My son took me to see Age of Ultron last night, and I enjoyed it muchly!
I’m not very good at writing actual reviews, and Cheryl Morgan has already written here much of what I’d say anyway. But I do want to add a couple of things:
Nat and Bruce are in a PTSD-governed relationship. Really, Hulk is the epitome of some forms of PTSD, and many families of soldiers will see the connection. What Natasha does for Bruce—the push-pull of connection and fear and rage—will be recognizable to many wives and husbands of military folk scarred inside and out by combat. Nat doesn’t see a man she can save; she sees a struggle she recognizes in a man she finds attractive. And no, Bruce doesn’t offer her the same nurturing and healing opportunities. He doesn’t need to, and she doesn’t need that from him. Clint and his family have already given it to her.
Besides, there is absolutely no way for Bruce to experience any sort of relationship, even a passing friendship, that doesn’t include the other person’s understanding and acceptance of his emotional instability. To be in a relationship with him is to be in a relationship with someone suffering from a mental illness that includes the threat of physical violence. Just because Nat might also have be-my-lover-and-partner feelings for him does not, and should not, diminish her understanding of what he’s facing, and the limits of his (and her) ability to someday be just like everyone else. That’s why she’s able to say, “I need the other guy” without a moment of angst. From a combat viewpoint, she’s perfectly pragmatic.
In contrast, you have the healthy and stable Clint. Who else could have told Wanda she could choose to fight, or choose to remain in safety, with utterly believable, non-judgmental sincerity?
As for Clint and Laura and their family: their storyline was so welcomed I got tears in my eyes. This is where the film struck its most positive chords with me. First of all, how awesome that a husband and wife don’t have some stupid dramatic tension over the fact the husband has a female friend who means the world to him? How awesome that the friend is welcomed into the home and treated as part of the family?
Combine that with the choices Laura makes. She’s no pushover, and she doesn’t have to be just like Natasha to prove it. Once again, we don’t have the simplistic play for dramatic tension via spousal conflict. She doesn’t “support” her husband. She’s her husband’s partner, and that means frank discussion, personal responsibility, and mutual agreement. Y’see, equating pregnancy and home-staying with weakness and submissiveness is just as offensive as equating a form-fitting black costume and physical fighting skills with a “whore.” The fact Laura gets either ignored or relegated to a “plot tool,” (newsflash, reviewers: all the characters are plot tools!) tells me how few of those folks have either made choices similar to Laura’s or see those choices in a positive and empowering light.
Laura is her own power, undiminished by the pride and love she holds for her spouse and children. The lack of jealousies—for one another’s friends and jobs and choices—are rare enough in the portrayals of families, especially families of powerful spouses, that I’d love the movie for that alone. In fact, I’d have been ecstatic had even more of the film focused on Clint, his family, and their development.
I want to see a Hawkeye film. Actually, I want to see a Hawkeye and Scarlet Witch and Falcon film. I can never have enough Falcon. 🙂
I could go on and on about other factors that made the film good and/or bad, but others have done so at length and with greater attention than I can muster.
But I’d love to hear the thoughts of others! Feel free to add your own!