Avengers: Age Of Ultron Review – The Team’s “A” Insignia Stands For A-Game


Alright boys and girls, summer has arrived.  Avengers: Age of Ultron ushers in the blockbuster season with two-and-a-half hours of thrills, excitement, humor, and drama.  Writer/director Joss Whedon effortlessly moves the characters on his chessboard of storytelling and triumphantly checkmates a grand finale.  This is a can’t miss movie for any person.  Whether you’re a fan or just someone who’s casually looking for something to do this weekend, the latest Marvel Cinematic Universe film will mesmerize your senses.  Whedon and the cast bring their A-game to this cinematic masterpiece of a sequel.

Spoiler-Free Synopsis

Earth’s Mightiest Heroes are trying to save the world again in Avengers: Age of Ultron.  The film opens with the Avengers infiltrating Baron Strucker’s fortress in Sokovia, a country in Eastern Europe, to retrieve Loki’s scepter.  Our heroes have come a long way since the first film.  The team fights like a well-oiled machine with each member always anticipating the moves of the other.  They soon encounter Strucker’s pet projects — the Maximoff twins.  Pietro Maximoff, a.k.a. Quicksilver, has the gift of super-speed, and Wanda Maximoff, a.k.a. Scarlett Witch, can manipulate minds and throw hex bolts.

More from Movies

Successfully completing the mission, the team heads back to Avengers Tower where Tony Stark — fearing that various other dangers might harm the world — is aided by Bruce Banner in completing the Ultron artificial intelligence by using the stone from the scepter.  Ultron soon becomes conscious and embarks on a twisted mission to protect the world by initiating the extinction of all humans.

Ultron quickly heads to Wakanda where he partners with the Maximoff twins and also starts to upgrade his body with Vibranium.  The Avengers follow and engage in a devastating battle where each members’ darkest fears are shown to them.  Retreating and going into hiding, the team must overcome their innermost demons so that they can defeat Ultron and his plan to destroy the world.

Joss Whedon: Master Juggler

The film has a large cast, but due to writer/director Joss Whedon’s juggling act in keeping everything fluid, no one character is ever left in the dust.  When I talk about Whedon being a juggler, I’m not talking about the type who tosses around tennis balls.  This guy is basically playing with a bowling ball, chainsaw, machete, and an apple — where he takes a bite out of it at every toss.  One false move could be devastating.  And that’s exactly what Whedon expertly avoids.  The risks of a cohesive story are always high with such a large ensemble cast.  Avengers: Age of Ultron is an ensemble cast injected with Captain America’s Super-Soldier serum.  It’s absolutely insane how Whedon kept the character development moving along with the narrative.

The first film, The Avengers, was about the team coming together.  Avengers: Age of Ultron is about the disassembling of the team which plays nicely into the theme of fractured lives.  By finding new angles for conflict, Whedon allows each character to have his or her moment, especially characters who weren’t given as much screen time in the first film.  Clint Barton, a.k.a. Hawkeye, gets some well-deserved three-dimensional character sculpting in this outing.  Bruce Banner, a.k.a. the Hulk, continues his fight in not trying to hurt those he cares about.  And Natasha Romanoff, a.k.a. Black Widow, finally shows some vulnerability behind her assassin-trained hardened exterior.

Whedon keeps the plot moving at a very brisk pace with his swift dialogue and keenly timed moments of humor.  This movie could’ve easily reached the three-hour mark, but Whedon’s expert script editing kept the running time trim.  This is a tightly packed story which may warrant more than one viewing.  Kudos to him for pulling this off.

An Extremely Comfortable Cast

If The Avengers was the first semester of freshman year in college for the cast, Avengers: Age of Ultron skips over sophomore year and lands in junior year.  The whole cast has completely immersed themselves into each character.  There is zero hesitation.  It doesn’t matter if it’s Thor spinning Mjolnir, Captain America throwing his shield, Black Widow doing her acrobatic moves, or Tony Stark summoning his armor while making a wise-crack, the cast plays their parts as naturally as breathing.

Though Robert Downey, Jr. has stated that no Iron Man 4 is in the works, it’s very difficult to believe that from his current performance.  Downey’s Tony Stark is as energetic and charming as ever.  Mark Ruffalo’s Bruce Banner is played with a perfect solemn understatement — a man who’s rage and anger has made him tired.  Chris Evans has certainly developed Steve Rogers into someone who knows what he wants — being a soldier and a leader.  Scarlett Johansson added another dimension to her Black Widow character.  Still tough with a whatever-it-takes attitude, Black Widow can now be seen with feelings of regret and loss.  Chris Hemsworth now embodies an older and wiser Thor who must unravel a mystery about his future.  And Jeremy Renner transforms his Hawkeye into a self-aware hero whose new background story makes him one of the most realistic characters in this film.

The newcomers are just as great.  James Spader is perfectly cast as the villainous Ultron.  The resonating tenor of Spader’s voice only enhances the character’s humorous arrogance.  Elizabeth Olsen is an expert at playing broken characters, and her skills are on full display as Scarlet Witch.  Aaron Taylor-Johnson’s Quicksilver may not have much screen time, but his impact on the story is definitely felt.

The players are all at their best in this blockbuster sequel.  Their excellent performances draw the audience in and we’re never let go until the very end.  If someone told me that the actors slept with their costumes on, I’d truly believe it.

Final Thoughts

Avengers: Age of Ultron is a can’t miss film.  Just the initial battle scene alone is worth the price of admission.  Joss Whedon’s well-crafted story and character-centered scenes have truly upped the bar for large ensemble films.  The balance of action, drama, and humor keeps the audience wanting for more.

As a sequel, the film definitely brings something new to the table in terms of character development and story.  This isn’t a repeat of how a team works together.  Whedon goes the opposite direction and dissolves the team to spice up the narrative.  And because of that, we see our characters grow and explore new territory.

Whether you’re a fan of the franchise and the comic books, or a person looking for a good actioner, this is the movie to see.  For people thinking that we’ve been having an overload of superhero-based films, Avengers: Age of Ultron proves the contrary.  The engrossing spectacle will make you cheer for more.

Avengers: Age of Ultron had a North America release date of May 1, 2015, and is directed and written by Joss Whedon, and stars Robert Downey, Jr. as Tony Stark / Iron Man, Chris Hemsworth as Thor, Mark Ruffalo as Dr. Bruce Banner / The Hulk, Chris Evans as Steve Rogers / Captain America, Scarlett Johansson as Natasha Romanoff / Black Widow, Jeremy Renner as Clint Barton / Hawkeye, Don Cheadle as Col. James “Rhodey” Rhodes, Aaron Taylor-Johnson as Pietro Maximoff / Quicksilver, Elizabeth Olsen as Wanda Maximoff / Scarlet Witch, Paul Bettany as J.A.R.V.I.S. and Vision, Cobie Smulders as Maria Hill, Stellan Skarsgård as Erik Selvig, James Spader as Ultron, Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury, Hayley Atwell as Peggy Carter, Idris Elba as Heimdall, Tom Hiddleston as Loki, Thomas Kretschmann as Baron Wofgang von Strucker, and Andy Serkis as Ulysses Klaw.

Next: An analysis of the Avengers: Age of Ultron mid-credits scene

More from Bam Smack Pow