Before anyone says anything, just know I saw this movie last Thursday, April 30th, and the reason I’m so late on this review is because I am this thing called a student and I have to put my schoolwork before my “personal affairs”
One of my closest friends and I watched every movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) leading up to this movie. We watched about eight or nine movies in a matter of five days. Our friends couldn’t decide if we were geniuses or madmen; so we answered it for them. We’re madmen.
Three years ago director Joss Whedon made cinematic history bringing characters (with previously touched upon story arches in their own movies) together on one screen. It was a defining moment for both comic book movies and film history as a whole. Now after Marvel’s “Phase 2”, Whedon has returned to followup the third highest grossing movie of all time. Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015) hits the ground running with a James Bond-esque opening action sequence showing the titular team in action as they assault a fortress of some sort. This leads to finding the scepter Loki used in the first film, which inevitably leads to Tony Stark / Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.) creating a new form of artificial intelligence designed to “blanket the Earth” from anything coming from space or other realms (Stark is still shell-shocked from his traumatic experience going into space and wants to take any precautions necessary to prevent such a thing from occurring again).Unfortunately things don’t go so well and the Ultron Program, as it’s called, becomes self aware and realizes the only way to protect the Earth is via human extinction. Naturally, the rest of the Avengers are pretty irate with Stark and now they need to pick up the pieces before total extinction occurs. Ultron (Voiced by James Spader) then enlists the “enhanced” (Because Marvel doesn’t have the rights to the term “Mutants” thanks to 20th Century Fox retaining the rights to X-Men) twins, Pietro (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) and Wanda (Elizabeth Olsen) Maximoff to help him with this task.
One thing that worried me going into this movie is that I would not, for lack of a better term, be as excited about the Avengers in this movie. One of the best things about the original film in 2012 was that we saw all of these legendary characters on the screen at the same time. It was something that didn’t seem possible until that moment. Going into the sequel, I was afraid that the sheer excitement of that would not be there; and it’s true, it wasn’t. But as the movie progressed it seemed that the movie wasn’t so much about coming together like the first one; but instead getting away.
Whedon touches on each character’s individual flaws/pains to show despite them being so super, they are still human where it counts. Steve Rogers / Captain America (Chris Evans) is still adjusting to living in the modern world; Natasha Romanoff / Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) and Bruce Banner / Hulk (Mark Ruffalo) are trying to spark a romantic relationship despite Banner’s green tendencies; Thor (Chris Hemsworth) has no one to share the burden of protecting the nine realms with; and even the Maximoffs have a dark past thanks to the weapons of Stark Industries. Each character is very fleshed out in this movie and Whedon manages to pull it off while still keeping the story interesting and action packed.
Everyone does well in this movie acting wise, with special recognition going to Jeremy Renner as Clint Barton / Hawkeye who really came out for this movie. Hawkeye didn’t have a lot of screen time in the first film do to being brainwashed by the antagonist for 2/3 of the movie; but in this movie he finally gets his due when we see that while Hawkeye may be the most boring Avenger on paper, he is the teams rock to remind them all that they are still human and have souls unlike Ultron. Speaking of, James Spader as Ultron is what we like to call perfect on every level. Spader delivers as the best villain in this franchise since Loki (Tom Hiddleston) with a self righteous disposition thinking that his way is the proper way and that the good guys are the real bad guys. Of course there are two sides to every coin and on the opposite side of Ultron was The Vision (Paul Bettany). The Vision is a new character who is essentially a humanoid form of Starks A.I. assistant, JARVIS. The Vision may very well be the best character of this movie. My only problem is that he doesn’t show up for 2/3 of the movie. So because of screen time, I’ll have to give Ultron the edge. Nonetheless, the two served as a great ying and yang to each other. In fact, having just typed that, I feel like there were a lot of ying and yangs – Iron Man and Captain America; Black Widow and Hulk; and Pietro and Wanda all follow this suit as well.
Age of Ultron may do a little more developing of the franchise as opposed to the characters but it still serves as a high impact sequel and also a very emotional movie as a whole. While the action is entertaining as ever, there are also a lot of funny and heartfelt moments to show how human this group of individuals is, despite how extraordinary they are. There are definitely some storylines left open; but they were meant to be more of a set up for what is to come in Marvel’s “Phase 3”. You can read my take on that here. You might as well check out this one about Spider-Man also coming to Phase 3. You know what, I’ll put a list of all the upcoming Phase 3 movies at the bottom of this post if you don’t care to read anything else I write.
Overall Rating: 8.5/10 – Awesome
So much action, too many jokes but in the best way, and it is a dark brooding movie that seems to leave audiences with a sense of hope. James Spader kills it, and The Vision is the new best character in this franchise, pending he appear more throughout Phase 3. Whedon brings Earth’s mightiest heroes back together and manages to make it just as interesting as last time.
Ant-Man (2015) is closing out Phase 2 in July, then the following are Phase 3:
- Captain America: Civil War – May 6, 2016
- Doctor Strange – November 6, 2016
- Guardians of the Galaxy 2 – May 5, 2017
- Spider-Man Reboot – July 28, 2017
- Thor: Ragnarok – November 3, 2017
- Avengers: Infinity War – Part 1 – May 4, 2018
- Black Panther – July 6, 2018
- Captain Marvel – November 2, 2018
- Avengers: Infinity War – Part 2 – May 3, 2019
- Inhumans – July 12, 2019
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