Not Just Another Sequel (Avengers: Age of Ultron review)
Do you like to watch epic movie universes? I know I personally do. My all-time favourite cinematic universe is The Fast and The Furious, but there are lots of others that do a fantastic job.
Today I have a great universe to share with you, one that is constantly improving upon its ethos and pulling us further in so that we can enjoy and relate to its characters.
That’s right I am referring to the Marvel comics we all know and most of us are starting to love. I’ve written about the power of superheroes in previous posts and this review details them outright…
Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015)
Cast: Robert Downey Jr., Chris Hemsworth, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy Renner, with James Spader, and Samuel L. Jackson
Director: Joss Whedon
released on blu-ray October 2, 2015
Rotten Tomatoes: 74%, Audience Score 86%
The Guardian: ****/*****
Joss Whedon is getting to be a pretty big deal at this point in his career. With director/writer credits for The Avengers (and now Avengers: Age of Ultron), 2012’s Much Ado About Nothing, and Serenity, not to mention writing credits for Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Toy Story, Atlantis: The Lost Empire, Firefly, Angel, the Astonishing X-Men TV series, and The Cabin in the Woods, Whedon has shown he can tell a story.
But was Avengers: Age of Ultron a good movie?
With so many high ranking actors in this movie and a writer like Whedon at the helm, I would argue a big yes. I have no major issues with the visual, the story or the relationships as they develop, and the set ups for future Marvel films are enjoyable as per audience expectations at this point.
Much like the first film, we are treated to a few location hops throughout the story (read: New York City, Seoul, and Wakanda), but the plot mainly focuses on the made up nation of Sokovia.
The movie begins with a raid by the Avengers – Tony Stark / Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr), Steve Rogers / Captain America (Chris Evans), Thor (Chris Hemsworth), Bruce Banner / Hulk (Mark Ruffalo), Natasha Romanoff / Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), and Clint Barton / Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) – on a secret HYDRA base which has been conducting experiments on Sokovians. They are using the sceptre previously wielded by Loki to accomplish this.
Enter the only two surviving enhanced – Pietro (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) and Wanda Maximoff (Elizabeth Olsen). Rogers finally captures Baron von Strucker, the head of the base, while Stark retrieves the sceptre. But only after Wanda uses her hex powers to implant a fear-filled vision of future end-game scenario that sees the world conquered and The Avengers defeated, save Iron-Man.
When the team arrives back at Avengers Tower the group plans a party while Tony coerces Bruce into helping him use the sceptre to design the AI needed to create the Ultron defence system he has in mind for the world. The AI program finally takes while the whole team is out celebrating at the party.
What happens next is pretty wild as Ultron (James Spader) comes to life, and decides it is his sole responsibility to not only take care of the Earth, but that he will need to get rid of the Avengers and force humanity to evolve at the same time. JARVIS (Paul Bettany) is the first casualty in this process.
In a creepy rendition of “I’ve Got No Strings” we get to see Ultron embed himself into one of the drones Stark has been using as of late, then he surprise attacks the Avengers in their home base, and then leaves with the sceptre to create a better body and his own army.
I can’t tell you too much more without giving away the rest of the plot, but it gets even better from there.
Pros: The jokes are infinitely better, and the more of the movies you watch, and more of a fan of the comics you are, the more you will be rewarded as watch. In particular, the exchange with Hawkeye and Pietro towards the end of the film where Clint makes a joke, and also the fact that Ultron’s personality mirrors Tony’s in very funny ways.
Cons: There is a very unnatural death at the end of movie which I didn’t really care for, and which apparently was intentionally done as an F U to another distributor. It felt forced and didn’t really hold me, but you’ll have to watch to see what I mean.
Points of Interest: Seeing the nation of Wakanda, if only for a brief moment, the Hulk buster armour, the tension between Bruce and Natasha, and the unveiling of the new team at the end of the movie were pretty cool moments
Runtime: 141 minutes
New comer Elizabeth Olsen is worth the price of admission alone as her portrayal of the Scarlett Witch was very on point, though admittedly we never hear her superhero name? If you haven’t watched the first Avengers movie, you can probably get by without seeing it, but you are definitely doing yourself a disservice. So do yourself a favour and watch that one first. But I bet you dollars to donuts, you’ll want to see the rest of the Marvel cinematic universe if haven’t yet.
It really is hard not to enjoy these stories because there are so many archetypes explored and something there for everyone to relate to. Maybe you disagree? Either way, leave your questions and comments. You could even suggest a review for an upcoming week.
Well, I hope you enjoyed this review, because I’m spent for the day. I can only handle so many theories at a given time.