. And then bit by bit I found myself making actual sense of this and that portion of the plot. I was far from fully engaged, much less enthralled, with Ultron, and like everyone else I found it awfully labrynthian and a little too cast-heavy but I found myself starting to half-tolerate it. I was saying to myself “this is pretty good on a scene by scene basis but it’s a little oppressive as a whole.” I was also muttering during the second half that “this isn’t great but it isn’t awful.”