Avengers: Age Of Ultron, Review

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Director: Joss Whedon Starring: Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans & Chris Hemsworth Synopsis: When Tony Stark tries to jumpstart a dormant peacekeeping program, things go awry and it is up to the Avengers to stop the villainous Ultron from enacting his terrible plans Rating: 12A Run time: 141 minutes Release date: 23 April (UK)

Editors note: Minor spoilers within.

It’s been a mere seven years since Iron Man hit our screens, promising team-ups and the acceptance that superhero films can exist and share the same world. Since then there have been no less than 10 films released that have formed a part of this shared universe. With many more to come and one only a few months away, it does beg the question of have we had enough yet? Avengers: Age of Ultron does not answer that question, nor should it, but it does provide another huge payday for Marvel and keeps up their recent form of producing hit after hit.

In many ways, Age of Ultron is the most comic book of film of its kind. The action scenes are pure splash page material, the dialogue is short yet crisp with the odd inspirational speech thrown in, and the plot is, well the plot is just about there. The thing that Age of Ultron really has going for it though, is its characters. Whether old hats or new recruits, the films survives on their knowing interactions with each other. Director Joss Whedon is a proven master of mentoring large casts, and that is shown here once more.

Whedon’s clever word play and his deep knowledge of what motivates these characters keeps the film ticking when other, less vigilant hands may let the film wander into pure exposition. He even manages to subvert certain elements of the film and its genre traits, that gives the audience a few surprises along the way. Maybe then it’s little surprise that the films best moments are not in its many action scenes, but in the quieter moments in-between. Finding out why the Black Widow thinks she is as much of a monster as Bruce Banner’s alter ego, or what Tony Stark’s greatest fear is, provide as much impact as the Hulk being pummelled by Iron Man’s newest suit of armour.

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Handling such a large cast, with multiple plot threads from several of Marvel’s previous films was never going to be easy though. The core cast remains largely unchanged, with Captain America, Thor and Iron Man going about with business as usual. Bruce Banner seems to be going through another crisis and struggles to accept the other guy and the damage he can do, while the Black Widow provides a counter point to this and their relationship remains interesting throughout the film.

One of the surprises in Age of Ultron however, is Hawkeye. The man with the bow and arrows was somewhat of a bit player last time out, but here he gets many of the best lines, while providing an emotional centre in a cast of impossible heroes. He is supported by newcomers Pietro & Wanda Maximoff (Aaron Taylor-Johnson & Elizabeth Olsen), twins who have been experimented on at the hands of HYDRA and whose torturous tale goes back to Marvel’s early days when Stark Industries was in the war mongering business. Paul Bettany is finally allowed to show us what he can do, after spending three films as Tony Stark’s virtual butler Jarvis, and his fully bodied character, The Vision, could become one of the most important characters in Marvel’s cinematic universe.

Of course, no review would be complete without a mention to James Spader as Ultron. His voice work here eloquent yet terrifying, giving real menace to his CGI body. As Ultron has no doubt taken traits from his creator Tony Stark, it is always exciting when the two of them share the screen, as their egos form parallels with each other that they both refuse to see.

With so much going on, it would be impossible for the film to be without fault. Age of Ultron has to juggle elements of the films that have come before it, while also serving to build up what lies ahead. The ending is also becoming a far too repetitive thing for Marvel, as once more an aerial threat must be averted in order to prevent a catastrophe. Therefore Age of Ultron can feel uneven in parts, especially in the films first half, with Whedon having the unenviable task of trying to fit everything in, while also telling a new story. But despite all this, Age of Ultron is never anything less than fun, and provides the most pure cinematic experience since, well, Avengers: Assemble.

In summary: Avengers: Age of Ultron provides everything a summer blockbuster should, while giving comic book fans the ultimate in fan service.

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5 thoughts on “Avengers: Age Of Ultron, Review

  1. This frustratingly didn’t hit home as much as I wanted it too, although it was still the most fun I have had in a long while. Widow and Hawkeye were brilliant, and yes, the smaller character moments definitely made up for the action, which while fun, isn’t going to stick in my mind as long as the Winter Soldier’s breath-taking choreography did.

  2. For me it was inferior to its predecessor. One complaint I had with the script is that it sometimes went for jokes and gags too often, sometimes in the middle of what are supposed to be tense scenes, partially ruining what they were trying to build up.

    As fan as I am of the Ultron story in the comics, created by Pym and such, I have to say I liked the spin they gave it. Same with Vision, very interesting approach.

    You’re spot on with Hawkeye’s prominent role in the film. I’d actually love to discuss something about the character in Avengers 2, but it would be spoilery for those who haven’t seen the film!

    Lovely review!

  3. Cool review man, I think we share a similar opinion on this one. I won’t lie, while I did come out of Age of Ultron as a satisfied man, at the same time I wasn’t left in awe the same way that was when I saw Avengers and Winter Soldier.

    That being said after seeing the film a second time I was able to adjust my nitpicks and enjoy the film for what it is, a really great follow up to one of the best comic book films of all time. Age of Ultron does a lot of things right with its awesome action sequences, beautiful character moments and sense of continuity between films with story elements and characters crossing over. That said it did have a lot of stories to juggle, some characters didn’t get enough screen time and there were a few too many similarities to the first film. But again it is hard to complain about film when it is this fun, at least that’s the way I see it. 🙂

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