Avengers: Age Of Ultron
May 7, 2015
Avengers: Age of Ultron (** ½) PG-13
It should come as no surprise that the latest Marvel extravaganza Avengers: Age of Ultron suffers from much of the same fate that has befallen too many superhero sequels. Namely, a tendency to bite off much more than it can successfully chew. It’s the same kind of thing that plagued last year’s The Amazing Spiderman 2 and the 2007 film Spiderman 3, to name two examples. There’s action to spare in the film but it also feels like overkill too much of the time. Add to that a plot line that is dependent on one’s knowledge of other films in the Marvel universe and what you wind up with is a half-baked affair that is, admittedly, never boring but never really as wholly satisfying as the original Avengers film proved to be some three years ago.
A major problem with the film for me is that feels as if chunks of it were left on the cutting room floor. The plot is choppy and, at times, hard to follow. Also, this isn’t the kind of film that will stand alone and, as previously mentioned, relies heavily on your knowledge of events in previous Marvel film adaptations.
Mark Ruffalo & Robert Downey, Jr., in Ultron
This does the film no favors and I can’t imagine anyone walking into this cold who won’t be scratching their heads by the time the final credits scroll.
The film kicks into high gear as the Avengers—rendered in cartoonish and unrealistic looking CGI—are in the midst of some kind of siege in a European locale that has no semblance to anything in the real world. It seems that the gang is there to recover a piece of a stone that has been pivotal in most of the previous Marvel film installments. This time Tony Stark/Iron Man (Robert Downey, Jr.), while experimenting with the stone, accidentally creates Ultron, the villain of the pic. He’s a robot (well voiced by James Spader), imbued with Artificial Intelligence, and bent on destroying the Avengers as we know them.
And, yet, that’s one of problems the film has going for it. We all know that the bottom financial line of these films dictates that none of the major characters are going to expire so therefore no one is ever really in danger. The audience knows this and just sits back waiting to see how the team will get out of these predicaments since it’s certain no real harm will come to any of them.
Writer-Director Joss Whedon has certainly attempted to craft a worthy follow up to his previous film but it’s just too much—of everything. The film works best in its more quiet moments where there are such goings on as a love affair between Black Widow (Scarlett Johannson) and Hulk/Bruce Banner (Mark Ruffalo), a peek into the domestic life of Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) and a scene where the gang are getting quietly drunk and attempting to lift Thor’s hammer. This is the kind of thing the film could have used more of and it’s shame that Whedon didn’t know when to stop when he was ahead. Less is sometimes more and The Avengers: Age of Ultron is a textbook example.
Questions or comments? Write Adam at firstname.lastname@example.org.