Mundanity “NO SPOILER” Review – Marvel’s Avengers: Age of Ultron
Marvel’s Avengers: Age of Ultron, released today in the U.S. (May 1) is the sequel to the incredibly successful 2012 film “Marvel’s Avengers”. If you are coming into “Age of Ultron” looking for a cookie cutter copy of their last outing, Director Joss Whedon has a bit of a surprise for you…and I think that is a very good thing.
Age of Ultron assumes that the moviegoer has at least seen the first movie, but does not require a deep understanding of all of the interrelated connectivity of the overall Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). This does not short change what the more involved fan in terms of the MCU, or for those of the comic books, quite the contrary. Marvel’s Avengers dealt with bringing a group of superheroes to join together “Earth’s Mightiest Heroes”, whereas in Age of Ultron the team is established and working well together.
The Avengers have been busy since the last film, dealing with the fallout from Captain America: The Winter Soldier (the fall of S.H.I.E.L.D. and the rise of HYDRA) as well as locating and dealing with alien technology leftover from the Battle of New York. (Note: if you can, watch the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. episode from 4/28 prior to going to the movie.) The opening sequence is full of action, humor and reflects how well the team is working together. Two new “enhanced people” are introduced in this sequence, Pietro and Wanda Maximoff. These twins, otherwise known as Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch, are aligned with HYDRA. As a result of voluntary experimentation by HYDRA scientists, their abilities are impressive and they are able to cause some grief for the Avengers. I liked Aaron Taylor-Johnson (Quicksilver) and Elizabeth Olsen (Scarlet Witch) in these roles. Unfortunately for Johnson, he is coming after the memorable portrayal of the same character by Evan Peters in X-Men: Days of Future Past.
My only issue with the movie is how quickly Ultron came to be…and how quickly he became an incredible force to oppose the Avengers. It felt a bit short-cut in a montage-y kind of way. In the first movie, a solid connection between Loki and the individual Avengers was created, elevating the stakes. In this outing, it takes a while for that to occur, and by the time that is in place, it’s almost over. However, once James Spader is on screen as Ultron, his performance is fantastic. He was the only choice for this epic villain.
The struggles within our team of heroes provide a deeper context to the story that we did not have in the first movie. There is an investment in telling more of the story on Natasha/Black Widow, Banner/Hulk and especially Barton/Hawkeye. The sub-plot with Hawkeye provided a really meaty role for Jeremy Renner. Surprising in many ways, it also provides much more context for his relationship with Natasha and the team in general. It also provides one of the best lines in the film during a later action scene, and was exactly what I was thinking at the time.
One of the incredible standouts in Age of Ultron was The Vision. Paul Bettany plays him to perfection, and Thor’s involvement in his story line setups not only the upcoming Avengers: Infinity War Parts I & II, but what we can expect for Thor: Ragnarok, and makes you ask some questions about the post-credits scene from Thor: The Dark World. I really loved how they handled Vision. Great stuff.
I know what you are thinking..he hasn’t talked about Iron Man/Tony Stark!?! Well, suffice it to say that Tony and the rest of the team are more quippy and entertaining as always, and Tony Stark is clearly moving towards a place in his life that will set him at odds with Captain America in Captain America: Civil War. The other standout of the movie…HULKBUSTER. SO FREAKING COOL.
Overall, Avengers: Age of Ultron is an amazing movie filled with a great story, cool action sequences and superhero goodness. My advice, don’t expect the same old, same old that you had with the Avengers. This is a darker movie, a different movie. But a really entertaining movie, nonetheless.
I elected to not see Age of Ultron in 3D (my daughter refused to go otherwise), but I don’t think that would have greatly improved the movie going experience. One last thing…STAY AFTER THE CREDITS!!!
8/10 on the Mundanity Scale (1 – Mundane to 10 – Insane)…which would make it chocked full of MAYHEM! (in a good way).
Until next time…
Posted on May 1, 2015, in Movie Review, Pop Culture and tagged Avengers, Avengers: Age of Ultron, Black Widow, Captain America, Hawkeye, Hulk, iron Man, Joss Whedon, Marvel, Marvel Cinematic Universe, MCU, Quiksilver, Scarlet Witch, Thor, Ultron, Vision. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.