Photo by Jonathan Leibson/Getty Images for Samsung
Whenever the discussion of the top films from the Marvel Cinematic Universe comes up, not only do most people exclude Avengers: Age of Ultron from their list. People always seem to intent announce how much they hate the second Avengers installment. It’s something I’ve never really understood as it’s always been one of my favorites. With Disney+ here and nearly every movie in the MCU available at my fingertips I’ve been going back and watching a lot of the movies and the first two I watched were Avengers: Endgame and Avengers: Age of Ultron. Watching the two of them back to back gave me a whole new appreciation for the movies and the team.
For the purposes of this article there are five Avengers movies the first, Age of Ultron, Captain America: Civil War, Infinity War and Endgame. The first Avengers was a classic hands down, I don’t think many people will argue that. It was the teams debut and it was messy, they fought a lot, verbally and physically and I remember always being impressed with the writing and never gawking at the fact that they’re making the Avengers fight themselves when they should be working together. That brings me to one of my biggest pet peeves in movies with ‘teams’. Inter-group conflict is important, not everyone always gets along with each other. When a show or a movie relies too heavily on making antagonists out of the heroes themselves instead of focusing them on the real villains, it gets old very fast.
Age of Ultron is the film that shows us how much the Avengers have grown to respect, love and trust each other. Yes, there is still intergroup conflict after the creation of Ultron and again when Vision is being brought back online. When Age of Ultron starts the team has been hunting down Hydra and Baron von Strucker to find Loki’s Staff, it’s been their singular focus. You can see in their interactions how the team has grown together. They throw a Hollywood-style party to celebrate their victory back at the Avenger’s Tower. These Avengers are freakin’ celebrities and everything is going right for them in the world. It’s the only Avenger’s movie that shows a time where the team is truly a team. There’s plenty of conflict and strife through the movie, but at the end they’re back to being a family as Cap walks Tony to his car and they part ways.
Every MCU film is filled with moments that take your breath away, tug on your heart strings or make you want stand up a cheer. There was only one singular moment in the entire MCU that did all three of those things to an audience simultaneously leaving people so confused and breathless that they didn’t know how to react. That moment is when Vision gives his speech to convince the team to trust him and one another before handing Mjolnir back to Thor. It was a unifying moment that everyone understood both on the screen and in the theater.
Speaking of moments, in retrospect Age of Ultron does so much to hint at the future and the end of the Infinity Saga without anyone knowing. This was the movie that the Russo Brothers took the namesake for the final movie. “A hostile alien army came charging through a hole in space — we’re standing 300 feet below it. We’re the Avengers. We can bust arms dealers all the livelong day, but that up there? That’s the endgame. How were you guys planning on beating that?” Tony asked. Cap replies “Together.” To which Tony says they’ll lose and Cap says they’ll do that together as well. Infinity War showed the second half of that statement to be true.
“There were more than a dozen extinction-level events before even the dinosaurs got theirs! When the Earth starts to… settle, God throws a stone at it. And believe me, He’s winding up.” Another amazing quote from James Spader’s Ultron to foreshadow the future of the Avengers. This movie set so many expectations for what was coming it’s brilliant. It also had one of the most gentle and human moments of the franchise during it’s intermission at the Barton Family Farm. Another moment the Russo’s would draw from when setting the tone Endgame. Avengers: Endgame would not have been the movie it was without Age of Ultron. From the heartbreaking death of Peitro Maximoff to the catalyst that would set Civil War into place, which would separate the two biggest players on the field, Iron Man and Captain America, from one another.
“That was dramatic. I’m sorry, I know you mean well, but you just didn’t think it through,” as Ultron said. The second Avengers film is one of the greatest pieces of the Marvel Cinematic Universe and if you don’t agree, in the end that’s fine. You seem perfectly content with being wrong, so who am I to challenge that?