Sunday, May 10, 2015

Movie with Abe: Avengers: Age of Ultron

Avengers: Age of Ultron
Directed by Joss Whedon
Released May 1, 2015

Is there a more prominent and successful film franchise than the Marvel superhero universe? I don’t think so. It’s hard for expectations not to be high for a film that is a sequel to a film that was already a culmination and continuation of four separate film series and has since spawned two television series. “Avengers: Age of Ultron” is a loud blow-out blockbuster, one that takes full advantage of the diverse array of characters at its disposal. It may not be as good as the first film, but it’s still an enthralling, action-packed cinematic experience.

Topping an alien army invading New York is no easy feat, but that’s no problem for this film, which begins in the middle of the action with a Hydra takedown by the Avengers that goes awry thanks to the involvement of two enhanced siblings, Quicksilver (Aaron Taylor-Johnson), who has the power of super speed, and Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen), who can manipulate people’s minds and cause distressing, paralyzing dreams. Superpowered humans are far from their biggest worry, however, when Tony Stark’s latest technological invention becomes self-aware and turns into Ultron, a villain hell bent on destroying the Avengers in some distorted vision of achieving peace.

The idea of this kind of film is that everything builds to the Avengers taking on massive armies of enemies and teaming up to use their skills together to achieve impossible victory. Much of the time in between is spent making jokes about the team dynamics and its members’ different sensibilities, and some of that is even injected into the midst of more objectively serious moments. Its humor is an asset, and it’s what makes the many chapters of this adventure fun. Combining it with the overarching impending destruction of the world generally works well.

In all their attempts to save the world, it’s always unintentionally amusing to see the Avengers stress not letting one single person go unrescued, a perplexing thought in the grand scheme of things when the fate of the entire universe is at stake. The casting of James Spader as Ultron is spot on and a perfect usage of the oily actor, who commits to the role completely. The addition of new characters, particularly Quicksilver, Scarlet Witch, and Vision (Paul Bettany), is strong, and, as usual with installments of franchises like this that aren’t entirely spectacular, this is an affirming signal of the longevity and livelihood of the Avengers as an enduring staple, returning to the big screen much sooner and more often than you might expect.


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