Last updated on March 17th, 2017 at 04:35 pm
The Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes
From Marvel Studios comes the sequel everyone has been waiting for. Avengers: Age of Ultron tells of the next threat Earth’s Mightiest Heroes must face in Marvel’s long running cinematic universe. After the events of Avengers and the Phase 2 movies we’ve seen so far, aside from Guardians of the Galaxy (Iron Man 3, Thor: The Dark World, Captain America: The Winter Soldier) the Avengers have teamed up again to recover a powerful artifact from the Hydra, a secret military organization with roots in the Nazi regime. Meanwhile, Tony Stark has been creating an artificial intelligence called Ultron, meant to act as a peacekeeping program; an “armor around the world”. When Ultron is successfully booted, the promising AI is not at all what Tony had envisioned. Ultron rationalizes that what plagues the world is humanity and that it should be terminated. Now the Avengers must take down the sentient AI that seeks to achieve peace through destruction. Reprising their roles as the Avengers are Tony Stark/Iron Man (Robert Downey, Jr.), Steve Rogers/Captain America (Chris Evans), Thor (Chris Hemsworth), Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), Clint Barton/Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner), and Bruce Banner/Hulk (Mark Ruffalo). Newcomers to this movie are your big bad villain Ultron (James Spader), the Maximoff twins: Wanda (Elizabeth Olsen) and Pietro (Aaron-Taylor Johnson), and a possible ally known as The Vision (Paul Bettany). Other members to return or join as newcomers are Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson), Maria Hill (Cobie Smulders), Erik Selvig (Stellan Skarsgard), and Dr. Helen Cho (Claudia Kim). Coming back to direct this movie, also, is none other than Joss Whedon, who directed Avengers.
In Whedon We Trust
Marvel fans can’t afford to miss out on this film! It has plenty of things Avengers excelled at as a super hero movie, and sought to go above and beyond what we expected. Still, the movie isn’t perfect and definitely has things that need to be addressed. Let’s start with saying that Joss Whedon, as director, had very good intentions for this movie and it needs to be acknowledged that not only did he have a lot on his plate, but there was a lot he needed to accomplish. From watching this movie it’s clear he wanted to top what Avengers did. You can see in this movie that there was a lot of juggling that needed to be done in balancing how many entertaining action scenes there were with that of how much screen time all the characters got. That and all the characters needed to be developed well within a story that made sense. Sadly, it does take a lot to make sure a movie of this caliber works out. Avengers: Age Of Ultron was definitely not something small to accomplish by any means. The action scenes/set pieces definitely showed Joss Whedon and the people who worked behind the movie that they wanted to “wow” the audience and provide entertaining action scenes to be enjoyed. There were at least a good 5 action scenes that showed themselves to be big in scale. The last part of the movie definitely was huge in scale. The story was definitely comprehensible and coherent. There didn’t seem to be any issue with the story being confusing or unable to follow along. However, coherence aside, there were aspects of the story that didn’t seem to make sense in the bigger scheme of things. Also, there are a lot of big name characters in this movie, so sometimes the movie seems a bit overpopulated with characters who all look like they need solo movies to flesh out who they are more. Thankfully, Whedon has a role for them all and a reason for why they are all in this movie. Let’s get into who all our characters are.
The whole gang is back! We have the witty humor of Stark to provide comic relief and his alter ego, Iron Man, to kick butt in “iron” fashion and blow up a lot of things, as that’s what the Iron Man suit is designed to do. It should also be noted he’s not the leader of the Avengers, but the guy on the team who “pays for everything, designs everything, and makes everyone look cooler.” (That is pretty important that someone can do that. It’s the Avengers!) No, rather the leader of our all-star team is our favorite Star-Spangled Banner hero, Captain Rogers (or Captain America). He leads everyone, tells everyone what the objective is, and is the “world’s leading authority on waiting too long”(or so he says). What he means by that you’ll have to watch the movie to find out. Thor is back with thunder, lightning, and his beautiful golden locks as the demigod of thunder. Romanoff, and her non-alter ego Black Widow, is back as the spy-ish agent of the team who now has cool electric batons and still uses whatever guns she usually uses. (Female Bond? Bond comes to mind for some reason. Think SHIELD instead of MI-6, even though it’s not around anymore. Also if she’s going to be Bond she needs her own theme song. Adele anyone?) Barton still has the eye of the hawk (not the tiger), the cool bow, and a nicer looking quiver that can hold what looks like at least more than 10 arrows this time around. (Two things: How many arrows could he hold in his quiver in Avengers? [and] Is his bow new or the same one he had in the Avengers? Something to ask/think about.) Lastly we have our favorite scientist and “enormous green rage monster” Bruce Banner! He’s still science bros with Stark and they’re still doing “science things” together, like accidentally building a evil AI. He is working on managing the “other guy,” the Hulk, making sure it doesn’t get the best of him. The opening sequence in the film shows a fully realized team able to better control or work with the Hulk. We have other returning characters who come back to help assist the Avengers in various ways. Maria Hill stands by as intelligence support and assists in some operational support for the Avengers. Nick Fury comes out of the shadows, or whatever he’s been doing, to help the Avengers at a certain point in the movie. If you’re curious as to what he’s been up to all I can suggest is watching the first season of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. That’s all you get to see of Fury after Captain America: Winter Soldier. It’s a decent show and one you should watch if you get the chance. (They have something special to add to the Marvel Cinematic Universe! I’ll leave it at that.) Erik Selvig also has a small role in the movie to assist one of our Avengers team members at a certain point.
The New Recruits
We have most, if not all, the old members from the first movie back. Now let’s get into the new additions to this movie. Our big bad villain that gives the Avengers trouble in this movie is Ultron. He starts out as an AI created by Tony Stark, designed to be a peacekeeping program, but ends up manifesting in a completely hostile way. While Ultron doesn’t showcase a lot of capabilities in this movie compared to his comic book counterpart, having James Spader as the voice actor makes him quite menacing. The voice acting for Ultron done by Spader is top-notch and really displays his acting talent. If you don’t know who James Spader is go watch The Blacklist on NBC, or you could watch the eighth season of The Office. At the very least he’s phenomenal to watch as Raymond Reddington on The Blacklist. He makes being a criminal look appealing, if you have his demeanor and personality. James Spader’s voice acting for Ultron makes up enough for Ultron not being as dangerous as some comic book fans hoped he would be, but it does fall short a bit. For our next new set of characters we have the Maximoff twins, Wanda and Pietro Maximoff, also known as Scarlet Witch and Quiksilver. Comic book fans will recognize them as mutants and the children of Magneto from X-men, but because 20th Century Fox owns the film rights to X-men neither is mentioned or utilized as story devices in this movie. Another new addition is The Vision. Paul Bettany plays this enigmatic character. If you know the actors behind the characters Bettany’s name should sound familiar, as he is the voice behind Jarvis, Stark’s system AI that he speaks to in his house and usually when he dons the Iron Man suit. There’s a good reason as for why they incorporate the same actor, but so as not to spoil the movie that piece of information will be left out here. One other new character to mention that the Avengers get to know is Dr. Helen Cho. She doesn’t have a huge role, but the role she plays has significance in further advancing the story put forth. All you need to know is that she is acquainted with Stark and Banner, assisting the team in bio-tech.
As you can see there are a lot of characters in this movie. Joss Whedon did a decent job of giving each character enough screen time to develop who they are in this movie and also a good part of the action to show off what each of these superheroes or supervillains can do. The action scenes are numerous and big in scale, as mentioned earlier. The first scene you get to see involves all the Avengers fighting and feels like the camera is never being cut. In one shot, you see the camera going from one Avenger to another fighting enemies and showing teamwork. Seeing this fight makes you think there’s a large amount of special effect involved, but also showcases the behind-the-scenes crew having a high skill in choreographing complicated action sequences. If this was the first Avengers movie this battle might not have been the length or caliber it would be, but with this being the sequel to a movie that garnered a high box office Marvel Studios and Joss Whedon had the liberty of making each battle bigger with the hopes of it being more entertaining. Other action scenes in this movie include Ultron fighting the Avengers, Ultron and the Maxminoff twins fighting the Avengers, an on-the-road fight between some of the Avengers and Ultron, and a final battle that can only be described as a large-scale fight involving all our characters. Here’s to hoping this list of scenes described is something that gives you assurance you’ll see plenty of comic book action in this movie. While all these scenes are entertaining to watch it can be said that Avengers: Age of Ultron doesn’t always seem to have the spark that made the Avengers seem like something really new and fresh.
Interesting Plot Choices
On that note also there are some things in this movie that don’t seem to make sense in the moment. One such thing you may ask about is Stark’s suits of armor being rebuilt. In Iron Man 3, or by the end of it, Stark destroyed all his suits and even surgically had the shrapnel removed from inside his body so he didn’t need the arc-reactor-powered electromagnet to keep the shrapnel from getting to his heart. The way that movie ended in terms of story and tone made it feel it was the end of Stark’s journey to some degree and that his days as Iron Man was somewhat over. Having him rebuild his suits like it was nothing seems a little off. It may not be the biggest deal, but the tone does feel a little off as well as the transition into Avengers: Age of Ultron. One bigger issue that fans may not be happy about is the character dynamic between Romanoff and Banner. Avengers never had pegged them as possible love interests and even went to the point of emphasizing a romance between Barton and Romanoff. If Barton and Romanoff have a romantic subplot, then why does this movie switch to having it between Banner and Romanoff with no explanation? That and Whedon may have crossed a line with how he wrote the background for Romanoff’s character. He added in an element where Romanoff felt part of her identity dealt with having kids. So as not to spoil this any further no more explanation of what this scene is will be given, but the way this plot point was delivered may offend some viewers. Last but not least, one other thing that can be debated is how the Maximoff twins are aligned with Hydra. Last in Winter Soldier and into this movie it’s known that the twins are the product of Hydra. You see to what degree both are associated with each other in this movie. It’s this portrayal that might alarm some deeper comic book fans because the twins are children of Magneto, who had Jewish heritage and Hydra has associations with Nazi Germany since their founding leader came from that version of Germany in World War II. That kind of mixture is not one that bodes well, but because the association between the twins and Hydra is really low key it’s not highly noticeable. If you really looked into it then there may be some issues.
Age Of Verdicts
All in all though Avengers: Age of Ultron is a well done movie and while it may not have that spark that Avengers gave us its still means well and does what it can to go above and beyond. We have the old gang back, new additions to the story this time around, and a lot of cool fights to watch. It wasn’t mentioned before, but remember we do have the Hulkbuster this time around. If you are a comic book fan or a Marvel fan you need to watch this follow up to the Avengers and see what lies next in the story. Go see it when you have a chance! You should also know that there’s no post-credits scene at the end of the credits. There’s one after the first batch of credits, but not at the end of all the credits. Sorry, no schwarma-type scene in this movie guys. Still go see the movie!