Avengers: Age of Ultron
Though it’s only the beginning of May, it’s already feeling a lot like summer! Not because of the warm weather, kids being out of school or even the public pools already being filled up with families. Tis the season of the summer blockbuster! For the heavy film going audience, the year has two major seasons, the summer season, which is filled with the big, epic popcorn films that tend to be the most anticipated movies of the year, and the winter season, which is where all the award winners and performance features debut (if they haven’t already at a film festival).
Though the blockbuster summer season started in the seventies, it has had the most change from the early nineties through the early 2000’s. Super hero movies tended to be big draws, but they started to pick up further steam when Iron Man and The Incredible Hulk were released and no one could have anticipated the plans that Marvel had put into play. Captain America and Thor came along before they would all cross over in The Avengers, which I still stand by as one of the best popcorn summer movies of all time, right up there with Jaws and Star Wars. Earth’s mightiest heroes return to take on a deadly threat in The Avengers: Age of Ultron.
Like a lot of summer movies, the film opens up with the Avengers in the middle of a mission in Sokovia; raiding a Hydra terrorist outpost. Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, Hawkeye, Black Widow, and The Hulk each get their turn to show off their powers and strength as they break through to retrieve Loki’s staff from the previous films. Though they are successful, they put up a goof fight with two new powerful beings; the really fast Quicksilver (played by Aaron Taylor-Thompson) and his twin magical sister Scarlet Witch (played by Elizabeth Olsen).
The Avenger celebration is put on hold when one of Tony Stark’s newest creations, the artificial intelligent robot Ultron (played by James Spader) awakens, and has a more homicidal agenda with his mission to “Save the Earth”. Ultron and some drones escapes back to Sokovia to build a large machine made out the same material as Captain America’s shield. Attempts to go after Ultron fail and the Avengers find themselves fugitives as their actions create more destruction then save lives. Even with the help of a newly created Avenger, Vision (played by Paul Bettany), out heroes may have finally met their match.
The Avengers: Age of Ultron had a lot riding on this matching is predecessor; it had to up the action while keeping it’s legendary tongue in cheek attitude as director Joss Weldon is known for. The pressure was also on to keep this cinematic story going for those that have seen the previous ones. The film succeeds in both, but falls within it too. The good news is that the action is really good. I never felt tired by the fights and it built itself up to an explosive finale like any good action movie should (please learn this lesson Michael Bay!).
We also get plenty of the great banter between our heroes when their just sitting around and building a plan. I just wish we had a little more of that. Between the action and the signature debates, the movie had to fill in the exposition of Ultron which got excessively complicated along with the discussion of the infinity stones, Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch’s intentions, Thors Vision, the Vision being created, etc. I wouldn’t be surprised if an extended cut surfaced on DVD later on that paces this stuff better then this shorter cut does (It’s already long at two and a half hours, but it didn’t really feel that long).
I’ll give this four and a half Ultrons out of five. It’s not as well put together as the first and you kind of need to see the other movies before seeing this one, but The Avengers: Age of Ultron should make most Marvel fans happy and should continue bringing them back. Let’s see what happens with Earth’s mightiest heroes next.