Monday, 27 April 2015
Avengers: Age of Ultron (4½ Stars)
I think I'll keep this review to an absolute minimum, because it hasn't been released in the USA yet. I don't like to give spoilers, and most of what I would like to say, both in praise and criticism of the film, would give too much away. I'll write a more complete review when I buy the film on Blu-ray.
I'll restrict myself in this review to two issues. Actually, it's only one issue, but it involves two characters, the Vision and the Scarlet Witch. In the film Wanda Maximoff isn't called the Scarlet Witch, but that's the name she uses in the Marvel comics that I know and love.
The issue is the differences between characters in the film and the comics, in particular the differences in their powers. Wanda's powers in the film bear almost no resemblance to what she can do in the comics. In the film she seems to be able to fire energy bolts, she can read minds, she can give people nightmares, and she can perform acts of telekinesis. This sounds very similar to the original powers of Jean Grey, the X-Men's Marvel Girl. In the comics her abilities were described as "hex powers", a rather erratic gift over which she had only limited control. Whenever she used a "hex" on someone it altered the laws of probability, so that something happened which was unlucky for the person and at the same time lucky for herself. In the 1990's her powers were redefined as involving "chaos magic", but I don't accept such latter day changes to the Marvel characters as canon. Back in the 1970's Wanda was taught witchcraft by Agatha Harkness, but this knowledge of the dark arts was something she could do in addition to her natural powers.
The film's Vision is also far removed from the character that we know in the comics. In the comics he is an android, created by using the body of the original Human Torch and the brain patterns of Simon Williams aka Wonder Man. In the film he's a robot created using the artificial intelligence of Tony Stark's robot butler Jarvis. (In the comics Jarvis was a real person, but that's another story altogether). In the comics the Vision has a synthetic gem on his forehead, probably part of his own body, but in the film it's the Mind Gem, one of the Infinity Gems. In the comics the Vision has the power to change his body density, but this ability is missing altogether in the film. In fact, it's not quite clear to me what powers the Vision is supposed to have in the film. I have a slinking suspicion that he will be used as a replacement for Adam Warlock, who was one of the main characters in the battle against Thanos.
I did enjoy the film, as is obvious from my rating, despite my disappointment at the redefinition of the central characters. I'm sure it will be one of the most successful films of 2015, maybe even the most successful film.