4. Avengers: Age of Ultron
When the MCU first started, it was made of self-contained stories with small hints indicating they all took place in the same world. However, by the time Phase 2 began, things were completely different. Marvel had already united Earth’s Mightiest Heroes on the big screen, and it became clear every movie in the MCU was part of a big interconnected universe. This was an exciting prospect that had fans on the lookout for any tease that could indicate what movie was coming next. Unfortunately, sometimes world-building gets in the way of telling a great story, and there’s no more significant example than Avengers: Age of Ultron.
Earth’s Mightiest Heroes deserved a mighty sequel, but it didn’t turn out to be that way. Avengers: Age of Ultron spent too much time trying to build a rivalry between Captain America and Iron Man so that the events of Captain America: Civil War could occur. Additionally, the movie introduced audiences to vibranium, Ulysses Klaue, and the notion that Wakanda exists in the MCU so that Black Panther could take place. As if it wasn’t enough, Thor had one of the most random sub-plots in the Avengers: Age of Ultron that had him enter the waters of a cave to discover more about the infinity stones. Finally, new characters like Quicksilver, Scarlet Witch, and Vision were introduced so that the Avengers could have a new lineup of heroes for future movies. It was just too much.
The downside is that the movie didn’t have enough time to spend on things that did matter, like developing its antagonist. Just two minutes after Ultron was created he was ready to destroy the whole world. All it took was one trip through the internet for him to decide humans were all worthy of destruction (which is fair enough, I guess, but it wasn’t portrayed convincingly). As a result, Ultron was just another forgettable antagonist that wasn’t even close to surpassing his predecessor, Loki. At least the god of mischief was charming in his own way.
However, there are aspects where Avengers: Age of Ultron managed to shine. It wasted no time uniting Earth’s Mightiest Heroes once again, something its prequel spent many hours trying to do. Besides, while the first Avengers movie took place almost exclusively in the Helicarrier, Avengers: Age of Ultron took our heroes on a worldwide journey that explored different locations. Action sequences were also bigger and greater, with the fight between Iron Man and Hulk being a clear standout. Finally, it’s the only movie where Vision has been used in a way that allows him to be more than a background character.
In conclusion, Avengers: Age of Ultron is not a bad movie by any means, but it still feels like a disappointing sequel. It spent too much time setting things up for other projects that it forgot to have a memorable tale of its own. It’s more entertaining than Thor: The Dark World and Ant-Man, but it’s arguably the worst Avengers film to date which is a shame considering it had the potential to be something special.