Avengers: Age Of Ultron (2015) Movie Review

Screen Shot 2015-04-25 at 16.16.38

Well here it is, the sequel with an anticipation of legendary proportions to the Superhero movie masterpiece known as The Avengers, and if you’re British, (sort of known) as Avengers Assemble (The Avengers, commercially, was already taken here, but nobody really calls this Avengers Assemble).  How long was the wait?  Roughly 1093 days (*creates another tally mark on the wall*).  Did we have patience for it during that time?  No, but the likes of Iron Man 3, Thor: The Dark World, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Guardians Of The Galaxy and 1 and a half seasons of Agents of SHIELD certainly helped pass the time.  So…Avengers 2…Age Of Ultron…how was it?

Age Of Ultron isn’t better or worse than The Avengers, but it is most certainly different.  It’s clear that Joss Whedon decided that it would be better if he tried to create a different sort of Superhero film, rather than try to top the 1 that he already made.  He drew inspiration from The Godfather Part 2 by trying to be different to Part 1, and it shows.  Some time has past between stories, and this team has grown to know each other for quite a while now, to the point of performing some innovative and fun double team manoeuvres in their action scenes.  Also if you’re familiar with Joss’ other work, you’ll know that along with his quirky sense of humour comes a very strong humanity aspect, with lots of drama and sometimes death (Even within the context of superheroes, he manages to present the challenges and hardships of real life both clearly and metaphorically).  The Avengers was 2 parts Whedon humour and 1 part Whedon Drama, while Age Of Ultron chose to be half and half, and it was darker.  It’s rare for Joss to have 1 without the other, and he does both equally well.

Because this film came out in the UK about a week before it came out in the USA, I’ve decided to have a bit of fun here by rewording some of the truth slightly when discussing the story and character elements of the movie…and maybe even the music.  But my discussion on acting, production and overall rating are all genuine.

What’s the story?  It begins with The Avengers going to Slovakia with a bang, to raid a Hydra outpost led by Baron Strucker, who has been using Loki’s staff to experiment on humans. Among his experiments are orphaned twins named Pietro and Wanda Maximoff, who are also known as Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch.  After seeing the deaths of the Avengers, Tony Stark decides that the world needed something much more and bigger than The Avengers itself.  To do this he creates a program or digital Superhero that can travel through the internet, and not only know a ton of stuff, but also possess multiple machines at will.  This new hero would become known as Ultron, and was intended to be the ultimate peacekeeper.  But first impressions proved to sour Ultron as he decides that his mission is to save the earth, but not humanity, which he sees as possibly being the cause of every problem.

When it comes to the characters and how they’re presented, Age Of Ultron does something that hasn’t been looked into that much – which is backstories and extra character development for the lesser known Avengers (aka, the 1s who may have been supporting characters, but not receive their own film).  Black Widow has obviously appeared in other Marvel films, but this is the 1st time her backstory has been given some exploration. The same goes for Hawkeye, only instead of a backstory, it’s a development of the man himself.  I consider this to be good, because they’re among the more mysterious members of the team. Also, anybody who remembers Loki’s role in the prequel, might be slightly shocked to find that while Ultron is potentially more dangerous, he’s surprisingly as funny (not cheeky funny like Loki, but still really funny.  It’s rare to make a robot this funny, unless their name is Bender, TARS or GLaDOS).

What themes are covered in Avengers 2?  Quite a number!  And not only quite a number, but with a different twist to themes that are literally overturned atoms, let alone rocks.  Man vs Machine or co-existence of Man and Machine is a rather obvious 1.  Creator vs Creation is another (think Frankenstein and Pinocchio…Ultron even sings the Pinocchio song a little bit).  Family is another (and yes, Black Widow and the Hulk have a bit of a thing going on).  Secrets is another (Ultron was 1 of Tony’s secrets from the team).

So, the acting.  I had no problem with the acting, and even Elisabeth Olsen does a pretty good job as Wanda Maximoff (Scarlet Witch), which surprised me, considering my thought of ever mixing the words Olsen, Marvel and good…especially in this universe.  It also places Aaron Taylor-Johnson on the list of actors who have played multiple superheroes, and thankfully we can say that he’s 1 of few who had 2 good roles rather than 1 good and 1 bad (Halle Berry may have been Storm in X-Men, but she was also Catwoman.  She’ll never escape that!).  Did anybody steal the show?  To be honest, I don’t know, as that would suggest someone being superior to everybody else within the film.  But that doesn’t mean that some acting performances didn’t stand out in this film.  James Spader was absolutely fantastic as the voice of Ultron, which happens to be soothing, and yet really cold at the same time.  Great choice.

The music is more or less as good as other Marvel films, and Brian Tyler’s John Williams inspired scores really are great…did I mention Simpsons composer and Tim Burton’s go-to musician Danny Elfman has worked on it too?  Yeah, when Ultron’s physical body starts to build up, the opening theme to Beetlejuice starts playing.  And when Vision appears (played by Paul Bettany), the Edward Scissorhands theme starts playing when he looks out the window.  It was pretty mesmerising *wink*.

Production-wise and action-scene-wise, The Avengers 2…at this moment anyway…might genuinely be untouchable.  If you thought the fight scenes in Man Of Steel were good, and are wondering what the fight between Batman and Superman in 2016 will be like…1 thing you need to know is that it will take a lot of effort and imagination to top the fight between Iron Man and The Hulk in South Africa (as seen in the trailer, were Iron Man puts on the Hulkbuster).  It was 1 of the greatest and most destructive fight scenes you’ll ever see outside of a giant monster movie!  The CGI and special effects that went into it were insane!  It was the closest you’ll come to seeing a Dragonball Z movie done right! (James Wong could be crying from the missed opportunity by now).  Also, what they do to that city in Slovakia was pure awesomeness, and I would laugh if they pulled a Thor 2 with it on Agents Of SHIELD (SHIELD cleaned up Thor’s mess in Season 1, imagine trying to clean this 1 up!).

Would I recommend The Avengers: Age Of Ultron?  Yes!  It’s a great standalone movie, but like most other films in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, you need the others to really enjoy it, as they allow you to get to know the characters.  Some might say that Captain America and Thor didn’t have a lot to do in this film.  Well, they each have 2 films about themselves so far and they have a 3rd film each coming within the next few years, I’d say they should give more spotlight to the 1s who aren’t starring in their own flicks.  The humour is still there and done brilliantly, the drama is well done, and the ending just gets you excited for more.

Overall Rating: *****

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