by Mark Salcido
Warning: Spoilers Ahead
Avengers: Age of Ultron is 2015 comic book superhero film in a long and still growing line of movies from the juggernaut Marvel Studios. Joss Whedon returns to direct and do what he does best. It also brings back Robert Downey, Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth, Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy Renner, Mark Ruffalo, Cobie Smulders and Samual L. Jackson. Joining this incredibly large cast is Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Elizabeth Olsen, Paul Bettany, Don Cheadle and James Spader. Holy shit that’s one hell of a large cast and I didn’t even name “everybody”.
The story involves Tony Stark creating a program that was meant to protect the earth and keep world peace. Keeping up with the classic Frankenstein trope, Stark’s creation Ultron (voiced and MOCAP by James Spader) takes that idea and flips it on his head. How to keep world peace? Get rid of the problem; humans. And with that, we have our plot and villain in attendance.
The summer blockbuster season has started and Age of Ultron kicked the door wide open. From the start, the film gives you a strong reminder why the audience eagerly awaited this sequel. Where the pervious movie kinda started slow but not quite thrilling enough, this one puts the viewers in the middle of a battle between The Avengers and what’s left of H.Y.D.R.A. Whedon took from what was called, “Working Together” scene from the ‘Battle of New York’ in The Avengers and throws it right back in your face. Oh but wait, that’s not even the best action scene.
Now, you might think, “Oh this movie will just have cool action scenes, funny one liners and hero posing non-stop”. Well my lack of open minded friend, I’m happy to say that you are wrong. Once the action slows down, the pacing doesn’t suffer. There are few character development scenes that get pretty deep and hold your interest. In the previous Avengers film, there was a hint of a romance between Bruce Banner and Black Widow that gets explored in this sequel and not crammed down your throat. I would say it helps the audience sympathize more for the characters. Also in the previous film, there was a lack of Hawkeye/Clint Barton in the mix. Where Clark Gregg character (Agent Coulson) was the heart and push the Avengers needed to keep going, Jeremy Renner’s character and (gasp) family takes up the mantle and does it well.
As the story progresses, Ultron needs to create a body strong enough to withstand the punishment the Avengers can dish out. Enter The Vision played by Paul Bettany. Arguably the Hulk was the one who stole the show the first go around, The Vision can hold the title for this film. He’s introduced later on but his introduction leaves a mark on you as he proves himself “worthy” to be a member of the Avengers (wink wink Thor’s hammer).
Let’s talk about the elephant in the internet room. When 2014’s X-Men: Days of Future Past was released, fans and critics applaud Bryan Singer’s take on Quicksilver played by Evan Peters…that’s cute. Whedon’s crack at Quicksilver (Johnson) and the visual effects surpasses Singer’s. And more importantly, the character isn’t wasted or confined to a small portion of the film. You actually feel something for this character. But, I do wish there was another scene or two of Johnson’s Quicksilver and his sister Scarlett Witch played by Olsen. I think the brother and sister dynamic between the two could’ve added more to the depth of the film from the other side of coin.
James Spader as Ultron fitted right into the movie. His craft of bringing the character alive would easily make him the best villain Marvel has produced. Now, put the torches and pitchforks down. Loki was fun as well, but Spader’s Ultron fits more into the modern world of Avengers. Think of Ultron as an evil robotic version of Stark and you got yourself some entertainment.
The Effects are well put together and fits in like a glove. With a big budget backing up this film; it better be. The battle scene between Hulk and Tony Stark’s Hulkbuster is flawless. It was given the right amount of action, mixed with bit of comedy all in a well timed length that didn’t make it seem tedious. There is a little bit of disjointness when some of the action really picks up in a scene or two. It teeters on that Transformers edge of “What the hell is going on”. But I’ll forgive it and chalk it up to the not so stellar record of a 3d viewing.
By the time this review is released, more than likely, the movie will hit two-hundred million dollars for its U.S opening weekend. So if you want to give your hard earn money and be entertained for close to 2 ½ hours, I suggest you head to your local theater and give it a viewing. And if you think you’re too good for this movie, well my friend, you don’t enjoy life and all things that come with it.