Once upon a time, in a movie industry filled with dark adaptation after adaptation, a little company called Marvel came and reinvented how one makes a Superhero genre film, and the world has not been the same since. Now, in 2015, Marvel releases their next highly anticipated addition to their MCU, titled Avengers: Age of Ultron, and it has all the hype surrounding it that any film could wish for. But, does it indeed live up to such a grand status?
The plot returns us to a familiar group of misfits, who have now bounded together to become an unstoppable team. Iron Man/Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) is the ring leader, who senses a “disturbance in the force”, when on a mission he sees a sight that he cannot shake. To stop his nightmares from coming true, he aspires to create a machine capable of helping his friends live as normal a life as possible, and keep the world safe. This, Ultron (James Spader) is born, but he unfortunately is not everything his inventor hoped he would be. Thus begins yet another foe for The Avengers to face, and he will test their will and trust in their allies and themselves.
From the start, Age of Ultron packs a punch. The action sequences flourish with all the energy we’ve come to dream of in Marvel’s films. We are thrown in, and expected to go along for the ride, instantly. Yet, this is where the perfect thread that director Joss Whedon crafted in the previous film, begins to crack only slightly. Though we have been generally prepped for most of the character’s current stories, the tiny details set up from their prior solo films seemed to be ignored here, particularly elements that were introduced with Tony’s character in Iron Man 3.
Black Widow and Hulk also seem to get the short end of the stick in the development department, a side effect of them not getting stand alone films nor devoted Agents of Shield episodes. So when a romance develops between the two (hinted heavily in the advertisement) it feels a bit rushed, and was deserving of at least a few scenes showcasing their true courtship. Yet, on the flip side, if this means in the future we get a buddy adventure film featuring the two, then all efforts made in Ultron will have been worth it.
Other tiny, small segments (for which specifics would spoil) seemed to be rushed and cut corners, lacking the graceful flow of the first film. But since many interviews have pointed to Whedon having to cut Age of Ultron from three hours to two and a half, I’m sure we’re missing quite a bit of the big picture Joss had in mind. If ever a Marvel movie were in need of a Director’s Cut, this would be it.
It is also important to mention, that if you are in anyway shape or form a fan of Hawkeye, the continually excluded member of the team, then you might have a bit of a treat in store. If this was Marvel’s way of apologizing to Jeremy Renner for his lack of heroism in the first Avengers film, he certainly got the “I’m Sorry” card of a lifetime.
Age of Ultron also features an impressive new collection of heroes and villains to join the team. Most impressive was that of Vision (Paul Bettany) who has probably the most intense and captivating origin story we’ve seen in the MCU since those presented in Phase 1. His debut also gave some of the best moments in the film, humorous and triumphant in every way possible. The twins, Pietro (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) and Wanda (Elizabeth Olsen), also added some new spice to the franchise, and gave just the right mixture of angst and spunk in their roles. Also, shout out to Andy Serkis, who though his appearance was short, left me wanting more of his character.
But probably the new addition that most are interested in hearing about is Ultron himself. Though while many have citied that he is yet another lukewarm bad guy in the MCU, I actually find him to be on pare with beloved baddie, Loki. He, like the famous mischievous god, has a side to him that believes what he is doing is right for all of mankind. And unlike the other villains of the recent Marvel films, his struggle is captivating enough for you to be intrigued by his ideas. He also is probably one of the creeper bad guys to come from Marvel, especially since he is created from technology, and reigns his terror like the worst of computer viruses. James Spader adds some much needed sass and elegance to the role, and when he faces off with Downey Jr., it is cinematic gold.
If you couldn’t gather, Age of Ultron is an important, popcorn release for 2015. It features all the charm, wit, and heart pumping action that many have come to expect from Marvel’s cinematic works. Though it might have some issues, for which some will say its predecessor was flawless, it definitely lives up to the anticipation that fans have set up for it. It leaves the world wanting more, gives more layers to the characters we know and love, without succumbing to the trends of other films within this genre. So, thank you Marvel, for welcoming in the summer movie season with the fun joyride this moviegoer has been looking for.