Avengers: Age of Ultron – 4/5 – Movie Reviews by Ry!

avengers age of ultronAvengers: Age of Ultron – 4/5 – There is something to be said about film’s and comics.  Now-a-days; they are as common together as smart phones in everyone’s possession.  Even so; the saturation in the market for these kind of films do have a side effect.  They can drown out expectation and dull the sensations of the spectacle.  Even for the abundance of superhero films; they have started to change.  With the recent entries in the market, comic book films have started to blend the art of the comics with aspects of realism.  This (in turn) has created a spectacle that not only is eye candy on the big screen; but also can have depth within the characters, stories or themes.  The sequel to one of the best comic book films of all time takes the group we all know (The Avengers) to a whole other level.  Even when the film overwhelms at times; it is still a great blockbuster film to start off the summer season of 2015

Premise: When Tony Starks peacekeeping program turns into something more menacing, the Avengers must work together to stop Ultron’s terrible plans.

The returning casts are all here:

Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark/Iron Man

Chris Hemsworth as Thor

Mark Ruffalo as Bruce Banner/Hulk

Chris Evans as Steve Rogers/Captain America

Scarlett Johansson as Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow

Jeremy Renner as Clint Barton/Hawkeye

Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury

The acting can only be described as brilliantly expected.  These people have been playing in these roles for years now; so it is expected in what you’ll see them do within an ‘Avenger’ styled film.  While there is this feeling, each of them exudes pristine purity on an individual scale.  They are as unique as their powers/stature, as well as have great contrast with each other because of that strong individualism.  The comparative value is built upon how they delve into their relationships.   You feel the passion in their hearts, as well as their stark differences when it comes to dealing with the oncoming threat.  The one thing this sequel does better than the first is the deeper depth for each of the main characters (aside from Nick Fury).  We find out more complexions for each of the characters; how each of their own ‘flaws’ builds upon their decisions and actions.  This helps bring those relationships that have grown over the years to be more realistic.  It breaks the mold of traditional comic book archetypes.  The one thing that slightly staggers is the ‘budding/love’ interest between Banner and Black Widow.  This feels forceful at times; but doesn’t hinder the overall characterization.  When it comes to the new comers (including the villain) you have as followed:

Aaron Taylor-Johnson as Quicksilver

Elizabeth Olsen as Scarlet Witch

Paul Bettany as Vision

James Spader as Ultron

This group of newcomers fall into place when it comes to the rest of the cast.  This allows the audience to become ‘glued’ to them as we have with the returners.  The stand out from this group is Spader as Ultron.  He exudes true villainy in the role as this maniac A.I.  The layers he brings to him are complex on so many levels.  You see an intelligence that flows with insanity.  You can see truth in his mission, but also the flaw brought upon those decisions.  There is a flaw that brings a humanistic quality to this non-human character; one that brings fear to us on a dark level.  That greatness of this acting (mostly through voice work) is brought upon with clever wordplay, interactions and the overall tone from Spader’s commandment of his role.  With the rest of the newcomers, you are intrigued but always weary of their intentions.   These three start off on very different paths, but eventually are brought upon other sides because of circumstance or plot conveniences.  They are unique within their own personalities, but aren’t as deeply woven as the main cast (and villain).   Even so, they do a good job in providing subtle worth in the film.

The direction of this film is a very tough task to deal with.  With Josh Whedon back at the helm, he is tasked with not only providing something that is ‘entertaining and new’; but also had to take this film in a direction where it isn’t just a rehashing of the first.  The nostalgia factor is out the window the second time around.   What Whedon does is have us (the audience) forget the nostalgia factor of the first, but also goes head on with that familiarity.  This creates a film that is wildly entertaining, but ironically refreshing.  He also takes it to that level of ‘bigger, crazier and spectacular’ that we have come to see in most blockbusters.  That causes a sense of saturation and fatigue for what we see throughout, but doesn’t completely drown out the entertainment.   The film is tackled in a tradition fashion, with three heavy distinct parts:

First Part – Quick re-introduction; prologue action set piece.  Threat introduced; mixture of comical/witty dialogue; dramatic tension and action set pieces.

Second Part- Deeper characterization of both heroes and villains; great parallels of themes, characters and story progression.  Negative effect from overstuffed side stories.  This part is dialogue heavy with aspects of wit, humor and humanistic tones.

Third part – Inevitable ‘good vs. evil’ confrontation.  Final battle mixed with over-the-top sequences; quick action shots and ‘comic book’ elements.  We get a predictable climax and ‘full circle’ epilogue.

The movie doesn’t stray from linear progression, but does it in a way that is thrilling.  From each of the parts, Whedon keeps the tone at a very fragile place.  He never gets ‘too’ dark or goes ‘too’ far with the comic book clichés, dancing a line that is whimsical, humor-filled and dramatic.  You get a sense of where the characters are, what they are trying to accomplish and where their beliefs lie when this new threat emerges.  It’s ‘raw’ tension that is felt, one that is ‘family’ in nature.  That creates a strong believable factor in this team.  They have grown to love, hate and respect each other on many different levels.  Each has a quality that helps one another, but also causes them to breakdown.  Even with strong personalities, they are always focused on the number one goal of this film; stop Ultron.  This film takes the ‘good vs. evil’ approach and melds it with the ideas of ‘artificial intelligence’.  The common aspect of A.I. is used here, but it is used in a relative fashion that we can accept and believe.   As mentioned in the second part, the film does (at times) feel excessive.  There are so many things that are going on with ‘future setups’ it does take away from the overall (at times) focal points of the film.  This does bring to light the one flaw of what cinematic universes do cause; breaking the purpose of an individual story.  That is why I mentioned fatigue.  You do get tiresome of trying to ‘fit’ everything in one film, but this one never crosses the line in being completely convoluted.  Josh Whedon does his best to craft a script in a way where we know what is going to happen, but understand the situation that is happening right now.  Once we get to the final act, it is all what you would expect, but still entertains.  As mentioned, the nostalgia factor is diminished this second time around in the ‘final action sequences’, but it doesn’t take away from the uniqueness of the spectacle.  You are always on the edge of your seat, tensed and wondering can they completely this task.  Once we get to the end, you come ‘full circle’ with the characters; knowing this is just another chapter leading to something bigger.

The cinematography of this film is just simply put, amazing.  From the creation of the Ultron and Vision characters; to the overall ‘worldly’ scope of all the set pieces, you are completed enraptured by everything you see.  The use of blending the CGI with panorama views helps create something that is realistic and imaginative.  That presents layers of aesthetic appeal, blending an artistic quality with something believable.  The score is very standard but ironically unique.   There is a great blend of music in the film.  It creates that ‘comic book’ tone while also providing some muscle to the tension throughout the film.

Avengers: Age of Ultron may not have the flare of what made the first Avengers a standout in the comic book genre, but it does enough to standout as a good sequel.  With some deeper characterization and a strong villain, you get a film that’s satisfies even if it does stretch thin in some areas.  If you’re a fan of Marvel, Avengers and summer films as a whole, you will not be disappointed.

One Response to “Avengers: Age of Ultron – 4/5 – Movie Reviews by Ry!

  • I was amazed at the fact that quicksilver was in the flim because I thought Fox owned the rights to his character. Maybe with Spiderman other characters from the Fox marvel universe will be added to the marvel cinema universe.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *