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"Making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil."

~Ephesians 5:16

Friday, May 1, 2015


One could make an argument that Star Wars: The Force Awakens is the most anticipated film of 2015. Truth be told, that's probably the case. Still, many would claim that the highly awaited Avengers sequel, Age of Ultron is. (It could be a moot point anyway since both movies are both distributed by Disney!) When "The Avengers" came on the scene three years ago it forever changed the comic book movie landscape, landing as the third greatest film in the box office. And it definitely deserves it, for it is enjoyable from the start to finish. "Age of Ultron" brings back the characters for another excellent adventure. While perhaps lacking in iconic moments than the first one, it's nonetheless a worthy sequel to one of the most enjoyable movies of the decade.

When Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) jumpstarts a dormant peacekeeping program, things go terribly awry, forcing him, Thor (Chris Hemsworth), the Incredible Hulk (Mark Ruffalo) and the rest of the Avengers to reassemble. As the fate of Earth hangs in the balance, the team is put to the ultimate test as they battle Ultron (James Spader), a technological terror hell-bent on human extinction. Along the way, they encounter two mysterious and powerful newcomers, Pietro and Wanda Maximoff.

From the film's action-filled opening, you know you're in for something truly exciting. Director Joss Whedon once again incorporates the heroes and their unique personalities well. While sometimes the sarcasm feels like it's there just to be there, the dialogue is almost always enjoyable. And that's the way it should be when you have Earth's Mightiest Heroes together. Pace wise, like the first one there are practically no moments that drag on. Is it better than the first movie however? Of course, nothing will ever beat the "wow they're all together!" factor, but nonetheless I'm inclined to say the previous one is a little better and there are basically no plotholes, unlike this one. Still, any negatives that are about to be said don't hinder the enjoyment.

Almost all of the characters are of course great. Let's us however address one plothole: the Hulk. In the climax of the first movie Bruce Banner (Mark Ruffalo) reveals that he's able to control his green alter ego since "He's always angry." Yet here he seems to have almost no control, which was disappointing. Because of this hole, Banner ended up being a lot less notable than his self in the first film. Another thing is the romance between him and Black Widow. (Scarlett Johansson.) It comes out of nowhere, but I can let that go slightly since at the same time it doesn't feel too forced while watching the film.
Chris Evans delivers another fantastic portrayal as Captain America. As the leader of the Avengers should be, he commands a level of inspiration every time he's on screen. Robert Downy Jr, while not having as many great lines as in the first movie, gives another great portrayal of Tony Stark/Iron Man. It's the same with Black Widow and of course Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury who doesn't appear much but when he does, he commands a presence. While before I thought there could have been someone better for the role of Thor, Chris Hemsworth proves here that he is a very good Prince of Thunder. The film also makes great use of previous characters in the franchise. Let us however talk about the new characters. When it was unveiled that Quicksilver, Scarlett Witch, and Vision would be appearing, many thought it would be too much of an overload. Somehow, the film makes it all work without making everything seem too crammed in.

The twins have an adequate amount of backstory, nicely setting them up as sympathetic without delving too much into that aspect. Scarlet Witch, being a major Avenger in the comics, has some nice scenes in the climax. Sadly, Quicksilver fans might be disappointed with his role in comparison. Vision doesn't get too much screen time, yet he still manages to be a highlight. If this were another movie it would have felt crammed, but not in the Avengers. A surprise highlight was Jeremy Renner as Hawkeye. It was as if if Whedon was saying "sorry" for his role in the first movie, being mind-controlled for most of it. Here he actually ends up being one of the big highlights. Now, onto perhaps the biggest reason for watching this...ULTRON.

Many fans were shocked when it was revealed at Comic Con two years ago that Ultron would be the antagonist. Thanos is perhaps Marvel's greatest villain, but as far as Avengers enemies go, Ultron can't be beat. As a longtime fan of the character, I know the different versions of him in the comics well. The movie's version to say the least is definitely engaging. James Spader delivers a terrific voice portrayal. Character wise, he's definitely a greatly written character, but how about as an Ultron adaption? While his dialogue is almost always enjoyable, it seems to me that he was chosen to be sarcastic because the team is. It seems that what the film was going for is a dark mirror of Tony Stark's personality. It would have been interesting to see if the film used his more serious, logical robot persona. Still, at the end of the day despite any personal preferences what we get is one of the Marvel Cinematic Universe's greatest antagonists. He commands a presence, and thankfully the film doesn't shy away from how powerful he is. (I still think his design from the Comic Con teaser would have been better.)

From the opening until the climax, the film has a lot of impressive action scenes. Perhaps the most hyped one was the Hulk Buster vs. Hulk battle. It definitely doesn't disappoint, but my personal favorite one was when Cap battles Ultron himself on top of a truck. Marvel continues to improve with the intensity and choreography of the action scenes. The final battle, like the first movie, has the team battle an army. This is entertaining, but it would have been nice to see more of a fight with Ultron himself. He only really battles the team one on one at a time, which is rather disappointing. Soundtrack wise, it's pretty standard as far as comic book movies go. We have the usual heroic themes which are always utilized well. The soft opera used during the climax was used extremely well, further making apparent of the rather bleak situation.

Overall, the Age of Ultron delivers. While not necessarily better than the first movie, there's no denying how enjoyable and great it is regardless. Yes, there are somethings that could be fixed and tweaked a bit, but really when you're watching Iron Man take on the Hulk in the streets it's hard to complain. Ultron is fantastic, and while it would have been nice to see a more serious take, there's denying that he was a blast to watch on screen. The action is amped-up, with plenty of incredible battle scenes scattered throughout. Marvel has done it again.


1 comment:

  1. Definitely a great film and I agree with most of the points. The Banner and Widow plot was still unnecessary imo though. It is good to see the Age of Ultron standing up amongst the crowd and we shall see how Avengers 3 fairs with a new director. I also gave it a 9 in my review so we're effectively on the same page.