That said, I'm not 100% in love with their latest cinematic offering. If I had to rate it, I'd give it 4/5 stars. It's not a top of the line for me, like their first film was/is.
It was solid, no doubt, and the plot was just fine (despite there being a ton going on!) but there were a few odd choices made that just puzzled me enough to take me out of the movie, so I can't give it the highest marks.
What were those things, you ask? Well, let me expound.
First, though, the things I loved:
1-Hawkeye. Hawkeye, Hawkeye, Hawkeye. Though he will feature in one of my peeves, as well, his snark was in full force, and I loved that. They say the only Marvel characters who are allowed to be funny are Spider-Man and Hawkeye (though I'd add Deadpool and Punisher to that list) and it's sarcasm from both that make that the case, so I loved seeing Clint dish out the witty dialogue. (Especially "...and I have a bow and arrow. Nothing about this makes sense." Bwahahaha! Make no mistake - this movie was funny. Hawkeye was only part of why, but he was a big part of why.
2-from a purely fangirl standpoint, seeing that Hulkbuster armor made my day. In that same vein, the opening battle injuring Clint and giving me a little Hawkeye whump was just pretty.
3-I truly enjoyed seeing Clint and Nat have a battlefield bromance. I loved how Hawkeye didn't want to leave when Nat fell in the field, but that he did because that's what the mission required. The fact that Hawkeye and Black Widow are portrayed as best friends here was super refreshing. For reasons I go into below, there is obviously no romance between them at this time. Yet Clint has a secret only Nat knows. And they share so much. They are like family. It's fun to see a man and a woman actually being that type of friends.
(Did I mention Hawkeye yet? Because Hawkeye.)
4-the opening sequence, with (WUT?) Hawkeye being the first character we see, in a vehicle driven by Black Widow, was beautiful. For the record, I did not see this film in 3D (duh) and I imagine this battle was made for that but that it was headache-inducing in that format. Seriously, though, great fight scene (even if the single-shot hallway fight in Neflix's Daredevil has spoiled me on pretty much all fight scenes for a while).
5-the opening line is just classic. And all Tony Stark.
6-I liked the fact that Pepper and Jane aren't present. Lords know I like my ships, but there was so much going on in this movie that leaving them out of it was the right choice. Also, there's no way in my headcanon that Pepper and Tony are okay right now. The man said it himself: "stable-ish relationship" and "No. You're in a relationship with me. Nothing will ever be okay." Exactly. He's a man-child, and a real relationship isn't possible.
7-Vision was an absolute vision, and having Paul Bettany play him was a treat.
8-in that same vein, I loved seeing Scarlett Witch and Quicksilver (even if his X-Men iteration is far superior).
9-The tie-ins with Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D and the rest of the MCU worked.
10-the last scene was priceless.
11-the credits scene (only one, halfway through) was just...guh. Gorgeous and perfect and lovely and bring on the Infinity War, please! (Thor verbally reminding non-comics fans about the Infinity Gems was needed, as the visuals mid-film were likely overlooked or not understood by some.)
Now, on to the things I didn't care for. There are far fewer of them, but they are doozies:
1-Hawkeye's family situation. I understand this decision when real world variables are taken into consideration. Jeremy Renner isn't contracted to play Hawkeye much more, if at all (I'd have to look that up, and I'm not going to do so right now). So, they gave Hawkeye an out. I get that. And since Hawkeye is/was married in the canon, giving him a secret wife at a secret house was just fine by me. But children? Not so much. And what really got to me was being burdened by canon here. The fact is that, as far as Ultron goes, I am unburdened by canon. It's not a story line I'm familiar with. Unlike, say, The Infinity War or Extremis, I just don't know it well/at all, really. So I'm blissfully ignorant to any fallacies there. However, I know Hawkeye's wife's name, and it's Bobbi Morse. I understand that they wrote Bobbi into Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D, and she has a love interest there, so having her here wouldn't have worked, but...but...but...what? I've never understood Bobbi on AoS for this reason (when is she going to become Mockingbird? what about Hawkeye?), but this just seemed too weird for me. I realize and completely accept that MCU Hawkeye is not comics Hawkeye, but the idea of Hawkeye sitting at home playing pretty family just doesn't sit well with me. It's not what the character would do. I kept expecting something to go wrong or something to be fake, and, well, no. Weird.
Also, I ship BlackHawk (or Clintasha, whatever your preference is) like FedEx, so this just wounded me a bit.
Now, all that said, there was a small part of me that appreciated this. It ended any and all speculation that Clint and Nat are together. I actually like this, despite it punching my ship below the waterline. Why? Because I actually like them even more as true best friends (Nat is the only one who knows about Clint's family previously, etc) with a bit of underlying sexual tension from time to time just to satisfy my own wicked tendencies. And this establishes them that way for once and for all, at least for now, which isn't all bad.
2-But then... the strangest thing of all. Natasha and Bruce? What? Okay, so we've already laid BlackHawk to rest. Why do we need to do it again by also getting Nat into a relationship? And with Bruce? Seriously, what? I don't get it. I can see a true friendship, but I can't see Nat ever quite getting over seeing Bruce first transform on the helicarrier in the first film. And even if she did, romantic entanglement? From Black Widow? Um...nope. I'm not buying that. This is a woman who just isn't wired that way. Now, I know she's far older than she looks, so Banner being older isn't an issue for me (let's face it, only Cap would really work there, but whatever), but it just doesn't work in my head. This is the main reason I like Clint and Nat as amazing friends with occasional maybe benefits and not as actual lovers. Nat doesn't work that way. She's not going to be tied down and she's not going to express the gentler emotions easily/publicly/in any sort of typical way. She might punch your face if she likes you, but she's not going to caress your face - not unless you're a mark, anyway (or if she needs you to transform into an enormous green rage monster). This was just completely out of left field and just...weird. So very weird.
3-I missed Coulson! Yes, I know where he is due to AoS, but...COULSON!
4-the language joke killed. The first time. Maybe the second. After that? Let it go.
And that is my first run-though of this movie. I need to see it again to give a more accurate verdict, and to hear all the lines, as laughter often covered a few, but overall, I say again 4/5.