Synopsis: Marvel Studios presents Avengers: Age of Ultron, the epic follow-up to the biggest Super Hero movie of all time. When Tony Stark tries to jumpstart a dormant peacekeeping program, things go awry and Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, including Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, The Incredible Hulk, Black Widow and Hawkeye, are put to the ultimate test as the fate of the planet hangs in the balance. As the villainous Ultron emerges, it is up to The Avengers to stop him from enacting his terrible plans, and soon uneasy alliances and unexpected action pave the way for an epic and unique global adventure.
Release Date: May 1, 2015 MPAA Rating: PG-13
Genre(s): Action, Adventure
Comic book and superhero fans live in an interesting time. While two decades ago it would have been rare to see anything resembling a fully-fledged superhero affair on the big screen, now we have an embarrassment of riches. Superhero films don’t just proliferate the summer movie season (and beyond), they dominate it. In order to find the pinnacle of said domination, one need look no further than Avengers: Age of Ultron; the bigger budget, bigger cast, outrageous expectation-touting follow-up to one of the highest grossing movies of all time, The Avengers. Avengers: Age of Ultron is the rare film that arrives with massive expectations and zero risk. It’s going to make a ton of money, so it’s a good thing the film is actually pretty darn good.
Reviewing Avengers: Age of Ultron actually feels like a formality, since nothing one could say about the film will convince moviegoers one way or the other. The Marvel faithful are already in line for midnight shows and the stark detractors wouldn’t be caught dead at a screening, even a matinee. For those who want to know how Avengers: Age of Ultron stacks up against the rest, however, it’s important to put things in at least a little bit of perspective. The Avengers (2012) was no doubt one of the biggest successes of the last few years, but it was also a bigger risk. Bringing together so many pre-established superheroes for one big team-up sounds like a recipe for success, but only if executed perfectly. Luckily, Marvel tasked director Joss Whedon (The Cabin In The Woods) with the job and ensured Iron Man star Robert Downey Jr. got as much screen time as possible.
In a lot of ways, The Avengers was something we had never seen before. It brought these disparate characters together and let them play around in this outlandish world, and by and large it worked. The film had a great villain, an outstanding cast, exceptional dialogue, and action befit a billion dollar blockbuster.
Duplicating the success of The Avengers would be hard to pull off. The novelty has to have worn off slightly, and in Avengers: Age of Ultron it certainly feels less special. Make no mistake, getting over the building-the-team hump affords the sequel the freedom to explore a more dynamic villain – the titular AI-gone-rogue robot Ultron (James Spader) – and it gives the characters’ relationships more room to develop. In particular, Avengers: Age of Ultron explores Hawkeye’s (Jeremy Renner from Kill The Messenger) role as an ordinary (but talented) man in a group of heroes, as well as the budding romance between Black Widow (Under The Skin‘s Scarlett Johansson) and Bruce Banner/The Hulk (Now You See Me‘s Mark Ruffalo). All of those little interactions are again great, bolstered by Whedon’s sharp writing and confident direction. And even when the film throws a few wrenches into the mix, Avengers: Age of Ultron is compelling and mature. There’s a confidence to these actors’ performances now and watching them on-screen it’s very clear they understand their characters extremely well.
Obviously, the big-ticket stars are Downey Jr.’s Iron Man, Chris Hemsworth’s Thor, and Chris Evans’ Captain America â all of whom exceed expectation. Each actor has played their respective Marvel role in at least three movies, which makes it hard to not see them as anything else. For all intents and purposes, these three actors embody their Marvel counterparts and watching them team-up, bicker, and strategize is nothing short of fan boy nirvana.
Ultimately, though, Avengers: Age of Ultron has the tinge of a used-car feel to it. What was once so exciting – the concept of a massive superhero team-up – is now slightly less so, but only slightly. Some will also argue that Ultron is a less exciting villain choice, if only because he doesn’t have that pre-established history with the Avengers. While each hero brings old and new baggage to the table in Avengers: Age of Ultron, Ultron himself is a completely new creation for this movie. Make no mistake, James Spader brings a ruthlessly calculated approach to the character, and a fair bit of humor, but he doesn’t have the legacy that Loki did heading into the first film.
That’s only a small gripe for what is an exceedingly enjoyable cinematic experience, though. Avengers: Age of Ultron is more of these characters that you love, albeit with new baggage and relationships. The action is bigger and more thoughtful, the performances more confident, and the Marvel world is more nuanced than it has ever been. Rather than play any major tricks, Avengers: Age of Ultron stays laser focused on its one goal: Deliver another great superhero team-up, and boy does it deliver.
Although Joss Whedon’s greatest strength when it comes to the characters that make-up the Avengers is his ability to create dynamic and engaging interactions between such otherworldly heroes. Whedon knows how to craft some truly exciting action as well. With The Avengers, Whedon devoted a lot of screen time to establishing those dynamics but in Avengers: Age of Ultron he has the freedom to let the fists fly. Nearly every member of the cast gets at least a few moments to shine with their own unique fight sequences, but the truly impressive sections are those featuring all (or mostly all) of the heroes. It’s as if Whedon has ripped pages right from the comics, or from our 10-year-old brains to craft action that is well composed, inventive, and epic in scope and scale. You want Thor batting Captain America’s shield like he’s Babe Ruth? You got it. You want Iron Man and Hulk battling across Middle Eastern skyscrapers? Avengers: Age of Ultron has you covered.
To Whedon’s credit, he also finds way to play to each character’s strengths and not make the action sequences feel like exhausting brawls. Rather, he siphons off heroes to do a multitude of things, from protecting civilians to battling henchmen to throwing down with Ultron. One would think that a film this jam-packed with Marvel superheroes might feel overloaded, or that some heroes might feel superfluous, but they don’t. Brilliant action is one thing, but action motivated by plot is another, and Avengers: Age of Ultron has it in spades.
Cast and Crew
- Director(s): Joss Whedon
- Screenwriter(s): Joss Whedon
- Cast: Robert Downey Jr. (Iron Man/Tony Stark)Chris Hemsworth (Thor)Mark Ruffalo (Bruce Banner/Hulk) Chris Evans (Steve Rogers/Captain America)Scarlett Johansson (Natasha Romanoff/Black Widoe)Jeremy Renner (Clint Barton/Hawkeye)James Spader (voice of Ultron)Samuel L. Jackson (Nick Fury)Don Cheadle (James Rhodes/War Machine)Elizabeth Olsen (Wanda Maximoff/Scarlet Witch)Aaron Taylor-Johnson (Pietro Maximoff/Quicksilver)Paul Bettany (voice of Jarvis)
- Editor(s): Jeffrey Ford
- Cinematographer: Ben Davis
- Production Designer(s):
- Costume Designer:
- Casting Director(s):
- Music Score: Danny Elfman
- Music Performed By:
- Country Of Origin: USA