Friday, 24 April 2015


Now, in 2015, that we've reached peak saturation point in the ever-expanding subgenre of superhero movies, an acknowledgment must be made: this is no subgenre any more but a fully-fledged genre of cinema, with its own style, its own tropes, its own language. Funny that Avengers: Age of Ultron, a most archetypal example of the modern-day superhero movie, actually relates more in tone and in construction to the comic books that begat it and its multitudinous ilk; this is as close as any such film has come to emulating its comic book sources and inspirations since Ang Lee's Hulk 12 years ago. That's emphatically a good thing - though I've never read a comic book myself - since it represents an admission of what these movies ought to be: the purposes they ought to serve, and the guidelines under which they generally work best. Alongside Age of Ultron's dynamic visual scheme, Joss Whedon designs a film whereby the obligatory action sequences feel earned, a succession of narrative and emotional set-ups leading organically to violent clashes. That the action is both overblown and over-drawn out is not a necessary evil for films like this, but it's tolerable when one feels that bit more sated with the preceding plot and character development, in the understanding also that the action must conclude at some point, and it's these more persuasive details that Whedon must return to. Additionally, Whedon handles the action scenes fairly well, generally demonstrating a fine eye for spatial geography, coherent editing and the right kind of flair both in construct and in execution. This new genre of movies may have swollen so grossly that, within the confines of its particular style, tropes, language etc, there could never be a truly perfect product to emerge from it. For now, Avengers: Age of Ultron sets a benchmark. Future filmmakers could do worse than to follow it.