By Darin Skaggs
Marvel has made quite the name for itself. They have at least two or three movies coming out every year for the last five years or so and because of leaked information that is how it will be for a while. The standalone superhero films prove to be more than adequate, but they are all lead ups for when all the characters come together in The Avengers. The first Avengers came out in 2012 and was loved by critics and audiences. In between came the good Iron Man 3, the underrated Thor: The Dark World, the surprisingly great Captain America: The Winter Solider and the absolutely fantastic Guardians of the Galaxy. The Avengers movies are the big events that the standalone movies are just counting down too which has led to Joss Whedon’s new work Avengers: Age of Ultron.
All our favorite superheroes have come together once again to take down the evil Ultron (voiced by James Spader), an artificial intelligence created by Iron Man himself Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) to be a sort of police force that protects the world. That all happens after the whole gang including Stark, Captain America (Chris Evans), the Hulked out Bruce Banner (Mark Ruffalo), Black Widow (Scarlet Johanson) and Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) attempt to steal back the staff from the first Avengers. After all that the group finds out what Stark is up to, which begins to tear them apart. This only hints at what is to come during Civil War. That is the real problems with all of these films, it spends too much time setting up storylines that are to be in upcoming releases that, at times, it loses sight of the main movie it is in.
Now I am not saying Whedon is to blame for losing sight of how he wanted his work of art to turn out, no. It was the Marvel corporation that seemed to keep whispering in his ear once every few weeks “Hey, don’t forget to put this in there.” There are so many lines and action sequences that feel like Whedon’s vision for the film. And those parts are great, really fantastic. The opening sequence has a lot of great banter that made the first one so amazing. There are some shots that could easily be labeled “The Hero Shot.” This happens a few times and really gives off a sense of team work and excitement. They all happen during the action sequences which are all fantastic, the conclusion of the movie hits the nail on the head once again. The only action scene that is questionable is the Hulk vs. Iron Man in the Hulk Buster uniform. It has nothing to do with the story really that much. It seems it suffers from what other films like Man of Steel does and these movies try hard not to do, and that is cause casualties that no one blinks an eye for. They both destroy many buildings that don’t even get a second glance. Even during the scene they have Iron Man save a few people on an elevator, but then crashes into other buildings that clearly will have structural damage that could be fatal for those inside.
The Avengers was obviously about all these heroes coming together to form, well, The Avengers. Well now they are a team, so in Age of Ultron the big focus is on, of course, Ultron. James Spader does an excellent job as the voice of Ultron as well as the writing for him. At times he just seems to be spouting out too many sarcastic remarks that do not make any sense, but he is an artificial intelligence created by the very sarcastic Tony Stark, so I guess it makes sense. The other new arrivals, Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen) and Quicksilver (Aaron Taylor-Johnson), that only start helping the Avengers instead of fighting against them is because Ultron might decide to destroy all humans. The switch happens really fast, but it does make sense. All of the changes with characters or in plot seem to happen way too quickly, but at least they are logical. Then there are scenes where Thor takes characters from the Thor series and jumps in an underwater pond that causes lightning to strike him that have little explanation and make no sense. There is also an over done attempt to make up for the lack of Hawkeye in the previous movie and a love story that seems to belong in a totally different kind of superhero film.
Avengers: Age of Ultron is one big, fun mess. It has all the cast of characters that we have come to love, if not be a little tired of at this point. It knows what is doing, but is sadly just a brief pit stop into what might be a never ending trail of Marvel Superhero films.