May 102015

The mighty heroes of the Avengers assemble again to fight evil and protect the world in Avengers: Age of Ultron. This time, the foe that they face is made by their own hands, and we also get introduced to some new superheroes as well. There’s plenty of action in this latest Marvel movie, but does it live up to hype? Find out in our Avengers: Age of Ultron review.

I must admit that I’ve been looking forward to this movie for a long time, and it was hard to keep my expectations in check. The first Avengers movie was so satisfying in that finally the separate pieces of the Marvel Cinematic Universe had finally come together. Now we get to round two of Avengers’ movie franchise, and the enemy that the team must face is Ultron, the android created by Tony Stark to protect the world. The choice of Ultron was unexpected (at least for me) when it was announced as there are other more high-profile villains that could have been chosen. While die-hard comic book fans will know who he is, the average moviegoer will not. Those concerns were swept aside as the movie deftly introduces him, and James Spader’s excellent voiceover work really brings him to life.

Avengers: Age of Ultron Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch

The opening of the movie finds the Avengers assaulting a Hydra outpost ran by Baron Strucker, who is in possession of the scepter used by Loki in the first film. Also in residence are a pair of twins, Quicksilver and the Scarlet Witch, who bear no love for the Avengers (and particularly Tony Stark). The action is intense as the Avengers fight their way into the base and eventually recover the scepter. Avengers: Age of Ultron has a tremendous amount of action in it, and I have to say that the fight scenes are extremely well choreographed. Even better is that there’s none of the dreaded shaky-cam that I hate so much. You can easily follow the action that occurs in the various fights. Once the scepter has been taken, Tony Stark enlists Bruce Banner in using the AI found in the scepter to fuel Stark’s Ultron program, which is designed to protect the planet. Of course, things go horribly awry as Ultron is self-aware and decides to save mankind by extinguishing it.

There are several key topics in the movie. The first is how various members of the Avengers have differing opinions on how best to protect the world and do their job. Captain America stands out for personal freedom and liberty, but Tony Stark emphasizes anything can go approach. The film does an amazing job of showing how the events of the alien invasion in the first Avengers film haunts him as he knows the next one can be coming any time now and that humanity is ill-prepared to fight it off. While one can find fault with his methods, you cannot find fault for his fears.

Another facet of the movie is the price of heroism and what it takes to be one. This is exemplified by Hawkeye as he acknowledges that he’s just a guy with a bow hanging around with gods. His speech to the Scarlet Witch during the climatic battle really lays it on the line. On the other side of the coin is Black Widow, who feels that she’s a monster because of all the bad things that she’s done. While some crazed internet trolls are saying that she considers herself a monster just because she was sterilized at her graduation ceremony for being an assassin, the truth is far different. I believe that Black Widow considers herself a monster because she has brought so much death into the world (as personified by the man in the hood that she had to execute as part of her training or graduation) as well as the fact that she cannot bring life into the world as any normal woman could. Her feelings is that while she has worked hard to atone for her sins, she does wonder if she could ever truly be something good if she’s only able to bring pain or death, even if it’s inflicted against bad people.

One area that Avengers: Age of Ultron shines is that each character gets their own moment in the sun, which is a mean feat considering how many characters are in the film. When Quicksilver and the Scarlet Witch tell Ultron why they hate Tony Stark so much, it’s incredibly moving and powerful. The main light of the film seems to fall on Hawkeye as you learn a secret that he’s long protected. Hats off to Joss Whedon for having the ability to give each superhero their own voice and the moment to express that voice.

Avengers: Age of Ultron Iron Man Hulkbuster

There are a number of highlights in the film. One is the party held by the Avengers, and the contest to pick up Thor’s hammer. The expression on Thor’s face when Captain America is able to move it slightly is absolutely priceless. I also loved the joke that Tony Stark made that he would bring back Prima Nocta if he lifts the hammer and becomes ruler of Asgard. Again, some internet trolls are freaking out about it, but it’s meant to be a joke, and it fits in with the politically incorrect humor of Tony Stark (not to mention his love of women). Lighten up, people, it’s a freaking joke that fits in with the character!

Another highlight is the sheer number of superheroes that we see in the film. We get the really cool Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch added to the mix, but we also get to see War Machine and Falcon show back up. Then there’s the introduction of the Vision, who is simply superb. His onscreen portrayal is truly a homerun. Again, while we get lots of heroes, we never lose track of the plot or feel buried by the number of them present. I have also have to mention the hugely entertaining fight between the Hulk and Iron Man with his Hulkbuster armor.

I do have an issue with Avengers: Age of Ultron. One character is killed at the end of the film and I felt that their death was not necessary. It’s become a hallmark of Joss Whedon to kill off a character, but it’s one that is really unnecessary. The message of being a hero requires sacrifice could have been delivered just as well by having that particular superhero getting extremely injured instead of killed. They made the decision to sacrifice themselves to save others, so the death wasn’t really needed once that decision had been made.

Sill, that criticism aside, my Avengers: Age of Ultron review is an extremely positive one. We get a ton of action, the introduction of more heroes, and each character gets their own moment where we can dig deeper into their psyche. I still think that the first Avengers movie is better (most likely due to the fact that it felt like more of an event as compared to a sequel), but this is definitely one of the better Marvel movies. My final Avengers: Age of Ultron review verdict: A

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