Avengers: Age of Ultron: One kinetic thrill after another
MOVIE INFO: When Tony Stark
jumpstarts 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 they battle to save the planet from destruction at the hands of the
Genre: Action & Adventure, Science
Fiction & Fantasy
Directed By:Joss Whedon
Written By:Joss Whedon
CAST: Robert Downey Jr.as Tony
Stark/Iron Man, Chris Evans as Steve Rogers/Captain...Mark Ruffalo as
Bruce Banner/The Hul... Chris Hemsworth as Thor, Scarlett Johansson as
Natasha Romanoff/Bla... Jeremy Renner as Clint Barton/Hawkeye
“The city is flying, we’re fighting robots — and I’ve got a bow and
arrow.” — Jeremy Renner's Hawkeye giving a recruitment talk of sorts to
Elizabeth Olsen's Scarlet Witch in ‘Avengers: Age of Ultron’.
Any time a giant superhero movie makes time for self-referential
humour, not to mention nods to ‘A Long Day’s Journey Into Night’ AND the
graffiti artist known as Banksy, count me in. ‘Avengers: Age of Ultron’
is a sometimes daffy, occasionally baffling, surprisingly touching and
even romantic adventure with one kinetic thrill after another. It earns
a place of high ranking in the Marvel Universe.
has a comic book movie struck such a precise balance between legitimate
character development, crackling good humour, genuine peril and good
old-fashioned big-screen entertainment.
The thing about these all-star Marvel superhero movies is they’re
incredibly complicated and often convoluted — but exceedingly simple at
the same time.
Somewhere along the way, one is almost certain to get dizzy from all
the talk about Loki’s sceptre and infinity stones and artificial
intelligence and the role of S.H.I.E.L.D. in the grand scheme of things
— but you know it’s all going to come down to a mega-battle in which the
forces of good go up against the forces of evil, who always seem intent
on blowing up the whole darn planet.
Writer-director Joss Whedon has the vibranium touch (that’s a good
thing, I think) when it comes to striking the box-office-gold balance
between appealing to the casual summer movie fan as well as the
hardcore, cosplaying, “I’m going to spend Tuesday AND Wednesday on
comment threads” fanboys and fangirls.
And that’s why this movie will gross somewhere between $1 billion and
$2 billion before the start of football season. At times, ‘Avengers: Age
of Ultron’ gets so dense with the plot machinations, I was reaching for
the Advil to stop the pounding in my head. Just as often, I sat back,
adjusted the 3-D glasses and enjoyed the cutting-edge special effects,
the elaborate battle sequences and the ‘Oceans 11’-type banter among
Iron Man, Captain America, Black Widow and company.
By the house of Odin, who knew the Mighty Thor was so funny? He’s the
life of the party in a scene where his fellow Avengers attempt to lift
his hammer, to hilarious results.
‘Age of Ultron’ starts in the Eastern European nation of Sokovia,
where one Baron Wolfgang von Strucker (Thomas Krestschmann) has been
using Loki’s sceptre to conduct evil experiments. His prize subjects are
the twins Pietro/Quicksilver (Aaron Taylor-Johnson), who can move faster
than the human eye can fathom, and Wanda/Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth
Olsen), who can literally get into your mind and also has a kind of
Carrie-esque ability to ruin a party.
The twins hate the Avengers, and they really love each other. In a
different movie, that relationship would be fodder for deep therapy.
Then again, everyone in THIS movie needs five sessions a week and then
After the Avengers gain control of the sceptre, Tony Stark (Robert
Downey Jr., in prime quipping form) and Bruce Banner (the always
excellent Mark Ruffalo) seize the opportunity to use it create a new,
elevated form of artificial intelligence. The result is Ultron (voiced
by James Spader), who is perhaps more powerful and smarter than anything
the Avengers have ever encountered, and here’s the really bad news:
Ultron believes the only way for the planet to evolve is for the
Avengers, and most of the human race, to perish.
With a running time of 142 minutes, ‘Avengers: Age of Ultron’ has the
luxury of devoting time to subplots involving Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner)
and Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), not to mention a beat or two for
Anthony Mackie’s Falcon, Samuel L. Jackson’s Nick Fury, Don Cheadle’s
James Rhodes and Claudia Kim’s Helen Cho. There’s a little bit of family
drama, a sprinkling of romance and a startling reminder many of these
superheroes aren’t immortal.
Some of the sharpest exchanges are between Tony Stark and Chris
Evans’ Steve Rogers, who is literally from a bygone generation and has
some major problems with Stark’s philosophies. We also get the
obligatory wisecracking among the superheroes even when they’re in the
middle of battle, but Whedon knows when to pull back on the barbs and
acknowledge that every time these flying maniacs do battle with armies
of evil, the collateral damage in human lives could number in the
millions. There’s also a weird, trippy sequence more suited to a horror
movie than a comic book adventure, with Thor, Cap and Black Widow
individually experiencing some really heavy lucid dreams. It’s pretty
bizarre and pretty great.
Marvel veterans Downey, Hemsworth, Ruffalo et al. deliver their usual
stellar work. ‘Avengers’ newbies Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Elizabeth Olsen
and Paul Bettany (as Jarvis and then some) deliver fine performances.
And other than a few moments when I just didn’t buy the Hulk (why is the
Hulk so hard to CGI?), the special effects are spectacular. Someday, an
‘Avengers’ film might collapse under the weight of its own awesomeness.
I mean, how many times can they save the world?
But this is not that day.
- Reviewed by Richard Roper