Overall Grade: (A)
Marvel continues its comic-themed saga in grand form with a visually stunning and completely riveting story-line that builds on the expansive universe that only seems to be getting better.
After a long dormant program named Ultron is rebooted by Banner and Stark, things go horribly wrong and the hordes of machines created to protect the world, will stop at nothing to destroy it.
Once again the largest collection of onscreen super heroes have assembled to save the world and while the hype may not been as high as the groundbreaking original, there was still a massive amount of buzz for this sequel that kicked off the 2015 summer movie season.
“Avengers: Age of Ultron” did have some flaws and was only a close equal to its predecessor, but it was still a very enjoyable film. The dynamic of the Avenger’s group continues to be built as the relationships among the members evolve. While some didn’t live the second-act visit to Clint Barton’s (Hawkeye) residence, I felt the scenes did a great job to humanize the characters giving them another layer to their personalities which would help understand the motivation to their actions. Many felt the scenes slowed the film down, but in a script loaded with endless action these somber moments made for a nice shift of emotional interest in the story-line and where the path of the plot would take the film.
I was mildly disappointed in the villain, Ultron had his moments and James Spader did a good job with his vocal additions to the film but to me it didn’t fit the character. The dialogue was well written but with a more menacing robotic tone to his persona I feel the intimidation would have been much greater given he was already given little time in the film to build his presence. So in that aspect Marvels largest weakness (to me) continues to be in the villains, despite Loki serving a well played role in multiple films and succeeding. Other then him the solo films in my mind continue to show a weakness in its bad-guys.
I went into this one expecting a small snippet of a much larger story and while I assumed there would be some closure, there was no doubt things would not wrap up neatly. So for that aspect I enjoyed the story direction and evolution of the plot and how ends were left open to introduce an entire new faction of the massive comic version of the Avengers.
The new additions to the cast were great and Olson, Taylor-Johnson and Bettany were all perfectly suited for their counterparts Scarlet Witch, Quicksilver & Vision. While the script did try and cram way to much into the film the cameo-ish appearances from Cheadle, Mackie and Atwell were nice to tie into past films to continue filling in the pieces of the massively larger story.
Overall the entire cast was excellent an all their performances for just as enjoyable as past films. Plus who doesn’t love another performance from Downey Jr. as Tony Stark/Iron Man, he was charming and fun as usual. Evans, Ruffalo, Johansson and even Hemsworth delivered enjoyable performances and the well-written dialogue served nice to detail the progression of their roles as well as some humorous moments to liter in throughout as well. The subtle laughable moments from Hemsworth landed in this film unlike his solo project efforts which was nice for keeping the cheesiness out of this one.
As for the action, it was all you could ask for and more. There was one massively scoped sequence after another and all wove in the heroes and their trademark abilities. I especially loved the Hulk/Iron Man battle and it was exciting to sit back in my chair and take in all the violent destruction of their fight, especially in 3D as debris bursts from the screen.
The special-effects were top-notch as expected and the layering in the 3D was excellent. While Ultron may not have been all I wanted, his army of robot soldiers were fun in this film and made for some extremely large scale battle sequences that were a visual feast. This added with great depth to the 3D layering pulled you into the scale of the destruction in an exciting way. Not to be forgotten excellent cinematography leading to some great angles and speed manipulating to allow for even more stunning views.
In the end this was a wildly adventurous comic-book film and another excellent chapter in the Marvel saga. Despite the main cast still not having wore out their welcome the addition of new players shows ambition in the progression of the universe they created back in 2008. There was so much going on in this film that is may have felt cluttered at times, but then again it is summer time and when you go grab some 3D glasses and drop down into a recliner you want to be entertained and captivated and, “Avengers: Age of Ultron” delivers that and much more.