Published on May 5th, 2015 | by Allan Brown2
Avengers: Age of Ultron Review
Movie Review: Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015)
Running Time: 141 mins
Director: Joss Whedon
Writers: Joss Whedon, Stan Lee, Jack Kirby
Stars: Robert Downey Jr, Chris Hemsworth, Chris Evans, Mark Ruffalo, Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy Renner, James Spader, Samuel L. Jackson, Don Cheadle, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Elizabeth Olsen, Paul Bettany, Cobie Smulders, Anthony Mackie, Hayley Atwell, Idris Elba, Stellan Skarsgård, Claudia Kim, Linda Cardellini, Andy Serkis, Thomas Kretschmann
And so, Joss Whedon’s eagerly anticipated follow-up to his 2012 box-office
HULK smash; The Avengers, finally rolls off the Marvel production line and into theatres. But is the crowded superhero extravaganza Avengers: Age of Ultron, the sequel Marvel fans had all hoped for?
The story picks things up after the collapse of SHIELD and Hydra ( last seen in Captain American: The Winter Soldier), leaving The Avengers, now solely funded by Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr).
Whilst on a routine mission to retrieve one of the Hydra weapons in Eastern Europe, the team encounter a new foe, in the form of Wanda/ Scarlett Witch (Elizabeth Olsen) and Pietro Maximoff / Quicksilver (Aaron Taylor-Johnson). Soon after, Tony Stark succumbs to a powerful vision were he sees the end of the world, and his entire team of Avengers, dead. Convinced the world needs more protection than the Avengers can give, Stark, along Bruce Banner (Mark Ruffalo), discover technology that will help re-start a hidden artificial intelligence defence programme named Ultron. Before long, Ultron takes physical form, becomes self-aware and decides that the best way for world peace, is humanity’s extinction.
After Ulton’s escape, The Avengers aggressively pursue him in order to obstruct his plans. With the Maximoff twins working alongside Ultron, The Avengers are thrown into confusion as their own fears and pasts come back to haunt them, throwing doubt in their unity as a team.
The decision to humanise and turn what is accentually a psychotic robot with acute artificial intelligence, into a stroppy teenager, sadly dissolves any pre-built tension or fear we may have had for our Avengers.
Back in 2008 the studio began putting down the foundations in creating their one big Marvel Cinematic Universe, which started with Iron Man. Since then, the studio has gone from strength to strength, having generated more than 11 blockbuster films (and counting) that have grossed a staggering $3 Billion at the box-office collectively. So, unless you’ve been living under a rock, chances are, you’ll have encountered at least one of their testosterone filled, air punching, superhero spectacles, somewhere along the line.
So what makes Age of Ultron stand out from its older brothers and sisters in the franchise? Well, nothing really. The visuals are a little snappier and perhaps more refined (as one would expect), and some of the set pieces and dramatic aerial shots are a little more elaborate and punchier, and that’s about it. There are hints of a darker, more interesting film in there (Ultorn’s stunning entrance during the party scene which filled with atmosphere, dread and foreboding), but is quickly abandoned in favour for the usual superhero fanfare were any sense of drama or peril quickly evaporates.
The new faces on block include our main antagonist Ultron (James Spader), who as previously mentioned offers a darker tone initially, before his bad stand-up routine kicks into play, full of awful one-liners and teenage sarcasm. The decision to humanise and turn what is accentually a psychotic robot with acute artificial intelligence, into a stroppy teenager, sadly dissolves any pre-built tension or fear we may have had for our Avengers.
Paul Bethany’s character of Jarvis see’s new life in Age of Ultron, and is given physical form to who will now be known as; The Vision. His character comes to fruition in the second act and apart from being present during pivotal battle scenes, his character is not given enough time to establish, and so comes off rather bland and underwhelming.
Other fresh faces come in the form of The Maximoff twins; Wanda / Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen) and Pietro / Quicksilver (Aaron Taylor-Johnson). Again, despite their presence pushing the narrative forward, their characters are never given any depth or time to make their mark in amongst the season veterans, again leaving their presence in the film forgettable and rather flavourless. This makes it difficult, at least for me to engage in the story or care for the characters, despite their charm and fun persona’s.
With that said, Avengers: Age of Ultron is impeccably well made for what is accentually popcorn entertainment designed for mass consumption, and although the narrative and lack of character development is always the thing that suffers for me in these movies, the sense of fun, comedic banter and character exchanges with the key players (which can’t be easy considering the number of main characters on screen at any one time) are once again executed to perfection, and it is this that will likely keep bringing fans of the franchise back for more.
So as far as comic book, action, adventures go, Avengers: Age of Ultron is a success, just don’t go scratching that surface to deep now, or it will likely cave in on you.
Summary: 2 hours and 21 minutes of flamboyant, unapologetic popcorn entertainment, where CGI action set pieces and air punching heroics, are crowbarred into an over-elaborate, yet all to familiar narrative.