‘Avengers: Age of Ultron′
Reviewed by Mitch Burns
Directed by: Joss Whedon (The Avengers, Serenity)
Starring: Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth, Mark Ruffalo, Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy Renner, Elizabeth Olsen, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Paul Bettany, Samuel L. Jackson, Cobie Smulders, Don Cheadle, Anthony Mackie, Hayley Atwell, Idris Elba, Linda Cardellini, Stellan Skarsgard, Julie Delpy, Claudia Kim, Andy Serkis, Thomas Kretschmann, and James Spader.
Nothing I say here will talk you into seeing ‘Avengers: Age of Ultron’, you’ve already seen it or are going to see it if you want to, or you aren’t interested at all. What’s become increasingly more and more obvious to me, is how is how unmemorable these films have become overall. I left the theater knowing I enjoyed myself thoroughly and had a really fun time at the movies, on my way to work the next morning I tried to recall the movie and what I enjoyed and could only remember a few moments, and not much else. Marvel has masterfully engineered these products, it’s all mathematically figured out, such as when to add an action beat, when to insert a laugh, and how to market it all extremely well.
‘Avengers: Age of Ultron’ picks up somewhere after the first in this series of movies, and most likely not long after ‘Captain America: Winter Soldier’. The Avengers, Iron Man/Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.), Captain America/Steve Rogers (Chris Evans), Thor (Chris Hemsworth), The Hulk/Bruce Banner (Mark Ruffalo), Black Widow/Natasha Romanoff (Scarlett Johansonn) and Hawkeye/Clint Barton (Jeremy Renner) are attempting to infiltrate a base led by Hydra leader Strucker (Thomas Kretschmann).
We come to find that Strucker has Loki’s Scepter in his possession and has been using this on humans, such as the twins Pietro (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) and Wanda Maximoff (Elizabeth Olsen). This scepter has turned Pietro and Wanda into superheroes we come to know as Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch, respectively. With the Scepter in hand Tony Stark and Bruce Banner come to realize they’ve uncovered the secret to creating Artificial Intelligence. They create Ultron (James Spader), a sentient robot who quickly searches through our planets history (and present) and soon believes that in order to instill peace it must wipe out humankind.
It’s an interesting premise, one that includes one of the more interesting superhero villains in a long, long while, with Spader giving an absolutely terrific voice performance. It’s also, thankfully, one of the first Marvel films in a while to not have a generic MacGuffin at its center, such as an evil cube, orb, portal or bright light, that our heroes have to retrieve, collect, destroy or find.
We’ve had three Marvel films since the last Avengers film, in each one we’ve wondered where the other Avengers are, and inexplicably we start of this film with all 6 Avengers together. I wouldn’t complain about this too much if they hadn’t created a world in which these superheroes can appear and disappear instantaneously, and the next Captain America film, ‘Captain America: Civil War’, will feature almost every Avengers character.
The best part about ‘Avengers: Age of Ultron’ is its characters, for me it’s Black Widow, The Hulk, Captain America and the newly added Scarlet Witch who I find incredibly interesting, but there’s nothing boring about Iron Man, Thor, Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson), and others. Quicksilver may be a bit boring, but I blame that on my dislike towards the actor Aaron Taylor-Johnson.
Captain America has been a favorite of mine since ‘Captain America: Winter Soldier’, and his role as leader of the Avengers was increasingly interesting in ‘Avengers: Age of Ultron’, something I’m really excited to see more of. Black Widow and Bruce Banner/The Hulk have one of the more interesting plot points in the movie, one that shows the more human side of these superheroes.
In hopes to make Clint Barton/Hawkeye more interesting the film gives him a family we didn’t know about, he has a wife, played by Linda Cardellini, and two kids. It’s slightly intriguing, but overall it becomes a waste of screen-time on a character who will never be as entertaining as a Hulk or a God.
That’s a problem I found the film runs into quite often, giving large portions of its story to unnecessary items, such as dream sequences created by the Scarlet Witch, a redundant rendezvous with Thor and Professor Selvig (Stellan Skarsgard), some boring plot building with Ultron and more. ‘Avengers: Age of Ultron’ could have used some tightening, something that would have helped its herky-jerky story. Although, that seems to be Marvel’s formula, Action beat-plot building-more action-quiet moment/plot building-more action…etc. It doesn’t stray far from this start and stop motion, and while it works for them, you can almost feel the countdown clock to the next action set-piece.
In saying that, I have to say, the action was well done and entertaining to watch. The action is well shot, giving us some good moments of each hero using their power to fight evil forces. Aside from it’s extremely easy to kill bad guys in the final action scene, the action was smart and used what it had to drive the action further and make it more interesting.
The final twenty-five minutes felt like Armageddon, Titanic and Avengers all rolled into one, and I found it very thrilling and interesting. I don’t want to spoil it so I won’t go into any detail but this finale, with the addition of it’s three new and fun superheroes, makes for a memorable finale, amongst a film that isn’t entirely memorable.
The film has this overbearing feeling of dread, and it does whatever it can to make you worry that these characters are in peril. It’s a common complaint of these movies, you know our heroes aren’t going to bite the bullet anytime soon, we know a third Thor is in the works, We know a third Captain America is coming with Iron Man in tow. In order to compensate for that Whedon and the other writers have injected as many moments where you may worry about a characters untimely demise at any moment. One character in particular gets more screen-time than they normally would, just so that can be used as more plot tension.
There is a lot of good here, it is definitely a fun time at the movies, and fans of Marvel will no doubt have a great time, but give it a day or two and you won’t remember all that much.
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